Revelation Space

{4.5/5} “It was not something to which she was ever going to become totally accustomed, Volyova knew, but in recent weeks visiting the Captain had begun to take on definite tones of normality. As if visiting a cryogenically cooled corpse infected with a retarded but potentially all-consuming plague was merely one of life’s unpleasant but necessary elements; something that, now and again, everyone had to do.”

Sylveste was in charge of an archaeological dig that he thought could be important — Amarantin skeletons and an obelisk from the time of the Event. Nine hundred thousand years ago when the Amarantin’s sun killed them all. Sylveste has powerful enemies, though, and just as he’s deciphering the writing on the obelisk he’s arrested.

Volyova was aboard the lighthugger Nostalgia for Infinity. The captain had the Melding Plague and was in stasis, but she had devised a way to warm him up just enough to communicate when she needed his advice. Which she did when her recruit that she was training to become Gunnery Officer went insane. She also informed the captain where they’re heading — to see a man named Sylveste.

Khouri had been a soldier, and she and her husband had mistakenly been sent in different directions — she was now separated from him by 40 years. Now she was an assassin — hired by rich people to have themselves killed within a certain time frame, during which they would try to elude her. After she completed her latest contract she’s taken to the Mademoiselle, who wants Khouri to kill someone who hasn’t paid for it — a man named Sylveste.

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds was published in 2000.

It’s a long book, but there’s lots in it. There’s action, as various people try to gain control of the situation. And there’s interesting speculation about the future of humans and aliens in the universe. It takes place in the 26th century. Reynolds provides a clever and shocking reason for why aliens haven’t visited Earth.

Two of the storylines converge early on, and the third joins them just after halfway through the book. You’ll be surprised about what happens then.

The characters are all looking for different things, and some of them are willing to go to extreme lengths to get what they want. Some people want to live forever, and some have changed the definition of a human being.

As for the writing, there was a bit more technical jargon than I usually like — but the interesting ideas kept me reading.

I read Reynolds’ story “Thousandth Night” not too long ago. This is the first novel of his I’ve read.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 8:45 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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