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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,014 ratings  ·  372 reviews
Fix the past. Save the present. Stop the future. Alastair Reynolds unfolds a time-traveling climate fiction adventure in Permafrost.

2080: at a remote site on the edge of the Arctic Circle, a group of scientists, engineers and physicians gather to gamble humanitys future on one last-ditch experiment. Their goal: to make a tiny alteration to the past, averting a global
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  3,014 ratings  ·  372 reviews

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Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant post-apocalyptic thriller, Permafrost is a well-written and fast-paced novela which keeps you enthralled from the first sentence. Our hero protagonist has just killed Vikram, whoever that is. We don't find out who Vikram is until much later. We soon find out that the hero/murderer is a 71 year old woman who uses a cane. Try selling that to a movie studio!

Mankind will soon meets its end if viable seeds are not found. A World Health Organization group headed by intrepid Dr. Cho has
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Time wasnt a river, she said, and it wasnt a circuit-diagram. Nor was it a tree with multiple branches. It was a block structure, more like a crystal lattice than any of those old dead-end paradigms. It was a lattice that spanned the entire existence of the universe, from beginning to end. There were no alternate histories, no branches where the Roman empire never fell or the dinosaurs were never wiped out. Just that single lattice, a single fixed structure. We were in it, embedded in its ...more
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Nope! No way Jose'. Hit the road Jack. Loser, loser you're a fucking Hoosier. "Sorry, blame it on Pence." This was not my groove. I wanted chills, not spy-fy.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A really excellent time travel story that ticked all the boxes for me. Immediately interesting characters populate a neat and precise storyline where consideration is given to both up and downstream effects, and all of it handled masterfully.

[I]n that moment I knew she was a good and decent person, that the past was full of people like her, that it was just as valid to think of history being stitched together out of numerous tiny acts of selflessness and consideration, as it was to view it as a
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
It is Alastair Reynolds we are talking about. Do I need to say anything more ?
Another brilliant work by this very gifted author, who has brought some sorely needed fresh air to the field of contemporary science fiction.
This is a short post-apocalyptic time-travel novel, with some masterly contrived and highly original twists that put new spins to this well-exploited genre.
The only reason why I have not given a 5-star rating to this novel is that I found it a but too short. But make not
Holly (The Grimdragon)
4.5 Stars~

"It had taken one shot. The sound of it had echoed back off the buildings. Crows had lifted from a copse of trees nearby, wheeling and cawing in the sky before settling back down, as if killing was only a minor disturbance in their daily routine."

Permafrost is my introduction to Alastair Reynolds, even though I may or may not own entirely too many of his books without ever having actually read anything by him (I do).
Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of literary time travel. It's been
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is outstanding science fiction. A short, and fully powerful masterpiece. The time warped order form reflected the plot perfectly as well.

It's not for all readers. Not only does it demand minutia attention to the max, but scientific/ physics knowledge helps to fully conceptualize the whole. Yet you will also need imagination for personality and self-identity. And concepts of selflessness demanded.

The posit and evidence of mind melds in this scenario was as good as any I've ever read. The
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exquisite, small masterpiece. Brilliant and poignant. Wonderful.

As usual with my reviews, please first read the publishers blurb/summary of the book. Thank you.

At first in this gem, the skipping around in time can be confusing. Stick with it. Your mind will expand as the book proceeds, absorbing the paradoxes, filling your mind with the superposition of Valentina and Tatiana, binding your heart to theirs. Wonderful and amazing. Perfect in every way.

It's so nice to be back into Reynolds'
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked the idea, the characters and the execution a lot. Vikram;s story really impressed me.

