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Terminal World

Terminal World

Scritto da Alastair Reynolds

Narrato da John Lee


Terminal World

Scritto da Alastair Reynolds

Narrato da John Lee

valutazioni:
4/5 (56 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
19 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jun 7, 2010
ISBN:
9781400187119
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different-and rigidly enforced-level of technology.



Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon's world is wrenched apart one more time. If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint's base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon's own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police but by the very nature of reality-and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jun 7, 2010
ISBN:
9781400187119
Formato:
Audiolibro

Informazioni sull'autore

Alastair Reynolds was born in Barry, South Wales, in 1966. He studied at Newcastle and St. Andrews Universities and has a PhD in astronomy. He stopped working as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency to become a full-time writer. Reynolds is a bestselling author and has been awarded the British Science Fiction award, along with being shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Award, and the Locus Award.


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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    Zeppelins. A steam-powered cyborg. Mad Max-style savages. Angels! And a city on a spire of--something--rising into the sky, on a cooling Earth.

    Overlaying everything are the zones, little understood but very carefully mapped, because what technology works depends on what zone you are in. Highest up on the spire of Spearpoint are the Celestial Levels, where the angels dwell, modified humans who can fly and who are heavily loaded with nanotech inside them. Because the nanotech won't work at any lower level, angels can't leave the Celestial Levels. At the bottom is Horse Town, where the tech is about the level of the American Wild West.

    Quillon lives in Neon Heights, just below Circuit City and just above Steamville. He's the last survivor of an infiltration mission from Celestial Heights, his wings and nanotech removed, under a false identity, working as a pathologist.

    Until a barely-alive angel fallen from the Heights is brought to him, with the message that the faction that sent Quillon to Neon Heights now wants him and the knowledge hidden in his head back--and they don't need him to be alive to get what they need. Quillon has to run, out of Spearpoint altogether, and right now. He turns to Fray, who might be considered a local fixer, and one of the few friends Quillon has made. Fray quickly plans his escape, with a guide, Meroka, foul-mouthed, impatient, but very, very capable. Oh, and she hates angels, for reasons buried in her past, so it's just as well that Fray doesn't tell her Quillon is an angel in disguise.

    What could go wrong?

    Along the way to getting shanghaied into the dirigible fleet called Swarm, they meet the steam-powered cyborg, ruthless, drug-addicted savages, a woman who might be a techtomancer and her five-year-old daughter, and the "vorgs," really nasty cyborgs who survive in part by harvesting human organs. Especially brains.

    And in the midst of all this, there's a major zone shift, the result of which is really exciting for everyone who isn't killed by it.

    I really enjoyed this one. The characters are multi-leveled and compelling, and everyone you care about has a fundamental decency, albeit sometimes very deeply buried and expressed in quixotic ways. The pacing is great, and the world is a fascinating one.

    Reynolds does not believe he needs to give us all the answers. There's plenty of room for a sequel, and I'm a bit surprised that there apparently isn't one. (If I'm wrong, please correct me!)

    Recommended.

    I bought this book.
  • (5/5)
    Great book like all others I've read by this author. The world is very unique and the story really hooked me. I just wish there was more information on what had happened. Maybe a sequel will cover that?
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed the book as a whole, but I found the very ending unsatisfying. No, frustrating more. It felt like there is room for a sequel, but none is coming.The physics of the world the author describes are interesting. I kept wanting to describe it to my partner.I did remain interested throughout the book, wanting to know what happened next. I won't be keeping it for rereading.This is the first novel of Reynolds I've read. I enjoyed it enough to not pass on another book of his.
  • (5/5)
    As you read this book, you will be confused and will try to go back to see if you missed a page. The author wonderfully avoids explaining the premise and let’s you feel the chaos and the beauty of the unknown around every corner. Words and categorization out of our daily lives is used but they do not refer to the same realities or belief systems we hold true in our world. All with a beautiful and emotional ending that left my throat dry and my eyes watery.
  • (4/5)
    Reynolds develops the idea of a dying world in the far future where the laws of physics vary from place to place, based on the changing resolution of the underlying “grid” on which matter is laid out. In the high-resolution areas, extremely precise things like nanotechnology work; in others, cybernetics are fine but nanotech is out; in some, electronics works but microchips don’t (I did a double take early on in the book when someone has a rotary dial cellphone); in some, only steam technology works (and there is a highly amusing encounter with a cyborg warrior who has been retrofitted to survive in a steam-only zone); in the lowest habitable regions, it’s just living beings made of flexible proteins. (Some areas don’t support life at all.) Changing zones, however, plays hell with the nervous systems of humans, leading to a need for medicines to help them adapt when they travel.The center of the action is a Big Dumb Object named Spearpoint: an artificial mountain spiraling up into the stratosphere, on which the zones of varying technology vary quite quickly, with nanotech-enabled “angels” in the Celestial Levels soaring over places with names like Circuit City, Neon Heights, Steamville, and Horsetown. Our hero, Quillon, is a fallen “angel”, using his expertise in medicine to hide out in Neon Heights working as a coroner... until he discovers that his former colleagues from the Celestial Levels intend to hunt him down.This leads to an odyssey into the outside world, complete with some never-well-explained antagonists, the Skullboys, who provide a Mad Max-ish postapocalyptic vibe to the tale, discoveries about the forgotten history of the world, and an eventual return to Spearpoint. The main threads of the story get wrapped up at the end, but Reynolds doesn’t give a lot of insight into the motivations of the antagonists, and while he hints of conspiracies going on, he never sheds much light on them. (It’s realistic that the protagonists never get a chance to find out, but dissatisfying for the reader.) A fun read, but not up to the quality of his other work.
  • (2/5)
    **Semi-spoiler alert** The characters are believable. The setting is imaginative (it's apparently set on Mars 5,000 or more years in the future, but the people living there think it's Earth). Something went wrong...but after almost 500 pages, we don't know what, we don't know how the situation was resolved, we don't know if the main character succeeds or even survives...the story just ends without an ending.
  • (4/5)
    Good, despite being Steampunk.

