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 couldn't wait to listen to all the books.
But after a little while by this Narrator I just couldn't take it. I'm sure the story line must be OK, but it was narrated like a dull history class! They should screen narrators to make sure they can tell a story not just read it.
Well, thats just my opinion. It felt like I was watching(Listening) a foreign movie. Felt like the writer wanted to make sure that you know that he was a well read and intelligent individual and he probably is but it made for a trying story that was easy to get confused with.
Anybody who really gets a kick out of being thoroughly confused.
I really couldn't tell. The narrator decided that since everybody had foreign sounding names, that they should all have accents which made deciphering their speech give me a headache.
I'd sooner cut off my toes with a boltcutter. His fake French accent for everyone with a French last name was horrendous. His fake Russian accent was worse. Then when a French character spoke to a Russian character he lost all distinction between them and it sounded like an insane person with a speech impediment arguing with himself.
If they ever re-do this book with a different narrator, I'd get it again. As it stands, I had to turn it off after 2 hours.
I might as well have thrown my money in a toilet, because that's the same amount of enjoyment I got out of his performance.
I wouldn't cut any. I need 15 words. 15 words.
In addition to the horrifying accents, there was no pause or break between scenes. A scene on a spaceship blended seamlessly into a scene on a planet leaving the listener completely lost. Mr. Lee's uninflected deadpan narration moved so hurriedly from scene to scene that it was like trying to read a technical manual with pages removed and replaced with pages from The Joy Of Sex. Both instructional, both manuals, but you'll never get the whole picture from either.
Tell Mr.Lee to go back to waiting tables.
a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.
This book is a mixed bag for interest. It starts out like the Martian Chronicles, has a bit of Blade Runner in the middle, and ends with a storyline straight out of the Matrix.
This is not my first Alastair Reynolds I am sure I will
The Narrator does a pretty good job dealing with several accents to add depth to some of the characters, I am not sure if it has been remastered or if some listeners are simply not thrilled with a blend of accents. But, to me it added to the listening.
This book, and subsequent series could easily be a lost type series, as there is plenty of characters and setting to make for an interesting view. I am not sure a movie could contain enough detail to do the book justice.
I found this audio book hard to follow. The reader had great accents, but his volume often trailed off at the end of sentenses to the point where I couldn't make out words. The audio might have benefitted from an audio compressor to make the low/quiet parts easier to hear. The story also would have benefitted by adding music between the scene changes. The reader would often change between scenes and characters, and I wouldn't realize it for at least a minute. I'm going to try to read this one because I hear it's a good book. I've listened to a lot of audio books, and I would not recommend this unless you are very patient and plan to listen in a quiet environment.
I love Scifi and Fantasy books.
I am almost six hours into this book and am constantly thinking that I am going to move on to something else. The thing is that I just hate to waste my credits on a book and not listen to it. The main problem I have with this is that it is very hard to follow. The majority of the book is in dialogue form and I keep feeling like I walked into the middle of a conversation and I have no idea who the people are and what came before. During any scene I constantly ask myself who is this again? And yes I agree with some of the reviews that say that the accents are just very hard to follow. I love this narrator and his work on Peter F Hamilton's Void series but this is not his finest work.
I read such positive reviews on this book, but after listening to the 1st of the 3 audio downloads, I was quick disappointed. I felt that there was not main character in the book. It didn't flow well at all. And I read that someone else had issues with not being about to go back and easily re-read a section you didn't understand.
If you are a fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, BSG or B5, I think you might be disappointed with this book. If you are fan of Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, perhaps this would be better suited for you.
Finally, I would like to add that the accent of the narrator was very difficult to listen to for long periods of time. I also felt that he didn't give good voice fluctuations between characters to help you understand who's talking.
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.
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.
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.
"marred by weak narration"
It's a good yarn, takes a while to get going. It's badly let down by the narration. See my full review below.
Up until the mid-point, it's all a bit disjointed. The sweet spot is from about 50% to 95%, where the story moves along nicely, all the protagonists have come together, and it's a fine action yarn. The last 5% was a let down.
monotonous, hurried, limited
Well, I managed to avoid the DNF on this one, and indeed managed to get back to a point where I rather enjoyed the ride.
I had a couple of possible outcomes for the novel. One in which all the villains and minor characters die, and all the major protagonists survive. The other in which some of the villains get their comeuppance, but by no means all, and in which at least one major character dies, probably saving humanity as far as that is possible. And that's properly dies - none of this reincarnation as an AI nonsense. If I'd been reading Iain M Banks, I wouldn't have bet on either outcome over the other.
I'll avoid the spoiler. Suffice to say I wasn't entirely pleased with Alastair Reynolds' rabbits and hats.
Faults first, and those specific to the audiobook - the narrator (John Lee) is poor.
