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Pushing Ice (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 12 Oct 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Paperback, 12 Oct 2006
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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (12 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575078154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575078154
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.7 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,003,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover
** 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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Format: Paperback
Oooh! Didn't you just want to bang old Lind and Barseghian's heads together????

What a pair of idiots eh!

And here lies the focal point of a lot of the criticism levelled at this book. Poor, weak characterisation of the main protagonists - and I agree, both do come across as a bit moronic and definitely not leader material.

Ritually I always read Amazon reviews after I've finished a book, never before, (I highly recommend this practice) and judging by a lot of the reviews here, these two 'weak' characters seem to have really got up the noses of a lot of readers.... but help is at hand, come and visit where I work and I can point out a dozen useless, limp, argumentative, not fit for purpose, petty people all in various positions of power. So it can happen, why should all leaders be correct decision making, mighty, strong armed heroes?

I liked this book for this exact reason, I loved the fact that I found myself uttering under my breath 'you idiots!' and 'why on earth are you acting like that?' and my personal favourite, which I murmured rather a lot 'you stupid dunderheads!'

Yes this may not be Reynolds best, but I found myself swept along with the grand ideas that the novel presents, it gave glimpses of vast intelligences and left me with an overarching feeling of insignificance.

I was disappointed to finish the book with so many questions unanswered, but my imagination is doing its best to plug the gaps - and that, in my opinion, is the sign of a good novel.
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Format: Paperback
Pushing Ice being my 9th Alastair Reynolds novel (excluding the already read Zima Blue and Galactic North story collections), you could say I'm kind of experienced when it comes to the realm of the science fiction of Reynolds, and of modern space opera at that.

The start is a little confusing with a profusion of job oriented individuals aboard a mining ship. This is quickly dispensed with as the plot builds. With the sudden announcement that their mission will be refocused to intercept a self-powered moon of Saturn, the crew becomes split whether to head into deep space after the anomalous craft or to stay put closer to earth. As the time elapses during their solar system traversing, it becomes abundantly clear to engineer Svetlana that the fuel situation isn't as it should be. This is the major crux of the novel when Svetlana feels belittled by her knowledge even with years of experience, feels betrayed by her captain and friend and future arch enemy Bella, and feels victimized and persecuted by her own company. Her victimization and intuition play an important role in her stance among the sympathetic crew. This is only within the first third on the novel, too!

The next third of Pushing Ice reads much like Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars where the colonists (unwilling colonists on the once-moon Janus) form a government, trek across a barren and mysterious landscape and deal with unending problem of a social being also being opinionated and fractional at the same time. Growing pains are felt, sentences are dealt and egos take a pelt.

The remaining third reads much like Charles Stross' Accelerando, where the characters are subject to rapid changes in technological advancement towards the singularity.
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