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Title: Beyond the Aquila Rift
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Format: Kindle digital edition
A range of short stories showcasing Reynold’s universe. Ranging from the Near Future to a Million Years in the Future, from Horror to Post-Humanity, from the personal to the galactic, this collection has something for just about any SF fan.
I read this collection, thanks to Antao’s Review about a month ago. Book recommendations like this are why I can never go back to solitary book reading. I wouldn’t have picked this up on my own [not being a huge fan of hard sf and this “looked” like hard sf] but I am glad I read it. It was thoroughly entertaining and being a bunch of short stories it fit into my lunch breaks perfectly.
When it comes to short story collections I don’t usually keep notes on each story. I tend to simply eat them in a gulp and rate the overall meal. However, at the end of this book was a collection of notes by Reynolds about how each story came to be. With that handy little reminder I was able to pick out a story or two that stood out above the others.
My pick of the litter is Diamond Dogs. A group of people must answer puzzles in a successive row of rooms. If they answer wrong, there is a punishment. At the top of the structure is an advanced computer left by aliens now extinct. One man wants that computer for himself and he is willing to use anyone to get his desire. There is a nod to Budry’s book Rogue Moon and the movie Cube. If you’ve partaken of either of those, you’ll know pretty much how this goes.
I shall digress here.
The reason that Cube stands out in my memory was because it was the first movie that I saw, graphically, the wanton hatred and execrable violence and filth that was on a lot of peoples minds. I remember feeling sick after watching Cube and realizing that there were not only people who thought these things up, but who sought after them. I’m a bit more jaded now, but even still, I have a graphic violence tag just to remind me that certain levels of violence are not ok to get used to in my reading.
Not that this story was graphically violent, mind you, but it referenced Cube and thus one memory led me to remember this one.
So there you have it. Go forth and read, if the fancy takes you.