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Slow Bullets Paperback – June 9, 2015
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A UK Guardian Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of 2015
A Buzzfeed June 2015 Pick
Locus 2015 Recommended Reading List: Best Novella
2016 Locus Award shortlist
2016 Hugo nominated novella
2016-2017 Canopus Award nominee for Best Novella
“A rousing drama of revenge – which, in a moving finale, Reynolds subverts with a wonderfully compassionate resolution."
What happens to survivors at the end of an interstellar war? In the latest from Reynolds ("Revelation Space" series), refugees, soldiers, and criminals are loaded aboard the same vessel and plunged into cryo-suspension. When Scur wakes in her capsule, she's confused, as it seems far too soon and no one is in charge. With the ship's computer in terminal decline and the only stable source of information the slow bullets injected into their bodies, Scur and the other passengers must decide what's more important, their personal lives or the larger fate of humanity. VERDICT While shorter than Reynolds's usual fare, this is no less ambitious in covering vast scopes of space and time while addressing big questions. Suggest to fans of Ian MacDonald or Kim Stanley Robinson, particularly those who liked Aurora.”
Library Journal, starred review
Reynolds does his usual fine job of creating a compelling narrative out of the classic materials of space opera as viewed through a modern sensibility and an awareness of the real science of space travel. Recommended.”
“ ‘Slow Bullets’ builds nicely to an almost profound conclusion and left a big impact despite its small size.”
“It’s a compelling adventure story about people trying to make something worthwhile, after lives spent only on destruction.”
―The Morning Star
“Five Stars. Slow Bullets is incredible, it is a superbly balanced story packed full of ideas and subtlety. It’s also not only the finest of Reynolds work so far but it’s one of the finest nuggets of science fiction you could read anywhere.”
―Science Fiction Book Review
This is not military science fiction, this is war opera. Recommended!”
A fine example of the true science fictionist’s art. . . .”
Michael Bishop, author of A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire, And Strange at Ecbatan the Trees, and Transfigurations
Dang, Reynolds can write. This has it all: a fantastic premise, a solid protagonist, and incredible tension to carry everyone along.”
50 Book Challenge
Alastair Reynolds is the world's best writer of space opera. If you have any doubts, then read Slow Bullets.”
Allen Steele, author of Coyote and Spindrift
The writing is tight, the characters are well developed, and the story itself moves along at a cracking pace.”
Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Corner
Slow Bullets is classic science fiction, a space opera, a puzzle story, a character study, visionary science fiction, and a prayer for peace. I see no reason why you should not love it.”
Michael Swanwick, author of Tales of Old Earth and Dancing with Bears
Slow Bullets is a huge leap forward for Alastair Reynolds”
Alastair Reynolds weaves a tapestry of dark, dystopian societies in a tense, colorful narrative.”
New York Journal of Books
a great introduction to Reynolds’ style and skill.”
...his writing mixes spartan style, provocative ideas, and flashes of dark humor.... Reynolds excels at weaving different threads together....”
Los Angeles Review of Books
It’s a more intimate vision than what I encountered until now in Reynolds’ books, but for this very reason it felt more profound and poignant than any other I read so far, and it gave me a new level of interpretation for this author, and a key to a new way of reading his stories. Highly recommended, both for Reynolds' admirers and as an introduction to this author.”
Space and Sorcery
Slow Bullets is a tightly focused tale that moves forward at a brisk and entertaining pace. It is a satisfying story of survival mixed with an intriguing mystery.”
Green Man Review
Slow Bullets captured my attention and did not let up until the ride was over.... Highly recommended.”
Best Science Fiction Books
...a captivating first-person narrative...”
Wales Arts Review
Slow Bullets, the new novella by Alastair Reynolds is space opera condensed into one of its most potent forms. Mystery, conflict, crisis, strange aliens and a story of interstellar scope - you’ll find it all...”
Worlds in Ink
Fantastic little piece of space noir. It's not often a short novella will congruously go places the reader could not even guess in the first few pages, but this story does so flawlessly. As always, Reynolds writes excellent female protagonists, who get to have identities not at all anchored to their gender.
Stylistically this is a masterpiece to behold. Slick and polished, Slow Bullets will please the palette of any reader of any genre, not just science fiction.”
Open Book Society
...effortlessly genius and impossible for me to put down.”
Little Red Reviewer
Slow Bullets is a confident read from Reynolds that will please fans and newcomers alike, and hopefully it will draw in new readers and encourage them to explore more of the writer’s work. Highly Recommended.”
The Fictional Hangout
The story that Slow Bullets became had me enthralled. . . . If science fiction, mystery, and political thrillers intrigue you, I highly recommend Slow Bullets.”
“I recommend Slow Bullets to all SF fans . . . It is a great addition to the genre, with all the conflict, science, technology and space that any SF could want in a novella.”
―Always Trust in Books
“Slow Bullets is incredible, it is a superbly balanced story packed full of ideas and subtlety. It's also not only the finest of Reynolds work so far but it's one of the finest nuggets of science fiction you could read anywhere.”
―SF Book Reviews
About the Author
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This is a far future SciFi tale about the last remaining ship full of human survivors from an inter galactic war between the inner and outer worlds of human space. Soldiers of the war, each had a "Slow Bullet"inserted into their bodies that could be read out at their death.. These future dog tags were used to identify the individuals. The central theme is the psychological struggle between the passengers of this ship who had previously fought on opposing sides in a war long ago, before all civilization collapsed..
This book promises "an interstellar adventure of war, identity, betrayal, and the preservation of civilization itself." So the war lasted maybe 10 pages. This book is more of a private diary of day to day problems. This book could have taken place on a boat, island, etc. and it really would not have mattered. There is no edge of your seat action, no suspense. Like I said, just a diary. Nothing truly significant or entertaining happened.
Aside from the publishing aspect, "Slow Bullets" is kind of slow itself. Set within the confined universe of a damaged star liner, the plot covers a disaster story leading into a detective story leading into a redemption story. Given the characters are coming from a standing start of a multi-planet conflict that appears to be primarily triggered by 'similar but not the same' religious beliefs, the degree of animosity and violence embedded in the situation is understandable. But raising them from this base level within the limited space of the novella necessitates short cuts in emotional development and story arc. So the premise is there for an interesting journey but it's like a short flight in First Class...somewhat of a wasted investment!
As with most Reynolds books, the tech is high but mostly assumed. The morality is generally ambiguous which gives us hints of personal conflict and tension, but again, the format is too short for a deep dive so we skim over the top of some really interesting questions.
Obviously I was disappointed. And I cannot even recommend this to loyal Reynolds readers because it is such a tease of a story and he is capable of so much more, which they will full well know. Very much a damp squib, I'd have preferred this sit in the queue until it could have been released as a fleshed out novel, because there is promise in the story but it is just too short to get the job done.