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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great charater focused sci-fi story, with surprises aplenty!
I won't make any excuses about how much I enjoy Eric Brown's novels. I'm pretty sure I've read more from him this year than any other author and every book I pick up is a joy to read. They may have some faults, but the journey I'm taken on more than makes up for them. When I heard that Solaris were reissuing Engineman, and as I hadn't got around to picking up a copy of...
Published on 11 Oct 2010 by Mark Chitty

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hyperspace junkies need their fix
This is a novel and a collection of about 8 or so short stories all set in the same continuity. The short stories comprose about one third of the book.
The book serves to address and unite all the ideas that Eric explored in his 'Engineman' universe.

'Enginemen' are ex-spacers addicted to the Nada-continuum , but denied access since the closure of all...
Published on 13 July 2011 by D. J. Ketchin


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great charater focused sci-fi story, with surprises aplenty!, 11 Oct 2010
By 
Mark Chitty (North Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Engineman (Paperback)
I won't make any excuses about how much I enjoy Eric Brown's novels. I'm pretty sure I've read more from him this year than any other author and every book I pick up is a joy to read. They may have some faults, but the journey I'm taken on more than makes up for them. When I heard that Solaris were reissuing Engineman, and as I hadn't got around to picking up a copy of the original release, I was rather excited and very much looking forward to it. The whole book is a thing of beauty - the cover makes it stand out from the crowd and the fact that it includes all the Engineman stories (well, except one - Pithecanthropus Blues) was a great bonus. A 350 page novel AND 150 pages of short stories in one book is not something to ignore.

The story follows Ralph Mirren, an ex-Engineman whose job was made redundant after the discovery and creation of the interfaces - wormholes that mean people can cross lightyears in a single step. Enginemen and women piloted ships through the nada continuum with the power of their minds, each time experiencing the joys of the flux, a state of near-euphoria that was a side product of the travel method. They miss this and even a religion has risen up because of it. While Ralph is not a believer, he still joins all other ex-Enginemen and women in wanting to experience flux again. When he gets that opportunity it's something he can't ignore, but someone wants to stop the trip no matter the cost.

Mirren is the main character and, as I've come to expect from Eric Brown's stories, he's one that is very easy to connect with. He's got an interesting past, one that is explored throughout the story, and his current situation is clearly not one he enjoys. His personality is clear from the start, but it's the exploration of events he has no memories of that proves to be the interesting point. He's not the only protagonist, we also follow much of Ella Fernandez, an artist residing in Paris who has connections to an ex-engineman called Eddie. She also has a big role in the story due to her heritage and origins, and this is also an aspect that is explored in further detail as the story progresses.

The story itself is fairly straightforward, although it does kick up some surprises along the way. The way that the colonised planet of Hennessy's Reach, a world that holds both secrets and trouble, plays a huge part in the story is great - it's always nice to read about an alien planet and what its past is about. Of course, much of this relates to the big reveal and resolution of the story so I won't go into any further detail. Suffice to say that all strands of the story are dealt with convincingly and very satisfyingly.

As for the extra short stories included, they are: The Girl Who Died for Art and Lived, The Phoenix Experiment, Big Trouble Upstairs, The Star of Epsilon, The Time-Lapsed Man, The Pineal Zen Equation, The Art of Acceptance and Elegy Perpetuum. While not all of these deal directly with Enginemen and women, they are clearly related to the subject of the novel and the tech that is present. I had two particular favourite: The Girl Who Died for Art and Lived, a story that melds art and technology together to give a really good character focused story; and The Time-Lapsed Man, an excellent story that looks at Black's syndrome where the patients senses start lapsing, so he doesn't see, hear or taste anything until a period of time after it's happened - a very interesting concept!

All in all I would highly recommend Engineman - it's got great characters, great tech and a wonderful story that is nicely wrapped up at the end. It's also the sort of sci-fi that doesn't throw the science in your face and uses it as a background detail to tell the story rather than depending on it. Another favourite of mine!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE GREATEST SCI-FI I HAVE READ TO DATE!, 6 April 2011
By 
FAMOUS NAME (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Engineman (Paperback)
LOVED the artwork for this book!

I've only ever read one other novel by Eric Brown - Helix (see my Review for that title) and I must say; I do enjoy his style of writing. He somehow has the ability to make you feel you're actually 'there' beside the main characters - a quality I often fail to experience when reading much Sci-Fi lately.

I found 'Engineman' to be even better than 'Helix'! There's a death of what you might believe will be one of the main characters in the very first chapter. Sounds a bit odd and ironic I know, but early deaths in novels for some reason seem to bode for a good read in my experience - not sure why...

It's a great pity that though I love all the other qualities of 'Solaris' books; the size of print, clear type, binding, paper and so on, that their publications should always be so very full of errors... Countless spelling errors, and so many wrong words... Often, the word that should have read: 'through' was 'though' - and vice versa... A pretty good reflection on the standard of conscientiousness people give to their job of employment in this country these days - and they are severely overpaid in my opinion!

