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Revelation Space Audiobook

Revelation Space

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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

3.9 (2948 )
5 star
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Overall
3.9 (2343 )
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Story
4.1 (2340 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    C. Hartmann D.C. & St. Croix 12-25-11
    C. Hartmann D.C. & St. Croix 12-25-11

    Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science

    HELPFUL VOTES
    817
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    530
    59
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    Story
    "One of My Four Favorite Complex Space Operas"

    If you like really broad, complex space-opera (meant in the very best way) this series is worth the investment of the time and attention it demands. It is on my list of the best SF ever. (Along with: Simmons' 4 Hyperion books, Peter F. Hamilton's Pandora's Star/Void Series and some other really long stuff.)

    This is one book in a complex and dark series (see below) -- a good place to start. Revelation Space starts off with three seemingly unrelated narrative strands that eventually meet—and merge—as the novel progresses. This plot device is characteristic of many of Reynolds' works. The subsequent books go further and further.

    Here is a thought that I totally agree with: Thomas M. Wagner of SF Reviews wrote that "images and bits and pieces of the novel simply would not get out of my head. This is saying something, since, with the volume of SF and fantasy I read, I do not exactly retain an eidetic memory of everything I've read that I can call up in a second or two unless the book literally bowled me over. But in the case of Revelation Space, two and three years later I still could remember the opening scene. . .with remarkable clarity. The. . .corridors of the vast starship Nostalgia for Infinity still brought haunting images to mind."

    That's it -- it just ticks with you just like the Hyperion and Pandora's Star/Void books do.

    As I said in another review, I once got hooked on the biography of Alexander Hamilton which led to biographies on all of the Founding Fathers and then the history of the Civil War. . .this was the same thing. You can get so far into it that by the time you end, at least a seaon has passed. Darkly Hypnotic.

    The Revelation Space series includes five novels, two novellas, and eight short stories set over a span of several centuries, spanning approximately 2200 to 40 000, although the novels are all set in a 300 year period spanning from 2427 to 2727. In this universe, extraterrestrial sentience exists but is elusive, and interstellar travel is primarily undertaken by a class of vessel called a lighthugger which only approaches the speed of light (faster than light travel is possible, but it is so dangerous that no race uses it). The trilogy consists of Revelation Space, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap.

    Fun in a challenging and broad way.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy College Station, TX, United States 07-05-11
    Timothy College Station, TX, United States 07-05-11 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    148
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    "Narrator is awful, couldn't finish it."

    I'm a big sci-fi fan, and was hoping I would love this series (of which this is the first book), and could look forward to a lot of good listening ahead. Unfortunately I was very disappointed and couldn't finish this. It's hard for me to judge the book itself, because the narrator is so bad.

    1. He gives very little distinctiveness to each character's voice, making it very hard to follow who's talking.
    2. There is no pause or any other signal of a change in setting/time/place/etc. This book jumps between very different settings and the reader just reads the text without pause. Combined with the lack of distinction in the voice characterizations, this means that often I will have been listening for 15 min. or more before suddenly realizing that the some major transition took place several paragraphs ago and my mental picture of what's going on is completely wrong. Generally, this means I'm lost most of the time - not a pleasant listening experience.

    I'm sorry to say I will not be trying any more of Alastair Reynolds audiobooks because of this.

    14 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cougar 03-09-10
    Cougar 03-09-10 Member Since 2014

    Cougar

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Read (Listen)"

    Mr. Reynolds is an excellent story teller and, in particular, a great SF author. He is able to weave a delightful tale mixing extraordinary scientific developments with an intriguing account incorporating mystery, adventure, and beguiling characters. Mr. Lee is well suited to tell the tale. His slight accent and intonations add to the suspense. This book is a must listen for anyone who likes SF.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark VA 03-05-09
    Mark VA 03-05-09 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
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    "Great premise, perhaps overly intricate"

    If you like hard science fiction this is probably worth a listen. An expansive, harsh universe is revealed through multiple points of view in the book. Perhaps the most interesting ideas in this book are related to examining inevitable outcomes of multiple species evolving to the point of interstellar expansion... and, of course, conflict.

    Three things that were distracting in the book for me:

    1) The narrarator's conucopia of dialect: you can play spot the accent with French, Japanese, Russian, and (I kid you not) rastafari.

    2) The insertion by the author of almost trite names for important players in the book like "sun stealer" and "nostalgia for infinity." Imagine if Frank Herbert had called Arrakis "the big sandy orb."

    3) All the grand and mysterious buildup seems to end rather abruptly.. left me wondering if the author was writing to beat a deadline.

    Those issues were not enough to prevent enjoying the book.. great concepts, interesting ideas.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David S. Mathew 03-22-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow fuse with a Big Bang!"

