Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Terminal World Terminal World
by Alistair Reynolds

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Terminal World is the latest novel from British author Alastair Reynolds, and may or may not be the start of a new series – there was nothing in the blurb or advertising to suggest a series but the ending suggests otherwise. Reynolds is an experienced author with nine novels and three collections of shorter works story under his belt so the openness of the ending to Terminal World suggests he is considering his options.

Terminal World is a tale of Earth’s far future, and starts in the technological wonder of Spearpoint: a city built on a space piercing tower that hosts humans and angels; not real angels, genetically engineered and nano-machine enhanced humans who are able to live in the skies around Spearpoint. At some point in the past the Earth became segregated into slowly changing and moving technological zones that inhibit the use of machinery that rely on fine tolerances the further down the zone scale one goes until even life itself cannot function. It is to escape enemies from his past that Quillon, an angel in hiding leaves Spearpoint, crosses through several zones of differing technological limit and tries to make a quiet life elsewhere – and utterly fails to not draw attention to himself.

In the course of the book: Quillon leaves Spearpoint, experiences a massive zone shift, is captured by Skullboys (roving thugs with no fixed agenda), captured by the Swarm (the former airship arm of Spearpoint but now a power unto itself), finds a tectomancer (read the book) and returns to Spearpoint to bring medical relief and fight angels and skullboys. Along the way he is ably, if often grudgingly, assisted by Meroka as bodyguard and specialist in the purveyance of violence.

Fortunately for the reader the page count and the print size were sufficient to encompass and develop all the plot points and ideas that that brief summary entailed. That the book ended on a cliffhanger came as no surprise as the novel read as a story that was too big for just one book, with loose ends galore.

Terminal World was not a quick read, but even so was an enjoyable, action-filled romp through a far future dystopia and if a sequel appears I shall fall on it with glee.

SFFANZ is a non-profit organisation and registered charity
designed to bring together fans of the fantastic in New Zealand

Contact us by email at: