Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
by Alastair Reynolds
Review by Ernest Lilley
Ace Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0441012388
Date: 30 January, 2005 List Price $22.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days is a loosely connected (same universe) pair of stories which feature some of the same alien species (the Pattern Jugglers) or at least their impact. John Berlyne nicely reviewed the first, Diamond Dogs , when it was published as a standalone novella in 2001 and the second was published by Golden Gryphon press here in the US. This collection, first published together in the UK, makes the two of them nearly book length, and offers readers a chance to read two excellent stories.
In ?Diamond Dogs?, a group of obsessive-compulsive adventurers are recruited to solve the mystery of an alien spaceship/structure sitting on a barren world, surrounded by the litter and bodies of previous attempts. The puzzle consists of a series of increasingly smaller rooms (how much will you give up to solve this mystery...literally) with some sort of (often mathematical) brainteaser by the door to the next room. Get the answer right and the door opens. Get it wrong and bad things happen. As the party gets winnowed down they examine their motivations for going on with this quest...and what their ultimate prize may be if they reach the end. One hopes the purpose of the device isn't to kill off the universes best problem solvers.
In ?Turquoise Days?, we meet the Pattern Jugglers, an alien race immersed in the sea of the planet Turquoise and globally mind linked. Sensitive humans can swim in the sea (and thoughts) of the aliens, and experience the world spanning consciousness. Danger lurks for anyone too "conformal" to the alien seas, some of which go down and become part of the alien consciousness.