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On the Steel Breeze Hardcover – 26 Sep 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (26 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575090456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575090453
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 4 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

As good as contemporary SF gets. (Jonathan Wright SFX MAGAZINE)

On The Steel Breeze is a brilliant, self-assured, colourful space opera- with talking elephants. (John Wyatt SUN)

The book is not merely a sequel, but a standalone adventure with heart. (Val Nolan IRISH EXAMINER)

Clever, thoughtful, feel-good SF. (John Wyatt SUN)

Alastair Reynold's On the Steel Breeze moved his ambitious Poseidon's Children's series into interstellar space. (Adam Roberts Adam Roberts)

The book is not merely a sequel, but a standalone adventure with heart. (Val Nolan Irish Examiner)

Alastair Reynolds's On the Steel Breeze moves his ambitious Poseidon's Children's series into interstellar space. (Adam Roberts The Guardian)

Book Description

A thousand years in the future, mankind's influence expands into the universe. Alastair Reynolds' epic vision of our journey into deep space will redefine Space Opera. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
On a Steel Breeze is a large scale, hard SF adventure story with two main weaknesses, the beginning and the end. It is a sequel to Blue Remembered Earth, taking place in the following centuries and concerning itself with the next generation of the Akinya family.

Chiku, daughter of Sunday and niece of Geoffrey has cloned herself twice and the three genetic sisters have shared memories. One sets out to chase the family matriarch Eunice who disappeared into deep space at the end of the previous book. One joins a convoy of giant starships, hollowed out of asteroids, making their way to a nearby star, where an alien artefact has been observed. The third stays on Earth, a baseline charged with staying safe.

However, the starships on their way to the planet Crucible are threatened by shadows at night, or more literally by a ghost in the machine which threatens not just the success of the mission, but the future of the entire human race.

On a Steel Breeze is a work which takes its place on an increasingly crowded playing field on which it is difficult to see new ideas being created. This is the arena of the next few centuries where humankind has broadly conquered the solar system, and is now looking towards the next step. It is an SF where Einstein and relativity are given due respect and voyages to the stars require decades. It is a style of future already populated by Kim Stanley Robinson, Stephen Baxter and David Brin.

Within this style of universe, the main theme explored in this book is the interaction between organic and machine intelligence, and whether they can co-exist. Reynolds keeps his powder on the answer to that dry, leaving at least three different scenarios, on Earth, on Mars and on Crucible to be explored in the final part of the trilogy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a shame really as the core concepts are rock solid. However, Reynolds continues to run on three cylinders. Despite being a fan and despite being committed to reading all his output, I can't really recommend this. Half-baked...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The only trouble with having a fairly small clique of favourite authors is that when you’ve read and massively enjoyed their entire back-catalogue, it is a really long wait between new novels. This has definitely been the case with this next instalment of the Poseidon’s Children trilogy. I finished the first volume, Blue Remembered Earth, back in Feb.2013 and I’ve read a lot, drunk a lot, got older and generally had ample opportunity to forget what was going on.
Thankfully, though, I got back into the now slightly faded world of the Akinya dynasty pretty quickly thanks to carefully sown memory joggers. While, like the first novel, it was a little slow to get going, the pace was perfectly judged, with the right amount of time spent on character development and world building. Despite its seeming stately pace, there is a lot going on. The main character is the granddaughter of the dynasty’s founding matriarch who has effectively created a triplicate identity, two experiencing the epic voyage of the vast holo-ships to the far planet of Crucible and the mysterious Mandala object from different viewpoints while the third was lost searching for their grandmother’s assumed remains on the far reaches of the galaxy. The triple identity is a clever device first explored in Reynold’s astonishingly original ‘House of Suns’ (well worth a read if you haven’t) and it works very well in this setting.
While the main plot drive is the voyage to Crucible, there are major sub-plots vying for attention, perhaps most importantly the machinations of the artificial intelligence ‘Arachne’, the misleading data from Ocular and links with the slightly sinister ‘Mechanism’.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really struggled to put it down and was reading it at every opportunity. I was even reading it for the three minutes it took to microwave my lunch at work each day.

It’s great not to have to start my review saying that this book is excellent, but not as good as Revelation Space, because it is, although it’s not as broad in terms of the scope of the story.

Unlike Blue Remembered Earth, you’re straight into the action with On the Steel Breeze and there’s none of the slow character building. It sits so well on the foundations created by Blue Remembered Earth that I wish I’d gone back and read it again first. I also liked all the characters this time.

There’s a great sense of mystery right up to the end. Most science fiction stories based around a paranoid machine intelligence remind me of HAL. However, HAL was a well intentioned, mislead child. Arachne, at least the version of her integrated into the Earth mech is clearly evil.

Science fiction is usually a look at possible future societies and many of them are utopian futures where there is no more conflict or murder and all of them are wavering on the brink of falling back into chaos. It’s the same in the future painted by On the Steel Breeze. And of course the characters acting for the good of everyone push it over the brink.

Following an experiment that went catastrophically wrong and destroyed a holoship, all development of the engines needed to slow the holoships down and allow them to reach their goal was prohibited. I was frustrated with the authorities making this decisions all the way through the book. It just felt so short sighted, but this is often how governments are.
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