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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet
This book collects two novellas that were previously published separately as limited editions, both set in the same universe as Reynold’s ‘Revelation Space’ series of novels.
Opening story Diamond Dogs deals with an expedition to uncover the secret at the heart of Blood Spire, a mysterious alien artefact that has killed all who have previously...
Published on 2 Feb 2006 by Jane Aland

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tale of two halves
Having read the 3 books set in Alastair Reynolds universe I have been looking forward to reading this pair of tales, in particular to see how Alastair Reynolds would handle a shorter story form.
In short I very much enjoyed Diamond Dogs, and while I felt the ending was telegraphed it did leave me something to think about. Turquoise Days however left me feeling...
Published on 28 Jan 2003 by Luder 85


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet, 2 Feb 2006
By 
Jane Aland (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This book collects two novellas that were previously published separately as limited editions, both set in the same universe as Reynold’s ‘Revelation Space’ series of novels.
Opening story Diamond Dogs deals with an expedition to uncover the secret at the heart of Blood Spire, a mysterious alien artefact that has killed all who have previously attempted the challenge. In effect this appears to be a very straight-forward puzzle story, as the expedition enters a room, solves a puzzle, and proceeds to the next room where another puzzle awaits, not dissimilar to an old style computer or roleplaying game, or as Reynolds all but namechecks in the text, the puzzle solving aspect of such films as The Cube and the Indiana Jones movies. Despite a vivid cast of characters (including a cyberneticist obsessed with replacing body parts, and an ex-couple where memory suppression has dimmed one’s recollection of the other) it’s a case of so far, so basic. Reynolds masterstroke however is to change the emphasis – the actual puzzles are not the focus (they rapidly move into realms of such advanced mathematical complexity that Reynolds only skims over the details), even what lies at the heart of the artefact is not the focus, instead it is the competitive spirit of the characters, and the lengths to which they will go to – even eventually shedding their own humanity behind them – in their quest to beat the puzzle. It’s the players, not the game, that’s are the stars here, and Diamond Dogs is a fantastic exploration of obsession as a result.
The second novella, Turquoise Days, deals with a scientist studying a world inhabited by Pattern Jugglers – alien biomass forms that float on the planet’s oceans and absorb the thoughts of those who swim in them – and the calamitous results of the arrival of a group of offworlders. Perhaps not quite as gripping as Diamond Dogs, this s nevertheless an interesting examination of an alien culture, and the hidden motives of the off-worlders provide an action-packed finale.
All in all, both these novellas are good solid batches of science fiction, and recommended for either established Reynolds readers or newcomers (these stories are only tangentially linked to Reynolds full-length novels, and are perfectly self-contained as a result). Reynolds can occasionally suffer from pacing problems with his bloated doorstopper-sized novels, but what these novellas lose in ‘epic’ feel they more than make up for in good pacy storytelling. Good stuff.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff !, 17 Oct 2003
This book is actually two separate stories with not much connection other than the background of the revelation space universe. One is the story of a group of people, who go to carefully investigate a mysterious alien structure (The Blood Spire) - around which are the dismembered remains of those who have preceded them...
The second is about a female researcher on a pattern juggler world. theres a lot of information about the jugglers and so forth which is new in the novels. which i found to be interesting and a good addition to the universe. Also theres some off worlders with a hidden agenda too, which the plot revolves around.
now there is only the faintest hint of a connection between either story but that doesnt matter. basically both are typically well written and both are very engrossing. They are quite outrageous in theyre own way, like the other books only on a smaller scale. I couldnt put them down. i read the whole book - both stories in just two sittings.
the only "problem" with the book is that isnt all that long. A third story would have been good. however i cant fault the book, nothing really wrong with it. There arent too many characters to get to grips with either which is a good thing as they arent long enough to support that. if you like the other revelations space novels youll like this one!
thoroughly recommend it. very enjoyable.
Russ
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tale of two halves, 28 Jan 2003
Having read the 3 books set in Alastair Reynolds universe I have been looking forward to reading this pair of tales, in particular to see how Alastair Reynolds would handle a shorter story form.
In short I very much enjoyed Diamond Dogs, and while I felt the ending was telegraphed it did leave me something to think about. Turquoise Days however left me feeling somewhat shortchanged. I felt that the common thread in these tales was does transformation when forced from outside change the way we think and behave, a thread that seems to crop up in all of Alastair Reynolds work.
Diamond Dogs which seems to be full of references to singers authors and poets (Diamond Dogs, Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came etc.) runs along with a logic of its own, slightly twisted as I have come to expect (and enjoy) from Alastair Reynolds work.
The main element of the story (the blood tower) involves a seemingly impossible quest or an intelligence test. The objective is to reach the top of a 250m high tower, by passing through rooms which get progressively smaller, and after each of which you are only about 20-25cm closer to your goal, to get through each door you have to pass an intelligence test.
