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House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds

House of Suns (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Alastair Reynolds

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1,358428,308 (4.02)41
Title:House of Suns
Authors:Alastair Reynolds
Info:Gollancz (2009), Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library

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House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds (2008)


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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Starts off a bit slowly, but finishes with a grand flourish. ( )
  Eternal.Optimist | Aug 22, 2018 |
Right after finishing, I declared this may be my favourite read, since I first came across Pride and Prejudice two decades ago, which means a lot, trust me. Don't worry though, this is NOTHING like Pride and Prejudice.

House of Suns is something special. Filled with wonders and surprises. A story spanning millions of years and several galaxies. It took me a few chapters to wrap my head around the world; it's a lot to take in at first. Afterwards, I couldn't put it down. I just ploughed through, savouring each word.

Alastair Reynolds' prose is just as wonderful as the world(s) he's created. I'm gushing, I know, but I can't help myself. I'm in love with this book.

I didn't know anything about the plot when I started reading, and I'm glad I didn't read any reviews, because I feel like it's best experienced blind. Just dive into the galaxy and trust Reynolds to tell a compelling and captivating story.

The characters are all amazing and somehow Reynolds wove a love story into this tale that made me weep.

I recommend House of Suns to all sci-fi fans, especially those of you who love space opera. I wish I could give a sixth star! ( )
  Vinjii | Mar 22, 2018 |
So, was the 6.5 million year future a continuation of a Abigail's mind trapped in Palatial? I'm having a hard time tying the Palatial parts into the main story. ( )
  josh513 | Feb 3, 2018 |
Reynolds simply works for me. His stories are exactly what I expect from science-fiction. He sets the bar for large-scale, galaxy-spanning, events. House of Suns is a nice blend of mystery, action, and surprises. I'm hopeful he'll write more involving robotic sentience. I also like that he stepped away from his Revelation Space environment. While it's enjoyable to see how he's fleshing out that world, it's nice to read something that doesn't come with previous baggage. ( )
1 vote RalphLagana | Jan 23, 2016 |
I was born in a house with a million rooms, built on a small, airless world on the edge of an empire of light and commerce that the adults called the Golden Hour, for a reason I did not yet grasp. Thus begins the life of Abigail Gentian, who later makes 1000 male and female clones of herself who set off to explore the universe. Six million years later, much of it spent in stasis or cryo chambers while travelling the galaxy, two of her clones, Purslane and Campion, female and male clones now in love, against the rules, are running over 50 years behind en route to their 200,000 year line reunion. While on their way they receive an encoded message informing them that almost all or their line has been decimated by an unprecedented attack. Thus begins their quest to save some of their fellow clones and determine just who is behind this attack and why. As the mystery unfolds it is much more complex and interwoven with their pasts than they had imagined.

This is a great book for the science fiction fan who is fine with humans morphing into rather unbelievable forms, such as centaurs on one planet, immortal beings who live forever floating together in space in astronomically large suits where it can take them years to make a decision because their nerves are so vast it takes so long for signals to pass from their brains to their bodies, where there is machine sentience, where humans can clone themselves into two different sexes, etc.

At the beginning of each section we read about Abigail’s story when she was one person, and the rest of the story is told from two first person view points, Purslane’s and Campion’s.

I got this book because I loved the first sentence, which is quoted above. I liked the first chapter a great deal, but the book went downhill to only a three stars level of liking very quickly for me for several reasons. One is that despite the vast amount of time involved, some of this science fiction defies all logic (I haven’t described it all). For example, there are certain biological limitations that cannot be overcome by cloning. I didn’t care much for either Purslane or Campion and that was not solely because I have difficulty with the incestuous nature of their relationship, but more that I didn’t find either of them likable enough. I did like Hesperus a great deal. Hesperus is a machine person rescued on their way to the failed reunion who is gravely injured during their attempts to rescue any surviving clones of their Gentian line. In fact, one of the reasons I continued reading was to find out what happened to him. The other was that the writing was good enough that I really wanted to stay with it to see how the mystery was resolved. I did stay up late two nights in a row to finish, but not more than an hour or so after my bedtime.
( )
  Karin7 | Jan 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
I found House Of Suns incredibly clever and sweeping and thought-provoking, and it all pays off in the final chapter with a very cosmic moment where the story's sweep opens up to take in a much larger, and stranger cosmos than we've glimpsed so far. Once you get past the slow begining, it's an exhilerating read that keeps your brain buzzing the whole time.

It was apparent from early on that the title of this book was going to be a pun.

The Gentian Line builds stardams. Using ringworlds constructed by a lost civilisation known as the Priors they surround suns completely. Not even a supernova can get through. These suns, then, are housed.

The galaxy-spanning society where the novel is set contains many Lines known as Houses who employ stasis technology in their aeons long trips around the galaxy. The Lines’ members are called shatterlings, clones of their respective founders - but of both sexes - each with their founders’ memories. The Gentians’ founder, Abigail Gentian, had a strange, artificially extended childhood, brought up in near isolation on a small asteroid enclosing a tethered black hole, with only the game of psychological immersion known as Palatial for diversion.

The shatterlings Campion and Purslane - all the Gentians have names derived from plants - are aberrant in that they are lovers. They are late for their Line’s reunion, an important gathering where all the members’ memories of their latest “circuit” of the galaxy are collected and shared. Before they arrive they receive the news that most of the Gentian Line has been destroyed in an attack. The novel works through their attempts to find out why, the significance of the mysterious occlusion of the Andromeda galaxy, and of the hidden Line called the House of Suns.

The book is split into eight parts each of which begins with a section which follows Abigail’s childhood. Thereafter succeeding chapters are, in turn, narrated from the viewpoints of Campion and Purslane. At first it is difficult to make sense of this as Reynolds does not differentiate their voices clearly enough. The other “characters,” some of whom are machine intelligences, step forward Cadence and Cascade - a King Crimson allusion? - are also not well delineated, even the elephant-like Ugalit Panth.

What Reynolds does give you is plot, in abundance. 500 pages of closely packed print is pushing it a bit, though.
added by piuss | editA Son Of The Rock, Jack Deighton

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alastair Reynoldsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Tracy and Grace: big and little sister, with love
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I was born in a house with a million rooms, built on a small, airless world on the edge of an empire of light and commerce that the adults called the Golden Hour, for a reason I did not yet grasp.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0575082372, Paperback)

Six million years ago, at the very dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones: the shatterlings. Sent out into the galaxy, these shatterlings have stood aloof as they document the rise and fall of countless human empires. They meet every two hundred thousand years, to exchange news and memories of their travels with their siblings. Campion and Purslane are not only late for their thirty-second reunion, but they have brought along an amnesiac golden robot for a guest. But the wayward shatterlings get more than the scolding they expect: they face the discovery that someone has a very serious grudge against the Gentian line, and there is a very real possibility of traitors in their midst. The surviving shatterlings have to dodge exotic weapons while they regroup to try to solve the mystery of who is persecuting them, and why - before their ancient line is wiped out of existence, for ever.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:43 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Six million years ago, at the very dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones: the shatterlings. Sent out into the galaxy, these shatterlings have stood aloof as they document the rise and fall of countless human empires.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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