SLOW BULLETS is full of grand themes and ideas

As the second printings of Alastair Reynolds’ SLOW BULLETS speed their way to finer bookselling outlets, another pair of reviews appear.


Slow Bullets is the last short novel by Alastair Reynolds, published by Tachyon. The brevity of the novel, about 90 pages, is both its main strength and its main flaw. Let’s see if I can explain this contradiction. It is its main virtue because it goes to the point, with no unnecessary preliminary or introductory explanations. The story progresses rapidly and relentlessly. This makes it very attractive and addictive to the reader, and if we add up that the plot is very interesting and surprising, so much better.


In short: a very attractive short novel  that provides a good time. Not the best Reynolds has written, but is a good example of his imagination and style, and a good way to meet this fantastic author for readers who do not dare to read long sagas as spectacular  as REVELATION SPACE.


Slow Bullets might be a short read, under 200 pages, but it is full of grand themes and ideas. Lost in space, the crew and ‘passengers’ of the Caprice must make a society of themselves, learning to get along with those they would and could have killed just a short time before. Soldiers and civilians must find a way to get along and, just as importantly, keep the Caprice moving. There is a strong sense that humanity’s slate has been wiped clean, it is up to these war criminals to start afresh, to relearn their culture, to find things in common with their enemy, to move away from their dependency on the bullets which identify them for what they used to be in their previous life.


As you’d expect from an Alastair Reynolds story, no matter its length, there are shocks and surprises in store and some of them are great. In fact, they are so compelling that they made me wish that Slow Bullets were an awful lot longer. There is a force in this universe that I would like to learn much more about. I’d also like to spend more time with the ship as it ‘skips’ its way across solar systems.

The brevity of the novella meant I was left wanting more but that is a tribute to the imaginative powers and storytelling prowess of Alastair Reynolds, one of my very favourite writers who proves time after time why that is the case.

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

Cover art by Thomas Canty

Design by Elizabeth Story