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91 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk with a brain.
I have to say that I strongly disagree with the rather indifferent reviews of this book posted so far. I have read all of Reynolds' books to date and this makes a strong claim to be his best.

For starters, and almost incidentally, it is the best steampunk novel I have read. Reynolds produces a plausible plot device for examining a society trapped at a...
Published on 17 Mar 2010 by Amazon Customer

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasted potential
The plot background of technological zones is intriguing and fairly original (the Well of Souls series probably pre-empted it, amongst others). However quite a few gaping plotholes spoil the enjoyment - in particular the "Skullboys" who appear as omnipresent Mad-max bandits but have no obvious origin or continuity - what do they eat?, where do new ones come from?, why do...
Published 21 months ago by Youngs


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91 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk with a brain., 17 Mar 2010
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This review is from: Terminal World (Hardcover)
I have to say that I strongly disagree with the rather indifferent reviews of this book posted so far. I have read all of Reynolds' books to date and this makes a strong claim to be his best.

For starters, and almost incidentally, it is the best steampunk novel I have read. Reynolds produces a plausible plot device for examining a society trapped at a particular technological point, and his steam or dieselpunk technology is grittily plausible and realistic, not a series of fashion accessories or nostalgic anachronisms, as is all too common in this genre.

Secondly, this book requires a bit of intellectual effort on the part of the reader. The reader is required to use some imagination and to draw inferences and make conclusions from tiny nuggets of fact dropped into the characters' conversations. The book contains no "infodumps". The true nature of Spearpoint is not spelled out directly, even at the end of the novel. An observant reader will fairly quickly come to a huge revelation about the nature of Spearpoint's world which never becomes remotely obvious to any of the characters involved. One particularly ironic point is the existence of a quasi-religious "Testament", which most of the characters dismiss as mythological, but the more objective viewpoint of the reader can see is largely historical fact about the planet's history.

There are also some excellent action scenes, particularly a desperate airship assault on the city in the face of progressive technological failures, reducing the crew from machine guns and diesel engines to cutlasses and crossbows in the space of ten minutes. The characters are excellent, particularly a foul mouthed bodyguard heroine.

If you like your SF one-dimensional and spoon fed to you as easily digestible gloop, this book probably isn't for you. If you are willing to use your intellect and your imagination to fill in the tantalising gaps left by the author you will be amply rewarded.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasted potential, 29 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Terminal World (Paperback)
The plot background of technological zones is intriguing and fairly original (the Well of Souls series probably pre-empted it, amongst others). However quite a few gaping plotholes spoil the enjoyment - in particular the "Skullboys" who appear as omnipresent Mad-max bandits but have no obvious origin or continuity - what do they eat?, where do new ones come from?, why do they bother attacking people?, the civilisation is supposedly stable rather than immediately post-apocalypse so these questions need to be answered to make the novel hang together. Overall, passable to read on a train to pass time but definitely not something to file in the read-again category.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Left me high and dry, 12 Oct 2012
By 
Amazon Customer (Ashington, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Terminal World (Kindle Edition)
I actually enjoyed this book right up until the end where it just sort of stopped. I had guessed that it might, because the very nature of the characters and the setting meant that there could be no meaningful "eureka" conclusion and explanation, which I know is often a good plot device but in this case just left me feeling annoyed.

The world has gone wrong because an important piece of transport technology (stargate style? noone knows) was partly destroyed and/ or interfered with by aliens/ an alien intelligence? which has created weird zones that have slight but importantly different physical constants.

A solution to the problem is guessed at in the form of a child that is capable of controlling the misbehaving machinery and the story revolves around getting here back to the heart of the problem.

They get her there (via numerous trials & tribulations) and then it ends. The story was fine but I just felt it needed more at the end.

Hmm...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who killed Science - a steampunk whodunnit., 11 July 2012
By 
D. J. Ketchin "living in books" (Edinburgh Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Terminal World (Kindle Edition)
Terminal World - is a book about a future where different states of reality impose different physical rules on different parts of the world.
In some High technology can flourish - in others no complex machines work. The world is split into different zones of technology.

An interesting premise and fertile ground for a book. Im not going to write a lengthy treatise as there are numerous reviews on this book.
I will summarise my opinion. This book is significantly different in style and content from all Reynolds other works.
The characters do not appear as tightly defined as his other works. The main characters origins differ from the rest of humanity. His faction is at odds with the rest of humanity. ( similar to many of reynolds other books). The science is mainly steam age - which is not a problem - but shifts the emphasis from space opera to steampunk. Substitute dirigible combats fro starship battles.

