four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
25-Nov-Dec-2006
user_rating: 
0

A-Pushing IceIn 2057, Bella Lind, captain of the nuclear-powered comet miner Rockhopper, discovers that Janus, once thought to be a moon of Saturn, is really an alien artifact about to leave the solar system. Lind approaches Janus for a brief exploration and finds her ship pulled along in the wake of the monstrous machine’s slipstream. Now castaways on their way to the star Spica, Lind and her crew, divided over where blame should be placed for their predicament, ultimately accept their fate and establish a new colony. What they discover on their journey stretches time and space—and the limits of the imagination.
Ace. 464 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 0441014011

Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars
"Alastair Reynolds has consistently set the bar high for modern space opera. … Pushing Ice is a thrilling ride in the new era of well-written space adventure." Fred Cleaver

Guardian [UK] 4 of 5 Stars
"At the start of Pushing Ice, the author admits that some of the science is real and some fudged, but so confident is his handling that it is almost impossible to work out which is which. … Classic Reynolds." Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars
"The span of time as well as space is breathtaking. … Reynolds crafts a devastating sense of isolation, culminating in the last pages when [ship’s captain] Lind witnesses proof of humankind’s desperate insignificance." Sara Sklaroff

Rocky Mountain News 3 of 5 Stars
"I mainly decided to read British astrophysicist Alastair Reynolds’ Pushing Ice because the premise reminded me of one of my favorite science-fiction novels, Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke. … Although not in a league with Rama, Pushing Ice is a reasonably good first-contact novel." Mark Graham

Critical Summary

Alastair Reynolds, an astrophysicist and the author of six previous novels, including the critically acclaimed Revelation Space series (beginning with the title novel in 2000), has established a reputation as the purveyor of big ideas in science fiction, particularly in the space-opera genre. Critics admire the author for his storytelling abilities and his grasp of hard science fiction, as well as for his willingness to explore issues that, in the hands of a less confident writer, might fall flat. By bringing developed characters and clearly articulated scenarios to the page, Reynolds has cultivated a growing audience of devoted readers. So he’s not yet Arthur C. Clarke. Who is?

The Classic Cited by Critics

Rendezvous with Rama | Arthur C. Clarke (1972): This novel won the Hugo and Nebula awards (and the Campbell and the Jupiter if you’re counting). When an unknown 10-trillion-ton cylindrical object enters the solar system, a team of humans is sent to investigate. As they encounter this artifact from the Raman civilization, scientific, cultural, and religious mysteries abound.