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The Six Directions of Space

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  478 ratings  ·  49 reviews
An original novella by the modern master of space opera, limited to only 1000 signed hardcover copies.

What if Genghis Khan got his wish, and brought the entire planet under the control of the Mongols? Where would he have gone next?

A thousand years after Khan's death, Yellow Dog is the codename of a female spy working for a vast Mongol-dominated galactic empire. When she le
Hardcover, 85 pages
Published January 2009 by Subterranean Press (first published February 2008)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  478 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Alastair Reynolds was born in 1966 in Barry, Wales he is a British science fiction author. He specializes in dark hard science fiction and space opera and noir toned stories. He became an author in 2004.

"The Six Directions of Space" first appeared in 'Galactic Empires' edited by Gardner Dozois from the Science Fiction Book Club, 2008.

This is nice space opera.

Note: Beware Subterranean printed a second edition of this book if you are a collector.

This hardcover book is numbered 352 of 1000 publishe
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s really astounding how Al Reynolds managed to create a multiverse in just 80 odd pages. Not that his other novellas are less amazing; he is one of few who can write thousands of pages of space opera and short stories with equal mastery.

In this one, not only creates a Mongolian Empire but also touches the sensitive issue of hatred and wars between people of different religions:

” People are people. If the Infrastructure is truly breaking down, allowing all these timelines to bleed into one ano
Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: A. Reynolds fans, alternate-history fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
ADDENDUM (7/20) - I realized last night, after writing this review, that I probably should have mentioned that there are two scenes of animal and human abuse (aka "torture") that might disturb/distress some readers. Happily, Reynolds doesn't dwell on either scene. The human torture scene isn't gratuitous and makes sense in the context of the story; I'm not so sure about the animal torture scene. Seems Reynolds might have been gilding the lily in establishing the "bad guy's" bona fides.

In keeping
Anthologized in The Year's Best Science Fiction Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection by Gardner R. Dozois The Year's Best SF 26

"Reynolds is a master of fitting large-scale space opera into just a few pages, and this novella is no exception... short but intriguing universe-spanning mystery." - Publishers Weekly

"Impressive... Set in a solidly built universe, full of excellent espionage and adventure... a surprisingly small package to contain such a lot of entertainment." - Booklist
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Terrific, but ends suddenly ! Too short!

Too bad, because I loved Yellow Dog - confident, competent, clever. The other universes hold so much promise, fascinating tidbits and hints, abandoned :(

I would love to see a continuation of this book.
Kate Sherrod
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reads-2013
Revising my earlier opinion of this one. It should have SIX STARS.

A prized possession of mine is a limited signed edition of The Six Directions of Space in hardcover, and not just because it is a limited signed edition, my only signed Alastair Reynolds (to date; hope springs eternal while there is life, etc.), but because it is one of the coolest stories ever, and I do not engage in empty hyperbole there.

Three words. MONGOLS. IN. SPACE.

Yes, that's right, oh my blogettes, this story concerns the
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it
According to Goodreads, Three-stars means 'I liked it.' Funny how I feel guilty about saying I like something. It's like my kid, he graduated from high school this spring and after the graduation several of us wanted to go out and eat with him. So we made arrangements, showed up, and when he found out where it was. He got pissed.

He complained about where we ate, he complained that we didn't do something during the graduation ceremony (I can't remember what it was now) and he complained about not
Typically a short story focuses on a single concept, and while The Six Directions of Space essentially follows that template, it feels far more expansive then its 88 pages. This is accomplished through efficient storytelling and a couple clever methods. (Warning – the following may crossover into spoiler-ish territory for some readers, although aligned with my expectations).

We are introduced to our protagonist, Yellow Dog, as she is traveling from outside a Mongolian vanguard into its political
Scott Lowe
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've read almost everything Alastair Reynolds has written, starting with the mesmerizing trilogy of Absolution Gap, Revelation Space, and Chasm City. A first rate writer with an unbounded imagination. I know I'm always in good hands when I start a book by Reynolds. Six Directions may not be as great as his very best, but even his not quite best is better than almost anyone else out there.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Septima Severa
I came to appreciating the short stories - they can be easily read and they can be read even among all those other things that demand to be done on time. That's probably the main reason I've finished reading two graphic novels and this book in last two days.

I've waited so long for Alastair Reynolds stories. I've got his Revelation Space on Kindle since February, but regrettably, there have been other things I've attended to (although it doesn't seem like that when you look at my reading list - y
Todd Campbell
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reynolds is just an outstanding story-teller. He is a master at the long epic but can also write a brilliant tale in the short form. This novella is an outstanding example. For fans of sci-fi and good ideas...
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I picked this book up from the library, I was surprised by how small it was - coming in at only 85 pages. Given the scope of the book, it's no surprise that it doesn't really spend enough time with any one part: The characters are interesting at a glimpse, but we don't get much depth; the worldbuilding is interesting, but we don't get much of it; the multiverse concept is interesting, but we see very little of it.

