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BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH is the first volume in a monumental trilogy tracing the Akinya family across more than ten thousand years of future history...out beyond the solar system, into interstellar space and the dawn of galactic society. One hundred and fifty years from now, in a world where Africa is the dominant technological and economic power, and where crime, war, disease BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH is the first volume in a monumental trilogy tracing the Akinya family across more than ten thousand years of future history...out beyond the solar system, into interstellar space and the dawn of galactic society. One hundred and fifty years from now, in a world where Africa is the dominant technological and economic power, and where crime, war, disease and poverty have been banished to history, Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey's family, the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans. After the death of Eunice, Geoffrey's grandmother, erstwhile space explorer and entrepreneur, something awkward has come to light on the Moon, and Geoffrey is tasked - well, blackmailed, really - to go up there and make sure the family's name stays suitably unblemished. But little does Geoffrey realise - or anyone else in the family, for that matter - what he's about to unravel. Eunice's ashes have already have been scattered in sight of Kilimanjaro. But the secrets she died with are about to come back out into the open, and they could change everything. Or shatter this near-utopia into shards...


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BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH is the first volume in a monumental trilogy tracing the Akinya family across more than ten thousand years of future history...out beyond the solar system, into interstellar space and the dawn of galactic society. One hundred and fifty years from now, in a world where Africa is the dominant technological and economic power, and where crime, war, disease BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH is the first volume in a monumental trilogy tracing the Akinya family across more than ten thousand years of future history...out beyond the solar system, into interstellar space and the dawn of galactic society. One hundred and fifty years from now, in a world where Africa is the dominant technological and economic power, and where crime, war, disease and poverty have been banished to history, Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey's family, the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans. After the death of Eunice, Geoffrey's grandmother, erstwhile space explorer and entrepreneur, something awkward has come to light on the Moon, and Geoffrey is tasked - well, blackmailed, really - to go up there and make sure the family's name stays suitably unblemished. But little does Geoffrey realise - or anyone else in the family, for that matter - what he's about to unravel. Eunice's ashes have already have been scattered in sight of Kilimanjaro. But the secrets she died with are about to come back out into the open, and they could change everything. Or shatter this near-utopia into shards...

