Top positive review
A must read for fans of sci-fi
on 26 September 2016
Alistair Reynolds follows a common path in many of his novels - a slow, even soporific start that gradually escalates into the best, purest expression of what I think of as 'hard space opera'. A repeating theme in all his work is 'even within the fundamental limits of the universe as represented by our known physics, the universe can be a magical place', something he normally does by shifting the frame of reference from the immediate timescale to something grander. Of all the sci-fi authors I have read, and there are many, he is the one that most consistently blows me away in terms of the majesty of his vision
Pushing Ice is somewhat of a departure because it focuses very tightly on human relationships rather than grand systems or epic concepts. It's fundamentally a story that is about the somewhat petty humanity that we have to overcome to accomplish great things, and the wedges that get hammered between people when our fallibility has extreme consequences. The two main characters are written with believable compassion. Despite representing two sides of the same coin, and despite the diametric opposition in which they are cast, neither of them comes across as the obvious villain. You can't really revel in their victories or setbacks because fundamentally they are decent people doing things for the right reasons under the most difficult of circumstances.