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Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds
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Pushing Ice

by Alastair Reynolds

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Pushing Ice
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Publisher: Berkely-Penguin-Ace Books
Date: 2005
Pgs: 457
Dewey: F REY
Disposition: Irving Public Library - South Campus - Irving, TX
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REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
One of Saturn’s moons has changed trajectory and is accelerating out of the Solar System. The comet miner, Rockhopper, is the only ship who can match trajectories with the escaping moon...or whatever it is. When they catch up with the moon, things don’t go as planned. The Rockhopper’s crew are trapped. Will they make it home or will they get the full tour all the way to the star Spica? If Captain Lind can keep the crew from mutiny or murder, maybe they’ll get home. But will home still be home when they manage to get there.
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Genre:
Science Fiction
Fantasy
Hard Science Fiction

Why this book:
Reynolds. That’s why.
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Least Favorite Character:
Svetlana was one character to begin with but another entirely after the mutiny. She was the hero and, instead, became as much of a martinet, despot, tyrant as she could ever say that Bella or Craig Schrope were. Svetlana is unlikeable and should have been in the psych program same as Schrope instead of the captain’s chair.

Pacing:
The pace keeps you going. But it does drag on occasion, especially in the long winded filler sections of the story.

Word Choice / Usage:
Rang the “you’re the only one I can talk to” bell in an early chapter, one of them is going to die. Puts one of these characters in the stereotype “I’m the old doctor and I’m the first to die” role of classic B-movie science fiction. The rabbit hole the author sends them down is even worse than the stereotype.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
Bella’s failure to believe her friend and to stand by her when she finds that discrepancy on-site and to side with the CEO, millions of miles behind them on Earth, who screwed her over previously and stands to profit enormously by Rockhopper’s mission, survive or not. Either this was o-o-c or she’s a shitty person. I tend to believe the o-o-c. I expected survivor’s guilt + cynicism from Bella, not tow the company line and turn on her friends. Bella became the ostensible villain and bogeyman because she acted to save their lives from starving and freezing in space with no rescue coming from Earth. And she disappears from the narrative for such long stretches.

Svetlana goes from fully realized to murky in sections of the book. Same happens with Bella, but it’s more pronounced with Svieta.

Hmm Moments:
Wow! Musk Dog culture is brutal. Maybe the living ferns or seaweed that are the Fountainheads aren’t so bad. Imagine what the Dogs do to the Fountainheads in hand to hand combat...hell, battle, imagine what they do when they are being nice.

In the spin up to the climax, who do you trust? Not Jim, not the part of him that is Schrope? Bella or Svetlana? Dogs or Ferns? Or the message in the bottle from the future? Hmmpffhh?

WTF Moments:
The Rockhopper crew’s last act on leaving the comet to pursue Janus was to drop a nuke into the comet that they had just opened up with a deep mine shaft so that “no one else would be getting their hands on it.” Doesn’t make a lot of damned sense. True someone could have claim jumped their partially ready for mining comet, but another ship from the same company could have too. The logic escapes me on the “if we can’t have it, no one can” actions here.

The Musk Dogs gristleship is a urine secretion tied together by constant reapplication of more urine. Bet that ship smells wonderful.

And, of course, the Musk Dogs piss on your to show ownership, loyalty, and to seal a deal...of course, they do.

Meh / PFFT Moments:
They’re worried about their logo...as they rocket outsystem chasing a runaway moon that isn’t a moon, but an alien spycraft. I submit that aliens would understand representative ideas and images and, thus, a logo wouldn’t be a huge problem, or worthy of page inches in a story that is already feeling like the editor could have been much more liberal with the razor blade.

The whole “everybody loves stable, steady Parry” bit is getting old. And if he is such a great guy, why does he continually kowtow to Svetlana’s paranoia, vindictiveness, and immoral leadership, which becomes more and more and more pronounced.

Because Svetlana and Bella needed to be on opposite sides of one more issue after they made up, of course they do. Earth or Spic, a chance or dead in space, exile or shunning, Parry, Musk Dogs or Fountainheads. Most of these, I like to think, friends as good as they are purported to be would have worked some of these out before they festered.

Wisdom:
Mike Takahashi should be the leader. He and Wang are the only ones who don’t seem to be playing politics with their lives, continually.
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Last Page Sound:
I would have trusted the wrong branch and gotten everyone killed. Well played. The triple epilogue that puts Bella and Chromis in context for the ending, but leaves Svetlana’s fate to the four winds, as it were, is ambiguous, which is fine, I guess. Too many pages after the climax.

Author Assessment:
A bit long winded in places where it comes across as filler.

Editorial Assessment:
This could have been cut down. Could have lost 250 pages easily and been a much, much tighter story with the dietary restriction.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
it’s alright, meh!
_________________________________________________ ( )
  texascheeseman | Nov 3, 2017 |
This is an epic space opera by british SF author Alastair Reynolds, and is the first novel of his that I've finished (I partially read it years ago but stuff happened...and it has to go back to the library before I'd finished)
Anyway the book concerns itself with a crew of comet miners aboard the ship Rockhopper;the economies of the future are fuelled by ice mined from near-Earth comets. Anyway the crew receives a message calling them away from their current assignment. It seems one of the moons of Saturn has moved from its normal orbit, and the crew aboard Rockhopper is diverted to investigate. As they approach the rogue moon, called Janus, it becomes apparent that it is leaving Saturn orbit and is in fact heading towards a distant star...