The emphasis is practically identical for every sentence - he starts forte then fades to a mezzo piano, almost piano by the end.
His range of accents is frustratingly small. He has one French accent, which he uses for every inhabitant of one world, regardless of age or gender. The starship crew get a hybrid Russian/Japanese accent, which is somewhat erratic.
His pauses as he switches between the starship and one or other of the two planets are too short to be worthy of the name. Too many times I find myself a paragraph or two into a new scene before I realise there's been a change, and I have to work out where I am and who is now on stage. Mental rewind - no, missed it. Bah!
"Quadrant 5" - really? Is it no longer a requirement for authors to understand the etymology of the words they use?
Too much repetition, too many infodumps (sometimes the same infodump repeated for the benefit of a new character who didn't hear the first one).
The alpha copy of Dan Sylveste - a plot point that wasn't, at least not in this book. A red herring?
The computer security was inconsistent - lax or strong as the plot needed it.
Sunstealer's potency or impotency was likewise variable, according to the needs of the plot.
A surprising level of empathy built up with Volyova over time. Likewise Khouri.
The descriptions of the light-hugger ship - like the Nostromo, but with intelligent rats, a rotting infrastructure and sludge/slime. However it is not explained how the rats survive the acceleration that kills a rogue crewmember. Nor what happens to all that liquid under the same acceleration.
Still, it is a good adventure, though the ending is just too pat. The audiobook is harder work than it needs to be.
"Jumpy to start Good once it gets going"
Initialy I thought I'd made a big error on this one, it starts by bouncing about through multiple related plot lines, It may have made more sense in the book but in audio I found myself going hu!, only to realise the narator had switch between the set up lines.
Once they come together its a really good book but it takes a few hours to do so.
"Epic hard sci-fi"
This is one of my favourite books. Reynolds has a real physics background, and his comfort with unthinkable scale and relatavistic distances. The plot is constructed like a steel trap, with massive stakes, and strong, memorable characters. If Christopher Nolan did a pure space opera, it would end up being like this. The characters are all brilliant, ruthless, terrifying competent types, which I love, but others might not. It's hardcore sci-fi though, so it's more like Greg Bear or Greg Egan than Isaac Asimov or Larry Niven.
John Lee does a competent enough job of the narration, but it's clear that he doesn't really understand what he's saying. He has a tendency to make all the characters sound like louche French philosophers drinking Pernod in a Parisian cafe circa 1913, even the Middle Eastern soldier Khouri and Russian engineer Volyova. Also, he uses the American pronunciation of words like process (with a short o) which seemed odd.
I also question the decision for a man to be the narrator. There are more important female than male characters here (Volyova, Khouri, The Madamoiselle, Pascale, Sluka, Sudjic etc.), and on balance I think I'd have preferred an actress.
This kvetching aside, he wasn't distracting or anything, so it's still a worthwhile purchase if the subject matter is your thing.
"Worthwhile in the end."
John Lee's narration starts out with a peculiarly jarring rhythmic structure, I must have listened to the first hour of this book half a dozen times before I got into it. However, by the end of part one I was hooked; the rhythm had become more natural and my ear attuned to the subtleties of the character's accents. An interesting story and the first Alastair Reynolds I have 'read', the narrator will not dissuade me from future listens, but neither will I be rushing to find other books that he has read.
Just given up on this. It is a shame as the synopsis sounded great. Not sure whether it was the reader or just that the story is hyper complex but after two hours of listening I had absolutely no idea what was going on. It seemed to be a whole bunch of stories which jumped all over the place. I am sure it came together at some point but with the reader sounding bored and disinterested and putting on silly accents for virtually all of the charaters, I had had enough and bailed out at 2hrs 36mins! One star as that is the least I can give!
"An interesting insight into a possible future"
Where to start?
This is a book of some complexity and enormous scale. It ranges from the sub-atomic to unbelievably large rents in space-time. From petty human conflicts to the fate of humanity. It's a BIG book, in all senses of the word. Humans have spread out into space using huge sub-light starships called lighthuggers. No hyperspace here. Time is not circumvented, in fact, it is material to the sequence of events. The main characters are well fleshed-out and believable. The "scenery" of the tale is for the most part well-described too.
The tale twists and turns and delights, but sometimes almost gets lost in the minutiae of the descriptions. This is my basic reason for not giving it five stars. I love intricate tales as well as more basic science fiction fare, but sometimes you can be a little too verbose. This is a personal opinion and others would be right to disagree with my thoughts on the matter.
Suffice to say, that I have already bought two other books from this author, set in the same universe, and will be starting one of them as soon as I finish this review.
Final thoughts on the matter?
A good solid read. You will not be disappointed.
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.
"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!
"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.
"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.
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