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Pushing Ice

Pushing Ice

Written by Alastair Reynolds

Narrated by John Lee


Pushing Ice

Written by Alastair Reynolds

Narrated by John Lee

ratings:
3.5/5 (763 ratings)
Length:
19 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 2, 2010
ISBN:
9781400179602
Format:
Audiobook

Description

2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they're good at it.



The Rockhopper is nearing the end of its current mission cycle, and everyone is desperate for some much-needed R & R, when startling news arrives from Saturn: Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, has inexplicably left its natural orbit and is now heading out of the solar system at high speed.



As layers of camouflage fall away, it becomes clear that Janus was never a moon in the first place. It's some kind of machine-and it is now headed toward a fuzzily glimpsed artifact 260 light-years away. The Rockhopper is the only ship anywhere near Janus, and Bella Lind is ordered to shadow it for the few vital days before it falls forever out of reach.



In accepting this mission, she sets her ship and her crew on a collision course with destiny-for Janus has more surprises in store, and not all of them are welcome.
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 2, 2010
ISBN:
9781400179602
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Alastair Reynolds was born in Barry, South Wales, in 1966. He studied at Newcastle and St. Andrews Universities and has a PhD in astronomy. He stopped working as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency to become a full-time writer. Reynolds is a bestselling author and has been awarded the British Science Fiction award, along with being shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Award, and the Locus Award.



Reviews

What people think about Pushing Ice

3.3
763 ratings / 37 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Forty years from now, we have stepped out into the solar system, mining the asteroids and salvaging ice from comets to provide resources for humanity's expansion. Then, in a moment, the moon Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, begins to leave first the orbit of the gas giant and then to chart a course out of the solar system...all without showing any sign of the machinery it has hidden carefully for millennia. The Rockhopper, an ice miner captained by Bella Lind, is the closest spacecraft to the rapidly accelerating moon, and it is sent in hot pursuit as Janus aims for a giant structure, light minutes long and centuries away. Then, before Rockhopper can veer away, it is sucked into the vortex created by Janus' subterranean space drive and its crew is shanghaied for an interstellar journey.

    I picked up Pushing Ice on the heels of finishing Reynolds' Hugo Nominated short story Slow Bullets. I'm not sure why I chose Pushing Ice, except that perhaps it was what I could find quickly from the library. Regardless, it immediately gripped me, and I read it quickly. Reynolds seems to have a thing for alien artifacts and their impact on unwitting humans. Slow Bullets deals with a mysterious alien prism that crosses all of human space, minutely changing space to send humanity into a dark age. Revelation Space is about an archeological investigation into the destruction of an entire civilization 9000 years ago and why it might happen again. And in Pushing Ice, we find the crew of the Rockhopper transported by near magical means (See "Clarke's Third Law") to a megastructure so large that entire alien civilizations exist within it...and not always peacefully.

    As the members of the crew of the Rockhopper become the denizens of Janus, they face conflict and tragedy and must develop the means of surviving with scarce resources and a limited gene pool. Months become years and then decades. Personalities clash, and the impact of grudges carry over into the tiny society the develops megastructure where Janus has taken them. Reynolds has a eye for creating intriguing conflicts, posing questions that are not easily answered. The result is wonder filled.

    And yet, there are problems. In such a small society, Reynolds sees humanity as rigid and inflexible, vengeful and impulsive. Grudges are held for years, even when keeping them is cruel and inhuman. Politics in such a small group are unlikely to remain static, and yet only two powers ever rise, and they manage to hold on to control without any real challenge over a period of decades. I just didn't see how society--especially one that is necessarily insular due to its isolated nature--could be so myopically narrow. Could it be, though? Sure, and maybe that's why I could suspend disbelief, even when deus ex machine swooped in to maintain the narrow set of powers Reynolds had set as primary in his story.

    Pushing Ice is a fantastic story, a hard science fiction propped up in decidedly non-science struts like resurrection, physical regeneration, near light speed travel, and a machine that can make anything from scratch. Pretty cool stuff, and when combined with the interesting conflicts Reynolds creates, it makes for a cool story.
  • (3/5)
    I liked many aspects of this book. The world building was unique and well done. I enjoyed the role of time in the story. The narrative was part space opera and part soap opera. At times, the political and interpersonal conflicts worked for me, at other times, they did not. Character development for one of the 'protagonists' was lopsided and verged on caricature. There was moments in the book when I did not like any of the main characters, which made for slow going.
  • (3/5)
    sigh. this one just doesn't work: the two central characters are just not credible in either motives or actions, and their decisions are all so wrong-headed and self-serving they are both equally destructive of the larger needs of the colony they are supposed to be (serially) leading; and yet the colony somehow falls in with every changing of the guard, no matter how violent the transition from one worldview to the other. not even the prospect of an end to the human race distracts both parties here from their need to win against each other at every turn. winner take all, up to and including mutually assured destruction, seems to be the only goal that matters. so structurally the book never really feels possible even in its own terms (cf. K.J. Parker, who writes books about revenge obsessions that really feel solid both in terms of the characters portrayed and the situations that arise out of it).
  • (4/5)
    This is an epic space opera by british SF author Alastair Reynolds, and is the first novel of his that I've finished (I partially read it years ago but stuff happened...and it has to go back to the library before I'd finished)Anyway the book concerns itself with a crew of comet miners aboard the ship Rockhopper;the economies of the future are fuelled by ice mined from near-Earth comets. Anyway the crew receives a message calling them away from their current assignment. It seems one of the moons of Saturn has moved from its normal orbit, and the crew aboard Rockhopper is diverted to investigate. As they approach the rogue moon, called Janus, it becomes apparent that it is leaving Saturn orbit and is in fact heading towards a distant star...The book has some cool concepts as you would expect from Reynolds and although it's quite a chunk of a book the action moves at a good pace.The edition I read had a really cool holographic cover which I only noticed when the flash on my camera phone revealed it.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed Reynold's descriptions of the aliens, especially the Musk-dogs were brilliantly visualised. Well worth a listen. I'm looking forward to hearing more of his work and the book was well read.
  • (5/5)
    Alistair Reynolds at his best,an epic story that never seems to go where you expect it to go.Very Good.