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On the Steel Breeze [Hardcover]

Alastair Reynolds , Dominic Harman
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Sep 2013
It is a thousand years in the future. Mankind is making its way out into the universe on massive generation ships. The new novel from Alastair Reynolds is one for fans of Peter F. Hamilton and Iain M. Banks.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (26 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575090456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575090453
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.4 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alastair Reynolds was born in Barry, South Wales, in 1966. He studied at Newcastle and St Andrews Universities and has a Ph.D. in astronomy. Since 1991 he has lived in the Netherlands, near Leiden. He gave up working as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency to become a full-time writer. Revelation space and Pushing Ice were shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award; Revelation space, Absolution Gape, Diamond Dogs and Century Rain were shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Award and Chasm City won the British Science Fiction Award.

Revelation Space Trilogy:

Revelation Space
Redemption Ark
Absolution Gap

Standalone novels:

Chasm City
Century Rain
Pushing Ice
The Prefect
House of Suns
Terminal World


Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
Galactic North
Zima Blue and Other Stories

Product Description


As good as contemporary SF gets. (Jonathan Wright SFX MAGAZINE)

On The Steel Breeze is a brilliant, self-assured, colourful space opera- with talking elephants. (John Wyatt SUN)

The book is not merely a sequel, but a standalone adventure with heart. (Val Nolan Irish Examiner)

Clever, thoughtful, feel-good SF. (John Wyatt SUN)

Alastair Reynolds's On the Steel Breeze moves his ambitious Poseidon's Children's series into interstellar space. (Adam Roberts The Guardian)

Book Description

A thousand years in the future, mankind's influence expands into the universe. Alastair Reynolds' epic vision of our journey into deep space will redefine Space Opera. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Threatened by Shadows at Night 6 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
On a Steel Breeze is a large scale, hard SF adventure story with two main weaknesses, the beginning and the end. It is a sequel to Blue Remembered Earth, taking place in the following centuries and concerning itself with the next generation of the Akinya family.

Chiku, daughter of Sunday and niece of Geoffrey has cloned herself twice and the three genetic sisters have shared memories. One sets out to chase the family matriarch Eunice who disappeared into deep space at the end of the previous book. One joins a convoy of giant starships, hollowed out of asteroids, making their way to a nearby star, where an alien artefact has been observed. The third stays on Earth, a baseline charged with staying safe.

However, the starships on their way to the planet Crucible are threatened by shadows at night, or more literally by a ghost in the machine which threatens not just the success of the mission, but the future of the entire human race.

On a Steel Breeze is a work which takes its place on an increasingly crowded playing field on which it is difficult to see new ideas being created. This is the arena of the next few centuries where humankind has broadly conquered the solar system, and is now looking towards the next step. It is an SF where Einstein and relativity are given due respect and voyages to the stars require decades. It is a style of future already populated by Kim Stanley Robinson, Stephen Baxter and David Brin.

Within this style of universe, the main theme explored in this book is the interaction between organic and machine intelligence, and whether they can co-exist. Reynolds keeps his powder on the answer to that dry, leaving at least three different scenarios, on Earth, on Mars and on Crucible to be explored in the final part of the trilogy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Alastair Reynolds in years 15 Jan 2014
I only really started to like Blue Remembered Earth), the first novel in the Poseidon's Children series, when I read it a second time, before On the Steel Breeze. After reading Blue Remembered Earth a second time I moved the review from three stars to four.

My original objection to Blue Remembered Earth was that not much seemed to happen. On the Steel Breeze has a driving force that is missing from Blue Remembered Earth. I had to tear myself way from the last half of the book when I had other things that I needed to do.

Near the end of Blue Remembered Earth a planet is discovered by a space borne telescope that has the unmistakable signs of a massive alien artifact. The planet is named Crucible and On the Steel Breeze is about travel to that planet by massive starships, hollowed from asteroids and powered by the new physics that is found at the end of Blue Remembered Earth.

Science fiction is the fiction of ideas and Reynolds explores a variety of ideas, including the nature of humanity under pressure. This are also a variety of explorations of technology, but the core of the novel is character driven.

One challenge that Reynolds may have struggled with the the problem of time and distance. There are no light huggers in this book, as there are in the Revelation Space books. The best that humanity can manage is fractions of the speed of light, which incurs a huge cost in time before we arrive at the end of the story. At times the story jumps decades into the future, as awaited events, like the planet fall on Crucible finally arrive. At times this can give the story an awkward feel, since we are not used to thinking in these huge time frames.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Series needed to get better - it didn't! 25 Oct 2013
By Gasman
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's a shame really as the core concepts are rock solid. However, Reynolds continues to run on three cylinders. Despite being a fan and despite being committed to reading all his output, I can't really recommend this. Half-baked...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “Demon in the Aether” 7 Nov 2013
By No More Mr. Mice Guy TOP 100 REVIEWER
On The Steel Breeze, Alastair Reynolds, 483pp, 2013.

This novel is a sequel to Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidons Children 1), and takes up the story long after the end of it. This time Chiku Akinya is the Narrator, or rather, several of them, as she has cloned herself (short version) and three of her set off on different paths, one to pursue Eunice Akinya’s spaceship, one to accompany the fleet of colony ships sent off to Crucible, the world containing the Mandala, an object visible from twenty light years away from the solar system, while the third stayed at home. As with many of Alastair Reynolds’ novels, the speed of light is an absolute limit, and the narrative is spread over a long period of time, helped by the split points-of-view, as the three Chikus are able to send memory updates (short version) to each other, so are able to remain in communication with each other. However, it is not quite that simple, as they have stopped talking to each other a long time ago, as they all drifted further apart in space and time. There is a serious problem aboard the first wave of colony ships – some of which are carrying elephants!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Reynold's weakest book
I admit i don't like much these new series from A.Reynolds who is one of my favourite writers. But the first book was rather good and so i bought this one too hoping the series... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Panagiotis Karatasios
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. A great story that explores a human and machine future where almost everything is possible, but those possibilities come with a price.
Published 11 days ago by Mr R S J Bernath
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book from Alister Reynolds
Elephants, robots and a mysterious planet. Brilliant! Enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Definitely recommend this one. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Glyn Hadley
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not as good as the first book 'blue remembered earth' but still gripping
Published 2 months ago by Ehlana
5.0 out of 5 stars Great title for a great book
Alastair Reynolds has in my mind again brought to us another great story of the future.
Not too long or involved but just right. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Aardvark
1.0 out of 5 stars utterly crap on the kindle
'She' is replaces with 'Ve' throughout the book.

I have given up, don't buy for kindle. Total crap from amazon
Published 3 months ago by chris_Atkinson
1.0 out of 5 stars A massive dissapointment
This was a complete let down. I'd call the characters cardboard cutouts but they're not quite that deep. Paper cutouts is more accurate. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A N Other
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Steel Breeze
Thought provoking, engaging and 'a right riveting read'. Science fiction at its best and most enjoyable. A great space opera
Published 6 months ago by Alan Quinlan
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! I loved this book
I really struggled to put it down and was reading it at every opportunity. I was even reading it for the three minutes it took to microwave my lunch at work each day. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. Paul J. Grenyer
4.0 out of 5 stars good novel about impact of tech & surveillance gone mad
a warning for the future - the elephants (Tantors) seem little more than a distraction - link from the earlier novel.
Published 6 months ago by ALIN FARAH
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