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Slow Bullets

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  4,020 ratings  ·  520 reviews
From the author of the Revelation Space series comes an interstellar adventure of war, identity, betrayal, and the preservation of civilization itself.

A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But f
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 1st 2015 by Tachyon Publications
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Tobias Langhoff I'm late to the party here, but why are people saying it might be in the RS universe since Scur is in it? I don't remember anyone named Scur from any …moreI'm late to the party here, but why are people saying it might be in the RS universe since Scur is in it? I don't remember anyone named Scur from any of the Revelation Space novels. Do I have amnesia? Or is everyone mixing up "Scur" with "Skade"?(less)
Jens Raab In the US where you're apparently located Slow Bullets is published by Tachyon Publications, an independent press whose books are generally beautiful …moreIn the US where you're apparently located Slow Bullets is published by Tachyon Publications, an independent press whose books are generally beautiful but a little more pricey (as is often the case with small publishers).
In the UK, the book's published by Gollancz, not exactly a small press but in this case not that very much cheaper.

In the past, most Reynold's shorter fiction has eventually been included in a story collection. I wouldn't be surprised if Slow Bullets were collected sooner or later as well. To be frank, there seems to be quite a lot of collected material to warrant another story collection. Let's hope that it will happen sooner rather than later!(less)

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Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Alastair Reynolds, best known for his brilliant Revelation Space series, published Slow Bullets in 2015.

Something of a departure, this is still a tense, intelligent space thriller. Told with wit and raw emotion, Reynolds uses an omnipresent dramatic tension to enhance his minimalistic narration.

The novel opens as an epic space war is concluding. The ceasefire has been called, but some sporadic fighting continues and the protagonist, Scur, finds herself behind enemy lines and at the mercy of a kn
Manuel Antão
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Reynolds in Character-Driven Mode: "Slow Bullets" by Alastair Reynolds

Fiction is fashioned from the stuff of people’s lives, and yet the characters in SF are seldom full-fledged people. Most of time they become stand-ins for a creed, an attitude, or a way of life. This is the crux of the matter when it comes to good SF. It lies at the forefront on why SF has so often been dismissed as sub-literary. Why is that so? Traditional fiction
Althea Ann
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read as part of the Hugo Voters' Packet.
And... I think this one is creeping up past 'Penric's Demon' to get my vote.

A vicious interstellar conflict is coming to an end. A ceasefire has been announced. Unfortunately for one soldier, the enemy who's captured her is infamous for his brutality, and he couldn't care less that hostilities are officially over. Scur fully expects to be tortured to death.

Unexpectedly, however, she awakes from coldsleep aboard a transport ship. A panicked crewmember lets
Alastair Reynolds has written a large number of books, so I know he can write. However "Slow Bullets" which did have some creative ideas within it's pages let me down. As the story progressed, both the protagonist and the antagonist became more and more cartoonish.

The bad guy was the ultimate evil incarnate who could survive in a spaceship for an extended span of time without food, water and air. Go figure. The heroine, though just an army grunt, can absorb strange technologies quickly and becom
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those wanting to start on this author with an easy slide
Music: Skinny Puppy - "The Centre Bullet" (because while I like the Tear Garden one, the instrumental(ish) version works the best)

After a long war, during a ceasefire, a soldier named Scur ends up being caught by a war crimnal, Orvin, and left for dead. In what seems like a next moment, she finds herself on a former starliner turned prisoner transporter vessel - Caprice - with a slowly dying computer and waking passengers, mostly war criminals but also some civilians plus some crew. But not only
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I love Alistair Reynolds, but I did not love Slow Bullets.

Reynolds is the writer who re-ignited my passion for SF and I have huge respect for his work, which I regard with a mix of warmth and awe. Revelation Space reminded me how truly great this genre can be, the vast vistas of the imagination that it commands and the genuine sense of wonder it can elicit in a reader.

Sadly, Slow Bullets left a vague, unsatisfied feeling in the place where my sense of wonder usually resides.

The premise behin
I liked being pleasantly surprised with this tale, even though my expectations were shaken at first it straying far from the exciting space opera I have enjoyed from him before. This is a novella and the setting is effectively constrained to a closed society aboard a disabled space ship. Reynolds for me has been a very reliable source of long, imaginative space operas with multiple lead characters, plots with a lot of social complexities, and a fair play on cool tech, artificial intelligence, an ...more

I personally have always felt that it is relatively difficult to write a shorter novel than a longer one that can get a reader fully invested to care for the fate of its characters. The plot moves along at a brisk pace, allowing little leeway for any substantial character development. And if a writer opts for it anyway, he/she might have to sacrifice the subplots, hence making the plot linear, and reminding a reader that it is after all, a short book.

