Pushing Ice

Pushing Ice

Book - 2006
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Some centuries from now, the exploration and exploitation of the Solar System is in full swing. On the cold edge of the system, Bella Lind, captain of the huge commercial spacecraft Rockhopper IV, helps fuel this new gold rush by attaching mass-driver motors to organic-rich water-ice comets to move them back to the inner worlds. Her crew are tough, blue-collar miners, engineers and demolition experts.Around Saturn, something inexplicable happens: one of the moons leaves its orbit and accelerates out of the Solar System. The icy mantle peels away to reveal that it was never a moon in the first place, just a parked spacecraft, millions of years old, that has now decided to move on.Rockhopper IV, trapped in the pull, is hurled across time and space into the deep, distant future, arriving in a vast, alien-constructed chamber. And the crew are not alone, for each chamber contains an alien culture dragged into this cosmic menagerie at the end of time.The crew of the Rockhopper IV know a lot about blowing up comets, but not much about first contact with ultra-advanced aliens. They have two things to worry about: can they (and their new alien allies) negotiate their way through each harrying contact? And can they assimilate the avalanche of knowledge about their own future - including all the glittering, dangerous technologies that are now theirs for the taking - without destroying themselves in the process?
Publisher: 2006
ISBN: 9780575074392
Branch Call Number: AF REYN


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Mar 29, 2012

Decent book overall but as x0101 says, the conflict between certain characters seems really forced and did not seem believable. The ending is also wide open for a sequel.

May 16, 2011

This is a pretty good book. The biggest problem with the novel is that early on there are a couple of characters who don't react in a realistic manner. If you can get past the first 100 pages, though, you'll likely enjoy the book.

Jul 23, 2010

I really liked this book. I have a question near the end... does anyone know: there is a hint that B went out to look for something else in Eddytown, but they don't say what. What/who was it?


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Aug 22, 2011

This is an epic story spanning thousands of years of time!

The basic plot is that Janus, a moon of Saturn, starts moving away from the planet, and it turns out to be an alien ship or artifact of some kind.

It is found that the nearest starship to Janus is a comet mining ship called Rockhopper. She has a centrifuge to provide artificial gravity while cruising, and her primary means of propulsion and power generation is a fusion rocket.

In any case, the Rockhopper approaches the alien spacecraft, and eventually becomes trapped in the wake of its exotic propulsion system. This where the book deviates from Hard SF; the alien craft has a means of propulsion that can accelerate them to near the speed of light (0.98 * c) without subjecting its occupants to the force of this acceleration.

The crew of the Rockhopper then faces a choice: they can accelerate to leave the bubble, but they would become stranded in space, awaiting rescue from Earth, since it would use most of their fuel; alternatively, they can land on the alien spacecraft and try to survive until it reaches its destination, which will take about 13 years on the ship, but 200+ years will pass on Earth, due to time dilation, since the craft is going so close to the speed of light.

Revealing more of the plot could spoil your enjoyment of the book, but what follows is an epic story. The time dilation effect is a major aspect of the story.

But, as I said, if you are looking for Hard SF, it does deviate from that in a few ways, but most of the time it seems realistic (from this layman's perspective). The author of Pushing Ice has a doctorate in astronomy, and was a researcher with the ESA at one point, so he knows what he's doing as far as physics.

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