Title: Pushing Ice

Author: Alastair Reynolds

Publish Date: 2005

Publisher: Ace Books

Type: Novel

Genre: Science Fiction

Sub-Genre: Alien Encounters, First Contact, Advanced Technology, Advanced Medicine, Space Travel, Spacecraft, Revolution, Relativity, Rejuvenation, Asteroids, Artificial Intelligence, Robots, Kidnapping, Mining

Plot Summary:

In the year 2057, the inhabitants of Earth are able to mine other planets, moons, and asteroids in their solar system for minerals and other materials. Bella Lind is captain of the Rockhopper, one of the mining ships.

Ending their current assignment, they’re called away to investigate what happened to cause one of Saturn’s moons to break out of its orbit and head out of the Solar System. Janus was always thought to be an ice moon, but as it picked up speed, it was clear that it wasn’t a moon at all. And the Rockhopper was the only ship close enough to intercept it and try to determine what it was all about.

As Rockhopper chases Janus, Bella learns that it is heading towards an alien structure some two hundred-sixty light years away in a constellation humanity called ‘Virgo’.

The alien structure was too fuzzy for a clear look, but Bella and her crew are ordered to follow the racing moon to attempt contact with whomever, or whatever, may be piloting Janus.

But other countries are attempting to get there first, and Bella doesn’t know that this mission may be a very, very long one.

Description:

Bella Lind is the captain of a space mining ship that is named ‘Rockhopper’. Its mission is to explore comets, asteroids, and other space oddities in order to mine minerals and other materials for Humanity.

As their current tour draws to a close, Janus, one of Saturn’s small ice moons, breaks free of its orbit and begins leaving the solar system. Since they are the only ship close enough to intercept it and gather information, they are ordered to investigate.

On their way to investigate, an accident happens which fractures the crew of nearly 200 into two factions. The ones that want to follow the moon, and the one that wants to return home to Earth.

After a decision is made to continue on, information arrives about an alien structure in the Virgo constellation that seems to be in the direction that the moon is heading.

While Rockhopper is racing to intercept, another country has launched a spaceship for the same purpose. When the two ships cross paths, only one continues on.

Following Janus should have been easy. It should have been NO problem. But that was the main problem… it was anything but easy…

Appraisal

One of the best things about the novel is how well the author developed the characters and their ties to each other. The descriptions of their actions, jobs, and personalities gave them a ‘life’ to the reader. However, the prologue felt like a misstep in that it was in the future, compared to when the story began in 2057, but by the time the novel ended, the prologue was actually a part of the past. The epilogue was also a part of the past as well, and that wasn’t immediately clear, and it just kind of ‘hits you’ awhile after completing the novel.