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Pushing Ice Paperback – December 11, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 147 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As this spectacular, large-scale space opera opens, Janus, a moon of Saturn, now revealed as an alien artifact, has suddenly left orbit and headed for interstellar space. The Rockhopper, a comet miner commanded by Capt. Bella Lind, is the only spacecraft in the solar system positioned to catch the huge alien machine. Though a short exploration is all that's planned, the Rockhopper soon finds itself trapped in Janus's time- and distance-distorting slipstream. Determining that Janus is heading toward an even more gigantic artifact orbiting the star Spica, the comet miners settle down to form their own castaway civilization, a process marred by the bad blood between those who support Captain Lind and those who blame her for their fate. Janus soon proves itself to be an incredibly strange and ever changing environment. Eventually, the castaways reach the Spica artifact, encounter several very alien species and discover that their fate is even stranger than they could have imagined. Reynolds (Century Rain) is occasionally clumsy in his character interactions, but he has a genius for big-concept SF and fans of Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama and Larry Niven's Ringworld will love this novel.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Alastair Reynolds, an astrophysicist and the author of six previous novels, including the critically acclaimed Revelation Space series (beginning with the title novel in 2000), has established a reputation as the purveyor of big ideas in science fiction, particularly in the space-opera genre. Critics admire the author for his storytelling abilities and his grasp of hard science fiction, as well as for his willingness to explore issues that, in the hands of a less confident writer, might fall flat. By bringing developed characters and clearly articulated scenarios to the page, Reynolds has cultivated a growing audience of devoted readers. So he's not yet Arthur C. Clarke. Who is?

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; paperback / softback edition (December 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575083115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575083110
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 1.3 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matt Hausig VINE VOICE on November 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Pushing Ice is at its core about a fight between two close friends. The twist is that this fight takes place on a comet mining ship that is pursuing an alien artifact, the conflict between the two quickly escalates to encompass the entire crew of the ship and advanced technologies come into play as the true nature of the alien artifact is revealed. Ok, it sounds a little familiar. After the more experimental Century City, Pushing Ice is Reynold's take a crack at some of the more established themes in hard SF and does a very good job of it.

Not to say there aren't faults. Some parts of the novel, especially those dealing with the more advanced technological aspects seem pared back. Also, the novel starts slowly only to race to a finish as things get interesting. Still, at a little under 400 pages there is no dearth of material.

As with his earlier work, Pushing Ice is loaded with scienctific concepts real (relativity) and hypothetical(femtotech). What is surprising is how well this technology is integrated into the story line. Infodumps are a mainstay of hard SF and it is refreshing to see it handled so well here. Another well handled device is to have the characters and by implication the reader essentially traveling blind. There is an element of mystery and surprise present throughout the entire novel which keeps the pages turning.

For those who have enjoyed Reynolds' previous books this one will not dissapoint. For those who have not yet read his other work, this is the one to start with.
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Format: Hardcover
Alastair Reynolds's novels are reliably fascinating at the "big idea" level. He's got a truly first rate hard-SF imagination, and the chops to take cool ideas and reveal them via action plots, often hiding the really neat ideas convincingly until the end. He is a "light speed limit" author, and fascinated with Deep Time. And all this describes Pushing Ice quite excellently.

The novel opens with a curious prologue set 18,000 years in the future, describing an ambitious plan to celebrate the legendary Benefactor who started humanity on the road toward expansion into the Galaxy. Then we get a flashback to 2057, and the story of this Benefactor, a woman named Bella Lind. Bella is the captain of an ice mining spaceship, the Rockhopper. This ship is diverted to chase a moon of Saturn, Janus, which has suddenly accelerated and headed out of the Solar System: clearly, it's an alien artifact of some sort. Bella, however, must convince her crew to go along: it's a highly dangerous mission, and their corporate bosses do not inspire confidence. One of Bella's key links to the crew is her close friend, engineer Svetlana Borghesian.

Svetlana originally supports Bella, but when she later discovers that they have less fuel than they thought, and that the corporation seems to have been hiding his fact, she begs for a turnaround, and turns against Bella when she refuses. This sets up the central human conflict of the story, between Bella and Svetlana, who oscillate as leaders of the expedition over time. And what about the expedition? Eventually they reach a point of no return, and they are forced to essentially colonize Janus, while trying to unlock its secrets. Janus is traveling towards a Structure around the star Spica, 260 light years distant, which means a long journey is ahead of them.
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Format: Hardcover
After his hugely successful debut quartet (Revelation Space, Chasm City, Redemption Ark, and Absolution Gap) Alastair Reynolds has begun widening his range. Century Rain and his latest, Pushing Ice, are set in different universes from each other, and from the shared universe of the first four books. And whereas Century Rain takes place at a time intermediate between the present and that of Revelation Space, Pushing Ice starts in the near future - 2057, to be precise. As to where it ends... well, that would be telling.

The action begins when Janus, one of Saturn's moons, mysteriously leaves orbit and accelerates towards the edge of the Solar System. The only vehicle in position to intercept its path is the nuclear-powered mining ship Rockhopper, with its crew of 145 captained by Bella Lind. At the request of Deepshaft, the owners, Bella asks the crew if they are willing to take the unknowable risks involved. Swayed by the promise of huge bonuses, a majority votes to go for it, and the chase is on. But instead of three days of high acceleration, a week of observation, and laughing all the way home to the bank, they soon find themselves fighting for their lives.

It would be wrong to give away any more of the plot, as its effectiveness rests largely on a series of surprises that go on right to the end of the book. Suffice it to say that, while slowly but steadily building up the tension and introducing us to a wide cast of characters, Reynolds weaves in some fascinating technical ideas - from an effective method of freezing dying people for future resuscitation to the potential implications of femtotech (a step beyond nanotech) and relativistic time compression.
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