But I had a problem with the fly and, unfortunately, it sticked with me: if Valentina is 70yo and this is 2080, and the scouring started happening at about 2050, how come she has never seen a fly in the first ~40 years of her life?
"Its a fucking fly, Valentina.
I know. Ive seen flies. But only in photographs. To hold one . . . to see it alive . . . this is astonishing.
You really werent kidding, were
Mr. Windup Bird
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone
Shelves: favorites, 21-50
Permafrost is easily my favorite time travel story. This one would be right at home in my favorite book of all time, Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds. I enjoyed Permafrost every bit as much as Zima Blue, Diamond Dogs, Troika, and the rest of Al's best short stories and novellas.

Don't want to say too much here and give anything away, but read this one, especially if you liked Beyond the Aquila Rift. I would also say if you enjoy books like Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, you
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love novellas. When done right, theyre the perfect form of fiction. No unnecessary ramblings. No swollen midsections. The demands of the format require clarity and intensity. Easier said than done, but Reynolds nailed things down - Permafrost is almost perfect.

Set in 2080, it shows humanity on the verge of extinction because of the environmental disaster. Famine and severe food insecurity are rampant.

Something bad happens around 2050. At first, we almost dont notice it. Theres a steepening
Matthew Galloway
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love a good time travel story that figures out how to deal with its paradoxes -- whether it's through cleverness or hand wavy-ness. This one definitely finds a way to deal with them. The reason I loved this novella, though, was Valentina and Tatiana. There wasn't a lot of time to establish characters, but Reynolds did it and I was rooting for them so hard. If there is anything to criticize, it's just that I wished this were a little bit longer. Obviously it was still effective, for me, with ...more
Carbonbased Bookworm
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ladies and gentlemen, this is how to write an awesome time travel story.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Very good time travel thriller. Reynolds puts a new spin on some old themes, with some inventive time travel science, mind bending paradoxes, and a future facing impending doom from total environmental collapse. I'm generally not a huge fan of time travel stories, as they tend to make my brain hurt too much, but Reynolds does an excellent job walking the reader through what could be some bewildering scenarios.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
A short book that could have been longer. I would have liked to know more about the characters. And some parts of the story didn't quite....flesh out. It was too short. But it was engaging and has some heartfelt moments. I liked that it took place in Russia. This was my first book by this author.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
4.5 Stars

Permafrost by Alastair Reynolds is a time travel novella that is tailor made to my likes. I am a biased reviewer as Reynolds might just be my favorite author today and hard science fiction is my genre of choice.

What a fabulous read,
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels-read
Lazy ending, doesn't follow its own rules.

I was ready to give this book 4 stars, but near the end the author decided to break the time travel and paradox rules he had been establishing along the way, and it all ended up making no sense.

*** SPOILERS ***

At various points it is established that if something changes in the timeline, the change will affect both reality and the memory of every person. If somebody makes a change in the past, that change will alter the future, and nobody will remember
Valentina, a teacher in her seventies, agrees to go back in time to aid in the delivery of some seeds that might prevent the end of humanity.

This is a very good time travel novella. It had a lot of twists, quite a few of which I didn't see coming. I enjoy reading a book that makes me pay attention as information is slowly added piece by piece. The story dangled the 'is this time travel technology being used for good or bad' and made me want to not put the book down.

This is the first book I've
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you would like to read more of my reviews or various other bookish things, please come by my blog at

The ironic thing about the novella, Permafrost, is that in Permafrost, nothing is permanent. The name belies the content. The future, the past, and the present are all malleable constructs.

I haven't read any Alastair Reynolds books previously, although I am very familiar with his books. I have wanted to read Redemption Ark forever. If you are looking for sincere and
May 16, 2019 rated it it was ok

Didn't love it, didn't hate it. One of the more weaker of time travel books I've read - and as my favorite genre, I've read a lot.

The issues were two-fold with me. 1 - it was too short to get in a proper time travel story. There wasn't even time to go into all the details, so it was rushed and for the time travel novice it probably would have been very confusing. There were no breaks to denote what time she was in and while I followed it easily, I know there's plenty who wouldn't have. 2 -
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Welp, I already went on about this one in our Apocalypse Whenever discussion, so I'll just paste and edit!