30 review for Blue Remembered Earth

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Sven

    This book is Reynolds take on The Lion King. Or so was my initial impression after listening to the Audible sample where the narration is accompanied by sweet African background music that had me humming some rendition of “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight...” No no no no noooo! What is happening! This is not gothic space opera. This doesn't even have John Lee as narrator. What is the universe coming to!? Suffice to say, I did not spend a credit on the audio version. It st This book is Reynolds take on The Lion King. Or so was my initial impression after listening to the Audible sample where the narration is accompanied by sweet African background music that had me humming some rendition of “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight...” No no no no noooo! What is happening! This is not gothic space opera. This doesn't even have John Lee as narrator. What is the universe coming to!? Suffice to say, I did not spend a credit on the audio version. It still took all my meager powers of concentration to scan and quarantine the “A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh” virus that had infected my neural implants. I may still need to visit a neuropractor for a complete clean and reboot. Fortunately, this is not Alastair Reynold’s version of The Lion King. Lions do not play a major role in this book. But we do start off in Africa, which 150 + years from now is the major super power and technological world leader of the day. Hey, why not? And though lions are for the most part absent, there are elephants. And if you are an elephant in a Reynolds book then you are an elephant with nanotech neural implants. Robo-elephant? If only. So, in 150 years have we developed near light-speed travel and populated the far reaches of the galaxy? Nope. Reynolds dials down the fantastical somewhat and ups the realism. We haven’t gone beyond the solar system. We've only colonized the moon and Mars and certain moons of the major planets. The story also features space elevators and asteroid mining. We've also colonized the deepest oceans of earth with those colonists transforming themselves genetically into merwomen and mermen. Much more conservative. We've also eliminated all crime and violence via “Mandatory Enhancements” - neural implants. If you try to commit a violent act then “The Mechanism” the neural intranet that connects everyone can literally shut you down. Try taking so much as a swing at anyone and the Mechanism assesses your intent and intervenes to prevent the completion of a violent act. But this is all background. The real story occurs when the matriarch of the Akinya family, a major corporate power, dies. Upon her death it is discovered she has left a clue in a safety deposit box for her family to follow. A clue to what you ask, as did I? To another clue. And so begins a treasure hunt where we follow a trail of crumbs spanning the solar system to discover what crazy and mostly aloof Grandma was on about. The problem in this sort of adventure story, where violence has been mostly eradicated, is well...the lack of violence – or the lack of the possibility of violence. This kinda cuts down on the options for peril and dramatic tension one would normally associate with a treasure hunt/adventure book. At no stage did I feel a significant sense of urgency or danger involved – the only driving motivation for following Grandma’s trail is human curiosity. Still, by the end of the book I really wanted to know what was at the other end of this rabbit hunt. And despite the lack of violence there was still a lot of risk associate with space flight and EVAs and dealing with security systems designed to kill intruders etc. This did make me wonder though at how the protagonists were calculating the risk/reward benefits if all that’s driving them is curiosity. Despite weaknesses in the plot, there were sufficient concepts and ideas to keep me interested for most of the book. My favourite being the Evolvarium – a mechanical simulation of evolution where machines are pitted against each other in a crater - a survival of the fittest scenario which occasional throws up some useful new technology that might benefit mankind. Anyway, the adventure story didn't do much for me. It’s not what I read Reynolds for. I’m giving this one.... 3 stars (Weeheeheehee dee heeheeheehee weeoh aweem away) (Weeheeheehee dee heeheeheehee weeoh aweem away) SHUT UP! I can’t hear you! That’s it - I’m off to the neuropractor!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Much fuss in the SF publishing world has been made about the fact that in 2009 Alastair was given a large sum of money, allegedly £1 million, with his British publishers for ten books to be published over the next ten years. Though the steam-punky Terminal World was published in 2010, it seems that much of this advance was connected to this series, a hard SF tale of the emergence of Africa in the 22nd century as a superpower group of nations and Earth’s transcendence to the stars. My initial thou Much fuss in the SF publishing world has been made about the fact that in 2009 Alastair was given a large sum of money, allegedly £1 million, with his British publishers for ten books to be published over the next ten years. Though the steam-punky Terminal World was published in 2010, it seems that much of this advance was connected to this series, a hard SF tale of the emergence of Africa in the 22nd century as a superpower group of nations and Earth’s transcendence to the stars. My initial thoughts that such a scenario would lead to Alastair writing near-future travelogue-SF, in the manner of Ian McDonald or Paolo Bacigalupi, were a little worrying. I really wasn’t sure whether the idea would work. I needn’t have worried, though. In a style more Peter F. Hamilton or Neal Asher than Ian McDonald, this is a brilliant tale that quickly removed my fears and won me over. The story is focussed on Geoffrey, initially a young boy living in Africa with his sister Sunday and his grandmother Eunice. As the story develops we discover that the Akinya family are quite well-to-do, and in the rapidly changing global economy are clearly one of the groups to take advantage of Africa’s burgeoning new-found wealth and economic prosperity. At the beginning of the novel they have Asher-like implants to connect them to the AI global network, the Mechanism, with human-like simulacrums by the end. With an absence of war and famine, it soon becomes clear that Humanity’s future lies in expansion to the rest of the Solar System and beyond, something Geoffrey’s family are quick to take advantage of. They have made a considerable sum mining resources from the solar system, though Geoffrey is more interested in studying elephant psychology in Africa. The death of Eunice leads to Geoffrey picking up for the family something Eunice left behind in a deposit box on the Moon. What he finds there leads to him unravelling a series of clues in order to discover a game-changing artifact. At this point I did have problems in trying to forget the film plot of Nicolas Cage’s National Treasure, but what such a premise really allows Alastair to do in an SF setting is take Geoffrey and Sunday on a Clarkean Grand-Tour of the Solar System (see Imperial Earth) visiting not only the Moon but also delving below Earth’s oceans, Mars and the Oort Cloud. It’s done well enough to make those thoughts of Nicolas Cage quickly disappear. It is, in essence, a generational space-family-saga of the type quite common in the 1980’s and 90’s, (see, for example, Michael Flynn’s Firestar series) though where the focus then was often US based, this one is stridently African/Asian, reflecting current trends. Though I’m not convinced that the role of Europe and North America in future space exploration would be quite as low key as it is suggested here, it’s an interesting take. And there are reasons suggested in the novel as to why this is – hints of global catastrophes (both physical and technological) which might allow the dominance of those countries as a consequence. Positively Clarkean in its optimistic perspective of future space exploration, this was a read I found difficult to put down. In some ways a pleasingly old-fashioned adventure story, there’s enough of a new spin here to make the tale worth reading. Like Clarke though, the characterisation will be a little flat for some, though Geoffrey and Sunday are fairly well developed. To me, though, the real winner is the environment that the characters travel in. The places that we visit around the Solar System with Geoffrey and Sunday have a vivacity and a joy that make them of primary interest to the reader. We revel in the sense of place – weirdly different, yet oddly human. There’s surveillance on Earth, a disenfranchised group of people on the Moon, robots on Mars and people mining in the Oort Cloud. Alastair’s optimism shows that the human race has a diverse future. This is Alastair taking on the likes of Clarke, or perhaps Ben Bova, Greg Bear and Stephen Baxter. Less galaxy-spanning than the Revelation