Terminal World
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Terminal World

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  2,988 ratings  ·  322 reviews
Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different - and rigidly enforced - level of technology. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains . . .

Following an infiltration mission that went trag...more
Paperback, 490 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Gollancz (first published December 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Terminal World is my first Alastair Reynolds, a science-fiction writer known for galaxy-spanning space operas, and has a plot and tone pretty much the opposite of space opera:

“Meroka, meet Doctor Quillon,’ Fray said. ‘He is, as you correctly surmised, the new package. I’ve just been telling him you you’re going to do such an excellent job of getting him out of Spearpoint.’

‘Hope you told him it isn’t going to be no joyride… Looking at three hard days to get you out, if all goes to plan, which mos...more
David Sven
Take a Bladerunner city setting, in the middle of a Mad Max wasteland, throw in a whole heap of Steampunk elements, and maybe a touch of Dark Tower – and still arguably qualify as hard scifi – and you have Terminal World.

This story is different to Reynolds other works in that none of it happens in space – and of course it is in Reynolds words, a “steampunk-influenced” novel. So it’s not really a Space Opera, nor would I categorize it as Steampunk proper. I’m going to call it “Steam Opera.” In an...more
David
This is an exciting science fiction story with a steam-punk flavor. I like the book because first, it is not transparent to the reader what is about to happen next and second, it is filled with unusual ideas and concepts that are not seen in other stories of this genre. A number of groups of "people" are quite unlike others in the literature; the macabre/terroristic "skull boys", the human-eating "vorg", the airmen in the "swarm", and the "mad machines" bring a variety of personalities--many of...more
julio
fun, fun, fun.

it's a noir mystery set in a wyrd, steampunky alternate universe...

...until you get to a nicer part of town.

the one with electricity.

imaginative and engaging.

this is how to have your sci-fi—and get your steampunk, too.

outstanding.
Ron
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert
I broadly enjoyed reading this book, but my big gripe is that the story just stops, in the middle of dramatic events, without explaining what happens to the characters, without explaining the real nature of the world - in particular the "zones" which limit technology and make up the entire premise of the book. There are vague hints, which is fine, but much of it is left entirely unexplained, including the fate of the protagonists. It's written as if there was supposed to be a sequel, but Reynold...more
David
Aug 07, 2014 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fallen angels, Skull-boys, post-apocalyptic zeppelin captains
Alastair Reynolds has impressed me with his intellectual sorta-hard-SF space operas, but left me a bit cold in terms of characters and storytelling, the grand scope of his plots dwarfing the human elements. He's a bit like a colder Charles Stross who is not trying quite as hard as Stross does to impress you with his cleverness, even though he's very clever.

Terminal World is a departure from his usual space operas - it's set on one world, that vaguely resembles Earth but isn't, in a post-apocalyt...more
Liviu
Terminal World was one of my top 5 expected novels of 2010 and it was good but not awesome and the weakest novel I read from Mr. Reynolds as execution goes - I did not like The Prefect and Century Rain as much as the others mainly because I thought the mystery/thriller part in each was too detrimental to the sense of wonder part, but they were well done overall, while Terminal World reads like a draft that needs a lot of editing and tightening. When heroes discuss/declaim before shooting the vil...more
Felicia
I dunnnnno. I am in love with "House of Suns", the other book I've read by this author, so I went into this with high expectations. I honestly didn't understand a lot of what was going on, the world was so confusing, it seemed to contradict itself SO MUCH as time went on. I found it extremely hard to finish, and I was always confused, and the main character was just MEH. I hate to give negative reviews, but I loved House of Suns SO MUCH I really wanted this to be as absorbing and raveful, and it...more
Mark Cheverton
I've enjoy reading Reynolds space opera, even though they do tend to all blur into one book, however his latest novel is a departure from the usual spaceship chasing galaxy spanning stuff. This is much more of a steampunk book, veering a little into fantasy - not necessarily a bad thing, but not what people may be expecting.

