House of Suns (I), 2012

House of Suns  is a novel by Alasdair Reynolds. It was published in 2008. Broadly speaking it’s a space opera, but… as with all his books it avoids the flat prose and clumsily drawn female characters traditionally associated with the genre. It also goes some way to conveying a yearning sense of wonder at the vast, black, inkiness of space and the planets that hang about in it.

It’s not my favourite Reynolds book, but it is a gripping, fun read. If you’re interested in a modern take on space opera, I’d recommend you start with Revelation Space (2000). If you like that, you’ll get round to House of Suns in the end.

Anyway, this is from the dust-jacket: “Six million years ago, at the dawn of the human starfaring era, Aigail Gentian split herself into a thousand clones and launched them into the galaxy, to gather more memories and wisdom than one single human being could ever accumulate in a universe bound by Einstein’s laws. Periodically the shatterlings of Gentian Line meet for a grand bacchanalian reunion, where, over the course of a thousand heady nights, they exchange memories.

Two wayward shatterlings, Campion and Purslane, are about to be decades late for Gentian Line’s thirty-second reunion. Even worse, they have fallen in love…”

And here’s the first paragraph and a bit:

I was born in a house with a million rooms, built on a small, airless world on the edge of an empire of light and commerce that the adults called the Golden Hour, for a reason I did not yet grasp.

I was a girl then, a single individual called Abigail Gentian.

During the thirty years of my childhood, I only saw a fraction of the vast, rambling, ever-changing mansion.

In our house, this book can be found: dining room, left-hand bookshelves, second shelf down.

House of Suns (II), 2012

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Thank as always,  John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our sixteenth is over at Richard’s blog – check it out!

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