Alastair Reynolds' "Slow Bullets" is an exce
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Newbie to Reynolds work, so I figured one of his shorter works might be interesting to check out. This is a tale of a bunch of former soldiers and convicts waking up from hyposleep (I think that's what the author called it) on a ship, with no idea why and what's going on or where they are. Scur, the main character, narrates, and you find out she was conscripted because of her family's political beliefs. Scur seems hellbent on revenging herself on another soldier who tortured her and l ...more
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds is a fantastic little slice of what one of my favorite authors is all about. This easy read novella touches on many of the areas that make Reynolds such a great writer. This is a science fiction story that is lean on the math and physics, making it very accessible to new readers. This is not a hard science story like much of what Reynolds writes.

Slow Bullets is a story about a spaceship filled with war criminals that finds itself wrecked in a place that
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those titles I could have sworn I owned and have read - but it seems not the case.

The book is quite a small affair of only 180 pages in a smaller (I am sure there is a proper name for it) format.

That said the story does not hang around and very quickly gets in to the think of it. Now with the no spoilers rule it does make it rather a challenge to comment about the story as basically the thrust of the story is how they deal with a situation they are irreversibly put in.

Now that s
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
The ending makes the tale, and this one is no different. I fell the familiar immersive narrative and enjoyed the stolid pacing that was the MO of the narrator, only slightly interested in the idea of slow bullets, but willing to make a full go of the novel anyway. What I wanted was a Revelation Space novel or novella, and I wasn't misled or disappointed. It did take some time to feel invested, but by the time I was seeing a tale of rebuilding civilization in the microcosm of a slowship carrying ...more
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Inspiring tale of survival, revenge and redemption in the cold, dark reaches of space in the wake of a war and untold devastation that leaves civilization on the brink of extinction. Reynolds takes on some deep themes, including religion and it's power to embed itself in our psyche, serving to both unite and divide us. "All that's the best and worst in us." (view spoiler) ...more
Carbonbased Bookworm
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just can't give this guy less than 5 stars 🙈.
Of all the brains in this universe, I like his brain the most. Actually, "I like" is complete understatement, to be honest, I am in awe and I can't believe something as magnificient as his brain can even exist.
You may not end up as opssesed with him as I am, but you should at least give him a chance.

All in all, often even 5 stars seem not enough. I would give him all stars in this world because, more than once, he has given stars of other worlds to
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Received to review via Netgalley

It’s been ages since I read any of Alastair Reynolds’ work, and I think it’s high time for a reread. This novella reminded me of all the things I loved about his series: weird unknowable aliens, amazing tech, mysterious cataclysms, and yes, a strong female character too. And maybe now, with the extra reading and studying I’ve done since, I’ll know more about the science aspect of the fiction as well, and be able to appreciate it more.

This is an engaging read, narr
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher.

Alastair Reynolds has easily become one of those authors that I've taken an interest in, ever since I read Revelation Space last year. That was a novel that I like quite a bit, even though many parts of it were above my comprehension level. So even though I enjoyed it overall, I became leery of reading more.

Then I saw that this was coming out, a short novel with an interesting premise: a soldier dealing with the aftermath of a war
The Review Can Also Be Found Here: http://thefictionalhangout.blogspot.c...

"From the author of the Revelation Space series comes an interstellar adventure of war, identity, betrayal, and the preservation of civilization itself.

A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur—and for humanity—peace is not to be.

On th
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I got used by now, to my delight, every Al Reynolds’ story comes with a surprise; here I had two: 1) the concept of the slow bullet and 2) the lack of his poetic descriptions and through them, the usual world-building. What stroke me was the way he managed to construct the world just through his characters, through their actions and dialogues.