I wanted so much more from the worldbuilding, because, I mean, Mongols in SPAA
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
This was quite a story to fit within 80 or so pages. While it was a good tale, I felt as though pieces were missing. I would have liked to see some more depth to certain scenes and topics. If this had been more around the 160/200 page length it would have been perfect.

3 stars for me is “I liked it”. Not sure I’d read it again as it doesn’t have much of a value a 2nd time around, but it is an enjoyable and very engaging read. I just wish it had been a slightly longer.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Six Directions of Space is a book that continued to impress me. Alastair Reynolds was able to tell the story of a badass female spy and create an entire immersive universe (and mulitiverse) that was constantly intriguing, despite only writing 85 pages. One of my only complaints is that I wished there was more. Excellent work of sci fi.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Darn, a few more pages would have earned you an extra star.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Mongols in space and branching timelines. What isnt to love?
Stephen Case
Jan 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
Alastair Reynolds has been a contemporary science fiction author on my list of writers to check out for a while. It was near the end of Christmas break that I visited my local public library and grabbed a small pile of novels that included Swanwick, Moorcock, and Benford, and a very thin volume by Reynolds. The Six Directions of Space, like The Very Best of Michael Swanwick, was published by Subterranean Press (one of a signed run of 1000), but unlike the Swanwick, it was a disappointment. From ...more
Simon Mcleish
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I enjoyed this, so far as it goes. But it reads more like the first 3-4 chapters of a longer novel than a stand alone shorter narrative. I want the rest of it!
Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: novella, sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it

The hardback version of this book seems pretty hard to come by; they are going for very high prices used on Amazon,

I didn't actually get the hard copy; I fortunately found the story in the "Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year 2008" anthology, where it is featured.

This is a darker and more brutal tale an some of his others, although it does fall in the same vein as many of his short stories. There is almost a horror aspect to the universes he creates, usually with some kind of chilling r
Kae Cheatham
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spec-fiction
Another Science Fantasy, where Galactic Space is broad and multi-populated, with a twist that the dominate human culture is Mogul based (and they still love their horses even with space travel! Yea!) A spy codenamed Yellow Dog is sent to the galactic edge to investigate a series of anomalies showing up in the intergalactic transfer stations. This is a novella (85 pages) and could almost be a setup for future books.

Interesting concepts that I've seen in many recent books: the movement between tim
Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it
It is one thousand years since the founding of the Mongol Empire, and it now spans both the Earth and a vast galactic empire. A secret agent is sent to a remote sector to investigate problems with the interstellar transit system used by humanity; a system left behind by an ancient race.

The setting is interesting and the twist is well executed. An entertaining novella.
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I'll ever tire of the writings of Alastair Reynolds. I haven't much to say in review of this novella except that it's like a snapshot of space opera, a moment taken, a fly in amber. Here we have not the sprawling epics of his other works, but an extract from the tale of another incarnation of the universe. Perhaps, though, that other universe is really our own, that is, the universe as we perceive it? A lovely exploration on the nature of space and the consequences of empire.
Caroline Berg
I'm a huge fan of Reynolds short stories. In fact, that is how I was first introduced to his works: through reading the short story "Diamond Dogs" - I was hooked. With the Six Directions of Space he explores what space would be like if the Mongols had conquered Earth, and then throws in an alien nexus and intriguing phantom ships. What happens next is pure Reynolds: delightfully dark, a touch disturbing, and always making you think.
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: die-hard Alastair Reynolds fans
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a disappointing read. Alastair Reynolds came up with an interesting setting but forgets to tell a real story. The characters stay flat and are pushed like pawns from left to right - it's all show with nothing behind.

The novella can also be found in the anthology Galactic Empires.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Relatively good, but slightly predictable. Could see that reynolds was going to have a bunch of parallel strands of humanity collide around a quarter of the way into the book. Still, well written and makes you want to keep going regardless. Still worth the read, though I'd suggest a library rather than buying.
Brian Richardson
May 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Good short novella by one of the masters of modern space opera. A full length novel or even a series set in this Mongol dominated universe would be fantastic. My only complaint...what's with all the torture? Fortunately reading a book lets you skim right past that stuff, but still...
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another little gem by Reynolds. Not my favourite of his stories, but still engaging and entertaining. It's a nice mental exercise to imagine all the different paths that life from earth could have taken to the stars..
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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