jueves, 16 de febrero de 2012

Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds (Review in English)

(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

I must admit that, at first glance, the argument of Pushing Ice did not seem especially attractive to me. The topic of asteorid miners is not particularly original (for instance, it also appears in the recent Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey). However, I was dead wrong. Pushing Ice is one of the most enthralling books I've had the pleasure of reading in a long time.

Essentially, Pushing Ice is a classic Big Dumb Object novel (similar, for instance, to Rendezvous with Rama) but adapted to the themes and style of modern science fiction and with touches of the New Space Opera, especially in the final third of the book. However, the strongest point of this novel is that it is a real page-turner, a gripping tale that will make you stay up late to read just one more chapter and find out what happens next.

After an intriguing prologue in the form of a flash-forward, the focus moves to the Rockhopper. This ship pushes icy comets (as the crew puts it, 'We push ice. It's what we do') from the asteroid belt to the inner planets of the Solar System and happens to be the closest spacecraft to Janus when this moon of Saturn decides to start moving on its own. As expected, the Rockhopper is commissioned to find out what Janus really is and where it is heading to.

The novel is a perfect example of how to keep the mystery and tension throughout the story, with a perfect timing for hints, discoveries and plot twists that grab the reader's attention from the beginning until the end. The action is polarized between Bella and Svetlana, the two main protagonists (and very strong females characters at that), and their factional struggles for power. In addition, Reynolds takes the chance to show off his vast aeronautical engineering knowledge and to astonish the reader with impossible technologies.

Pushing ice is book that I would highly recommend to any fan of the classic science fiction of ideas that is looking, however, for a more modern approach. Additionally, since this a novel that can be read as a standalone (the ending is open enough that we can expect and even predict a sequel, though) it is an excellent starting point to begin enjoying the excellent work of Alastair Reynolds.

(You can read this review in Spanish/Puedes leer esta reseña en español)

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