Space universe, its focus on Earth and the solar system creates a more focused, thoughtful, engaging and interesting novel, though clearly its centre of attention will expand with later books in the series. Whatever the critics may say, to my mind this book shows a writer who is worth the money invested, based on what I’ve read here. This is my favourite Alastair Reynolds to date, and I can’t wait to see where this series goes next. Recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Excellent novel that left me tearful, but perhaps not for the traditional reasons. There are certain sci-fi ideas that always kick my ass, and one of them are stories about how the stars open up. I certainly got very emotional by the end of this novel, and that might have been a little more surprising, had someone asked me how the novel was shaping up by the half-way mark. It had become a scavenger hunt with interesting elements, and that's fine and fun, but I hadn't expected the huge consequenc Excellent novel that left me tearful, but perhaps not for the traditional reasons. There are certain sci-fi ideas that always kick my ass, and one of them are stories about how the stars open up. I certainly got very emotional by the end of this novel, and that might have been a little more surprising, had someone asked me how the novel was shaping up by the half-way mark. It had become a scavenger hunt with interesting elements, and that's fine and fun, but I hadn't expected the huge consequences that had come out of it. I should have guessed, having read a number of his other novels, but I didn't. I thought it was a gloriously relaxed, but not necessarily dull, novel. Of course, I now need to know what happens in the second one of the series. In case anyone is curious, yes, all of the novels are tied together, but not necessarily very close. The effort one puts into reading them, not to mention the author writing them, really pays off with your devotion. I love getting to know his universe.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    5 stars I have been a huge fan of Alastair Reynolds for a long time thanks to his incredible Revelation Space series. Blue Remembered Earth is a very different type of novel from the series mentioned. This is a science fiction light novel told only the way that Alastair Reynolds can do it. This is an accessible starting point to those new to the masterful author. Blue Remembered Earth is tailored for a much larger audience as the science fiction is merely another character in the story, and not t 5 stars I have been a huge fan of Alastair Reynolds for a long time thanks to his incredible Revelation Space series. Blue Remembered Earth is a very different type of novel from the series mentioned. This is a science fiction light novel told only the way that Alastair Reynolds can do it. This is an accessible starting point to those new to the masterful author. Blue Remembered Earth is tailored for a much larger audience as the science fiction is merely another character in the story, and not the story itself. This book is the first in the Poseidon’s Children series but it plays just as well as a standalone. This book would easily be classified as an adventure novel if it was done by any other author. It is an adventure of epic scope that spans from Earth to the Moon and all the way to the edges of our solar system. It is a space opera but not in the traditional sense. Reynolds has crafted a thought provoking and a well-paced adventure that takes place in our near future (200 years from now). Critics of Reynolds will chime in with the same old about this novel in that his characters are not really the stars, his worlds are. As a science fiction fan through and through, his writing is perfect for me.(I really like hard science fiction as well). This book can be summarized as an adventure and a mystery to be solved by our heroes. Geoffery and Sunday, brother and sister and main protagonists of our story are the blood of the very rich and powerful Akinya family. The death of their recluse grandmother Eunice and all that is her legacy is the mystery to be solved. The fun begins as our siblings travel from the Serengeti of Africa to the Moon, to Mars, and to Phobos, and ultimately to the end of our solar system. Amazing technologies are fed to us as matter of fact. An underwater scene that could be the center for an entire novel is displayed. Space ships, automatons, and cool ass robots are all part of the fabric of this tale. “‘Lucas is a prick. He may be blood, but I can still say it.’ Sunday knelt down, placing Geoffrey’s glass to one side. She lowered her legs over the side of the building, assuming a position that struck Geoffrey as being only slightly less precarious than standing right on the edge. ‘He’s had an empathy shunt installed. It’s legal, surprisingly enough. When he needs to become more detached and businesslike, he can turn off specific brain circuitry related to empathy. Become a sociopath for the day.’” A scene from beneath the seas: “She aimed for the tunnel mouth ringed in glowing purple, appearing to accelerate into the maw at the last moment. Geoffrey followed, muscularly signalling his intention to steer and feeling the harness respond almost instantly. Indeed, it appeared to be adapting to him as quickly as he was adapting to it. He was swimming underwater as effortlessly as a dolphin. He grinned. It would be madness not to enjoy this.” After a slow but interesting start on Earth the story really kicks off. For being a long novel, I devoured in no time at all. I love the adventure, the themes, and the way that this mystery unfolded. “We’re all Poseidon’s children, Geoffrey: whether we like it or not.’ ‘Poseidon’s children,’ he repeated. ‘Is that supposed to mean something?’ ‘We came through. That’s all. We weathered the absolute worst that history could throw at us, and we thrived. Now it’s time to start doing something useful with our lives.’” There is so much to love and to recommend in this novel. Alastair Reynolds is an author that is not be missed, especially by anyone that considers themselves a science fiction fan. This book is a blast of a read, a must read for fans, so, go and get it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    I have mixed feelings about this one. Used to the immense depicted universe in Revelation Space series, this one felt too real and airtight. And the focus is changed from technological wonders, enhanced humans and a vastness almost incomprehensible to a mystery story, action driven and family dispute. It has its wonders (it wouldn’t be AR’s work otherwise) but they’re nowhere near the ones from the other novels. The writing is as beautiful as in all the others I have read so far but, given the sm I have mixed feelings about this one. Used to the immense depicted universe in Revelation Space series, this one felt too real and airtight. And the focus is changed from technological wonders, enhanced humans and a vastness almost incomprehensible to a mystery story, action driven and family dispute. It has its wonders (it wouldn’t be AR’s work otherwise) but they’re nowhere near the ones from the other novels. The writing is as beautiful as in all the others I have read so far but, given the small universe in which the reader gets to wander, it felt claustrophobic, as one of my GR friends well said. Had it not for the third part of the book, which is the last 15%, I would have felt suffocated. The last part was like a breath of fresh air and I gulped it down avidly, after the struggle until then. But I guess that’s what it means to be a master writer, if one can feel all sorts of emotions from a bunch of words. :) Do not get me wrong: it is a very beautiful story, masterfully weaved, but I made the mistake of expecting something else. Now, the more I think about it, the more appears clear to me that its scope is not about technology or universe or interstellar travel, not even about the mystery around which the plot is constructed. It’s about human relations, family, nature and love: for family, music and friends. If you’ll read the book you’ll get what I mean by that at the end of it, where AR explains where he got his ideas for this story from; I love him even more for that. Bottom line is: if you expect something close to Revelation Space or House of Suns, you’re not going to get it. Think of it this way: if RS was a furious ocean in the middle of the night, HoS a hurricane which left you barely breathing at the end, this story is a peaceful sea at sunset. (I don’t know why I keep getting this metaphors in my head; guess it’s Reynolds’ writing style impact on me). And I will repeat myself again and say that AR is an unpredictable writer. He shocks the reader every time by something else entirely. I need to ruminate upon this style change some time before I can continue with the next in this series. “We have been clever, and on occasion we have been foolish. For smart monkeys, we can, when the mood takes us, be exceedingly stupid. But it was cleverness that brought us to this point, and it is only cleverness that will serve us from now on.” Hopefully the mood won’t take us too often…

