Book Review: Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds (three stars)

Book Review: Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds (three stars)

(There be SPOILERS here.)

“One thing I’ve never got straight. Are we musicians supplementing our income with a little detective work on the side, or is it the other way round?”

Engaging and entertaining science fiction-detective crossover tale. Male lead stereotypical not-too-bright, but good-hearted private detective, with the twist that he’s a frustrated jazz musician. Female lead is head-strong, smart, and opinionated archeologist. Most other characters are stereotypical.

“Do I count as sensitive business?” “No, [redacted]. You count as a pain in the ass. If there’s one thing I hate more than civilians, it’s having to be nice to them.” “You mean this is you being nice?”

Excellent character, plot, and world building. A bit of humor amid a lot of mystery, angst, and bloodshed. Parallel worlds. Sort of. Violence of action and language. Paris. “Casablanca” homages.

“But it was only designed to look convincing from the vantage point of the Earth’s surface, and close to they saw how its shape was distorted by the sphere’s concavity.”

Quibbles. Mistakes an astrophysicist shouldn’t make. (Edwin Hubble made many of his discoveries in the 1920s.) Observers on E2 would notice the sun, moon, and stars weren’t positioned right. Parallax. Optical interferometry would reveal the light angles wrong. Most of the smart guys of the twentieth century were alive and at the height of their powers and fame before 1940.  “… picking out the lethal gleam of the electrified rails.” Electrified rails don’t gleam. “… stuffing her own soiled and ripped garments back into the bag.” No blood? There should be lots of blood.

“Thinking we can fix one technological mess by throwing yet more technology at it, when every attempt to do that already has just made things even worse.”

Delivers the goods, story wise. Would like to rate it higher.

“We never deserved this second chance.” “But sometimes you get what you don’t deserve.”