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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, Hard-Boiled Space Opera
Panoply keeps the peace between the ten thousand independent habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone. Its prefects can only enforce rules governing relationships between habitats and ensure that all citizens are allowed to vote on cross-habitat issues. Sometimes prefects see things they would prefer not to see, but they cannot interfere.

Field Prefect Tom...
Published 14 months ago by John M. Ford

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3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, awesome universe but a few frustrations
Well, as far as the revelation space universe is concerned, Alastair Reynolds could probably write a thousand stories about it without getting boring.

I found this book a little frustrating though. The story seemed to be dragging on for no real reason. Also there were technical issues that I see with the story line: if Aurora can manage to create thousands or...
Published on April 24 2011 by grenouye


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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, Hard-Boiled Space Opera, Feb. 22 2013
By 
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Prefect (Paperback)
Panoply keeps the peace between the ten thousand independent habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone. Its prefects can only enforce rules governing relationships between habitats and ensure that all citizens are allowed to vote on cross-habitat issues. Sometimes prefects see things they would prefer not to see, but they cannot interfere.

Field Prefect Tom Dreyfus comes across as a 20th century private detective. He is smart, weary, cynical, and doesn't make diplomacy his first priority. He and his two deputies enforce Panoply's mandates. Thalia Ng is inexperienced, grateful to work with Dreyfus, and eager to prove herself. The other deputy is a hyperpig. (This is science fiction, remember.) Sparver is tough, loyal, and grimly tolerant of verbal abuse from people who don't like pigs. Dreyfus and his team investigate the explosive destruction of the Ruskin-Sartorious habitat and loss of nearly a thousand lives. As the investigation proceeds they encounter betrayal, more mass murder, and a fascinating menagerie of characters with competing agendas.

The book follows a familiar crime-story plot line, enhanced by science fiction settings, people and technology. The "Glitter Band" civilization and the various habitat subcultures are inventive and spring some interesting surprises. Characters include artificial intelligences ranging from low-fidelity "beta-level" copies of humans to powerful, incomprehensible entities like the Clockmaker. Humans have technological enhancements as well as cultural and individual quirks. The most interesting tech tidbit is the prefect's "whiphound" weapon. Picture a lightsabre which exudes, instead of a truncated laser beam, a long metallic tendril. The tendril can be used as a whip, stiffened into a sword, or given instructions and allowed to slither away on an independent mission. Readers learn a lot about whiphounds.

The book delivers a good story and an enjoyable tour of a well-conceived science fiction setting. Although the story stands alone, it is well-integrated with the rest of Alistair Reynolds' Revelation Space fiction. It answers a few questions from the series and raises a few more. Highly recommended as a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Reynolds yet?, Sept. 26 2010
This review is from: Prefect (Paperback)
Not as epic as the previous volumes in the Revelation Space series, more of a police thriller really, but Reynolds is at his best, drawing us in. My favorite of his yet?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, awesome universe but a few frustrations, April 24 2011
This review is from: Prefect (Paperback)
Well, as far as the revelation space universe is concerned, Alastair Reynolds could probably write a thousand stories about it without getting boring.

I found this book a little frustrating though. The story seemed to be dragging on for no real reason. Also there were technical issues that I see with the story line: if Aurora can manage to create thousands or millions of weapons using less than a dozen factories, why couldn't the other habitats in the glitter band not manage to produce a similar number of counter measures?

I also found the fact that the "bad guy" was able to escape so easily from Panoply. There always seems to be a convenient fact missing from the story line.

So, if I compare this to other of Alastair Reynolds work, like Century Rain or House of Suns (both are 5's in my mind), this one is a 3.
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Prefect by Alastair Reynolds (Paperback - April 10 2008)
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