Thursday 12 January 2012

Blue Remembered Earth reviews

Some reviews of the new book have begun to appear. In one of his essays Gene Wolfe said something to the effect that, no matter the subsequent reactions, provided the first review is positive, you can always take consolation from that. Fortunately for me, I've never had a very bad first review, although doubtless it will happen one of these days. SFX, who have generally been kind to me, disliked Revelation Space rather intensely - but by the point I read that review, there had already been a handful of broadly positive ones, so the sting was lessened. Of course these things shouldn't matter too much, and they probably don't affect me as much now as they did at the start of my career (when, to be fair, a lot more was riding on those reviews). A wise writer once said that a bad review should spoil your breakfast, not your dinner.

Anyway, on to BRE.

Writing in Locus - you can read the complete review here Gary K Wolfe said: "By the end, when the plot accelerates from its initial methodical pace of investigation into flat-out, cliffhanging adventure, we realize that we’ve read a fairly long novel that seems like a pretty short one (I read this on a Kindle, and was surprised to learn the actual page count later). If Reynolds can keep this up – and there’s enough planted here for future volumes to already suggest that he can – he might have one of the most enjoyable series of the still-young decade."

Writing in the Guardian, Eric Brown said: "Reynolds's near-future is so brilliantly extrapolated, with original ideas fizzing off every page, that the reader is left awestruck at what further wonders await in the following volumes. Excellent." Again, you can read the entire review here.

Not online yet, SFX's reviewer Jonathan Wright had some problems with elements of the plot but went on to say "At other points though, the sheer quality of his writing reminds you why Reynolds is held in such high esteem", and concluded by saying that the book is "convincingly optimistic, life-affirming SF ... a measure of Reynolds's versatility and development as a novelist." The book gained 4/5 stars.

These days, blogging has all but eradicated the division between professional and amateur reviewer, to the point where book publishers are now willing to cite the opinions of online readers as if they carried just as much heft as the traditional reviewers - which perhaps, in the highly connected and web-savvy world of SF, is increasingly the case. Here's an extremely generous review (I don't know the author) which I think gets to the heart of the book, and raises some interesting points, or perhaps concerns, about the direction the future volumes are likely to take:

Meanwhile, back in October, Adam Roberts was good enough to write this short piece in anticipation of the book's release this year:

That's it for now; I am sure other reviews will roll in and I will keep an eye out for them as they appear.


  1. I'm not seeing BRE as available for preorder on the Kindle store - only hardback and paperback. Is this just a Kindle quirk, or is it not due for a Kindle release in the UK?

  2. Weird that you recall SFX disliking Revelation Space. I'm pretty sure i bought that book from their recommendation. Though i think it may have been a review of the paper back and they may have mellowed towards it by than (and i'm glad they did).

    I'll be doing a review of BRE myself but i have to wait. The other half as requested that i don't buy it yet, so she has something to get me for my birthday in March. Can't wait.

  3. I would love to know this as well (I'm buying the hard back version anyway signed :-)) but also want it on my Kindle so I don't have to drag the hard back around,

  4. Great reviews. I was hoping for an audiobook as I'll be doing losts of driving but that's probably a while off... I'm not sure I can wait... :)

  5. If you send me a copy I'll review it too! :P

  6. Loved the bit you read in the Guardian's podcast. Can't wait to read the full text. June can't come fast enough here in the States.

  7. I really want to purchase and read this book, since I have this tendency to devour your works nonstop whenever they are in my hands.

    I haven't yet made the plunge, though, because for some inexplicable reason, your publisher has decided to charge more for the Kindle release than any other format except audiobook on

    I am, of course, a lone consumer - but I've seen at least one review on amazon and have heard friends of mine in other countries also making the same complaint.

    I do want to read your book - but I don't want to be ripped off in the process. Please, have a chat to your publisher.