Beyond the Aquila Rift by Alastair Reynolds

“Clavain nodded assent, ready for the loom of machines to embrace his mind. He was ready to defect.”

What I expected:
Before I set out to read this I believed it to be a set of extracts from Alastair Reynolds (AR’s) best books. I was hoping to pick my next catch-up read from this particular book.

What it was:
Actually this was a collection of AR’s short stories and I had already enjoyed at least one of them. The full list of stories is:-

    Great Wall of Mars
    Weather
    Beyond the Aquila Rift
    Minla’s Flowers
    Zima Blue
    Fury
    The Star Surgeon’s Apprentice
    The Sledge-Maker’s Daughter
    Diamond Dogs
    Thousandth Night
    Troika
    Sleepover
    Vainglory
    Trauma Pod
    The Last Log of the Lachrimosa
    The Water Thief
    The Old Man and the Martian Sea
    In Babelsberg
    Story Notes

The stories are all different. Some have links to other novels written by AR, others, as far as I am aware, don’t. It was good to read a story and think, “Hey I know that name, that links to a story I already read; and that back-fills some of the history for me” it was also good to re-read short stories that I had previously read and glimpse new insights on a second reading.

AR’s stories are very diverse, this is a good way for a reader to get a taster of his style and discover if his writing might be for them. I’m sure once this book is read, the need to read more of AR’s books will kick in.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

I started reading this book on a Kindle app, then I bought a Kindle Paperwhite and finished reading the book on that. I’ve never used a Kindle before, I found it to be a good experience. Maybe after a while I will do a review!

5/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy:

Read it on Kindle

Official description:
This is an amazing collection of some of the best short fiction ever written in the SF genre, by an author acclaimed as ‘the mastersinger of space opera’ THE TIMES.

With an introduction by noted SF critic Johnathan Strahan, this collection of twenty short stories, novellettes and novellas includes MINLA’S FLOWERS, SIGNAL TO NOISE, TROIKA, and seven previous uncollected stories, including TRAUMA POD, THE WATER THIEF and IN BABELSBERG.

Alastair Reynolds has won the Sidewise Award and been nominated for The Hugo Awards for his short fiction. One of the most thought-provoking and accomplished short-fiction writers of our time, this collection is a delight for all SF readers

A superb collection of short fiction from ‘the mastersinger of space opera’ THE TIMES

From the Inside Flap
The Guardian called Alastair Reynolds’ work “a turbulent, wildly entertaining ride” and The Times acclaimed him as “the mastersinger of space opera.” With a career stretching back more than 25 years and across fourteen novels, including the classic ‘Revelation Space’ series, the bestselling ‘Poseidon’s Children’ series, Century Rain, Pushing Ice, and most recently The Medusa Chronicles (with Stephen Baxter), Reynolds has established himself as one of the best and most beloved writers of hard science fiction and space opera working today. A brilliant novelist, he has also been recognized as one of our best writers of short fiction. His short stories have been nominated for the Hugo, British Fantasy, British Science Fiction, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial, Locus, Italia, Seiun, and Sidewise Awards, and have won the Seiun and Sidewise Awards. The very best of his more than sixty published short stories are gathered in Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds, a sweeping 250,000 word career retrospective which features the very best stories from the ‘Revelation Space’ universe like “Galactic North,” “Great Wall of Mars,” “Weather,” “Diamond Dogs,” and “The Last Log of the Lachrymosa” alongside thrilling hard science fiction stories like Hugo Award nominee “Troika,” “Thousandth Night,” and “The Star Surgeon’s Apprentice.” Spanning more than fifteen years, the book also collects more recent stories like environmental SF tale “The Water Thief,” powerful and moving YA “The Old Man and the Martian Sea” and the brilliant “In Babelsberg.” Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds has something for every reader of science fiction, and easily meets the challenge of delivering stories that are the hardest of hard science fiction and great entertainment.

About the Author
Alastair Reynolds was born in Barry, South Wales, in 1966. He studied at Newcastle and St Andrews Universities and has a Ph.D. in astronomy. He stopped working as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency to become a full-time writer. REVELATION SPACE and PUSHING ICE were shortlisted for the ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD; REVELATION SPACE, ABSOLUTION GAP, DIAMOND DOGS and CENTURY RAIN were shortlisted for the BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION AWARD and CHASM CITY won the BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION AWARD.

You can learn more by visiting http://www.alastairreynolds.com, or by following @AquilaRift on twitter.

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