Revelation Space

Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 3, 2002

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds

Eleven people attended this meeting at Willie and Charles’s home. The topic was Revelation Space, an epic science fiction novel by new writer Alastair Reynolds. The story, set in the far future, involves interplanetary archaeologists looking into the mysterious disappearance of an extraterrestrial species. Their search leads to a big adventure that includes academic rivalries, assassination attempts, and galactic conspiracies. Nine of us started the book, and six finished it.

We liked a lot about this book. One person described it as an imaginative political space opera. The book is full of neat sf ideas. The complicated plot, told in a structure that jumps back and forth in time, is fun to read and has a good payoff at the end. There is a lot of accurate science in the story, particularly the depiction of relativistic physics. Several of us loved the basic premise of ancient races with hidden agendas. We thought the spaceships had cool names, particularly Nostalgia for Infinity.

We did find problems. Many of us found certain sections of the book plodded and could use tighter editing. Also, one person felt that the archaeology and geology was not accurate in the story.

Overall we like Revelation Space, and most of us plan to read its sequel, Chasm City. After the meeting we had a good dinner at Threadgill’s.

–A. T. Campbell, III