Revelation Space (Revelation Space Series #1)

( 103 )

Overview

"Nine hundred thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just when it was on the verge of discovering space flight. For the human colonists now settling the Amarantin homeworld, what caused the species' destruction is of little more than academic interest. Even after colonists discover an almost perfectly preserved city on the planet, only the archaeological community seems interested. But one scientist, Dan Sylveste, is convinced that solving the Amarantin riddle is vital to the survival of humanity." "Desperate to get
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Revelation Space (Revelation Space Series #1)

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Overview

"Nine hundred thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just when it was on the verge of discovering space flight. For the human colonists now settling the Amarantin homeworld, what caused the species' destruction is of little more than academic interest. Even after colonists discover an almost perfectly preserved city on the planet, only the archaeological community seems interested. But one scientist, Dan Sylveste, is convinced that solving the Amarantin riddle is vital to the survival of humanity." "Desperate to get at the truth - but with few resources - Sylveste forges a dangerous alliance with the crew of the starship Nostalgia for Infinity. Walking weapons, the ship's cyborg crew could easily become a very real danger to Sylveste's life - but they could also be his only hope to find the answer he so zealously seeks." "As Sylveste closes in on the secret, he learns that one of the cyborgs was sent to kill him. Because the Amarantin were destroyed for a reason - and if that reason is uncovered, the universe - and reality itself - could be irrevocably altered."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Alastair Reynolds demonstrates a rare talent: He commands all the high-tech goodies one would expect in a space opera, but he does so without resorting to excessive, complicated technobabble.

In Reynolds's superbly wrought Revelation Space, Dr. Dan Sylveste is universally known for having visited a mysterious alien construct in space known as the Shroud. He not only survived to tell about it; he was the first to return sane. Sylveste later becomes the leader of a scientific colony on the planet Resurgam, where his interest lies in studying the extinct natives, the Amarantin. The Amarantin may have instigated an "event" more than a million years before that brought about their extinction and killed the planet. Sylveste's investigation may uncover answers necessary for the Rusurgam colony's survival, but on the brink of finding solid evidence, he is captured and imprisoned during a rebellion that affects the entire colony.

Meanwhile, the city-sized, decrepit starship Nostalgia for Infinity and its crew of Ultras (technologically modified humans) are in search of Sylveste. They need his technological expertise to save their captain from a plague. Volyova, a senior officer, recruits Khouri -- a planet-side Shadowplay assassin -- to run the ship's gunnery. What Volyova doesn't know is that Khouri is only aboard the Infinity because she has been contracted to kill Sylveste.

Reynolds successfully entwines the three separate plots of Sylveste, Khouri, and Volyova into a common story that culminates with an alien construct that answers why the Amarantin are extinct and what the Shroud had to do with it. Revelation Space is an epic, ambitious novel with a creatively complex plot. Its convincing characters make it an appealing and fascinating read. (Sierra Phillips)

Stephen Baxter
Ferociously intelligent and imbued with a chilling logic-it may really be like this Out There. —coauthor of The Light of Other Days
Jonathan Strahan
Quite possibly the space opera of the year. Watch for it at awards time. —Locus
Paul J. McAuley
Intensely compelling; darkly intelligent; hugely ambitious.
SF Site
Awe-inspiring...cutting-edge and convincingly rendered.
From the Publisher
"Ferociously intelligent and imbued with a chilling logic—-it may really be like this Out There." —-Stephen Baxter, coauthor of The Light of Other Days
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441009428
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Series: Revelation Space Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 265,842
  • Product dimensions: 4.34 (w) x 6.81 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author


Alastair Reynolds is the author of many short stories and eight novels, including Chasm City, winner of the British Science Fiction Association's Award for Best Novel, and House of Suns.

British narrator John Lee has read audiobooks in almost every conceivable genre, from Charles Dickens to Patrick O'Brian. He has won numerous Audie Awards and AudioFile Earphones Awards, and he was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile in 2009.

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Read an Excerpt

One

Mantell Sector, North Nekhebet, Resurgam, Delta Pavonis system, 2551

There was a razorstorm coming in.

Sylveste sood on the edge of the excavation and wondered if any of his labours would survive the night. The archeological dig was an array of deep square shafts separated by baulks of sheer-sided soil: the classical Wheeler box-grid. The shafts went down tens of metres, walled by transparent cofferdams spun from hyperdiamond. A million years of stratified geological history pressed against the sheets. But it would take only one good dustfall one good razorstorm to fill the shafts almost to the surface.

