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Revelation Space [Paperback]

Alastair Reynolds
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Dec 2008

Nine hundred thousand years ago, something wiped out the Amarantin. For the human colonists now settling the Amarantin homeworld Resurgam, it's of little more than academic interest, even after the discovery of a long-hidden, almost perfect Amarantin city and a colossal statue of a wingest Amarantin. For brilliant but ruthloess scientist Dan Sylveste, it's more than merelty intellectual curiosity - and he will stop at nothing to get at the truth. Even if the truth costs him everything. But the Amarantin were wiped out for a reason, and that danger is closer and greater than even Syveste imagines . . .

REVELATION SPACE: a huge, magnificent space opera that ranges acrioss the known and unknown universe . . . towards the most terrifying of destinations.


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Frequently Bought Together

Revelation Space + Redemption Ark + Absolution Gap
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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (11 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575083093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575083097
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,142 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

Collections:

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"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 an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent debut novel 7 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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
4.0 out of 5 stars When space opera meets hard science fiction 30 April 2009
Format:Paperback
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Sci-Fi 7 Aug 2005
Format:Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and aggressive. 2 May 2005
By D. M. York VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the hardest books I have read, though certainly not THE hardest, as it quickly sets its pace as heavy science fiction. Perhaps the happy medium between the elaborate science fantasies of Iain M Banks and the intense descriptions of Arthur C. Clark. Reynolds paints the portrait of the future with a brush that both can invision all the unknown fantasies as well as respect even the most detailed levels of astrophysics and science.

The story seemed to be quite slow to start, bouncing between three different characters whose destinies are bound to converge: Sylveste - a fantastic and renown archeologist who uncovers the remains of a long dead alien species on a barren moon and becomes infatuated with uncovering the secrets of their mysterious demise. Khouri - a soldier/bounty hunter who is hired to track down Sylveste and kill him, though she is never told why. Volyova - a weapons specialist aboard an interstellar starship, crewed by a handful of cyborgs, who seek Sylveste and the artificial simulation of his father, who may be the only man who can cure their dying Captain.

The story is a complicated one, set over a stretch of fifteen years from the first discovery of the remains of an ancient civilisation, to the end where all the different pieces of the story fit together.

Whilst the telling of the story is fantastic and very elaborate, I could not help but feel a small bit dissapointed towards the end. Given the length of the book and the patience that it expects of the reader, the story certainly could have been made more interesting or with a better twist at the ending.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars All Consuming pleasure
An imagined future of complete originality in which I have lost myself for many happy hours. I can't wait to read the next episode.
Published 9 days ago by vivhawker@aol.com
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Really good gripping story, felt very in tune with the characters and was interested until the end. Very good book
Published 1 month ago by jonty
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge!
Just managed to make it to 5 stars, to be honest half way through it would have struggled to get 3. It was a huge book though and a massive story line, beautifully constructed. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bass Man
5.0 out of 5 stars Great space opera
Not always the easiest read, due to unflattering characterisation, but stick with it - brilliantly created worlds and incredible plot development make this book awesome. Read more
Published 2 months ago by C. F. Kingsmill
1.0 out of 5 stars Appallingly written!
The positive response to this book is a real mystery to me. I am an avid sci fi reader, and aware that only the best writers in this genre are able to write well AND have awesome... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dr Lex
5.0 out of 5 stars Good solid read, excellent story with a decent and convincing plot.
Excellent story telling,good attention to detail, decent plot, as good as any body else has achieved. I haven't finished it yet, getting to the end soon. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 5 months 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 8 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 8 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 9 months ago by GoodOldNorthernLad
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