Alastair Reynolds – Slow Bullets

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. 

Wow, I’ve never been as impressed with a sci-fi book as I was with this one. I blasted through it in one night because I just couldn’t bear to put it down! My only complaint with the book was that I’d have liked it to be a full length book rather than a novella, as I felt that certain parts were rushed and would have been more enjoyable if they had more development.

Imagine being a soldier in a war, a woman that was never supposed to be in the war in the first place. The war is over and a ceasefire has been declared, but we start the book with Scur being tortured with an explosive slow bullet slowly working its way through her body.

The war that Scur is fighting in has stark resemblances to certain wars being fought in our world right now. A war about ‘The Book’ and how it is interpreted, each side believing unequivocally that they are right.

Imagine that after being captured and tortured, you wake up on a spaceship with no idea where you are or how long you’ve been asleep. So is life for Scur, who finds herself on a disabled spaceship far in the future, waking up surrounded by prisoners from the war and with the ship slowly eating it’s own memory. Civilisation has fallen and there’s no-one to rescue them on this ship which is drift in orbit of a strange planet.

The ship is a prisoner transport with prisoners from both sides of the war, along with civilians who happened to be placed here. Also on the ship is Orvin, the man who was so cruelly torturing Scur before she found herself here, and she wants revenge. But along with revenge, Scur needs to bring peace to the ship and figure out how to deal with this situation.

At times, I found Scur’s decisions hard to understand, her desperate need for revenge overtaking a need for survival in the first place. But you quickly learn to feel complete empathy for her, and when you realise that what you’re reading has been etched into the metal of the ship, you can’t help but admire her dedication to record her life, just in case there’s no way out.

The book definitely made you think and ask yourself some difficult questions. Like if the only way you could record anything for prosperity was to etch it into the ship itself, what of your memories and knowledge would you choose to record in the limited time you had?

And if the only way to save important knowledge was to overwrite all written history of your past, would you be able to do it?

Like I said before, my only problem with this book was the fact that it was so short!! I’ve read on Goodreads that Scur appeared in another of Reynold’s books, so I may have to seek this out and read it very soon!

I think due to the fact that I felt some parts were hurried through and would have been improved by more detail, I can’t give this book a full 5/5, but it’s definitely a very solid 4.


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