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Diamond Dogs by Alastair Reynolds

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"Diamond Dogs" is a 2001 science fiction novella by Alastair Reynolds. It is about a group of highly specialized people who travel to a deadly alien tower on a remote planet.

Thanks Big Brother!

Over the years I have come to like certain types of stories and novels, and those are the ones I usually seek out. A lot of people recommend books to me that they think I will like, but often the opposite is true – I do not enjoy them. However, my brother hit a home run when he recommended Alastair Reynold’s Revelation Space books! I have only read a handful, but I have really liked all of them, and that is pretty unusual for me. Anyway, when I learned that Mr. Reynolds had written some shorter pieces set in this wonderful and strange universe I just had to jump in and see how they compared to his outstanding novels. As you will see I was not disappointed… not at all!

Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell

Skylon tower by DaDaAce, CC 2.0 license

Richard Swift has lived for many years in the spectacular Chasm City, and has recently discovered that his childhood friend, Roland Childe, is still alive. Roland invites Richard to his home where he has assembled a strange group of gifted people including a math genius, an infiltrator, an Ultranaut captain and a cyberneticist doctor with a horrific reputation. Why this team of misfits? Because Childe’s space probes have discovered an alien tower on a distant planet – not just an ordinary tower mind you, but one which methodically slaughters all who do not play by its rules. Childe persuades the group to make the long journey across space and attempt to solve the puzzle of the artifact – which he has aptly named the “Blood Spire.” Once they arrive, and witness the carnage about the tower, it becomes clear that each team member’s talent will prove extremely useful. The team assembles and enters the Blood Spire only to discover that it contains a series of difficult mathematical puzzles which must be solved before continuing on. Every team member contributes something useful, but it is when they get the puzzles wrong that Dr. Trintignant’s strange talents are put to use. The question becomes: how much will the team members put up with before deciding that enough is enough? Quite a bit, it appears, and maybe even a little bit too much.

Interesting Tidbits About This Story:

  • Page Count: 163
  • "Diamond Dogs" was nominated for the 2002 British Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction.
  • Did you know that Alastair Reynolds earned a Ph.D. in astronomy? Yep. You can learn more about this amazing author at his web site.
  • Special thanks to John for reviewing and recommending this story.

Where You Can Find Diamond Dogs:

Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?

  • If you liked "Diamond Dogs" then be sure to check out more of Alastair Reynold’s awesome Revelation Space books – I highly recommend them.
  • If you want a little taste of Alastair Reynolds style before committing to these longer stories, take a look at my review of his free story A Spy in Europa.

5 thoughts to “Diamond Dogs by Alastair Reynolds”

  1. Oh yes, Reynolds is an amazing writer and I enjoyed this story greatly.

    You may be interested in “The Prefect”, a novel also set in the RS continuity but before the main tetralogy. It’s a detective/police procedural story about the destruction of an orbital habitat around Yellowstone.

    Then there’s “House Of Suns”, his best book I read so far. While more fantastical than the RS books, it’s easily superior to even Redemption Ark. The novella laying the foundation for its continuity can be found here:

    http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/fall-2008/audio-thousandth-night-by-alastair-reynolds/

    Lastly, here’s an early piece of his dealing with similar themes like his later works and a good dose of action and suspense:

    http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/stories/spirey.htm

  2. Wow, Esebian, thanks!

    I am becoming a bigger Alastair Reynolds fan with each book of his that I read! I am currently working through “Redemption Ark” and and am enjoying it immensely. I appreciate those other recommendations – I will definitely check them out.

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