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Revelation Space Mass Market Paperback – May 28, 2002
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Sylveste is the only man ever to return alive and sane from a Shroud, an enclave in space protected by awesome gravity-warping defenses: "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 defenses to challenge the Infinity's planet-wrecking superweapons.
At the heart of this artifact, 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, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
_Revelation Space_ definitely does not fizzle, but it didn't quite deliver on its great promise, either. Not that I didn't enjoy the journey. It's one of the few even hard SF books that really depends on the relativistic effect of high-speed interstellar travel. The bells and whistles of authorial imagination (intended to make you admire his creativity - in this case, the Pattern Jugglers, Conjoiners, Ultras, the Shrouds, etc.) are clever and convincing indeed; the shape of human society is very original - different enough from our own day to seem plausibly futuristic, yet recognizable enough so that we can care about the characters as humans with whom we still have something in common.
The plot is fascinating - you really want to know what happened to the Amarantins, you really want Sylveste to make his ultimate discovery. You just hope the revelations, when they come, will be shattering ENOUGH, that the payoff will be truly galactic in scope. And that's where _Revelation Space didn't quite fulfill its mighty promise.Read more ›
I won't bother to outline the story here - I'm sure plenty of other reviewers have already done that. What I will say is that the author places his characters against the backdrop of human existence several centuries from now, when interstellar space has been colonized, trade ships spend decades plying the space between starts, and human beings exist in a variety of forms, from highly modified cybernetic beings to artificial simulations based on brain scans of the dead. Yet even on such a grand stage, the characters are never lost - Sylveste, Khouri and Volyova are each strong enough to hold their own, and even if you never find yourself caring about them, you will want to keep reading to learn of their fates.
The story is well written and very engaging, and despite the fact that it lost some momentum in the middle, I found myself eagerly turning pages to find out what would happen next. All in all, though this is not quite a perfect sci-fi novel, it comes close - and definitely deserves five stars! I would recommend it without hesitation to any fan of hard science fiction.
However, Reynolds is not a good writer. His characters exist merely to move the story forward. I don't think any of the main three could seriously be called "heroes". It doesn't matter to me that they're all working against each other at certain times, but none of them ever seems real enough. Sylveste is a slightly egomaniacal scientist obsessed with uncovering the mystery of the disappearance of a race of aliens thousands of years ago. Ana Khouri is a mercenary hired by a mysterious stranger to kill Sylveste. Volyova is the commander (sort of) of a giant starship (mentioned above) that is also searching for Sylveste, because she needs his help. Beyond that, they are interchangeable. Only their motivations differ - they speak in the exact same voice, and their actions are hardly distinctive. You wouldn't recognize these characters if you happened to meet them anywhere else; they're just plot devices, and that is incredibly irritating.
The book takes about 200 pages too much in getting its plot worked out. It's very long, and I'm not sure how much of that length is really essential to the whole. Reynolds spends a lot of time with flashbacks - not important ones, just brief ones to tell you what a character was doing ten minutes before he/she was doing something else. Utterly superfluous.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best books I've read in a long time, good hard science with developed characters. It did keep using technically the same literary devices to hide the truth and slowly... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Ross Johnson
I'm really undecided about this book. The characters are a little flat, cerebral maybe. There are two separate strands which don't come together until 3/4ths of the way through. Read morePublished 1 month ago by lost lenore
Science fiction that is intelligent and well thought out. The science is something that is believable, and plot devices are not evident if they are there at all (other than... Read morePublished 1 month ago by theshowmecanuck
My husbands favorite author is Alastair Reynolds. He loves all his books.Published 2 months ago by Kelly
As the opening salvo for a new SciFi universe, Alistair Reynolds nailed it with this story. He set up my expectations early and continued to deliver one great story after another... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Patrick Mcnelis
I'm on page 200 of 585 of Revelation Space: So far, one of the most original and startlingly inventive hard sci-fi books I have ever read. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jordan Hill
Not nearly enough Sci-Fi here. Empty, unfulfilled story. Wow, if you have read any of the classics you will realize how empty these "books" are. Waste of my time!!Published 3 months ago by Mike Shea