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Zima Blue and Other Stories

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,879 ratings  ·  162 reviews
Short story collection by the critically acclaimed author of Revelation Space and Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days.
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published September 2006 by Night Shade
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,879 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Reynolds opens his heart, his mind obeys and he produces lovely mini-masterpieces: Enola (here), Turquoise Days, Zima Blue (here) and Weather. Surely his finest works.

Mostly solid collection of stories here, with some true gems.

*** The Real Story
Good solid sci-fi. Familiar but nicely constructed. A good twist or two.

**** Beyond the Aquila Rift
Lovely story with a somewhat predictable but beautifully-realised plot.
Note: The animated version is very good in "Love, Death and Robots" from Netfli
INDIVIDUAL STORY THOUGHTS BELOW (so you can skip my review if you want)

A while back I was toying with the silly notion that an author's short story collection is a bit like an album, and that the stories within are individual songs: varying in length, style and quality. While reading the collection Zima Blue by my favourite SF author Alastair Reynolds, I started to think about a concept album based on the collection, with songs having the same titles and coming in the same order as they are in t
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Zima Blue And Other Stories" is a nice collection of stories


Introduction by Paul J. McAuley
"Angels of Ashes" (Originally published in Asimov's SF, July 1999)
"Beyond the Aquila Rift" (Originally published in Constellations, edited by Peter Crowther)
"Enola" (Originally published in Interzone 54, December 1991)
"Hideaway" (Originally published in Interzone 157, July 2000)
"Merlin's Gun" (Originally published in Asimov's SF, May 2000)
"The Real Story" (Originally published in Mars Probes, e
“Overhead, the bulk carriers slid in one after the other. You heard them long before you saw them. Mournful, cetacean moans cut down through the piss-yellow clouds over the port. […] There were furious blue-white stars embedded in what looked like sheets of velvet. There were hard gold gems and soft red tinges, like finger smears in pastel. There were streams and currents of fainter stars, like a myriad neon fish caught in a snapshot of frozen motion. There were vast billowing backdrops of red a ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beyond the Aquila Rift (5.0) - Reynolds at his best. Reminds me a bit of Pohl Frederik's Gateway, but a hell of a lot darker! A story that I won't soon forget, if ever.

Enola (5.0) - Mind blowing, somber yet endearing post apocalyptic tale of the emergence of AI and its confluence with humanity. Not to be missed!

Hideaway (4.0) - Brilliant start to Reynolds' Merlin sequence of stories. This feels like a galactic mystery - bizarre spatial and planetary anomalies, ancient civilizations long vanished
Althea Ann
Notes only on the title story...

Famous galaxy-wide, an artist is known for his use of one particular shade of blue. Now, he's announced that he'll be retiring - but he has one last work to unveil. Journalists and media have flocked to the location, but he's denied interviews to everyone... except one.

But when she meets the artist, it seems that rather than his work, he wants to talk to her about the gadget she uses to record her memories.

Where the story goes from there is profoundly disquieting
Matthew Gatheringwater
There are two things that made these stories a real pleasure to read: wonder and optimism. Reynolds writes as if he understands that science fiction authors have a duty to make their readers say "Wow!" He doesn't preach his favorite social theory or explain away anything interesting in the story. Instead, readers must often puzzle out how something works or follow a narrator as she uncovers a mystery or a truth. (I particularly liked the first and last stories in the book, featuring Carrie Clay, ...more
Neal Asher
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you read and enjoy Alastair Reynolds writing then go buy this. It’s all wonderful engaging stuff. Oddly my impression was that all these were earlier short stories – written in the 90s or before – but on checking the afterword to each I see that quite a few of them were written post 2000 (or appeared then). Maybe my original impression came from a vague recollection of having read a couple of them and one of them definitely being set in the 90s. I particularly liked the trio of ‘Merlin’ stori ...more
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
.... The first edition of this Zima Blue and Other Stories was published in 2006 by Night Shade Books. In 2009 an expanded British edition appeared from Gollancz. I have read the Gollancz version of the collection which includes four additional stories. The stories in this collection are all set outside his Revelation Space universe. Most of the short fiction in that universe can be found in the collections Galactic North (2006) and Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days (2003). Several of the sto ...more
Liam Proven
Oct 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent collection by Al Reynolds.

It brilliantly shows off how wide and versatile his range is. A lot of the stories do carry his pervasive sense of bleakness, the brevity and futility of the human condition in a vast and uncaring universe, but for all that they are full of life and élan. He is far more than the creator of the "Revelation Space" universe and this compilation made me wish that he wrote more widely outside of his future history, much as I enjoy it.

If you like Reynol
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
4 Stars

These are fun thought provoking short stories from one of my favorite authors. These are lighter than his Revelation Space series, more similar to his latest works.
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A Belated Appreciation:
Zima Blue and Other Stories alongside Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds(currently on hold) were among the first few Sci-Fi books I ever read. So in a way, Alastair Reynolds through the stories collected in these books has not only shaped my taste/preference in the genre but has also ruined most mainstream books for me. For that I am eternally and wholeheartedly grateful to him.

Read ~ Apr-Jul 2020
•Zima Blue - 5★
•The Real Story - 4.5★
•Beyond the Aqui
Mudita Sisodia
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Absolutely loved the Merlin stories and Zima Blue. I'd been mulling over my definition of art for a while and Zima Blue gave me some delicious food for thought. ...more
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I've read several Alastair Reynolds books. Some I've really enjoyed (House of Suns), some that were underwhelming (Blue Remembered Earth), and a couple in the middle (Pushing Ice, Revelation Space). So I was hopeful when checking out this collection of his short fiction.

