Revelation Space

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds, 2000, ISBN 978-0-316-46244-0, Orbit Books print edition 2020.

Alastair Reynolds solves the Fermi Paradox in a more entertaining fashion than John Michael Godier’s Event Horizon youtube channel does.

The book is huge, over 500 pages, but tells a complicated story. There’s call outs to sci-fi of the past, including things like human factions or sub-species like Bruce Sterling imagines in his best work, Schismatrix. There’s even an updated “fighting suit”, slightly more plausible than Heinlein’s Mobile Infantry armored suits.

The plot is something of a mystery story. I don’t think it’s possible to write in detail of it without giving away major plot points. I can say that I liked the book, it’s got good characters and lots of good ideas that give the characters a stage on which to play.

I have two beefs with this book:

  1. Magic hand-waved away as “advanced technology”. Conjoiner starship propulsion, and fighting suits are in this category. The book tiptoes up to fantasy, because of this.
  2. Deus ex machina ending, albeit one consistent with the story. The machinery in question is computational, in the best tradition of William Gibson’s Count Zero.

This is the first book in yet another sci-fi trilogy. For better or for worse, I don’t think I’m going to read the other two books. They’re just too big.