Scur, a former soldier, finds herself on a ship orbiting some planet, apparently unknown, when she was supposed to be at home, in a world free of war. T
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reynolds is one of my favorite writers of short fiction, though he is mostly known for his epic novels. This novella is what a Space Opera novella should be - a tiny corner of a larger canvas. The tale behind this tale is epic enough for one of Reynolds longer works, but here we only get a single POV narrator relating a quick tale of revenge and redemption in the style of a memoir. Also atypical of Reynolds, the prose here is deliberately flat and dry, with none of the muscularity of his usual s ...more
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too Generic and Formulaic for Me


The whole thing has an unfinished feel to it (well, it is a galley) as if it were knocked out on some write-a-novel program or is a recycled TV script.

This took me forever to read because--well--there wasn't much to get into.  So, since it took so long to read, I might not remember all the details correctly, and I really don't have the heart to go back and check them.  

Scur is a female soldier in some generic war. Orvin, the supposedly evil, but very in
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Just a bit under 200 pages, I found Slow Bullets to be an excellent and tightly-written novella.
In the past, I had only read one other work by Alastair Reynolds, The Prefect, and though I enjoyed it a lot for its plot and characters, I remember being a little bit overwhelmed by it and struggling to finish the book. Since then, I wanted to explore more his "Revelation Space" series, but I couldn't help feeling a bit intimidated by the length of those books.

Slow Bullets was the perfect pick for m
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
Damn this packs a serious punch for a novella. It has a ridiculous amount going for it.

I loved the set up. The good, the bad and the leftovers of a cosmic war are put on board a prison ship and sent out into the universe without their knowledge. We have bits and pieces from both sides of a massive campaign as well as few who were put in to make the numbers up. Imagine that for a second. You’re a good soldier fighting your ass off and all of a sudden your sentenced to prison to fill an efficien
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ding ding ding! We have a winner. I don't normally enjoy short stories or novellas, because I like what longer stories bring to the table, but occasionally one hits the spot. This one was just the right length (on the longer side), and it's made me want to push Alastair Reynolds up my TBR. (I've owned a copy of Revelation Space for years and never gotten around to it.) This is definitely getting the top spot in my Hugo ballot. ...more
Sara J. (kefuwa)
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
A nice short sci-fi in space read. Really enjoyed it. Some pretty interesting ideas plus it managed to also have some nice lines in there (literary sci-fi ftw!). Good stuff. I have had this author on my radar for quite awhile now, great to finally be able to sample some of his writing. Definitely pushed his books up on my TBR list.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Stoics
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work; MCL
Alastair Reynolds' Slow Bullets is brief and self-contained (although a novel's worth of history occurs offstage). Dark and gritty, glittering like the black sand beaches on a cold and distant planet orbiting a red dwarf sun, I found this novella extremely hard to put down despite its grim beginnings. I would set this book alongside John Scalzi's The God Engines—although they're really nothing alike in detail, there's a certain similarity of tone that I think makes them good companion pieces.

Jeff Raymond
May 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-sci-fi
Billed as a novel but surprisingly short, the title refers to a type of space-age torture/execution method involving a slow-moving bullet that moves through your bloodstream before eventually killing you.

The concept underpins the military-esque planetary-system conspiracy behind the plot of this story. I’ve always found Alastair Reynolds to be a mixed bag for me personally, and I can say that this book didn’t really work for me. I think the length was the primary issue – instead of diving full-
Luke Burrage
Why was this so short? It could have been a real fun novel.

Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #275.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrific novella by Alastair Reynolds, separate from Revelation Space.

The setup early on is far more than it seems at first (although the title does somewhat give this away)

The middle half of the book has great pacing and some good events and fine characters, although the character of Prad should be fleshed out a bit more. Still, the issues raised and interesting and fun, and some of the plot elements are pretty scary.

I found the ending to be a bit rushed and unsatisfying. I'm not sure that fu
May 11, 2021 rated it did not like it
I dislike the book greatly, the writing is bad, the characters are shallow and the plot is very contrived.

I won't be talking about the book itself, though. I'll talk about the central theme of the novel which is this idea of generational ships might allow us to "escape from the anxieties of history" (as M. Eliade would put it).

This generational ship would only be able to carry only a small amount of information on board and when the time comes to decide what they take with them in the ship's me
Jun 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf, hugo2016
The story started out very well, with a gripping description of the protagonist's recent past followed by a similarly strong set of scenes that established the setting: (view spoiler) novel, and promising.

Unfortunately, it completely failed to deliver. The storyline was OK, except that its sub-plots (the autosurgeon and the boarder/stowaway) went nowhere and added nothing, and the supposed
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I'm Al, 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 future named after Revela ...more

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