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Publisher's Summary

Critically acclaimed author Alastair Reynolds holds a well-deserved place “among the leaders of the hard-science space opera renaissance." (Publishers Weekly). In Blue Remembered Earth, Geoffrey Akinya wants nothing more than to study the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But when his space-explorer grandmother dies, secrets come to light and Geoffrey is dispatched to the Moon to protect the family name - and prevent an impending catastrophe.

©2012 Alastair Reynolds (P)2012 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Blue Remembered Earth

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    430
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    340
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    120
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    386
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    299
  • 3 Stars
    122
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    17

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A surprising and staisfying departure for Reynolds

Reynolds' latest is somewhat of a departure from his more sweeping and awe-inspiring conceptions of the future. This tale is situated in the later half of the 22nd century with earth having been ravaged by global warming resulting in geopolitical dislocations. The West has been marginalized due to environmental disruptions. Africa has assumed a world leadership position and one specific African family has replicated the Rockefeller/Ford/Walmart model of dominating the rising economic drivers of their age; in their case energy and space industries are paramount. The family's rise to prominence has been the result of a matriarch (Eunice) who was renown for her space exploits like Lindbergh or Earhart.

The tale begins with the passing of Eunice and our main character, Geoffrey who is an otherwise dedicated, but inconsequential elephant researcher with no interest in the family business, is commandeered to handle a delicate matter of tying up loose ends left by her. What ensues is an adventure saga of following clues and puzzles left by Eunice that only her family could decipher. Along the way, the mystery that was Eunice grows deeper. The sci-fi so prominent in previous Reynolds novels, is present, but is almost secondary to the plot and serves to advance the story, rather than vice versa: advanced AI, gene engineered humans (but still in the early phase with some problems evident), settlement of the solar system, human/animal mind interface, and continual population surveillance with action control. As usual, Reynolds' thorough descriptions provide for an extremely realistic and believable depiction of the future. Perhaps the only ding to the tale is that the final plot twist was too predictable and expected.

The narration is excellent with a full range of male and female voices as well as the beyond human constructs.

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Kept me going.

This was my first Alastair Reynolds, though probably not my last. I actually bought it for the reading by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, whose phenomenal performances made the Ben Aaronovitch "Rivers of London" series worthwhile all by themselves. This is an earlier effort by Holdbrook-Smith, and I don't think he'd quite gotten the hang of it, yet. It's also clearly further removed from the comfort zone of his diction, which I'd describe as "fifty shades of London."

The story is engaging, and the setting (22nd Century Earth (East Africa), Moon, Mars, and points outward in the Solar System) well-developed. I found none of the main characters especially appealing. In an extreme case that would lead me to stop listening to a book, but I got through this one, and enjoyed it. This isn't a high concept work, but it's solid hard SF.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Reynolds Comes Home for a Great Story

This is the last Alastair Reynolds book on Audible I had to listen to and now I find I feel like the AI on the BBC comedy sci-fi, Red Dwarf, who asked for all his Agatha Christie files to be deleted so he could enjoy reading her books again - I can't wait to forget these stories so I can enjoy them again. The big problem for me is that Alastair Reynolds stories are not so easy to forget! Blue Remembered Earth is a rather sweet book to end my Reynolds run. It doesn't have the grandeur of big concepts against a huge universal backdrop that you find in House of Suns or the Revelation Space Trilogy nor does it have the tight plotting and perfect pacing of Chasm City or The Prefect. However, it does have a lot of heart and conveys a message that doesn't show up often enough in science fiction - we have the stars and a huge universe to explore, but we should never forget how absolutely amazing, special, and intricate are the workings of our own beautiful planet. Sometimes we have to look at our world from the heavens to appreciate its stunning beauty and fragility and Blue Remembered Earth is a story that lets you do that. This near future sci-fi is not as grand as many Reynolds stories, but he does a great job of projecting out what climate change (independent of whether it is man-made or natural) will do to change our planet - such a major change in our environment will not only change the geography of the planet, but its flora and fauna, the world economic and political systems, and even theologies and cultures will be impacted or adapted.

