Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Last night I finished Revelation Space, the debut novel of Alastair Reynolds.

Revelation Space has a "space opera" feel, but with more of a hard science fiction background. For example, there is no faster than light travel here but there is aggressive nanotechnology and other exotic science ideas.

It's quite an enjoyable book, once it gets going, and a surprisingly good debut. At the beginning, the multiple story lines were a big bewildering, particularly because they moved around in time in unclear ways. Leaving things un-explained at the start is a common SF writing style, but if not done carefully, it can be very off putting. Once you get past that, and the stories start to flow individually, and then come together, the novel improves a lot. The end also has some flaws, as the amount of exposition increases almost exponentially, pulling away from the story/characters at times but necessary to explain what is going on.

The story itself is pretty complex, starting with an archaeological find, an assasin and a spaceship needing a crew replacement. Later there are coup's on colonies, clones revealed, battles between AIs for people's minds, aliens that turn out to be different than what they appear and a final decision that needs to be made.

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