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Pushing Ice

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  14,105 ratings  ·  784 reviews

First contact with extraordinary aliens, glittering technologies that could destroy the universe in a nanosecond, huge sweeping space operas: Alastair Reynolds is back!

Some centuries from now, the exploration and exploitation of the Solar System is in full swing. On the cold edge of the system, Bella Lind, captain of the huge commercial spacecraft Rockhopper IV, helps

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Kindle Edition, 532 pages
Published (first published October 27th 2005)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,105 ratings  ·  784 reviews


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Apatt
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alastair Reynolds is like a sci-fi triple threat, big “SFnal ideas”, unpredictable plot, and well developed characters, all wrapped up in very readable narrative. After reading six books by him I now feel like I can always come back to him a “reliable author” for a good reading experience. One of these days he will probably let me down badly because that always happens when I become complacent about an author but I see no sign of that so far.

Pushing Ice is often cited as one of Reynolds’ best b
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Dirk Grobbelaar
Review - Retcon

OK. Here’s the thing. In my initial review (quite a while ago) I ranted a bit about one or two things that bothered me about Pushing Ice. Lately though, I find that the novel keeps haunting me. A lot. Since this is exceptional, I went back and had a quick glance at some of the details. While I still have an issue with some aspects of the power struggle dominating the story, I have to admit that there is quite a bit of wonder to be had from the novel. The Structure, in particul
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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
warning : might contain slight spoilers !

[7/10] this book falls about halfway between "OK" and "really like it" . Well written, but a bit verbose and light on the scientific speculative part. A lot of good ideas are only touched upon or mentioned in passing, leaving the focus of the novel on interpersonal relationships and some space opera fireworks.

Of the three distinctive parts of this epic, the first - dealing with an industrial spaceship chasing after a rogue satelite - reminded me of the mo
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Mark Pantoja
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crap, reviewed
Dear Alastair Reynolds,

Why do I come back to your books? That's the question I kept asking myself, when reading this book.

This is not to say that all of your books are absolute drivel, like this one is. And, it's true, Pushing Ice is not without some interesting ideas and speculation... that could have been explored in about half as many pages and one third the flat dialogue that one can only skim after awhile.

Now, the tech you have down, and you know your science, which I very much appreciate.
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Sherm Thompson
I've just tried picking this up again after a long hiatus but I'm going to have to give up and call this one unfinished. This doesn't happen to me often but I can't face reading any more.

The main problem for me is the characterisation. It's all so cardboard cut-out, thrown-together stereotypes, as if stereotypes are somehow okay as long as you mix them up a bit; everyone's reasons for doing things are either underexamined or just make no sense. The only person who feels vaguely non-cardboard is
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Bradley
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm discovering something rather odd about myself. I thought I would never like Reynold's stand-alone novels more than I liked the large-scale history and time books surrounding Revelation Space, but one after another, these books are rather blowing me away.

Pushing Ice, as a title, leaves a lot to be desired. It seems... rather pedestrian for what it actually IS.

Janus, one of Jupiter's moons, happens to be a spaceship. And more than that, forgive my spoilering, it's full of far-future tech (whic
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7jane
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 2057, Bella Lind and her crew of comet-miner 'Rockhopper', are working when they are given a sudden mission: to trail for a few days the path of Janus, a Saturn moon that has turned out to be an alien machine,
- "that's no moon!"-
now moving towards the star system of Spica, 260 light years away, and it's pipe-like giant thing (that turns out to be something surpising, too). But destiny has more in mind, surprises that are all not pleasant (but we see from prologue and epilogue some benefits f
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Claudia
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very dark, claustrophobic to the limits, but one of Reynolds’ best.
Although it’s pretty static in action, its scope is as colossal as we got used to. And we get some really interesting alien species as well.

There is also a change in the way the story is told: in bits and pieces, with gaps between the events, on which eventually we get some answers, but mostly the reader is let to draw its own scenario; I really liked that – it put my imagination to work. Also, it is not focused on technology or
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Olivia
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My other half kept telling me to pick this one up, but I was hesitant, simply because I don't usually read hard SF. It's her favourite Reynolds book, so I finally decided to give it a go.

Pushing Ice is gripping from the very first page. Janus, one of Saturn's moons, suddenly zooms away, and of course, we give it chase. (Who wouldn't?)

