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Pushing Ice [Paperback]

Alastair Reynolds
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

11 Dec 2008

Some centuries from now, the exploration and exploitation of the Solar System is in full swing. On the cold edge of the system, Bella Lind, captain of the huge commercial spacecraft Rockhopper IV, helps fuel this new gold rush by attaching mass-driver motors to organic-rich water-ice comets to move them back to the inner worlds. Her crew are tough, blue-collar miners, engineers and demolition experts.

Around Saturn, something inexplicable happens: one of the moons leaves its orbit and accelerates out of the Solar System. The icy mantle peels away to reveal that it was never a moon in the first place, just a parked spacecraft, millions of years old, that has now decided to move on.

Rockhopper IV, trapped in the pull, is hurled across time and space into the deep, distant future, arriving in a vast, alien-constructed chamber. And the crew are not alone, for each chamber contains an alien culture dragged into this cosmic menagerie at the end of time.

The crew of the Rockhopper IV know a lot about blowing up comets, but not much about first contact with ultra-advanced aliens. They have two things to worry about: can they (and their new alien allies) negotiate their way through each harrying contact? And can they assimilate the avalanche of knowledge about their own future - including all the glittering, dangerous technologies that are now theirs for the taking - without destroying themselves in the process?

Frequently Bought Together

Pushing Ice + House of Suns (GOLLANCZ S.F.) + The Prefect (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Price For All Three: 20.57

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; paperback / softback edition (11 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575083115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575083110
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 109,178 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


Hard SF doesn't come much harder. Classic Reynolds. (Jon Courtenay Grimwood THE GUARDIAN)

Welding hard SF scenarios to deft characterisation, to create a wholly convincing vision. Arthur C Clarke in his prime couldn't have done a better job. (Jonathan Wright SFX)

As usual in an Alastair Reynolds book there are big ideas here, played out but not belaboured. A strong tale. (Anthony Brown STARBURST)

"Pushing Ice is an excellent stage on which to investigate more rounded characters. Reynolds has a firm grasp of the wider opportunities of the genre." (EDGE) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

First Contact with extraordinary aliens, glittering technologies that could destroy the universe in a nanosecond, huge sweeping space operas: Alastair Reynolds is back!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but a very good read 3 Jan 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Pushing Ice isn't perfect, but it doesn't deserve some of the very negative reviews it has received (one talks about FTL travel which doesn't appear anywhere in the novel other than as speculation during conversation - so they haven't read it that carefully).
This is a novel of big ideas occurring over cosmic timescales. For me it successfully evoked the helplessness that would be experienced by humans when they are caught up in events they are unable to control and can only struggle to understand. The story manages to throw up plenty of revelations and plot twists - some expected, some not - whilst throwing up interesting questions on the ultimate futility of any human (or alien) endeavour. Yes, some of the characters are underdeveloped (Wang being a very significant one for me), but there is a driving energy behind the story that is maintained until the final page and that compensates for any shortcomings. Alastair Reynolds set the bar very high with his early works and whilst this is not quite the equal of them I feel that it is a stronger book than Century Rain and I'm already looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.
Read it and enjoy it, but try not to worry too much about the ultimate futility of doing so.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable and entertaining but not his best 20 Dec 2006
Reynolds succeeds in creating a storyline that pulls you along - you do want to know what happens next. True, there are gaping holes in the plot and the characters lack realism or depth but you always believe that there is something about to happen around the corner and in this he does not disappoint. I didn't think much of some of the aliens, though - or their silly spaceship. The plot ends in such a way there is plenty of room for a sequel.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor characters, but great ideas save the book 17 July 2007
** Slight spoilers **
If you haven't read Reynolds before, start with one of his other novels. If you are a bit of a completist like me, then give it a go. The novel is very good, without reservation, up until the exiling. I fast-forwarded through the character problem bits after that, but I wouldn't recommend actually skipping chapters, as there are still a lot of good ideas to be found in it. I wouldn't be averse to a sequel, as the character problems are moot by the book's end, and the universe of the book is well worth further exploration.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You get what you look for 16 May 2007
By Craig
I think this is a book of two halves. The first promises to build and explore relationships between characters. The second spends a lot of time exploring a new and alien environment. Sadly this is perhaps why the book doesn't work as a whole, although it is still worth a read.

