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Prefect (GollanczF.) by Alastair Reynolds
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Title:Prefect (GollanczF.)
Authors:Alastair Reynolds
Info:Gollancz (2008), Edition: paperback / softback, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds (2007)


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Set in the Glitter Band's 10,000 habitats orbiting Yellowstone, before the Melding Plague whose aftermath is depicted in [b:Chasm City|89185|Chasm City (Revelation Space, Book 2)|Alastair Reynolds|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1171150276s/89185.jpg|2926628]. The Prefects are officers in a police force (Panopoly) who ensure that voting isn't tampered with in the automated democratic process that runs Glitter Band society. Field Prefect Tom Dreyfus investigates the catastrophe of the destruction of one of the habitats, but what initially appears to be an open-and-shut case is in reality far more complex.

The mysterious Aurora is planning a covert takeover of the entire Glitter Band which she claims is for their own good. What part does the Clockmaker play, a machine intelligence whose mechanical creations turned deadly?

I was initially worried that I didn't remember enough about the context for the story but Reynolds places enough subtle reminders and creates such a consistent history that this is far from a problem. The 'character who doesn't remember basic history' device is used (but not over-used, and different characters have different blanks) to provide information, not just repeating information from elsewhere but filling in gaps and raising new questions, meanwhile Aurora discovers prophetic hints of the Plague which is to come, providing her motivation of saving the Glitter Band's future. Instead of requiring a reread of [b:Chasm City|89185|Chasm City (Revelation Space, Book 2)|Alastair Reynolds|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1171150276s/89185.jpg|2926628] before reading this, The Prefect will thus add further context to a future reading of the novel.

As intelligent and enthralling as all Reynolds' novels, as ever introducing exciting new concepts and shedding further light on ones already described.
  stevejwales | Apr 26, 2013 |
I loved seeing more of the Glitter Band in this, and the stuff about the Clockmaker was lovely. There could have been more resolution, though. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
When you take A loose Federalism to the logical extreme (democratic anarchy) in a post-scarcity environment, it opens up a blank canvas for the author's imagination. Reynold's wildly varied societies along with the 'space detective' protagonist remind me of Asimov's Robot novels. ( )
  SciFi-Kindle | Apr 1, 2013 |
Not as good as his other Revelation space books but fun. I was a little surprised that by the end, crazy things were happening, but I didn't really seem concerned about the characters or the outcome.. oh well.
  jcopenha | Jul 8, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Tom Dreyfus is the Prefect of the title, an agent of Panoply, the police force of the Glitter Band, an agglomeration of diverse habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone, a satellite of the sun Epsilon Eridani, the environment where the bulk of humanity now lives. Another detective novel, then, but with Space Operatic aspects.

The setting is a return to the universe of Reynolds’s previous Revelation Space novels but in this one the action takes place solely within the Glitter Band; apparently an ultra-democratic polity where votes on anything and everything take place all the time – including on whether Panoply may deploy weapons.

Someone has used a spaceship drive to destroy the Ruskin-Sartorious habitat thereby killing hundreds of people. The obvious culprit is punished but Dreyfus’s investigations lead him to believe this is merely cover for a much wider conspiracy. One of his assistants, Thalia Ng, is sent to begin software upgrades to the voting protocols on four habitats but when the last one is completed the constant contact (known as abstraction) the voters have with the centre is broken. A takeover of all four habitats ensues. The rest of the book is concerned with the efforts of Panoply to counter this insurgency and to prevent its spread to the whole Glitter Band. On the way this leads to the unmasking of two mysterious figures from the past, Aurora and the Clockmaker. The latter has put Panoply’s chief into mortal danger.

Once the set-up is over with and the plot gets into gear, the narrative flows nicely. There are plenty of twists and turns, with shifts in the balance of power, plus wheels within wheels, inside Panoply. Dreyfus is your standard good cop but is convincing as such, as is Thalia Ng. Some of their antagonists are a little less convincing, however.

A possible spoiler follows.

The main problem with the book is that the story merely stops. After those 502 (small font sized) pages the final conflict which the narrative sets up remains unresolved. Perhaps the book was too long already. Or is Reynolds going to give us a sequel? Whatever, while enjoying the ride, I was left somewhat unsatisfied.

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alastair Reynoldsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mum and dad,
for forty years of love and encouragement.
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Thalia Ng felt her weight increasing as the elevator sped down the spoke from the habitat’s docking hub.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0575082186, Paperback)

Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a policeman of sorts, and one of the best. His force is Panoply, and his beat is the multi-faceted utopian society of the Glitter Band, that vast swirl of space habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone. These days, his job is his life. A murderous attack against a Glitter Band habitat is nasty, but it looks to be an open-and-shut case - until Dreyfus starts looking under some stones that some very powerful people would really rather stayed unturned. What he uncovers is far more serious than mere gruesome murder: a covert takeover bid by a shadowy figure, Aurora (who may once have been human but certainly isn't now), who believes the people of the Glitter Band should no longer be in charge of their own destiny. Dreyfus discovers that to save something precious, you may have to destroy part of it.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:44 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a policeman of sorts. His force is Panoply, and his beat is the multifaceted utopian society of the Glitter Band. Panoply's task - to safeguard the Glitter Band and ensure its democratic apparatus runs flawlessly.

(summary from another edition)

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