10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Zima Blue (Hardcover)
I had avoiding buying this for a while, thinking that it would just be an exercise in cashing in, anthologising lesser earlier work.
I'm glad to say I was very wrong. This is an excellent collection which I enjoyed more than I did Galactic North.
It worked for me on two levels, firstly it is an excellent collection of stories in and of itself, and secondly it shows Reynolds developing as a writer looking backwards, sideways and forwards. Looking backwards we see some of his influences. Enola is a post-apocalyptic story descended directly from Philip K Dick, The Real Story looks very like the Mars of Kim Stanley Robinson. Looking forward we see strands of his later work appearing. Three related stories featuring a chacater called Merlin involve vast distances and timescales and fearsome weapons in a clear pre-cursor of the Revelation Space Universe. Also there are two detectives which point towards Century Rain and the Prefect. Looking sideways Reynolds explores themes similar to contemporaries. Angels of Ashes uses perverted religion in a similar way to Dan Simmons. Digital to Analogue is a cyberpunk musical story akin to Pat Cadigan.
One of the other great joys is that Reynolds is a genuine scientist and uses his knowledge as a sound base for very believable, very hard SF. For example three stories are based on quantum theoretical multiverses.
So an extremely wide ranging, very strongly recommended collection.