    The story struggles a bit. Too vague and odd in the beginning and ends up being almost over explained towards the end. Lots of good parts but setting and characters never quite struck home with me.
    All in all: One of the weaker Reynolds books but I guess Steampunk a challenging genre if you stay clear of Victorian romance, handwavery and magic. Terminal World definitely makes the best of it, convincing and exciting.
  • (4/5)
    Alastair Reynolds is most popular for his hard sci-fi opera type books, but with this one he takes a slight deviation and brings some new elements to the story. Here you'll find a mix of steampunk, mystery, angels, airships, cyborgs, and a strange tower, all wrapped at it's heart with exotic physics that is just barely hinted at as the story unfolds. But in the end, the writing stands out clearly as Alastair Reynolds.I didn't consider this among the best of the Reynolds books, but I still felt like it deserved four stars (most of his get five stars from me, especially anything 'Revelation Space' related); I admit, I'm partial to the real hard science stuff he typically does. But the characters felt real enough, with a reasonable amount of character development. There could have been a bit more detail in the airship battles, but that's probably just me. The plot moved along at a good pace balancing action with discussions.In the end there isn't a full and complete explanation for how and why things exist in their current state (no one knows who built the tower or why), but there is enough to close the story and leave you with something to ponder. I suppose it leaves enough open ended question to allow for the possibility of a sequel if the author ever chose to return to this world. I found this to be a nice twist on the steampunk theme and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys that genre.
  • (4/5)
    Fans of Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space series and his other vastly atmospheric space operas are in for a bit of a surprise in his latest novel, which owes more to China Mieville's Bas-Lag books and Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories than to the Clarke/Asimov tradition.

    That doesn't mean it's bad, though -- far from it! While the lingering disappointment that there will be no hyperspace chase scenes or stars being sung apart via mind-bogglingly ancient and malign intelligences never wholly leaves the die-hard Reynolds fan reading this book, if that reader is also a fan of steampunk, as I am, there will still be much to enjoy in the story of Quillion, a fallen "angel", and his perilous journey across a barely-recognizable planet Earth in the extremely distant future.

    Reynolds has long been classed in with China Mieville and others as part of science fiction's "New Weird" movement, largely, I think, due to his taste for the baroque and the grotesque he shares with Mieville (the Melding Plague that forms -- or deforms -- so much of the Revelation Space universe still creeps and grosses me out). With Terminal World he draws much closer to Mieville, especially to the Mieville of The Scar, most of which takes place on a floating city of hundreds of ships and boats lashed together to sail the oceans of Bas-Lag. Reynolds' counterpart is Swarm, the airship-based breakway military arm of "Earth's"* last city, Spearpoint. That's right: a flying city composed of hundreds of airships (not blimps, as we're disdainfully reminded several times by Swarm's residents). I defy any steampunk fan not to swoon at the thought.

    Quillion's world has been the victim of a mysterious calamity, to create which Reynolds has taken the notion of a holographic universe and run with it to strange places. The planet is now riddled with zones of differing "resolution," which only allow certain levels of technology to work. Spearpoint is the nexus of this crisis and as travelers descend its downward spiral they proceed from "Circuit City" (which seems to enjoy our own present level of development at least) to "Neon Heights" (which seems to be in the 1940s or 1950s) down to "Steamtown" (!) and even to the point of "Horsetown" where nothing more complex and sophisticated than animal muscle seems to work. How this state of affairs has come to be is never fully explained but it has something to do with Spearpoint's original function as something radically different from just a corkscrewing platform on which to build a city. We learn only a little of this original function as it is lost, all but ancient history, close to completely forgotten.

