Zima Blue Hardcover – 30 Apr 2009
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Reynolds's second collection contains 14 stories and novellas, ranging from a near-future, character-based exploration of love and quantum reality set in Cardiff, to far-future space operas packed with seat-of-the-pants action and cutting-edge ideas. He's noted for big novels that combine storylines strung out across aeons with mind-blowing cosmological theory, and he's just as successful at presenting these concepts in the more constraining form of the short story. (Eric Brown THE GUARDIAN)
Reynold's is most definitely a writer's writer. He knows how to weld big ideas to real emotions. (Jonathan Wright SFX)
"This is clever stuff, and consistently well realised." (Matt Bielby DEATHRAY)
A fabulous collection spanning the galaxies and career of SF superstar Alastair ReynoldsSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
However, the reading experience has been significantly lessened by what is all too common on the Kindle - the quality of the text and layout. Unlike older books that were presumably scanned and OCR'd (and thus suffer from typos and odd formatting), Zima Blue can't possibly use age as an excuse. Yet somehow, every single page is inflicted with a spacing issue between paragraphs - in short, there is an extra blank line in between each paragraph. It may not sound like much, but in sections where there is a lot of dialogue, you lose half the content on the page. And it is impossible to tell where section breaks occur, severely disrupting reading flow.
Come on Amazon! If you're going to sell e-books for the same price as the paperback version, at least have the common decency to make the experience the same!
I'm glad to say I was very wrong. This is an excellent collection which I enjoyed more than I did Galactic North.
It worked for me on two levels, firstly it is an excellent collection of stories in and of itself, and secondly it shows Reynolds developing as a writer looking backwards, sideways and forwards. Looking backwards we see some of his influences. Enola is a post-apocalyptic story descended directly from Philip K Dick, The Real Story looks very like the Mars of Kim Stanley Robinson. Looking forward we see strands of his later work appearing. Three related stories featuring a chacater called Merlin involve vast distances and timescales and fearsome weapons in a clear pre-cursor of the Revelation Space Universe. Also there are two detectives which point towards Century Rain and the Prefect. Looking sideways Reynolds explores themes similar to contemporaries. Angels of Ashes uses perverted religion in a similar way to Dan Simmons. Digital to Analogue is a cyberpunk musical story akin to Pat Cadigan.
One of the other great joys is that Reynolds is a genuine scientist and uses his knowledge as a sound base for very believable, very hard SF. For example three stories are based on quantum theoretical multiverses.
So an extremely wide ranging, very strongly recommended collection.
The story 'Zima' is a great example of vaguely futuristic writing, of characters sometimes talking around a subject instead of about it, of big ideas and of themes bigger than just ourselves. It's a great story.
A lot of the others in this collection don't quite live up to this one, but they aren't at all bad. Some are story-driven pieces without nearly as much depth, but I don't think there were any terrible stories from beginning to end even bearing this in mind. I'm always a little disappointed when a collection includes three stories all following the same character (I feel a little cheated when I think they could have been three distinct, unreleated stories with a bigger spread of ideas) but as it happens Reynold's 'Merlin' stories are pretty good, despite taking up a sizeable chunk of this book.
One or two stories don't quite make it (I'm thinking of those that involve travelling to near-identical parallel dimensions, "Sliders" style, which are a bit naff), but a few others reach shining heights, such as the one about a man who believes himself incapable of dying and the one about the last surviving human being.
This is a good collection for people who like a mix of action-based stories and strong ideas, a little space opera and not too much attention paid to the nitty gritty of science mechanics.
Overall, 7.5 / 10
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A novel idea but I was expecting part of an epic space opera.
This series of short stories was entertaining and interesting but not the what I was expecting.
I usually like Alastair Reynolds, but short stories are not his forte - longer novels are definitely where he excels. Some of the stories are pretty gruesome as well.Published 3 months ago by A spoiled cat lives here
The author goes to all the trouble of creating a whole world and characters to populate it and then doesn't have enough time left to let them fill out and fulfil their... Read morePublished 17 months ago by David Graeme-Baker
There was slight water damage not included in description. Still ok for reading.Published 22 months ago by richard webb
I am a big fan of Alistair Reynolds and so, I suppose biased. I enjoy his style and his story lines and the story telling is always of a very high standard. Read morePublished on 21 May 2014 by Roger Field
I got into Alastair Reynolds via the Revalation Space books which I really liked. This collection of short stories is OK, very readable but not my cup of teaPublished on 29 April 2014 by 44DIY