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Grand scale, many different SF topics and settings. Artificial intelligence, the Moon, Mars, elephants, robots, human modification, take your pick. My main gripes—quite a door stopper and the plot idea of a scavenger hunt across space felt a bit gimmicky and forced. What was the point of that? I know where it led, but it felt a bit too contrived for my taste. The hard sci fi info dumps went over my head once or twice as well. Maybe reading them instead of listening to them might have made it easie Grand scale, many different SF topics and settings. Artificial intelligence, the Moon, Mars, elephants, robots, human modification, take your pick. My main gripes—quite a door stopper and the plot idea of a scavenger hunt across space felt a bit gimmicky and forced. What was the point of that? I know where it led, but it felt a bit too contrived for my taste. The hard sci fi info dumps went over my head once or twice as well. Maybe reading them instead of listening to them might have made it easier to follow. But otherwise a great book, full of fantastic ideas and food for thought. I obviously loved the merpeople and the evolvarium on Mars was a very imginative bit of fun. On top of that a bunch of more or less well developed characters, expertly brought to life in the audiobook narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. I am very likely going to pick up something else by the author. 4.5 dwarf-sized elephants for this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Actual rating: 2.5 stars. A potboiler with a humanity-spreads-its-wings theme, filled with hard sic-fi babble about nanotech and human/machine interfacing. The future societies and governments Reynolds describes are quite creepy, built around pervasive electronic surveillance of the population backed up by psycho-mechanical limits on individual human behavior: solar system-wide communitarianism gone mad. There is one small surveillance-free zone on the dark side of the Moon, and, frankly, I found Actual rating: 2.5 stars. A potboiler with a humanity-spreads-its-wings theme, filled with hard sic-fi babble about nanotech and human/machine interfacing. The future societies and governments Reynolds describes are quite creepy, built around pervasive electronic surveillance of the population backed up by psycho-mechanical limits on individual human behavior: solar system-wide communitarianism gone mad. There is one small surveillance-free zone on the dark side of the Moon, and, frankly, I found it hard to believe the entire populations of Earth, Mars, and the rest of the Moon hadn't migrated there long ago. But no, everyone seems quite happy to live in crime-free gated communities. The West has shot its wad. Climate change, wars, and mass migration did in North America and most of Europe long ago. Africa and India have emerged as the dominant civilizations on Earth and are the primary colonizing powers of the inner and outer planets. The main characters, members of a single family, are African. But apart from elephants and African landmarks, you never get the sense that the characters differ in any way from the conservative businessmen and liberal artistic types who inhabit America today. Improbable interventions and magical technology keep the plot moving. The writing, at least initially, facilitates the suspension of disbelief, but as serendipitous clues pile up and characters we thought long dead suddenly appear to steer our hero and heroine back onto the right path, uncharitable thoughts intrude. Mine were mostly along the lines of "Oh, really?" and "You've got to be shitting me." My verdict? Space opera with a technological veneer, average at best.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Imaginative at times, but mostly plays out like a game of cat and mouse that eventually has no bearing whatsoever on the overarching plot of the story. There are many cool ideas buried in here (A planet found bearing signs of artificial life, for example!), but 98% of the story revolves around the politics of a few family members. I didn't exactly find this riveting, or even particularly entertaining. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that Alastair Reynolds has managed to produce Imaginative at times, but mostly plays out like a game of cat and mouse that eventually has no bearing whatsoever on the overarching plot of the story. There are many cool ideas buried in here (A planet found bearing signs of artificial life, for example!), but 98% of the story revolves around the politics of a few family members. I didn't exactly find this riveting, or even particularly entertaining. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that Alastair Reynolds has managed to produce a novel with an extremely claustrophobic feel to it. Most of his novels take place over the span of hundreds (Or thousands) of years and across many light-years of space. In Blue Remembered Earth, just traveling to Mars is portrayed as an act requiring a great deal of time (No Lighthuggers in this!) and money. I can't help but wonder if "claustrophobic" is exactly the emotion he wants us to feel when reading this novel. Considering that the two planned sequels are about humans expanding into space, I suppose that there really couldn't be a better setup than this. If this is the case, then he has succeeded admirably!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    Un-for-gett-able. A new millennium foundation work of solarpunk and afrofuturism. It’s hard to believe this has not been snapped up and made into a series. Fools! ‘Poseidon’s children,’ he repeated. ‘Is that supposed to mean something?’ ‘We came through. That’s all. We weathered the absolute worst that history could throw at us, and we thrived. Now it’s time to start doing something useful with our lives.’ ‘And I know what it feels like to imagine going further. To hold that incredible, d Un-for-gett-able. A new millennium foundation work of solarpunk and afrofuturism. It’s hard to believe this has not been snapped up and made into a series. Fools! ‘Poseidon’s children,’ he repeated. ‘Is that supposed to mean something?’ ‘We came through. That’s all. We weathered the absolute worst that history could throw at us, and we thrived. Now it’s time to start doing something useful with our lives.’ ‘And I know what it feels like to imagine going further. To hold that incredible, dangerous thought in my mind, if only for an instant. To think: what if I don’t go home? What if I just keep on travelling? Watching that pale-blue dot fall ever further away, until the darkness swallowed it and there was no turning back. Until Earth was just a blue memory.’ Unforgettable

