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House of Suns

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  10,210 ratings  ·  513 reviews
Six million years ago, at the very dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones: the shatterlings. Sent out into the galaxy, these shatterlings have stood aloof as they document the rise and fall of countless human empires. They meet every 200,000 years to exchange news and memories of their travels with their sibling ...more
Audible Audio, Unabridged, 18 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Tantor Audio (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Words can't describe how much I love this book! The quality of the writing in the first chapter gripped me and wouldnt let me stop reading. It is a fabulous scifi space opera with fantastic characters you root for. The most impressive thing is the world building, and how the complex science becomes understandable and readable in a way that you don't normally find in these types of books.
Between discovering Reynolds and Banks, I feel like I'm in my own scifi novel Renaissance!
I loved the hopefulness of this grand conception of humanity in the far future. I was surprised it worked so well for me as there is so much uncertainty about human survival on the near term that I figured speculation on a timescale would feel fairly meaningless. For example, I just couldn’t relate to the spiritual beings of Well’s “Time Machine”, the Eloi, and I was weirded out by the remnant human society clinging to a distant future existence in Benford’s “Great Sky River.” Here we have a lin ...more

"I had already seen dozens of empires come and go, blossoming and fading like lilies on a pond, over and over, seasons without end. Many of those empires were benevolent and welcoming, but others were inimical to all outside influences. It made no difference to their longevity. The kind empires withered and waned as quickly as the hostile ones."


The above passage from House of Suns serves to illustrate the author's grandiose scheme for this book. The story spans millions of years and hund
I've read almost all of Alastair Reynolds's books. "House of Suns" is the most recent I've read, and it just took me away. I don't necessarily recommend it be the first of his works that you read (visit his website to see his recommendations), but for anyone who loves space opera which spans millions of years and millions of light-years, his works, especially this one, are second to none. He is an astrophysicist, and having some knowledge of Einstein's Special and General Relativity allows one t ...more
So one of the biggest constraints of the space opera genre is answering the question of faster than light (FTL) travel. Star Trek and the Star Carrier series gets around it using a modification of the Alcubierre Drive. The Old Man's War series mucks around with alternate universes. The Expanse does a fantastic job adapting the Space Opera genre to just the solar system, obviating the need for faster than light travel.

The House of Suns says screw it, we don't need no stinking FTL, and we're doing
When Barnes and Noble still only selled a hardcover version of this book a few years ago, I read the blurb on the inside cover and was like wtf? The story line seemed like too much even for me, and even after I was still giddy from plowing through the excellent Revelation Space series Reynolds is famous for. The idea of reading a bizarre story about cloned male and female "shatterlings" of a single person that travel in "circuits" around the galaxy (which last roughly, oh
about 200,000 years or
La mejor ciencia ficción que se escribe actualmente corre por parte de los autores británicos, y eso es incuestionable. Talentos de la talla de Iain M. Banks, Peter F. Hamilton, Paul McAuley, Ian R. MacLeod, Charles Stross, Stephen Baxter o el mismo Alastair Reynolds, son buena prueba de ello. Todos poseen talento e imaginación, pero Alastair tiene algo que lo convierte en único, posee inventiva y ambición por superarse a sí mismo en cada libro, aunque no siempre lo consigue, pero al menos siemp ...more
David Sven
Solid storytelling from Reynolds and a solid performance by audio narrator John Lee combined to make this one of the stand out novels in the Reynolds library. This book was evenly paced in that I didn't feel that there was any lull in the plot or the slow start that is characteristic of many of Reynolds' books. I was engaged with the story from start to finish.

Of the Reynolds books I've read so far that are set in different worlds than Revelation Space, this is the most like his original signatu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

This is the kind of novel Reynolds was meant to write. Full of big ideas and wow scenarios. An unusual and entertaining focal character. A charming robot who's just a little bit quirky. A love story that transcends millenia. And a trip to another galaxy. The author puts it all together in a compelling read full of sfnal surprise and sense of wonder.

As always, there are the familiar Reynolds elements. Kilometers long space ships. No faster than light travel (except for one). Profound astronomical

Jul 26, 2014 Heidi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of epic space opera and characters with depth
If it was possible to give this novel 6 stars, I would. I finished it just half an hour ago, and I'm still floating out there in space, unwilling to return to the confinements of our small blue planet.

"House of Suns" is big in every sense of the word, and it would have been easy to bury the characters, their feelings and relationships under the vast scope of time the story covers, the gigantic spaceships, the huge mysteries and conflicts.
That doesn't happen. Amidst the rise and fall of entire c
The pacing of Alastair Reynolds' novels feel a bit predicatable when you've read a few. A bit like Nirvana songs from the Nevermind album. Despite that, I'm always completely absorbed by his characters and their worlds so it's not such a bad thing.

