Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Alastair Reynolds - Machine Vendetta

Machine Vendetta is the final novel of the Prefect trilogy, a series of hard science-fiction novels by Alastair Reynolds. It is set in the Yellowstone system, among the glitter-band, thousands of orbitals with hundreds of thousands of people. The system is government by a voting system where inhabitants constantly vote, usually automatically, on decisions that manage the system. The Panoply is the police force, a non-lethal police force who are supposed to be under the democratic control of the people of Yellowstone, but in reality act more as a benevolent dictatorship at times.

Machine Vendetta is part three of a trilogy, but the stories are closely linked. As such much of the background to this volume is not explained and instead readers have to return to earlier works. The book begins as a sort of "detectives in space" as Prefect Tom Dreyfus investigates the unusual behavior of his former protege prefect Ingvar Tench which has led to her death.

What starts as a sort of police procedural in space, albeit from a number of different perspectives, rapidly becomes a system spanning thriller, as the Prefects and Dreyfus confront a powerful enemy that threatens the whole of Yellowstone. 

All of Reynolds' novels carry the reader along, but unusually this felt a little shallow to me. Some of the big ideas are not really explored very well, and on a couple of occasions I felt characters were simply brought on to advance the plot, rather than being developed into fully fledged personas. Still it's a fun read that Reynolds' fans will love.

Related Reviews

Reynolds - Eversion
Reynolds – Redemption Ark
Reynolds - House of Suns
Reynolds - Revenger
Reynolds - Inhibitor Phase
Reynolds - Blue Remembered Earth
Reynolds - The Prefect
Reynolds - Zima Blue
Reynolds - Terminal World
Reynolds - Pushing Ice
Reynolds - Slow Bullets

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