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    Although this took a while to get going for me, Blue Remembered Earth was a very good book with some hard science. I didn't quite get all the physics, but it was still an interesting and enjoyable read. Reviewed for Bitten by Books. http://bittenbybooks.com. Although this took a while to get going for me, Blue Remembered Earth was a very good book with some hard science. I didn't quite get all the physics, but it was still an interesting and enjoyable read. Reviewed for Bitten by Books. http://bittenbybooks.com.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tom Merritt

    What a thoroughly enjoyable story. From the respect of science, through the centering on Africa and China to the positing of how a world would be shaped by a loss of privacy and the experience of surviving catastrophe, I find very little unpleasant in Blue Remembered Earth. In fact at the moment I can think of nothing. It is. Mystery and adventure story with robots spaceships, intrigue and murder. And while you may guess certain points along the way it will surprise you often. Read it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Fantastically fun space opera with aliens and a mystery to solve.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rushi

    "Blue Remembered Earth" is the first of a new series, Poseidon's Children, by Alastair Reynolds. Unlike his previous work in the Revelation Space series, this book is set in the Solar System. The main events of the book happen in the mid 22nd century as imagined by Mr. Reynolds. The book is also a departure in style from his previous work. It is lighter and more optimistic than any of the books in the Revelation Space series. The work is more character driven and has fewer information dense "har "Blue Remembered Earth" is the first of a new series, Poseidon's Children, by Alastair Reynolds. Unlike his previous work in the Revelation Space series, this book is set in the Solar System. The main events of the book happen in the mid 22nd century as imagined by Mr. Reynolds. The book is also a departure in style from his previous work. It is lighter and more optimistic than any of the books in the Revelation Space series. The work is more character driven and has fewer information dense "hard science" passages. Surprisingly, it also does not revolve around a "chase sequence" that a lot of Mr. Reynold's work seem to have as a central plot point ( See The House of Suns, or the short story Galactic North). I think the book is better for it. Blue Remembered Earth is more character driven and has a lot less action than previous books by Mr. Reynolds but remains an engrossing and rewarding read. The books centres around Geoffrey and Sunday Akinya, siblings and members of the powerful Akinya clan. It starts with the funeral of Eunice Akinya, the reclusive scion of the clan and picks up pace as Geoffrey and Sunday are involved in the attempt to disentangle some of the mysteries of their late grandmother. The book takes us to the Moon, to Mars and beyond. The plot moves along at a fair pace, but it is clear that the author is just setting the things for bigger things to come in subsequent books. The future as described here is believable and the science is very plausible. I particularly enjoyed the chapters following Sunday Akinya's adventures on Mars. If you came to this book expecting the Gothic feel and the dystopian futures seen in Absolution Gap or Chasm City, you may be disappointed. I enjoyed this lighter style and look forward to future installments in this series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    as I plan to have the full FBC rv in a day, just a few comments so far I liked it quite a lot though I liked In the Mouth of Whale more as i thought the Reynolds novel a bit too long for its content, while the characters do not come as distinguished as they could, especially Geoffrey and Sunday. There is a lot of great stuff though - the world building top notch, Africa as a major power comes off naturally and pitch perfect, the Aquatics, the Moon, the Martians, the Mech, the AI phobia of the soci as I plan to have the full FBC rv in a day, just a few comments so far I liked it quite a lot though I liked In the Mouth of Whale more as i thought the Reynolds novel a bit too long for its content, while the characters do not come as distinguished as they could, especially Geoffrey and Sunday. There is a lot of great stuff though - the world building top notch, Africa as a major power comes off naturally and pitch perfect, the Aquatics, the Moon, the Martians, the Mech, the AI phobia of the society and the dispute between the bio-first and the tech-first powers/corporations; as speculation about a mid 2100's Earth (and nearby solar system) the book is simply unrivaled in recent sf and if only for that and it will be a top 25 of mine. The underwater scenes are just unbelievable if too short, but those few pages are worth the novel by themselves, not to speak of the Moon stuff and the Martian one; lots of humor and the Pyhthagorean adventure (read the book to find out about it) just cracked me up laughing; As storylines go the book while a page turner, feels a little too long with some action sequences that could have been shortened for a better impact, while the really cool ones turn to be more of a sideways detour - at least as of now of course since there will be more. a great ending which makes the novel a quasi-standalone, though of course I want to know what happens next in the Poseidon's Children series

  15. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    RTC. July 2020 Solarpunk group read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Let's start with the good: 1. Reynolds follows his usual, measured approach to technological advancement to some interesting ends. 2. There are a dearth of books that start with humanity puttering around the solar system that don't have people warping or worm-holing across the galaxy by chapter 4. 3. Giving the nature of the trilogy the next book may be much better. Now the bad: I found the book to just be meh with lots of components that seem poorly planned or undeveloped. The characters are more cl Let's start with the good: 1. Reynolds follows his usual, measured approach to technological advancement to some interesting ends. 2. There are a dearth of books that start with humanity puttering around the solar system that don't have people warping or worm-holing across the galaxy by chapter 4. 3. Giving the nature of the trilogy the next book may be much better. Now the bad: I found the book to just be meh with lots of components that seem poorly planned or undeveloped. The characters are more cliched and less nuanced than I've come to expect from Reynolds. There is a ridiculous scavenger hunt across the solar system. In the book, Africa has emerged as the world's super power. And while I'm grateful that Reynolds didn't step through a contrived history to justify that, he doesn't seem to have put any effort into making his characters African. If you change elephants to horses and replace some geography and names, this could just as well be a book about a Western family. (view spoiler)[ I can only assume that Reynolds found his scavenger hunt as lame as I did since he made the whole thing irrelevant by having the family visit her satellite independently. Given the nature of the trilogy, it seemed very likely heading in that the book would center around escaping the solar system and/or first contact. Just as the pacing begins to confirm this, Reynolds introduces his great plodding mystery expected to pull the reader through the rest of the book. The characters. We have several unpredictable matriarchs. Some likeable kids that have shirked the family business to pursue their own interests and some ass hole "Wall Street" cousins. Then we pass a focal point were all of them become decent people wanting to do what's best for family and humanity. (hide spoiler)]

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    A solid 3.5 Stars for this book. It doesn't deserve a 3 star rating, but I can't bring myself to go with the 4 stars due to the slow build up of the story that at times had me contemplating not finishing it. Imagine a time in the future where we have removed our aggression, where the 'system' enforces its no aggression to others. So if you went to hit someone, then the system will quickly shut you down. Well that actually leads to very little conflict, mainly verbal, which makes for a story that A solid 3.5 Stars for this book. It doesn't deserve a 3 star rating, but I can't bring myself to go with the 4 stars due to the slow build up of the story that at times had me contemplating not finishing it. Imagine a time in the future where we have removed our aggression, where the 'system' enforces its no aggression to others. So if you went to hit someone, then the system will quickly shut you down. Well that actually leads to very little conflict, mainly verbal, which makes for a story that lacks some spice, mainly because, whilst it is part of life, Reynolds doesn't 'use' it much in the character or plot development. The main characters themselves are fine, created pretty good personalities that are believable and what verbal conflict there is certainly stops the book being a snoozefest. The problem is, it just takes too long to get anywhere with the story. At least 60% of the book is building the background to a huge degree, IMHO there is too much back story filling, but once the 'actual' main story of the series begins, it rally does become interesting. It almost feels that Reynolds wasn't really sure where he was going with the story early on and then it kind of created itself. Will I be carrying on with the series? Yes. The book finished strongly with me wanting to know more of what took a long time to tell.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tudor Ciocarlie

    A quieter novel than Reynolds previous books but a very good read. Every journey that the 2 main characters take has a very real, natural texture and feels perfectly possible.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dara

