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Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds

Revelation Space (2000)

by Alastair Reynolds

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Revelation Space (1), Revelation Space Universe (16)

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3,9821031,790 (3.83)267

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English (96)  French (3)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Ukrainian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (103)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
I found this one confusing. Unfortunately, that's all I remember. ( )
  Karlstar | Sep 15, 2018 |
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: Revelation Space
Series: Revelation Space #1
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 596
Format: Digital Edition


An archeologist on the world of Resurgam is trying to prove that the extinct inhabitants of the planet had gotten to the technological standpoint of space travel. The rest of the colony just wants to terraform the world so they can live. A coup occurs and the archeologist, Dan Sylveste, is imprisoned and yet given enough freedom to perform his research. He eventually proves his theories right but still hasn't answered how the aliens went extinct.

Ana Khouri, separated from her husband in a military accident and sent to the wrong world, has become an assassin for the near immortal rich in Chasm City. She's hired by Madam to go and kill Sylveste. Khouri is hired by some Ultra's (space goths from what I could tell who love to meddle with their bodies) who are on their way to Resurgam as well. They want Sylveste as well, to heal their captain, who is being taken over by some sort of viral plague that is melding him to the ship.

The Ultras kidnap Silvestre and his wife, while Khouri must deal with a digital avatar of the Madam in her head. Also on board the ship, is a shadowy something called Sun Stealer, which drove Khouri's predecessor insanse. Sun Stealer is also the name of the being on the final monument of the aliens on Resurgam. Sylvestre also has the digital recording of his dead father in his head. Good times.

Turns out there is a dead species of aliens who lived to make sure no other species ever reached a certain technological level. They left artifacts scattered around the universe that would lead to the destruction of any species that interacted with them and that is what lead to the destruction of life on Resurgam.

The humans are all being manipulated by various alien factions to use the device so humanity will be the next target and draw away attention from them. Things don't go according to the aliens plans and the humans survive and now know about the traps.Silvestre and his wife decide to stay on the artifact as digital incarnations while Khouri and the lone surviving Ultra head back to human space.

Hopefully to warn everyone. We aren't told.

My Thoughts:

This was a VERY complex storyline, hence my rather inarticulate ramble of a synopsis. The universe that Reynolds has created reminds me a lot of Neal Asher's Polity and Asher's fascination with the Jain, long dead aliens inimical to all other lifeforms. Here Reynolds calls them the Inhibitors but it is not until nearly the end that we find out about them clearly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Unfortunately, most of the characters were rather unlikeable so my enjoyment was tempered by disgust. Khouri was the least objectionable person but she was a pawn for almost all of the book. I would say the ideas and the storyline were able to overcome the characters. That doesn't happen very often for me.

After reading this, I feel like I have a decent grasp on modern Space Opera. Between Revelation Space, The Polity and The Culture, I can say it is something that I really like when it is done according to my tastes. I was apprehensive about starting this series, as I ended up disliking Banks' The Culture book quite a bit. Thankfully this seemed to be more in line with The Polity, a series that I'm pretty in love with.

The inclusion of techno-porn (ie, the abundant description of technologies above and beyond the call of duty) did make me skip whole paragrapsh while reading. From a layman's perspective, talking about that kind of thing does nothing for me and is just babble. So I skip it. It also tends to date your book for those who do know what you're writing about, as theories go out of style like fashion. Sometimes being a little vague is ok.

I tore through this in about 3 days. Started it on a Thursday evening and finished it up by reading all day Saturday. I'm glad I've got all 7 novels in the series lined up. I hope the others live up to this one.

★★★★☆ ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Sep 14, 2018 |
Well written and very convouted story. Probably could have benefited from some editing, but that is just my thought. Reynolds manages to capture the vastness of space and incredible passages of time. I spent a good chunk of the book annoyed because I saw no reason for Sajaki to be so devoted to the Captain. The explanation was unexpected and a nice touch. Reynolds is comfortable with some horror in his short stories and that tendency is in evidence here, although not overly realised. Good reading, recommended. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | Sep 12, 2018 |
A classic space opera, well done. Interesting and well developed characters become slowly entangled in a quest to solve a mystery. The mystery is the Fermi paradox, the contradiction between the lack of evidence of extraterrestrial life forms and the apparent statistical certainty of it based on Drake’s equation. Reynolds builds up to a spectacular conclusion which would look good in an action movie, but which he also tries to explain with science. The explanation is complicated enough to make one wonder how real it could be. If there is a sequel to this, I’ll give it a try. ( )
  drardavis | Jul 4, 2018 |
Dear Book,

It's not you, it's me. I'm just not in a space-opera kind of place right now. If only we'd met fifteen years ago, we might have been perfect for each other. But our time is past. I hope we can still be friends. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (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 editionscalculated
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tervaharju, HannuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

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 thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just as it was on the verge of discovering space flight. Now one scientist, Dan Sylveste, will stop at nothing to solve the Amarantin riddle before ancient history repeats itself. With no other resources at his disposal, Sylveste forges a dangerous alliance with the cyborg crew of the starship Nostalgia for Infinity. But as he closes in on the secret, a killer closes in on him. Because the Amarantin were destroyed for a reason, and if that reason is uncovered, the universe, and reality itself, could be irrevocably altered."--Publisher's description.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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