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".More
"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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Great background for Revelation Space novels
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.
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.
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.