Century Rain (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 3 Oct 2005
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Century Rain is a darkly brilliant love story, set in worlds we think we know but don't. (Jon Courtenay Grimwood GUARDIAN)
"Further proof that he is shaping up into one of SF's best and most ambitious novelists". (Jonathan Wright SFX)
This is an intelligent space opera (Roz Kaveney Time Out)
"Century Rain is an absolute cracker of a novel. Reynolds has always been a consistently bright star in the firmament of British sci-fi but now he has suddenly, perhaps unexpectedly, gone supernova. (OUTLAND OTTAKAR'S)
Century Rain is an exciting, thought-provoking novel, an audacious synthesis of genre forms. Alastair Reynolds is now in his novelistic prime. (Nick Gevers LOCUS)
While science ficiton and mystery have often been combined, no writer has done so with such intelligence or originality as Alastair Reynolds. In a single novel, he steps from the mean streets to the far future." (Rick Kleffel Interzone)
Century Rain demonstrates the growing maturity of his talent (Edge Magazine)
Leaves you wishing that more science fiction was this good. A genuinely great book. (Brigid Cherry Dreamwatch)
With Century Rain, Alastair Reynolds continues the coruscating path he has blazed through SF skies. This a whopping 500-pager, brimming with ideas. (Barry Seddon Manchester Evening News) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Part hard SF thriller, part interstellar adventure, part noir
romance, CENTURY RAIN is the new bestseller from Al Reynolds
Top customer reviews
It's worth a try for any sci-fi fan and i could see this book making a fantastic film too.
I was tempted to give the book a 3 ( 3.5 not possible unfortunately ), but I'm going to throw it a 4 because it's introduced me to a new author who I'm sure will not disappoint in future.
As other reviews have noted, at the half-way point it's all change. We get into an extended hi-tech chase sequence and the plot development stalls. The editor should have been harsher here. More serious is the collapse of plot credibility. Why would the "extremist slashers" want to unleash their genocidal plan on E2? Both revenge and the quest for real-estate are equally implausible as motivations. And the ending is scrappy.
A shame really - this had potential for audience crossover, but SF folk will like it, even those who hang out at /.
I'll try to define the main points of the plot without spoiling it.
"Century Rain" is set in a future where Earth has been destroyed by nanotechnology. On scary nanotechnology I had recently read "Prey" by Crichton, however, the main theme here is something else. I do not like at all post-apocalyptic stories, but the so-called nanocaust spoken of in this book is just a detail of the plot and defines the environment in which the story moves.
Human survivors live in space stations orbiting the planet. Among them is the main female character, Verity Auger, an archaeologist expert in Paris, which is now just a ghost town. Auger is involved in a very special mission. On Phobos (one of the satellites of Mars) a wormhole was discovered that connects two distant parts of the galaxy. At the other end they found a huge sphere, inside which is a "functioning" replica of Earth, as it was in 1959. An alien species (undefined) has created many replicas of our planet, including this one that you can access. But the timeline in which these humans live in ignorance is a bit different from that of the true twentieth century.
These are the premises. The story is located somewhere between space opera, hard sci-fi, thriller, espionage and time travel, although you do not really travel in time. The way in which it is built is really intriguing, with well-defined characters. The book is very long, because so many things happen, which are difficult to predict, and this makes it very entertaining.
Yet even in this case, I stopped at four stars. The reason is simple: in the end the author, in my opinion, did not play his cards right. Being British, I would have expected something outside the box and instead Reynolds seems to have lost himself in the thick of it. Apart from the fact that the love story between the protagonists develops too abruptly and is not at all credible, perhaps because of that a bit too cold, but above all unnatural, look given to the female protagonist by the author (as it often happens when a male author moves a female protagonist), and then that story ends just as suddenly. Even if its end could be explained by a too fast start, two inconsistencies put together, however, do not generate a realistic event, but instead make things worse. For if you forgive the first one, you cannot do the same for the second one.
But the worst is right at the end. In this regard, suffice it to say that the characters, after all they've been through, find themselves exactly to the starting point. She seems to have learned nothing. He grew up, instead, but in fact he finds himself again in the condition in which he "lived" at the beginning of the story. Despite the beautiful prose and the poetic image of the last scene, I was disappointed. An author of this kind, capable of conceiving a story like that, should be more daring.
As a justification for the author I must, however, say that the ending is left quite open, allowing readers to imagine how it could continue, perhaps with a better ending.
Despite all this, then, I highly recommend reading this book to science fiction lovers who at the same time do not disdain some vintage vibe.
Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Red Desert - Point of No Return
There is really not much more to say in praise of this book and other reviewers have already described the plot and main characters. Inevitably, there are those who did not enjoy this book, but the world would be a very dull place if we all liked the same thing.
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