Another pair of reviews for Alastair Reynolds’ immersive SLOW BULLETS.
From FANTASY LITERATURE:
Slow Bullets begins with Scur’s first-person narration, which is an effective method for conveying her story, but then Reynolds adds a new layer of interest by having Scur directly address the reader. By referring to things that the reader supposedly has experience with, treating them not only as a person who is reading a book but a person who is reading Scur’s hand-written account of her actions — scratched into the walls of a ship which the “reader” has been living on — Reynolds immerses the reader into the extraordinary events that Scur encounters. The epistolary style isn’t one that I’ve seen too often in science fiction, and Reynolds uses it to great effect here.
My only complaint is that the novella was too short: there is a surprise near the end which I wish had been explored more fully, but it’s simply glossed over by Scur. The detail revealed, however, calls into question everything the reader has been told about certain characters and their motivations. Additionally, I had questions about how and why this action had been taken, since there’s no indication in the preceding pages that it would be possible. None of this prevented me from enjoying the novella or its conclusion, but it did throw me for a loop.
However, I consider Slow Bullets a great introduction to Reynolds’ style and skill. Readers who are already familiar with his work are sure to enjoy this, and if activity on Goodreads and the Internet in general over the last month is any indication, fans will have all kinds of ideas as to whether and how this fits in with his larger body of work. (I have it on good authority from a trusted source that Slow Bullets is meant to stand alone, but I still enjoy reading fan speculation.) I’ll be sure to add other Reynolds novels, like Revelation Space and House of Suns, to my TBR list.
If you’re a fan of science fiction and aren’t reading Alastair Reynolds – WHY THE HECK NOT?!! He is one of a handful of contemporary SF authors who should be required reading. His books are narratively rich, wondrously engaging hard scifi epics possessed of astounding scope and creative depth. Sound familiar? Yes, if you love the works of Iain M. Banks (his Culture books in particular), then you’ll love Alastair Reynolds – and vice versa.
At a modest 192 pages, Slow Bullets is a great introduction to Reynolds’ masterful storytelling, and the perfect gateway book for those looking to discover their new favorite SF author.
For more info about SLOW BULLETS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Thomas Canty
Design by Elizabeth Story