Where the character relationships in a new environment might have been explored in detail, the author zooms out to focus on the "historical record" and even misses how the crew as a whole cope with a whole new set of imperatives. So despite having a nice little mystery to solve and potential hostile races approaching I felt I never really connected with any of the main protagonists. I think perhaps the difficulty in getting the character interactions on the page is the extreme timescales that Renyolds has built into his narrative which limited the opportunity for some personal story telling.

Having said all that this is Grand space opera and really it is not the characters of the story that are important but how it makes you think about space, time, why we are here and why aliens are stopping by for tea every week.

So should you buy this book. I say, yes, you won't be wasting your money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surely it can't be a standalone title? 7 Dec 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My problem with this book is that it leaves a /huge/ number of loose ends. About half to two-thirds of the way through, I was wondering how Reynolds was going to weave together all the different plot threads by the end, and the answer is he simply doesn't try.

I've given four stars because I did enjoy it, but it sort of screams out for another volume or two. I guess I'm rating it as part I of a trilogy; if it really is all that Reynolds intends to write about that universe, then I'd probably have to mark it down to only two.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Abyss" in space and FAR beyond... 9 Mar 2006
Brilliant story of the near(ish) future and working ice miners at the outer edges of the solar system having to become first contact experts and survive truly alien environments. Works a treat - with breathless action, living breathing (and arguing) central characters and many surprises as the canvass he paints on just gets bigger and bigger, until the final revelation in space... I liked this so much I lugged the hardback to and from London for a week or two to finish it. My left arm is now 2 inches longer than the right from the weight, but that's a small price to pay for such an adventure. Perfect film material too - Hollywood - are you listening? So, to summarise, if you haven't read this BUY IT RIGHT NOW!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Competent, but weak 1 July 2007
When I first came across Reynolds Chasm City series, I felt it was some of the most compelling and original writing I had encountered in several years. Not only did he display an easy confidence with hard science, and more so could weave it intelligently into a complex and intriguing plot line, however his plot development maintained pace and engagement for the jaded scifi reader.

Therefore Pushing Ice was bought on reflex. Overall for those that have encountered Reynolds via Chasm, like myself, this is ultimately a disappointment. Though well written as you'd expect from Reynolds most characters lack depth; the concept though initially engaging lacks original development and the second part of the book pales next to comparable plot environments "drawn to alien ship and have to work out to escape", Ring World, Rama, Riverworld etc.

Overall I would almost suspect this being a much earlier concept of Reynolds pre-Chasm, that really shouldn't have seen the light of day.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rubarb
This is a stupid requirement I am not a literary Critic I do not have time to write reviews this comment is copied and pasted into every review
Published 1 month ago by Dickie
3.0 out of 5 stars a good read, I enjoyed the science
But some of the intractable personality clashes seem highly implausible and therefore contrived I given the scope of events. Recommended to fans of hard(ish) sci-fi
Published 1 month ago by Leon Walters
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a gift for a friend of mine,
So I haven't read it, but the next in the series that my friend wanted for a birthday, and as it was what they wanted and have said it was enjoyed, believe it to be appropriate for... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Morebrightness
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! I LOATHED the main protagonists with a train-crash...
A fascinating read with a storyline expanding over a mindboggling sweep of space and time. Superb descriptions of aliens and alien artefacts and vessels, directing me but allowing... Read more
Published 2 months ago by The Diesel-Electric Elephant Company
5.0 out of 5 stars A SF novel that has it all - brilliant
Pushing Ice is a novel I've been intending to read for quite a while and after snapping up a signed copy from Forbidden Planet there seemed little reason to resist any longer. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kate
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
At 450 pages the book is quite long but a lot happens. By page 200 i felt that the book was nearing a close. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Max
5.0 out of 5 stars Top SF
One of the best sf novels I have ever read! The fiction plus the characterisation are superb. I have read a lot of sf over the last 45 years and this is one of the best.
Published 5 months ago by northstar
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Science
All the happenings are based on solid science all very believable. The foundation of great story telling. The foundation of many more great yarns no doubt.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. Patrick F. Hogan
5.0 out of 5 stars Pushing Ice
Imagination and great characters are the hallmark of all Reynolds books, none less so than in this awesome drama which races across the galaxy.
Published 10 months ago by richard jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great book. Fast shipping and a joy to read. I recommend it highly and hope you enjoy reading it as much as me
Published 13 months ago by A. Chatterjee
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