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{{ Book
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| image = Revelation_Space.jpg
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| date = 2000
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| number = 1
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| pages = 560
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| isbn = 1-85798-748-9
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| followed_by = ''[[Chasm City]]''<br/>''[[Redemption Ark]]''
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}}
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'''''Revelation Space''''' is a 2000 science fiction space opera novel by Welsh author [[Alastair Reynolds]]. It was the first novel set in the [[Revelation Space universe]], although the then-unnamed universe had already been established by several published short stories.
   
Revelation Space
+
The novel reflects Reynolds's professional background: he has a PhD in Astronomy and worked for many years for the European Space Agency.
 
Author Alastair Reynolds
 
Cover artist Chris Moore
 
Country Wales
 
Language English
 
Series Revelation Space
 
Genre(s) Hard sci-fi novel
 
Publisher Gollancz
 
Publication date 31 December 2002
 
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
 
Pages 560 pp
 
ISBN ISBN 1857987489
 
Followed by Redemption Ark
 
Revelation Space is a 2000 hard science fiction space opera novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. It was the first novel set in what became known as the Revelation Space universe, although the then-unnamed universe had already been established by several published short stories.
 
   
Revelation Space was followed in publication by Chasm City, a stand-alone novel which was set earlier in the universe's timeline but wasn't strictly a prequel. Chasm City was followed by Redemption Ark, which was a direct sequel both to Revelation Space and Chasm City.
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==Plot summary==
  +
''Revelation Space'' starts off with three seemingly unrelated narrative strands that eventually meet—and merge—as the novel progresses. This plot device is characteristic of many of Reynolds's works.
   
  +
The book opens in the year 2551 on [[Resurgam]], a planet considered a backwater on the edge of colonized human space. [[Dan Sylveste]], an xenoarchaeologist, leader of the colony, and wealthy scion of a prominent scientific family, leads a team excavating the remains of the [[Amarantin]], a long-dead, 900,000-year-old civilization that once existed on Resurgam. As a violent dust storm threatens to temporarily shut down the excavation, Sylveste discovers new evidence that the entire Amarantin race achieved a much higher level of technological sophistication than was previously known, before they were wiped out in a single mysterious cataclysm.
   
[edit] Plot summary
+
Next, the book jumps back to 2540, where most of the crew of the starship ''[[Nostalgia for Infinity]]'' are frozen for the journey to [[Yellowstone]] (in the [[Epsilon Eridani]] system) in order to find Sylveste. Because information is often decades old by the time it reaches other human settlements in a universe without faster-than-light travel, the crew does not realize it has been more than 15 years since Sylveste left Yellowstone to pursue archaeological work on Resurgam.
On the planet Resurgam, archaeologist and scion of House Sylveste, Dan Sylveste, is engaged in an archaeological dig, researching a species known as the Amarantin and cause of their apparent mass extinction, dubbed "the Event". Sylveste also has a lingering interest in the Shrouders, strange aliens who fortress themselves inside impenetrable artificially curved spacetime. He has to face several political problems on the colony, including a power struggle between the archaeologists and those interested in terraforming the planet to make it more habitable. Eventually Dan Sylveste is arrested and imprisoned during a coup.
 
   
Meanwhile, aboard the lighthugger Nostalgia for Infinity, Triumvir Ilia Volyova — an Ultranaut is having problems both with her new Gunnery Officer who has gone insane, and with the Captain John Brannigan, who is infected with the Melding Plague. Volyova slows the Plague by keeping the Captain and the Plague frozen. Plus, the ship is carrying a cache of 40 "Hell class" weapons that the crew found in a deserted area of space. The weapons have destructive capabilities beyond measure; one such weapon is able to make stars go nova, thereby destroying them.
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The ''Nostalgia for Infinity'' is an ancient ship that once carried hundreds of thousands, but now its crew is only a handful of [[Ultras]]—highly modified humans adapted to the rigors of long interstellar spaceflight. And they're desperate to find Sylveste because their captain has been infected with the [[Melding Plague]], a virus that attacks human cells and machine [[nanotechnology]] in equal measure, perverting them into grotesque combinations. It's believed that only the technological expertise of the Sylveste family can help cure the captain.
   
On Yellowstone, in Chasm City, ex-soldier Ana Khouri from Sky's Edge, separated and sent here away from her husband thanks to a clerical error, works for the company Shadowplay, an organization that lets the wealthy take out assassination contracts on themselves, so they can brag about the experience should they survive.
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Meanwhile, in 2524 in [[Chasm City]], Yellowstone, professional assassin [[Ana Khouri]] is hired by a mysterious figure known as [[The Mademoiselle]] to infiltrate the crew of the ''Nostalgia for Infinity'' as it reaches orbit around Yellowstone. Khouri's new employer knows the ship will follow Sylveste to the edge of human space in an attempt to find a cure for its captain, and gives Khouri explicit orders to kill Sylveste once the ''Nostalgia for Infinity'''s crew have found him. Using subterfuge, this new employer is able to arrange a meeting twenty years later between Khouri and one of the ship's triumvirs, [[Ilia Volyova]], making it appear as though the meeting happened by chance.
   
