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The Recollection [Paperback]

Gareth L. Powell
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2011
When his brother disappears into a bizarre gateway on a London Underground escalator, failed artist Ed Rico and his brother's wife Alice have to put aside their feelings for each other to go and find him. Their quest through the 'arches' will send them hurtling through time, to new and terrifying alien worlds. Four hundred years in the future, Katherine Abdulov must travel to a remote planet in order to regain the trust of her influential family. The only person standing in her way is her former lover, Victor Luciano, the ruthless employee of a rival trading firm. Hard choices lie ahead as lives and centuries clash and, in the unforgiving depths of space, an ancient evil stirs... Gareth L. Powell's epic new science-fiction novel delivers a story of galaxy-spanning scope by a writer of astounding vision. 'Gareth Powell is going to be a major voice in... ' - Paul Cornell 'Utterly Impossible to put down.' - Colin Harvey, author of Winter Song

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907519998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907519994
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

GARETH L. POWELL is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author from the UK. He is the author of five novels, including Ack-Ack Macaque, which won the 2013 BSFA Award for Best Novel. His books have been published in the UK, Germany, the USA and Japan, and all have received enthusiastic reviews in The Guardian.

Gareth's short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, including six in Interzone, and he has received several 'honourable mentions' in Gardner Dozois's Best New SF collections. In 2007, one of his stories came top of the Interzone annual readers' poll for best short story of the year.

Gareth is represented by the John Jarrold Literary Agency. You can find him online at:

Product Description


From the tense opening, in which gambler and failed artist Ed Rico is about to be tortured for incurring gambling debts, to the poignant, epiphanal epilogue, Powell escorts us through a series of brilliantly realised set-pieces. In the near future, hundreds of mysterious arches appear over Earth, leading to planets light years distant. When his brother Verne vanishes through an arch, Rico, stricken with guilt over his affair with his brother's wife, follows in an attempt to locate Verne and atone. What he discovers is a future human diaspora threatened by a sentient gestalt mind spreading through the inhabited universe and turning all life into machine code and an alien race which needs his help to defeat the threat. Powell's second novel is not only impeccably structured, with a series of cliff-hangers, but beautifully balanced between big ideas and the smaller-scale human story. If you read only one space opera this year, it's got to be The Recollection. --The Guardian

About the Author

Gareth L. Powell is the author of the SF novel 'Silversands', and the critically acclaimed short story collection, 'The Last Reef'. His work has been published all over the world and featured in a number of recent anthologies, including 'Shine'.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Strangely reminiscent of another (better) book... 19 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An all-action mainstream SF novel featuring teleportation to other planets that isn't instantaneous but happens at light-speed, so all sorts of ageing themes. Totally unbelievable main characters.
The interesting thing is the similarities to another book. "The Recollection" features a super-power alien intelligence taking over humans on a planet called Strauli Quay, with a bio-machine built by aliens and powered by one human being overcoming it. Vernor Vinge's "A Fire Upon the Deep" (a BRILLIANT book, if you've not read it! - A Fire Upon The Deep (Gollancz S.F.)) features a super-power alien intelligence taking over humans on a planet called Straumli Realm, with a bio-machine built by aliens and powered by one human being overcoming it. Homage? - pay your money and take your choice!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whizz-bang journey through time and space 16 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Recollection" is Gareth L Powell's second full length novel, following on from "Silversands" (Pendragon Press) and his acclaimed short story collection "The Last Reef". And it is from "The Last Reef" that "The Recollection" draws most heavily, particularly from the short story Arches. It's fascinating to see the genesis of a novel in a short story, and the collection, from Elastic Press, is worth seeking out.

"The Recollection" opens with Ed's brother Verne falling through a mysterious arch at the bottom of an escalator at a London Underground station, leaving his brother Ed, and his wife (and Ed's on-off lover) Alice, to solve the mystery of his disappearance. Arches are appearing all over the world, and they lead to other planets, other arches, drawing Ed and Alice through the universe in their quest to find Verne.

Meanwhile, in a distant future, Kat Abdulov and her psychically linked spaceship, Ameline, are in a desperate race with her former lover to a remote planet. But what they find when they get there is shocking, throwing them back together in a most unexpected way. And on a crystal spaceship, a race of aliens search for a way to save humanity from a deadly, relentless foe...