Eric Brown somehow makes the worlds and times he creates very 'real' and convincing. I just love it when I'm in the middle of reading a good book, pause, and when I stop to look up, feel I've just 'come back' from somewhere - as if I've been away to another world! I guess it's how it should be when having a really enjoyable read, but it isn't always the case - unfortunately. I would say the statement on the front of this book: 'Eric Brown is the name to watch in SF' to be certainly true and very accurate as far as I'm concerned, as I shall most definitely be reading more from 'Mr. Brown', and I don't usually 'follow' Authors.

The whole novel is riveting, but Chapter Twelve I thought particularly outstanding! All sorts of emotions (some you don't always expect to find between the pages of a Sci-Fi novel) and I felt that a complete novel could have been written concerning the wonderful alien race called the 'Lho'! If hesitating in a shop at buying this title, I would suggest you just read Chapter Twelve - you'll definitely come out with the book! It's the most beautiful, fascinating and totally transporting portion I have ever read in a book! I had to break off just after reading at that point, and as I did, I was quite disorientated - unsure where I was for a minute! No book has ever had that affect on me before! I also enjoyed the fact that we were reminded at regular intervals of 'Bobby's' curious affliction - I thought it was a fascinating concept.

There are several short stories at the back of this book, and I see a number of Reviewers have found cause to complain about this; they feel 'cheated' somehow, as one expects the thickness of any book to be that of the whole singular novel (unless otherwise stated) and I must say, I agree with them. I'm not a fan of short stories myself, and never buy them as a rule. I too did not realise that a good portion of the number of pages were in fact other stories, (for those interested, the main story is just 349 pages long) but in view of how good the main novel is, I personally am prepared to overlook it. I shall read them of course, but I don't feel in the mood having just finished such a good and full-sized novel right now. However; This being the second title I've so enjoyed by this Writer, I have no doubt that they will be very good indeed!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas, compelling vision of future earth, 23 May 2000
By 
James Barclay (Teddington, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Engineman (Paperback)
I'll keep it short. If you can get hold of a copy of this book, do so and read it. Brown's vision of Earth and the colonisation of the galaxy is as frightening as it is compelling. The action is fast and the warnings about uncontrolled use of little understood technology and the potential power of huge corporations are timeless.
This is an excellent novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hyperspace junkies need their fix, 13 July 2011
By 
D. J. Ketchin "living in books" (Edinburgh Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Engineman (Paperback)
This is a novel and a collection of about 8 or so short stories all set in the same continuity. The short stories comprose about one third of the book.
The book serves to address and unite all the ideas that Eric explored in his 'Engineman' universe.

'Enginemen' are ex-spacers addicted to the Nada-continuum , but denied access since the closure of all space traffic in favor of more efficient portal technology. The fringe worlds are ruled by a brutal consortium controlling commerce and travel through access to the portals. Aliens are exterminated and humans supresssed. Enginemen will do anything to gain access to the nada continum. Something has to give.

My problem with the book is that it reads like 50's pulp. Ive read a fair bit of Eric brown this year and its all been very average stuff. The short stories are the best things Ive read that he has written. They are quick insightful social pieces that dont require any hard science and rely on characterisation rather than tight plotting. He is good at this. This book falls down in that it mixes mysticism , religion and SF and cant quite decide what it wants to be. Its certainly not the Hard SF that a lot of people promote it as.

For a multithreaded storyline its very badly put together. One of the main characters storylines is completely unneccessary to the plot. Apart from the two main characters and one supporting character there is no attempt to humanise any of the many others who appear in the book.

His style is better suited to social fiction like Necropath, rather than big concept pieces like this and Helix.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well...It's Eric Brown isn't it?!, 18 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Engineman (Kindle Edition)
Can't get any better can it? Love this story-I got totally immersed within two pages then couldn't stop. It comes to mind quite often-now that's gotta be good hasn't it?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange but true..., 21 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Engineman (Paperback)
I loved this book when I first read it. But beware, although it says it was first published in 2010, it wasn't, it's the same book that was first published in 1994. Guess I should have looked more closely but as it appeared to be a new Eric Brown book, I ordered it.

Other than that, it's a fine read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engineer magic, 10 Oct 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Engineman (Paperback)
There's no doubt that Eric Brown can spin a yarn in a similar way to a spider as they're spinning their web and as similarities go, it is pretty apt, as once within his arc, you're pretty much trapped until the end. With a prolific amount of titles to his name, I know that the Science element is always going to be intriguing, that I'm going to get great characterisation alongside superb dialogue and you know that it's a sure fire reader pleasing overload for your money.

