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On the Steel Breeze (Anglais) Relié – 3 juin 2014


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Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 483 pages
  • Editeur : Ace Books (3 juin 2014)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0425256782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425256787
  • Dimensions du produit: 16,8 x 3,9 x 23,6 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 2.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Amazon Customer sur 4 janvier 2014
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
je suis très décu de ce roman pas vraiment excitant et tellement POLITIQUEMENT CORRECT.
Les romans précédents étaient vraiment bien... tant pis pour l'auteur si il veut faire plaisir aux bien pensants.
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Amazon.com: 96 commentaires
32 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Good, but the ending is undercooked 30 septembre 2013
Par A. Whitehead - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Portgual, 2365. Chiku Akinya is one of three clones, and the only one to remain on Earth. One of her 'sisters' is on a dangerous space mission to the edge of the Solar system, trying to recover a deceased relative. Another is on a massive holoship, more than a dozen light-years from Earth, headed to investigate a giant alien artifact picked up by a powerful space telescope. But some strange events compel Chiku to venture to Venus and Mars, and what she discovers will have important ramifications for her sisters far out amongst the stars.

On the Steel Breeze is a semi-sequel to Blue Remembered Earth and the middle volume of the loose-knit Poseidon's Children trilogy. Though readable as an independent novel, a number of references in this novel will resonate more if you have read the previous book.

As before, the book unfolds from the point-of-view of the Akinya family, a dynasty that became rich due to the explosion in Africa's economy. Chiku is the daughter of Sunday, one of Blue Remembered Earth's protagonists, and the novel is told from her fractured POV as memories are shared between her three different bodies. The two main characters are Chiku Yellow, who remains in the Solar system, and Chiku Green, who is living on the holoship (a hollowed-out asteroid fitted with engines and life-support equipment, carrying 10 million people to the planet Crucible) Zanzibar.

The result is, effectively, two SF novellas that unfold simultaneously, with each 'sister' updating the other on what's going on through lengthy radio transmissions that allow them to update and integrate each other's memories, thus giving them a clearer picture than what each individually would be able to find out. There are echoes here of Reynolds's earlier House of Suns (which featured a woman splintered into different incarnations), as well as the Revelation Space books which featured storylines unfolding light-years apart with the speed of light limitation making it difficult for people to communicate with one another. The two stories feel rather different to one another, but ultimately integrate into a mostly satisfying whole.

Chiku Yellow's storyline takes in 24th Century Earth, attempts to explore the planet Venus (complicated by the planet's hellish surface conditions) and visits to Mars and Saturn. Some elements (and characters) from Blue Remembered Earth are revisited in these sequences. This section is enjoyable, but risks retreading the same ground from the earlier novel. This is mostly averted by some excellent descriptions and use of real science, especially in the disaster-movie storyline that unfolds on Venus.

The meat of the story, however, is in the holoship caravan making its way to Crucible at 13% of lightspeed. Here Reynolds lets his imagination have full reign, creating an interstellar society that is trying to survive the agonisingly slow journey without collapsing. There are evocative descriptions of how the holoships work and how they are organised, as well as intimations of their politics. However, a fuller exploration of the caravan is not possible due to a constrained page count and the need to flip back to the other narrative at key points. This helps keep the story on track and focused, but it does result in some lost depth to the Zanzibar storyline. Most notably, a climax to that storyline revolving around the complex politics of both the holoshop and the caravan as a whole lacks resonance due to those elements not being explored in greater detail earlier.

Reynolds admirably raises the tension and stakes as the story switches back and forth across the light-years, building up the narrative drive in a way that Blue Remembered Earth rather lacked. However, this tension is then dissipated by an undercooked finale: Chiku reaches Crucible, some fascinating events unfold there and the book rather abruptly ends. I'd hesitate to call it a cliffhanger, but there's a lot of unresolved events and elements left for the final book in the series to address. It also doesn't help that the main theme of the series (strongly hinted at in the first volume) seems to be the struggle between organic life and the machine life it creates. This is not a new theme for Reynolds (it was also explored in the Revelation Space series) and he comes at it from a different angle here, but those who have watched the new Battlestar Galactica TV series or played the Mass Effect video game trilogy may find themselves groaning at the re-use of a very familiar trope. How successful Reynolds is in putting a fresh spin on it remains to be seen, as it appears to be an idea which will be explored more in-depth in the third book in the series.

On the Steel Breeze (****) is a fine hard SF novel that explores some interesting and intelligent ideas. The book's two-part structure allows for a lot of story to be explored efficiently, but also results in some elements not being as fleshed-out as might be desired. In addition, the ending is abrupt and there is no guarantee that the next book will explain much of it (the third book, it is rumoured, will pick up thousands of years later). It's still a fascinating novel and for much of its length is a better book than Blue Remembered Earth, but it also definitely suffers a bit from 'middle volume syndrome'.
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Another great book by Alastair Reynolds 4 octobre 2013
Par scott - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
"On the Steel Breeze" picks up the story Reynolds started in "Blue Remembered Earth". And while "Blue Remembered..." suffered from a few weaknesses and was ultimately an interesting but flawed novel, "Steel Breeze" marks a return to form for Reynolds. Evident again is the rich imagination, tight plotting, and deep characters of his earlier works like Revelation Space. This should be welcome news for Reynolds' fans, and bodes well for future book(s) in the series.

The entry picks up about 100 years in the future from the previous works, and follows the story of the 3 sister/clones of Chiku Akinya--surnamed Yellow, Red, and Green for clarity. The plot alternates between two of the sisters in two different places: one on Earth (mostly) and one on the caravan that has been launched to the mysterious planet Mandala. Note that the book description on Amazon is incorrect. It is not "a thousand years in the future" it is only 400!

The sisters rapidly become embroiled in intrigue. Locally on Earth, there is tension between the aquatics--genetically modified humans who live in the sea--and the dwellers of land and sky--normal humans. There is also a troublesome AI who seems to be out to get Chiku. Far away in space on the caravan, the other Chiku faces her share of troubles too as the caravan struggles with how to slow down; they are travelling at 13% of the speed of light and burned all their fuel to accelerate to that speed. They have none left to decelerate at their destination, and need to develop some new technology quickly lest they zoom right past Manadala. Frustrating their efforts are more conservative members of the caravan.

Old characters and new make an appearance, but the strength of the novel is definitely in its taught pacing and stellar plot. Once the action starts it never truly lets up, and Reynolds does an admirable job of sustaining a high level of dramatic tension and excitement from start to end. And while the end is a bit precipitous it is really the only weakness in the novel.

Similarly the characters are well executed and the settings richly imagined. Although Reynolds may have dialed his imagination back a notch or two from the wildly original technologies and spectacularly inventive settings of Revelation Space, his maturity in more fully developing the characters (but not at the expense of plot) more than makes up for this. And the prose, while never poetic, is sure and well executed.

All in all, this is an excellent return to form from one of the current masters of sci-fi. And although he has previously indicated that the "Poseidon's Children" series will be a trilogy, it seems unlikely that the major themes and plot points of the struggle between machine substrate consciousness (AI) and flesh and blood intelligence, and extropian versus dystopian futures, will be able to be resolved in a single volume 11,000 years in the future. And I for one would find it no bad thing if there were two or three more volumes in this series.
25 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
It seemed strangely muted to me 15 octobre 2013
Par Tghu Verd - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
"On the Steel Breeze" is a sequel to "Blue Remembered Earth" and I have to say, I'm glad the elephants were not so central to the story. Although, perhaps if they had been, this might not have felt so muted and vague. That's a hard (and harsh?) description but Chiku Akinya, the central character(s), has multiple roles and I found it difficult to reconcile the ruthless nature of one of her characters with the passive nature of another.

As with "Blue Remembered Earth", technology is background noise in this novel, not the main game. Much of Reynolds' earlier work revelled in high-tech gadgets and gizmos but the orientation here is a more personal, or perhaps humanistic, approach. I'm not sure that his writing style fully survives the transition - if you've not read novels such as "Revelation Space" and "Chasm City (Revelation Space)" then you won't miss Reynolds indolent and lushly rendered high-tech future. But if you have, you may yearn just a little bit for the sheer inventiveness of the Glitter Band and attendant lighthugger space ships that graze the speed of light in their time bending dashes between planets.

"On the Steel Breeze" gives us holoships instead, hollowed out asteroids that lumber along between the plants - well, two in particular: Earth and Crucible, where an enigmatic alien artefact is visible via a huge space telescope in our solar system and which motivated quite a lot of the action in "Blue Remembered Earth". Events on the holoships, and one in particular, consume about half the novel and I'll admit that the politics and economics of the holoships failed to engage me. Each of them shelters tens of millions of people expecting to colonise Crucible, but they all left without any method to actually slow down and land. That type of faith is essentially religious in nature and it's glossed over in a "Why wouldn't you" fashion. As in "Why wouldn't you board a giant asteroid ark without any meaningful way to stop?" I could see one or two holoships launching as the activities of a homogeneous group (cult?) sharing this faith, but the holoships are clearly not homogeneous in culture or expectation with regards their destination and it felt both contrived and ignored as an issue. And OK, robots are supposed to be building infrastructure etc. on Crucible in advance of the colonists, but still, that was never going to help with the "Stop the holoship, I want to get off" problem.

