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Pushing Ice

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  11,534 Ratings  ·  632 Reviews
The burgeoning new economies in near-Earth space are fuelled by a steady stream of comets, steered back home by huge nuclear-powered mining ships like Bella Lind's Rockhopper. Bella and her crew are desperate for some much-needed R&R - until Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, inexplicably leaves its natural orbit.
Paperback, 517 pages
Published December 11th 2008 by Gollancz (first published October 27th 2005)
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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 bo
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
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 particular
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Za početak da čestitamo gosn Alasteru na knjizi di pola vremena nisam zna šta da očekujem sledeće. U današnje vreme i posle puno pročitanih knjiga nije ni malo lak posao.

Kao drugo svidjaju mi se likovi kako su razradjeni ovde, mada možda ne svi kakvi su kao osobe. Što je normalno. Većina ih je pametna, kompetentna i sposobna u svom poslu a sa druge strane opet pate od raznih ljudskih mana kao što su zavist, bes, nerazumevanje što ume da dovede do loših odluka. U suštini svi su ljudi :)

Isti tako
Sherm Thompson
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
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
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.
Sarah Anne
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.

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
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
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
David Sven
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 wi
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.
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

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
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
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
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it
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
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
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
Apr 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: speculative, reviewed
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


please click here to read the rest of this review on my blog
Mark Hodder
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
The plot meanders in places, tighter editing wouldn’t have gone amiss, attitudes pertaining to gender and sexuality are a bit dated, and the author throws in far too many elements in the final quarter, but this is such a thoroughly entertaining novel that those faults are easily dismissed. Huge ideas and well-rounded characters make for a brilliant page-turner. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
No spoilers here.
A standalone novel outside of his Revelation Space series. This one starts on a ship with a group of space miners who hook up comets and mine them for ice for earth. They are in the midst of usual work when they receive a call from command that one of Saturn's moon has left orbit. Since they are the only ship in the area they proceed to the moon. What they discover in anything but normal.
This book has mystery, great characters set all around an interesting sci-fi premise.

Edwin Priest
This book was a definite mixed bag for me. It is certainly a big and sprawly, hard sci-fi space opera of sorts, full of mystery, time distortion conundrums and lots of political intrigue. But the political intrigue is where it all fell apart for me. Much of this book centers on the pervasive and contrived political battle between the two protagonists. It quickly became annoying and detracted from an otherwise mostly brilliant storyline. Big and bold and frustrating. 3 stars.
Aug 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Tyler Lutz
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd say 4.5 stars. In the reviews in the beginning of the book someone said that reading this was akin to sitting down to one of your favorite comfort foods. I feel like that is a perfect way to describe Reynolds' works. They're just plain fun to read.

ALSO, there is a character in the book that sings a Soundgarden song. Props for that.
"What sci-fi is made of"

Brilliant. Great balance of first contact, far future tech, unique aliens, realistic space science. Space opera as it should be.

John Lee gives a brilliant performance as usual
The main characters seemed to lack depth. Was a fun read, but not up to the caliber of the Revelation Space trilogy or Blue Remembered Earth.
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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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