"Confirmation, sir," said one of his team, emerging from the crouched form of the first crawler. The man's voice was muffled behind his breather mask. "Cuvier's just issued a severe weather advisory for the whole North Nekhebet landmass. They're advising all surface teams to return to the nearest base."

"You're saying we should pack up and drive back to Mantell?"

"It's going to be a hard one, sir." The man fidgeted, drawing the collar of his jacket tighter around his neck. "Shall I issue the general evacuation order?"

Sylveste looked down at the excavation grid, the sides of each shaft brightly lit by the banks of floodlights arrayed around the area. Pavonis never got high enough at these latitudes to provide much useful illumination; now, sinking towards the horizon and clotted by great cauls of dust, it was little more than a rusty-red smear, hard for his eyes to focus on. Soon dust devils would come, scurrying across the Ptero Steppes like so many overwound toy gyroscopes. Then the main thrust of the storm, rising like a black anvil.

"No," he said. "There's no need for us to leave. We're well sheltered here there's hardly any erosion pattering on those boulders, in case you hadn't noticed. If the storm becomes too harsh, we'll shelter in the crawlers."

The man looked at the rocks, shaking his head as if doubting the evidence of his ears. "Sir, Cuvier only issue an advisory of this severity once every year or two it's an order of magnitude above anything we've experienced before."

"Speak for yourself," Sylveste said, noticing the way the man's gaze snapped involuntarily to his eyes and then off again, embarrassed. "Listen to me. We cannot afford to abandon this dig. Do you understand?"

The man looked back at the grid. "We can protect what we've uncovered with sheeting, sir. Then bury transponders. Even if the dust covers every shaft, we'll be able to find the site again and get back to where we are now." Behind his dust goggles, the man's eyes were wild, beseeching. "When we return, we can put a dome over the whole grid. Wouldn't that be the best, sir, rather than risk people and equipment out here?"

Sylveste took at step closer to the man, forcing him to step back towards the grid's closest shaft. "You're to do the following. Inform all dig teams that they carry on working until I say otherwise, and that there is to be no talk of retreating to Mantell. Meanwhile, I want only the most sensitive instruments taken aboard the crawlers. Is that understood?"

"But what about people, sir?"

"People are to do what they came out here to do. Dig."

Sylveste stared reproachfully at the man, almost inviting him to question the order, but after a long moment of hesitation the man turned on his heels and scurried across the grid, navigating the tops of the baulks with practiced ease. Spaced around the grid like down-pointed cannon, the delicate imaging gravitometers swayed slightly as the wind began to increase.

Sylveste waited, then followed a similar path, deviating when he was a few boxes into the grid. Near the centre of the excavation, four boxes had been enlarged into one single slab-sided pit, thirty metres from side to side and nearly as deep. Sylveste stepped onto the ladder which led into the pit and moved quickly down the side. He had made the journey up and down this ladder so many times in the last few weeks that the lack of vertigo was almost more disturbing than the thing itself. Moving down the cofferdam's side, he descended through layers of geological time. Nine hundred thousand years had passed since the Event. Most of that stratification was permafrost typical in Resurgam's subpolar latitudes; permanent frost-soil which never thawed. Deeper down close to the Event itself was a layer of regolith laid down in the impacts which had followed. The Event itself was a single, hair-fine black demarcation the ash of burning forests.

The floor of the pit was not level, but followed narrowing steps down to a final depth of forty metres below the surface. Extra floods had been brought down to shine light into the gloom. The cramped area was a fantastical hive of activity, and within the shelter of the pit there was no trace of the wind. The dig team was working in near-silence, kneeling on the ground on mats, working away at something with tools so precise they might have served for surgery in another era. Three were young students from Cuvier born on Resurgam. A servitor skulked beside them awaiting orders. Though machines had their uses during a dig's early phases, the final work could never be entirely trusted to them. Next to the party a woman sat with a compad balanced on her lap, displaying a cladistic map of Amarantin skulls. She saw Sylveste for the first time he had climbed quietly and stood up with a start, snapping shut the compad. She wore a greatcoat, her black hair cut in a geometric fringe across her brow.

"Well, you were right," she said. "Whatever it is, it's big. And it looks amazingly well-preserved, too."

"Any theories, Pascale?"

"That's where you come in, isn't it? I'm just here to offer commentary." Pascale Dubois was a young journalist from Cuvier. She had been covering the dig since its inception, often dirtying her fingers with the real archeaologists, learning their cant. "The bodies are gruesome, though, aren't they? Even though they're alien, it's almost as if you can feel their pain."

To one side of the pit, just before the floor stepped down, they had unearthed two stone-lined burial chambers. Despite being buried for nine hundred thousand years at the very least the chambers were almost intact, with the bones inside still assuming a rough anatomical relationship to one another. They were typical Amarantin skeletons. At first glance to anyone who happened not to be a trained anthropologist they could have passed as human remains, for the creatures had been four-limbed bipeds of roughly human size, with a superficially similar bone-structure. Skull volume was comparable, and the organs of sense, breathing and communication were situated in analogous positions. But the skulls of both Amarantin were elongated and birdlike, with a prominent cranial ridge which extended forwards between the voluminous eye-sockets, down to the tip of the beaklike upper jaw. The bones were covered here and there by a skein of tanned, desiccated tissue which had served to contort the bodies, drawing them or so it seemed into agonised postures. They were not fossils in the usual sense: no mineralisation had taken place, and the burial chambers had remained empty except for the bones and the handful of technomic artefacts with which they had been buried.

"Perhaps," Sylveste said, reaching down and touching one of the skulls, "we were meant to think that."

"No," Pascale said. "As the tissue dried, it distorted them."

"Unless they were buried like this."

Feeling the skull through his gloves they transmitted tactile data to his fingertips he was reminded of a yellow room high in Chasm City, with aquatints of methane icescapes on the walls. There had been liveried servitors moving through the guests with sweetmeats and liqueurs; drapes of coloured crepe spanning the belvedered ceiling; the air bright with sicky entoptics in the current vogue: seraphim, cherubim, hummingbirds, faeries. He remembered guests: most of them associates of the family; people he either barely recognized or detested, for his friends had been few in number. His father had been late as usual; the party already winding down by the time Calvin deigned to show up. This was normal then; the time of Calvin's last and greatest project, and the realisation of it was in itself a slow death; no less so than the suicide he would bring upon himself at the project's culmination.

He remembered his father producing a box, its sides bearing a marquetry of entwined ribonucleic strands.

"Open it," Calvin had said.

He remembered taking it; feeling its lightness. He had snatched top off to reveal bird's nest of fibrous packing material. Within was a speckled brown dome the same colour as the box. It was the upper part of a skull, obviously human, with the jaw missing.

He remembered a silence falling across the room.

"Is that all?" Sylveste had said, just loud enough so that everyone in the room heard it. "An old bone? Well, thanks, Dad. I'm humbled."

"As well you should be," Calvin said.

And the trouble was, as Sylveste had realised almost immediately, Calvin was right. The skull was incredibly valuable; two hundred thousand years old a woman from Atapuerca, Spain, he soon learned. Her time of death had been obvious enough from the context in which she was buried, but the scientists who had unearthed her had refined the estimate using the best techniques of their day: potassium-argon dating of the rocks in the cave where she'd been buried, uranium-series dating of travertine deposits on the walls, fission-track dating of volcanic glasses, thermoluminescence dating of burnt flint fragments. They were techniques which with improvements in calibration and application remained in use among the dig teams on Resurgam. Physics allowed only so many methods to date objects. Sylveste should have seen all that in an instant and recognised the skull for what it was: the oldest human object on Yellowstone, carried to the Epsilon Eridani system centuries earlier, and then lost during the colony's upheavals. Calvin's unearthing of it was a small miracle in itself.

Yet the flush of shame he felt stemmed less from ingratitude than from the way he had allowed his ignorance to unmask itself, when it could have been so easily concealed. It was a weakness he would never allow himself again. Years later, the skull had travelled with him to Resurgam, to remind him always of that vow.

He could not fail now.

"If what you're implying is the case," Pascale said, "then they must have been buried like that for a reason."

"Maybe as a warning," Sylveste said, and stepped down towards the three students.

"I was afraid you might say something like that," Pascale said, following him. "And what exactly might this terrible warning have concerned?"

Her question was largely rhetorical, as Sylveste well knew. She understood exactly what he believed about the Amarantin. She also seemed to enjoy needling him about those beliefs; as if by forcing him to state them repeatedly, she might eventually cause him to expose some logical error in his own theories; one that even he would have to admit undermined the whole argument.

