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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 (1502 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
3.9 (1038 )
5 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (1034 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (139)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jeff Columbus Grove, OH, USA 01-12-10
    Jeff Columbus Grove, OH, USA 01-12-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    10
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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
  •  
    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
    ratings
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    195
    21
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    Story
    "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
    5
    ratings
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    35
    31
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    Story
    "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
    0
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    3
    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
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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
  •  
    Peter PALO ALTO, CA, United States 01-02-14
    Peter PALO ALTO, CA, United States 01-02-14 Member Since 2011

    More Sci-Fi Please!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Unrealized Potential"

    Revelation space is more disappointing than an outright bad book, because it is easy to see how it could have been great.

    The Good:
    It's rich, and the descriptions of the environments and other events paint vivid pictures. I rarely found myself wondering, why they hadn't gone into more detail about the physical properties of what was being described. The technical discussions are also detailed and flesh out interesting concepts such as the need for aerodynamic shapes in near light speed ships due to the rate of particle impacts at that speed.

    The "Meh":
    The richness is constant. I mean constant. Everything is described in great detail and illustrated through analogies. This has several effects I find to be annoying. Firstly it's hard to tell what's truly important from what's just described in detail because it can be until it becomes apparent later. As a result, you have to pay constant, close attention to ensure you don't miss anything. This can be especially painful if you are hoping to have a lighter read, or listen to this while driving. Combine this with three simultaneous threads in the story and you've got the a truly "dense" piece of literature.

    The Bad:
    As mentioned, there are three simultaneous threads. Naturally there is a need to switch between these threads as they develop. This is done without any break, pause, or sound resulting in a "wait, what the hell?" moment every 10-15 minutes or so. Furthermore although the descriptions are vivid, I didn't find myself identifying with any of the characters and only once (in the 6 hours of length I gave the book) found myself genuinely interested in hearing what would happen next Vs. just trying to keep it all straight in my head.

    Overall:
    It's painful. The density combined with the context switching makes it a challenge at best. Combine that with the fact that I usually listen to Audible while driving and it's damn near impossible to keep everything in line and remember all the important points. I listened to this book for 6 hours on a long drive and at some point just had to stop since I had completely lost track of what was happening. After redoing the first 6 hours It made a lot more sense, but even afterwards I found myself uninterested in constantly having to struggle through the extremely dense descriptions and constant context switches. I found this book more disappointing than an outright bad book, because I can see that there was a lot of great ideas here that had been thought through in detail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Arlington, MA, United States 12-30-13
    Michael Arlington, MA, United States 12-30-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    4
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    "Interesting things happen to horrible people"

    I wanted to love this book. Really, I did. Hard(er) SF space opera, "big-idea" MacGuffins, and a sweeping scope. Unfortunately, I spent so much time loathing every single one of the egomaniacal and sociopathic viewpoint characters that I had trouble caring about what happened to them. There may be a "save the universe" plot, and even a "romance from the ashes of rivalry" buried under all the Hobbesian backstabbing, but the characters were so unsympathetic that I Just. Didn't. Care.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cyra SEATTLE, WA, United States 10-16-13
    Cyra SEATTLE, WA, United States 10-16-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Story - Audio volume varied wildly"
    Would you try another book from Alastair Reynolds and/or John Lee?

    Yes. But I would listen to the audio preview before buying to make sure the recording was high quality and easy to listen to.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    There were several classic scifi elements that I enjoyed - modified humanity, archaeology of ancient alien cultures and lots of space travel/physics.


    Would you be willing to try another one of John Lee’s performances?

    I would - I'd be a little cautious about the recording.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Definitely


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MD San Diego, CA 09-24-13
    MD San Diego, CA 09-24-13 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    121
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wanted to like it, but couldn't."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No.

    The volume! I'd turn it up until it was obnoxiously loud, and there were still some parts every few minutes that were so quiet that I couldn't make out the words. So, I'd turn it up more, rewind it, try to figure it out, and eventually I quit doing that. Then I couldn't follow the story as well.

    Further, there is absolutely no pause between chapters or switching between character point of view, so there is no indication at all, in writing or dictation, that there has been a scene change. Even paying strict attention to the book it was almost impossible to follow.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Not worth the time. I generally like the author, so while I debated quitting every time I turned it on, I kept listening hoping for a fabulous ending. I wish I'd simply quit a few minutes into it. Instead I got weeks of frustration.


    What aspect of John Lee’s performance would you have changed?

    The volume! I'd turn it up until it was obnoxiously loud, and there were still some parts every few minutes that were so quiet that I couldn't make out the words. So, I'd turn it up more, rewind it, try to figure it out, and eventually I quit doing that. Then I couldn't follow the story as well.


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

    No, there's no need for one. There's no point in remaking this one, either.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 31-40 of 101 results PREVIOUS134511NEXT
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  • 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: 31-36 of 36 results PREVIOUS134NEXT

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