Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds

Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds Beyond The Aquila Rift It S Shorthand For The Trip No One Ever Hopes To Make By Accident The One That Will Screw Up The Rest Of Your Life, The One That Creates The Ghosts You See Haunting The Shadows Of Company Bars Across The Whole Bubble Men And Women Ripped Out Of Time, Cut Adrift From Families And Lovers By An Accident Of An Alien Technology We Use But Rarely Comprehend This Title Is Part Of The Publisher S Great Science Fiction Stories Series This Story Is Read By Tom Dheere And Is Minutes In Length On A Single Audio CD

I m Al, now a Goodreads author I used to be a space scientist, and now I m a writer, although for a time the two careers ran in parallel I started off publishing short stories in the British SF magazine Interzone in the early 90s, then eventually branched into novels I write about a novel a year and try to write a few short stories as well Some of my books and stories are set in a consistent f

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  • Audio CD
  • 2 pages
  • Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds
  • Alastair Reynolds
  • English
  • 03 December 2018
  • 9781884612770

10 thoughts on “Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds

  1. says:

    Great Wall of MarsA really complex scenario for a short story, but it works, with a good core narrative and glimpses of a coherent larger universe and history outside it A small group of implant enhanced humans is holed up in a Martian colony, under threat from a vastly larger force who view their actions attempts to escape as military provocations Two brothers are part of that larger force One, motivated by revenge, wants war The other, a former POW, insists on going down for peace negotiations An interesting entry into the transhumanist genre, and a nice introduction to this universe.WeatherDue to this book s formatting, I wasn t immediately certain I had started a new story Weather is in the same universe as Great Wall of Mars, but set a few generations later.Out in deep space, a stroke of luck allows a crew to repel a pirate attack From their attacker s drifting hulk, the victors reluctantly rescue a young woman who s a Conjoiner a member of a borg like, post human collective who are both feared and hated even as they make the best starship engines to be found anywhere.One crewman becomes her advocate, trying to protect her from his captain s seemingly irrational animosity toward the refugeeBeyond the Aquila RiftThere s a reason this is the title story Great sci fi Thom is the captain of a small ship doing a routine cargo run, along with his two crewmates Although the run and indeed, all of human civilisation depends on the wormhole like routes between stars that are assumed to be the remnants of some long lost alien civilisation, the use of these routes has become pretty much taken for granted Sure, there are occasional glitches, but interstellar travel is now as safe and reliable as airline travel is today The worst that usually happens when a glitch occurs is a minor delay The crew might be disappointed to make it home late to their families, and pissed off to not receive their bonus pay.And within these pages, unfortunately for Thom, is a situation where a glitch occurs.The story does a great job of setting up a completely plausible scenario and then just wrenching the reader s perspective dizzyingly Loved it Minla s FlowersA solo captain on a mission unexpectedly falls out of warp drive near an unknown system In search of repairs, he finds a planet which has been out of touch with the rest of human civilization for millennia His visit seems almost like a pastoral idyll, a time out from the larger universe of vicious war with nasty aliens until he discovers that this planet is running on borrowed time a natural disaster looms in the near future.What he chooses to do next will affect the fate of the entire planet A sadly believable, but ultimately satisfying tale.Zima BlueFamous galaxy wide, an artist is known for his use of one particular shade of blue Now, he s announced that he ll be retiring but he has one last work to unveil Journalists and media have flocked to the location, but he s denied interviews to everyone except one But when she meets the artist, it seems that rather than his work, he wants to talk to her about the gadget she uses to record her memories.Where the story goes from there is profoundly disquieting and very interesting FuryWorks nicely as a thematic companion to the previous story Zima Blue For millennia, the Emperor of the known universe has ruled justly and wisely His intellect cannot be confined to one mere human body, so when one of his host of cloned bodies is assassinated, it s no big deal seemingly But his faithful retainer, who s been at the Emperor s side for longer than even he can remember, is compelled to find out who was behind the act of violence, and what the motivations could have been What he finds is not what he expected.The ending is strange.The Star Surgeon s ApprenticeFleeing a bad situation on a rough and tumble spaceport, a young man takes the first and only option available to him a job as a doctor s assistant on a ship he knows nothing about except that it s leaving immediately The surgeon well, let s just say he s no Dr McCoy, and soon enough our hero realizes that he may have jumped out of a frying fan into a fire Classic sci fi and excellently done.The Sledge Maker s DaughterAlthough the sci fi elements emerge from this story, it starts out with almost a traditional fantasy feel, as a poor village girl tries to avoid abuse from her father s boss son as she runs an errand to the home of the old woman who s known and feared locally, as a witch At the witch s house, the girl will receive a way to defend herself and secrets will be revealed about not only her people s history, but what they may face in the future.Diamond DogsEXTREMELY similar premise to Algis Budrys Rogue Moon As in that story, a mysterious extraterrestrial structure is discovered which seems to be designed to challenge all those who enter it and failures are destroyed As in the other story, exceptional contenders are recruited, and duplicate bodies are considered as a possible method of solving the puzzle.The main differences are that this story is not at all sexist, unlike Budrys , and that this piece