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Zima Blue Hardcover – 30 Apr 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; First Edition edition (30 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575084057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575084056
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 503,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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)

Book Description

A fabulous collection spanning the galaxies and career of SF superstar Alastair Reynolds

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I won't mention too much about the actual stories - suffice to say that I've really enjoyed them. Compelling, well written, touching (in a few cases) and thought provoking. A welcome dose of intelligent sci-fi.

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!
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Format: Paperback
Inventiveness and humour run throughout this book. One important and enduring question that is explores through these and other stories: what happens when you mess with people? And I mean really, really mess with people. In the brilliant 'Understanding Space and Time' a man believes he is the last human in the universe and sets off on a question to solve the biggest of all riddles and meanwhile grows a huge affinity for a certain large-flaired pop star. In the title story - 'Zigma Blue' - ace-journo Carrie Clay sets off after a crazed artist whose body modifications are extreme enough to let him float around space in close proximity to stars, painting what he sees on truly huge canvases. But his story is much stranger than that. And 'Signal to Noise' explores the universe's multiple dimensions, and life's multiple loyalties, from the comfort of a Cardiff laboratory. The most human and heartfelt of the collections, it leaves you plenty to meditate on. Those are three of my favorites - but the collection is easily rich enough for other readers to list a completely different set.
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By P. G. Harris VINE VOICE on 16 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I had avoiding buying this for a while, thinking that it would just be an exercise in cashing in, anthologising lesser earlier work.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought the collection on the strength of the story 'Zima Blue', which was featured in an anthology of the best sci-fi stories. I was hoping all the stories in the book would be of the same high standard.

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

David Brookes
Author of 'Half Discovered Wings'
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