The penalty for failure is however, significant, the first failure (warning) is met with an injury that forces an amputation. As the group progresses their motivations for being there become more apparent, and result in their deciding if they continue or give up. Some of the choices and consequences may surprise you.
I have read a number of tales that use this scenario, (The Man in the Maze, The Patterns of Chaos, The Black Tower and others), this I enjoyed more than anything except Brian Stablefords Genesys Trilogy.
At the end the main protagonist makes a choice which is logical in the story (even if obvious) at the end leaves the question what is the blood tower open. A good paced and length yarn.
Turquoise Days however, (which like Diamond Dogs also deals with transformation and the way decisions/events can impact on our lives) left me pretty cold. The situation seemed a little lame and the charaters insufficiently developed, mainly due to length, although this tale sheds more light on the Pattern Jugglers than the previous 3 novels put togeather.
In summary 3 1/2 stars, should you read it, if you like the others yes. Should you buy it - yes but wait for the mass market paper back, and read Brian Stablefords Genesys trilogy while you are waiting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light snacks, 26 Dec 2003
Two very different short stories here, with no connection other than the universe in which they are set.
The first story could almost be an Edgar Allan Poe or Hammer Horror tale - a strange tower full of deadly puzzles that attracts those who cannot resist a challenge. An interesting tale, but I couldn't help feeling it was somehow incomplete. Perhaps the mark of a good short story?
The second novella focusses on an isolated world that is co-inhabited by Pattern Jugglers and humans. This is more like it! Great to read more about the Jugglers, whilst moving through an exciting narrative.
As others have said, the book is short, which is why I only give it 4 out of 5, could've done with another story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gentle Introduction to a Dark Universe, 27 Jan 2003
By A Customer
In contrast to Alastair Reynolds' previous novels, this is a relatively slim volume. The two stories are slightly more action orientated than Reynolds' previous stories, but they are still far from being pulp space opera.
Anyone who has read Reynolds' previous books (Revelation Space, Chasm City and Redemption Ark) will feel instantly at home here. The two stories are set in the same universe. The difference this time is that both stories stand apart from the ongoing narrative of the novels. For that reason, anyone who hasn't yet taken the plunge into Reynolds' dark and perverse future will find this volume to be a gentle starter.
Diamond Dogs is typical Reynolds fare. Six disreputable characters set out to solve the puzzle of an alien tower on a distant world that may or may not hold riches, but will kill them if they make a mistake.
The characters are all typically unlikeable and many seem to have ulterior motives and hidden secrets, from the adventurer who seems to know just a little bit more than the others, to the disgraced cyberneticist who makes Dr Mengele seem like your friendly neighbourhood GP.
Nevertheless, each character brings something to the mix and the story is riveting. I found a lot of similarities between this story and one by (I think) Brian Aldiss, but strangely enough the author acknowledges this and turns the whole narrative into a sort of homage. There are even some outrageous and deliberately unsubtle references to contemporary films such as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Cube"!
Turquoise Days is slightly different in that it fleshes out some of the backstory of Reynolds' universe and deals with the Pattern Jugglers - an enigmatic group of aliens who may yet play a greater part in the mainstream novels. (Despite what is stated above, Clavain does not feature in Turquoise Days.)
With this book, Reynolds has travelled down the same road as Peter F Hamilton. Hamilton's "A Second Chance at Eden" gave us standalone stories from the Night's Dawn universe, although in greater quantity. I sincerely hope that Reynolds produces more stories in this vein - and quickly please...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intelligent space opera, 24 May 2003
This book is not a novel, but rather a pair of novellas set in the same imaginary universe as ARs other works (Revelation Space, Chasm City and Redemption Ark).
Diamond Dogs is very reminiscent of Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys in that the premise of the story is the exploration of an alien artifact which contains potentially lethal puzzles.
The story is set in the distant future where mankind has expanded to many planets and distant stars. Communication and travel are still bound by relativistic principals so communication and travel are limited and expensive...Medical technology has allowed the rich to extend their lifetimes considerably.
...but I digress.
The characters are a group scientist/adventurers, almost in the Victorian style in that they are rich and bored enough to risk their lives on a trip that offers little in the way of profit, but will satisfy their curiosity. Ultimately the story explores the nature of obsession but in an interesting and engaging way.
The story cracks along at a fair pace with moments of tensions and sudden violence and
the interaction between the characters is mature and believable within the context of the story.
Turquoise Days is is less well paced and is probably better read than described.
The story is based on an ocean world which is inhabited by humans but also home to a planet wide organism called 'The pattern Jugglers'. The premise of the pattern jugglers is that while not being intelligent itself, it can interact with sentient species and store or even modify the minds of people who swim with them in the ocean.
