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A Gentle Introduction to a Dark Universe,
By A Customer
This review is from: Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days: Tales from the Revelation Space Universe (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Hardcover)
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...