At every convention I ask people what books they can recommend. I wish I could remember the person who pointed me in the direction of Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. I’m a fan of well-written space opera. I loved Arthur C. Clark and also books like Ringworld, but not seeing this quality out there so much. Really happy to have found Reynolds. He’s risen fast, but I’ve just missed his stuff.
Pushing Ice is full of big ideas, intriguing hard sf that stays nicely in the background, and fascinating character interactions. I found it rather amazing that Reynolds does all this so well. Because, I have to say, a lot of (mostly male authors) do the tech stuff just fine but clunk on the characters. Although idea-driven SF seems, unaccountably, to be excused from characterization, those kinds of stories leave me cold. Anyway, Reynolds excels at plot, alien milieu, and his cast of characters–with his Spica artifact, memorial cube, musk dogs, and weird Jim Chisholm. I was especially interested in the deft way he withheld knowledge and explanations to keep you guessing–and reading–and to avoid constantly updating the reader.
I loved this book. The ending is an eye-popper, although I was sorely disappointed not to have revenge on the character who deserved a fate worse than . . . oops, with this book, you can’t say death. There are the Frost Angels.