A couple of audible reviewers have provided some great plot summaries (thank you Michael G. Kurilla and Wendy) which I can't do any better so I won't, but I will say that although the pacing of this tale is a little slower than some of Reynolds other books, I found the plot quite engaging and the settings are vivid and imaginative as well. These aren't Reynolds' strongest characters, but they are very nicely rendered by the narration of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. It was odd at first to listen to Reynolds as narrated by someone other than Jon Lee, but Holdbrook-Smith is more fitting for this Africa based story and this actor-narrator is talented. He has a warm, pleasant voice, provides distinct character voices, and does good accents. I heard him on the Peter Grant paranormal detective series and he was terrific at doing something rather comedic and fast-paced, but now I see he is equally good at reading a book intended to be more serious and dramatic. If you care about the prose, Blue Remembered Earth scores high. This is Reynolds describing giraffes running across the African plain, "They were loping, crossing the ground in great scissoring strides like pairs of draftsman's compasses being walked across the map." Reynolds prose tends to be rather elegant with exquisite metaphors sprinkled through it and Blue Remembered Earth is full of great examples of his style.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Shame on the recording engineer

This book can be a difficult listen, at first. The reader, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, has an African accent, which is appropriate to the characters. The accent may be a problem for people who aren't used to hearing a variety of accents beyond American and British. Nonetheless, he is an excellent reader who handles the variety of characters well. No, the *real* problem is the muddiness of the recording. The producer or recording engineer did a poor job, because this books lacks the crisp audio that would have served the reader better. Shame on them.
The book itself, however, is quite good. I recommend it, *if* you think you can get over the poor recording quality.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Amazing Performance

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith delivers a masterful performance, creating distinct voices for the many characters in this engrossing story of a family secret that isn't easily unearthed. The characters were likable, the plot twisty and the future an interesting vision of a post climate change earth. I could have enjoyed a bit shorter denouement, but well worth the listen.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Kobna never disappoints!

If you could sum up Blue Remembered Earth in three words, what would they be?

Thoughtful, interesting, and speculative.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Eunice, I suppose, in all her iterations. She gets and keeps our protagonists moving.

Which character – as performed by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith – was your favorite?

Eunice, I think, though I really enjoyed his characterization of the cousins as well, Lucas and Hector.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Taking breaks was nice, mainly because of the length of the book and amount of detail. I never got bored with it, though.

Any additional comments?

This is the first time I bought an audiobook because of the narrator, primarily. After Kobna's work on the Peter Grant series, I thought I would check out some other stories he had narrated, but there aren't many. Blue Remembered Earth sounded up my alley, though, so I took a shot and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately Kobna doesn't narrate the sequels so I am unsure if I will continue; thankfully the book was satisfying as a stand-alone, even if I do want to find out what happens next.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too long to deliver but great performance

And the punch wasnt really detailed enough. Potential was high but unfortunately it didn't materialize

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Story--Awesome New Narrator

This is my third Alastair Reynolds novel. The other two I listened to were narrated by John Lee. He's okay, but not one of my favorites. However, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is a narrator I will be looking out for in the future. He's phenomenal. There's an epilogue that's told in first-person plural where the narrator mixes the voices of the characters who are telling that part of the story. It sounds so interesting and I can't imagine any other narrator who could pull it off so well. It could have ended up being either confusing or hokey, but it was neither.

As for the story, I thought it was very good. It's not like the other Alastair Reynolds books I've listened to, but it's good on its own terms. There were a couple of times when I wanted to slap the characters and tell them to think a bit harder. It took quite a while for them to realize that Eunice was sending them on a treasure hunt. It wasn't the most original story, and it did have some fairly predictable moments, but it was very well done.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

S...l...o...w...

Six hours in, there's a scene that struck me as a perfect metaphor. Robots are fighting, but they are so colossally slow, that nothing appears to be happening. The characters have to drug and wire their brains to make it seem interesting. The book is well written with a variety of characters, but they're not doing anything of import and there's nothing at stake. It might just be a book about some people in the future puttering around, but that's not something I'm willing to give more time.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Reynold's Weakest Novel but Still a Good Read...

I have read all of AR's work and he is, without a doubt, my favorite author. But this book was a bit disappointing relative to his other novels. It is still a good story (and worth a listen), but just not up to the standard that I have come to expect from Reynolds.

My biggest complaint.....the book starts off very slowly and I was almost tempted to pull the plug. Fortunately it got better and ended up being a decent story overall.

Reynolds has also left the story open for a sequel and it still has the potential to be a great series, even if it got off to a shaky start. And yes....despite my negative comments, I am still looking forward to reading the sequel.

5 people found this helpful