It was a good collection of stories. They are all very much in Reynolds' wheelhouse of the far future, space opera genre. There wasn't as much range in this collection when compared to some of the other collections I've read (Asi
Jun 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, short-fiction, wales
This collection of short stories NOT set in the Revelation Space world shows greater range than all of Reynolds' other books combined! Space Opera and identity confusion are mixed with near-future, earth-bound stories and even a completely non-SF story. Some of the characters/backgrounds have multiple stoires and I could happily read more about most of them.

Each story or sequence has an afterword by the author - some of these are interesting.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a mixed bag for me. There were some of the short stories that I enjoyed and some that just seemed to drone on. I am 'a little bit' into Quantum mechanics and do enjoy the whole an infinite number of other 'me's' experiencing every conceivable outcome. ...more
Tim Hicks
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Thoughtful, interesting, hard-SF-but-not-too-complex stories.
Most explore quantum physics and the meaning of humanity/intelligence,
but Reynolds never forgets that rule 1 is to tell us a story.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Alastair Reynolds is apparently a fairly big deal in recent science fiction. The fact that I didn't know this and, in fact, didn't even know his name before picking up his Zima Blue & Other Stories for the A-Z Reading Challenge (X, and Z are always such devilish letters to find interesting books for...), well, that just goes to show how out of touch I've been from the SF world.

Reynolds is a British science fiction writer. I have to admit that my SF reading has been very heavily American--with Do
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
My successful encounter with Alastair Reynold's short fiction in Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days persuaded me to look for more of his stories collections and this one proved to be again different from what I expected: there is a wide range of themes and moods in this anthology, and it helped me appreciate the different shades of storytelling of this amazing author.

Continue reading over at SPACE and SORCERY Blog
Agnes Provejs
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This has been a wonderful journey. Nice collection of sci-fi stories.
Andrew Tomchik
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
A solid collection of short stories from the greatest modern hard sci-fi writer.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I am far too lazy to write a review for every story (and uh, I may have fast forwarded through some of the deeper cuts/pre-2000s stories), so I'm going to focus on the reason I bought it-- the Merlin trilogy. It's interesting, because I wasn't super impressed by the first story, but still enjoyed it, but as soon as I finished the last one, I gained a much deeper appreciation for where he was going with it. The other highlights were Zima Blue, though the whole, reporter thing feels as glaringly d ...more
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
3.5 STARS. A very good collection, consisting as they do of a handful of excellent stories, a handful of pretty decent stories, and a couple of duds. Recommended!

THE REAL STORY - A story to show that the Real story may never be known.

ENOLA - A hard-sf fairy tale. Very sweet.

BEYOND THE AQUILA RIFT - Not my favorite. Reads as emotionally over-wrought and melodramatic. The human mind, and moreover one who is used to space travel, should be more resilient than as described here.

Riju Ganguly
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love short stories. Perhaps the main reason behind that is the gradually decreasing attention-span, indicative of middle-age. It can also be that I find the idea of compact & taut story-telling rather compelling, compared to the rather long-drawn concept of novels. Whatever. I had got my first taste of Alastair Reynolds in the “Year’s Best” anthologies compiled by Gardner Dozois, where, amidst the crushingly boring ‘modern’ (?!) psycho-sexual ramblings, his stories used to stand out like jewel ...more
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection was included in my Top 10 Science Fiction Books of 2020, check it out here:

This might be my favorite collection of short stories in the science fiction genre, it’s right at the top with Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life. Reynolds is a well known writer of hard science fiction, and there are absolutely aspects of that in the stories here. You’ll find plenty of threads and themes related to quantum mechanics, astrophysics, space operas, emer
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story by Story

The Real Story - Nice opener. Simple and effective with a good luck at some cool concepts. 7/10

Beyond the Aquila Lift - One of the best in the collection. Brilliant story, told out of sequence for maximum effect. 9/10

Enola - fairly simplistic if nice story. Very well done. 8/10

Signal To Noise - Another brilliant one. Near future sci fi that remains grounded in human experience. 8/10

Cardiff Afterlife - Brief coda to the previous story. Not as well done. 5/10

Hideaway - Nice Intro to
Jan 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'll admit that I have a hard time liking short stories. I feel they're rarely long enough to paint a picture that interests me. The first couple of stories were pretty uninteresting for me.

The three Merlin stories picked up the pace - they're separate stories, but featuring the same universe and protagonist.

A lot of the stories are about alternate realities and quantum theory. One story is about opening a communication channel to an alternate world, identical to ours up until the very moment of
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-reads, sci-fi
A good collection of short science fiction stories from one of my favorite authors. About half of it here is the "wide screen space opera" fare you may be used to from Reynolds, and its all solid stuff, but there's a lot of smaller scale stories here, as well. None of it the 'Revelation Space' universe, but all really good. ...more
A solid set of short stories, all set outside the "Revelation Space" Universe. A few of the pieces - "Beyond The Aquila Rift", "Signal To Noise" and "Understanding Space & Time" - are classics worthy of Clarke or Asimov. ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good selection of stories from Reynolds. Feel as though the book could have ended on a stronger note than with the title story though. Still, enough interesting ideas that any sci-fi fan will find something good, and no one story ends up taking over most of the book
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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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