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Pushing Ice

Narrated by: John Lee
Length: 19 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (102 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they're good at it.

The Rockhopper is nearing the end of its current mission cycle, and everyone is desperate for some much-needed R & R, when startling news arrives from Saturn: Janus, one of Saturn's ice moons, has inexplicably left its natural orbit and is now heading out of the solar system at high speed. As layers of camouflage fall away, it becomes clear that Janus was never a moon in the first place. It's some kind of machine - and it is now headed toward a fuzzily glimpsed artifact 260 light-years away. The Rockhopper is the only ship anywhere near Janus, and Bella Lind is ordered to shadow it for the few vital days before it falls forever out of reach. In accepting this mission, she sets her ship and her crew on a collision course with destiny - for Janus has more surprises in store, and not all of them are welcome.

©2008 Alastair Reynolds (P)2010 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[Reynolds is] a genius for big-concept SF and fans of Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama and Larry Niven's Ringworld will love this novel." ( Publishers Weekly

What listeners say about Pushing Ice

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

Good story, great performance

Enjoyed this story a lot, there's a lot of changes in the plot over decades of time. I liked the pacing, the characters were interesting, capable and flawed. The narrator was great, there was never any doubt about who was speaking. I thought there was some odd editorial choices and it felt in a couple of places some scenes which I would have liked to hear about were cut and mentioned. Maybe it's the author's style, it's the first book of his I've bought. Overall great book and hoping there is a sequel.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Not sure why, but I loved this book. I am slowly working through all Alistair's books and so far this is my favorite.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kai
  • 02-03-2017

A marvellous standalone sci-fi

Reynolds has seriously created a marvel of sci-fi novels. It is well constructed, interestingly written, and full of strange and innovative ideas.

Lee, while initially not being my favourite narrator, is now very near the top of my list of narrators. His classical style of speech goes well with the voices and characters he portrays; his accents well placed and in all ways engaging and real.

Overall, a great book, a great story. Excellent for those who love sci-fi, or those who wish to invest in their first sci-fi novel.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book, loving Alistair Reynolds so far.

John lee is a fantastic narrator, one of the best. Great sci fi, no fluff, crack on with it style.

2 people found this helpful

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Good stand alone book

I really enjoyed this book, gripping start, some parts in the middle felt slow and it seemed to get really good three quarters through, then it finished too soon. I feel like this book is just Alastair Reynolds flexing his muscles and I have to say it's impressive, the scope was mind bogglingly vast yet the story never gets too lost In the details. I sat for a long time thinking when it finished and I feel like I'm not ready to start another book for a little while until my mind has digested the story. It's a good book for a beginner reader of space opera, I like the way it was about one crew of one ship so It was easy for me to learn the characters and follow the story. I feel that it's been an exciting yet human story, I liked how most of the characters were professional even though everything was going to hell in a handcart, there was a lot of dignity given to us, humanity - more than we deserve I think.

1 person found this helpful

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good scifi

i really enjoyed the science in this book. it explored some space travel and time concepts that i thought were quite original.
some exceptional female lead characters.

1 person found this helpful

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Really amazing story

A story which moves, seeds hope and reason to work, learn. Highly recommended to everyone

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Kazablanka

An engaging, imaginative story, with enough of a mystery to keep you turning pages to see how it would end, and continuous twists to raise interest at times when interest started to flag. Not the best science fiction I've encountered, but nonetheless enjoyable.

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Not Worth your Time

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I think the plot is good but the way the story is written sucks...Its like the writer gets confused with his own characters of who said what. Also it is like watching a 3 or 4 man show...there is a lot of other people on the ship but its like they don't exist.

What could Alastair Reynolds have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

There is out branches of the story that just never get mentioned again. There is huge jumps in time and no real explanation of what happen in between like...one person is the leader and after the jump in time someone else is the leader with almost no explanation of how or why. To me this book felt like a first try...maybe his future books will have better pacing and better writing.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Pushing Ice?

Cut nothing and add more like painting the picture better...filling out secondary characters...don't copy paste characters and just change few things.