Two things really let this book down for me; firstly I just couldn't find the characters motivations believable, particularly the main character of the doctor who's obsession...more
David Hebblethwaite
It’s more-or-less exactly a year since I read an Alastair Reynolds novel for the first time, and now here I am, looking at his latest book. Once again, I had a great time reading him – though I can’t shake the feeling I like the idea of Terminal World (and here I’m referring to the underlying structure of the story, rather than the novel’s setting, which is a fine creation) more than I like how that idea plays out in actuality.

At some point in the future, after even the word ‘science’ has been f...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
This was a long read for me, but ultimately enjoyable. A good mix of steampunk and rustic science fiction, with a different twist on angels.

Reviewed for Bitten by Books. http://bittenbybooks.com.

Pamela
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first. Reynolds is so very well known for sweeping space opera that to crack open a book and be confronted with an angel (though he's not what you think!) is rather disconcerting. In fact, I think I had determined not to like the book. And we see where that's gotten me.

The story follows Quillon, an angel modified to live among humans. You see, it's not just a separation of heaven and earth--these people don't have that theology. They follow the Zones...more
Mark Hebwood
This is the second book in Alastair's "Terminal" trilogy. The first instalment, "Terminal Soul", tells the story of how the schism amongst the angels, the most advanced society in the technologically zoned city of Spearpoint, culminates in a plot to infiltrate the lower civilisations in that vast metropolis and establish hegemonial rule. "Terminal World" picks up where "Terminal Soul" left off, and after a few pages of "previously on 'Terminal'"-type exposition, launches into a densely told adve...more
Michael Harry
The story was excellent and moved along at a good pace with some surprises and lots of action. There was always something worth happening and no lagging places. The characters were well done and they developed nicely in ways that felt real and because of things that happened or people they met. Neither Quillion, the main protagonist or Meroka, his protector end up the same person they were at the beginning.
The setting is excellently done, I guessed where it was and though it isn't clarified I'm...more
Kate Sherrod
Fans of Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space series and his other vastly atmospheric space operas are in for a bit of a surprise in his latest novel, which owes more to China Mieville's Bas-Lag books and Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories than to the Clarke/Asimov tradition.

That doesn't mean it's bad, though -- far from it! While the lingering disappointment that there will be no hyperspace chase scenes or stars being sung apart via mind-bogglingly ancient and malign intelligences never wholly leave...more
Jim
Well, I did manage to finish this one. Alastair Reynolds is a very imaginative writer, certainly, but sometimes he comes up with a situation that just seems completely unworkable to me. There was the ice world with gigantic cathedrals trundling around and around, and now this: a future Earth with mysterious, shifting "zones" where different levels of technology suddenly cease to work.

Okay, so some people live on the side of this mysterious gigantic black artificial mountain, Spearpoint, which h...more
Robert
This is easily Reynolds' weakest novel to-date. It opens with one of Neal Stephenson's favourite technical crimes - a protagonist switch. Grrr! It would have been more difficult to pull off but the novel could have opened with the intended main protagonist finding an angel on his pathology bench. Instead there is a long scene from the point of view of two characters who are never heard from again - and you know from the outset that they are going to disappear once they've delivered the angel. So...more
Alina
I enjoyed the Alistair Reynolds space operas I've read, but this novel tops them. It's been described as steam punk -- and the author does find a reason to put goggles on his hero -- but I'd call it imaginative science fiction with a steam punk flavor. Set on a dying, far-future Earth (which probably isn't Earth), this work is a world-building tour-de-force brimming with sense of wonder -- and horror. Zones of differing physical laws divide this Earth, so that technological limits vary from one...more
Iain
Reynolds does steampunk, and it's not half bad.

In fact, theoretically the tech level in 'Terminal World' varies from primitive muscle power to extremely advanced computers according to which 'zone' you occupy. But (minor spoiler) in practice the action takes place almost wholly in zones that allow technology such as airships and machine-guns, but nothing more complex, so the 'feel' is very much of a steampunk novel (albeit with a strong noir influence early on).

