The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds

It took me a while to get this book, but I finally managed to buy and read it. The only trouble is that it took me about 4 hours to read this book. I guess I’ll just have to be happy to read Pushing Ice and House of Suns again later this week.

The Prefect is the first of Alastair Reynolds’ books that takes place during the so-called Golden Age of humankind. Chasm City is almost in La Belle Époque, but during the voyage from Sky’s Edge to Yellowstone, the Melding Plague hit and La Belle Époque was over.

The Glitter Band will become The Rust Belt, one of the main ports of call in Revelation Space. It is there that most of the action of the Prefect takes place. The protagonist is Tom Dreyfus, a Field Prefect of the Panoply, the police force of the Panoply. Actually, they are more interested in polling issues than crimes. The Gitter Band is a demarchy, a democratic anarchy, where all decisions are made by everyone by constant polling.

The plot surrounds an encroachment to the demarchy way of life by some unknown force. I’m not going to reveal much about what exactly that threat is, but it was significant enough for me to wonder about the origins of the Melding Plague.

The Ultras play a small part in this book. It’s main focus is really the Demarchy around Yellowstone. Suprisingly, Conjoiners are also involved. I’m just going to mention one word on them. Exordium.

Dreyfus discovers that a few of his investigations are linked. He also discovers a traitor. He also learns what exactly happened with the Clockmaker and his wife 9 years earlier. The Prefect is a well written book that reveals a lot about how the Glitter Band functioned during the Belle Époque.

This book made me read these entries on the Revelation Space universe once again.

These articles are great since they recap most things in the RS universe. The Prefect is a tantalizing book that’s told kind of like a murder mystery, albeit without the murder. Even though the next 40,000 years of the RS universe are pretty well mapped out (see Galactic North), it still leaves Reynolds with a lot of stories that could be told.

I would like to see stories on the Conjoiners or even what happens to Remontoire and the last factions of humanity after they escape the Milky Way from the Greenfly, a Von Neumann nano-scaled terraforming machine that runs awry and basically renders the Milky Way uninhabitable.

That being said, Reynolds has shown that he is capable of writing excellent books outside of this universe.

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More Alastair Reynolds

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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