My main beef is with the huge buildup towards the end of the book ( look away if you dont want spoilers) regarding the cause of the Mire ( the source of the zones) and the unsatisfying resolution of the book. For reynolds this was a real anticlimax - the rest of the book was ok - tending towards a reasonable 4 star , but the ending seemed to entirely lose its way and become mired in a succession of anticlimactic false endings.

Very Dissapointing. The whole thing seemed to be a version of Black Lung Captain with much less interesting characters.
Id have to agree with the majority of the other reviewers and state this is not reynolds at his best. And the shift to steampunk doesnt suit his writing style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs a prequel, or something., 1 July 2012
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This review is from: Terminal World (Paperback)
I don't know if it's me or the book but I had great difficulties just getting through this one.
And I have really tried to read it, tried to like it as much as I've liked his other books.

I have really loved Alistair Reynolds other books, and have read perhaps not everything he's written, but everything I have been able to get my hands on. And I can really recommend them all. But Terminal World and I just didn't get along that well.

Where AR's other books have created interesting personas just in a few pages or lines, halfway through this one I still don't really care what happens to the main characters, what the big mystery or main plot really is all about.
Spearpoint seems to be an interesting place. At least I'm guessing it is since I didn't really get to know a lot about it. Still I'm supposed care about the place and the people there?
Could we perhaps hope for a "prequel" just about Spearpoint and its history?

But read it. Hopefully you'll like it better than I did.
Just don't expect it to be a "regular" Alistair Reynolds story...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, 23 Jun 2012
This review is from: Terminal World (Paperback)
What a badly written unsatisfactory piece of "steampunk" rubbish. I generally read all of AR's work but this may be the last one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice ideas but doesn't reach any conclusion!, 18 Jun 2012
By 
R. HOW "gymnophoria" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Terminal World (Paperback)
I broadly enjoyed reading this book, but my biggest gripe is that the story just stops, in the middle of dramatic events, without explaining what happens to the characters, without explaining the real nature of the world and in particularly the "zones" which limit technology. There are some hints, which is fine, but much of it is left entirely unexplained, including the fate of the protagonists. I assumed there was going to be a sequel, but Reynolds has apparently given up on this idea and has no plans to write more.

it had some nice ideas, particularly the steampunkish setting enforced by "zones", which limit the techology in certain regions. The city of Spearpoint was also fascinating, though we don't get to see much of it before traipsing off on a rather tedious travelogue of less interesting parts of the world.

The bulk of the novel then takes place confined to airships, in which one character, talking about the airship-based fiction popular amongst the airborne denizens, says: '"Will you read these stories?" "I don't like them", Nimcha explained, "they're stupid. They're about things that don't matter"'. I couldn't help agreeing, and wondering why Mr Reynolds had wasted his time and mine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I hate to write this but......., 3 May 2012
By 
Mr. C. J. MacKenzie "www.laugar.org.uk" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Terminal World (Paperback)
Terminal world really was a huge let down.

Yes, it's nice to fill in the gaps as to where and when this takes place, but the story itself is still very dull.

I don't want to spoil it for others, so won't reference specifics, but the charactors are pretty slow to connect with.
The plot itself is far too slow and reads more like an introduction to a trilogy, than a novel in it's own right.

Having (like many others) read everything AR has written, and loved every single book, this has been a huge disappointment.

Maybe it's my fault.
I was hoping for another great sci-fi novel from the greatest writer, but I got a boring steampunk trash novel instead.

My copie's for sale for 50 pence if anyone wants it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a let-down, 25 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Terminal World (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of Reynolds' work in general, but this one didn't gel. It's an interesting premise, both in terms of the state of the world as presented and the future-history that got us to that point, but it just isn't credible - the infrastructure required to support the higher levels of Spearpoint simply doesn't exist at the necessary scale. For example, the zones don't permit a decently sized steel rolling mill anywhere near the city, and don't provide for the heavy materials to be transported in from further away. If this had been painted as a point on a steep continuum of decay, then fair enough, but it is made out to be reasonably steady-state (events of the novel notwithstanding) and it just wouldn't work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, IMHO, 2 Feb 2012
This review is from: Terminal World (Paperback)
I am a fan of AR's books, and have just finished reading Terminal World, and have to agree with other reviewers that this isn't his best, in my opinion. The premises (shifting zones of reduced tech levels, angels, post-apocolyptic setting) are OK but don't hang together with a really convincing water-tight back staory and to me the world feels a little disjointed and the characters lack believability. The story feels like one big journey with a definite sequential feel: encountering one strange location and/or set of creatures after another. Overall to me it felt 'fantastic' but disjointed and a bit linear. I never fell in love with this book, and it never induced a sense of wonder, which is a shame, and I was always waiting for it to get better.
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Terminal World
Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds (Hardcover - 15 Mar 2010)
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