Blue Remembered Earth

Posted by : atcampbell | On : September 17, 2013

Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds

Eight people attended this meeting at the Milwood Library. Our topic was Blue Remembered Earth, the first in a new space opera series by Alastair Reynolds. After the death of a rich and powerful woman, her family discovers mysteries from her past that lead them to a journey all over the solar system.  Seven of us had read the author before. All of us started the book, and seven finished it.

Many of us found this to be an enjoyable read that grabbed our attention from the beginning and kept us interested through the end. People commented that they liked several characters, particularly the family retainer who turned out to be much more than expected. The book explores several interesting ideas, including a possible link between crime and creativity.

We liked this book’s setting, in a future where humans live on several planets and under Earth’s oceans. The author’s clever scavenger hunt plot allowed us to explore many worlds. One reader liked the notion of proxies, which are human bodies that can be rented like automobiles in our world. Another was intrigued by the notions of a “surveilled zone” and “unsurveilled zone” on Earth’s Moon. The mandatory enhancements done to all humans were interesting and a bit unsettling. The altered humans included “mer people” and a “cactus man.” One participant said she was reminded of Brave New World.

It surprised us that no characters of European or American descent appear in the novel. Africans and Asians dominate this future. The only Earthside scenes are in Africa or under the sea, so we don’t know what happened to the people from the rest of the world.

There were some criticisms. A couple of people thought the book was too long. Another felt the plot felt like “an artificial quest of plot coupons.” Yet another did not like any of the characters except for the dead grandmother. Several people commented that the book’s title made no sense and didn’t seem to fit the story.

We had a fun discussion, and several of us plan to read later books in the series. After the meeting, several of us had a nice dinner at Thai Cuisine.

–A. T. Campbell, III