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Revelation Space | [Alastair Reynolds]

Revelation Space

Nine hundred thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just as it was on the verge of discovering space flight. Now one scientist, Dan Sylveste, will stop at nothing to solve the Amarantin riddle before ancient history repeats itself. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Nine hundred thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just as it was on the verge of discovering space flight. Now one scientist, Dan Sylveste, will stop at nothing to solve the Amarantin riddle before ancient history repeats itself.

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (1563 )
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3.9 (1094 )
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Story
4.0 (1089 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-20-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    4
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    "Good book, needs a different reader."

    Well, I screwed up. I downloaded Revelation as well as Redemption Ark, the next one in the series without first reading the reviews. I am now 7 hours into Revelation and must agree with the majority of the reviews here. The biggest issue for me is the reader. As mentioned, he tends to put the most inflection on the beginning of each sentence and then his voice trails off towards the end so that you can't hear him. He portrays most of the characters with a condescending attitude so that in many scenes all of the characters are talking down to each other in that snooty upper crust way and you can't differentiate between them. Very confusing. I have found my mind drifting onto other things and I've actually fallen asleep a few times, something I've never done in the past. It's a shame because it seems like a good book, and is most likely one of those better read instead of listened to. I'll keep slogging through in the hopes it will improve or perhaps I will develop an ear for this readers style before it's over. However, I think I will avoid books in the future using this reader.

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Columbus Grove, OH, USA 01-12-10
    Jeff Columbus Grove, OH, USA 01-12-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    10
    2
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    "Hard to understand."

    The reader's voice trails off at the end of many sentences making it hard to hear sometimes. Also the French accent also makes it hard to understand at times as well. The story has multiple plots going at once so missing parts because you cannot hear is very damaging to the story. I've not finished this one yet, I'm not sure I will.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Howard Oregon 04-27-09
    Kelly Howard Oregon 04-27-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    160
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    "should be called "Lost in Space""

    I have read & listened to hard science fiction for decades; this goes down (way down) as one of the worst of the worst. I found it incredibly difficult to keep track of who/where/when.
    Part of the problem is the reader's fault; he does not pause, even slightly, at scene or chapter changes. The book will jump character, time (decades, even), & setting all at once but there is no cue at all to let the listener know of the transitions. I am not sure I could keep track of this mess even in print.
    Cheesy, cartoonlike accents do not help, which could be blamed on the reader but nevertheless add to the annoyance factor.
    It's easy to believe that this is his first work; it has the neophyte habit of tossing out cool, futuristic-sounding terms just to make the reader feel "primitive." At first, I went back & checked to make sure this wasn't a sequel to another book, thinking a lot of this garbage must have been explained previously. I've read &/or heard & enjoyed 2 other Alistair Reynolds books --Pushing Ice & Century Rain. I will approach any others with caution.

    9 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-22-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another great story ruined by John Lee"
    What didn’t you like about John Lee’s performance?

    The performance by the narrator in this book is the same as every other performance I have head by John Lee, very monotone, no way to distinguish characters and no breaks/pauses between scene's or chapters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Walla Walla, WA 09-15-14
    Jonathan Walla Walla, WA 09-15-14 Member Since 2012

    Navaron

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Never completely grabbed my interest"
    What did you like best about Revelation Space? What did you like least?

    I thought the story in Revelation Space was good, but it never really grabbed my interest the way some other books have. Exploring alien civilizations through archaeology was an interesting and cool take on alien encounters, and this was enhanced by the mysterious disappearance of said aliens. However, the possibility of present danger based on the aliens mysterious demise didn't really build that much suspense for me. I 'read' most of this book via audiobook, and I stretched the book out over several months. I'm not sure if that somehow changed my perception of it or not.


    If you’ve listened to books by Alastair Reynolds before, how does this one compare?

    I have listened to House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds and I honestly enjoyed that one a lot more.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by John Lee?