The book has some cool concepts as you would expect from Reynolds and although it's quite a chunk of a book the action moves at a good pace.
The edition I read had a really cool holographic cover which I only noticed when the flash on my camera phone revealed it. ( )
  sf_addict | Oct 3, 2017 |
I liked many aspects of this book. The world building was unique and well done. I enjoyed the role of time in the story. The narrative was part space opera and part soap opera. At times, the political and interpersonal conflicts worked for me, at other times, they did not. Character development for one of the 'protagonists' was lopsided and verged on caricature. There was moments in the book when I did not like any of the main characters, which made for slow going. ( )
  nngrey | Jan 13, 2017 |
Forty years from now, we have stepped out into the solar system, mining the asteroids and salvaging ice from comets to provide resources for humanity's expansion. Then, in a moment, the moon Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, begins to leave first the orbit of the gas giant and then to chart a course out of the solar system...all without showing any sign of the machinery it has hidden carefully for millennia. The Rockhopper, an ice miner captained by Bella Lind, is the closest spacecraft to the rapidly accelerating moon, and it is sent in hot pursuit as Janus aims for a giant structure, light minutes long and centuries away. Then, before Rockhopper can veer away, it is sucked into the vortex created by Janus' subterranean space drive and its crew is shanghaied for an interstellar journey.

I picked up Pushing Ice on the heels of finishing Reynolds' Hugo Nominated short story Slow Bullets. I'm not sure why I chose Pushing Ice, except that perhaps it was what I could find quickly from the library. Regardless, it immediately gripped me, and I read it quickly. Reynolds seems to have a thing for alien artifacts and their impact on unwitting humans. Slow Bullets deals with a mysterious alien prism that crosses all of human space, minutely changing space to send humanity into a dark age. Revelation Space is about an archeological investigation into the destruction of an entire civilization 9000 years ago and why it might happen again. And in Pushing Ice, we find the crew of the Rockhopper transported by near magical means (See "Clarke's Third Law") to a megastructure so large that entire alien civilizations exist within it...and not always peacefully.

As the members of the crew of the Rockhopper become the denizens of Janus, they face conflict and tragedy and must develop the means of surviving with scarce resources and a limited gene pool. Months become years and then decades. Personalities clash, and the impact of grudges carry over into the tiny society the develops megastructure where Janus has taken them. Reynolds has a eye for creating intriguing conflicts, posing questions that are not easily answered. The result is wonder filled.

And yet, there are problems. In such a small society, Reynolds sees humanity as rigid and inflexible, vengeful and impulsive. Grudges are held for years, even when keeping them is cruel and inhuman. Politics in such a small group are unlikely to remain static, and yet only two powers ever rise, and they manage to hold on to control without any real challenge over a period of decades. I just didn't see how society--especially one that is necessarily insular due to its isolated nature--could be so myopically narrow. Could it be, though? Sure, and maybe that's why I could suspend disbelief, even when deus ex machine swooped in to maintain the narrow set of powers Reynolds had set as primary in his story.

Pushing Ice is a fantastic story, a hard science fiction propped up in decidedly non-science struts like resurrection, physical regeneration, near light speed travel, and a machine that can make anything from scratch. Pretty cool stuff, and when combined with the interesting conflicts Reynolds creates, it makes for a cool story. ( )
  publiusdb | Jan 10, 2017 |
sigh. this one just doesn't work: the two central characters are just not credible in either motives or actions, and their decisions are all so wrong-headed and self-serving they are both equally destructive of the larger needs of the colony they are supposed to be (serially) leading; and yet the colony somehow falls in with every changing of the guard, no matter how violent the transition from one worldview to the other. not even the prospect of an end to the human race distracts both parties here from their need to win against each other at every turn. winner take all, up to and including mutually assured destruction, seems to be the only goal that matters. so structurally the book never really feels possible even in its own terms (cf. K.J. Parker, who writes books about revenge obsessions that really feel solid both in terms of the characters portrayed and the situations that arise out of it). ( )
  macha | Apr 24, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alastair Reynoldsprimary authorall editionscalculated
DeFex, Annette FioreCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fiore, AnnetteCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jeschke, WolfgangHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempen, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tervaharju, HannuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Stars have their moment, then they die" -- Nick Cave
Dedication
For my wife, with love.
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Her name was Chromis Pasqueflower Bowerbird and she had travelled a long way to make her case.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441015026, Mass Market Paperback)

2057. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. But nothing can prepare them for the surprises in store when Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, spins out of control.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:10 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

It is 2057, Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. But when Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, inexplicably leaves its natural orbit and heads out of the solar system at high speed, Bella is ordered to shadow it for the few vital days before it falls forever out of reach. In accepting this mission, she sets her ship and her crew on a collision course with destiny -- for Janus has many surprises in store, and not all of them are welcome.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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