Galactic North

  • by Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 12 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Centuries from now, the basic right to expand human intelligence beyond its natural limits has become a war-worthy cause for the Demarchists and Conjoiners. Only vast lighthugger starships bind these squabbling colonies together, manned by the panicky and paranoid Ultras. And the hyperpigs just try to keep their heads down.The rich get richer. And everyone tries not to think about the worrying number of extinct alien civilizations turning up on the outer reaches of settled space...because who's to say that humanity won't be next?Set in the Revelation Space universe, this is the first short story collection by the author who has been called "one of SF's best and most ambitious novelists". The eight stories included in Galactic North are "Great Wall of Mars", "Glacial", "A Spy in Europa", "Weather", "Dilation Sleep", "Grafenwalder's Bestiary", "Nightingale", and "Galactic North".

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What the Critics Say

"Reynolds is one of sci-fi's brightest stars. [He] writes Big Science Fiction. Enormous spaceships travel though space that feels galactic in scale, a feat of depiction that is still noteworthy in the genre." (The Guardian, London)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great background for Revelation Space novels

What made the experience of listening to Galactic North the most enjoyable?

I found the first stories (Great Wall of Mars, etc) to be the most enjoyable, because they present you with the events mentioned in passing in several of the Revelation Space stories. So it was nice to read how the events unfolded.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Galactic North?

Other than the last story (which I found very weak & shallow, with the weakest characterizations), all of them had many memorable moments that will stick with you. Reynolds universe is a fascinating place - almost all of these stories visit places we've seen before in his novels, and they do lean on you having that background.


Any additional comments?

If you've got the background of the worlds Reynolds has invented, these are very enjoyable. If you don't, then you might be a bit lost as some of these can not stand fully on their own.

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- wendy

Retribution Space

I loved each of these eight short stories set in the world of Revelation Space and roughly organized in chronological order from 2200 AD to 40,000 AD. A couple of the stories, most especially Grafenwalder's Bestiary, could stand alone, but this collection will be most appreciated by those who already know the major players and events of Reynold's signature universe. There is a sort of unifying theme to these stories that extends beyond the RS setting; they all show some aspect of retribution. This isn't slash and burn vengeance; it is more the creepy, sometimes horrifying, and always satisfying comeuppance for someone (or many people) who have perpetuated a great evil on innocents.

Thumbnails:

1. Great Wall of Mars: The beginning of the "family" of Clavain, Galiana, and Felka - often referenced in Redemption Ark, but not detailed in the trilogy. This story leads directly into the next, Glacial.
2. Glacial: My favorite RS protagonist, Clavain, as sci-fi amateur detective solves a murder mystery.
3. A Spy in Europa: Early Demarchist tale of bio-engineering gone badly wrong. This story is tied to another short in this book, Grafenwalder's Bestiary.
4. Weather: This is an ultra/conjoiner tale that is a bit of an exception to the Retribution Theme in the collection. The characters in this story have some reason to be looking for vengeance, but sidestep their opportunities. This is a sweeter story than the others in the collection, but the ending is powerful because it explains the mystery of the conjoiner engines.
5. Dilation Sleep: An ultra tale (written before Reynolds used "ultra" to describe the people of the many neural implants) of an early attempt to escape the Melding Plague.
6. Grafenwalder's Bestiary: Very creepy and VERY satisfying story about a Demarchist man who lets his ego override his ethics.
7. Nightingale: Twilight Zone-worthy story of a hospital spaceship gone badly off the rails. (Unlike the first Star Trek series where computers with conflicting precepts always explode or implode, Reynolds' machines always find way creepier means of conflict resolution!)
8. Galactic North: Great backstory for the intriguing conjoiner, Remontoire, and a 40,000 year projection of the Greenfly Invasion referenced in Absolution Gap.

In addition to the stories, you get a nice afterward from the author on this audiobook. Nothing like finding out an author you've come to love, also loves the other authors you love! Although John Lee is probably incapable of delivering a bad performance, he is better at some times than others. With this audiobook, his performance varies between stories; worst case, the narration is competent and on a couple of the stories, John Lee is exceptionally good.

If you know your way around in Revelation Space, you will love these stories. They fill in gaps in the giant canvass that Reynolds has been working on and they are each wonderfully, eerily entertaining.
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- Tango

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-29-2009
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio