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Recursion Mass Market Paperback – 29 Aug 2006

3.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 29 Aug 2006
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (29 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553589288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553589283
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.9 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,982,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'An exceptional first novel. A new British star has arrived to join the likes of Hamilton, Reynolds and Banks.' -- Vector --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Herb returns to the remote planet he has been furtively trying to build a city on, to find it a swarming nightmare of self-replicating machinery. Eva has taken desperate steps to escape the tedium of her pointless life ... only to end up in the super-intelligent clutches of a yellow mechanical digger. Constantine arrives at the remote part-idyllic, part-nightmare settlement of Stonebreak and - unsettlingly - begins to confront the truth of his own unreality. Meanwhile in the farthest reaches of outer space, the Enemy is plotting the final overthrow of the human race which created it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ballantyre tells 3 loosely connected stories in 1 during this book via linked novelletes that are interspersed amongst each other - the sum definitely being greater than the parts would have been in isolation. It's an engrossing read the first time through as the `big ideas' are gradually leaked to the reader. However a second reading would be rather tedious since much of the enjoyablity is tied up with not knowing the outcome - and once this tension is defused, the actual action within the book is rather pedestrian.
Worth reading if you enjoy space/AI, but probably not the kind of book to join a limited permanent collection.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The freshman novel of Tony Ballantyne is a cheesy mixture of bland dialogue, unrefined plot points and boring characters. Where do I begin? Let's start with his writing style before we tear the book apart. First, the book needs a serious editor because there were so many points of annoyance I nearly threw the book at the wall. How many times can the cast SHIVER in 406 pages? Oh, more than 15 times, along with shivering water once. Word repetition doesn't stop there. For some reason, the author finds is necessary to repeat Herb's name (one of the three main characters) over and over again instead of using the 2nd person pronoun `he.' It seems as if every paragraph has Herb's name at least four times. Herb is a terribly lame character anyway; he's so lame he shouldn't even have been GIVEN a name! On page 6 I laughed out loud at the cheesiness on the page: "Herb was different. He had known it since he was a child." In another paragraph, Herb narrates how rich his father is, and mentions so three times in only a few lines... then says it again with the first sentence of the very next paragraph. Herb's social status played no part in the plot, so why even mention it? Either sometime is wrong with the character or just the author himself?

Secondly, I should have known the book was going to be a failure when I read the words at the top of the back cover: "In a world of manipulated reality, what does it truly mean to be human?" The plot of "what does it mean to be human" has been run into the ground so many different ways and hardly any of them live up to the task of tackling that question! Bingo! Recursion fails miserably at the attempt to answer this ultimate question.

Eva is the third character in the limelight cast and whose introductory chapter is actually quite enticing.
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Format: Paperback
Ballantyne's debut novel follows three characters in three different timelines.
In the earliest period, Eva is a suicidal waitress. On her well-planned second attempt to commit suicide by overdose, she was miraculously raised from the dead and sent to a facility for therapy.
Eva has long been convinced that an Intelligence has raised itself to awareness on the internet and is watching Humanity. No one believes her and now she is also hearing the voice of her dead brother in her head.
About a century later Constantine Storey is sent to a top-level meeting. Constantine is something of a secret agent, working for the Environment Agency, the nature of whose business is somewhat unclear.
Constantine also hears voices in his head, but they are drug-based additional personalities who possess additional skills for Constantine's use.
The meeting is to decide whether or not to launch the first interstellar colony ship which will be accompanied by a terraforming AI. There are concerns as to whether the warp drive was invented by humans or by AIs and Constantine himself is forced to question his own reality.
A hundred years on from this, Herb is a wealthy spoilt techie who has infested a world with his own Von Neumann machines in an attempt to create his own city. This has gone horribly wrong and the planet is now a seething mass of voracious machines.
The Environment Agency have been watching him however, and he and his ship are boarded by one Robert Johnson, who conscripts Herb to join a war against something so vast it takes up a scary percentage of the galaxy.
It's a very clever piece of work. Ballantyne makes it clear that there are connections between the three, but you have to get a long way into the novel before things start matching up and a pattern emerges logically and inevitably.
Ballantyne is a fairly recent addition to the British SF scene of the Noughties, and it will be interesting to see the direction in which his work goes.
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Format: Paperback
I'll give it a B or even a B+, which isn't at all bad for a first-timer. He's dealing with characters who are not sure (at times) whether they're real humans or software copies, so yes, character development might get a little dicey.

He deals with it well. Looking for further work from Mr. Ballantyne.
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