• Terminal World

  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 19 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-06-10
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.2 (343 ratings)


Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different - and rigidly enforced - level of technology. Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue.
But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon's world is wrenched apart one more time. If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint's base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon's own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police but by the very nature of reality---and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability.
©2010 Alastair Reynolds (P)2010 Tantor
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Critic reviews

"A rousing adventure in a widly original setting." ( Guardian, UK)
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Regular price: £36.19

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Nigel on 31-03-11

Science fiction with a very big point

Spearpoint is an enormous city that rises vertically over a chaotic and apparently unpromising world. For reasons that aren’t clear at the outset, different elevations on the pinnacle-like city, and different zones across the world, support different levels of technology. Machines seize up irreparably if you travel too far, and people need complicated drugs. A dying angel plummets from his elevated level with a message for the cold and reclusive Quillon, provoking a well-paced journey in which our hero discovers something about all the aspects of his humanity, finds a finely conceived set of people groups who have each come to terms with their strange world in different ways, and grasps the secret of why all this is the way it is.
Alastair Reynolds is one of the most thought-provoking and readable hard-SF writers alive, partly because he loves his characters as much as his science. Indeed, most of his novels explore the boundaries of what it is to be human at every extreme. This tale scintillates because of the steampunk, gothic and fantasy elements he weaves in.
The icing on the cake for audiobook lovers is that this book (as with all Reynold's audiobooks on Audible) is read by the prolific John Lee, who could recite an instruction booklet for self-assembly furniture and make it sound poetic.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Charlie on 10-04-11

Great but Different

I discovered reynolds about a year ago by recomendation from a friend. This was the final book I read of his after completing his back catalogue. the main reason this was the last one read was because of the whole "steam punk" thing and I am a fan of the whole space opera, sense of wonder type sci fi. No need to worry though this is pure Reynolds but in a reffreshing new setting. The excellent characterisation is there along with the underpinning "big concept" that he does so very well. As for the narration, I love the way Jon Lee does Reynolds. He doesn't go overboard with character voices but gives enough depth to distinguish them and he lends the prose real gravitas. I really enjoyed this book and if you love Reynolds' other stuff you will love this. It's just a bit different that's all.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By DAVID on 10-09-10

This ain't your fathers Alastair Reynolds

I listened to this book several month ago and like it. It was different from what I am used to from Mr. Reynolds, but I thought the story was solid and the characters were interesting and well developed. However, after listening to several other books, including Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follett (omg, if you have not read/listened the these books yet, do yourself a favor, NOW!), I find myself comparing everything the Terminal World. I went back & listened to it agin. This is a really good book! Maybe I am a latent steampunk fan and did not realize it, but WOW, I really love this book! I think you should try to erase any vestidual remnant of Chasm City and Revelation Space from your brain before reading this book, because there is NO relation. If you are expecting this, it may effect your perception of this book.
My concept of the word 'terminal' has always been in realtion to death and dying. But, it also means 'end point' as in bus/train terminal. Keep this in mind when listening. Because of my educational deficit in this regard, I had pre-concieved notions when listening to this book the first time and it effected my opinion (amazing how titles & book covers can impact your perceptions!).
As far as Narrator, 2 words... JOHN LEE. If he read the NYC phone book, I would listen to it...twice.

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44 of 46 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 17-06-10

Worthwhile slightly lacking

I give this offering from Mr. Reynolds four stars based on his masterful writing style as well as the narration of John Lee.
However, the listener should be aware that this is a marked departure from his previous works, which many people list as genius among British space opera.
This story is more of a quest novel, and the story flows more from the setting and the character responses to cataclysmic changes, rather than deep character development.
Also, the main character has many similarities to the main character in Chasm City, i.e., mysterious past, assumed identity, and what will happen when the main character's true nature is revealed.
That being said, if you are a fan of Reynolds, than it is a worthwhile use of a credit. And although this review may seem to focus on the negatives, I think understanding the book's shortcomings will actually increase enjoyability, because the listener will not anticipate familiar plot points and can appreciate the book on its on merits.

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32 of 34 people found this review helpful

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