It is necessary to speak of beginnings. Understand one thing, though, above all else. Whatever brought us to this moment, this declaration, could never have had a single cause. If we have learned anything, it’s that life is never that simple, never that schematic.
Geoffrey Akinya and his sister Sunday have spent their whole lives trying to escape from the family business – Geoffrey by becoming a renowned student of elephant behaviour, Sunday by fleeing to the Moon colonies. However, both of them find themselves dragged back into that life they have tried to escape after the death of their grandmother, an explorer and entrepreneur, brings to light something that may be awkward for the family to deal with. After a trip to the moon almost ends with an international incident, the story branches out, taking us both under the Earth’s oceans and to the distant planet Mars. Throughout, Mr Reynolds throws idea after idea our way, painting an intriguing future solar system while his story builds to a climax that opens the story up for the following volumes of the trilogy.
Blue Remembered Earth was one of a number of books on my TBR list for this year, part of my attempt to read more recently released novels than I have in prior years. I picked it up straight after Throne of the Crescent Moon as it was a completely different vibe than that sword and sorcery novel. I actually started it a month before but it didn’t grab me as I had hoped. I dipped in and out of it until eventually deciding to give it my whole attention. Once I did, I found myself dragged into the story and finished it in a couple of days.
The story takes a while to get going. Parts of the novel (the trip to the Moon, for example) seem to have been padded out somewhat, while the character of Geoffrey remains… flat. He lacks any kind of drive and seems to spend the vast majority of the book trying to avoid doing anything but look after his elephants. It felt like a major event towards the end of the book which eventually pushes him into a more active role could have happened sooner.
All in all, this is one of Alastair Reynold’s most accessible books. If you enjoy this, you will likely go on to enjoy his vaster Revelation Space sequence, which is darker and has a more depressing take on humanity’s future. I look forward to seeing how the Akinya saga will develop in the next two books, the first of which is currently planned in sometime next year. I gave this 3 and a half tiny, tiny, cyborg elephants out of 5.
Buy it for Kindle
From the Blogosphere:Fantasy Book Critic
Fantasy Book Review
From the Author’s Mouth:I couldn’t find any recent interviews from Mr Reynolds, but here is one in which he talks about the 11k sequence:
SF Signal Interview