With no other resources at his disposal, Sylveste forges a dangerous alliance with the cyborg crew of the starship Nostalgia for Infinity. But as he closes in on the secret, a killer closes in on him because the Amarantin were destroyed for a reason. And if that reason is uncovered, the universe - and reality itself - could be irrevocably altered.
©2008 Alastair Reynolds; (P)2008 Tantor
"One of the best books of the year." (Science Fiction Chronicle)
"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)
I'm new to science fiction in general and Alistair Reynolds in particular. The universe he creates is complex, original, dark and gloomily political. Prepare for adjectives like 'malignant' and 'repellant' to run throughout. It ain't feel-good escapism, but I wouldn't classify it as dystopian either. As an astrophysicist, he clearly knows a lot about the workings of the universe, and this knowledge provides a solid foundation for his imaginings of the future. Good science, great epic story-telling, and I especially enjoy his female characters. The guy's got chops. I highly recommend this book, as well as 'Pushing Ice', which I also recently read. Alistair Reynolds is for me!
The narration was off.
The story was boring from my perspective, but I'd certainly recommend giving it a shot if you like sci fi... Perhaps it was just not my flavor.
Meh that's difficult to say. Each character sounded like a gothic vampire.
No! But I'm going to give it another shot in a few months.
Some interesting sci fi elements.
Ditch John Lee. And the cuts between the sections are way too short. It's often very confusing and jarring.
A different reader, or a more low-key John Lee. John Lee is best when he's not chewing the scenery. His reading of this novel -- in my opinion -- is way overwrought. There's not an "r" out there that he won't roll for several seconds. Obviously he does accents well, but this reading serves John Lee, not the story. I don't know anything about him personally, but I'm willing to be he LOVES to hear his own voice.
Thank you, Alastair Reynolds. No thank you, John Lee.
I just don't get the John Lee worship.
I have not finished this book yet. I can say that the story so far is engaging. However, I do not care for this narrator. He starts each sentance by speaking quickly and loudly, then begins to speak more quietly, becoming harder to hear, as he completes each sentence. As I listen to most books in my car I have found that I have to have the volume painfully loud (for the beginning of each sentence) in order to hear the end of each sentence.
The description of technologies and future worlds is good. The author has obvious skill.
I would have increased the pace of the story - chapter after chapter describing the recruiting of a gunnery crew member. Chapter after chapter describing the politics of digging up an ancient civillisation's artifacts. Its all a bit stretched and dubious. The characters are all a bit nebulous and could do with some sharpening up.
Whilst the narrator has perfect diction and a nice voice he drones through the story. He RANDOMLY adds emphasis to words in each sentence to add variety, but this just serves to annoy. Then he trails most sentences away into a whisper, so that you can't hear what he's saying unless you turn up the audio level. But if you do that, his constant loud PUNCHING of random words in each sentence hurts your ears. You can't win. And of course other reviews have already mentioned the similarity of accents used for characters. And of course other reviews have also mentioned the fact that there are no pauses between sections so it takes you a while to figure out the scene has totally changed to a different planet mid-paragraph. Its bizzare - does nobody oversee these narration recording sessions and spot these beginner mistakes? Study the guy who narrates Iain Banks novels for a true master.
Half way through the book, running out of energy, hoping it picks up steam.
The story is somewhat interesting. It has intrigue. But the narration / production falls way short.
No, unless you are able to perservere thru the story. I got halfway thru it and it wore me out and I gave up.
I don't know. I would tend to avoid him in favor of someone less grim in his style. The ends of sentences are hard to catch. The french accents, even though they had french names, was laid on a bit too thick.
The story is somewhat interesting. The problem is, it jumps from one location/scenario to another and back, and it becomes hard to keep track of the character names and roles. This is made worse by the narrating / production. There are no pauses / transitions from one part of the story to another. All of a sudden the narrator is talking about an entirely different scene, leaving me to sort out what is going on. Combine that with thick accents given to many of the characters, and I found this a tiring listen. I gave up halfway thru the story, and am much happier listening to something else.
Alastair Reynolds creates a believable universe and weaves a great story through it. Alastair's writing style is vibrant and colorful. The imagery is vividly created in the mind of the listener. John Lee has a wonderful voice and John's mastery of novel reading enhances the book.
While it is highly impractical to listen to a story for the length of time required for this reading I was dissapointed every time I reached my destination and had to pause the story.
Read all of Alastair Reynold's works. The order is not that important although they all exist in a similar universe with some similar elements woven through.