House of Suns is another epic space opera. Our narrators are from a society of future humans struggling with emerging machine intelligences, other more exotic human iterations, family betrayals and old fashioned love affairs across the aeons.

Our huma
Robert Delikat
I am always on the lookout for new SF authors. I have read most if not all of Hamilton, Clarke, Vonnegut, Wells, Simmons, Asimov, and Herbert among other greats. This was my first Alastair Reynolds book. I cannot say I was overwhelmed by it in any way. When I read by a reviewer that I follow that Reynolds pushes the boundaries of the genre in new directions, I was ready for something special. I feel disappointed.

That a progenitor fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones seemed in
Aug 22, 2012 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This book is a bit different than most of the others that inhabit the “Revelation Space” universe. While it is a common backdrop to several books, they are not the classic Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, ad nauseam type of series where a few key characters inhabit multiple stories. (Don’t shoot me just yet. I also like series such as that – even trilogies that have five or six volumes.) Even though each has its own separate plots and actors, much of the tales exist within a span off 200-300 years. Not so t ...more
A couple of years ago I made a conscious effort to advance my reading habits and actively seek out the best that Sci-Fi had to offer rather than casually browse the local bookshop.
The path swiftly and inevitably led to Alistair Reynolds.

I started at the obvious place, the Revelation Space trilogy and my mind was promptly blown to pieces. House of Suns was supposed to be a quick Reynolds side-track before returning to the other Revelation space novels only to find what is so far the single greate
Ben Babcock
One of those books that picks you up and takes you on a journey. I was ambivalent about it at first, but I quickly became enthusiastic. Reynolds' style allows for an ease of exposition: in a couple of sentences, he can give you an idea of the nature of several different civilizations without going too in depth. This skill allows him to construct the epic scope required for a space opera of this nature.

And epic it is indeed. Spanning millions of years, House of Suns deals with space travel in a r
Dec 16, 2009 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Reynolds, Hard SF, space opera fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Rating: 2.8-3 stars

Six million years from now humanity has spread throughout the galaxy using slower-than-light (STL) ships. (One of the nice things about Reynolds’ SF is that he’s scrupulous about obeying physical laws – at least as they’re understood today.) At the dawn of this era, Abigail Gentian was among a group of wealthy families that had themselves cloned so that they could wander across space observing the rise and fall of human & alien civilizations. Abigail created 1,000 clones –
Tim Hicks
I think Reynolds reached a little too far with this, but he sure reached a long way and I applaud that.
It's a great read, but you need a bit of basic sci-fi astrophysics and a very well-developed ability to suspend disbelief.

Many of the advanced concepts are well thought out, as you'd expect from an astrophysicist. Maybe some of the blips I noticed are in fact explained, but let's try some.

22-kilometre-long ships with one person on them? And we complain about 6-seater vehicles commuting with
Христо Блажев
Домът на слънцата грее с отразена светлина:

Епичните космически опери трудно пробиват до българския пазар в последните години, веднага се сещам май само за “Битие” на Дейвид Брин и “Червеноризци” на Джон Скалзи – и толкова. “Домът на слънцата” на Алистър Рейнолдс грейва като някакво ретроудоволствие – звучи толкова осемдесетарски, напомняше ми на класики като “Дюн” на Франк Хърбърт и “Играта на Ендър” на Орсън Скот Кард, няма как да не се направят връзки и
My first Alastair Reynolds novel, I found this to be a pretty good stand-alone space opera that avoids some of the usual tropes of the genre. Humans are alone in the galaxy -- the many civilizations populating the galaxy are far future posthumans evolved from the original human race. There is no FTL travel; humans spend literally hundreds of thousands of years touring the galaxy in sub-light ships of immense size.

House of Suns begins with an attempt to wipe out the Gentian line by mysterious att
Paul Forbes
Oh my. What a wonderful book. Beautifully written. Engaging characters. Brilliant story. Great ending. This is one of the best novels I've ever read, let alone one of the best sci-fi. Every single page has something to add to the story, there are no pages thrown in to pad it out it's 502 pages. It might be a bit heavy for non science fiction fans (some of it deals with faster than light travel and why it's impossible) but for fans of the genre it's very highly recommended. I think I've found my ...more
John Boettcher
Could be the best syfy book I have ever read and I have read them all!!

