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Permafrost

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,451 ratings  ·  291 reviews
Fix the past. Save the present. Stop the future. Master of science fiction 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 humanity’s future on one last-ditch experiment. Their goal: to make a tiny alteration to the past
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ebook, 182 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Tor.com
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  2,451 ratings  ·  291 reviews


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Beverly
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. C
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Claudia
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Time wasn’t a river, she said, and it wasn’t 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 matrix.
<
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Lisa
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Justine
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novella, 2019-read
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/>[I]n
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Mike
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be the best time travel story ever written.PERMAFROST has some elements in common with Gregory Benford's superb TIMESCAPE but the rest of it is pure Alastair Reynolds at his best.Hard sf can't get any better than this awesome short novel.Brilliant,absolutely brilliant.
WarpDrive
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
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Jeanette
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
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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'/>"It
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William
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exquisite, small masterpiece. Brilliant and poignant. Wonderful.

As usual with my reviews, please first read the publisher’s 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' con
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Alina
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?
"It’s a fucking fly, Valentina.
I know. I’ve seen flies. But only in photographs. To hold one . . . to see it alive . . . this is astonishing.
You really weren’t kidding
life?
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Matthew Galloway
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 it ...more
Carbonbased Bookworm
Ladies and gentlemen, this is how to write an awesome time travel story.
Jamie
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jennifer
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.
Caleb Masters
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tor.com strikes again! This time with a brilliant time-travel novella from Alastair Reynolds. Set in the future of 2080, environmental collapse has caused the near extinction of life on Earth and a team of scientists attempt to make small changes to the past to save the future. Permafrost is an expertly plotted story with it's multiple timelines masterfully interwoven and expertly building to a satisfying climax. Time-travel stories often break down and start showing their cracks as the plot progresses, b ...more
Jason
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Donna
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
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Karsyn
Meh.

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
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Gertie
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 halfhear
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Bruce Baugh
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Cristian
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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,/>
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Cheryl
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"...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 ide
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Sarah
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
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Delaney Felix
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 en
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Ben 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 it’s not your thing, that’s 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 travel, particularly when it comes to
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Justin Pickett
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Permafrost is a short book that spends way too much time on the intricacies of time travel, and not enough time on character and story development. The Scouring happens around 2050, killing all insects and eventually most other things in the world. In 2080, as the last generation of humans faces starvation, 71-year-old Valentina Lidova goes back to 2028 to find and store seeds for future generations. I guess what I liked best were the conversations between Valentina and her time host, Tatiana: “She could ...more
Tim Hicks
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Too short? Heck no! By going novella Reynolds is freed from doing pages and pages of explanation that we'd all know was bushwa. This way we just rip right into the story.

"Time travel? Again?" I thought. [I first had that thought while talking to Beethoven]. But Reynolds has taken a refreshing new angle. Bit of a stretch? Of course it is, but we allow that.

There are some very human touches throughout. And I liked that when the complication arose, as it must in a time travel story, the Director
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Kate
I'm a huge fan of Alastair Reynolds and the premise of this science fiction time travelling tale was irresistible. While I would have preferred it longer and more time spent on the story, world and characters (my usual complaint about novellas - I prefer my science fiction much, much longer), I really enjoyed the novella, which was packed with intrigue and moments that made my stomach lurch - in a good way. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Kim
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I thought about not finishing this as the tale was not drawing me in but I stuck it out and am glad I did. The story really picks up about 30% of the way through and then is very engrossing before the ending.

One thing that bothered me was Valentina saying how she had never seen a fly or crow outside of a book before, but she was 10 years old or so in 2028 and there clearly were flies and crows then. Did I miss something here? How had she not seen these things as a child?

Ove
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Josen
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

I'm a longtime fan of Reynolds, and have read everything he wrote with the exception of the Poseidon's Children series. (not planning to read that, ever)

Pros:
- The "science" of time travel he invented is interesting and original.
- There are a couple more good ideas: (view spoiler)

Cons:
- The wr
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Ending inconsistencies? (spoilers of course) 1 9 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 f ...more
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