    If I give the impression that the world steals the thunder of the story and characters, that's largely the case, but that's not to say that there are not some compelling individuals populating the story. Curtana, female airship captain, can swash the buckler with any maritime hero of yore; Meroka, Quillion's guide out of Spearpoint, is tough and complex, as is Quillion himself in a different way. While he is out of his depth for most of the story, and often kind of helpless, he is sympathetic rather than annoying, and more than earns his keep before the tale is told.

    I like to see Reynolds stretching beyond the space opera-or sci-fi/noir genres he's been comfortably writing in so far, and really wondering if there's anything he can't do. Do recommend.

    *People refer to this planet as "Earth" but there are tons of hints within the novel that indicate this is actually a terraformed Mars slowly reverting to its original state, which I find utterly fascinating.
  • (3/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    as another reviewer have said, leaves a lot of loose ends. but interesting none the less. expertly read as well

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (3/5)
    The difference between a good book and a great book is sometimes just a little more patience and time rewriting it. The sf ideas in this novel were of the mind-bending quality that I've learned to expect from Reynolds. However, characters are sketchy, and their motivations inconsistent.
    Still, liked the book overall. It's the sf fix, I think.
  • (3/5)
    Ugh, this was so unsatisfying. The ideas behind it were great, but the main character was completely devoid of personality, the dialogue was bad and the middle third of the book sagged more than an 80 year old's tits. It took me a few days to read the first third, 3 months to read the middle third, then about a week to read the last third.The ending was super abrupt as well. Nothing was answered. Now I have to go and read the inevitable sequel, which I don't know if I want to.Also, Alastair Reynolds, stop cockblocking us and JUST COME OUT AND SAY IT'S MARS! It's so obvious. The longer years, the use of the phrase "fear and panic" (being Mars' two moons), everything. Why couldn't this have been an actual reveal for the characters? It would have added at least one resolution to the ending.The part I liked the most about this book was the discovery of Spearpoint 2, with the Chinese flag on everything, and the museum with the display of astronauts landing on Mars. There should have been more about this, and less about the goddamned vorgs and the medicine subplot which I gave no shits about.I also liked the action scene when Swarm is approaching Spearpoint near the end. That was fun and cinematic. Too bad much of the rest was a snooze fest.
  • (5/5)
    A different universe for Alistair Reynolds. This one is rather steampunk. Great story and characters.
  • (3/5)
    Too many loose ends. Great buildup, bad ending.
  • (4/5)
    Good read - seems like he decided to put a far-future hard science gloss on steampunk.
  • (3/5)
    Started well but got quite un-exciting in the last one-third of the story. This was my first exposure to Reynolds and overall wasn't too impressed. Would be willing to give another try though.
  • (3/5)
    As many have already said, this book is quite disappointing compared to other works of Alastair Reynolds. Although the beginning is quite promising, the story quickly becomes dull and repetitive : a page-turner, in the negative meaning of the word. (SPOILER FOLLOWS) What most frustrated me was the one-sidedness of the main character. Until the very end, I hoped for some final twist, that he would not be what he seemed to be, i.e. this morally appalling, always-ready-to-sacrifice-himself, boring martyr... only to be disappointed. I could not imagine a greater opposite to the fantastic Ilia Volyova introduced by Reynolds in Revelation Space! The characters in House of Suns were human too, and had human weaknesses, but at least they were interesting!
  • (4/5)
    Far from Reynolds' best. Lacking in the hard science and detailed world building that makes his other SF so thought provoking, but unfortunetly still with the grim and slightly cardboard characters that don't win you around.The basic premise is some future earth mostly deserted, but a last city remains - Spearpoint. As in many of Reynolds' other works this is markedly stratisfied, with the technological elite - genetically altered angels - living in nano-tech heaven at the top, and the steam and horse powered poor living at the bottom. This time around though the stratification is not just socially imposed, but geographically. The very terrain is divided into flexible 'zones' that either will or will not allow technology of a given level to function. Humans crossing from their native zone to anotehr experience discomfort. This can be mitigated with drugs, but only for so long. Later on in the book there is some discussion about what these zones are and how they came to be, but it isn't detailed very well, and is never completely clear to reader. Our hero is an ex-angel now de-modified, and living in the more normal human levels as a doctor. He learns that the angels would like to pick his brains (literally) about life at these levels and decides to leave. Discovering that he is more than unusually naive about the world around him, he explores a bit before being convinced that he should return to the now stricken city to with such aid as he can muster.I loved the opening third or