|Terminal World is the latest novel from British
author Alastair Reynolds, and may or may not be the start of a new series there was
nothing in the blurb or advertising to suggest a series but the ending suggests otherwise.
Reynolds is an experienced author with nine novels and three collections of shorter works
story under his belt so the openness of the ending to Terminal World
suggests he is considering his options.
Terminal World is a tale of
Earths far future, and starts in the technological wonder of Spearpoint: a city
built on a space piercing tower that hosts humans and angels; not real angels, genetically
engineered and nano-machine enhanced humans who are able to live in the skies around
Spearpoint. At some point in the past the Earth became segregated into slowly changing and
moving technological zones that inhibit the use of machinery that rely on fine tolerances
the further down the zone scale one goes until even life itself cannot function. It is to
escape enemies from his past that Quillon, an angel in hiding leaves Spearpoint, crosses
through several zones of differing technological limit and tries to make a quiet life
elsewhere and utterly fails to not draw attention to himself.
In the course of the book: Quillon leaves Spearpoint, experiences a massive zone shift,
is captured by Skullboys (roving thugs with no fixed agenda), captured by the Swarm (the
former airship arm of Spearpoint but now a power unto itself), finds a tectomancer (read
the book) and returns to Spearpoint to bring medical relief and fight angels and
skullboys. Along the way he is ably, if often grudgingly, assisted by Meroka as bodyguard
and specialist in the purveyance of violence.
Fortunately for the reader the page count and the print size were sufficient to
encompass and develop all the plot points and ideas that that brief summary entailed. That
the book ended on a cliffhanger came as no surprise as the novel read as a story that was
too big for just one book, with loose ends galore.
Terminal World was not a quick read, but even so was an enjoyable,
action-filled romp through a far future dystopia and if a sequel appears I shall fall on
it with glee.