When I first began listening to "Revelation Space," I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it. It took off a bit slowly, with the opening scene centered on an archaeological dig. But, much like the work's emblematic lighthuggers, once this book picks up speed, it really flies, and I found myself compelled to keep listening 'til journey's end. What at first seemed a confusing tangle of high-tech terminology and a dense thicket of historical events gradually merged into an understandable and cohesive universe, where man and machine are seldom easy to differentiate. Reynolds' Revelation Space universe is one of dazzlingly advanced but theoretically plausible technology. At no point did I feel that he had introduced the kind of "handwavium-powered" tech that so many science fiction authors are guilty of. The plausibility of Reynolds' technological marvels likely stems from his 12 years as a scientist with the European Space Research and Technology Centre, part of the European Space Agency. His expertise infuses the work and results in the gratifying marriage of mind-boggling technology and plausible physics.While the separate characters and plot threads took some time to gather momentum and to converge, by the end of the book they had entered a helical death spiral toward a stunning and climactic collision. Reynolds weaves thought-provoking tech, character development, dialogue, and plot into a compelling take on the 25th century human condition. Hard-sci and space opera fans alike would do well not to miss Reynolds' "Revelation Space."
Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? OR, you can just let the horses in the yard, and THEY'LL mow and weedeat (literally) FOR YOU!
I'm not sure if this is a good book because of Reynolds' writing, or if it's a good book because John Lee is narrating... but either way, it's a good book!
This is a complex story with frequent scene changes. Most print books use multiple line spaces to indicate scene changes, and many audio books I've listened to indicate this by extended pauses. This does not happen here. The narrator doesn't slow down at all except at chapter ends. I spent a lot of time rewinding, to pick up on changes of scene. I'm not sure I got all I could have out of this book by listening to it. Maybe, should have read a print copy.
"Good Book? Awful Narration!"
I have never actually given up on an audio-book before and I have library with Audible.co.uk of over 200 unabridged titles. I have however, given up trying with this book though and the sad thing is, that it has nothing to do with the author!
After restarting the title over 5 times, I still have no idea what the story is about as I found the narration to be rambling and dull which resulted in me missing large amounts of the narrative as my attention wandered to just about anything else. John Lee's reading quite simply bored me beyond belief and I wish I had heeded the reviews written by John (in Hampshire) and Tim (in Ayrshire).
Perhaps the book would be great with a different reader (my vote would go to Peter Kenny who is brilliant in Iain M Banks' audio books), who knows?
John Lee was a terrific narrator in Ken Follett's books, but not in Revelation Space.
I certainly won't be buying the rest of the series.
PLEASE NOTE: THE STAR RATING I HAVE GIVEN THIS BOOK RELATES PURELY TO THE NARATION.
"Really worth a try"
It is amazing how opinions differ. I thought this was excellent and I went on to enjoy all his books in written form. You should definitely try one as you have a whole oeuvre to look forward to if you enjoy it.
I would point out that I think Ricky Gervais is a very dull comedian and that The Office is tedious drivel so my tastes may not lie on the average!
"Narration difficult to follow"
I could not get into this book, the narrator - normally brilliant - was my biggest issue. I could not follow the separation in plot lines. The narration jumped from one to the other without any pause, introduction or announcement, maybe a small thing, but it was enough for me
"Good book, terrible reader"
Revelation space is one of many books I've read in dead tree format, and have revisited in audiobook form. Usually it's a very rewarding experience, and I loved this book when I read it so had high hopes for the more immersive medium of audio.
However this is the second Alastair Reynolds book I've listened to, and I just can't face any more of them as John Lee's narration ruins them. His pacing... is... terrible.
That's only the second time in years of audible membership a narrator has spoiled the experience, but a bitterly disappointing one as I was looking forwards to making my way through Reynold's back catalogue.
"Confusing audio, maybe better as a written work"
This is the first audiobook I've actually given up on. A shame really, I quite like Alastair Reynolds' work and despite the thoroughly unlikable characters, there are some interesting ideas in the story.
The French and mid-European sounding accents are somewhat similar so it can be hard to work out who is speaking (at first).
The plot jumps around a bit (in time and locations) - because there are very few cues in the audio that the narrative has moved to another planet (and the voices sounds similar) - I had to work hard just to keep track of what was going on. Even slightly longer pauses in the narration between planets/times would have helped me spot that that the story had moved elsewhere.
"Good story - Fell out with the narrator."