It sounds a bit odd, but it works quite well. The patter n Jugglers are referenced in ARs earlier works so perhaps that helped.
Anyway, without giving away the story, it concerns the interaction of the main character Naqi, who is part of team that researches the pattern jugglers and the arrival of a starship from elsewhere (it is the first such visit in 100 years). The pace is slower and I did wonder where the story was going for a long time, but the pay-off at the end is worth the wait.
All in all, a pretty good read.
Overall I'd recommend this as a good introduction to Alastair Reynolds universe.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A short but necessary fix for Revelation universe fans, 21 Jan 2003
By 
R. M. Lindley - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This hardback contains two novellas, and may pass a pleasant day's reading, but no more.
The stories are up to the usual (high) Reynolds standard - fantastic machinery, space opera, blood, guts and rapid (if a little shallow) characterisation (but they are long short stories after all).
My favorite was Diamond Dogs - a take on the classic sci-fi staple of the deadly maze, with appropriate (and funny) homage to Indiana Jones and the film The Cube. I guess opinion will be divided as to whether "Roland Childe" was a bit too corny as one of the main protagonists assaulting the tower.
(As an aside, if you are into Roland + dark towers I'd consider Stephen King's The Gunslinger series his best work to date and an excellent sci-fi/fantasy hybrid).
Turquiose Days rattles along at a good pace, but does not add much to our knowledge of the Pattern Jugglers, and lacks the big Macguffin of Diamond Dogs. Again, it pays to look for the subtle references to previous stories for a few interesting hints.
In short, so is this book. Hence the four, rather than five, stars. At the price for a few hours of entertainment Diamond Dogs/Turqoise Days still represents better value for money than most cinema tickets, 80's nightclubs and Sheffield Wednesday matches,
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a revelation!, 15 Jan 2003
I bought Diamond Dogs as part of the infinities collection last year, but had no qualms about paying for a book that I had already read half of.
Put simply the universe in which both these novella's are set is a hugely intricate, evolving and totally convincing place.
There is no grand federation ala star trek, but simply a sense of a natural evolution of the human condition, where it does take years to breach the distance between the stars and therefore the reasons the characters choose to travel must be of great importance, leading to truely gripping plots.
The first story set in pre-melding plague days has a wonderful enigma about it, how much of your humanity would you give up to follow a dream? I daren't describe its plot for fear of reducing its affect.
The second story set on a juggler world, describes a place so alien and yet so believable, and while the plot twist is in a similar vein and therefore fairly obvious to people who have read the author's other books, it still captures the imagination in a way seldom done by todays authors.
While there is hardly a mention of the wider universe in which the true novels are set, this book is still a worthwhile addition to the collection of any fan of Al Reynolds.
I can't rate both of these stories high enough 6/5.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only worth it for the Chasm City Completists, 13 Feb 2003
By 
A. Key "Electric Monk" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Older readers, do you remember those turgid "adventure" games from the early '80s home computer boom? The games were essentially linear - while they gave the impression of being a whole universe where you could choose your own actions, you soon discovered there was only one way forward and one way back, and to move forward you had to solve a puzzle, usually involving giving the magic turnip to the wizard while standing on your head, or something like that. Well, that's how "Diamond Dogs", the first story in this pair of novellas, reads. ("Novella" - what a lovely term. Surely only in SF do novellas and novelettes live on as literary forms.) Our motley crew of heroes make their way through the rooms of a Mysterious Alien Tower, forced to solve an IQ-test-style puzzle at each doorway, with vicious consequences if things go wrong. While nominally set in Reynolds' Revelation Space universe, it could be anywhere really. Dull and predictable. "Turquoise Days", on the other hand, fair brims with imagination, and while the ending is contrived, the scenery is nice along the way, and the story adds depth to the Revelation space milieu. So, worth it if you've read Reynolds' other works and would like to know more about the Pattern Jugglers. Otherwise, taken as a package, disappointingly lightweight.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep it coming, 4 Feb 2004
By 
Tom Douglas (Marlow) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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My dictionary defines a novella as "a work of fiction intermediate in length and complexity between a short story and a novel." And both novellas in this book fit that definition perfectly - neither comes across as a short story strung out, or a novel written in a hurry.
Diamond Dogs is a quest to, and then through, an alien artifact. That it is set in the Revelation Space universe is not especially relevant. It is a nice compact stand-alone story, although not particularly original.
Turquoise Days is about the Pattern Jugglers, and is a very welcome expansion to a part of Revelation Space that has only been glossed over in the past. It is also rather a touching story, being about change arriving from without, love for an existing way of life and living in harmony with the planet.
If you are a Revelation Space addict, then the book is worth the money just for the Pattern Jugglers insight. If you aren't and just want a good read, then in combination the two stories are still worth the time.
Four stars.
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Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days by Alastair Reynolds (Paperback - 11 Dec 2008)
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