CENTURY RAIN | ALASTAIR REYNOLDS
Alistair Reynolds is one of those in names in sci fi that everyone knows, however I have never read any. So, I was looking through the audible included catalogue and came across this and my curiosity got the better of me.
You see, I have always wanted to read some of Alistair Reynolds' books but never knew where to start really, and as this came up on the audible included list, I thought it would be a good place to start. You see there were a number of books available, but I didn't want to start a massive series like Revelation Space coz it has got six books in it (I think!), and I didn't want to start with a massive series that I didn't know I would l like.
What's the book about?
Three hundred years in the future, Verity Auger is a specialist in the archaeological exploration of Earth, rendered uninhabitable after the technological catastrophe known as the Nanocaust. After a field-trip to goes badly wrong, Verity is forced to redeem herself by participating in a dangerous mission, for which her expertise in invaluable.
Using a backdoor into an unstable alien transit system, Auger's faction has discovered something astonishing at the far end of a wormhole: mid twentieth-century Earth, preserved like a fly in amber. Is it a window into the past, a simulation, or something else entirely?
CENTURY RAIN is not just a time-travel story, nor a tale of alternate history. Part hard SF thriller, part interstellar adventure, part noir romance, CENTURY RAIN is something altogether stranger.
Publisher Gollancz; First Edition (25 Nov. 2004)
Century Rain follows two main protagonists. One is a private eye in 1950's Paris, Wendell Floyd,who is hired by the landlord of a tenement block in Paris to investigate the possible murder of Susan White, which the police originally deemed a possible suicide.
The other is Verity August, an archaeologist who lives in earth's future. In this future, the earth has been ravaged by an event called the Nanocaust which has resulted in the human race being split into separate factions, The Threshers and The Slashers. The Threshers have denounced the technology that has devastated the world, whilst The Slashers have fully embraced it and use the nanites to their full advantage.
Now, to be honest with you, I was half and half about this book. The sci fi aspects of the book were masterful and the integration of the main plot elements were woven well throughout the book to the point where I was intrigued as to how it would play out.
However, it was the noirish framing device that I wasn't on board with at all. I found it to be quite formulaic in its execution. In addition to that, I wasn't particularly enamoured with the characters. They were quite stereotypical and a bit cardboardish.
Throughout the detective aspects of the story, I found it to be full of tropes, and whilst there is nothing wrong with that. I mean tropes are what hook us in as readers, it was just nothing was really done with them until the latter parts of the book and again, it was something that I have seen before and wasn't particularly original.
So, whilst there were some aspects of the book I wasn't overly fond of, there were other aspects I really liked.
I must say that I will probably have a look at more Alistair Reynolds in the future, primarily based on the sci fi aspects of the story.