This is the first Alastair Reynolds book I have read and it grew on me. The first third is a little confusing; the main cause of which I think is the narrator's style. I have greatly enjoyed John Lee's narration in other books but on this occasion I felt it left quite a lot to be desired. It sounded like he had spend a lot of time perfecting some sort of Eastern European accent and then, when he had got it just right, he applied it to all the characters! Therefore, at times, I had no idea who was speaking. Once you get a feel for the plot and who everyone is, the 'audio-homogeneity' is not really a big issue, but it did take me a while longer than usual to settle into this book.
On the whole I found it enjoyable, with a good story and some great sci-fi moments, although it did not inspire me to read any sequels for a while, especially as I have read numerous reviews of the opinion that this book is the best of the bunch.
"Clumsy in places but still a powerful tale."
Cyberpunk meets Space Opera. The book is similar in tone and scope to Iain Banks Culture Novels, though not as confident in its handling of the vastness of its subject matter. In the 26th century human identity dissolves into a bewildering mosaic of cyberpunk virtual personalities, quantum physics and time-dilated reality. Entertaining, though patchy, the book suffers from long stretches of exposition between characters along the lines of 'A ha! little did you know that when you thought I was doing X I was in fact doing Y' and some of the ideas have been recycled from other sources (Carpenter's Dark Star, any number of Generation Ship stories). The narration is competent, if portentious, and suffers badly from hokey funny-foreigner accents. One character, Sajaki, is supposedly Japanese but comes across like the wicked Uncle from Aladdin (note to narrators, Japanese accents and Chinese accents are completely different). The Russians and French are no better and long conversations end up sounding like an episode of 'Mind your language' or 'Allo 'Allo. Having said that the final scenes are impressively described and leave you with a genuine sense of wonder rare in much SF these days.
"Buy a hard copy instead !!!"
The narration - truly awful. SO bad I couldn't manage to finish the book.
Don't really know as could not finish it due to the monotonous intonation of the narrator. The first audiobook I haven't managed to finish :-(
Very flat performance with a monotone intonation with no variation in pitch or speed. It really ruined the part of the book that I actually could face listening to. I managed about an hour before it got so bad I gave up and listened to something else.
I only managed an hour before giving up - can't really comment on the story but it sounded like an interesting premise.
The first time have ever felt the need to write a review and I am doing so just to warn people to buy the paper version of the book and read it for yourself as the flat narration sucks all the joy from the story. Take heed reader - the narration alone makes this a true waste of a credit - you have been warned !!!
"An excellent book let down by the reader"
Alistair Reynolds creates a very compelling universe, with interesting characters, location and technology. The details he puts into the universe create a very immersive experience, which can be a little confusing at the beginning as we jump both in time and location between the characters of the story. But the story is well worth staying with as the story unfolds.
Then we come to the reader. Oh dear is the kindest way to put to it. I'm sure John Lee is a talented individual, but reading books aloud is not one of his talents. The voices he uses to depict different characters varies so faintly that it's nigh on impossible to tell when one character stops speaking and another responds. Then his normal reading voice suffer from the same problem, often its hard to tell when the narration has topped, and someone is speaking again. This one experience with John Lee has put me off buying anymore books read by him, as I want to concentrate on the plot, not figuring out which character is speaking or whether its actually narration.
So my conclusion is that this an excellent book with enjoyable plot, characters and settings, quite spectacularly let down by the reader.
"Start of a fantastic tale.."
I love this book, just finished it and getting ready to download the sequels (and prequels) set in the same universe. The Narrator is fantastic and I have listened to a lot that he has done, great job done on the narration here and elsehwere by the narrator, who I find very easy to listen to.... I found the following on the Authors website which I think it is worth sharing as the chronology of the publishing dates does not follow the chronology of the story - I really want to pick up where this one leaves me..... so from the Authors website.......... "Of my books to date, five are set in the same universe. The reading order isn't that critical, in my view, but it probably improves things to read REVELATION SPACE, REDEMPTION ARK and ABSOLUTION GAP in that sequence. The other related books, CHASM CITY and THE PREFECT, as well as the collections DIAMOND DOGS, TURQUOISE DAYS and GALACTIC NORTH, can be read at any point (or in fact, not read at all)."
I hope that someone else finds that info from Alastair Reynolds as useful as I have done - if you like Sci Fi, this series is for you... Aliens, Ancient Relics, super weapons, super humas, Ai, cyborgs, vast time scales, vast distances, vast wars, mystery, plot twists, great characters.......this has all that and some :) happy listener.
Report Inappropriate Content