    I can really only recommend this for someone with a great deal of patience. The narrator does a terrific job, but Reynolds' prose is overblown, unnecessarily grandiose and moves at a snails' pace; one chapter was devoted almost entirely to the ship's weapons being aimed. That said, Reynolds has a knack for high concept science fiction and his characters are absolutely captivating. If you don't mind the wait, you'll see why Revelation Space is considered by many as an under-appreciated Sci-fi classic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 03-03-16
    Mike 03-03-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Story is very interesting but terrible narration"

    Story is intriguing with a very exotic and alien world. There are a lot of elements thrown out at you immediately which are difficult to follow without any reference within the world to clarify. I assume one would slowly build up an understanding of this universe except the narration makes it frustrating to follow. The narration is very wooden and blasts right thru scenes with hardly any verbal cues. I found it extremely painful to follow and often didn't realize the story had shifted to a different place or character. Overall the reading was just so poor I didn't want listen any more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tinyeyes 02-28-16
    tinyeyes 02-28-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narrator makes a mediocre book bad"
    What would have made Revelation Space better?

    I generally like Alastair Reynolds, but there is zero character development in this book. I could care less about any of them.


    Would you recommend Revelation Space to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. Weak book and a worse audiobook. Drags on, repeats itself, broken sequencing just for the sake of it.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The reader is too quiet too much of the time. I listen in the car and had to constantly adjust the volume because he moves from mumbling to speaking normally every other sentence. His natural speaking voice isn't bad...but every accent he has sounds like a soft-spoken vampire being forced to speak in a French accent at gunpoint.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Silver Toronto ON 02-09-16
    Adam Silver Toronto ON 02-09-16 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyed it but editing was difficult"

    Great story in a very interesting universe, but the performance suffered because the producer left no space between sections.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig 12-12-15
    Craig 12-12-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyed the story but difficult to listen"
    Any additional comments?

    I see others like John Lee's performance but I found it to be the most annoying I've ever experienced. I must follow up that he does improve with the subsequent books. I suspect that he read Redemption Ark after Revelation Space and made Chasm City his third reading. This is because I noticed a great improvement in Chasm City, which I read second and then noticed Redemption Ark was as poor as the first. I'm speaking of his tendency to drop off at the end of every sentence. I listen primarily on the road and found it nearly impossible to follow the story. I'd turn the volume to maximum and have the first of every line blast out but still the end of the sentences were mostly unintelligible. And I've heard much better voice diversity in most other performances. He started the series with only three or four voices and I have yet to hear gender differences. Plus, the lack of pause between sections. He was one or two paragraphs into a section before I realized difference characters were speaking in a completely different environment.
    BUT, I do notice great improvement with each subsequent book. I hate criticizing someone who has a talent that I don't have. I am amazed at anyone of the narrators of all audio books as they are mostly gifted speakers. But I've grown used to much better performances.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dubi New York, NY 09-12-15
    Dubi New York, NY 09-12-15

    People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    763
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    "Ultimate Revelation: Tedious, Anticlimactic"

    I really wanted to like this book. Recommendations I highly trust convinced me to buy it and listen. I really wanted them to be proven right, despite some reviews to the contrary. After 26 hours (22 hour running time plus several hours of relistening to parts that were hard to follow, sometimes two, three, four times over), my feeling about this book was clearly going to hinge on the ultimate revelations during the final hours. No spoilers, but after so much tedious writing and listening, the reveals were disappointing and anticlimactic. Not worth the wait. An investment gone bad.

    Until then, I was at about 3 1/2 stars, ready to conclude that this is a book better read than heard. The pace is glacial, plot and character development inching along at an excruciating rate, if at all. The writing style, from start to finish, consistently violates the first rule of good fiction: show, don't tell. Here's a newflash, Al: having your characters explain things to each other as their main form of dialogue is no better than your own lengthy expositions -- both are prime examples of bad writing. Not that I'm here to judge you as a writer -- it's just painful to listen to.

    A book editor should have cut this novel in half and instructed the author to dramatize, not recite, his plot points, technical descriptions, settings, etc. Newsflash number two, Al: that also helps in character development, which you have absolutely failed to do, despite a number of highly original creations. Case in point, to take a scene where you do show rather than tell: when Ilia is falling through the ship and figures out how to save herself -- an action scene that shows us her character and describes the ship and its propulsion technology. Sadly, the only example I can think of.

    The audio director should have been fired for the hatchet job this book has undergone. Many reviewers have already lambasted the lack of any way to distinguish between sections as scenes and characters shift, as well as the gratuitous accents. Not that John Lee does a bad job, he is actually pretty good, reading at a good pace, and doing well with the accents -- the director should have directed him to just read, no accents.

