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Absorption: Ragnarok 1: Ragnarok v. 1 Hardcover – 20 May 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (20 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575085339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575085336
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 754,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm John Meaney (aka Thomas Blackthorne), writer of hard SF, gothic SF/dark fantasy, and near-future thrillers. Having studied physics and computer science, I've been a globetrotting IT consultant and taught software engineering on three continents. Nowadays, I hide in a Welsh valley and write full-time.

I've trained in martial arts since I was a kid, primarily shotokan karate. I'm a trained hypnotist, so don't look into my eyes... And I adore cats. (And www.johnmeaney.com is my online home - pop in and say hi!)

P.S. For readers shopping at amazon.co.uk - please note that Black Blood is a US import, being the title the American publishers chose to use for the book that's called Dark Blood over here. (Writers don't choose titles or cover art or any of that stuff. We don't like it when something appears under 2 different titles, because in the long run it costs us readers!) To be fair to the publishers, Black Blood was my original working title, but it changed a year before US publication. The US edition contains later revisions compared to the British version, but they're minor.

Publishers buy the rights to publish in certain countries, so the US publishers weren't thinking of American books being sold in Britain. The business is country-based, but the Web is global.

Product Description

Book Description

The universe is dark. And it is alive. Hard SF Space Opera to rival Peter F. Hamilton.

About the Author

John Meaney is the author of To Hold Infinity, Paradox and Context. To Hold Infinity and Paradox were on the BSFA shortlists for Best Novel in 1999 and 2001 respectively. The Times called John Meaney "The first important new sf writer of the 21st century." Meaney has a degree in physics and computer science, and holds a black belt in Shotokan Karate. He lives in Glamorgan.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ed.F TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As I've mentioned in other reviews I'm seriously fond of space opera, the more grandiose in scale and complexity the better and this 1st novel in a planned trilogy is frankly brilliant. It delivers on every level with tight plotting, efficient characterisation and compelling world building. The use of a multi threaded narrative, set in multiple time periods delivers a great deal of tension and pace and unusually doesn't get too confusing to follow. Following three primary characters from the dark ages, early 20th century and from 600 years from now, their stories are intertwined with a host of other characters from various time periods around the three main hubs.

The tension and pace ramp up through the book with hints as to the shape of the coming conflict and glimpses of both hidden capabilities and subtle conspiracies. I found myself genuinely gripped with the fates of various characters and found some of the plot twists both totally unexpected and quite moving.

I don't think I can recommend this highly enough. It's the best opener to a space opera trilogy since The Reality Dysfunction. Bravo!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bridget McKenna on 16 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think this is the best novel John Meaney has written to date. It resonates with echoes of some of his earlier novels and short fiction, but while the reader's experience of this book might benefit from having read To Hold Infinity, Paradox, Context, and Resolution, I'm certain that won't be necessary to enjoy it. And if you like science fiction with fascinating characters, exotic yet believable settings, excellent writing, and lots of layers of meaning and action, you will enjoy it a great deal.

Absorption is a richly interwoven narrative that navigates time and space with as much ease and style as one of Meaney's legendary Pilots. It immerses you in elegant complexities of character and story and scene, uniting the lives and destinies of beings from far-flung localities in a cause that leaves the familiar limitations of space and time behind, because the enemies of life are not bound by them. Meaney's villains are powerful, mysterious, well-conceived and downright scary in their ability to infiltrate and twist any reality, including our own.

The overall story is necessarily incomplete until the final volume, but Meaney manages to pause each thread in a satisfying place, while also spinning up new ones to whet the reader's appetite for what's to come. And if what's to come is as good as the first book, it's going to be worth waiting for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John W on 4 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
I gave up after about 80 pages. Lots of thinly-written, slow-moving threads with forgettable characters set in different times and places. I guess eventually the threads begin to link up into some overarching plot, but I got the impression the author knows he's got three books to write and is pacing the story accordingly. I was quite enjoying the thread about the Pilots, and would have liked to read a book about them, but I just couldn't be bothered with all the other tosh.

No sign of the promised high-tech space warfare. And he seemed to be trying to work in Hitler as a character, or as a tool of the darkness, which I didn't like.

In style this is like a combination of the worst bits of Stephen Baxter and Hannu Rajaniemi.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By TZ-173 on 18 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Proper Science Fiction with an epic scale. This is the real deal...a book that takes modern technologic trends and extrapolates not just one level of future technology but at least four! covering 770AD all the way to 500 million AD. The enemy is a darkness itself, rather like Vernor Vinge's 'A Darkness upon the sky'... the enemy is in the background for this book, behind the scenes vast and malign.

We see Aliens for whom scent and taste are the primary senses, another race that appear to have four active personas at any time, a utopian city who's homes can be reshaped by a thought, sentient stealth ships, an ultra advanced internet and cyber criminals who can hack minds.

John even leads us to consider particle physics - "A Photon, light itself, travels at the speed of light. As things approach lightspeed time slows to nothing... what does this mean? It means photons are timeless, fragments of the initial universe-state untouched and untouchable" (roughly quoted from memory).

Absorbtion makes the Borg look like a prayer meeting and makes the Deathstar look as technological as a viking longboat.
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I'm always cautious about anything labelled `epic'; it is often an excuse for an overly long, rambling shambles that should have been condensed and published as a single volume. In this instance, the first part of the Ragnarok trilogy, I'm happy to be wrong. Meaney is an accomplished wordsmith weaving a complex multi-threaded narrative through five time periods with hints of a single, all-encompassing primary plot. A few minor things let the story down very slightly; the hugely ambitious narrative is at the cost of character development and this, compounded by occasionally clunky dialogue, invokes little empathy for the various main characters; the Luculentus code snippets are a bit naff and I found that the eighth century Norse narrative dragged a little. On the plus side, the main Roger Blackstone / Labyrinth thread is brilliant and there are no huge info-dumps or showing-off of the author's grasp of esoteric mathematics or physics to ruin the narrative flow.

The minor criticisms aside, though, I thoroughly enjoyed `Absorption', I'm looking forward to `Transmission' and, thanks to another reviewer, I'm going to track down a copy of `To Hold Infinity', effectively the prequel to this novel. It's great to see another up-and-coming British SF author with the potential to stand alongside Alastair Reynolds and Iain M. Banks.
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