Stations of the Tide
- Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
- Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 07-02-12
- Language: English
- Publisher: Audible Studios
The Jubilee Tides will drown the continents of the planet Miranda beneath the weight of her own oceans. But as the once-in-two-centuries cataclysm approaches, an even greater catastrophe threatens this dark and dangerous planet of tale-spinners, conjurers, and shapechangers. A man from the Bureau of Proscribed Technologies has been sent to investigate. For Gregorian has come, a genius renegade scientist and charismatic bush wizard. With magic and forbidden technology, he plans to remake the rotting, dying world in his own evil image—and to force whom or whatever remains on its diminishing surface toward a terrifying and astonishing confrontation with death and transcendence.
This novel of surreal hard SF was compared to the fiction of Gene Wolfe when it was first published, and the author has, in the two decades since, become recognized as one of the finest living SF and fantasy writers.
1991 Nebula Award, Best Novel
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Robert L. on 25-03-12
Hard to categorize, hard to put down
While it's categorized as Sci-Fi, this is as much a Southern Gothic and a spy novel as it is a science fiction piece. Oh yes, plus it's sexually explicit and has recurring Freudian motifs . . .
Even the approach to science fiction is unusual: characters have wildly advanced technologies but neither the characters nor the narrator ever stop to explain them. In some ways this very fresh and realistic (a contemporary story would never stop to explain what a cell phone is or how it works, the character would simply use it). Just so in this story we only figure out what some devices do and are capable of as we see them used.
On one hand this is a refreshing trust in readers' intelligence and helps keeps things moving but on the other hand, well sometimes it was a real effort to figure out what the hell was really going on. It is an enormous help if you have already bumped into the idea of taking hugely complex technological items and representing them as physical analogs that humans can "see" in virtual reality.
All of this makes for an engrossing read as does some very intricate plotting where things which seemed to be diversions or simple events when first read suddenly come back as vital clues as the plot pulls itself together near the end.
Still, the ending was peculiarly unsatisfying. After so much of the plot has been resolved by suddenly and cleverly taking building blocks from throughout the novel and assembling in a compelling way I never saw coming, at the very end there's a deus ex machina that has several 'out of nowhere' and even '. . . but wait, doesn't that go against some of the major elements of the story?' elements. Also it's not really clear why all the things that happened were important or that anything has really been resolved. In a story like this you would expect the crucial element to be the main character's journey and change, and maybe it is, but that's less compelling when you never even know the main character's name, he's simply "the bureaucrat" for the entire novel, and it's actually difficult to know him well enough to understand if there has been any change at all.
Perhaps the very end was only unsatisfying because so much of what went before it was so good. If you are looking for beach reading this is probably not it. If you like science fiction and are interested in hearing a very different and talented voice you may not have run into, this is a very good choice.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Paul on 16-04-14
Heck of a business trip this guy had!
Any additional comments?
A good example of Swanwick's superior writing ability, and his blend of SF and F. Oliver Wyman does an excellent job.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful