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Revelation Space [Hardcover]

Alastair Reynolds
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Mar 2000

Dr Dan Sylveste, an archaeologist who has for years been fascinated with the long-dead alien race the Amarantin, is about to discover something that could change the course of mankind. But before he can act on anything his wife is killed and he is captured when a coup sweeps across the planet Resurgam.

Meanwhile, an astonishing ship bearing a crew of militaristic cyborgs and a kidnapped Gunnery Officer is bearing down on Resurgam, crossing light years of space to enlist Sylveste¿s help to save their metamorphosing Captain. Only Sylveste, or, more accurately, the software programme containing his father¿s knowledge that he carries in his mind, can save the Captain.

None of them can anticipate the cataclysm that will result when they meet, a cataclysm that will sweep through space and could determine the ultimate fate of humanity.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (9 Mar 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575068752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575068759
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 18.3 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,962,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alastair Reynolds was born in Barry, South Wales, in 1966. He studied at Newcastle and St Andrews Universities and has a Ph.D. in astronomy. Since 1991 he has lived in the Netherlands, near Leiden. He gave up working as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency to become a full-time writer. Revelation space and Pushing Ice were shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award; Revelation space, Absolution Gape, Diamond Dogs and Century Rain were shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Award and Chasm City won the British Science Fiction Award.

Revelation Space Trilogy:

Revelation Space
Redemption Ark
Absolution Gap

Standalone novels:

Chasm City
Century Rain
Pushing Ice
The Prefect
House of Suns
Terminal World


Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
Galactic North
Zima Blue and Other Stories

Product Description

Amazon Review

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 defences: "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 defences to challenge the Infinity's planet-wrecking superweapons.

At the heart of this artefact, 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


"Intensely compelling; darkly intelligent; hugely ambitious." --Paul J. McAuley, author of Ancients of Days "A terrific treat. I was hooked from page one. Billion-year-gone alien wars, killer intelligences--and perhaps the most stunning and original alien artifact in modern science fiction--and all rendered with the authentic voice of a working scientist. Ferociously intelligent and imbued with a chilling logic--it may really be like this Out There." --Stephen Baxter, co-author of The Light of Other Days "A striking first novel. Revelation Space delivers the goods. Certain to be one of the year's most impressive debut novels, and one of the most significant large-scale epics of the year. Reynolds is the next writer to watch in the resurrection of the conceptually intelligent space opera." --Gary Wolfe, Locus "Complicated, and very clever and well-written...a spectacular first novel."--Aboriginal SF"A delight. A refreshing and entertaining reconsideration of some of the genre's oldest tropes. An impressive first novel, quite possibly the space opera of the year. Watch for it at awards time."--Jonathan Strahan, Locus --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent debut novel 7 Aug 2001
By A Customer
I'd heard this debut novel was similar to both Iain Banks' and Dan Simmons' universes, and I was pleased to note that this was true - though only on a surface level. There's a very strong sense that the author sees the novel form as a vehicle for exploring science fact. It isn't hard to accept that this man is a hard scientist in his actual life, and even easier to accept that he's a passionate man in his imagined one. I don't think I have ever read science fiction that marries 'hard' sci-fi with a convincing narrative quite so assuredly. I was initially gripped by the solidity of his universe, but as the manifold plot lines began to unfold that all seemed to take a background role to the lives and motivations of his characters. I was never less than completely engrossed, and I put this down to Reynolds' keen eye for what is actually interesting in the sci-fi form. The primary 'revelation' for this reader was Reynolds' ability to create a dystopian future that is, intrinsically new. From Lighthugger ships and their nauseatingly intimidating weapons, through to the stupendous alien artefact we come to see a central to the story, there is always an underlying sense of purpose and symmetry. If you've read Banks, Simmons, Hamilton or even Sagan (and were impressed) then buy this book. It is that rare thing: an original science fiction universe; one you recognise but have never visited. Hard science fiction for non-'hard' sci-fi fans.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Sci-Fi 7 Aug 2005
I love this book, like some people, I was bored by the first few pages, they didn't cut it for me. But I stuck at it and realised this book is a gem. The way Reynolds uncovers the plot piece by piece is beautiful.
Keep and eye on the dates underneath each chapter, story lines interupt each other and they are usually from different places at a different time. You have to create a timeline in your head with all these storylines on it. This may be confusing for some, but by the last third of the book Reynolds has tied them all together.
This is a beautifully written book, one of the best things about it is the lack of beauty described. Don't expect elegant space ships with nice gleaming curves, because there aren't many in this book.
Great read, recommended to all Science Fiction fans!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Alastair Reynolds has produced an amazing masterpiece (an incredible debut!) blending the extrapolations of hard science with unforgettable characters set in a possible and disturbing future five centuries from now. This is a thinking person's novel, not light reading to be finished overnight. The conceptions from nanotechnology, astrophysics, genetic engineering, and computer science will stimulate you and keep you thinking long after finishing the book. It is so well written, that despite its length I was left wishing it would continue for a few hundred pages more. The vast panorama of intergalactic history and conflict, spanning billions of years, and the original ideas the author presents establish him as one of the most powerful voices of modern science fiction, in the tradition of Arthur Clarke, A.E. van Vogt, Jack Williamson, and a very few others. Although the power of this novel emerges primarily from the dizzying vistas of the future and the alien artifacts and civilizations it paints in cataclysmic brush strokes, it also features outstanding characters not easily forgotten: Khouri, the soldier assassin, and Ilia Volyova, the dynamic Triumvir on the starship Infinity, are easily two of the strongest female characters in sf literature, and the pathos of Dan Sylveste will long linger in memory as well. This novel is a first rate masterpiece of the calibre of Clarke's CHILDHOOD'S END, Williamson & Gunn's STAR BRIDGE, and A.E. van Vogt's VOYAGE OF THE SPACE BEAGLE. Highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When space opera meets hard science fiction 30 April 2009
A.Reynold's Revelation Space is, perhaps, the most original product of science fiction in the last 20 years at least since Baxter's Xeele universe. The wrighter brings in the genre a unique and almost genious compination os space opera (mystery, andventure, futuristic technologies, starships and large spans of space and time) with the themes and scientific plausibility of hard science fiction. The basic theme of his books is, ofcourse, the answer to fermi paradox together with a plausible vision of humanity's future in the stars.The prose is not great but it is good. But reynolds is a master in world building in a way that only the old masters of the '50s achieved. The central mystery is trully cosmological nothing less than the mystery of the universe itself. The plot is original and intriguing sometimes even fascinating and it is benefited from Reynolds's use of the relativistic effects of sublight space travel compined with a complicated narrative told from different viewpoints coming from different characters who start in different points in space and time and are gradually converging as the mystery builds in. Some people found the end unsutisfying but it is not an and at all. It is only a provisional end. If you want to apreciate Reynolds's universe you must read all the 3 books in the trilogy plus Chasm city and the novella Galactic North in the short story collection with the same name.
Ali in all it is a tour de force and a trully original and authentic voice in contemporary science fiction litterature.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
I am a big fan of Alistair Reynolds and so, I suppose biased. I enjoy his style and his story lines and the story telling is always of a very high standard. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Roger Field
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard work
As my title says, it's hard going. So much so that i have filed it under not sure in my kindle folders.
Published 4 months ago by TDF
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing.
This is a review of the unabridged audiobook. I had hopes for this, being a fan of Iain M. Banks and classic 'space opera' SF. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Robin Monks
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it now! It is amazing!
I read a lot of SciFi novels, and this is undoubtedly one of the best I have ever come across. It is a very deep, very rich story, exploring many possibilities of what humans may... Read more
Published 5 months ago by GoodOldNorthernLad
5.0 out of 5 stars Will make you read all night.
I blame this book for making me mess up my sleeping pattern. You will not be able to put it down. If you are a fan of solving galactic mysteries and love being kept at the edge of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jaroslaw Wojcik
5.0 out of 5 stars Alastair Reynolds - Revelation Space - wonderful
Book bought as a present together the other two in the trilogy -much appreciated. I am also looking forward to reading them.
Published 6 months ago by A spoiled cat lives here
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting from page one
I read this on while traveling across Eastern Europe on an interrailing holiday after my third year at university, and to Reynolds' credit (and my shame) I'm afraid my eyes spent... Read more
Published 6 months ago by etroy
3.0 out of 5 stars original but too long
Was reasonably original though had the possible end of all life in the universe as one possible outcome (seems compulsory amongst most SF authors just now). Read more
Published 6 months ago by Andrew Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read
The story that 2001 should have been ... an alien artefact which is impossible to ignore, whatever the consequences may be.
Published 6 months ago by Figwold
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
Fascinating perspective and worthwhile preserving to the next instalment to see what other mysteries remain to be uncovered.
Recommended, you won't be disappointed.
Published 8 months ago by A. Parekh
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