Saturday, 12 March 2011

Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds

Rapidly becoming my new favourite writer.

This isn't set in the same universe as Revelation Space or most of Reynolds' other work - in fact it's set in two other universes. One is a few centuries in the future, in which the Earth's been made uninhabitable by runaway nanotechnology (they call it the nanocaust. I prefer the term nanogeddon.)

So while archeologists of the future make trips to the remains of Paris, universe number two deals with a detective/jazz musician living in Paris in what's meant to be 1959, but which we soon learn isn't the same as our 1959.

It's a great set-up and a very easy read. Not as hard sci-fi as his other stuff but lots of fun. Both sides of the story work well and the characters are convincing and engaging. There's also plenty of interesting stuff about nanotechnology.

Although the plotting is very good, the big minus here is that the nefarious plan from the villains makes no sense at all. The ending's also pretty weak - it leaves too many loose ends. The suggestion is that it's all going to be tied up in a sequel, but there isn't enough loose-endage to warrant another book. Another few chapters would've done it.

What Century Rain really reminds me of is a good episode of Doctor Who. Not one in particular, but the kind where there's a strange version of the past that's really in the future. Worth reading if you fancy some light and fun sci-fi with a bit of romance and noir thrown in.

Okay, I've finished I, Fatty a novel about Roscoe Arbuckle so I'll post that soon, and I'm halfway through some German sci-fi called The Carpet Makers. Starting to worry I haven't brought enough books on holiday.

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