Permafrost by Alastair Reynolds

Read Dates: April 4, 2019 – April 8, 2019
Publication date: March 19, 2019
Source: Owned copy


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The year is 2080. An aging school teacher named Valentina is recruited to be a part of a world altering experiment. Her mother was an expert of the mathematics of paradox, so she is a vital asset to the program seeing as how they are attempting time travel. Only, she arrives to find they’re not attempting, they’ve achieved it. Valentina is tasked with “hosting” a being from the past, piloting someone who has been transplanted with a device to make the this possible. The hope is that the small change they’ve set out to make will change the course of history so that the post-apocalyptic situation they’re in will never come to be while also keeping everyone’s already written histories much the same.

The year is also 2028. A woman has just undergone routine brain surgery and wakes to find that there is someone in her head, bending her body to their will. This woman is faced with a choice: drive the unwanted presence out or work with the presence to achieve a great victory for Earth.

So, Alastair Reynolds was thrown onto my radar when the series Love, Death, Robots hit Netflix. After binging the entire series in one night (it wasn’t as hard as you think as the episodes are only 10-20 minutes long) I soon discovered the name, Alastair Reynolds. He was responsible for the short stories that brought about the episodes “Beyond the Aquila Rift” and “Zima Blue”. Once I heard he was the man behind those two riveting stories, I decided I needed to read some of his other works. Upon searching Reynolds on Goodreads, the first book I was met with was “Permafrost”. I didn’t even think. Didn’t even read the synopsis. Just ordered it and chose a 2-day delivery service.

His writing is so incredibly organized. It flows so easily and yet it’s so alarming. Reynolds is incredibly talented at showing you a scene, making you familiar with the characters to a point where you feel for them, and then throwing chaos in before your brain can process what’s just happened.


I am usually so torn with short stories as they usually lack substance enough to get me involved. This was not the case with Permafrost. I learned the characters and where they fit, I came to connect with them, and then atrocities were thrown my way when it came to where those characters ended up or what they were going through. I can’t tell you how many times my jaw dropped so hard that it made my cheeks ache.

And that ending. OMG. I hoped the ending would be something like it was but I didn’t expect nor could I have asked for a better end to this thrilling, complexly tragic story. I won’t say much else as I don’t want to give anything away because I want you to read it!

Alastair Reynolds has found himself among my favorite authors and I can’t wait to find and devour everything he’s ever penned.


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