    One technical issue that hasn't been pointed out elsewhere: The volume variations make this recording almost unlistenable in a car or through ear buds. It goes from sotto voce to a shout in a heartbeat, and back. I found that a single uptick of volume often took it from too low to too loud, and vice versa. And then of course, with relevant plot points occurring only once every half hour or so, if you're stuck in volume purgatory, you can easily miss it, and not even realize that you've missed anything until hours later.

    One reviewer says that this is not the Revelation Space book to start with, so I think I will give the series another shot. Not right away, mind you -- I'm going to listen to something short and funny next.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • EmmCeeSq
    3/19/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "John Lee is a poor reader"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not in audio book format. John Lee strikes again.

    On the page however, broadly yes. This is a solid, well-written story. The characters are all rather unappealing, and rather 2-dimensional, although this is a common complaint I have of sci-fi generally, and it seems unfair to single out Reynolds alone for this. The characters are all a little lifeless, although this may be down to the reading (see later).


    What other book might you compare Revelation Space to, and why?

    Sits very firmly in the sci-fi canon. More cerebral than the Expanse series, slightly less well-constructed than the Culture series.Solidly-written, although with a little too much expository dialogue for my own taste, which slows the pace somewhat.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I'm afraid to say that John Lee is just a poor reader. I've now listened to over 60 hours of his reading (I ploughed my way through Peter F Hamilton's Nights Dawn trilogy also read by Lee), and his monotone has ruined this book as much as it ruined the Night's Dawn. He may as well be reading a telephone directory, for all the life he brings to the text. No cadences or inflection results in a lifeless performance.

    There is little distinction between character voices - accents aren't every readers' strong point, and I understand they're hard, but Lee fails to establish clear delineation between characters, which obviously confuses the reader/listener.

    His habit of failing to pause between paragraphs is an equally irritating one. I know this can save time in recording sessions, but it just adds to the effect that he neither understands nor cares what he's reading about.

    I really don't like to be so critical of someone, but, were the general standard of Audible at this level, I wouldn't be a consumer of audiobooks. I'm also really disappointed that Lee seems to have recorded so much sci-fi - it's one of my favourite genres, and it's been really disappointing to discover how much of books I'd hoped to read have been recorded by Lee. I do hope that more options of readers become available in the future.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C and/or A
    2/27/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Can't Bring Myself to Finish"

    Can't Bring Myself to Finish the book. Most mundane of mercenary mili-porn. Reader glib in different accents, though recording director's choices are horribly clichéd; Russian for baddy, etc. A wasted credit - sigh.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C. J. Watterson
    2/26/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Poor recording"

    The audio see-saws in volume with the narration frequently trailing off as a sentence comes to a close. Can't really say how the story is, I couldn't continue listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ashley
    EXMOUTH, United Kingdom
    2/21/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great story"

    despite the warnings of poor narration I got this audiobook anyway it was very hard work to listen to but I did get used to it about half way through the story was so good it was worth the effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Leon
    Chippenham, Wiltshire, United Kingdom
    1/17/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Love this author, story arc slow to gain momentum"

    Complex threads with a real sense of an epic storyscape.

    Am starting book 2 now!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • stephen carrigg
    1/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great book !!"

    really enjoyed this book , if you like sci fi give it a try !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss DePlume
    England
    12/20/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "When Am I? What is going on?"
    What disappointed you about Revelation Space?

    Got this on a recommendation from my husband, who is a huge Alastair Reynolds fan. But so help me God I just cannot follow this plot. It jumps back and forth and there are so many Russian and French-type accents, I never know who is talking and when. I told myself if I just stuck with it it would start to congeal in my mind, but I guess I am not smart enough or dedicated enough to make sense of this. I cheated and read the Wikipedia page about it, which helped a lot - but I still haven't finished the story.


    What was most disappointing about Alastair Reynolds’s story?

    Maybe this story is a little easier to follow on the printed page, because I struggled to keep up with the jumping timeline in audiobook form.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by John Lee?

    Sure, though preferably with fewer Russian accents.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anthony Cosgrove
    12/15/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent book"

    very hard to follow due to the performance, skipping between characters and places with zero change in tone, it meant I thought one character was talking before getting confused, realizing it was someone different then trying to figure out who and follow the story, or having to skip back multiple times, BUT I stuck with it and I'm glad I did, great story with great characters

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Edmund
    Chirk, United Kingdom
    10/28/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Poor narration kills it stone dead"

    I tried to get past it. The poor monotone drone of the narrator. Even 8 hours in I was still pushing myself to go on when I realised that this was a pointless exercise.

    I'm a list cause. Save yourself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • matt2001
    10/19/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable and detailed"

    The story covers a large arc and getting used to the different time periods took a little while but worth the effort. This is a self contained story but I would like to think the characters will reappear in later books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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