lunes, 8 de junio de 2015

Slow Bullets, by Alastair Reynolds

(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.)

Review Soundtrack: I suggest reading this review while listening to Slow Bullet, by The Slides (Spotify, YouTube).

Slow Bullets is a new science fiction novella (almost a novel, being just shy of 40,000 words) by Alastair Reynolds. Published by the awesome Tachyon and written by one of my all-time favorite authors, I've been looking forward to reading this book since I first knew about it, many months ago. Although I'd lie if I said this is Reynolds's best work ever, it has not disappointed me and I've thoroughly enjoyed it.

Slow Bullets is, above all, the story of a revenge, but it also has some very interesting elements from subgenres such as post-apocalyptic fiction and generational spaceships stories. It also has a somewhat tenuous connection to the Revelation Space universe, which will undoubtedly make it interesting to fans of Alastair Reynolds's previous work.

To me, the most appealing aspect of Slow Bullets was, however, all that has to do with the ideas of memory and identity. I do not want to give too much away, but in the novella the protagonists have to face certain events in which the ability to store and preserve information will probably the only chance to survive the dire situation in which they, unexpectedly, find themselves. At first, most considerations are mainly practical (what to preserve and how to store it, for instance) but soon they become of a more philosophical nature, touching on sensitive and deep points such as what defines as a society and as individuals.

Another element that I really enjoyed in Slow Bullets is the voice of the main character. The story is told in the first person by a young girl with a certainly traumatic past and the first chapters, in which witness some of the events that have led to the current situation, are just superb as well as the final part of the book in which learn the motives for some of her acts.

The pace of Slow Bullets is a bit uneven, with some intense parts followed by some dull chapters. Also, with the exception of the main protagonist (and probably another one) the characters are merely sketches without much deepness or development. We should not forget that this is only a novella and there was not much room to do anything extremely profound, but I found the book a bit lacking in that respect.

Despite these issues, Slow Bullets is a good, solid science fiction story with some brilliant chapters and several interesting points regarding memory and identity. As I mentioned above, it is not Reynolds's best novella ever (it is hard to beat Diamond Dogs, for example), but I recommended it almost without reservations. And I want to thank Tachyon once again for the excellent work they're doing in publishing new, exciting short science fiction and fantasy. Keep those novellas coming!

(You can also read this review in Spanish/También puedes leer esta reseña en español)       

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