focuses on telling a good story, rather than spouting off on random theories about manliness Although, this one does indeed have something to say about what constitutes hu manliness I have read that this is part of Reynolds Revelation Space writings, and it is clearly presented as a single incident in the life of a character who undoubtedly appears in other books.Thousandth NightIn an extreme far future, humanity has spread throughout the galaxy, splitting and dividing into different cultures and civilisations, adapting itself to wildly multifarious forms of existence One strand of humanity originated with one individual in the distant past Cloning herself, she then sent her clones out to range the stars, exploring and pursuing their separate interests But at set times, they all return to share their experiences and memories It s become an ancient tradition But at this one reunion, two of these posthuman individuals, who are especially close to one another, begin to suspect that someone is breaking the rules and that something is being hidden from them Investigating the omissions and disparities will uncover something bigger than they could have guessed.A nice example of an accessibly sized story set against an epic backdrop TroikaOnce a cosmonaut, now an inmate at a mental hospital, our protagonist escapes his confinement for a final mission to find an aging, discredited astronomer and deliver something to her.His reasons are gradually explained in flashbacks to his notorious mission a brave expedition to investigate what might be an alien construct which has suddenly appeared in orbit around our sun Its strange, layered structure lends it the nomenclature Matryoshka Three Russian cosmonauts hope to penetrate its layers and discover invaluable data but what they discover will not bring them the fame and glory they hoped for Unusually for this collection, the setting here is extremely near future and the plot is anchored firmly in the current concerns of our world Honestly, I felt that the tone of the story verged on negative propaganda not that I m any huge fan of Russia, but However, it was written well enough for me to forgive its slant.SleepoverMy favorite one in this collection so far Sleepover takes a familiar sci fi theme and does something totally unexpected with it Our protagonist, formerly the billionaire CEO of a technology company, awakes from medical cryosleep expecting what he had asked for when he paid handsomely for the procedure that he s hibernated until the secret of immortality or at least, life extension has been discovered But the dingy room and disrespectful attendants don t seem like part of the bright, shiny and wealthy future he expected He s been revived for a reason, and, he realizes, as he discovers the gritty, decaying off shore oil rig he s on, in rough Patagonian waters, it s not a glamorous reason But, it could be meaningfulVaingloryAn artist is unexpectedly approached by a private investigator, bringing up an incident which she had thought long past and forgotten and really, unimportant to anyone except herself, as a bit of a romantic embarrassment But there were unforeseen consequences to that commission she did for a wealthy and untrustworthy playboy And now the investigator has a threat to make or is it an offer Trauma PodMilitary Sci fi horror And it really is quite horrifying Seriously injured on a devastated battlefield where the main combatants are massive robots, a soldier has been bundled into a medical pod for emergency treatment Advanced telemedicine lets him know that while the damage is severe, help is on the way But is the doctor keeping vital information from him I guarantee you re going to come away from this one with an unpleasant feeling about technology.The Last Log of the LachrymosaAnother really quite horrific sci fi story The narrative intercuts between a scene which seems to be a crewmember doing something quite awful and definitely mutinous to her former captain, and a past narrative in which we gradually find out why Apparently, the small crew two hired spacers, the captain, and his rather horrible pet monkey are treasure hunters, so when they find an old wreck in a remote corner of space, they investigate in hopes of finding a big score But the body of the downed spacer is mysteriously missing, and the nearby volcano seems to be emanating bad vibes What they find is definitely not going to make their fortunes The Water ThiefWow Great story The themes and treatment remind me of Paolo Bacigalupi A woman in a refugee camp scrapes by, earning a living for her daughter and herself by working freelance jobs where she operates robots through VR A situation in her camp where an individual is apprehended for stealing water rations is neatly paralleled by a dilemma she must face on one of her jobs, when, for the first time, she experiences through VR the lunar colony she s dreamed of as a symbol of success and escape.A difficult and thought provoking example of the intersection of and conflicts between compassion, justice, and ethics.The Old Man and the Martian SeaEven on Mars, teenagers go through the same angst, for the same reasons Family conflict spurs one young teen, Yukimi, to run away from her home in a colony on the half terraformed planet by stowing away on an unmanned cargo transport which turns out to be a supremely bad idea Luckily, she encounters a solitary, elderly worker at a remote delivery drop off point The encounter could shift the girl s perspective on several things she had taken for granted Poignant and thoughtful In BabelsbergEh, this one was good, but probably my least favorite in the collection I wouldn t have chosen it as the finale to the anthology The narrative balances absurdity with sci fi s traditional distrust of robots Our main character is an AI in an android body, back from an exploration mission of the outer solar system He s got celebrity status, and is booked to appear on a series of ridiculous popular talk shows There s a newer, equivalent AI space probe who s recently been introduced, and the media is eager to play up an imagined rivalry or, is it imagined I really can t explain why, but this collection was my first introduction to Alastair Reynolds work I m impressed this is good stuff Many thanks to Subterranean and NetGalley for encouraging me to discover an author I really ought to have been reading long before this As always, my opinions are solely my own.

