Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds

Alastair Reynold’s tale grows with the telling. This books features characters familiar and new, engaged on their own redemption quest.

The ‘galactic cleaners’ the sentient machines who inhibit the growth and spread of intelligence are now actively working to eliminate humanity.

Humanity’s factions react in different ways to this threat, mostly concerned with their own survival and squabbles. It is left to individuals to take action to try and cope with the first wave of Inhibitor assault.

One sequence I especially enjoyed was the spaceship chase. It sounds ridiculous, but Reynolds makes it work. With one ship able to follow the other only by the point of its engine, the race becomes one of overcoming inertia to wring more speed. The lead ship actually strips itself to create obstacles for the second, which cannot afford to veer else it will lose its quarry.

Redemption Ark continues Reynold’s intriguing look at a future humanity faced with an external threat straight from the Fermi Paradox. The nature and purpose of the Inhibitors is slowly revealed over the course of the novel, giving Reynolds the chance to explore why such a race of robots might exist at all. Who created them, and why?

The answers are interesting.

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