    It took me a really long time to slog through this book. There's a lot of good ideas here buried under boring, reactive characters and an annoying scavenger hunt of a plot. Blue Remembered Earth takes place 100 or so years in the future. Africa has become a leader in technology and space exploration. I appreciate a different view on the future but Alastair Reynolds somehow made solar system travel, genetic enhancements, and space ships boring. This book is soporific. If you can't sleep, read this It took me a really long time to slog through this book. There's a lot of good ideas here buried under boring, reactive characters and an annoying scavenger hunt of a plot. Blue Remembered Earth takes place 100 or so years in the future. Africa has become a leader in technology and space exploration. I appreciate a different view on the future but Alastair Reynolds somehow made solar system travel, genetic enhancements, and space ships boring. This book is soporific. If you can't sleep, read this book. Within 10 minutes, you will be asleep. One of the main characters is Geoffrey Akinya. He studies elephants in Africa... and I can't think of any positive personality traits. He's boring, reactive, dull, and has no personal agency. He does what others tell him to and has no initiative. He's a complete pushover. His sister Sunday is a bit better. She at least asks questions and she's proactive. She makes Geoffrey tolerable. Their grandmother Eunice died and left a trail of clues across the solar system that leads to... something important? I can't recall. I was too bored. Sunday made a virtual reconstruction of Eunice that conveniently can't remember anything pertaining to this scavenger hunt. This could have been interesting if some stakes were established but Reynolds never does that. It's just a thing that happens. D

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tim Hicks

    There are better five-star books, but that didn't stop me. It's large, jammed with ideas, and tells an engaging story. Most of all, I enjoyed reading it. It would be unfortunate to expect this to be like other Reynolds works. It's more like a book from one of the established stars of 30 years ago. I've read a lot of those, and maybe that's why I liked this. What Reynolds adds is a wonderful casualness about all the whizbang technology, and an offsetting realism in areas where there has NOT bee There are better five-star books, but that didn't stop me. It's large, jammed with ideas, and tells an engaging story. Most of all, I enjoyed reading it. It would be unfortunate to expect this to be like other Reynolds works. It's more like a book from one of the established stars of 30 years ago. I've read a lot of those, and maybe that's why I liked this. What Reynolds adds is a wonderful casualness about all the whizbang technology, and an offsetting realism in areas where there has NOT been a tech leap. Ching binds, golems, the Mechanism, spacegoing whales, .. all just casually presented as if we already knew about them. Plus one for a good solid ending, so the book stands on its own as well as being a solid foundation for future books. I was glad this one wasn't another of the currently fashionable attempts to top Olaf Stapledon, whipping between multiple universes or past the end of time Into A Place Where Space And Time Have No Meaning! and Vast Bodiless Intelligences Float Between Galaxies! Just a good solid SF story. Yay.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lars J. Nilsson

    I have to date read all of Alistair Reynolds books (at least I think I have, he is after all rather prolific). So. I'm a fan. I've always seen him as slightly uneven though, and although a brilliant story-teller, not always the perfect craftsman, and his characterization leaves at times things to which for. (Usual self-repeat: I won't cover the story in this review, plenty of others do). So let's start with the major let down: characterization. The main character (Geoffrey) starts out a whining I have to date read all of Alistair Reynolds books (at least I think I have, he is after all rather prolific). So. I'm a fan. I've always seen him as slightly uneven though, and although a brilliant story-teller, not always the perfect craftsman, and his characterization leaves at times things to which for. (Usual self-repeat: I won't cover the story in this review, plenty of others do). So let's start with the major let down: characterization. The main character (Geoffrey) starts out a whining bitch and continues so for half of the book. This is a characteristic he seems to share with his sister, unless their together at which point the sister seems to grow a bit: clearly you can't have two characters who's only contribution to the dialogue is "it won't work", "we'll all die", or "what makes you think I like you". Really, that's a fair summary of nearly 85% of all Geoffrey's dialogue through the first half of the book. I'm all for anti-heroes, but there's got to be something interesting in the character you can latch onto. But for Geoffrey there is nothing. His love for the elephants? Meh... So in order to move the story along there has to be other people than the main characters around to not only explain things but also to take initiatives at all... Let's just say that there is a certain construct who got a lot of disposition on her plate, poor thing. Interestingly enough, I think my other major problem with the book stems from the first: When Geoffrey "grows up" and stop whining (which is, by the way, through with a suitably transparent kill-move) the feel of the entire story changes. From an anti-hero travelogue to an ordinary space opera. It felt... A bit abrupt and... sloppy. That's my whining out of the way. This is still a terrific read. Everything else is exactly where I want it. Pace, scenery, grandeur and story. It all slot together in a slick machinery that you just want to continue forever. Although this is, by Alistair Reynolds measuring, fairly near future, and contained around the solar system, the feeling of awe and grandeur that Reynolds can magic up at times is astonishing. Someone said that the hallmark of great SF is the feeling of opening-up, of a sense of wonder, and this book has it in abundance. A 3/5 rating? Well... It really is a very strong 3. Had the transition from anti-hero to "normal" story been smoother this would have been a 4. And with the whining toned down a bit and Geoffrey fleshed out a bit earlier in the book it would have been a border-line 5. Good stuff! I can't wait for the next volume.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    Honestly i believe Reynolds to be one of the greatest sci-fi writers of the last decade. His twin astrophysicists countryman; Peter Hamilton -the other. And so it came to a shock with how bored I was with Blue Remembered Earth. The beautiful imagination that shaped his other classics seems gone as Reynolds has the reader follow his boring character through a fated life in the near future where Africa is an interstellar powerhouse. Gone too is the hard science that made Reynolds universe so beaut Honestly i believe Reynolds to be one of the greatest sci-fi writers of the last decade. His twin astrophysicists countryman; Peter Hamilton -the other. And so it came to a shock with how bored I was with Blue Remembered Earth. The beautiful imagination that shaped his other classics seems gone as Reynolds has the reader follow his boring character through a fated life in the near future where Africa is an interstellar powerhouse. Gone too is the hard science that made Reynolds universe so beautiful and believable traded instead for a quasi-nature loving spoiled aristocrat and his boring relatives. Many things are left to explore -an all machine world seen by satellite- and various cultures -an amphibious and aquatic hybrid whale/human something-or-another underwater society- he taps into that are interesting but he never really delves into them. Hopefully the follow up books -many things that seem really interesting are suggested- will bring it back to the more dystopian futuristic horror that made his writing so unique and a totally exciting trip to read. I am willing to forgive Reynolds for this one, as he has delivered some of the best sci-fi space opera out there, and I can only hope the next two books in this trilogy really pick up the pace. One thing that does need to be mentioned is Reynolds writing has certainly taken on a more poetic flare as metaphors intermingle perfectly and scenes are certainly described with brilliance only a seasoned writer such as himself could provide. There are more than a few quotable descriptions in the book just not sure if that saves it from the more boring characters he has us following. I do think it's cool that his main characters are not white tunic wearing wise-asses like so many other authors but African rooted making it only a tad more interesting. Otherwise I give it three stars if there was a two and a half selection i would have opted for that instead.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shane Ross