  2. says:

    If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Mindfuck Literature Beyond the Aquila Rift The Best of Alastair Reynolds by Alastair Reynolds Tell me, Thorn Are we out beyond the Rift I can hear the fear I understand what she s going through It s the nightmare that all ship crews live with, on every trip That something will go wrong with the routing, something so severe that they II end up on the very edge of the network That they ll end up so far from home that getting back will take years, not months And that, of course, years will have already passed, even before they begin the return trip That loved ones will be years older when they reach home If they re still there.If they still remember you, or want to remember If they re still recognizable, or alive In Beyond the Aquila Rift short story, Beyond the Aquila Rift The Best of Alastair Reynold I ve finally finished this 768 page mammoth tome Is it everything Reynolds has ever written in short form Not by a long shot It contains only eighteen stories of a total of sixty something that Reynolds has written so far But this sample of 18 stories confirms it I read some of these stories previously in Galactic North It s in the short form that Reynolds is at his best I ve read a ton of Reynolds in short form Almost everything I ve read, I ve liked Collections like this both excite and bother me I m a huge fan of the short mode of writing, and an equally big proponent of the less is idea when it comes to the size of books Massive magna opera simply turn me off Even when I end up loving them, like I did with this one What I don t like is carrying some cumbersome volume around, and my preferred method remains print over digital For this one I had to go for the electronic version No way around it If I d had read the print version, I d never have finished it The big hefty tomes I end up reading them on my Kindle Not my favourite venue, but I really wanted to read it.The rest of this review can be found elsewhere.

  3. says:

    Representing another excellent work by this very gifted author, this book contains a brilliant collection of short stories, all of them highlighting Reynold s great imaginative powers and his first class world building narrative capabilities.I loved almost every story of the collection, and some of them like Diamond Dogs a much intriguing, complex and riveting version of the famous sci fi horror The Cube , will stay with me for a long time Alastair Reynold is rapidly becoming my most favourite science fiction author, and I have come to regard him as a brilliant mixture of Asimov and Ray Bradbury, my two favourites authors.Absolutely terrific, visionary, imaginative, well written and epic in its scope and breadth 5 stars.

