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House of Suns

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  16,220 Ratings  ·  858 Reviews
Six million years ago, at the dawn of the star-faring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings. But now, someone is eliminating the Gentian line. Campion and Purslane — two shatterlings who have fallen in love and shared forbidden experiences — must determine exactly who, or what, their enemy is, before th ...more
Paperback, Free edition with SFX magazine-August 2010, 512 pages
Published 2010 by Gollancz (first published April 17th 2008)
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Kevin Kelsey
Posted at Heradas Review

This is my first Alastair Reynolds standalone novel. Having previously absorbed everything remotely related to his Revelation Space series over the last few years, I wanted to dip my toes into some of his one-off writing before digging into his newer series work. For some reason this book has been out of print in the US for a few years, making a physical copy a little tedious to come by, but I did eventually find one. Come on ACE, it’s time for a reprint!

Coming from the R
...more
Felicia
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
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!
Cecily


NEW Review, Written After Reading

Comment #25 onwards was made after adding this section.

Good old-fashioned futuristic adventure at its best. Intelligent, well-written escapism about encounters between advanced human intelligences and even more advanced machine intelligences.

Reynolds often writes novels with three-strands, set in different worlds and eons, that gradually come together. This is a simpler, single, story, but it's epic in time and distance. There is adventure, love and loyalty, atta
...more
Apatt
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, sf-top-20

"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."

Epic!

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 hundr
...more
Forrest
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Others have covered the plotline and central conceits of the novel very well, so I will forbear. The plot is excellent, as are the ideas. What sets House of Suns far apart from other space operas is the sheer scope and scale of the thing and the fact that the immensity of it all does not drown the beautiful humanity displayed by the main characters, Campion and Purslane, two clones of the Gentian line who have been illicitly involved in a forbidden relationship with one another.

When I was a kid,
...more
Michael
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Michael by: apatt
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
Stuart
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
House of Suns: Truly epic time scales, but characters also shine
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
This is the first Alastair Reynolds’ book I’ve read not set in his REVELATION SPACE series, and many of his fans claim it’s his best book. I’d have to say it is pretty impressive, dealing with deep time scales rarely seen for any but the most epic hard SF books. What’s unique about House of Suns is not simply that the story spans hundreds of thousands of years, but that the characters actually
...more
Bradley
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After reading some really awesome reviews from Cecily and Apatt, and despite the fact that I've already read ten of his novels and short story collections, I've been feeling quite ashamed that I still hadn't read this well-regarded novel. So I sat my butt down and made it my eleventh. :)

Could I possibly be disappointed at this point? Nope. At least, not for the sheer scale and scope of this post-humanity romp of over 6 million years, where a certain girl named Abigail clones herself and her mind
...more
Mimi
I meant to take it easy, but ended up blowing through the second half of this book in just 3 days. The pages just kept on turning by themselves, and I didn't get much sleep.

Woke up this morning and was like


But seriously. What year is it?

This is not a review because I don't have enough science in me to understand it or to begin diving in and deconstructing it, but I did enjoy it very much and it's easily one of the best books I've read this year, maybe even this millennium. Will have to return f
...more
Guillermo
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
...more
Mike
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
...more
Bill
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Olivia
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites
Right after finishing, I declared this may be my favourite read, since I first came across Pride and Prejudice two decades ago, which means a lot, trust me. Don't worry though, this is NOTHING like Pride and Prejudice.

House of Suns is something special. Filled with wonders and surprises. A story spanning millions of years and several galaxies. It took me a few chapters to wrap my head around the world; it's a lot to take in at first. Afterwards, I couldn't put it down. I just ploughed through, s
...more
William
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful and delightful. Certainly his best full-length novel. Three primary characters - Purslane and Campion are lovers, and Hesperus is a rescued "Machine Person" - have enough depth and heart and intelligence to sparkle. The long-winded, page-filling, static dialogue as too-often seen in previous full novels, is blessedly absent here. Well done, Alastair!

A comfortable start into a plot spanning 6 million years; but don't worry, we only see appropriate slices of this expanse of time. The boo
...more
Oscar
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
Frank
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 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 lot of
...more
David Sven
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, sci-fi
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
...more
Robert
Apr 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
...more
WarpDrive
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
I normally tend not to write reviews on fiction works, as I prefer to focus more on my non-fictional readings, but this time I felt compelled to write something about this masterpiece.
It has been a long time since I had last experienced the pleasure of reading such a beautiful example of space opera.
The width and scope of this ambitious work are simply breathtaking; we are dealing here with a visionary, outstanding work of hard science fiction that manages to address many traditional themes of
...more
Claudia
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another exquisite novel of Al R - so intense, so full of meanings, so full of action, so dense, so vast, so beguiling, that I don’t know with what to begin my eulogy.

- with the colorful universe?
"Ateshga’s world […] was an outrageous confection of a planet: a striped marshmallow giant with a necklace of sugary rings, combed and braided by the resonant forces of a dozen glazed and candied moons."

- with the reflections about civilizations when measured on time scale?
"People lived and died and
...more
Heidi
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Mike
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Loothi
Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Ric
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing

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

...more
Daniel Gonzalo
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pedazo Novelón. Puede que sea la mejor de novela de Space Opera Hard que he leído. Brutal
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
...more
Terence
Jul 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Reynolds, Hard SF, space opera fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily (BellaGrace)
My first Alastair Reynolds book, and it was fantastic. Definitely weird in places, and it took a bit to figure out what was going on, but I loved it. I wish there was a sequel to it.
Od Busakorn
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, audio
House of Suns was my first introduction to Alastair Reynolds (by my good friend Apatt). At first I gave it 5 stars, but in this review changed it to 4 stars. I read this book in two mediums: roughly three quarters in Audible and one quarter on Kindle. I felt the story was better appreciated in printed words than in audio, but it could perhaps be that I have not yet come to like John Lee's narration.

House of Suns is a fantastic, galactic adventure that toys with big ideas and offers philosophical
...more
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4,332 followers
I'm Al, now a Goodreads author. I used to be a space scientist, and now I'm a writer, although for a time the two careers ran in parallel. I started off publishing short stories in the British SF magazine Interzone in the early 90s, then eventually branched into novels. I write about a novel a year and try to write a few short stories as well. Some of my books and stories are set in a consistent f ...more
More about Alastair Reynolds

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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.” 15 likes
“The first six million years had been all fun and games.” 13 likes
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