"The Event," Sylveste said, fingering the fine black line behind the nearest cofferdam as he spoke.

"The Event happened to the Amarantin," Pascale said. "It wasn't anything they had any say in. And it happened quickly, too. They didn't have time to go about burying bodies in dire warning, even if they'd had any idea about what was happening to them." "They angered the gods," Sylveste said.

"Yes," Pascale said. "I think we all agree that they would have interpreted the Event as evidence of theistic displeasure, within the contraints of their belief system but there wouldn't have been time to express that belief in any permanent form before they all died, much less bury bodies for the benefit of future archeologists from a different species." She lifted her hood over her head and tightened the drawstring fine plumes of dust were starting to settle down into the pit, and the air was no longer as still as it had been a few minutes earlier. "But you don't think so, do you?" Without waiting for an answer, she fixed a large pair of bulky goggles over her eyes, momentarily disturbing the edge of her fringe, and looked down at the object which was slowly being uncovered.

Pascale's goggles accessed data from the imaging gravitometers stationed around the Wheeler grid, overlaying the stereoscopic picture of buried masses on the normal view. Sylveste had only to instruct his eyes to do likewise. The gound on which they were standing turned glassly, insubstantial a smoky matrix in which something huge lay entombed. It was an obelisk a single huge block of shaped rock, itself encased in a series of stone sarcophagi. The obelisk was twenty metres tall. The dig had exposed only a few centimetres of the top. There was evidence of writing down one side, in one of the standard late-phase Amarantin graphicforms. But the imaging gravitometres lacked the spatial resolution to reveal the text. The obelisk would have to be dug out before they could learn anything.

Sylveste told his eyes to return to normal vision. "Work faster," he told his students. "I don't care if you incur minor abrasions to the surface. I want at least a metre of it visible by the end of tonight."

One of the students turned to him, still kneeling. "Sir, we heard the dig would have to be abandoned."

"Why on earth would I abandon a dig?"

"The storm, sir."

"Damn the storm." He was turning away when Pascale took his arm, a little too roughly.

"They're right to be worried, Dan." She spoke quietly, for his benefit alone. "I heard about that advisory, too. We should be heading back toward Mantell."

"And lose this?"

"We'll come back again."

"We might never find it, even if we bury a transponder." He knew he was right: the position of the dig was uncertain and maps of this area were not particularly detailed; compiled quickly when the Lorean had made orbit from Yellowstone forty years earlier. Ever since the comsat girdle had been destroyed in the mutiny, twenty years later when half the colonists elected to steal the ship and return home there had been no accurate way of determining position on Resurgam. And many a transponder had simply failed in a razorstorm.

"It's still not worth risking human lives for," Pascale said.

"It might be worth much more than that." He snapped a finger at the students. "Faster. Use the servitor if you must. I want to see the top of that obelisk by dawn."

Sluka, his senior research student, muttered a word under her breath.

"Something to contribute?" Sylveste asked.

Sluke stood for what must have been the first time in hours. He could see the tension in her eyes. The little spatula she had been using dropped on the ground, beside the mukluks she wore on her feet. She snatched the mask away from her face, breathing Resurgam air for a few seconds while she spoke. "We need to talk."

"About what, Sluka?" Sluka gulped down air from the mask before speaking again. "You're pushing your luck, Dr. Sylveste."

"You've just pushed yours over the precipice."

She seemed not to have heard him. "We care about your work, you know. We share your beliefs. That's why we're here, breaking our backs for you. But you shouldn't take us for granted." Her eyes flashed white arcs, glancing towards Pascale. "Right now you need all the allies you can find, Dr. Sylveste."

"That's a threat, is it?"

"A statement of fact. If you paid more attention to what was going on elsewhere in the colony, you'd know that Girardieau's planning to move against you. The word is that move's a hell of a lot closer than you think."

The back of his neck prickled. "What are you talking about?"

"What else? A coup." Sluka pushed past him to ascend the ladder up the side of the pit. When she had a foot on the first rung, she turned back and addressed the other two students, both minding their own business, heads down in concentration as they worked to reveal the obelisk. "Work for as long as you want, but don't say no one warned you. And if you've any doubts as to what being caught in a razorstorm is like, take a look at Sylveste."

One of the students looked up, timidly. "Where are you going, Sluka?"

