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143
4.1 out of 5 stars
Revelation Space
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2000
I thought this book was excellent. The plot is effectively summarised elsewhere; suffice to say that the task of drawing together three (or more) main threads from different locations and times to an original climax is skilfully done, with a pace that kept me reading well into the night. Revelation Space takes a while to absorb (it's big), but it was well worth it. Mr Reynolds' writing can feel somewhat densely-packed - you have to absorb adjective after adjective - but these adjectives end up crawling through your mind afterwards as remnants of the dank scenarios portrayed in the story. It's an extremely effective method to drag you into the atmosphere. Technological ideas are scattered throughout the book with abandon these can seem throwaway but on consideration they all seem to be plausible. It's too easy to just make these up, and it's impressive that you find yourself trusting these interpolations of what we know (there's no easy assumption of faster-than-light travel for instance). An effective and interesting book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I don't read much science fiction, but I'm glad I picked this up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2007
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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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2002
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2012
This book was bought for me by my wife after it was recommended to her by an enthusiastic waterstones assistant. May the stars always shine on that person, for I'd never heard of Alastair Reynolds at the time.

One man's good read is of course another man's drivel, and i'm sure my wife wouldn't enjoy this book. Let assume that, unlike her, you are reading this because you enjoy SF. This is the best SF book I ever read. I'ts the book equivalent of Ridley Scott's Alien (and yes I know Alan Dean Foster blah blah)in that it is creeping space horror perfection. Honestly I struggle to convey how good it is in so many ways: memorable, durable characters YES; eye-opening plot YES; nerve stretching tension YES; well-timed moments of humour YES.

If you like SF and you haven't read this book, don't bother asking yourself "why not ?". Just treat your brain and imagination, get it now and book some time out to devour it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2015
Contains *spoilers*
A good read with some good ideas (especially the archaeological stuff) but as others have mentioned, it has a totally naff ending with corridors, blazing light and everyone in a heavenly situation. Cop out! He couldn't think how to end it....that's obvious.

The characters are meant to be 'edgy' but they are pretty shallow and talk to each other like teenagers. I couldn't understand the significance of the frozen plague-ridden Captain even though that was a large part of the book. The writing style is nice and easy but repetitive with lots of plot revelations in each chapter to keep you turning the pages. It's a bit Iain M Banks without the sassy characters.

Machine intelligence, biological/software interfaces and stealthy, downloadable personalities and copies of personalities within personalities rule.

Not sure I want to read any more of his books, though.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2010
I really enjoyed this book. It's full of interesting ideas and characters and it's scope is vast. I could hardly put it down and before I had finished I purchased Redemption Ark. A great piece of science fiction. I look forward to continuing my exploration of the Revelation Space Universe.

For those who are interested in the best order to read the Revelation Space books, Alastair Reynolds says "You should read Revelation Space, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap in that order - although I've met people who read and enjoyed them in completely the opposite order. Chasm City,The Prefect, and the collections Galactic North and Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days can be read in any order, before, after or during the three other books."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2001
I was intrigued by the reviews of this novel when it appeared on my recommended list. So much so that I immediately ordered it. The first half was wonderful. I was completely drawn into the plot and could indeed identify with the characters. Some of the ideas presented were interesting and original, and the style reminded me of the wonderful Iain Banks with perhaps just a touch of Dan O'Bannon.
Then everything changed just at the time when it should all have pulled together. It felt as if all those disparate little pieces of plot which had been happily floating around were grabbed and forced into the rather unsatisfactory ending. It was almost as if Mr. Reyolds couldn't really decide how the thing was to end, and just lost a lot of interest.
Definately a book of two halves. I will watch out for the next offering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2008
Reynolds's strength is the depth and imagination of his universe which is simultaneously very strange and quite plausible. The problem is that the story can't possibly pump all the background information to you fast enough, so it ends up exposed through rather artificial means. (As a number of revelations, haha.) The plot is intricate and fascinating, but not entirely compelling as a *story*. (For example, I felt like many of the characters started out with insurmountable odds to beat and things got steadily worse from there. There wasn't the tension of having a slim chance, just the dismal resignation or bleak desperation of having no chance.) Nevertheless, I'm now hooked on the background and will certainly read more of his books; I just hope they will find more engaging stories to tell in the universe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2012
Revelation Space takes a while to absorb (it's big), but it was well worth it. Mr Reynolds' writing can feel somewhat densely-packed - you have to absorb adjective after adjective - but these adjectives end up crawling through your mind afterwards as remnants of the dank scenarios portrayed in the story. It's an extremely effective method to drag you into the atmosphere. Technological ideas are scattered throughout the book with abandon these can seem throwaway but on consideration they all seem to be plausible. It's too easy to just make these up, and it's impressive that you find yourself trusting these interpolations of what we know (there's no easy assumption of faster-than-light travel for instance). An effective and interesting book, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
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