I reread this with my sister for the first time in about ten years. It’s a book I’ve always thought fondly of; I enjoyed it, as a teen, but my sister adored it. It’s actually the book that got her back into reading after years of not caring for it at all. I enjoyed several of Reynolds’ other books, too, but haven’t read any of them for… actually, far too long. So how did it measure up?
Pretty darn well. The hard SF aspect I enjoyed less than I used to (though I also grasp it better than I used to, I think), but the politics I enjoyed more, and followed a lot better. I was still lamentably slow about a couple of points (let’s just say that close reading is a good idea before you ask the author about something which turns out to be incredibly obvious), but I’m more politically engaged now, so that aspect was more interesting to me than before.
I expected it to be mostly about Verity Auger for me; I remembered her as badass, and I didn’t remember much about Floyd at all. But despite myself, I found myself drawn into both stories, and hooked by the way the two stories converged; at one point I had to go grab my sister and yelp about how badly I needed a happier ending. And while there’s plenty of space for more story, at the end of Century Rain — there’s a whole complex past and present sketched out that Reynolds could play with, not to mention the future of the characters — it’s also a satisfying end, if bittersweet. The characters are ready for a new stage of their lives, while their immediate arcs have come to an end.
And can I still see the world going the way it does in Century Rain — the climate change, the increasingly desperate solutions, the loss of information because digital libraries are so vulnerable? Yes; those aspects remain perfectly relevant. It doesn’t seem to have aged badly, which sometimes hard SF can because of the science and the predictions it makes about the future.
Definitely enjoyed it — and more than I expected to, I think!