On the Nostalgia, Volyova ends up killing the crazed Gunnery Officer, Nagorny, and disguises his death as a malfunction of his reefersleep casket. The ship is en route to Yellowstone to look for Dan Sylveste, who is to able channel a Beta level of his dead father, Calvin Sylveste. Calvin is the only person with enough medical and technological expertise to have a chance at curing the Captain of the Melding Plague. Unfortunately they are too late; Dan had left on an archaeological expedition to Resurgam decades earlier. While the Nostalgia is on Yellowstone, Volyova decides to look for a new Gunnery Officer.
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In 2566, after Khouri has successfully infiltrated the crew of the ''Nostalgia for Infinity'' as the ship's new gunnery officer, the ship arrives in orbit around Resurgam. Desperate to secure Sylveste's expertise to help cure their captain, triumvirs Volyova, [[Sajaki]] and [[Abdul Hegazi|Hegazi]] demand the fledgling Resurgam civilisation turn Sylveste over to them. When the government of the small human colony balks, Volyova reminds them of the power at the disposal of her massive ship by apparently wiping out one of the planet's settlements with a single discharge of the ''Infinity'''s weapons.
   
Ana Khouri is kidnapped by the mysterious Mademoiselle and given a mission to terminate Dan Sylveste, for an as-yet unstated reason. When the crew of the Nostalgia for Infinity decides to head for Resurgam to look for Sylveste, the Mademoiselle manipulates Volyova's search procedures for a Gunnery Officer to let Khouri infiltrate the crew.
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Fearing the consequences of defying the Ultras for a second time, and knowing full well the starship is capable of destroying all human life on the planet, Resurgam's government hands over Sylveste, who travels to orbit accompanied by his wife, [[Pascale Girardieau|Pascale]].
   
Unbeknownst to Volyova, Ana Khouri is carrying a digital representation of the Mademoiselle in her head, which encounters the mysterious digital entity "Sun Stealer" hidden in the computer of the ship's weapons network. Sun Stealer cannot exit the weapons system undetected due to a firewall intended to prevent remote takeover of the ship's defences. However, once Khouri accesses the weaponry, her neural implants offer the Sun Stealer an escape route. The Mademoiselle fights a digital battle against Sun Stealer for the duration of the trip to Resurgam inside Khouri's implants.
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Once aboard, however, Sylveste turns the tables—he informs the triumvirs that he has [[Pin-head munitions|antimatter bombs]] hidden inside the implants in his artificial eyes. A detonation from one of those anti-matter bombs would be enough to destroy the ''Nostalgia for Infinity''. Emboldened, Sylveste makes a deal with the crew—he will attempt to cure their captain in exchange for them using their ship to take him closer to [[Cerberus]], a planet near Resurgam that carried particular significance for the Amarantin civilisation.
   
Upon arrival at Resurgam, the crew discovers that Sylveste has been captured by the new government of Resurgam and coerce the fledgling government into handing Sylveste over. Once aboard the Nostalgia, Sylveste is then able to hijack the entire ship by revealing that his implants are carrying antimatter, which he threatens to detonate should the crew not comply with his wishes. He instructs them to move the Nostalgia along the final trip to the nearby neutron star Hades and the strange camouflaged artificial planet Cerberus that orbits it. At this point, they debate as to whether or not they should attempt to enter Cerberus. Khouri has been informed by the Mademoiselle that Cerberus contains an Inhibitor beacon, and argues against any further approach to Cerberus. The dispute becomes increasingly violent, until Volyova commences an attack upon Cerberus.
+
As Sylveste and the crew of the ''Nostalgia for Infinity'' approach Cerberus, Sylveste realizes the massive celestial body isn't a planet at all—but rather, a massive technological beacon, aimed at alerting machine sentience to the appearance of new star-faring cultures. It is this beacon, Sylveste belatedly realises, that alerted a machine intelligence known as the [[Inhibitors]] to the presence of the Amarantin, and ultimately caused the demise of that race. The beacon begins to activate and Sylveste detonates the bombs in his eyes to destroy the facility.
   
Before the crew can progress any further, the Sun Stealer succeeds in taking over the ship's computers and is preparing to attack them. Volyova and Khouri realize that the Sun Stealer's function is to attract the attention of the Inhibitors: he is a digital envoy of the mysterious Shrouders, who sent envoys such as the Sun Stealer out to attract the Inhibitors' attention using the beacons- if the Inhibitors responded, then it was still too dangerous to leave their spacetime fortresses. Realizing that alerting the Inhibitors would spell the end of humanity, Volyova and Khouri attempt to stop Sylveste from reaching the beacon in Cerberus.
+
==Publication history==
  +
As this was Alastair Reynolds's first published hardback or hardcover fiction, and was published in a relatively small initial print run in the United Kingdom, it subsequently became a collectible first edition.
   
