Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days: Tales from the Revelation Space Universe (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 9 Oct 2003
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Fans of Reynolds s brand of noirish sci-fi will find enjoyment here. The Kansas City Star
Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days highlights the strength and flexibility of Alastair Reynolds s writing. SciFi Dimensions"
Fans of Reynolds's brand of noirish sci-fi will find enjoyment here."--The Kansas City Star
"Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days highlights the strength and flexibility of Alastair Reynolds's writing."--SciFi Dimensions--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
Two scintillating stories from science fiction¿s hottest new talent.See all Product description
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Opening story Diamond Dogs deals with an expedition to uncover the secret at the heart of Blood Spire, a mysterious alien artefact that has killed all who have previously attempted the challenge. In effect this appears to be a very straight-forward puzzle story, as the expedition enters a room, solves a puzzle, and proceeds to the next room where another puzzle awaits, not dissimilar to an old style computer or roleplaying game, or as Reynolds all but namechecks in the text, the puzzle solving aspect of such films as The Cube and the Indiana Jones movies. Despite a vivid cast of characters (including a cyberneticist obsessed with replacing body parts, and an ex-couple where memory suppression has dimmed one’s recollection of the other) it’s a case of so far, so basic. Reynolds masterstroke however is to change the emphasis – the actual puzzles are not the focus (they rapidly move into realms of such advanced mathematical complexity that Reynolds only skims over the details), even what lies at the heart of the artefact is not the focus, instead it is the competitive spirit of the characters, and the lengths to which they will go to – even eventually shedding their own humanity behind them – in their quest to beat the puzzle. It’s the players, not the game, that’s are the stars here, and Diamond Dogs is a fantastic exploration of obsession as a result.
The second novella, Turquoise Days, deals with a scientist studying a world inhabited by Pattern Jugglers – alien biomass forms that float on the planet’s oceans and absorb the thoughts of those who swim in them – and the calamitous results of the arrival of a group of offworlders. Perhaps not quite as gripping as Diamond Dogs, this s nevertheless an interesting examination of an alien culture, and the hidden motives of the off-worlders provide an action-packed finale.
All in all, both these novellas are good solid batches of science fiction, and recommended for either established Reynolds readers or newcomers (these stories are only tangentially linked to Reynolds full-length novels, and are perfectly self-contained as a result). Reynolds can occasionally suffer from pacing problems with his bloated doorstopper-sized novels, but what these novellas lose in ‘epic’ feel they more than make up for in good pacy storytelling. Good stuff.
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.
The first story could almost be an Edgar Allan Poe or Hammer Horror tale - a strange tower full of deadly puzzles that attracts those who cannot resist a challenge. An interesting tale, but I couldn't help feeling it was somehow incomplete. Perhaps the mark of a good short story?
The second novella focusses on an isolated world that is co-inhabited by Pattern Jugglers and humans. This is more like it! Great to read more about the Jugglers, whilst moving through an exciting narrative.
As others have said, the book is short, which is why I only give it 4 out of 5, could've done with another story.
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<b>If you read no other Reynolds, ever, DO read Turquoise Days.Read more
This story is fascinating. Science fiction and psychology, quite a mix. I think its well worth a read.
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