Janus turns out to be a spaceship in disguise, and the people giving it chase are the unfortunate souls on board of a ice miner who just happened to be the nearest
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Allison Hurd
DNF at 20%

I was intending to keep reading until the point that some said "they really got hooked," but I don't care about this book enough to slog through another 50-60 pages. Someone dying was the highlight of my reading experience in the first 86 pages, and that doesn't seem like a great recommendation for it.

I bounced hard off this. Part of it might be mood, but I think most of it is just my personal pet peeves.

Here is a list:
-The prologue angered me. It's about an interplanetary parliament c
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Sarah
This book starts 18,000 years in the future with a woman who's wanting to arrange for something to get in the hands of "the progenitor". It goes back to 2059 on the comet mining ship Rock Hopper hearing that Saturn's moon, Janus, has broken orbit and turned around, heading off into interstellar space. After polling the crew, Rock Hopper, partially at the behest of the corporation that owns them, heads after it. They hope to catch up to Janus and stay ahead of the Chinese in the process.

Reynolds
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Neal Asher
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So Janus, one of Saturn’s ice moons abruptly takes off out of the solar system, shedding ice and rock as it goes to reveal the alien spaceship underneath. Fortunate choice, and in every sense, since Janus is the two-faced Roman god of gates and doorways. I could ramble on like the most anal of SF reviewers about how this was an ongoing theme throughout the whole book, but such themes can be found in any book.

Then, after Bella Lind puts it to a crew vote, the mining ship Rockhopper sets off in p
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jon
Oct 16, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think this might be a good book. I just hated it.

The characters are unlikeable. I can think of only one minor character in the book that didn't need a lobotomy. The rest irritated me with either their lack of depth, ridiculous pettiness, or inexplicable decision making.

Beyond that, the plot was pretty boring. There is actually very little true plot. The vast majority of the wordcount describes a 100 year long grudgematch between the two main characters. That's right. An interstellar catfight
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Jamie
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly audacious. What starts as a near-future BDO (big dumb object) story develops into an epic, mind blowing tale across space and time. Reynolds, one of today's finest sci-fi authors, never disappoints. He consistently delivers thrilling stories with exhilarating twists and wildly creative visions of the future that are always grounded in just enough hard science to seem plausible, but never so much as to overwhelm or confound readers. Like House of Suns, another of Reynold's exceptional stand ...more
Clouds
I picked it up at a car boot sale for £1!
aPriL does feral sometimes
Yet again I am picking myself up from where I was blown away by a hard-science novel this month!

; )

'Pushing Ice' will be one of the most unusual generation sagas most readers have ever encountered. Hint: Einstein's Theory of Relativity is involved...

Bella Lind is Captain of the Rockhopper, a mining space ship which is equipped with nuclear devices and other heavy machines for mining ice. The year is 2057. Jim Chisholm, Bella's second-in-command, is in sickbay with a newly discovered brain cancer
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David Sven
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the second Non Revelation Space universe book I've read - the first being Century Rain. I liked it more than Century Rain (Review) but not as much as the Revelation Space books.

In some ways it reminds me of Absolution Gap because it involves a group of humans trying to survive in an alien environment and it was hard not make a superficial comparison between the main ship Rockhopper and Nostalgia for Infinity as far as there relegated role in both books went.

The book covers mellennia
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Lee
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-scifi
When ever I want to get back into reading after a break, or just want to get into SciFi, Reynolds is my go to guy.
I know that I have read all the best Reynolds books, but I had saved Pushing Ice for this exact time. Getting back into reading. It did the job.
Reynolds is good at getting you immersed in a story and I whilst I thought the book started off slowly, it kept me hooked and once again I started reading during my lunch time and at home instead of flipping on the PS4.

It definitely is not hi
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William
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
24% done. This was chugging along pretty well, hard sci-fi, adequate writing and characters and then WHAM plot error. I really hate investing in a book and then being slapped with a crappy plot device involving a beloved character acting STUPIDLY STUPID.

