Friday, November 30, 2012

Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds

From Amazon:

One hundred and fifty years from now, Africa has become the world’s dominant technological and economic power. Crime, war, disease and poverty have been eliminated. The Moon and Mars are settled, and colonies stretch all the way out to the edge of the solar system. And Ocular, the largest scientific instrument in history, is about to make an epochal discovery…

Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his long-running studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey’s family, who control the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans for him. After the death of his grandmother Eunice—the erstwhile space explorer and entrepreneur—something awkward has come to light on the Moon, so Geoffrey is dispatched there to ensure the family name remains untarnished. But the secrets Eunice died with are about to be revealed—secrets that could change everything...or tear this near utopia apart.

My first Reynolds story was "Great Wall of Mars".  It was a great short story.  I followed it up with "Revelation Space" and it was a fascinating first novel.  So when Reynolds released the first book in a new trilogy ("Poseidon's Children) this year I thought I would follow this one as it was published.  Did it hold up to his previous work?  Yes and no.

The ideas are right up there with the other stories.  The individual scenes on the moon and beyond are amazing.  Unfortunately I was disappointed with the  segments that took place in Africa.  I realize they were important to Geoffrey's character but I thought Reynolds dedicated to this part of the story.    My favorite scenes were the ones on the moon with his sister.  The culture that he develops there is very interesting.

If that was the only drawback I would have liked this story more.  Unfortunately the main, driving plot was pedestrian and disappointed me.  I expected better from Reynolds.    Arthur C. Clarke is one of his inspirations and I have found some of his books to be more of a travel log than a novel.  This suffers from some of the same shortcomings.  Hopefully books two and three will have a better plot.

If you prefer idea driven books, i would recommend this one to you.  If you like plot driven books, I would take a pass on this and pick up one of his other titles.


Carl V. said...

Sorry to hear this one disappointed. I bought it as soon as it came out and honestly almost pulled it off my shelf last night to start reading it. May still try to get it in before year's end. I've only read Reynolds' novel Chasm City but it sold me and I've purchased or been gifted several more of his books. Chasm City is a great one and I highly recommend it.

Jim Black said...

My friend, who has read more Reynolds than me, liked this one more than I did. Maybe you would like it. I know Chasm City is his favorite. This was his 4th Reynolds novel to read.

Carl V. said...

I hope the next time you try Reynolds that you pick Chasm City.

I actually grabbed Blue Remembered Earth to take with me tonight after typing my first comment but then ended up not having to wait on my friend for dinner so I didn't get any reading in.

2theD said...

I liked Blue Remembered Earth alright, but I still prefer the operatic Revelation Space series. It's nice to see an author break from form... some authors just stick to the same ol' same 'ol: Neal Asher's Polity universe and Iain Banks's Culture universe. These books begin to feel all the same after a while, so I'm happy to see a new series but a great author out there.