Review No.64 – Blue Remembered Earth

Blue Remembered Earth – Alastair Reynolds

Gollancz, 2012

The Akinyas are the face of the 22nd century economy – a dynasty of spacefaring audacity and ruthless business acumen. Wherever human civilisation has rooted itself in the solar system, they have both a presence and a profit margin. But after the funeral of Eunice Akinya, reclusive matriarch of the family and a legend in her own lifetime, a loose end is left to disturb her descendants. It is Geoffrey, the grandson who turned his back on the family business to study elephant cognition in his homeland of Africa, who is sent to settle matters – to empty a safety deposit box on the moon of its forgotten contents. What he finds inside, however, will change his life forever. Eunice has one last secret to unveil, and finding out the truth might cost Geoffrey everything.

Having read Reynolds’ remarkable space opera House of Suns last year, he was a name at the top of my to read list for 2013. The scope of his imagination is just as spectacular in Blue Remembered Earth, combining convincing science fiction concepts with fundamental human nature to shape a future that is both believable and brilliant. A personal favourite moment was the idea of the United Aquatic Nations. Maybe humans look upward to the stars, but they also look out to the sea…From comments in the acknowledgements, it sounds like he plans to turn this into a series. I would love to see where he intends to go next.

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