The plot twists and turns, someti...more
Brendan Ellis
If there's one thing that Alastair Reynolds is great at it's imagining strange and fantastic worlds which are like nothing you've ever thought about before yet still remain believable. I've not read all his books yet but so far Terminal World has been the most crazy world. The problem Reynolds has sometimes is telling a story within these worlds. It's like he doesn't always plan ahead and really know where the story is going from the beginning. This sometimes leaves the endings pretty weak. I al...more
Carolyn
Spearpoint juts from the surface of the earth and extends through the upper levels of the atmosphere. The cities are built on shelves that spiral along its side like threads on a screw. Each city has different technological capabilities based on the zone it inhabits, and the electrical devices that function in Neon Heights are completely worthless in Steamville. The zones extend along the length of Spearpoint and radiate out along the ground, locking the entire world in a strictly regulated syst...more
Mark
Alastair Reynolds is an author whose books I always want to read when they come out and he writes some of the best short fiction I've read. But when it comes to his full length novels I seem to find that they're very hit and miss with me - I loved Pushing Ice, but I was very disappointed with House of Suns. So when his new novel was announced last year and it promised to be something a little different from his usual hard sf approach, I was very interested. What I found in Terminal World was a v...more
Michael Stearbs
Of all contemporary SF writers, Alastair Reynolds is (in my opinion at least) one of the most original and outstanding storytellers. I've read most of his "Space Operas" and was blown away by the mind-boggling scale of each one. This book is on a more "contained" scale, set as it is on a future earth and centred largely around one main character rather than a skipping between a bewildering number of scenarios as he did in his "Revelation Space" series.

What I particularly like about Reynolds is h...more
Woodge
This is a steampunk novel from an author known for SF. In the towering city of Spearpoint, Quillon is working as a pathologist in the district morgue. When a winged angel from the Celestial Levels ends up on his dissection table, it starts a chain of events that causes Quillon to embark on a journey into the hostile lands beyond Spearpoint. The main conceit at play is that the world (and Spearpoint) is divided into several different zones in which only certain kinds of technology can exist. Trav...more
Ian Peterson
As an unashamed Alastair Reynolds fan this book was high on my books to read. Reynolds has thus far failed to disappoint. This book, however, was a marked departure from his other novels and short stories. I felt like he was trying to capitalize on the steampunk craze that is sweeping speculative fiction, while still holding on to his radical post-human background.

Terminal World centers around and Earth vastly different than our own. Earth's population is centered around Spearpoint, a massive st...more
Virginia
One would think, in a sci-fi adventure, involving many chase scenes and travel sequences through an ever-changing landscape constantly fraught with danger for a ragtag group of protagonists, that it would not be possible for a story to be stuffy and dry. And yet it is in this book. The premise is fascinating, a far future (on Mars) where technology works to a varying degree depending on location, and human lifespans are much shorter. (Or the Martian year is longer. People are also way taller.) I...more
Rob
...In the end I thought Terminal World was a very readable and at one level enjoyable book. If you read it just for the adventure it works just fine. Reynold's readership will probably expect a bit more from it though. It is a departure from the rest of his oeuvre and I very much doubt his established readers have been unanimously supportive of it. He took a chance here and it only partly paid off. It's an interesting experiment, showing that Reynolds is capable of writing stories outside his us...more
Martin
This is a bit of a departure from Alastair Reynolds usual space opera style, with more of a steampunk sort of vibe - lots of machines and airships for the most part. However, there's more to it than that and the underpinnings of this world are not what they first appear. Although the author drops hints early on that all is not what it seems the true nature of the world is not really revealed until the very end.
To be honest I found it a little slow paced in general, with occasional sections of a...more
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SciFi and Fantasy...: Terminal World - April 2014 7 32 Apr 30, 2014 08:27AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Missing Cover on 9780575084933 3 43 Sep 12, 2011 10:16PM  
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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 House of Suns Absolution Gap (Revelation Space, #3)

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