2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A tale of two halves,
This review is from: Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days: Tales from the Revelation Space Universe (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Hardcover)
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.