I liked this one.

Boy was it short, which I have mixed feelings about. A lot of the books I read are dictated by club reads, therefore not necessarily something I've chosen to read, and sometimes the shortness is a blessing. It was nice to get through this one quickly, but I have to say, it really should have been longer. It felt a bit too much like a short story someone halfheartedly
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

The premise drew me in, I just couldnt not read this novella. It was good, but I was confused a lot of the times and Im not sure I fully understood everything that was going on.. It was emotionally hard to read and it broke my heart multiple times.. so.. fun.. I guess.
Manuel Antão
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Luba Pair: "Permafrost" by Alastair Reynolds

My mother worked on quantum models for single-particle time travel. She showed how an electron -- or anything else, really, provided you could manipulate it, and measure its quantum state -- an electron could be sent back in time, looped back into the past to become a twin of itself in the future, one half of a Luba Pair. if you manipulated either element of the Luba Pair, the other one
Kara Babcock
Every single review panning this story for not making sense is entirely deserved. Time travel stories are difficult to write and, even when written well, difficult to parse and read. If its not your thing, thats fine.

But Permafrost is so very much my thing.

In structure, it reminds me of Palimpsest , by Charles Stross. Both are novellas with a single protagonist recently initiated in time travel. Both are fairly convoluted in terms of how the author implements the logical principles of time
Oleksandr Zholud
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: hn-2020-longlist
This is a time travel novella. It is eligible for Hugo/Nebula nomination in 2020.

This is a time travel with a twist. There is a world-wide calamity in the mid-XIX century, which leads to famines and even questions of humanity survival (it is called the Scouring and detailed in the middle of the book, so no spoilers except that it is bad). In order to get a better chance of survival a group of pilots are sent to the past. The pilots because the mechanism of time travel is a variant of quantum
Bruce Baugh
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A time travel story for those who've missed the whacky fun of La Jetee/12 Monkeys. :) But seriously, this is an excellent story about a desperate effort from the tail end of the 21st century to alter the past fifty years earlier in a way that will spare the human race from impending doom without drowning in its own paradox. The first few chapters are a dense jumble of moments from across the narrator's experience, but everything is accounted for fairly soon, and the book settles into describing ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
"...the Scouring: an environmental and biological cascade."

This is a time travel novella that alternates between a post-apocalyptic future in 2080 and the near future in 2028.

Russian math teacher Valentina Lidova is 71 years old, partially lame, is the daughter of a famous mathematician, and is the first to travel back in time trying to save the future world from extinction.

I enjoyed this story although I was expecting a book-length tale and still wish the ideas within had been extended out
I normally do not care for time-travel/time manipulation stories but this one was fantastic. The setup was a bit confusing to get the handle on, using several different time periods to setup the story, but I think this actually enhanced the experience for me. I think it did a great job of cutting itself off as well, I fully expected to finish this and to find it had more to perhaps a sequel. However Mr. Reynolds managed to keep this very neatly contained. .
Edit - I now understand the cover and
Delaney Felix
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
4.5 Stars for me!

When I started reading this I was worried that it would delve too deeply into the time-travel subject and be hard to follow due to it being too technical. However, this was not the case! It was so easy to read and I loved that the writing style never revealed too much, and kept you on the edge of your seat. This <200 page novel packs a punch and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a few hours free to read. It will make you sad, and make you hopeful near the end. If you're
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
As the blurb says, this novella is "a time-traveling climate fiction adventure." Yet another time traveling thing! What is it with all the authors this year? Did they all get together and say, "Hey! let's all write time travel books in 2019 and see whose is the best?"

This is the first thing I have ever read by Reynolds, and he writes well. I just found it pretty depressing, so I was glad when it was over.(view spoiler)
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Ending inconsistencies? (spoilers of course) 1 13 May 16, 2019 11:37AM  

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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 ...more

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