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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but a very good read
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...
Published on 3 Jan 2006 by Dave Box

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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
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...
Published on 16 May 2007 by Craig


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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
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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
By 
Alan Urdaibay - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pushing Ice (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (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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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
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This review is from: Pushing Ice (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (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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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
By 
Steve Rencontre "steveren" (Esher, UK) - See all my reviews
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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
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Mr. M. Poole "mykepoole" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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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
By 
This review is from: Pushing Ice (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An anomalous moon and sanctimonious women, 11 Oct 2011
By 
M-I-K-E 2theD "2theD" (The Big Mango, Thailand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pushing Ice (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. In Accelerando, this scientific singularity approaches rapidly when the cast are hammering out new thingamajigs every other page as they explore their every changing social standing. In Pushing Ice, this singularity is being limited by the aliens which have benevolently coddling them along in the years. We see the colony grow, the hate come to a slow and the possibilities glow.

The only hitch holding back this niche of humanity is the witch-with-a-b cat fighting. Svetlana is a conniving demon breed of women who spits fire and never forgets past transgressions. Bella, on the other hand, has a mild temper, has the patience of a saint even while in exile and is able to forgive her captors. The reoccurring flares of Svetlana's hatred towards Bella and her distrust of any second-hand information is a serious annoyance, enough to drop the entire novel from a 4.5 star rating to a 3.5 star rating. You'll just want to yell at the book, "Get it over it woman! Jesus!"

Reynolds pens a pretty good novel here. A great addition is added to the novel, that addition which we see in the opening: a future human civilization wants to pay tribute to Bella's great deed 18,000 years ago and does so by an unmentioned means. The means brings about a much greeted addition to the last third. The dialogue isn't nearly as dry as the Revelation Space series and it isn't as spastic or chronologically chaotic like Century Rain. It's a pretty easy read considering its nearly 600 pages. Some of it is a tad predictable but not in an overencompassing manner. I would have liked to have seen Janus better explored, the aliens better explored and the Object better explored. Having said this, the exploration of what Reynolds created wasn't satisfactory to me but left me with enough awe to be content with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Revelation, but a fine story nonetheless., 15 Dec 2010
By 
Willy Eckerslike (France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Pushing Ice (Paperback)
Like `House of Suns', this book is not set in the immersive universe of the Revelation series. With the initial claustrophobic ship based chapters, Reynolds has recaptured some of the ground left vacant since the 70's by Pohl and Clarke with the hard science fiction simply providing a backdrop for the interpersonal politics arising from a normal crew being plunged into exceptional circumstances. The story gradually expands to encompass the exploration & colonisation of Janus (very reminiscent of Clarke's Rama) and the impact of its arrival at `the structure', but the relationship between the crew members is always the primary element.

As with all of the other Reynolds I've read, the story rocks along at a cracking pace and its linear narrative makes for a far easier read than the Revelation stories but, as such, it does seem to lack a certain depth. However, the basic premise is highly original, the visualisation is superb, the storyline is gripping and there are plenty of unexpected twists. There can be no doubting the craftsmanship of the novel but I did find some of Svetlana's actions disproportionate and extreme and this, for me, slightly spoilt the plausibility of the tale. These comments notwithstanding, I still really enjoyed this book, not least for its classic sci-fi atmosphere and Reynolds' trademark taut and engrossing storytelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good enjoyable read, but like The Prefect, needs a sequel., 3 Nov 2009
By 
This review is from: Pushing Ice (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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Pushing Ice (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Pushing Ice (GOLLANCZ S.F.) by Alastair Reynolds (Paperback - 12 Oct 2006)
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