Compiled within this offering by Solaris is the original engineman tale and the whole host of short stories associated with the universe that was originally published in magazines such as Interzone, REM and the Lyre. It's definitely value for money, it's definitely quality writing and above all else it's the pace backed by the prose that will keep you coming back for more. A real gem.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Science and The Fiction, 27 Oct 2010
This review is from: Engineman (Paperback)
Like a lifelong alcoholic in a dry state, former engineman Ralph Mirren lives a life of desires deflected, an existence lamentably lacking the very thing he lusts after above all: the nada-continuum. But the bigships which used to power through the stars like "magnificent leviathans" are fit these days only for vast scrap graveyards; the faster than light craft he and an elite breed of interstellar trucker-types would "push" from galaxy to galaxy are simply not fast enough any longer. The Keilor-Vincicoff Organisation have implemented portals which have made instantaneous travel across unthinkable distances a reality. Ralph wants - no, needs - something he can never again have.

Or can he?

When a mysterious scar of a man approaches Ralph and what remains of his bigship crew of old with a mysterious proposition, the enginemen - for a moment - dare to dream. However, Hirst Hunter wants an oath of allegiance before he'll explicate upon his plans, and it's far likelier he's simply looking to sell Ralph time in a surviving nada-continuum tank than engineer, against all the odds, one last push.

Of course, Ralph can hardly resist. An addict to the bitter end, he joneses after the day on which "he would be able to renew his courtship with the infinite. Until then his conscious life would comprise a series of unfulfilled events; a succession of set-pieces featuring an actor whose thoughts were forever elsewhere. Occasionally he would be allowed intimation of rapture in his dreams, only to have them snatched away upon awakening."

Engineman is an elegy of addiction, at its core, a lyrical and indelibly persuasive fable of one man's hunger for something greater, something more. And it is that rare - not to mention precious - thing in science fiction: a cracking good story over and above an account of awesome future tech. As genre stalwart Eric Brown himself writes in his occasional review column for The Guardian, "One problem facing SF authors is how to balance the effective presentation of a future universe with the smaller-scale depiction of its dramatis personae: the former sometimes overwhelms the latter." In Engineman, he strikes just the right the balance.

A deeply flawed and not immediately likeable sort, a bottomless wallow of self-pity who's isolated himself from a supremely understanding wife and a daughter he's never even met, Ralph is nevertheless a character you can get behind. He's a good man with a haunted soul; a good man who's made some dodgy and decidedly selfish decisions, yes, but a good, determined man brought low by a bad habit. His drug of choice has given him a tantalising glimpse of forever, and having gazed upon the infinite, he has become obsessed by the inherent imperfection - not to speak of its insufficiency, its inconstancy - of the here and the now.

In their ways, many of the other individuals you'll come across in Engineman are similarly misbegotten. Hirst Hunter searches for redemption from the dark deeds he was once a part of; Ella Fernandez let someone down a long time ago, and she's still trying to make it up. These dramatis personae are lively, engaging and shoulder the narrative burden handily when they're required to. They - and Ralph - are as much to do with Engineman, and indeed its soaring success, as any technical writer's account of gadgets we all saw in Star Trek decades ago repurposed. There's a bit of that, no doubt, but this is science fiction after all; wouldn't be what it is without the science any less than the fiction, now would it?

Engineman is a stirring and surprisingly optimistic meditation on addiction and the purgatory of loss, and I'd heartily recommend it if it were that alone. It's not. In fact, it's not even Eric Brown's latest novel: Engineman is 16 years old if it's a day. Why, then, am I going on about it so? After all, reviewers only review new books, don't they? Well, perhaps more truth to that than I'd care to admit, but moving along, in actual fact this isn't an old book by any stretch: Solaris have proffered up a glorious new edition, replete with corrections, gorgeous new Dominic Harman cover art, a wealth of added and edited material... oh, and did I mention it comes complete with eight related short stories?

No?

They're not all knock-outs - point me in the direction of the last collection that didn't have a dud or two! - but by and large, the Engineman shorts both enrich the titular narrative and expand upon an assortment of its least developed themes and ideas. Nor as these mere curiosities: one, "The Time-Lapsed Man," took home an Interzone award, and there are others - namely "The Girl Who Died and Lived For Art" and "The Phoenix Experiment" - which stand as its equal.

Engineman is a treasure trove of stories, big and little alike, of science and - crucially - of fiction. On the basis of this loving reissue alone, Eric Brown well deserves a place alongside the genre's brightest stars.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engineman, 27 Jan 2011
This review is from: Engineman (Kindle Edition)
Once again eric brown grabs your attention from the very start, i love the way in this book many different characters begin to link up as the story unfolds. Eric has this ability to create worlds that are a joy to visit for a short time whilst reading . I loved the short stories at the end.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Silly - but fun, 22 Dec 2013
By 
CjW "chris" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Engineman (Paperback)
Written in an obvious amateurish style, however it has great ideas, abeit all borrowed from other well known stories; but still a fun quick read.
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Engineman
Engineman by Eric Brown (Paperback - 14 Oct 2010)
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