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House of Suns: A truly excellent novel - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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May 8th, 2008


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02:32 am - House of Suns: A truly excellent novel
I’ve been holding off finishing Alastair Reynolds’ galaxy-spanning epic, House of Suns, (which I mentioned previously in this post) because it’s his best work to date, and it’s been such a joy to read that I didn’t want it to end. Having a short break in my work, I finished it tonight, and the ending was as good as the rest. It was a novel of the power of friendship, love, forgiveness, and wonder across literally millions of years. It also contains a fairly important line that was delivered with absolutely no irony "Nonetheless, we offer you forgiveness. What is the point of being a superior civilization if you can't do that once in a while?", and another line that is something that is exceptionally true, at least for me: "Surprises are good. It's what we live for, sentients like you and me.". It is above all else an impressively humane novel and unlike much of his earlier work, not deeply sad. Alastair Reynolds and P.C. Hodgell are far and away my favorite authors, and this is the finest novel I've read in quite a number of years.
Current Mood: jubilantjubilant

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Comments:


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From:andrewducker
Date:May 8th, 2008 09:46 am (UTC)
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It was the misery that got to me when trying to read his earlier stuff. The reason that I love Iain Banks is that although there might be unpleasantness in there somewhere, the characters at least seem glad to be alive.
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From:heron61
Date:May 8th, 2008 09:50 am (UTC)
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He's definitely been getting better with this - Pushing Ice had less of this than his earlier work, and his recent short fiction has had even less. However, misery is almost entirely absent from this novel, and that's a very welcome change indeed.
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From:autopope
Date:May 8th, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)
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HoS is definitely big on that ole-time sense-of-wonder stuff, but the damsel-in-distress aspect of the end-game plot struck me as questionable; when you tear it apart it's not a hugely substantial work. But fun? Yes, it's loads of fun, which is a big departure for Al. Sort of like Al channeling Pete Hamilton.
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From:heron61
Date:May 8th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
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but the damsel-in-distress aspect of the end-game plot struck me as questionable

That was my one disappointment with the book. The parallel narratives worked well, especially since for most of the chase both Campion & Purslane were both basically along for the ride. However, the last chapter was considerably more considerably more questionable.
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:May 8th, 2008 11:19 am (UTC)
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Wow!!! I will pick that one up ASAP!!!
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From:jake_richmond
Date:May 8th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
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I've become a big Reynolds fan over the last few years.I'm really looking forward to reading this.

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