The only author that comes to mind that would even have a chance at rivaling this amazing book would be a book from Dan Simmons, perhaps the first or last book in the Hyperion Cantos, or maybe Illim or Olympos. Otherwise, this book runs unparalleled with other syfy books.

It is space opera through and through, but it will expand your mind in ways you never thought possible in regards to what is possible to write.

This is one
...I do think that Reynolds packed perhaps a bit too much ideas into this volume though. The implications of most things we see are usually only glimpsed at. He simply doesn't have enough space in this book to properly explore them. The pace of the story simply won't allow it. I find myself torn between the sheer enjoyment on being dragged along with the story and the nagging voice telling me Reynolds is glossing over the details. It is a much smoother read than some of his earlier novels but in ...more
David Hebblethwaite
My first encounter with the novels of Alastair Reynolds and… well, for a start, he certainly doesn’t lack vision.

House of Suns is set not just in the far future, but in the far future of a far future (as it were) where humans have colonised the galaxy. In addition to myriad planet-dwelling sub-species (some of whom are barely recognisable as human), there are the star-faring Lines, each comprising a thousand clones (or ’shatterlings’) of individuals who, six million years previously, set out to
Jul 27, 2009 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gosh-wow sensawunda addicts
Recommended to Alan by: Prior experience with the author's work
Once I'd had a chance to crack the covers, I burned through this book in a couple of days, finding it right up my alley. Reynolds has been called the "master of Modern British Space Opera," and with good reason - he undeniably thinks big, writes big, and is capable of conveying that vertiginous sense of scale to the reader. House of Suns effortlessly spans millions of years (and millions of light-years)... but it does so in a clever and humanistic way, by following the viewpoints of several diff ...more
Lori (Hellian)
I've been having alot of trouble rating 3 and 4 stars in the past 2 months. I started out as 3 is actually a very good rating, while 4 was reserved for books I loved and won't forget, and 5 being masterpieces of books I want to reread - which is rare, life being short and too many good books out there!

So with this book I toughened up again, but am doubtful because I really like it, and I've been feeling the ending all day.

This is a strong book from Reynolds. Different from Revelation Space, Cha
Rich Rosell
I haven't read a lot of big space opera novels so I don't have all that much to compare this with. But I liked the hugeness of House of Suns. Reynolds slops on big doses of complex astrophysic-y stuff - to the point where I could almost feel my brain spasming a bit as I attempted to understand stardams - in a gigantic galactic adventure where time means almost nothing. And everything.

It took me sometime to fall in with this, but I'm glad I stuck it out. It lags a bit in the middle portion but th
Michael Mangold
Jan 19, 2010 Michael Mangold rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fans
I had been searching for a hard science space opera with no faster-than-light travel, and House of Suns is it. A big-idea book that confronts the questions raised when space travel requires thousands, even millions of years. What sort of people would be willing to leave behind their world to travel to other worlds, and what sort of society would they create? Toss in a love story, a whodunnit plus an epic adventure and House of Suns is the sort of book that will stay with me for a very long time.
This book is up for a group read. What did I think? I don't remember it at all, though I read it only 3 years ago. Either this is due to the raves of age on memory or it just was not memorable. It must have been fun though: I gave it 5 stars. If I knew where it were, I might do a re-read for the group read. I like Alastair Reynolds' SF.
This book has all the hallmarks of Alastair Reynolds' writing: Grand scale space opera with a convoluted and fascinating plot that only fully unravels at the very end. If you like other of Alastair Reynolds' space opera, I am quite certain that this one will not disappoint.

I liked the way that there was a bit of fantasy intertwined in the story but all contained in a technologically feasible way. The main plot, however, concerns one of several groups of clones that travel the galaxy spending a l
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Alastair Reynolds, former scientist and now full-time writer. Most of what he writes is science fiction, with a strong concern for scientific verisimilitude (although he is prepared to break the rules for the sake of a good story). He has lived in England, Scotland and the Netherlands where he worked as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency until 2004, but now makes his home back in his ...more
More about Alastair Reynolds...
Revelation Space (Revelation Space, #1) Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, #2) Chasm City Absolution Gap (Revelation Space, #3) The Prefect

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“To see something marvellous with your own eyes - that’s wonderful enough. But when two of you see it, two of you together, holding hands, holding each other close, knowing that you’ll both have that memory for the rest of your lives, but that each of you will only ever hold an incomplete half of it, and that it won’t ever really exist as a whole until you’re together, talking or thinking about that moment ... that’s worth more than one plus one. It’s worth four, or eight, or some number so large we can’t even imagine it.” 7 likes
“But beyond a certain scale vast was simply vast.” 0 likes
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