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Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair…

Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds (original 2016; edition 2001)

by Alastair Reynolds (Author)

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1284154,399 (4.16)5
With a career stretching back more than 25 years and across fourteen novels, including the classic 'Revelation Space' series, the bestselling 'Poseidon's Children' series, Century Rain, Pushing Ice, and most recently The Medusa Chronicles (with Stephen Baxter), Reynolds has established himself as one of the best and most beloved writers of hard science fiction and space opera working today. A brilliant novelist, he has also been recognized as one of our best writers of short fiction. His short stories have been nominated for the Hugo, British Fantasy, British Science Fiction, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial, Locus, Italia, Seiun, and Sidewise Awards, and have won the Seiun and Sidewise Awards. The very best of his more than sixty published short stories are gathered in Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds, a sweeping 250,000 word career retrospective which features the very best stories from the 'Revelation Space' universe alongside thrilling hard science fiction stories. Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds has something for every reader of science fiction, and easily meets the challenge of delivering stories that are the hardest of hard science fiction and great entertainment.… (more)
Title:Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds
Authors:Alastair Reynolds (Author)
Info:GOLLANCZ (2001)
Collections:B2R, Your library

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Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds by Alastair Reynolds (2016)



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I remember [b:Galactic North|89188|Galactic North|Alastair Reynolds|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1171150277s/89188.jpg|1113882] fondly, but I must be honest here. This collection, while it picks up two stories from the previous collection, namely Great Wall of Mars and Weather, everything else is new to me. Alastair Reynolds is easily one of the best SF authors writing today. He's not sneaky about it, either. This isn't any kind of artsy-fartsy writing. This is Space-Opera filled with so much imagination and planning and detail and truly wide vistas of thought, time, and space, that I'm surprised I don't hear fanboys and fangirls screaming his name from the rooftops.

Well, maybe they do. I've usually got my earbuds in my ears so I find it hard to hear them. :)

Let me tell you: These stories of his are SO COOL. I mean, like glittering jewels of complete mind-blowing and written with real talent and clear vision, dense and perfect world-building and a plethora of seriously interesting characters.

I'll try not to spoil anything, and I'll skip a few directed reviews for some of the stories, but there were a few that you should really pay close attention to. (And I doubt you'll have any problems doing so, because they're also fun as hell.) Most of them are placed outside of his Revelation Space universe, but there are a handful that is firmly ensconced. Diamond Dogs is a who's who of places and peoples and a really sharp cut. :)

But mostly, I'll focus on the pure creations:

The story that bears the name of the novel. Beyond the Aquila Rift. It's a mindfuq. Clever and interesting space mechanics and a really cool surprise. No more spoilers. :)

Minla's Flowers was an awesome telling/retelling of Merlin and a bootstrap raising of a civilization... Also with a twist.

Zima Blue is was probably my favorite story out of the entire collection. And yes, it had a twist.

Fury could have been the start of one of my most loved novels ever, but no, it was just a novella, and very much a homage to Asimov. :)

The Star Surgeon's Apprentice was scary and delightful at the same time, and dare I say horrific? Oh yes. A dear story.

Skipping a few stories, I get to Troika, and don't miss out with a little listening time to the original music as you read this beauty. There's a bit of reality modification, but mostly it's very Russian. :)

Sleepover really grew on me by the end until I was completely giddy with the implications and the imagery.

Trauma Pod was an absolutely delicious body-mod Punk-AI horrorshow and I just had to laugh.

Las Log of the Lachrimosa will be fun along with Diamond Dogs for those of you still devoted to the Revelation Space books. I know I enjoyed them.

The Old Man and the Martian Sea was a fine capstone to the stories and I think it might have been better moved below Babelsberg, but I still liked them both. :)

In some ways, this short story collection is better than at least 3 or 4 of his full length novels. That's pretty impressive since he writes truly mean novels. :)

Thanks goes to Netgalley for this wonderful opportunity to read one of the greats of SF! ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I thought this was all of his short stories - it's certainly hefty enough at 646 pages (inc notes) - but it doesn't include some I've read already, so it's merely a highlight of some of his previously published work with a few new ones. But they're all good. Most are very good, and a few are excellent indeed. They all feature Reynolds' trademark hard sf - no known physics laws are violated - and usually on the darker end of the spectrum of people's motivations as are his novels. Given the limitations on space travel that hard sf imposes, AI and robotics as well as distributed intelligences feature in a lot of the stories. Part of the fun is always in working out which if any of the characters are actually human - depending on how far you want to stretch that definition.

A couple of the opening stories are set in the Revelation Space universe giving a little back story to Calvain and Felka's time on Mars. Also featuring are House of Suns, (the short story here is better than the novel I think) and one from the Blue Remebered Earth, although with a very different cast and mindset.

A good introduction to Reynolds' writing if you haven't come across it before (shame on you go and look p the other 60 odd works he's had published.) and a worthy and fascinating read of further explorations if you're already familiar. ( )
1 vote reading_fox | Dec 11, 2017 |
Brief note: this collection brings together a lot of Reynolds' short fiction not previously anthologised, so it should appeal to more than mere completists.

More when I have read the book.
1 vote RobertDay | Jul 31, 2017 |
"’Tell me, Thorn. Are we out beyond the Rift?" I can hear the fear. I understand what she's going through. It's the nightmare that all ship crews live with, on every trip. That something will go wrong with the routing, something so severe that they 'II end up on the very edge of the network. That they'll end up so far from home that getting back will take years, not months. And that, of course, years will have already passed, even before they begin the return trip. That loved ones will be years older when they reach home. If they're still there.If they still remember you, or want to remember. If they 're still recognizable, or alive.”

In Beyond the Aquila Rift short-story, “Beyond the Aquila Rift – The Best of Alastair Reynold”

I've finally finished this 768-page-mammoth tome. Is it everything Reynolds has ever written in short form? Not by a long shot. It contains only eighteen stories of a total of sixty-something that Reynolds has written so far. But this sample of 18 stories confirms it (I read some of these stories previously in “Galactic North”). It's in the short form that Reynolds is at his best. I’ve read a ton of Reynolds in short form. Almost everything I’ve read, I’ve liked. Collections like this both excite and bother me. I’m a huge fan of the short mode of writing, and an equally big proponent of the less-is-more idea when it comes to the size of books. Massive magna opera simply turn me off. Even when I end up loving them, like I did with this one. What I don’t like is carrying some cumbersome volume around, and my preferred method remains print over digital. For this one I had to go for the electronic version. No way around it. If I’d had read the print version, I’d never have finished it. The big hefty tomes I end up reading them on my Kindle. Not my favourite venue, but I really wanted to read it.

The rest of this review can be found elsewhere. ( )
2 vote antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alastair Reynoldsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Schafer, WilliamEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Strahan, JonathanEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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This is an amazing collection of some of the best short fiction ever written in the SF genre, by an author acclaimed as 'the mastersinger of space opera' THE TIMES.

Alastair Reynolds has won the Sidewise Award and been nominated for The Hugo Awards for his short fiction. One of the most thought-provoking and accomplished short-fiction writers of our time, this collection is a delight for all SF readers.

Table of Contents:
• Great Wall of Mars
• Weather
• Beyond the Aquila Rift
• Minla's Flowers
• Zima Blue
• Fury
• The Star Surgeon's Apprentice
• The Sledge-Maker's Daughter
• Diamond Dogs
• Thousandth Night
• Troika
• Sleepover
• Vainglory
• Trauma Pod
• The Last Log of the Lachrymosa
• The Water Thief
• The Old Man and the Martian Sea
• In Babelsberg
• Story Notes
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