- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 19 hours and 40 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: July 13, 2010
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003VXLR8M
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Century Rain Audiobook – Unabridged
|New from||Used from|
|Free with your Audible trial|
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
A big part of the story surrounds a jazz musician/detective in an alternate world Paris coming into contact with a woman from the 22nd century. I can't say Reynolds isn't creative. He does a decent job rationalizing and making 'explicable' a completely loopy set-up. Rationalizing is perhaps one of his great strengths. Some of the action in this story is pretty well done, though --without getting into details-- I would also say it's somewhat by the numbers and not very surprising. This book may well appeal to people who like alternate history, but that's tempered by the fact that Reynolds is somewhat more interested in what happened to 'real' Paris in his future world than he is in how Paris of alternate history is significant. The alternate Paris more or less existed to be a source from which to pull a 1950s guy into a future world. The only thing that is ever really brought up as alternative about this world is that they haven't gone anywhere with computers because WWII didn't happen, but nothing deeper or more substantial than this.
There are a lot of little things in this story that felt very useless to me. The character Custine and most of plot involving people of the 'other' Paris is tacked on and left incomplete, jettisoned when the author decided he would rather be describing wormholes and talking about technospooge nanotechnology. This population is there and liable to be destroyed by the future people, but Custine in particular never gets a chance to prove his innocence or to face off against the war babies (and, speaking of whom, what the hell happened to them?) Floyd exists simply to be a POV character for the reader to look at a future world that he can't understand, but the author couldn't even completely commit to this strategy and had to flesh out the character Augier independently. The romantic attachment between Floyd and Augier is not believable at all in large part because the author interrupts believable chemistry by spending huge amounts of time explaining nuts and bolts of the technospung of their circumstance and having rather typical Reynoldsian question-answer sessions where one character interrogates while the other spurts technobabble answers --not conducive to romance. Their parting felt like a bad version of Casablanca. Floyd's otherness is never really exploited because the author spends so much effort trying to rationalize technology when he could have been supporting Floyd out of water. Is there any point where Floyd should ever ask a coherent question about space-time or wormholes? I would volunteer 'no.'
Further, the set-up of having earth preserved in amber at some node along a wormhole transit network got a big 'WTF?' response from me. What are the odds that humans will wander out into a galactic scale subway network and tumble over a clone of Earth? Stratospherically impossible maybe? There are about a billion more believable discoveries out there that we would spend time on first, I think. Even if all ALS bodies contain the home worlds of alien races, what are the chances that humans stumble onto Earth first? While the author did a decent job of rationalizing that maybe it's possible, the setup is just so improbable that if the author fails to suspend belief, a reader is going to have some difficulty with this. I was not surprised that the author didn't bother talking about the origin of the ALS structures mainly because he tends to inhabit a universe where god technology is sitting abandoned at every corner, but it's kind of sad that he never seems to feel obligated to finish one of these stories.
One might also note that this story did not age well even in the dozen or so years since it was written. He has a lot of view screens and keyboards... which seem trite considering the touchscreen tablet computer I'm writing this review on.
The book starts with two seemingly unconnected story lines, a future archaeologist recovering items from a post apocalyptic Paris and a private investigator in a fascist mid-twentieth century Paris. So... there is some sort of murky connection, but it is more fun to discover it yourself than letting the back cover or a review spoil it for you. The physics obviously can't be very convincing, but I don't consider this book a serious try at hard science fiction. Reynolds is playing with settings, stereotypes, cliches, and whole genres. Blending them together and tearing them apart again. The first works better than the latter and especially the last third of the book has some lengths that could have been avoided. Most scenes work best if you just try to get a feel for it rather than looking at all the details. The clues of the crime story are laid out rather clumsily, but the characters move around very believable. The Casablanca references work very well in a rain soaked fascist Paris as does the "Third Man" underground espionage feeling.
Maybe the biggest flaw of the book is that it tries too much. Closely followed by a little more editing that should have been done. Alastair Reynolds is not trying to explain everything, but many things are repeatedly laid out for the characters instead of the reader. The last third of the book seemed to be more of an add on so as not to disappoint the fans of space opera -- this whole part does not convincingly help the plot and could have easily been removed from the story. I wished the blend of genres had been a little lighter, less dead-serious, and more playful but I didn't get as hung up on the details as many other reviewers. It's still a fun book and I enjoyed it for the most part.
I recently listened to the audio book read by John Lee who does an amazing job of bringing all the characters to life. I tend to get distracted by other things when listening to audio books, but this one really caught my attention from beginning to end.
The book lacks the gothic atmosphere of RS that made it very easy to forgive Reynold's florid prose, and is consequently a very long slog indeed. The romance interest is so predictable that it might as well have been left out entirely, and far too much time is spent in an alternate universe (of sorts) that just isn't that interesting. The presence of a true villain (in stark contrast to the RS books, all of whose characters are delightfully grey) also reduces the dimensionality of the plot.