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Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds
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Century Rain

by Alastair Reynolds

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1,436305,233 (3.71)66
Recently added byMaeCee18, private library, LitaVore, guitarkhw, dcunning11235, Kaethe
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» See also 66 mentions

English (29)  French (1)  English (30)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I read this right after Peter Hamilton's double door-stopper Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained -- a battle of modern space opera mavens, so to speak. For much of this novel, Reynolds was in the lead. If less inventive in his future setting, he was much better focused on the narrative flow and much better at character development. For a while the novel alternates between two planets, as Hamilton's books often do. One planet is an future Earth several centuries after the Nanocaust has made it not only uninhabitable but practically unvisitable. We follow Verity Auger, a modern archaeologist, who ends up a pawn between the political machinations of the Threshers (her side) and the Slashers (the other side). The other planet is Earth in 1950's France, where we follow Wendell Floyd, a low-budget gumshoe. It turns out the two Earths are related neither by time nor by parallel universes, but a third option that Reynolds has fun with, even it's more magic than science. It's not too many chapters before these two narratives merge and pretty much stay that way until the end. Unfortunately, things kind of fall apart at about the 3/4 mark. First comes a chapter or so of pure info-dump on the history of the future, specifically Slashers vs Threshers. Then the relationship between Verity and Floyd becomes cliched Hollywood plotting. Worst of all though, the final chapters of the books, just as in Judas Unchained, is nothing more than one long chase, where it all comes down to the final few seconds. And the villain pursued is never seen, just as in Judas Unchained. Let's call it the Sauron factor.

Enjoyable for several hundred page, but I was happy to see it end. ( )
1 vote ChrisRiesbeck | Jun 30, 2016 |
I got about 20% through this. It wasn't horrible, but when I found myself looking around for more housework to do instead of concentrate on the book, I knew it was time to put it down and choose the next book off my TBR mountain. Sorry. Not sure exactly sure why I didn't like it, except that it seems too much like a long-winded mystery/thriller, and I prefer stories that get to the point and I don't like mystery/thrillers.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Please read the full review on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It...

Not Reynolds’ best at all, but not a disappointment like both Pushing Ice and Terminal World.

Basically an original take on time travel that isn’t time travel, and some other likable SF ideas, coupled with a detective story. Fast moving and interesting enough to keep oneself entertained, albeit predictable. Near the final 200 pages (of 600), it becomes a bit too much though, with lots of action that drags at times, and basically always is resolved by yet another deus-ex-machina.

(...) ( )
  bormgans | Dec 15, 2015 |
★★★-3/4 rounded up to 4 stars.

Almost a solid 4-star read for me. The concept and world-building are just so damn cool. If it weren't for a few eye-rolling moments having to do with character motivation... For instance, the lovey-dovey stuff after the sphere falls on Floyd in the German factory scene just seemed suddenly grafted on. Not to mention that he is described as BLEEDING COPIOUSLY FROM HIS HEAD! Instead of getting all kissy-face with him, perhaps Auger should have done something else? Like, maybe try to STAUNCH THE BLEEDING?!? I'm not sure what Reynolds was thinking there. I don't have a problem with them falling in love, that seemed a likely eventuality from long before they actually met. It was the circumstance where they first expressed their affections that rang a dissonant note. Ah well... thankfully, most of the book is filled with better-written scenery and is therefore pretty darn brilliant.

Conceptually, the stuff Reynolds has dreamed up is rather mind-boggling:
- Archaeological digging in the midst of nanobot 'Furies'? Check!
- A noir detective murder whodunit mystery? Check!
- Wormholes leading to ALS's (Anomalous Large Structures) - a galactic subway system! - all left behind by technologically advanced but unknown creators? Check!
- Political intrigues between factions of humans still alive after the nanocaust? Check! (hrmm... who to trust? who to trust?)
- Off-Earth habitats in the year 2266 interacting with Earth in 1959? Check! (nope, not by time-traveling - this whole part is just beautifully imagined.)
- War-babies? Check! (oh man, were they ever a nice creepy touch!)
- A super-duper secret planet-killing weapon mystery that needs to be solved before the world goes nano-boom? Check!
- A Hollywoodish carspaceship-chase in wormhole space? Check!

All in all, I really liked this book. It was a great first Reynolds for me. I just wish some of the romantic aspects had been handled with a skosh more elegance. ( )
2 vote ScoLgo | Oct 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alastair Reynoldsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carr, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fiore, AnnetteCover Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haas, DominiqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempen, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zahirovic, SandaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441013074, Mass Market Paperback)

Three hundred years from now, Earth has been rendered uninhabitable due to the technological catastrophe known as the Nanocaust.

Archaeologist Verity Auger specializes in the exploration of its surviving landscape. Now, her expertise is required for a far greater purpose.

Something astonishing has been discovered at the far end of a wormhole: mid-twentieth century Earth, preserved like a fly in amber. Somewhere on this alternate planet is a device capable of destroying both worlds at either end of the wormhole. And Verity must find the device, and the man who plans to activate it, before it is too late—for the past and the future of two worlds…

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Three hundred years from now, Earth has been rendered uninhabitable due to the technological catastrophe known as the Nanocaust. Archaeologist Verity Auger specializes in the exploration of its surviving landscape. Now, her expertise is required for a far greater purpose. Something astonishing has been discovered at the far end of a wormhole: mid-twentieth century Earth, preserved like a fly in amber. Somewhere on this alternate planet is a device capable of destroying both worlds at either end of the wormhole. And Verity must find the device, and the man who plans to activate it, before it is too late - for the past and the future of two worlds" -- Cover verso.… (more)

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