Alastair Reynolds' Poseidon's Children series.

Alastair Reynolds, "Blue Remembered Earth"

2014-05-04 · in Books, Poseidon's Children · 214 words

First of a new series. The solar system, 150 years hence: humans can be found everywhere from Mercury to the Kuiper Belt. The death of explorer, scientist and corporate matriarch Eunice Akinya leaves some unanswered questions for her grandchildren to investigate.

This is truly excellent work, sitting in roughly the same kind of worldbuilding space as the Red Mars trilogy, but with more engaging characters, and a bit more poetry in the writing style. The technology is plausible and interesting, and integrates nicely into the larger world; I also found the ideological manoeuvring around the Pans very effective, and I'm hoping we get to see more of the United Aquatic Nations later on.

The story has a surprisingly adventure-game-like structure, with a series of puzzles to solve leading to an endgame. Following the Myst pattern, if the protagonists knew what to do at the start they could skip straight to the endgame; it seems like they would have been more likely to stumble on the shortcut first than the trigger for the puzzle-chase in this case, but presumably Eunice knew her family well enough to ensure that didn't happen.

And the next book even has a Pink Floyd-inspired title! I'm now waiting for On the Steel Breeze to come out in paperback...