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Saturn Returns (Astropolis) (2007)

von Sean Williams

Reihen: Astropolis (1)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
1677129,547 (3.44)12
When former mercenary commander, Imre Bergamasc, awakes in the 879th Millennium, 200 years after he died, he understandably has a few questions, such as: why are large chunks of his memory missing? And why is he now a woman? Resurrected from information stored in a partially destroyed time capsule, he finds that things have changed during the two centuries he was dead. Now, following a galaxy-wide disaster known as the Slow Wave, the Continuum has collapsed, the bright galactic empire reduced to millions of disparate systems in various states of disarray. Reunited with his old team-mates - or, at least, reasonable facsimiles thereof - Imre must piece together both the fragments of his memory and the story of civilisation's fall. The more he digs the more suspicion dawns that the two issues are far from separate. Was the Imre Bergamasc he no longer remembers an unwitting pawn in the fall of civilisation? Or was he, in fact, the architect? And if unknown parties have gone to such extreme lengths to resurrect him, why are they now trying to kill him? Again.… (mehr)
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    Unendlichkeit. von Alastair Reynolds (reading_fox)
    reading_fox: Dark Space opera, splintered human factions and impressive technology
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Imre Bergamasc has been brought back to life from a storage drum containing his DNA and memories, and he has been remade as a women. That is just the beginning of his problems as as people start to see that he is alive again they want to kill him, properly. He is trying to remember what happened before he was almost killed last time.

This story is set on huge time scales, and across a vast galaxy. He seems to spend a lot of time just evading being killed again, and meets up with some characters from his past life. Whilst this is herd SF, and has all the appropriate factors for that, ships, derelict habitats, super advanced humans, and so on, the story line is not that strong, and i was not always sure quite what was going on and how he had got to that point. The other main characters in the book came across as complicated people with differing loyalties to Imre and other members of the story. I felt the ending was a little weak, as i was not sure how that guy fitted into the story.

Overall, I liked the writing, and the universe that he has created, but felt that plot let it down. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Not sure about this one. Main character (Imre Bergamasc) is unloveable, even though there are strong themes of redemption (of him, maybe his other selves, and probably the galaxy) throughout the novel. The span of time that the action takes place over is just a little on the unbelievable side - I just can't bring myself to believe that the kind of things that take decades in other stories really take millenia. Plus, the story is on the slow moving side - yes, it is moving across galactic distances at sub-light speed, and the sory does manage to convey this well, but even so.

It feels like the first 3/4 of the book is set up - it takes about that long for all of the 'Corps' to have been located (at least, in one form or another), and then for them to have a purpose. There are several other bits of action prior to this, but really only give the impression of being scene setters. And the denouement was a let down. I'm hoping that it is preparation for the next book - it is certainly my impression of Williams' work that he doesn't write sections of series that work well as standalones. But on the negative side, I'm not going to go searching for the sequel, so I may never know. ( )
  fred_mouse | Aug 16, 2017 |
A little disappointing. Perfectly acceptable big-screen wham-bang far future space opera, but it felt like it was missing... something. Starts out promisingly enough as a main-character-with-amnesia-who-must-figure-out-whats-happening story, but I lost enthusiasm half way through (though it was good enough that I finished it and will probably read the sequel). I've been thinking the fault lies with the entirely unlikable cast of characters (the "Corps" members). Is it nuts to say that my favorite character for a good stretch of the book was a semi-intelligent space-ship? Well, anyhow, I longed for one of the trans-post-human "Forts" to come back to life and liven things up a little. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

This book coincidentally enough kicks off a little mini-series coming here to CCLaP this month; for, you see, by sheer dumb luck, I was able this month to get my hands on half of the ten science-fiction novels nominated this year for either the Hugo or Philip K Dick awards. This one here, for example, Sean Williams' Saturn Returns (book one of the coming "Astropolis" trilogy), was nominated for the PKD award, which honors the best each year in cutting-edge and experimental SF; but I have to confess that I simply didn't find it very well-written at all, and eventually gave up out of frustration around page 50. The storyline is serviceable enough, I suppose, although definitely enjoys wallowing in what's sometimes the most trite cliches of the entire genre; it is One Million Years In The Future!, where in true Accelerando fashion humans have become immortal, precisely through "uploading" their memories into digital storage and then "downloading" them into new bodies whenever they want. The actual plot, then, at least as I understand it, concerns a soldier from a now long-over war, whose digital backup is accidentally discovered in space almost totally destroyed, almost 150,000 years after the destruction originally took place; put back together by an alien race (except accidentally as the opposite gender), he/she basically spends the rest of the book trying to figure out what happened, why the war ended, and what caused the apocalyptic rift that has essentially destroyed what had been a galaxy-wide means of communications.

And I say "as I understand it," of course, because this is the single biggest problem with Saturn Returns: Williams simply takes on too much, too much speculative crap, and tries to cram it all into a story too small to hold it, using writing skills that simply aren't good enough to juggle it all coherently. The book as a result turns into a muddled mess very quickly, with just dozens of references to made-up terminology that still haven't been explained 50 pages into it, as well as constant allusions to a series of interchangeable-sounding galactic wars in this Million Years In The Future! past, a "Chaos War" and "Mad Times" war and "Slow Wave" war with differences that make perfect sense to the characters, but that become a giant headache-inducing chronological cloud to us. Plus, I have to agree with several other online reviewers when I say, "What's with all the pointless softcore pornography, Williams?" Pretty much the only reason to put the main male character into a female body, as far as I could tell, was so the character could regularly think to himself, "Holy crap, I've got titties!," then proceed to play with them; the only reason to have two of these soldiers date each other in the backstory, as far as I could tell, was so Williams could describe the violent sex they had on a regular basis. I was surprised this got nominated for a PKD award, to tell you the truth; it's the kind of book that makes non-SF people roll their eyes when thinking of the genre, not the kind of stuff you'd think the industry would want to celebrate.

Out of 10: 3.8 ( )
  jasonpettus | Nov 7, 2009 |
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When former mercenary commander, Imre Bergamasc, awakes in the 879th Millennium, 200 years after he died, he understandably has a few questions, such as: why are large chunks of his memory missing? And why is he now a woman? Resurrected from information stored in a partially destroyed time capsule, he finds that things have changed during the two centuries he was dead. Now, following a galaxy-wide disaster known as the Slow Wave, the Continuum has collapsed, the bright galactic empire reduced to millions of disparate systems in various states of disarray. Reunited with his old team-mates - or, at least, reasonable facsimiles thereof - Imre must piece together both the fragments of his memory and the story of civilisation's fall. The more he digs the more suspicion dawns that the two issues are far from separate. Was the Imre Bergamasc he no longer remembers an unwitting pawn in the fall of civilisation? Or was he, in fact, the architect? And if unknown parties have gone to such extreme lengths to resurrect him, why are they now trying to kill him? Again.

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