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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent debut novel
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...
Published on 7 Aug 2001

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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and interesting but...
Having read Reynolds' second book Chasm City, I decided to try his first, Revelation Space. It is set in the same universe, where mankind has splintered into different sects and groups, and travels the galaxy at just under the speed of light in giant "lighhuggers."
Revelation Space revolves around the destruction of an alien species a million years before...
Published on 5 April 2006 by Avidreader


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56 of 59 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
4.0 out of 5 stars When space opera meets hard science fiction, 30 April 2009
By 
Panagiotis Karatasios (Greece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Revelation Space (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
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 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first science-fiction masterpiece of the millennium!, 27 July 2001
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction To an Exciting Universe, 8 Oct 2008
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This is a fantastic novel from Alastair Reynolds who really took a gamble with this in my opinion, and it paid off spectacularly.

Throughout the book the author continually demonstrates his significant grasp of Physics (he was working at Cern at the time afterall), and his painting of a future universe which is not all wine and roses is refreshing.

However he does have a tendancy to let himself down by overdoing the physics by intoducing overcomplicated technobabble where its sometimes not required, this can detract from the tension that he has so expertly built up and this can spoil certain scenes.

The sense of claustrophobia and lonleliness with the Volyova story arc is masterful storytelling. The story builds to a tumultous conclusion which leaves you really wanting more from this universe and the characters involved.

A great intoduction to a vast new universe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Class of its own. (Iain M Banks an exception), 21 Dec 2007
By 
Night Writer (Bucks, England) - See all my reviews
I picked up a copy of Absolution Gap in a charity shop and it spent around 6 months languishing on the shelf while I read what I thought were better books.

Once opened though I spent the first 3 hours reading the next on Amazon buying all his other works. This and others pure class.

The only other author I get as excited about when a new book is on the way is Iain M Banks (Sci-fi and others). If you like this try his as well.
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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 (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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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. Many ideas were not covered as well as they could have been, the Shrouds for example were suggested to be the hiding grounds of the technologies of long since departed alien species, though they are never explained in the detail that they deserve. Perhaps that is something to be covered in the later books.

One thing to be certain is that this book marks the opening of a very interesting and fresh series of science fiction novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Debut, 16 Nov 2001
By A Customer
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Very promising debut novel. Character development was similar in style to Peter Hamilton (without the overt sexuality) - the characters were flawed and some unlikeable, although this did take away some of the empathy one might feel towards them. The plot was broad and the time scales involved mind boggling, whilst not being too complex for the reader to follow without backtracking. Ending was nicely drawn out and written, with just enough questions left to make people go back for more.
Only gripe? The Russian woman on the lighthugger (Volvoya from memory?) - maybe one too many leaps of insight and understanding to allow the story to flow.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best science fiction novel I've read this year., 19 May 2002
By A Customer
Revelation Space is Alastair Reynolds’ first novel? I can’t believe it! The scope and majesty of Revelation Space could easily convince me that this book had been written by one of the “old masters” of science fiction.
To say that Revelation Space is an ambitious first novel would be woefully inadequate. Reynolds tells a magnificently dark and complex story reminiscent of the work of Iain M. Banks. He displays a masterful patience in his story telling and seems in no hurry to tell his tale. He takes his time and yet keeps the reader gripping the edge of their seat right to the very end. But I don’t wish to give the impression that his narrative lacks pace. His ability to skilfully weave numerous complex plot lines together and the stunning conclusion of the book reminds me of the work of Peter F. Hamilton.
The story revolves mainly around Dan Sylveste, a fiercely intelligent scientist who is almost ruthless in his dedication to his work. An archaeologist studying the remains of dead alien cultures. We follow Sylveste’s work on the Amarantin a species which was wiped out 900,000 years ago. Meanwhile, Resurgam, the colony on which Sylveste is working is undergoing a revolution and this provides an exciting background on which to view Sylveste’s science. Whilst we follow the political upheaval on Resurgam we find Sylveste reflecting on his life and learn of his earlier obsession with a mysterious “Shroud” created by another alien culture.
Meanwhile we follow the fortunes of the crew of the “lighthugger” Nostalgia for Infinity, who are attempting to find a cure for their Captain’s plague and also dealing with the malevolent “Sun Stealer” entity which seems to be inhabiting their gunnery and their dreams. Reynold’s begins to draw these disparate plot lines together when it emerges that the Nostalgia for Infinity is heading to Resurgam and the crew are looking for none other then Dan Sylveste. Reynolds slowly reveals what happened to Sylveste in his earlier investigation of the “Shroud” and we discover what happened to the Amarantin and the true identity of “Sun Stealer.”
Rest assured, my brief synopsis reveals barely a fraction of the complex tale which Reynolds has crafted. Add to this truly original and imaginative story, Reynold’s believable and compelling characters, his rich descriptions and a healthy dose of imaginative and realistic science and you have an outstanding science fiction novel. One which is easily equal to anything I have read in years.
I honestly cannot recommend this book highly enough. Alastair Reynolds has become one of my favourite authors even though I have only read one book by him. I look forward to reading his next book (Chasm City).
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and interesting but..., 5 April 2006
Having read Reynolds' second book Chasm City, I decided to try his first, Revelation Space. It is set in the same universe, where mankind has splintered into different sects and groups, and travels the galaxy at just under the speed of light in giant "lighhuggers."
Revelation Space revolves around the destruction of an alien species a million years before. Sylveste, essentially an archeaologist, believes that the aliens were advanced spacefarers, who somehow brought about their own destcrution. Few believe him, but one assassin is sent to kill him by somebody who obviously does, someone who fears that his actions may trigger humanity's destruction.
Mixed in to this story are politics, a decaying lighhugger with an infected captain and weapons of unimaginable power, computer constructs, coups and politics and the brain-bending effects of near-light speed travel and the relativistic effects. It's all great fun and the eventual unravelling of what happened to the aliens is exciting and interesting. The characters are well-drawn - if a little too similar - and the pace is good. Why only 3 stars then?
First the dialogue. It's fine but somehow lacks any real zest or zip. It's a little stodgy in truth and in places it creaks. Second, the ideas. There are simply too many. I liked the lighthuggers, the Ultras, the Inhibitors, the melding plague and even the constructs. But did we also need the Pattern Jugglers, the Shrouds, Hell-class weapons, cloning, thermal-lift aircraft, neutron-star computers and so on? Too many, with not enough detail on the important ones means that the reader becomes frustrated. For example, the history of the aliens and how they became technologically advnaced is passed over very quickly when it is of vital importance. Similarly, the weapons are obviously a set-up for the next book.
Third, the aliens don't really work for me. They appear to be massively advanced compared with humans but they still get wiped out rather easily. Their background and history are a little feeble too, and the set-up feels forced - would highly advanced aliens really leave no trace of their technological civilisation?. Fourth, Reynolds tries a little bit too hard on the cyperpunk/noir side of things. Why have rats eat somebody? Why the decpitation? Perhaps sci-fi demands that nowadays but it's not really necessary. I'm not squemish but whereas with Banks and Gibson it's part of their style and the story, here it feels added-in.
Still, despite my gripes, it's a good book, with a lot of good ideas. I recommend for a long plane journey or a couple of days on the beach, and intend to read the sequels.
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Revelation Space
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (Paperback - 11 Dec 2008)
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