I have this problem with collections of things (trilogies, all the albums by a band, TV series, etc), I have to own and consume them in their entirety. Another problem I have is remembering what happened in early parts of a collection when consuming the later parts. With TV series like Babylon 5 or Game of Thrones it’s easy to sit down and rewatch them in anticipation of the next part coming out. Not so, for me, with books. My reading time is limited and I don’t want to waste it by rereading books I’ve already read when there are so many other books I haven’t read. The exceptions to this were Revelation Space, Redemption Ark and all of the Chronicles of Narnia which I have read twice. So you’d think that the Poseidon’s Children series would be perfect for me as each one is intended to be read as part of the trilogy or as a stand alone book. Not so. In my ignorance I read Redemption Ark before Revelation Space and spent the whole book wondering about the previous events, which turned out to be from Revelation Space. It was the similar with Poseidon's Children, but I still loved it.
Since departing from the Revelation Space series Alastair Reynolds has written a lot of very good books which feel like just the start of the story. For example Terminal World and House of Suns. While the entire Poseidon’s trilogy presents unanswered questions which may be answered in the next part, the trilogy as a whole suggests no answers to many of the fundamental questions posed by the series. This is fantastic because it keeps me wanting more. However, I suspect Alistair will keep me waiting for the rest of my life with many of the stories he has started.
All three of the books in the trilogy are very different. I feel that On The Steel Breeze is the best one, but Poseidon’s wake is excellent. It’s well thought out and there are twists and turns I didn’t see coming. What really made it so good were the characters, especially Kanu with his convictions and view of humanity and the Tantors.
If I could change one thing it would be for the trilogy to be one book I could have just consumed in one go. Of course I could just have the discipline to wait for them all to be published and read them myself in one go.
I’m already looking forward to Slow Bullets (desperately trying to find the Kindle edition) and The Medusa Chronicles (out later this year). When Stephen Baxter wrote with Arthur C. Clarke it transformed Clarke’s stories. I wonder what the effect on Alastair Reynolds will be.
In the meantime I’ll be reading Brave New World.