Pushing Ice

This 460 page novel by Alastair Reynolds is an excellent example of science fiction although he (or his publishers) call it a space opera. I don’t know that I agree. I don’t have anything against real opera (I love the Pearlfishers and Carmen and I’m all over that Ring of des Nibelungen) but space opera has the sound of something hokey or soapy or, worse, like something I jokingly wrote a long time ago. Pushing Ice is far from that. It’s an impressive work and just because it has good characterization, strong female characters and conflict doesn’t make it space opera. The science is believable, the shear scale is epic and I enjoyed the highly imaginative use of Janus, one of the moons of Saturn. This is one of the strangest satellites in the solar system and Reynolds gives a unique explanation for its oddly shared orbit along with brother (sister?) moon Epimetheus. Like the god it’s named after, it is a rather two-faced character in Reynolds’ story but satisfying even at its end.
The Welsh writer has some solid scientific background with the European Space Agency and maintains a website and blog. I liked his entry remembering the life of Arthur C. Clarke.
I will look forward to reading more from this author and recommend it highly.


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