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Author Topic: "The Prefect" by Alastair Reynolds.  (Read 319 times)

Cylonophile

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"The Prefect" by Alastair Reynolds.
« on: October 08, 2010, 01:19:54 AM »
"The Prefect" is a hard SF/transhuman novel by Alastair Reynolds that almost demands a new level of excellence to describe it.

 Basically, it's a detective/mystery/conspiracy novel with heavy hard SF and transhuman elements. The main character is a "Prefect", a member of a police force charged with maintaining democracy is "the glitter belt", 10,000 habitats orbiting a planet and forming a society dedicated to democracy. The populace of each hab is free to set up whatever social order it's populace votes for. The only requirement is that democracy be respected, and the prefecture is only empowered to defend democracy.

The novel begins with an investigation into some "vote rigging' at one hab, then develops into the murder of an entire hab by some powerful weapon, apparently, and evolves into a full blown catastrophe that threatens the entire glitterbelt.

 It's really one of the best novels I've read lately, or in a long time. It has more action than most novels I've read recently by L.E. Modesitt but doesn't become a trite "action novel".

 Fans of film noir detective adventures and hard SF ought to like it too, as there are some film noir elements here.

 Since the main characters are, basically, cops, some might be offended that the prefect's partner is a "hyperpig", a pig uplifted to human intelligence, and even I kind of wondered if the author was making a bit of a joke about calling police pigs. I decided he was just making a joke of it as the police characters are mostly treated with respect and not portrayed as "pigs".

 The novel really grabs you and doesn't want to let go, which is a bit of a problem given it's size. It's a long read but well worth it.

 The possibilities for game inspiration are pretty huge.
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Hairfoot

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"The Prefect" by Alastair Reynolds.
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2010, 12:35:43 AM »
Does Reynolds give any solid reasons for transhumans existing in the first place?

Cylonophile

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"The Prefect" by Alastair Reynolds.
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2010, 03:02:15 AM »
Quote from: Hairfoot;408864
Does Reynolds give any solid reasons for transhumans existing in the first place?

 
What reasons are necessary?

Look around the real world today and you see people with tattoos, piercings, scarrings, etc. Hell, some people have had themselves made up to look like cats, even through surgery.

If the tech existed to make transhumans, do you think there wouldn't be a lot of people doing it?

One group had their bodies pared down to the bare minimum and encased in suitcase sized modules so they could be permanently wired into a VR simulated universe. Think that wouldn't happen if the tech existed?

Other groups had themselves enhanced in various ways to make them more survivable in various environments, including space. Again, if it could be done some people would do it.
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-The ballad of browncoatone, after his banning by the communist dictators of rpg.net for refusing to obey their arbitrary decrees.

Hairfoot

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"The Prefect" by Alastair Reynolds.
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2010, 03:23:40 AM »
I asked if there was an explanation, not a reader's assumption of fashion trends. And if it's hard SF, as you say, creating entirely new individuals blended with animal DNA isn't equivalent to a pre-existing being getting a tattoo or earring.

Cylonophile

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"The Prefect" by Alastair Reynolds.
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2010, 03:30:27 AM »
Quote from: Hairfoot;408880
I asked if there was an explanation, not a reader's assumption of fashion trends. And if it's hard SF, as you say, creating entirely new individuals blended with animal DNA isn't equivalent to a pre-existing being getting a tattoo or earring.

 Well, again some people did it to pursue different lifestyles. A faction called the ultras had monkey based muscles added to them to make themselves stronger and more agile to increase survivabilty. Really, there'd be plenty of reasons to go transhuman, a batter question would be why people didn't go that way if the tech was available.
Go an' tell me I'm ignored.
Kick my sad ass off the board,
I don't care, I'm still free.
You can't take the net from me.

-The ballad of browncoatone, after his banning by the communist dictators of rpg.net for refusing to obey their arbitrary decrees.