Revelation Space

Discussion in 'Alastair Reynolds' started by Diziet Sma, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Revelation Space by Alistair Reynolds. About time...

    It has taken me three weeks to complete it and not for lack of interest. I'm not a speedy type of reader. Besides, I also have another couple of demanding reads on the go. My brain can only take so much.

    RS has been a bittersweet experience. There is no doubt in my mind that Reynolds has the brains and the imagination the size of Wales. Some authors have so much talent and some others... well, I'm in the middle of Binti, but we will discuss Nnedi Okorafor some other time.

    The first half of the RS contains three different narrative lines, and the three are mindblowing. There are a cosmic mystery and an array of ingenious villains and antagonists. However, Reynolds' precise, obsessed prose tips the balance close to the limits of infodump. I have a big stomach for data, but I also need to care for the characters enough, so I'm intrigued and want to read further.
    It felt like when you visit an art gallery; it can become exhausting after a couple of hours to the point you can't appreciate a piece of artwork form another. Reynolds' worldbuilding is masterful like any celebrated art gallery. It just gets too much.

    What kept me going was the certainty that the three storylines were due to converge and hopefully, Reynolds' amazing worldbuilding would leave room for the characters to come forward and act upon the story.
    Was I right? Oh, yea. The second half of RS did not disappoint. Also, what a climax! RS could have left many unresolved issues but Reynolds not only did he wrap them up smartly and convincingly, but he also left me stunned.

    A little break to recover and then, let's go for "Redemption Ark"(Revelation Space #2)

    Boreas likes this.
  2. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Redemption Ark is much better and a faster read. It's a good thing you've already read Reynolds' collection Galactic North, so you'll have some background info from the first story "The Great Wall of Mars" which will prove satisfying. You could also read Chasm City before Redemption Ark - it's in the order Reynolds wrote those books, plus Redemption Ark is also briefly set in Chasm City, if I remember correctly.

    I'd like to re-read the early RS books myself, but there are still quite a few new books by Reynolds I need to get through.
    Diziet Sma likes this.
  3. Tiran

    Tiran Well-Known Member

    Alastair Reynolds' gift is the invention of such a barrage of novel ideas, all serving as plot points, that it hardly matters that the actual characters and dialogue are on the weak side. It would be like complaining that an incredibly delicious meal isn't pretty enough. It is a weakness that comes out in his books that don't have as much plot or inventive scenery. His best writing, like RS, defies the ordinary literary standard of giving the characters lives and relationships because they are simply too busy acting to ever be shown doing anything else. It is a very thrilling reading experience.

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