This book contains 2 novellas, loosely connected. Both are situated in the Revelation Space universe.
Diamond Dogs (130 pages) is the most “gothic” story I’ve read of Reynolds so far. It is about a sort of cross between the Shrike (of Hyperion-fame) and the Cube (the movie), visited by steampunkish Frankensteinian humans. It feels a bit like an exercise to write a Cube-like story (about an intriguing mysterious structure filled with deadly traps) and amounts mainly to the protagonists going from chamber to chamber. It’s okay, but nothing compared to Reynolds’ longer fiction, and because of the above mentioned influences, it feels totally out of place in the Revelation Space universe. (2/5)
Turquoise Days (100 pages) is a lot better than the first story. It’s about a colony doing research on the Pattern Jugglers, massive databases made of alien biomass floating in oceans on distant planets. Their peaceful existence is disturbed by the impending arrival of an Ultra ship. (3/5)
This collection is okay: fun and quickly read, but not a good place to start your exploration of Alastair Reynolds’ amazing work set in the same universe. My advice: start with Revelation Space proper, and if that clicks, you’ll end up reading this anyway.
originally written on the 2nd of March, 2015
(Update 10/2018: I have given up on Reynolds completely. Part of that is my evolving taste, but he’s also been writing books at a pacing that simply can’t keep up with quality. He needs to eat and pay rent, I get it, but it’s such a waste of potential.)