The Chiku on the holoship is a self-absorbed rationalising bitch whose behaviour shows has few qualms about sacrificing pretty much anyone or anything to achieve her ends. Sure, she wrings her hands and mops her brow, but it's all for show. As with Geoffrey from "Blue Remembered Earth", Chiku has more effective empathy for elephants than people, and that did not make any more sense in this novel than the last.

The Chiku on Earth seems her polar opposite - her hand wringing is heartfelt because she is supposed to be the little mouse, living at home in peace and quiet. Things don't work out that way of course, which adds to her angst and stress, especially as good people start dying around her. Her story consumes the other half of the novel as she zips around the solar system, all the while worrying when the Sword of Damocles will fall.

The two Chiku's interact via memory dumps and Reynolds completely leaves us in the dark regarding how such a wealth of information is successfully beamed between Earth and an asteroid out in the void. It's one small example of where early Reynolds would probably have giving us some nifty technology in gritty detail, but humanist Reynolds just assumes it works and moves on.

There is a third Chiku as well, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say a ghost of one, and perhaps (hopefully, it sounds interesting) her story proper will be revealed in a sequel, but here she is a prop for Earth Chiku and has very little personality per-se and does not add much to the plot apart from that.

Way worse was the villain of the story. I won't drop any spoilers here, but the villain was built up and up as the last word in evil, yet Reynolds keeps such a lid on our access to the character that he may as well have just written it out of the novel and let shadows motivate the protagonists. Earth Chiku has a little tête-a-tete with said 'evil one' late in the piece, but the conversation is insipid and lacks conviction. Holoship Chiku has considerably more interaction but it's equally thin in terms of motivation. As I said, no spoilers, but the driver for the villain was pretty fanciful when you get right down to it, especially as the obvious thing to do would be to destroy Humankind and just get on with it.

All that said, one of the subtle themes Reyonlds successfully explores is the nature of relationships when our lives extend over many centuries. Kim Stanley Robinson is the master of this (refer his "Mars Trilogy" for particularly evocative reflections and emotions as the ultra-old sip through their extended lives) but Reynolds does it well and it was one of the more thoughtful elements in the novel that I liked.

Still, it was a small light in a rather large darkness. "On the Steel Breeze" is a long novel with a narrow cast of characters. It assumes a ton of technology, and when you start to wonder about this and that with regards that technology, those assumptions become chinks in the armour. It has some elephants, a lot of coincidences to drive the story, and an absolute abundance of blind faith residing in the holoships. But sadly, I found the ending lacklustre and the villain that whipped Chiku into such a frenzy an absolute dud.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
What was the publisher thinking? 26 juin 2014
Par Suzie Muchnick - Publié sur Amazon.com
Alastair Reynolds, that master of the Deep Novel, herein imagines a far away future in which Africa and Africans are leading spacefarers. One can therefore plausibly imagine that the audio version might benefit by capturing the flavor and cadence wondrously practiced by Africans today, people capable of a mellifluous, singing English. So lovely.

Regrettably, the novel is nearly unlistenable. A fine line exists, one supposes, between narrator tour de force and buffoonery; in this case the line has been left far, far behind. Accents and characterizations are distorted, strained beyond incredulity, laughable, almost. In a word, the narration is guilty of intruding. There is no act more worthy of forcible ostracism from the clan of narrators than the Sin of Intrusion. Running a close second, though, we find the Sin of Addition.

Narrators must be ever vigilant, clearly enunciating, carefully caring the story, but ever aware that the narrator's role is neither actor nor author; she is an automaton of convenience. Too harsh, you wonder? Perhaps, perhaps. Grant me this, though; the narrator's presence is to be light, invisible, a conduit, never an interpreter.

Reynolds' opus is stunning and deeply appreciated, though the Poseidon's Children series is among his weakest. Still: this is the creator of Revelation Space; the writer capable of imagining lifespans over hundreds of thousands of years in House of Suns. His work is worthy of respect. This narrator and this narration are disrespectful, intrusive, and unworthy.

Three stars for Reynolds, partly informed by momentum from the earlier work against which it is inevitably compared. No stars for narration. It's that bad.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Good story but average for Reynolds. 4 février 2014
Par James Crockart - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
If this was the first book for a writer it would be fine, but I've come to expect a whole lot more from Reynolds. It is just so average on so many levels - characters, plot, devices. Don't get me wrong, it has a lot going for it but ultimately you are left feeling flat.

Compared with House of Suns with its breathtaking galactic sweep or his master work of Revelation Space, or the brilliant characters in Pushing Ice, this book just doesn't cut the mustard.

Ahhh well, maybe next time Mr Reynolds.
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