Alastair Reynolds’ SLOW BULLETS is one of the finest nuggets of science fiction you could read anywhere
Three fresh reviews for Alastair Reynolds’ Locus award-winning SLOW BULLETS.
SFBOOK REVIEWS praises the book.
SLOW BULLETS won the 2016 Locus award for best Novella and was shortlisted for the Hugo (along with making a number of must read lists). As you would expect from a novella it’s a short read at 192 pages but it packs in more ideas than many more weighty novels manage.
From the Narration itself memory then becomes part of the story when the inhabitants of the Caprice realise that the computer memory is failing and they must try and preserve as much as they can physically by writing on the metal walls and later on their own flesh. I won’t go too much further into the story itself as it’s worth encountering without spoiler but suffice to say it lives up to Reynolds usual epic scale. The book moves from memories of the individual to those of society and race, how it is all but impossible to keep a reliable record of the past and our faith in electronic storage is a short-sighted one.
Not only is this book small, it’s incredibly swift too. I read it in one sitting, one morning. There is no wasted space and most is devoted to moving the plot forward, a departure from much of the authors works with little time spent world-building or given over to exposition.
SLOW BULLETS is incredible, it is a superbly balanced story packed full of ideas and subtlety. It’s also not only the finest of Reynolds work so far but it’s one of the finest nuggets of science fiction you could read anywhere.
THE SPLATTERGEIST enjoys the novella.
Reynolds takes the same concept used in the movie PASSENGERS and adds a little twist: when you’re done reading SLOW BULLETS you actually understood what went down and, just as an added bonus, walk away with a satisfied smile.
A good tactic is by putting your characters in the same room and leaving them to their own devices, leaving them to it to see how they grow and interact with each other – in essence this is a writing exercise used by beginners but at least an iconic writer would also focus on plot and setting. This is a good example of how to write a story; the protagonist is given a ticking time bomb: Scur is threatened with a device that will slowly kill her over a period of time. This approaches the typical ‘dying’ protagonist issue where said character is forced to find a cure or act out revenge against the clock. However, these issues are quickly resolved and now the focus is on keeping the peace between the crew and finding their way home.
SATALYTE PUBLISHING reviews the title.
Whilst SLOW BULLETS is a smaller story (a novella length) and therefore did not have the depth of a Revelation Space novel, I still found myself drawn into this story.
It starts at the beginning of a ceasefire, where we find our protagonist. Scur is a wonderfully written and deep character, given the length of this novel. It is great to see a female kicking butts and taking numbers.
For more info about SLOW BULLETS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Thomas Canty
Design by Elizabeth Story