    Engaging mystery, satisfying payoff, terrific worldbuilding- especially enjoyed the different factions: aquatic, moon, terran, evolvarium. But that couldn't outweigh my dislike for the two main characters. Sunday was self absorbed, Geoffrey was a wimp. Character development aside, what really irritated the shit out of me was how *reactive* they were. They accepted financial and operational help from various parties knowing full well there were strings attached the aid but trotted off with nary a Engaging mystery, satisfying payoff, terrific worldbuilding- especially enjoyed the different factions: aquatic, moon, terran, evolvarium. But that couldn't outweigh my dislike for the two main characters. Sunday was self absorbed, Geoffrey was a wimp. Character development aside, what really irritated the shit out of me was how *reactive* they were. They accepted financial and operational help from various parties knowing full well there were strings attached the aid but trotted off with nary a concern about outwitting the "partners" or potential consequences. They were also weirdly forgiving of betrayal. The supporting characters weren't any more likeable.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    When, about halfway through this book, I realized its similarities to 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, I hoped this would be better. It wasn't but at least I finished this book. Its clear that I'm not a fan of the niche science fiction sub-genre of "the grandchild following the dead grandmother's clues around the solar system, while taking in the technological wonders humans have created". When, about halfway through this book, I realized its similarities to 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, I hoped this would be better. It wasn't but at least I finished this book. Its clear that I'm not a fan of the niche science fiction sub-genre of "the grandchild following the dead grandmother's clues around the solar system, while taking in the technological wonders humans have created".

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    First of a projected trilogy, with the second available in hardback at the time of writing. THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY See the complete review here: http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/69... First of a projected trilogy, with the second available in hardback at the time of writing. THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY See the complete review here: http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/69...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tomislav

    Alastair Reynolds is a former research astronomer with the European Space Agency, and now prolific hard-sf/space opera writer, best known for his Revelation Space novels and stories, most of which I have previously read. This 2012 novel is set in the near future (maybe 150 years), and is distinct from Revelation Space. In fact, it is the start of a different series of related novels, known as “Poseidon’s Children.” The follow-up novels are On the Steel Breeze (2013), and Poseidon's Wake (2015). I Alastair Reynolds is a former research astronomer with the European Space Agency, and now prolific hard-sf/space opera writer, best known for his Revelation Space novels and stories, most of which I have previously read. This 2012 novel is set in the near future (maybe 150 years), and is distinct from Revelation Space. In fact, it is the start of a different series of related novels, known as “Poseidon’s Children.” The follow-up novels are On the Steel Breeze (2013), and Poseidon's Wake (2015). In the world of Blue Remembered Earth, there has been a climate crisis with migrations and wars, followed by a period of recovery led by central Africa. One of the interesting things about this world is that its culture is actually a lot like our best aspirations for our own 21st century global civilization. The characters are presumably all black Africans, but race does not seem to be much thought about. There is a married gay couple, but that aspect of them is not noteworthy. Somehow, surviving through the difficult years, and with the help of an internal mechanistic control of violence, humanity has quickly reached a more mature basis. Not to say there is no political or economic competition, but the doomsday clock has definitely been set aside. It is an optimistic future. Geoffrey and his sister Sunday are adult outcasts of their powerful Akinya family – one caring only for his elephant research and the other pursuing art in a lunar enclave. They are knocked out of their absentee complacency by the death of their legendary and mysterious grandmother Eunice, who has left a trail of clues across the solar system. It is an opportunity for Reynolds to give us a tour of complex lunar settlements, a significant under-the-sea civilization of surgically-altered humans, the integration of evolutionary artificial life on Mars, artificial intelligence that approaches post-human beings, and automated trans-Neptune mining operations. Unfortunately, all this rich and wonderful world-building has resulted in a novel which is too long for its actual plot. The elements of adventure are there, with good plot tension, but it goes on for quite a while. One should read this book with an eye to the alternative technological directions for humanity. I will definitely be looking for the next in the series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ranting Dragon

