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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 (1975 )
5 star
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Overall
3.9 (1462 )
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Story
4.0 (1454 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (215)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Dean 02-28-12
    Dean 02-28-12 Member Since 2009

    a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    109
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    385
    125
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A lot of detail in a small space."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Alastair Reynolds again?

    This is not my first Alastair Reynolds I am sure I will


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Could you see Revelation Space being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christian Lombard, IL, United States 05-26-09
    Christian Lombard, IL, United States 05-26-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    171
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Performance sub par"

    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.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luis B. Mendoza Kissimmee, Florida United States 05-05-11
    Luis B. Mendoza Kissimmee, Florida United States 05-05-11 Member Since 2013

    I love Scifi and Fantasy books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    480
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Struggling to keep listening"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Z USA 04-26-11
    Eric Z USA 04-26-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I couldn't finish it"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-20-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "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 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "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 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    375
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    1
    Overall
    "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.

    10 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed 07-26-15
    Ed 07-26-15 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awful narration"
    What would have made Revelation Space better?

    Better narration


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Every sentence started off at good volume, but the narrator swallowed the end of each sentence so that it was hard to understand. Consequently, I had to turn the volume way up so that I could hear the end of each sentence, but that meant the beginning of each sentence was extremely loud. I enjoyed the book but the narration was extremely annoying to say the least!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CJinMD 07-19-15
    CJinMD 07-19-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    63
    9
    FOLLOWERS
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    1
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "even John Lee's narration couldn't keep me awake"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Some sort of excitement in the storyline. It drones on fact after detailed fact after fact...


    Would you ever listen to anything by Alastair Reynolds again?

    I may try but I mainly purchased this for John Lee's narration voice but without a good write behind it, it wasn't worth it.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Narration was the only thing that kept me from returning this title immediately.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    Even a good narrator can fall for poorly written books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Canada 06-29-15
    Paul Canada 06-29-15 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    241
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "good story, terrible recording"

    interesting story if a bit long winded.

    The recording is terrible though. Quiet and muddled voice with no gap when switching scenes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Richard
    Driffield, United Kingdom
    12/12/11
    Overall
    "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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Edward
    Blackheath, London, United Kingdom
    10/16/09
    Overall
    "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!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    Newton-le-Willows, United Kingdom
    1/20/13
    Overall
    "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

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Tim
    Saltcoats, Ayrshire, United Kingdom
    4/14/11
    Overall
    "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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Jaspal
    Solihull, United Kingdom
    8/6/12
    Overall
    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    Beulah, United Kingdom
    7/6/10
    Overall
    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • melmoth2
    6/20/09
    Overall
    "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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • John
    North Baddesley, Hampshire, United Kingdom
    3/29/11
    Overall
    "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.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    Bewdley, United Kingdom
    4/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Buy a hard copy instead !!!"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narration - truly awful. SO bad I couldn't manage to finish the book.


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

    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 :-(


    What didn’t you like about John Lee’s performance?

    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.


    Was Revelation Space worth the listening time?

    I only managed an hour before giving up - can't really comment on the story but it sounded like an interesting premise.


    Any additional comments?

    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 !!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sean
    Belfast, Antrim, United Kingdom
    2/16/09
    Overall
    "Can sci-fi get better than this?"

    This is easily the best sci-fi novel I have come across in my 42 years. It's a real treat for jaded, old sci-fi lovers like me who fell let down all too often by modern space operas that raise more questions than they answer. This epic tale has wheels within wheels, unexpected plot lines, no waffle, no fat, and just the right blend of hard science with fiction. I found John Lee's narration style took some getting used to, but in the end I came to enjoy his delivery. It's a crying shame that this book is the only work by Alistair Reynolds available on Audible. I would buy the others in a heartbeat.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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