Then more and more blatant manipulation by STUPID means. Ugh

Thankfully, many of his other books are fantastic.
Bart
Apr 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, speculative
After Terminal World, this is the second disappointing book I read by Reynolds. Long story short: while there is a great story in this book (a lot better than the story of Terminal World), it is marred by a terrible and totally unbelievable subplot involving the 2 protagonists behaving like children, and nobody of the crew minding that. That's a crying shame, because

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please click here to read the rest of this review on my blog
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Scott  Hitchcock
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
3.5*'s

I really enjoyed the story and the writing but there were some head scratching moments that were either too convenient or just didn't make sense.
Kostas
7.5/10

Second stand-alone book that I’m reading from Alastair Reynolds and this one was a little bit different from what I originally expected but nevertheless he has managed to make some pretty good ideas in a story of survival and quest of the truth at the edge of the universe.

Captain Bella Lind and her crew aboard Rockchopper are space miners and their job is to “break” ice wherever they find it. But before they could finish their current cycle and return back to Earth they will be notified th
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Nikki
I actually read this book in a rather disjointed way -- the first two hundred pages or so in one chunk, and the last three hundred pages or so in another, more than a month later. So that might well colour my thoughts on it. Overall, I enjoyed it. Alastair Reynolds' writing is always easy to read, in my opinion, and his plots are interesting, without so much technobabble it becomes incomprehensible to me.

Character-wise, though, I'm not sure I really feel for them. They're human, with human fail
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Adam
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was the first book by Alastair Reynolds that I've read, but I don't think it will be the last. While I have some reservations about it, the good stuff overwhelmingly outweighs the bad stuff.

By the standards of hard sci-fi, this is an astoundingly well-written novel. Too many sci-fi writers use their characters as a series of mouthpieces to move along the plot and explain the big ideas, but most of the characters in Pushing Ice felt like real people. Reynolds has a keen understanding of indi
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David
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Comet miners, fountainheads, musk dogs
Alastair Reynolds is a reliably solid hard SF author who writes sweeping epics on a grand time scale, yet never quite captures my sense of wonder precisely because of the realistic, immense scales at which his stories unfold. There is rarely any true FTL travel, so his interstellar civilizations build up over tens of thousands of years and consider a few hundred years to be a very short space of galactic time.

Pushing Ice doesn't start out on that scale - the crew of the Rockhopper is just a bunc
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Robert
Aug 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, wales
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rushabh
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Pushing Ice is my first Alastair Reynolds book. I bought it because it was recommended by the editors at Powell's in Portland (the best bookstore in the western united states, but thats a different story). I'm a big fan of other hard sci-fi authors like Vernor Vinge and Ian M. Banks and this book seemed to have all the right elements of a space opera.

It did not disappoint: it is fast moving, well written, excellent story and it has it all - politics, science, personal drama, aliens. Everytime I
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Maciej
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people unfamiliar to works of A. Reynolds
Well, I'm a fan of A. Reynolds so this review is comparative to his other works. First of all, the fact that you'll like this book or not depends on what you like about Reynolds. For me it's mainly aliens presented in author's style - strange, distant, unfamiliar. Cutting a long story short, this story lacks that. There are, of course, aliens, mystery and such but all presented in a way devoid of praised "sense of wonder".

First half took me pretty long time to read. I had a feeling that actio
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Ed [Redacted]
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I am torn between three and four stars for this one, I lean toward three I suppose. This was not my favorite Reynolds novel by any stretch. I thought the science and science fictional ideas were brilliant as always. I found the characters and dialogue to be a bit too by-the-numbers for my taste. Oddly, the ending was excellent, vastly better than the majority of Reynolds' endings, and perhaps a harbinger or future improvement in the only area Reynolds consistently lacks in.

I didn't enjoy this a
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Matthew Hester
It jumped around a bit too much at times; never really allowing you to get comfortable in the setting around you.
I suppose that might have been the point a bit, given the story is about people making due in unfamiliar and unsettling circumstances.

I'm also starting to see a trend with Reynold's writing, in that he doesn't usually give you the payoff to a situation. He builds suspense and gets you excited for what's about to happen; but then ends the chapter or section right before. He later recap
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Pushing Ice question 2 31 Jul 01, 2019 08:55AM  
Science Fiction A...: * November 2018: Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds 4 17 Feb 16, 2019 03:04PM  
Space Opera Fans : Nov 2018 THEMED: Pushing Ice by Reynolds 14 49 Nov 12, 2018 09:52AM  
Girls, Guns and G...: Pushing Ice Buddy Read 6 32 Mar 20, 2012 04:20PM  

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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

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