    http://www.rantingdragon.com/review-o... Blue Remembered Earth, Alastair Reynolds’ latest novel, is everything its mesmerizing title and equally captivating cover promises: a utopian science fiction novel showcasing an optimistic daydream of our future one hundred and fifty years from now, where our grandchildren have battled global warming head on and turned the world into a better place for all. Exorbitant daydreaming I say daydream because, ultimately, that is what Blue Remembered Earth is: Reyn http://www.rantingdragon.com/review-o... Blue Remembered Earth, Alastair Reynolds’ latest novel, is everything its mesmerizing title and equally captivating cover promises: a utopian science fiction novel showcasing an optimistic daydream of our future one hundred and fifty years from now, where our grandchildren have battled global warming head on and turned the world into a better place for all. Exorbitant daydreaming I say daydream because, ultimately, that is what Blue Remembered Earth is: Reynolds’ daydream of a future where Africa has become the dominant power, and crime, war, disease, poverty, and violence are a thing of the past. It is a future where our planet, now rendered more blue by the changing climate, is fading away on the horizon as mankind gradually explores new territories in outer space. In this fantasy of a brighter future, Reynolds holds nothing back. The reader is taken from one impossibly unrealistic place to another, from super slow robot wars on the dark side of the moon—seriously, who would be interested in robots fighting slower than the eye can see?—to underwater cities back on earth, where humans have genetically engineered themselves into mermaids and full-sized whales. At the background of this exorbitant fantasy—almost as an excuse to write a book about his wildest dreams—Reynolds’ Blue Remembered Earth is about the African Akinya family and their hunt for truth. After the death of Eunice, his grandmother and the founder of the family dynasty, Geoffrey Akinya is reluctantly sent on a mission by his cousins—the new family patriarchs—to retrieve a mysterious box from the moon. What follows is a quest from Earth to the moon, to Mars, and back to Earth and the moon again to discover a vague and mysterious secret Eunice left behind, a secret that may change the world forever. Treasure hunt Don’t expect a wild and epic quest, though. While this quest could have been very interesting, the execution is poor at best. Think of Blue Remembered Earth as a Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) thriller without the thrill. As in Brown’s books, Geoffrey’s quest leads him and his sister from one clue to the other, following a trail his deceased grandmother left behind. Unlike in Brown’s books, however, this quest is lacking in suspense and backbone, has some serious pacing issues—I put the book away many times because it was just too slow—and doesn’t offer anything in the way of pay-off. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of twists along the way, but a more perceptive reader will probably see each of them coming from miles away. The ending, too, is rather underwhelming. This adventure is shown through the eyes of two incredibly well fleshed out but intensely annoying characters: Geoffrey Akinya and his sister Sunday. In them, Reynolds has created truly believable, ambiguous characters who are completely unfit for the action they are thrown into. Unfortunately, the realism of these characters is evidenced in a series of irking traits and the ability to make the worst decisions imaginable. If you are looking for heroes to root for and emotionally invest in, Blue Rememered Earth might not be the right book for you. A marvelous world Blue Remembered Earth isn’t all bad, though. Reynolds clearly had a singular reason for writing this book—showing an optimistic future—and he does that well. While I had personally hoped for more substance, I cannot deny that the utopian picture painted here is an intriguing one. I don’t think I have ever seen a book that put this much effort into world building, and the world revealed throughout the book is a world I would gladly live in. There are no holds barred in the detail with which this utopian future is laid out before us. This eye for detail, combined with some wonderful prose, makes a reader feel like he’s living in Reynolds’ future. When all is said and done, Blue Remembered Earth holds plenty of promise but doesn’t cash in on most of it. It so obviously strives to be a philosophic exploration of a utopian future with themes of broadening horizons and the repercussions of technological advancement. Instead, these themes are lost in the underdeveloped story and poor narration, driven by the author’s own interventions to make a contrived, unrealistic treasure hunt seem realistic. Why should you read this book? If you wish to immerse yourself into a well-developed, brighter future, Blue Remembered Earth should be your next read. However, don’t read this book when you are looking for a good and entertaining story. Blue Remembered Earth is a slow quest with irritating characters, set in a marvelous future version of our world. I can only hope that Reynolds puts more thought into the story of the next volumes of the Poseidon’s Children trilogy. If that’s the case, I might even consider picking them up.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ric

    Read my share of technical papers, as part of the day job. Concise, spare expositions that have data, assumptions, analysis and conclusions, all within the 7 page length limit. And I'll admit, sometimes my mind has wandered, placing these in stories fleshed with human participants and human emotions. One way to find more meaning in the cool things that science makes.I'm back in that place, listening to the audiobook version of Blue Remembered Earth. Lots of cool stuff --- golem personalities, ne Read my share of technical papers, as part of the day job. Concise, spare expositions that have data, assumptions, analysis and conclusions, all within the 7 page length limit. And I'll admit, sometimes my mind has wandered, placing these in stories fleshed with human participants and human emotions. One way to find more meaning in the cool things that science makes.I'm back in that place, listening to the audiobook version of Blue Remembered Earth. Lots of cool stuff --- golem personalities, next generation 'internet', a puzzle that spreads pieces on the Moon, Mars, Mercury, the Kuiper belt. A well-developed backstory - Africa ascendant, elephants and whales, a truly inscrutable matriarch, a single-family solar system spanning conglomerate. And yet I am still adding my own elements to the story, sure sign that I am not entirely engaged (view spoiler)[--- such as: what if there were more to the cousins other than following the protagonists through the puzzle, they are business executives after all, and what if Geoffrey had a personal passion or love other than his scientific research of elephants, and his sister had a more complex relationship with Jitendra, and so on (hide spoiler)] . Granted this is the first of a series, and Reynolds will be building on these basic elements to expand into, hopefully, more interesting plot threads. But my expectations were based on the marvelous achievement of House of Suns, and instead find a piece that hearkens back to the earlier Revelation Space.Despite all of my reservations, this is still a cut above the typical SF fare that I'll probably still want to read the next book. There's enough here, a mustard seed perhaps, but a good next effort can certainly do wonders to re-engaging this series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    ...Overall I quite liked this first book in the Poseidon's Children series. Despite being a bit too well padded, Blue Remembered Earth is one of Reynolds' better novels. I very much appreciate the way he focuses on Earth a bit more in this novel, as a starting point for what undoubtedly will develop into a deep space adventure later on in the series. The plot itself may be a bit weak but in other respects the novel has a lot to offer to the reader. It's probably a book that requires a bit of pat ...Overall I quite liked this first book in the Poseidon's Children series. Despite being a bit too well padded, Blue Remembered Earth is one of Reynolds' better novels. I very much appreciate the way he focuses on Earth a bit more in this novel, as a starting point for what undoubtedly will develop into a deep space adventure later on in the series. The plot itself may be a bit weak but in other respects the novel has a lot to offer to the reader. It's probably a book that requires a bit of patience from the reader, especially since, being the first in a series, it doesn't try to answer all our questions, but I suspect that once the third volume is out, it will turn out to have been worth it. In other words, I'm quite looking forward to reading On a Steel Breeze. Full Random Comments review

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paul Nelson

    First book read by Mr Reynolds and will certainly read his earlir stuff. The story, characters are both engaging and interesting. The level of tech is good infact the only area this book lacks in is the gritty action side. Final opinion not enough to thoroughly grip me, the revealed secret at the end just didnt seem big enough - a solid 3.5

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