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Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds

Absolution Gap (edition 2008)

by Alastair Reynolds

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2,073404,979 (3.83)62
The Inhibitors were designed to eliminate any life-form reaching a certain level of intelligence-and they've targeted humanity. War veteran Clavain and a ragtag group of refugees have fled into hiding. Their leadership is faltering, and their situation is growing more desperate. But their little colony has just received an unexpected visitor: an avenging angel with the power to lead mankind to safety-or draw down its darkest enemy.And as she leads them to an apparently insignificant moon light-years away, it begins to dawn on Clavain and his companions that to beat one enemy, it may be necessary to forge an alliance with something much worse.… (more)
Title:Absolution Gap
Authors:Alastair Reynolds
Info:Gollancz (2008), Paperback, 704 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds



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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
This is perhaps the least inventive of the whole RS series, but it's still a tour-de-force in hard sf. The pro- and epllogues tie up the long future of humanity, and the consequences of the actions the characters have taken. There's still much that could be written in this universe, and Reynolds has done so with some spin out novels and short stories, but this is the conclusion to how it all ends up, and the final details of the various alien plots to stop the Inhibitors are revealed.

None of which is immediately apparent. We follow several interleaved timelines, and it requires a bit of concentration to remember what events precede each other, even without the difficulties of light limited space travel. Earliest we follow a new lighthugger that's found something interesting in an unremarked ice moon. Quaiche is dispatched by the triumver to go an investigate it, but he triggers an ancient sentry and nearly dies. Meanwhile Antoinette, Skorpio and Calvain are shepherding the community on the Jugglar world the Captain deposited them on. They're waiting for word from Remointoire and Ana. Lastly on the ice moon of Hella a young girl is investigationg what happened to her brother. Two of the storylines converge quite quickly, bit Skorp et al take a long time to arrive, even though their story is interleaved with the others.

It's perhaps less imaginative in world building than the previous books, there's nothing really new other than the gigantic gothic cathedrals trundling around Hella. Quiache's religiosity quickly gets annoying, but there's always a new quirk thrown our way to keep the reader interested, and then we flip back to Skorpio who's facing all sort so of new challenges. I was least impressed with the future voices, I suspect Reynolds is pushing the 'possible if unlikely' dial right to the very limits here. -Brane descriptions of the universe are certainly a known mathematical solution proposed to some of the quantum mechanical weirdness that have been observed, but even there very existence is unlikely, let alone the possibilities raised here.

It is fun though and many authors should learn from Reynolds' ability to write a definitive ending. ( )
  reading_fox | Oct 28, 2019 |
Great read for anyone interested in hard sci-fi. Love everything so far by Alastair Reynolds. This is a long book, but worth it. Just when it seems things would start dragging, some twist or new exciting event would kick in. ( )
  aarondesk | Jul 10, 2019 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Absolution Gap
Series: Revelation Space #4
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 704
Format: Digital Edition


Quaiche is sent out to find sellable things for his Ultra masters and as it is his last chance, he'd better find something good. He finds a bridge on the moon Hela with an extinct species on it. He also finds a planet, Haldora, that randomly blinks out of existence. With his lover dying during this exploration, and a religious virus in his brain, Quaiche goes full on cult and starts a new religion based upon the planet's disappearance.

Rashmika Els has grown up on the moon Hela and she is convinced that the extinct species, the Scuttlers, were not wiped out by the Inhibitors but by something else. Her brother had gone into the religious machine setup by Quaiche and Rashmika is determined to find him and prove her ideas. She gets embroiled in some plots Quaiche has going and it becomes evident that Rashmika has a lot of secrets of her own.

Scorpio the pig has been running things on the planet Ararat while Clavain has been off whining, sulking, do whatever the phracking loser has been sitting on his ass doing in the hinterlands. Unfortunately, when a one person craft comes to Ararat and disgorges Ana Khouri, things start to get complicated. Skade and the Conjoiners have been fighting Remontaine and his group of people. The Inhibitors are now involved and things are bad. Ana has a super baby (mentally) that Skade kidnaps. Skade crashes on Ararat, bringing the baby and the Inhibitors. The group on Ararat rescue Aura, the baby and then a group takes the spaceship and escapes into space. Aura tells them to go to Hela but Scorpio ignores her and heads back to Chasm City, only to see the whole system being infested and destroyed by the Inhibitors.

The Inhibitors are now making a push to wipe out humanity as a whole and Aura claims that only at Hela can Humanity's salvation have a chance.

Everything comes together at Hela. Rashmika is actually Aura with her memories blocked and the disappearing planet Haldora is actually a machine for communicating with an alternate universe. The beings in the alternate universe claim they can destroy the Inhibitors if humanity will open the door for them. Everyone wants to let the Shadows through except Aura realizes it is a test by a third party. Humanity doesn't let the shadows through and passes. They get help from this mysterious party and humanity begins to win the war against the Inhibitors.

The book ends 400 years after these events where Humanity is once again on the run from the Green Plague, a plague that turns all star systems into green globes and allows humanity to survive, but at the cost of any outward expansion. Very bleak.

My Thoughts:

Something about this book just didn't grab me. Part of it is that the whole time frame thing really throws me off, even while making perfect sense. Without a FTL means of travel, events happen at greatly disparate times until they all come together. I think part of my issue is that Reynolds starts his threads so far apart that I feel like I'm reading 3 different novels at once and it's not until the last 25% or so that they get tied together. I also don't like the Conjoiners as specific characters, ie, Clavain, Skade, Remontaine, Aura, etc. As a group I find them fascinating but as individuals I almost universally hate them all.

For this book I found the ideas are what carried me along. However, at over 700 pages that is a lot of “idea” to drag along.

Overall, I just don't have a lot to say. I am enjoying this Revelation Space but not nearly as much as Neal Asher's Polity books. I am enjoying it much more than Banks' wretched The Culture series though. I consider Asher, Reynolds and Banks the triumvirate of British SF for some reason and they're ranked as I listed them. I have to admit, I was hoping that I'd enjoy them all equally but since they all write rather differently, that isn't to be the case. At least I'm enjoying Reynolds enough to keep on reading his stuff.

★★★☆½ ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Mar 22, 2019 |
I hate giving Reynolds a pedestrian rating, but this one just did not work for me. The Way and the cathedrals just did not fit, in my opinion. The ending just felt forced or like he was tired of it all. His writing is good and his characters as well, the plot just fizzled for me. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | Sep 12, 2018 |
You know, when you get to read an entire series, and after reading the last word of the last book, you wonder "why did I bother reading all this...?" It started so well, it ended so wrong. ( )
  kinwolf | Jan 8, 2017 |
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Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Mankind has endured centuries of horrific plague and a particularly brutal interstellar war . . . but there is still no time for peace and quiet. Stirred from aeons of sleep, the Inhibitors - ancient alien killing machines - have begun the process of ridding the galaxy of its latest emergent intelligence: mankind. As a ragtag bag of refugees fleeing the first wave of the cull head towards an apparently insignificant moon light-years away, they discover an avenging angel, a girl born in ice. She has the power to lead mankind to safety, and the ability to draw down their darkest enemy. And on a planet where vast travelling cathedrals crawl towards the treacherous fissure known as Absolution Gap, an unsettling truth becomes apparent: to beat one enemy, it may be necessary to forge an alliance with something much, much worse . . .
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