Reynolds takes the same concept used in the movie Passengers and adds a little twist: when you’re done reading Slow Bullets you actually understood what went down and, just as an added bonus, walk away with a satisfied smile.
Slow Bullets is a short novella that opens with the lights turned off and soldiers from both sides of the war ambling about in puzzlement, wondering where they were and what was going on.
Knowing they’re on board a ship doesn’t help. Knowing where in space they are doesn’t help. Knowing whom their fellow compatriots on the ship are definitely doesn’t help. There’s tension, dark intelligence, and a lot of emotion.
A good tactic is by putting your characters in the same room and leaving them to their own devices, leaving them to it to see how they grow and interact with each other – in essence this is a writing exercise used by beginners but at least an iconic writer would also focus on plot and setting. This is a good example of how to write a story; the protagonist is given a ticking time bomb: Scur is threatened with a device that will slowly kill her over a period of time. This approaches the typical ‘dying’ protagonist issue where said character is forced to find a cure or act out revenge against the clock. However, these issues are quickly resolved and now the focus is on keeping the peace between the crew and finding their way home.
Fans of Reynold’s previous work might want to look the other way for now as Slow Bullets is mostly focused on bringing in new readers and, although not as epic as his Revelation Space series, offers some potential for untested waters.