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House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds

House of Suns (edition 2010)

by Alastair Reynolds (Author)

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1,709557,827 (4.04)45
Six million years ago, at the dawn of the star-faring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings. She sent them out into the galaxy to observe and document the rise and fall of countless human empires. Now someone is eliminating them.--From publisher description.… (more)
Title:House of Suns
Authors:Alastair Reynolds (Author)
Info:Gollancz (2010), Edition: paperback / softback
Collections:Your library

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House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds


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» See also 45 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
If you like eons and vast distances, this is the book for you. Big ideas and surprises along the way. ( )
  MikeGun | Dec 6, 2021 |
Wow! What an unexpected surprise - I wasn't really thinking that I'd like this book as much as I did when I'd started it. This was a story of long-lived people who move stars and Dyson rings. They build "star dams" - literally structures enclosing stars to keep potential supernovas from destroying nearby civilizations. The scale of the story was immense - but at the heart of it was deeper questions about sentience, humanity, grief and regret. Truly outstanding. ( )
  KrakenTamer | Oct 23, 2021 |
I didn't care too much about the Palacial subplot, but everything else was good stuff. ( )
  Enno23 | Aug 15, 2021 |
I very much enjoyed reading this book. A fair plot with enough sci-fi as well as interpersonal relationships. I hope I see some sequels to this book. ( )
  FirstSpeaker | Apr 16, 2021 |
After a lifetime of reading science fiction, last year I discovered Alastair Reynolds through his Revelation Space trilogy. These are not new works and I am still trying to figure out how I could have possibly avoided his work through all these years. In any event, I thoroughly enjoyed the several different works set in the Revelation Space universe.

This hard science fiction novel has a setting completely different than that of Revelation Space. In it, human colonists have perfected the art of cloning and several of the richest “houses” disperse thousands of clones, referred to as “shatterlings” throughout the universe.

Subject to the limitation of light speed, these clones spend most of their lives in “abeyance”, a type of stasis, during their trips between solar systems. They make “circuits” throughout the galaxy and every several hundred thousand years, regather to pool the knowledge gained during their travels. The events of this novel thus take place six million years in the future.

As with all of Reynolds’s work, House of Suns is outstanding in its treatment of future technology. The science fiction is as “hard” as it gets. It is a very entertaining read. ( )
  santhony | Dec 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (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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Six million years ago, at the dawn of the star-faring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings. She sent them out into the galaxy to observe and document the rise and fall of countless human empires. Now someone is eliminating them.--From publisher description.

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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.
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