so, before the dr leaves the city. This had all the wonders that Reynolds can describe so well, a noir style city of varied technologies and cultures, a decent mix of murky politics and murky characters, and a healthy dose of intreague as well. Once Quillion (our doctor) left the city though, it all became a little bland. His companions were even more one dimensional than himself, the countryside unvaried, and the mysterious Swarm when we finally get to meet it, equally rushed and uniform. Quillion really didn't seem to be motivated to take the actions that he did, and everyone else including the leader of the Swarm went along far far too easily to be believable. One major failing which jumped out at me is in having characters familiar with higher technologies - such as liquid cryogens- that they've never met or experienced in their lifetimes in low tech zones. On the plus side, the opening is really good, and the rest of the writing is captivating enough, and from many authros wouldn't merit much criticism. Quliion is put into a variety of positions where choosing the best course of action is not easy - best for himself, or the city or a young girl. Such moral quandries do help make the story more than the average dystopian tale. It's only that I know how good Reynolds can be on his best form, that I find this one slightly dissappointing. For those who don't liek hard SF this might be a more accessible entry to Reynolds' work, but to me it mostly feels like prequel, only without any of the surrounding series information that makes sense of it all. The ending is left somewhat ambiguous, so that scope for a sequel is left open - but I hope not.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating concept but simpler than some of his earlier work. V good characters.
  • (2/5)
    I have to say, I was profoundly disappointed in Terminal World. I've read everything else of Reynolds', as far as I know, and have always enjoyed them, if not uniformly. He writes very tightly, and even the novels I haven't enjoyed as much, I've come away respecting for the clear planning and care that went into crafting them. I also have really enjoyed Reynolds' rather harsh, dark universes and view of behavior. His characters are often cruel, or simply unknowable, and there is often loss and terror, which make the books quite gripping.Terminal World is quite a different animal. The book quickly leaves the story in which it begins - a mystery about the protagonist's past- quite early on, our main character is looking to escape his circumstances. At this point, the story seems as though it will be about something else, and the escape is a temporary detour, or a plot device to locate us somewhere else or introduce new characters. However, the rest of the story lags along for pages and becomes entirely about the escape, and how it goes and where it ends up. The characters are sappy, which is surprising for Reynolds - with many opportunities for darkness and mystery, we get a lot of fluff and sunshine and Pollyannaism. I really felt like someone else wrote this one.I wouldn't read this if you're a real fan of Reynolds. And I don't agree with taggage like "hard sf" - which is accurate of all his other work. This is a loose, Pollyanna-ish faux-dystopian fantasy novel, and was hard work for me to read.
  • (4/5)
    Consensus appears to be mixed on this book. Personally, this is only the second Alastair Reynolds book that I have read - the first being House Of Suns - and therefore I am not in a place to say how well it "gels" with the rest of the things he has written.However as a standalone story, regardless of author, I found Terminal World hugely enjoyable. I found the science-fiction part of it tenuous, I will admit, but as I am someone who enjoys fantasy as much (if not more) than hard sci-fi, I really enjoyed the fantastical nature of the plot. I found the characters likeable, and the story enjoyable.Overall, I would happily recommend this book to anyone with a love of epic fantasy, rather than hard science fiction.
  • (2/5)
    A major disappointment, Reynolds is just not suited to this setting. The first chapter is very good, showing great promise and a potentially epic story, but momentum is lost very quickly and soon (about the time Swarm shows up) everything turns into a major drudge. When Reynolds isn't space-bound his mundane prose is laid out to bear, and it's not pretty. There are no characters, there is very little real conflict and the ending is anti-climactic even by his standards. After the brilliance of 'House of Suns' I am very disappointed.
  • (2/5)
    Perhaps I'm beginning to tire, but Alastair Reynold's later books seem to suffer from characters who over explain (at length) or under explain (cryptic purely to avoid being specific about things instead of natural terseness from talking about something mundane) and spend large parts of the time either refusing to believe the bleeding obvious or occasionally flipping completely and believing something unreasonably without evidence. This book shows both the dialogue problems and belief problems at length and is the first of his novels I've been glad to have gotten over with. So many things happen purely to drag the main characters from place to place (so we can see the places).I'm almost inclined to cast this as fantasy dressed as science fiction; the main premise is enticing enough, though Vernor Vinge has done it far better and plausibly, but the effects of "zones" feel contrived and almost arbitrary - thus my temptation to treat it as "magic" rather that science fiction.