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Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
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3,521841,502 (3.85)248
Member:Skaidon
Title:Revelation Space
Authors:Alastair Reynolds
Info:Ace (2002), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (2000)

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» See also 248 mentions

English (78)  French (3)  Finnish (1)  Ukrainian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (84)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
I have to say that this book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. None of the characters are particularly likeable, the story gets a bit too bogged down in the "hard science" aspects, and a lot of what goes on could have been glossed over to make for a much tighter story. Ultimately, I did not find it all that satisfying. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
There is no getting away from Alastair Reynolds. In the sf book discussion forums I participate in (Reddit) his name is always cropping up. I keep putting him off as I have too many books on my list, but the relentless mentions he gets is like he is tapping on my shoulder saying "When are you gonna read my stuff?"

Like a lot of space opera this one is epic in scale, races and planets live and die at the drop of a hat. What makes Revelation Space special is the author's vast imagination, the scientific details and story telling skills. What let him down a little bit is the somewhat flat characters. Initially, I felt like the characters are pancake shaped things pushing the story towards its conclusion. A few of them do develop into fairly interesting people later on, but the female protagonists tend to be of the tough as nails Ellen Riply type. Generally characters development is not a strong point of this book.

More successful is the depiction of AI and aliens. I love the fascinating speculation on the nature of consciousness, and what constitute sentience. The concept of Alpha, Beta, Gamma classes of AI is ingenious. In fact, the AI characters tend to be more interesting than the human ones for me. The aliens make more of a cameo appearance, but their strange history and mystery surrounding them (kind of Cthulhu-esque) is very interesting. The aliens are satisfyingly alien, so damn alien that people need to have their brains modified just to communicate meaningfully with them, and I also love it when zones of reality, space and time get all bendy and weird.

The prose style is functional and readable if a little prosaic, for a story of this scope there is surprisingly few characters points of view, which makes the complex story easier to follow. Initially I was concerned about the absence of humor, moments of levity is always good to balance the mood of the novel, fortunately, Mr. Reynolds sneaked some humorous moments in later, especially with some snarky AI comments.

This is a worthwhile read and I am interested to read more of Alastair Reynolds in the near future (within this epoch).
____________________________________

Update: In August 2013 I read Redemption Ark the direct sequel to Revelation Space. It is massively better than Revelation Space, and it makes trudging through the dull bits of Revelation Space entirely worthwhile. Also worth mentioning is Chasm City which is set in the Revelation Space universe but is a standalone novel. Again, it is a tremendous read and highly recommended.

Update: October 3, 2015
I finally read Absolution Gap, the last volume of the Revelation Space trilogy, it is also very good, but Redemption Ark is the best of the three books.

The best Alastair Reynolds novel is (IMO) the standalone House of Suns. ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
I am sorry, but this book is just badly written. Boring. Pathetic. Somewhat retarded perhaps.

You know those kind of authors who are to obsessed with their work and ideas that they did not notice the narrative is just uninteresting and the characters are one-dimensional sad caricatures? Yep, this is *that* kind of book. ( )
  bloodrizer | Nov 19, 2015 |
I finally finished it.

I really had trouble getting into this book -- so much so that I've been trying for years to read it, up to and including trying different formats (print, e-edition, audiobook), even though it's come highly recommended, especially to fans of Peter F. Hamilton, of which I am an enthusiastic member.

I finally got into the audiobook this time, and honestly, I don't know why this doesn't click with me well, since the plot is interesting and likely to appeal to me. I think, maybe, it's that we spend so much time so far away from the plot -- like a large part of the first third to half of the book only deals with the overarching threat incidentally. I guess I had a hard time figuring out what was important and what was flavor, and an awful lot of it was flavor. Maybe it becomes more important later.

I'm probably going to keep going, now that I've gotten through it. And I'm glad I did. I just..eh.. I dunno. ( )
  lyrrael | Oct 17, 2015 |
The first half is full of techno jargon. There's lots of scientific talk and blah, blah, blah but very little story. Than there seems to be a story but it goes back and forth between something and nothing. The last half is flat and so far away from what came earlier that it's like two books in one. The editor needed to have the writer write one story. Instead you have four stories that try to come together at the end. It doesn't work. The characters have no personality. The big revelation is something in saw in the Mass Effect game. The Inhibitors take the role of the Reapers but not attracting their attention is the point of this book. By the time you get to that revelation the book is almost done but it has no impact since it was never alluded to earlier. This was the writers first book hopefully his other works are better. ( )
  Kurt.Rocourt | May 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Alastair Reynolds is a name to watch. Mixing shades of Banks and Gibson with gigatons of originality, he has pulled off that most difficult of SF tropes, believable aliens. [...] Reynolds supplies hard-science answers that are plausible, entertaining and clever; he even manages to make different flavours of neutrino sound interesting.
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alastair Reynoldsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tervaharju, HannuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441009425, Mass Market Paperback)

Alastair Reynolds's first novel is "hard" SF on an epic scale, crammed with technological marvels and immensities. Its events take place over a relatively short period, but have roots a billion years old--when the Dawn War ravaged our galaxy.

Sylveste is the only man ever to return alive and sane from a Shroud, an enclave in space protected by awesome gravity-warping defenses: "a folding a billion times less severe should have required more energy than was stored in the entire rest-mass of the galaxy." Now an intuition he doesn't understand makes him explore the dead world Resurgam, whose birdlike natives long ago tripped some booby trap that made their own sun erupt in a deadly flare.

Meanwhile, the vast, decaying lightship Nostalgia for Infinity is coming for Sylveste, whose dead father (in AI simulation) could perhaps help the Captain, frozen near absolute zero yet still suffering monstrous transformation by nanotech plague. Most of Infinity's tiny crew have hidden agendas--Khouri the reluctant contract assassin believes she must kill Sylveste to save humanity--and there are two bodiless stowaways, one no longer human and one never human. Shocking truths emerge from bluff, betrayal, and ingenious lies.

The trail leads to a neutron star where an orbiting alien construct has defenses to challenge the Infinity's planet-wrecking superweapons.

At the heart of this artifact, the final revelations detonate--most satisfyingly. Dense with information and incident, this longish novel has no surplus fat and seems almost too short. A sparkling SF debut. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:48 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Nine hundred thousand years ago, something wiped out the Amarantin. For the human colonists settling the Amarantin homeworld Resurgam, it's of little more than academic interest. But Dan Sylveste will stop at nothing to get at the truth.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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