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
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"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
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