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Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
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Title:Revelation Space
Authors:Alastair Reynolds
Info:Ace (2002), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (2000)


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English (81)  French (3)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Ukrainian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (88)
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The begining of several books, not so well writen but intersting enough to go on. ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 2, 2016 |
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds is a hard science fiction space opera and the first book in the three volume Revelation Space series. Since Reynolds has a Ph.D in astronomy, we are seriously talking hard science fiction. For fans of hard science fiction, this means Reynolds writes from a knowledge base that lends authenticity to the narrative. He seriously explores theories and explanations for the universe he creates. In other words, there is real science in this science fiction.

The narrative follows three unpredictable characters: Sylveste, Khouri and Volyova. At the beginning, the story moves slowly as Reynolds introduces and explores the background, lives, and motivations of the main characters. Since they are all quite different and start out during different time periods, early on you need to pay close attention to the details. All three stories do eventually merge.

I have a feeling that the careful reading of Revelation Space, keeping in mind descriptions, times, locations, etc, will pay off as the series continues. All three of the characters are unreliable narrators. Reynolds clearly has his characters withhold information, delaying revelations until later in the story - and hugely at the end.

In general I felt the writing was good, as were the characterizations. Reynolds really excelled at establishing a setting for the story and I think you really get a feeling for the vastness of space, as well as the strangeness of those who only live on ships. That, along with details about the ship Nostalgia for Infinity, also set a rather dark, dangerous, and, er, decaying tone to the novel. There are some surprising twists and information at the very end.
Highly Recommended for fans of hard science fiction; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/
( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
This sci-fi tour de force probes a galaxy-wide enigma: why does spacefaring humanity encounter so few remnants of intelligent life? Excavating the 900,000-year-old Amarantin civilization on its home world, Resurgam, archaeologist Dan Sylveste discovers evidence of a splinter cult that abandoned Resurgam for the stars but returned, only to be swallowed up by a mysterious cataclysm that destroyed all the Amarantins.

Aboard the Nostalgia for Infinity, a vast light-hugger ship in interstellar space, the ominous Triumvirate of cyborg starfarers seeks Sylveste to heal its captain, afflicted by the deadly Melding Plague. The Melding Plague is a pathogen of initially unknown origin which infects and distorts both biological entities and any sufficiently advanced technology melding and distorting them with gruesome and disastrous results. In Chasm City on the slum-ridden world of Yellowstone, assassin Ana Khouri joins the Nostalgia's crew intent on killing Sylveste. Publishers Weekly [1]

In the assassin's head is a digital form of "Mademoiselle". It uncovers a mysterious entity calling itself "Sun Stealer" hidden in the Gunnery network. The ship is carrying a large cache of Hell Class weapons recovered in space that are destructive beyond measure: one weapon can make a star go nova. A battle commences to gain control of the networks between the two digital entities.

Upon arrival at Resurgam, the crew coerces the fledgling government to release Dan Sylveste from prison. However once aboard, Dan hijacks the ship by revealing that he has antimatter in his implants which he can detonate. The ship is forced to travel to an artificial planet Cerberus. The assassin Khouri learns from Mademoiselle that Cerberus contains an Inhibitor beacon, and argues against any further approach. Illia Volyova commences an attack upon Cerberus.

When Mademoiselle loses control of the ship's computers to her digital opponent, the crew learns that this digital entity is an envoy sent out to attract the attention of the Inhibitors.

Realizing that alerting the Inhibitors would spell the end of humanity, Volyova and Khouri attempt to stop Sylveste from reaching the beacon in Cerberus.

They are unsuccessful and Dan Sylveste penetrates Cerberus's defence systems where he learns that Cerberus was built by aliens to deter other species from reaching the Inhibitor beacon. Dan Sylveste now realizes that he has been tricked and he detonates the antimatter in his implants, sacrificing himself in a desperate attempt to stop the Inhibitors from awakening.

Volyova deactivated the freezer units holding the Melding Plague and allow it to infect the entire ship. With the strange entity destroyed, Khouri and Volyova leave unaware that the Inhibitors have, in fact, been awakened.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (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 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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