  4. says:

    I remember Galactic North fondly, but I must be honest here This collection, while it picks up two stories from the previous collection, namely Great Wall of Mars and Weather, everything else is new to me Alastair Reynolds is easily one of the best SF authors writing today He s not sneaky about it, either This isn t any kind of artsy fartsy writing This is Space Opera filled with so much imagination and planning and detail and truly wide vistas of thought, time, and space, that I m surprised I don t hear fanboys and fangirls screaming his name from the rooftops.Well, maybe they do I ve usually got my earbuds in my ears so I find it hard to hear them Let me tell you These stories of his are SO COOL I mean, like glittering jewels of complete mind blowing and written with real talent and clear vision, dense and perfect world building and a plethora of seriously interesting characters.I ll try not to spoil anything, and I ll skip a few directed reviews for some of the stories, but there were a few that you should really pay close attention to And I doubt you ll have any problems doing so, because they re also fun as hell Most of them are placed outside of his Revelation Space universe, but there are a handful that is firmly ensconced Diamond Dogs is a who s who of places and peoples and a really sharp cut But mostly, I ll focus on the pure creations The story that bears the name of the novel Beyond the Aquila Rift It s a mindfuq Clever and interesting space mechanics and a really cool surprise No spoilers Minla s Flowers was an awesome telling retelling of Merlin and a bootstrap raising of a civilization Also with a twist.Zima Blue is was probably my favorite story out of the entire collection And yes, it had a twist.Fury could have been the start of one of my most loved novels ever, but no, it was just a novella, and very much a homage to Asimov The Star Surgeon s Apprentice was scary and delightful at the same time, and dare I say horrific Oh yes A dear story.Skipping a few stories, I get to Troika, and don t miss out with a little listening time to the original music as you read this beauty There s a bit of reality modification, but mostly it s very Russian Sleepover really grew on me by the end until I was completely giddy with the implications and the imagery.Trauma Pod was an absolutely delicious body mod Punk AI horrorshow and I just had to laugh.Las Log of the Lachrimosa will be fun along with Diamond Dogs for those of you still devoted to the Revelation Space books I know I enjoyed them.The Old Man and the Martian Sea was a fine capstone to the stories and I think it might have been better moved below Babelsberg, but I still liked them both In some ways, this short story collection is better than at least 3 or 4 of his full length novels That s pretty impressive since he writes truly mean novels Thanks goes to Netgalley for this wonderful opportunity to read one of the greats of SF

  5. says:

    Let the feast begin And what a feast this was I relished every word great collection of stories Although half of them weren t new to me, they are even better at a second reading for you find new nuances in the words AR masterfully lays As for the new ones, some are real gems, some good, none that I can say I didn t like.Great Wall of Mars and Weather 2nd reading and for sure not the last Read first in Galactic North my thoughts on them here 5 5Beyond the Aquila Rift, Minla s Flowers, Zima Blue read them already in Zima Blue and Other Stories collection Minla s Flowers is the 2nd in a 3 mini series featuring Merlin, but has a standalone plot Beyond the Aquila Rift I could read over and over and over again and I will never get enough of it it remains my favorite of all times.Details on all here 5 5Fury new could a lifetime of goods deeds erase one evil done a long time ago Is it excusable if that evil deed was the foundation on which it was built all the good afterwards To summarize, does the end justify the means You ll have to decide that 4 5The Star Surgeon s Apprentice new in his try to escape from some pursuers, young Peter Vandry accepts a job on a cyborg ship, which turns out to be not what he imagined More on the horror side, quite gruesome but gripping nonetheless Rev Space style I would have liked the ending not to be so precipitate 4 5The Sledge Maker s Daughter new in a post glacier era, a 16 years old girl receives the inheritance of her ancestors and also learns to stand up for herself 3 5Diamond Dogs also read previously as part of Revelation Space universe, as one of the two stories originally published in this collection 5 5Thousandth Night previously read as a standalone, sort of a prequel to House of Suns 4 5Troika also read as a standalone, my first encounter with Al Reynolds works and the one which made me read further of him 5 5Sleepover new a story about accepting your faith Matrix style 4 5Vainglory new interesting allegory for vanity 3 5Trauma Pod new Rev Space style, loved it to pieces 5 5The Last Log of the Lachrimosa found and read on Subterranean Press Magazine, part of Rev Space universe My thoughts on it and link here 5 5The Water Thief new part of Poseidon s Children universe, featuring Soya Akinya, Eunice s mother Same claustrophobic setup as in Blue Remembered Earth but so well outlined 4 5The Old Man and the Martian Sea new touching story about a thirteen little girl who ran away from home and is saved by an old man 5 5In Babelsberg new quite satirical this one and came as a surprise to found here a character from At Budokan 3 5Story Notes some thoughts and explanations from AR on how his stories came to life.Should I say once again that I highly recommend Alastair Reynolds Nope, but I will say it nonetheless

