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Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
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3,240751,710 (3.86)231
Member:Skaidon
Title:Revelation Space
Authors:Alastair Reynolds
Info:Ace (2002), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Work details

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (2000)

  1. 70
    Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds (Arvoitus)
  2. 10
    Saturn Returns by Sean Williams (reading_fox)
    reading_fox: Dark Space opera, splintered human factions and impressive technology
  3. 00
    Marrow by Robert Reed (tetrachromat)
    tetrachromat: If you like Reynold's Revelation Space series, you will probably also like Robert Reed's Great Ship series. Both are intelligent,hard science fiction.
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English (70)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Ukrainian (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Remains excellent even after several re-reads. Hard sf space opera. Weird aliens, gigantic space ships advanced technology cool weapons and interesting characters doing worthwhile things. What's not to love.

It is more disjointed in viewpoint than I initially remembered though. We have three main protagonists, and rapidly swich through their viewpoints: Khouri - an ex-solider exiled by accident and now assassin of the bored rich in the Yellowstone Glitter band high tech colony; Ana Volanov - one of three nomainlly equal lieutenants of the massive lighthugger starship traders; and Dan Slyveste egotistical scientist researcher into the long extinct alien species humanity has discovered in it's expansion.

The Spaceships are Reynolds' greatest feats - as an ex-physicist he is limited to light constant travel, but has imagined how this will work for interstellar travel. The ships work on a boosted ramjet principle to get upto significant fractions of c, while the crew sleep in suspended animation awaiting their arrival at the destination - years down the line. Society can drastically change in the time it takes them to arrive, and their calculated lifetime is vast. Other live nearly as long through artificial means. This makes chronology somewhat tricky to follow at times - we get a character's viewpoint from tens of years behind the 'now' but then they sleep for all of the intervening period. The chapter headings are date stamped, but I failed to keep track of exactly when was when.

Anyway the three very divergent people all end up in the same place and time through what seems at first to be somewhat unlikely co-incidences. Ana's ship stops at Yellowstone looking for Sylveste who had previously healed their captain when his techno-embelishments had begun to fail. Sylvests had moved on to the world of Resurgm to investigate a new set of relicts. Khouri was hired/kidnapped by Ana to become a new member of crew after her previous gunnary officer became insane. Although nominally traders Ana's ship has managed to find some truly awesome weapons of destruction, but being in control of them isn't easy. Only once Slyveste is finally aboard do we learn the 'real' reason that events have happened as they have, and then in a climatic finish what our human 'heroes' are gong to do about it.

It is vast in scope - as big as Culture - but way better written. The ending is somewhat of a Duex et Machina, literally, but it works in concept more or less. Although the series does continue, it can be readily accepted on it's own merits as a standalone novel. There are powerful women in charge of their won destiny, convincing characters all around, a detailed and strict adherence to real physics and continuity of actions and thought, massively imagined worlds and species. Just all around great SF ( )
2 vote reading_fox | Jul 2, 2014 |
Grand space opera, unique and fascinating future society, and just offstage, killer machines that make Saberhagen's Berzerkers look tame. Great sequels too.
  Clevermonkey | May 29, 2014 |
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 | May 18, 2014 |
In a distant future, where faster than light travel does not exist, habited planets are strewn throughout the galaxy and are isolated except for their nearest neighbors given the time and distances that need to be traversed to link them up.

Ultras, humans who have, er, evolved/altered themselves, to live on light-hugger ships that travel the great distances, are even more isolated, as they can have no real ties on planets where they might not return for hundreds of years.

An obsessed archaeologist, who had gone to one planet where there are ruins of one of the few alien civilizations they’ve discovered existed, is haunted and driven by the disastrous consequences of his experiences there, which no one really understands. Nor, really does he seem to understand what happened to him. Still, he wants to go back there, to discover the truth about the Amarantans if he can.

Meanwhile, someone has hired an assassin to kill him, and she’s gotten herself aboard a light-hugger ship to come for him.

And, why, given how hospitable the universe seems, given what humans have learned about it, are there no other alien cultures, but only the husks of destroyed alien civilizations? What’s happened to them all? Where are they?

A very complex and rather grim universe is depicted with all the obvious failings of humans still present and affecting humanity’s civilization. Will we, can we, ever learn? ( )
1 vote majkia | Feb 27, 2014 |
I enjoyed the book. The end got a little trippy, but there was lots of plot twists and it constantly made me want to continue reading. ( )
  halkeye | Feb 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (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)

Book description
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:51 -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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