Any additional comments?

Wait for this writer to become more experienced in writing...he has a good story in his head but fails to put it to paper.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jesse
  • 14-01-2012

Proof that a good story doesn't require a trilogy

I was led to Pushing Ice on the recommended reading list in another book I own. I had a few credits to spare and decided to try it out. I was happy to see that John Lee was narrating, as I've enjoyed his other work (Count of Monte Cristo particularly). But this was my first exposure to Alastair Reynolds.

Right out of the gate I was engaged. The depiction of life aboard a comet mining ship was really first rate with very little in the way of "space magic" thrown in. The characters were interesting and the events of the first portion of the book were so gripping I found myself pulled into the slip stream (wink).

The development of the plot from beginning to end is quite broad in scope, and Mr. Reynolds doesn't slow down to spoon feed every portion of the the plot which I enjoyed. There are a couple of lulls in the story when new events are being set up that dragged by comparison to other parts, but they were by no means boring.

In the end, the quality of Pushing Ice is a result of the whole story rather than any one character or plot arc. It's a great experience that I'd recommend to any fan of science fiction.

Aliens, castaways, relativistic quandries, mortality, betrayal, vengeance, love, sacrifice, cosmic insignificance and perserverance...all delivered to your ears by the smooth-as-butter voice of John Lee.

115 people found this helpful

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  • Hassan
  • 23-09-2012

Another book i regret not buying it earlier

This book was amazing.... i really loved it and loved all what happened.

But there is one issue with this book.. is how they jump between years... i reading this book and in a point it suddenly jumped forward in time without saying "x-time later"

other than that the book was a blast...

20 people found this helpful

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  • Tango
  • 06-10-2013

Hard Science Space Adventure

Pushing Ice is really a mind-expanding view of the universe on a scale of time that goes beyond my ability to imagine. There are some interesting aliens and some vague secondary characters, but the two primary characters are both women and the plot boils down to a battle of wits and wills between these two. Both characters have dimension, but neither quite hit the mark for me on the believability scale. Bella Lind, captain of the Rockhopper, is more magnanimous and long-suffering than any one I've known. Svetlana Barseghian is more egocentric and openly vindictive than most people I know, but I might accept that if there was some explanation for it. It is almost impossible to feel much empathy for Svetlana because there is no backstory on her to help the listener understand why she is so completely inflexible. And because of that, it is difficult to comprehend the relationship between Svetlana and her kind-hearted husband (he wants to have children with that mean girl??), how Bella Lind and Svetlana ever became friends, or why any group of reasonable people would accept Svetlana's leadership. In the end, the Lindblad artifact created such a fun, clever twist in the plot, I enjoyed the story even if the characters weren't quite up to par.

Not as good as House of Suns, but a fun space adventure with some good hard science. I am now listening to my fourth Alistair Reynolds book and loving his writing, but I have learned that getting a good plot summary in advance (the publishers' summaries are usually useless) is a great idea to keep you from getting lost at the beginning. I kind of think a woman narrator might have been a better choice on this book since the two central characters and an important secondary character are women, but John Lee was, as always, quite good.

18 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 14-02-2011

Another solid Reynolds effort

Reynolds manages to bring forth another novel of the same quality as the Revelation Space series that serves to place him at the forefront (perhaps along with Peter Hamilton) as one of the pre-eminent contemporary sci-fi writer today. The pacing of the plot appears slow at first and gains speed as the storyline progresses, but in reality, Reynolds is shadowing the relativistic time dilation that the characters are undergoing. Another of Reynolds' talents is to unfold his tales along a Richter scale of increasing complexity and scope.

The overall theme of story surrounds female friendship and its complicated interplay between the personal and professional, along with a higher duty to society. As is typical of Reynolds, the science is inviting and doesn't overwhelm the storytelling. His rendition of aliens is also refreshing in its diversity.

Hopefully, this is merely the opening volley in what promises to be an evolving series. The tantalizing glimpses at the very end of the menagerie suggests possiblities for endless future installments both within and outside. We can only hope that Reynolds doesn't disappoint.

