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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: Permafrost

Permafrost is Alastair Reynold's short time travel novel. It was expanded from one of his short stories, and is set entirely in Russia. Rather than deal with tricks or some sort of "law of unbreakable history" like some other time travel stories, Permafrost pushes head-on into time paradoxes, with interesting rules about what happens when a paradox is induced. The time travel mechanism is also interesting and indirect enough to be plausible, while introducing challenges not present with the direct time travel used so frequently in other science fiction.

The novel is too short to do much about character development, so the characters are basically cardboard cut-outs and aren't fleshed out. But the treatment of the material is fresh enough and the setting interesting enough that it was well worth the read. After all, even average Reynolds is miles better than most other writers' best work. Recommended.

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