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    Science Editor SHAMAS's Avatar
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    Science fiction & fantasy thread

    If you are interested in science fiction or fantasy, this is the thread for you. So if you have views about particular scifi/fantasy films or books, you can share your views on this thread. So if you wish to write a review of a film or novel, feel free to do so! If you wish to read other people's reviews and comment on them, this your opportunity. Whether you prefer the Star Wars universe or Star Trek, it for you to say or argue on this thread. What do you make of the new Dr. Who? Is he up to the job? Who in your view was the best Dr. Who? What about Babylon 5, or other scifi programmes like Firefly or Serendipity?

    I'm going to kick off things with a review of a a book. Feel free to write about or comment on any aspect of scifi or fantasy.

    [MENTION=2]Aryan_B[/MENTION]

    Bro, can you please make this thread a sticky for scifi/fantasy fans. Thanks.





    Review of THE PREFECT by Alistair Reynolds



    Alastair Reynolds returns to his "Revelation Space" universe. It has the same gritty-space-operate flavour as previous Revelation Space novels, but the pace of the plot is considerably higher. However, The Prefect stands well as a stand-alone book and some might regard it as a prequel to Alastair’s much loved Revelation Space novels and one that will more than satisfy the already established fans. As a novel for the uninitiated it opens the gateway to the later tales. Reynolds is on good form here. This is a mystery novel with clever plot twists and a fast pace. Although there are several startling, late revelations and plot twists, the reader is in possession of most of the facts reasonably early in the book.

    It is the year 2427. The place is the Glitter Band, ten thousand space habitats circling the planet Yellowstone, the golden heart of human space where a multitude of different cultures meet and trade, and a way stop for huge lighthuggers as they slowly traverse the distances between the stars at speeds just below that of light. (This is the universe of Revelation Space.)

    Field Prefect Tom Dreyfus is an agent of Panoply, an agency that ensures and protects the voting rights of the residents of the Glitter Band. Tom Dreyfus also remains a somewhat less complex protagonist than regular Reynolds readers may be used to, but as usual the author has a few aces up his sleeve which force the reader to reassess the character during the novel's conclusion. When a habitat is attacked, Panoply sends their best agent and his team to investigate and once he begins he will not stop until he finds the truth.

    Whilst the planet Yellowstone and its biggest settlement, Chasm City, deal with their own affairs, it falls to the prefects of Panoply to police the vast Glitter Band and its 100 million citizens, who practice the ultimate form of democracy, Demarchism. Every minute dozens of decisions, large and small, are put to the public vote and the people of the Glitter Band spend much of their time engrossed in politics, employing a form of VR known as Abstraction to talk to one another, or choosing to lose themselves in fantastical reflections of the real world. The greatest crime in the Glitter Band is an attempt to deny the will of the people.

    In The Prefect, Alastair Reynolds executes an enjoyable and extremely fast-paced return to the universe that made his name. The story develops nicely and explodes into a furious page-turning pace in its second half that barely lets up. At the same time Reynolds' ability to conjure up vivid imagery remains intact, as does his assured grasp of his universe and the remarkable cultures and ideas that make it up. The book is not without its flaws - in particular, those who have already read Absolution Gap and know of Reynolds' fondness for ambiguous endings may be better-prepared for the conclusion than others. At the end there is a feeling that there could be a follow-up book, but to date Reynolds has not produced one, although he has written a few novels since he completed The Prefect.

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    Science Editor SHAMAS's Avatar
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    FADE OUT by Patrick Tilley

    You might find FADE OUT by Patrick Tilley worth exploring. It is set during the Cold War and explores 'First Contact' between aliens and humans. I found it a damn good read and the implications of the alien incursion on human civilisation and government thought provoking.

    The date was Friday 3rd August. For some people, depending where they lived, the day was just beginning. For others, it was the end of another, perfectly normal, day. Suddenly all the world's radar screens went haywire...This time it had really happened. An alien spacecraft was in orbit around earth. In utmost secrecy, an undercover team of the best brains the US government could muster desperately tried to analyse an enigma that nothing had prepared them for.

    Nine weeks later, civilisation was on the brink of a total breakdown, more devastating than any natural or man-made disaster. The unknown was here - and it defied all powers of human comprehension...

    Aliens have landed on this earth, and it is time for the human race to prepare itself. When an unidentified object of extra-terrestrial origins arrives on Earth, creating havoc and panic the world over, the question of whether we are alone in the universe is finally answered. But this realisation is only the beginning, for the object brings with it a whole host of questions that neither the world’s governments or military experts are equipped to answer. Is it a danger to humanity, or an innocent explorative device? Focusing on mankind’s reaction to this mysterious object, Tilley illustrates how ignorance can drive civilisation towards the brink of a devastating breakdown.

    Fade-Out, a sci-fi novel first published in 1975, looks at the meltdown of society in the face of alien invasion.

    For more about the book and its availability see the link with Amazon

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fade-Out-Pat...words=fade+out

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