14 people found this helpful

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  • mark
  • 11-02-2012

About 80% of a great book

First, the good part. Reynolds has a rare gift for weaving hard science into his plot. The matter of fact limitations of physics and effects of near light speed travel make this novel stand out from a host of lazy sci-fi. The author is undeniably adroit at imagining and describing alien and future worlds and this makes for a compelling and at times irresistible narrative.

However...the science and alternate worlds are by far the best part of the book. The characters inhabiting these worlds are entirely flat and opaque, and I do not mean unlikable. Based on previous reviews I expected the characters might be harsh or unsympathetic, but instead I have almost no idea what their motivations might be. They have little internal narrative, and character development is strictly one-dimensional, A to B. They are alternately self-righteous and petty, occasionally stopping in the middle of the most intense danger to be catty to each other. Whenever they begin talking the story comes to a screeching halt. The dialogue is stilted and odd, and sounds nothing like actual human conversation.

With all of this being said, if you can overlook the paper cut-out characters and get past the parts where they talk, there is a fascinating, magnetic story here. I do hope Reynolds continues this universe in the future, with better characters.

33 people found this helpful

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  • SomervilleWhereElse
  • 30-09-2012

Great Science Fiction

I can't believe this book hasn't been made into a movie. It is a wonderful story, well told, and beautifully read. It is really science fiction--having a story written by an astrophysicist, makes for great science along with the fiction. The characters were believable and story huge in scope and time. It was fantastic listening all the way.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Trip Williams
  • 29-09-2012

Liking Reynolds more with each book

I have come to like Alastair Reynolds more with each book I finish, and Reynolds' in-depth stories and characters are complimented very nicely by John Lee!

"Pushing Ice" is kind of a "Stand Alone" book, which is a little surprising since I've gotten used to Reynolds' books being part of a LONG series. It's not his best book in my opinion, but every one of his books so far have been good enough that me saying, "It wasn't his best book" is like saying, "That wasn't Babe Ruth's best home run"... if it's over the fence, everything else is just details ;)

I didn't think Mr. Reynolds would be able to tie in the beginning of the book, and then pull off how the characters were "saved" toward the end of the book once I figured out what was about to happen, but like the true master story-teller he is, he did it!

As usual, Reynolds made me care about his characters and become emotionally invested in them. Mr. Reynolds has the gift of allowing you to know the characters so well that you can pretty much tell how each character will react to any given situation. Several times I found myself smiling and thinking "Oh man! She is NOT going to like this!" When you find that you've reached that kind of connection with the characters in a book, you've gotten your money's worth!

I also found it very easy to reach that illusive "Story Trance" state each time I started the book again after having to take a brief pause from it (Haven't figured out how to listen and still pay total attention while in the shower yet ;)

While I'm at it, I'd like to mention that I am amazed how similar I find Alastair Reynold's books, and Peter F. Hamilton's books! Maybe it's because John Lee typically does the narration for both authors, but I actually looked online to see if maybe they were the same author using two different names to write similar, yet distinctly different, stories. I was kind of relieved to find they were very different authors, since that means we have twice the amount of great books to listen to!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Cougar
  • 12-08-2011

Best by author

Without doubt, Pushing Ice is the best book I have listened to by Reynolds. The book is exciting, interesting, and imaginative. Even though the book is long [3 parts] it will hold your attention throughout. If you only listen to one book by this author, this is the one you want to choose. It is his best work..

17 people found this helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 19-12-2012

A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Any additional comments?

My first Alastair Reynolds but definitely not my last. John Lee's narration has never disappointed me.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Andreas Henriksson
  • 20-04-2011

Fantastic!

I love to listen to Reynold's books. This one was the best yet. I was amazed at how he manages to weave together so many different themes in one breath-taking adventure. Friendship, time, civilization, enmity... I'm truly astonished, not least because it adds up to a real 'page turner' (or the audiobook equivalent). As usual, John Lee's reading succeeds in keeping my focus on the narrative and keeps itself backgrounded. Cannot praise enough!

7 people found this helpful