    Absolutely! I have listened to several sci-fi books narrated by John Lee and I love the vast majority of his narration. In fact, I occasionally browse Audible solely based on books he's narrated since I like him so much.
    That being said, this is my least favorite performance of his (I feel really bad giving only 2 stars). I appreciate his attempt to add authenticity to the book by using French accents to go along with the French surnames. However, since most of the characters have French surnames almost all of them have the same accent. This leads to less differentiation between characters than in many of his narrations since he voices many of them very similarly. In addition, faux French accents can be enjoyable on the occasional character, but I quickly tired of them when they made up a huge chunk of the dialogue in the book.
    Other reviewers have mentioned sudden jumps between one character and another during scene-shifting points (which happen often). This is likely due more to poor production that any fault in the narrator. I went into this book with the knowledge that this could be a problem based on previous reviews. It is definitely noticeable and annoying, but I disagree with previous reviewers who felt it let to confusion about who's perspective you are currently following. While the shifts are sudden, without any pause, I could immediately tell what had happened based on contextual information. So while it was annoying, it didn't seriously detract from the story in any way.


    Do you think Revelation Space needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I felt that the story in Revelation Space was fairly self-contained. Since the narrative never really grabbed my attention I don't feel the need to read a second book. However, I do plan to continue the series just to see if it improves.


    Any additional comments?

    While I initially didn't like this book I am reserving judgement until I have listened to more books in the series. Sometimes a series gets off to a rocky start.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Lake Havasu City, AZ, United States 07-06-14
    Michael Lake Havasu City, AZ, United States 07-06-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Not for me."

    I have enjoyed a number of Alastair Reynolds' novels but not this one. I tried to start it twice and gave up within a chapter or two both times. I don't know if it is the story or the narrator. During extended dialogues, I lost track of who was speaking because of the lack of distinct voices or even accents.

    Second, in written form some authors use a blank line or two between scenes contained within a numbered chapter. That scheme is used in this novel. Then the narration pauses for a few seconds between scenes to signal the listener what is occurring. That is not used in this recording. Suddenly, a new scene has started without any notice; and sometimes without sufficient change in story that the change is not realized for several lines.

    So, with a different narrator and editor, this might be a book worth listening to. Or it may just be one of those books that is easier to read than listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connor North Carolina 05-31-14
    Connor North Carolina 05-31-14 Member Since 2011

    Enjoy the adventure

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "May Cause Vomiting"

    I hate to write a bad review, but this book is begging for it. Words that come to mind are “dark”, “confusing” and “eyes glazed over”.

    The “Revelation Space” series has allot of good buzz, but reviewers must be talking about the other books. I found it difficult to pay attention while listening, and when I did, I discovered unlikeable characters and a slow narrative. There were a few moments of mind blowing concepts, but then I would become lost in a forest of details.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Helotes, TX, United States 04-17-14
    Paul Helotes, TX, United States 04-17-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Big and Bold."
    Any additional comments?

    Lots of story lines kept me guessing for most of the book. It all came together at the very end (maybe a little too quickly and neatly). Characters are good. Interesting scenes and technical descriptions. Dark with not a lot of humor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth Scott Davis Maryland 03-05-14
    Kenneth Scott Davis Maryland 03-05-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    "A Corner Stone book for any science fiction fan"
    What made the experience of listening to Revelation Space the most enjoyable?

    What makes audible books different (at least the way I listen), is you have no idea how much of the story is left. With paperback, you can visually see the amount, with a movie, you know when it's over and the story is going to HAVE to wrap up. This particular book just has one turn after another, after another. I think I'll be disappointed when it "wrap's up" because then it will be over.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Revelation Space?

    Of all the Sci-Fi book's I've read, only real good ones open your mind up to "what will/can be" and how that plays out. When I finally got the enormity of Alastair's vision of humanity spread out with dozens of years of travel between each other and what that would mean in terms of "progress", "cultural divergence", and even perspective's of time from the "Ultra's" point of view. When it finally sunk in, my mind went wild with the consequences. The most memorable part was when I understood the vision.


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Initially, the narrator bothered me, with all the accents, etc. But, it didn't take long that it fit like a glove. Maybe the narrator was as un-sure as I was, regardless, it flows quite well soon enough. I can easily tell the speaker of the story from the narrator with out annoyance, so that is good.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not yet.