"To speak to the other dig teams. Not everyone may know about that advisory. When they hear, I don't think many of them will be in any hurry to stay."

She started climbing, but Sylveste reached up and grabbed the heal of her mukluk. Sluke looked down at him. She was wearing the mask now, but Sylveste could still see the contempt in her expression. "You're finished, Sluka."

"No," she said, climbing. "I've just begun. It's you I'd worry about."

Sylveste examined his own state of mind and found it was the last thing he had expected total calm. But it was like the calm that existed on the metallic hydrogen oceans of the gas giant planets further out from Pavonis only maintained by crushing pressures from above and below.

"Well?" Pascale said.

"There's someone I need to talk to," Sylveste said.

—Reprinted from Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds by permission of Ace, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright ) 2001, Alastair Reynolds. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 103 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(50)

4 Star

(26)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 104 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Revelation Space - Takes Back Space Opera

    Whether you are in the depths of Chasm City, the Rust Belt, the wilds or cities of Resurgam or aboard the lighthugger Nostalgia for Infinity there is one question-who do you trust? It's a cold universe Alastair Reynolds has devised and the secrets that everyone keeps increases the value of trust a hundredfold. Beyond the personal truths that Daniel Sylveste hide about the father whose electronic ghost haunts and possesses him; of Captain Brennan barely alive disappearing under the Melding Plague yet still manipulating the crew of the Nostalgia for Infinity and Anna Khouri one time soldier, one time assassin, now carrying two artificial intelligences in her mind, lie the darkest secrets of the past of the galaxy itself. Secrets that despite the best efforts of aliens with vastly superior technology may yet come to the light of day.
    In their day the Amarantin were in many ways similar to the humans of 2561- or were they? Dan Sylveste is on a personal crusade to unveil the truth about this ancient culture and there is little that will stand in his way. Even though he is mindful of the Event, a cataclysm the destroyed all life on their homeworld of Resurgam, Sylveste will push and push until he has the truth- even if the cost is another apocalypse.


    Revelation Space is brilliant, complex and a challenging read. Reynolds takes the science that he is familiar with, a large interstellar backdrop and plenty of drama to create something unique. I constantly look forward to reading his work.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Teriffic Space Opera

    This starts out a little slowly and is a trifle confusing for the first 75 pages (out of 650), but then picks up to a roaring, engaging pace. It's well worth the wait. I know I'll be continuing on to Nos. 2 and 3 of the series. This novel pays homage at least briefly to the Coyote series by Allen Steele. It might be somewhat helpful to have read through this series before beginning Revelation Space, but not an absolute requirement. Reynolds' writing style is unbeatable!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Beware. The eBook version is full of typos...

    I'm about 100 pages into the story and have already come across several typos and errors in the text. I let B&N know, asking for a refund or discount and they said it was the publisher's responsibility. Ace told me it was up to B&N to give me a refund.

    2 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2011

    Excellent book!

    Revelation Space is a perfect example of dense, hard science fiction. There is a lot going on in this story and it all ties together very well. Cons - The main character is a bit under-developed despite flash-backs to his history. In fact all the characters take a back seat to the plot and settings. However, the universe Reynolds created is deep, fleshed out, and an excellent stage for his complex plot. I very much enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next 2 in the series very soon.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2003

    Great Idea Poorly Executed

    This book took entirely too long to set the stage for the ending. Furthermore, the author spent entirely too much time on Sylvestes problems with politics and too little time delving into his research and studies that led to his conclusions. The disjointed jumping back and forth between characters detracted from my enjoyment of this book.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    An OK first novel.

    Alastair Reynolds has done pretty well for his first novel. Revelation Space is a long book with a whole lot of content, which may be either bad or good depending on your taste. For me personally, it puts me to sleep. Quality-wise, you'd think that someone who works with the ESA (European Space Association) would know how to spell correctly. Mis-spelled words occur throughout the book. The story has several plotlines that blend together into one. However, many of the elements kept me guessing just what the history of everything was. I think many readers will feel like they're in the dark on this one, looking through a window rather than being part of the action. I would not recommend this book to those who are looking for explosive high-tech, impressive ideas and agreeable representation of the characters. I didn't find myself connecting with any of the characters in the story, and as I said earlier, the radical changes of events in the book had me in the dark on just what was going on. However, if you're looking for a long read that focuses on very imaginative ideas that will again, keep you guessing, this book is for you.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2013

    Amazing book!

