The way the unexpected and satisfying SLOW BULLETS deals with familiar tropes is original

A quartet of reviews for Alastair Reynolds’ excellent SLOW BULLETS.

(Image courtesy of THE ECONOMIST)


The immediate problems of maintenance and social order are manageable, but determining where the Caprice has wound up drops the survivors through a series of increasingly deep trapdoors and deposits them in a situation that transforms and reframes their efforts. This, along with the solution to the data-decay problem and the outcome of Scur’s eventual showdown with Orvin, point the story in an entirely new direction and towards a set of resolutions that one would not have expected from the first chapters. We wind up in a place far removed from ‘‘military SF,’’ even though some of that subgenre’s themes and concerns generated the initial situation. Slow Bullets finally addresses a set of questions about what it takes to rebuild a damaged society: what is worth saving, what can or should be jettisoned, how to choose a new direction, and how one’s humanity might be reshaped in order to make that all happen. It’s an unexpected and satisfying destination for what seemed at first to be a straightforward melodrama of survival and revenge.


In this book, Reynolds wraps a number of themes in a relatively few pages. Some of them will feel like familiar tropes from the SF catalogue but it is the way that he deals with them that is original. For those who do not want to face one of Reynolds’ huge tomes as an introduction to his work, this a good place to start to get an idea of his style and ingenuity before embarking on such as the ‘Revelation Space’ series. Then get stuck in to the rest of his oeuvre.


Despite the short distance Reynolds develops the plot competently and is given time to present some other philosophical issue as the importance of memory in humans and offers an intelligent solution to the hatred and revenge.

Reynolds is losing that feature hard coldness of writers, but is becoming a more complete author.

Personally, I dedicate to read all the works to write this gentleman.

(Translated from Spanish by Google)


Reynolds does an excellent job building this world. The war, the aftermath, and The Book at the heart of it all feel so real and compelling. I hope he visits this universe again. I won’t spoil anything, other than to say this turns into much more than a revenge story.

If you’ve never read any Reynolds, this is an excellent place to begin.

For more info about SLOW BULLETS, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover art by Thomas Canty

Design by Elizabeth Story