Alastair Reynolds

I devoured Absolution Gap on the flight back to Germany from San Antonio. Contemporary physics and intrapersonal recognition hooked me the most. It’s the last book (?) in an epic SF series by Alastair Reynolds; I read the others while in Europe last summer. The characters really grew on me, I have to say (I didn’t find them all that compelling at first, they weren’t very nice). I was a bit unsatisfied with the conclusion though, as it’s given as if the right choice simply takes care of the current (huge) threat. That’s why I wonder if another book might be in the making? For the conclusion to be sensible one had to recall the vast scale of interspecies interaction Reynolds invokes. If I put it in Goffman’s terms, the levels of lamination generated by transformations of the frame are as big as anyone I’ve ever read, including classics like The Foundation Trilogy by Asimov, and you were on your own to keep events in context. (My memory might be improving with age (?) because I was actually able to do so….!)

I did appreciate the three page summary of brane theory (333-335). Note this site which contrasts the two perfectly legible and completely contradictory theories of the universe. And I had that twinge of association with Rashmika when she acknowledges her affinity with Dan Sylveste, the archeologist who understood/predicted how much trouble a previous species, and hence humanity, were in but wasn’t believed (99). :-/ Same as the sense I had with Kassandra, the lead character in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Firebrand. Am I dramatic or What?! NO doubt someone will soon put me in my place -again! 🙂 Goffman (here summarized as a Durkheimian) might call it “the manufacture of negative experience”, but I haven’t read that chapter yet. 🙂

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