    Best hard scifi out there!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    book one that will capture your imagination and not let go

    book one lays out the story line with books two and three adding even more layers, surprises, twists, turns and all that differentiates good books from great ones. one of my favorite authors.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    Five star

    Easily the best SF iv read in a while. Reminds me of larry niven with a gripping plot and a nice human aspect

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Good start, weak finish.

    Culminates to nothingness...

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Great book - complex story line.

    This is a great book. The story line can become convoluted at times and I sometimes had to back up and recover ground in which I had missed something. However, it does keep you on your feet. The prose is very dense but not unapproachable. I have read more difficult books in terms of language usage but most of those were translations from other languages. Overall, this is a great sci-fi book and I look forward to reading the next in the series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Wonderful is scope

    I was looking for something broad in dimension, a true space opera I've found in the Revelation space trilogy. When an author endeavors on an 800 page book its easy to find minor criticisms. However i found that alistair used this wide canvas to paint a haunting immersive view of a distant universe in crisis. well done!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    Kevin

    Walks in

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2014

    A real yawner

    Much ado about nothing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2013

    Forgettable, but a decent read. Something about graduate school

    Forgettable, but a decent read. Something about graduate school has destroyed my appreciation for descriptive prose. I could not put this book down, it was exciting. However, I skipped a lot of the lengthy aesthetic portions that most readers love. I was really disappointed in the end, because it wasn't as much of a reveal for the characters as it was for me, but not in a Twilight Zone or Never Let Me Go kind of way. Most of the characters knew what was coming. The author simply skipped all the parts where characters were educated and saved it for sharing at the end. I found this contrivance to be annoying. Finally, the end wasn't interesting enough to make it memorable.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Meh

    I was hopeful for this book given it's somewhat high rating (4 stars). I'm on page 453 of 552 - yes, its a long book - and have just given up and bought something else to read. The writing is decent enough. The story is kind of interesting. Throughout the story, the pace and tone stay about even. This means that as you read the beginning, it ramps up to an exciting level and stays there throughout. After, say, 300 pages, it becomes monotone. I'm looking for a little resolution along the way but what I get is slightly different conflict. The characters are all about equal: I don't hate or love any of them. Morally, I'd say they're all about on equal footing, too. Here at the end when everything is coming to a head, I don't know who I want to succeed, and I see now that it may not even matter. Here on page 453, I just don't care anymore what happens. This is sort of like watching TV when nothing is on. Watching this is better than doing the laundry, but now I'm changing the channel cuz that new show is on and its gotta be better than this.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastically written

    I don't usually go for the scifi genre. It's just hard to follow (in most cases) but Alistair does a superb job of writing the imagery so you feel like you're there and keeping you on the edge of your seat. With just enough back story to keep you reading for more info and to see what happens next. I love this book!

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  • Posted November 29, 2010

    A solid read.

    Mr. Reynolds is not for everyone. But this seris is one of the best pieces of transhuman fiction I`ve ever read. His pacing is excellent and the characters solid. A good page turner.

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An OKAY book

    My opinion of this book is that it's decent. It won't make you say, "Wow! that was great!" but it also won't make you want to tear out your hair with exasperation. The characters were ok but, I never really cared about any of them. The descriptions of the main ship where all the action took place were very uneven. I'm a careful reader, I love detail - and I couldn't tell what was going on in that stupid ship. The author had good ideas but he didn't really develop them. He had this great character - "Sun Stealer" but then he didn't do anything with it. He just used it to move the other characters around. I really wanted to know about Sun Stealer, but I was given almost nothing. Well, nothing worth having.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2006

    Excellent start to an entertaining trilogy.

    Alastair Reynolds begins the Revelation Space series with this book, the tale of an obsessed archaeologist--on the brink of discovering the secret to why humans haven't discovered any other living alien civilizations--and the cyborg Ultras who are trying to retrieve him for their own reasons. The segments following the Ultras, on their huge Conjoiner ship with less than ten people on it, are worth it for the haunted mood Reynolds creates, and the conflict between Volyova and Kouri is interesting. I actually enjoyed the way he intercut between the storylines. Admittedly, there was one section I had to re-read to understand what was going on. Otherwise, this was an enjoyable space opera (with a little hard sci-fi thrown in) and a great start to a series that gets even better.

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