"The Recollection" is an epic story, spanning time and space, cramming ideas into its multi-layered plot. In the hands of writers like Alastair Reynolds or Ian M Banks, it would be the opening to a five-volume epic space saga. But in Powell's hands, the story whizzes along, barely pausing for breath as it hurls the reader far into the future, and from one end of the galaxy to the other.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Characterisation - unbelievable conclusion 11 Mar 2012
Well - I guess it's down to how bothered you are about charactersiation and plot.
The characterisation was pretty much non-existent: The decriptions of emotional reactions, especially of women, were at a school essay level of insight and painful to read. Parts of the plot were good enough to be page-turning but others felt like fillers and are best skipped. Overall the plot was obvious but the conclusion managed to be both unbelievable - hero saves universe (that would perhaps be permissible in Doctor Who) and disappointing. I've not read any of his other works and assumed this was a first novel. If I'm right others may be better, if not, then I shan't read any more. Sorry - I've been reading Sci-Fi for fourty years and few disappoint. This did.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ummm ... not sure about this. 29 Jan 2012
Sorry to disagree with higher ratings, but I felt this book was only average. The characters were a little shallow, and some of their actions were questionable. The book had a few mistakes as well - the Land Rover swapping engines from diesel to petrol for example. All in all, the book reads almost as though it was aimed at young adults. I'll probably try the next in the series, but I'll get it from the library rather than purchase it. Just a final word - I'm also reading John Meaney's Absorbtion, which "feels" much more adult in comparision.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars lose ends and sallow characters 15 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
not to speak of hateful characters that become the good guys.. no reason given. Words that appear (the big boat) and then reappear (Trafalgar!) ... with no place in the story. Unexplained sabotages. The abrupt ending is really the least of its problems. It's a pity because the reading flows and the ideas are nice, just he doesn't seem to take the time to do something with them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Old time fun 6 Jan 2013
By Strv 74
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book read like one of many earlier Sf books that I have read and enjoyed. We have a fantastic story and it builds up into an ending where all of humanity is at risk. Most of the characters in the story are more or less normal people trying to cope in a very different world. Of course you ask yourself sometimes why they did this or that but since they are normal people and not superheroes you have to expect some less than logical or sane actions.

It was impressive to see that you could write this story on only 300 pages. Many other writers would probably have used far more in order to expand a number of things to bring more detail into the story but the way Mr. Powell wrote it it worked very well. If you like classic Sf this is a book for you.

This book is a great start for Mr Powell. I hope he will continue with this line of writing and I will certainly continue to read him.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Proper Sci Fi
Top notch sci fi. Believeable characters and situations just how I like it. Looking forward to reading more by this author.
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - I enjoyed it very much
Any easy read and quite good topics, nothing totally new in Sc-Fi;
but nicely told and a good enjoyable read. Read more
Published 21 months ago by CjW
5.0 out of 5 stars A sci-fi with cool plot & characters? I kid you not.
I'm wary of talking about the plot as I don't want to spoil anything!

Suffice to say this is a great read. It zips along, delivering a great world effortlessly. Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2012 by Peter Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch SF
I've been reading Gareth's fiction for a few years now, from his early online stories, to his poll winning stories in Interzone and his debut novel Silversands. Read more
Published on 11 Jan 2012 by Ben Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Best escapist sci-fi I've read in a long time
I've been gushing to everyone I know (and even people I don't) about this book since I read it, urging them to buy it. Now I've come here to do the same. Read more
Published on 29 Dec 2011 by E. J. Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Read
A friend recommended this book and although science fiction is a genre outside my comfort zone, using the Look Inside feature on this site, I read the first page and was instantly... Read more
Published on 19 Dec 2011 by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars A galaxy-spanning wonderful novel
Seldom I read such a vivid, poignant SF novel, full of characters you care about and of intriguing scientific speculations. Read more
Published on 26 Sep 2011 by Ventura Angelo
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Trade, Wars and Aliens
One day Arches starts to appear, first there are only a few but then more and more. Ed was having a fight with his brother when the brother was swallowed by one of the first. Read more
Published on 22 Sep 2011 by
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