    Any additional comments?

    I do very, very, very few reviews. Only really good books/items/etc warrant time to do this. For the record, I listen 4-6 hours every other weekend (while driving I-95 Highway). This book is very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Nerrina, Australia 02-16-14
    Michael Nerrina, Australia 02-16-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    68
    10
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    3
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    "Requires investment, doesn't quite deliver."

    So, I read the reviews and appreciated that this novel is detailed, with a lot of description and hard science - that's OK - I like that. The problem is that there is just not enough narrative drive and character development to sustain the detail. Like everyone else (or so it seems) I found the scene changes with no pause whatsoever (why audible, why??) very hard to follow unless I was concentrating very hard, and like others before me, had to restart after about 6 hours and listen more carefully as I felt I had missed too much detail on the varying threads. With the restart came an expectation that the work I put into listening to this novel would be paid off in the longer run with deeper enjoyment, but unfortunately it never happened for me and I only just made it over the line, finding the ending in particular rather tedious. I have listened to the Pandora's Star series and found John Lee a little better in those, although there is so little variation in his voice characterisations that he doesn't elevate the material the way a really good narrator can. Unfortunately that's exactly what this novel needed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 31-40 of 103 results PREVIOUS134511NEXT
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  • Andrew
    Middlesex, United Kingdom
    12/6/11
    Overall
    "Rambling"

    Reads like the author was told to make it look like a long book. Lots of irrelevant boring detail in the middle of scenes. Frustrating read, and in the end, nothing really happens. Characters are never really fleshed out and seem to change attitudes at a whim. Boring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patrick
    Morpeth, United Kingdom
    10/13/11
    Overall
    "Fine, enthralling story"

    A wonderful imaginative feast, it won't convert you if you are not in the Club, if you are you will love it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    Heckmondwike, United Kingdom
    3/31/11
    Overall
    "Persevere as this starts slowly"

    I've enjoyed all of Alastair Reynolds' novels and whilst not my favourite this is a very interesting and well written book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Bollington, Cheshire, United Kingdom
    9/28/09
    Overall
    "An OK start to an over all poor trilogy"

    This is book one of a trilogy and is by far the best of the series, draws you in even if a bit repetitive and far too long.

    The scope feels grand, the detail impresses but starts to wear thin when you realise he will go into this much detail about every trivial thing.

    The ending is disappointing but better than the next two volumes.

    Feels like the author was being paid by the word count, until he gets near the end he wraps things up in cursory manner totally at odds with the rest of book.

    I can't really recommend this, there is far better sci-fi out there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Bradford, United Kingdom
    9/24/09
    Overall
    "Revelation Space"

    To be honest it took a little while to get into this as I took a while to warm to the narrator. The delivery seemed a little ponderous but once I got use to it, it just became part of the story. The story itself is excellent with Alistair Reynolds producing an excellent environment with a range of characters. Part of the problem I had with the book in the beginning was that the central character wasn't someone I warmed to but as the book progresses and the chapters, like archaeological layers, reveal fresh insight I enjoyed the book more and more. This is my first Alistair Reynolds book and on the basis of this I will be getting a few more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Momo
    Salford, United Kingdom
    11/5/11
    Overall
    "Where the Space Opera begins"

    If you are new to Science Fiction of this sort, this is a great place to start. Alastair Reynolds has created a Universe that rewards perserverance. John Lee reads this brilliantly and introduces subtle accents for the characters so you can follow who is talking. As with most good books, you will get even more out of a second listen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. G. J. Walker
    Leicester, UK
    10/22/09
    Overall
    "Excellent telling"

    I read this book originally when it first came out and I was hooked from start the finish. It is slow to start; it is very heavy in places; some of the science does require an advanced understanding of astrophysics. But, the story is excellent and gripping; the main characters (Dan Sylveste; Ilya Volyova; Sajaki) are nasty and wholey engratiating. The story is well read (with some dubious accents), and I got more in the telling of the story that the reading of it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 31-37 of 37 results PREVIOUS134NEXT

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