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Chill by Elizabeth Bear

Chill (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Elizabeth Bear

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2581365,644 (3.79)12
Authors:Elizabeth Bear
Info:Spectra (2010), Edition: Original, Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library

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Chill by Elizabeth Bear (2010)

  1. 00
    Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both are very baroque, dark, novels set in generation starships

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I really enjoyed the first book in this series, "Dust." I very much liked the juxtaposition of the near-derelict generation ship with the mythology that has grown up around its technologies, and the complex, 'old-fashioned' court hierarchies of the society.
Unfortunately, I didn't feel that "Chill" lived up to the first book's promise. I just wasn't sucked back into the world. The plot kind of meandered, and while there were some interesting ideas and imagery, I didn't feel any tension or driving drama... it was a bit of a slog to get through it. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
This is almost a 4 star book - but an ending that seems to easy plus some dense language dropped it down to a 3.5 star rating.

I read the first book years ago - and don't remember much of it - but this book picks up right where the other book left off - and it doesn't stop for a reader to figure out what is happening. Is the first book essential to read? Not really. But, it is hard to figure out each of the characters relationships and a reader gets lost in who is who.

As for the story itself. The writing is tight. The science in this book is so advanced, it feels magical (although it clearly isn't magic). The plot - I actually enjoyed the story up to the end, where the conclusion has "Deus ex Machina" feel to it. The characters were interesting and well created. The ship itself was unique in that it felt like a ship and a world, all at the same time. At times, the language was too dense and required a reader to be paying attention at all times.

Highly recommended. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Aug 26, 2015 |
middle of the Jacob's Ladder trilogy, and i like this series a lot. this time round, more quest than action, which doesn't necessarily make for a very exciting narrative (a lot more happened in the first book, a lot more is learned in this one), but there are such fertile ideas playing out, and Bear's getting better at keeping track of her various themes and bringing them all together so dropped stitches don't let the knitting unravel. but hey, big ideas, always a plus, and it's well-written. this series is set on a far future shipworld with a failed mission, in which the principals are immortal but stranded, and the infighting is deadly, with a family of siblings and cousins descended from the founders, messing with alien DNA of various kinds (there's a basilisk, AI, electronic angels, arguably a dragon, along with legendary altered swords, considerable wizardry, armour for space, and suchlike). the basic conceit is basically late Arthurian, with spaced archetypes arising from that in play; and the family setup more than hints of the Chronicles of Amber too. ergo, the quest, the need for purpose, the christian underpinnings of the original migration echoing across the ethics and the mechanics of the quest, the issues of evolution and revolution in unpinned technological advances taking its toll across time in a deadly environment. and all the imagery arising from all this is grand and imaginative - the whole thing would make a great TV series. ( )
1 vote macha | Aug 23, 2014 |
If you haven't yet read Dust, then Chill isn't going to make much sense. It's still doable, but it's better to read Dust first. The second in a trilogy - Jacob's Ladder trilogy- Chill takes off right where Dust ended. The aftermath of a great battle... but you need back ground. Too bad you're not going to get a lot of back ground from me -- you really need to read the book to get the most out that you can. See, I'm not sure I got everything out of the book that I could. But here's a start...

The generation ship - Jacob's Ladder, has been recently saved from hundreds of years of orbiting a dying star. Using a dangerous combination of events, the newest captain has managed to begin a journey to find a planet for the inhabitants of this ship to colonize. this is something that was planned long ago, though the plans to colonize seem to have been delayed. The original ship dwellers are mostly all gone - there are some who have been around for a few hundred years, but even they don't know all there is to know of the beginnings of the flight; they don't know the complete story to how the ship ended up stranded and orbiting in a dying system for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, though the ship is now traveling, it's also continuing to fail at an even faster rate.

The inhabitants: this is where I believe the SciFi merges with some fantasy elements - whether the author planned this or not, it's how I see it. There are some strong SciFi elements; bio-engineering, computer programs merging with humans; computer programs turned into artificial intelligence turned into "angels"; elite family members with special gifts such as wings, the ability to sense things and converse telepathically with the AI. The background of this book is rich with details of all types.

The support staff of the ship are divided according to the systems they work in - here is where I show how much I don't remember terms, so I'll just describe. The engineering section is one family, the kitchen/life sustenance is another. there is life support, and the ruling class - the Conn's who are not the nicest people in the world. And the ship itself - it's vast. Vast enough to contain seasons, fields and holdings resembling fiefdoms of yesteryear. I cannot do this book and all the details justice.

So, I skip to the storyline. In Dust (Jacob's Ladder #1), we meet Perceval, Rien, Mallory, Gavin, Tristen and Benedict - among a few others. In Chill, Perceval is now Captain of the ship. Two of the enemy angels have warred - with one clear winner. Each ship system had its own Angel, and one Angel was ambitious enough to take over and absorb the other angels, trying to effect a change that would save the ship. Because of this, Perceval's new found love - Rien, is now part of the computer system/angel. Perceval is angry, and trying to adjust.

And even though the war is "over" it's not really over. The ship is losing valuable resources almost faster than damaged areas can be fixed. Tristen (one of the uncles) and Benedict (one of the other uncles) have gone on separate and parallel quests to find out what's going on, and to try to fix the problems. Unfortunately one of the Aunts - Arianne, seemingly captured, has escaped and has some plan she's been putting into action. Mallory - a necromancer who looks like a man and a woman, but who claims to be a woman - is helping. Mallory has the memories of hundreds, if not thousands of previously living people in his ....memory banks. His sidekick is a metal bird, called Gavin who seems to have the memories of one of the other Aunts. This aunt was a sorceress - (you see where I get the fantasy along with the SciFi?)

It sounds confusing as hell, but when you're reading it, you just fall into the story, and the details unfold as you read along. The details as well as the rich surroundings, and the fantastical mix of science and fantasy, computer programs and magic. It's a hell of a mix, ending in a hell of a story.

Another merging of factions is the female vs male, hetero vs homo sexual - only it really isn't a versus type of thing, it's more of a mixture. Sexuality, and even male/female presence is more of an afterthought, or even better - a blending of ideals. For example, as an exalt (the elite members of the family) one can choose to be sexual or asexual. Perceval had chosen to be asexual until she fell in love with Rien, and even then though she really wanted to marry this woman, she wasn't concerned with a sex life, more of a merging and spending a life with her loved one. Mallory - not quite male or female, is with either sex. It's as if an ideal future for the sexes was being described here - a world where people are allowed to love as they will, with no judgement or spotlight. The sexual preferences just ... Are.

Good story, with the promise of more with the third of the series - Grail. I enjoyed the dialogue, the inner thoughts and the lush descriptions of everything from the ship's different sections to the animals and fauna within the ship, and all the different people. It all combines into one hell of a story. ( )
  Mardel | Feb 11, 2014 |
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Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;

But will they come when you do call for them?

—William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, Act 3, Scene 1
For Thomas Ladegard
First words
The first hint of returning consciousness was the icy tickle of fluid dropping across his lids, lashes, nostrils.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Original title Chill; reissued title Sanction
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The generation ship Jacob's Ladder has barely survived cataclysms from without and within. Now, riding the shock wave of a nova blast toward an uncertain destiny, the damaged ship remains a war zone. Even as Perceval, the new captain, struggles to come to terms with the traumas of her recent past, the remnants of rebellion aboard the ship threaten the crew's survival.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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