  6. says:

    It was only 5 bucks on Audible which is probably too dear for an hour and a quarter worth of storybut it s Reynolds nuff said.This book was basically an hour of Reynolds messing with my head I would say the twist at the end was a real spin out, except the whole book just starts twisting early and doesn t stop till the finish It s what a short story should be and it left the ending open for interpretation Would make for some great discussion of what people thought was going on.Themes include Reynolds staples like, left over alien technology and cryosleep and humans spread over the galaxy He also adds FTL travel which he doesn t usually get into and that s about as far as I can go without spoiling it.A short, fun read that was arguably expensive than the length of the book warranted.4 stars.

  7. says:

    4 5 5.An essential anthology of the best short fiction of one of the best space opera writers English review

  8. says:

    I bought this because I knew it contained at least one novella I hadn t read that wasn t easily obtainable elsewhere I now wish I had waited for the UK edition which has a much better cover I also wish that the editors had done a better job by which I mean who ever was responsible for ensuring a high quality, accurate text This edition contains a large number of mistakes involving wrong word order, missing words or incorrect homophones I don t know if the UK edition is any better in this respect.There s some great stuff in this collection but as with any other short story collection, there s some variation in quality On this front what concerned me was a trend towards poorer efforts as the book goes on Since they are in publication order, does this mean Reynolds is getting worse That said, this is still a great introduction to Reynolds for those unfamiliar with him and is worth the price for Diamond Dogs alone.

  9. says:

    5 StarsBeyond the Aquila Rift by Alastair Reynolds is a fantastic short piece of science fiction It does not waste time with too many details or explanations It uses the characters as a means to tell a story that will make you think It does not spell things out as it leaves that to you The short story is the perfect way to explore large themes with such a little.I am a huge Reynolds fan and he is an author not to be missed by fans of the genre Tell me, Thorn Are we out beyond the Rift I can hear the fear I understand what she s going through It s the nightmare that all ship crews live with, on every trip That something will go wrong with the routing, something so severe that they II end up on the very edge of the network That they ll end up so far from home that getting back will take years, not months And that, of course, years will have already passed, even before they begin the return trip.That loved ones will be years older when they reach home.If they re still there If they still remember you, or want to remember If they re still recognizable, or alive.Beyond the Aquila Rift It s shorthand for the trip no one ever hopes to make by accident The one that will screw up the rest of your life, the one that creates the ghosts you see haunting the shadows of company bars across the whole Bubble Men and women ripped out of time, cut adrift from families and lovers by an accident of an alien technology we use but barely comprehend.

  10. says:

    The recently featured Netflix show Love, Death, and Robots was the main reason why I came looking to read this weighty tome And let me tell you, the old adage the book is usually better, holds true here Containing some 18 short stories written by Reynolds, of wide varying lengths, he achieves with his stories something sublime in science fiction writing There are some truly inspiring ideas and fantastic tales to be read here I can truly attest that Reynolds is a true genius in the short story form and perhaps can even be regarded as the modern day Asimov for this.My favorites Beyond the Aquila Rift, Minla s Flowers, Great Wall of Mars, Diamond Dogs, Weather, The Old Man the Martian Sea One last thing, the Netflix show corrupts the story of Beyond the Aquila Rift quite a bit and the story is much better My Rating 5 5

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