The pair are ultimately unsuccessful, and Sylveste penetrates Cerberus's defence systems (Cerberus is revealed to be have been built by aliens to deter other species from reaching the Inhibitor beacon at the centre). Dan Sylveste and the simulation of his father Calvin are scanned as they enter the centre, and copies of them are reawakened inside the Hades Matrix, revealed to be a vast alien computer. Khouri is crushed by the gravity of the neutron star Hades, but has also been recreated digitally within the Hades computer matrix, while Volyova has returned to the Nostalgia for Infinity. Finally realizing that he has been tricked by the Sun Stealer, the original Sylveste detonates the antimatter in his implants, sacrificing his physical self in a last attempt to stop the Inhibitors from awakening.
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==See also==
  +
{{Revelation Space series}}
   
Khouri is released by the Hades Matrix and returns to Nostalgia for Infinity, where she finds the Sun Stealer has been defeated- Volyova deactivated the freezer units holding the Melding Plague at bay, allowing the plague to subsume the entire ship. With the Sun Stealer destroyed, and Sylveste now existing as a simulation in the Hades matrix, Khouri and Volyova leave on the Nostalgia for Infinity, unaware that the Inhibitors have, in fact, been awakened.
+
==External links==
+
*[http://www.alastairreynolds.com/release/revelation-space/ Official article on ''Revelation Space''] at [http://www.alastairreynolds.com/ Alastair Reynolds' website]
+
*[https://www.gollancz.co.uk/titles/alastair-reynolds/revelation-space/9780575087743/ Official site of ''Revelation Space''] at [https://www.gollancz.co.uk/ Gollancz.co.uk]
[edit] Publication history
+
*[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revelation_Space ''Revelation Space''] article at [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Wikipedia]
As this was Alastair Reynolds's first published hardback fiction, and was published in a relatively small initial print run in the United Kingdom, it subsequently became one of the most collectible first editions of the decade.
+
* Author's blog
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**''[https://approachingpavonis.blogspot.com/2013/10/two-trunks.html Two Trunks]'' (15 October 2013) - discussing his first two written, unpublished science fiction novels from the 1980s (''A Union World'' and ''Dominant Species'')
+
**''[https://approachingpavonis.blogspot.com/2012/10/it-was-twenty-years-ago-today.html It was twenty years ago today]'' (5 October 2012) - discussing the history of the first drafts for what later became the novel ''Revelation Space''
+
**''[https://approachingpavonis.blogspot.com/2015/12/closing-contact.html Closing Contact]'' (18 December 2015) - discussing the early 1990s prototype for what later became the novel ''Revelation Space''
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revelation_space
+
* Reviews
  +
** [http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/revspace.htm Infinity Plus review] (by Keith Brooke) at [http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ InfinityPlus.co.uk]
  +
**[http://www.sfbrp.com/archives/140 ''Revelation Space'' audio review] at [http://www.sfbrp.com/ The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast]
  +
** [http://www.sfreviews.net/revelationspace_b.html SFNet review]
  +
** [http://www.sfsite.com/10b/rs114.htm SF Site review]
  +
** [http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2004/04/review-revelation-space-by-alastair-reynolds/ SF Signal review]
  +
[[Category:Books]]
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[[Category:Stories]]
  +
[[Category:Novels]]
  +
[[Category:Inhibitor trilogy]]

Latest revision as of 23:07, October 2, 2019

Revelation Space
Revelation Space
Author Alastair Reynolds
Publication date 2000
Number in series 1
Pages 560
ISBN 1-85798-748-9
Followed by Chasm City
Redemption Ark

Revelation Space is a 2000 science fiction space opera novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. It was the first novel set in the Revelation Space universe, although the then-unnamed universe had already been established by several published short stories.

The novel reflects Reynolds's professional background: he has a PhD in Astronomy and worked for many years for the European Space Agency.

Plot summaryEdit

Revelation Space starts off with three seemingly unrelated narrative strands that eventually meet—and merge—as the novel progresses. This plot device is characteristic of many of Reynolds's works.

The book opens in the year 2551 on Resurgam, a planet considered a backwater on the edge of colonized human space. Dan Sylveste, an xenoarchaeologist, leader of the colony, and wealthy scion of a prominent scientific family, leads a team excavating the remains of the Amarantin, a long-dead, 900,000-year-old civilization that once existed on Resurgam. As a violent dust storm threatens to temporarily shut down the excavation, Sylveste discovers new evidence that the entire Amarantin race achieved a much higher level of technological sophistication than was previously known, before they were wiped out in a single mysterious cataclysm.

Next, the book jumps back to 2540, where most of the crew of the starship Nostalgia for Infinity are frozen for the journey to Yellowstone (in the Epsilon Eridani system) in order to find Sylveste. Because information is often decades old by the time it reaches other human settlements in a universe without faster-than-light travel, the crew does not realize it has been more than 15 years since Sylveste left Yellowstone to pursue archaeological work on Resurgam.

The Nostalgia for Infinity is an ancient ship that once carried hundreds of thousands, but now its crew is only a handful of Ultras—highly modified humans adapted to the rigors of long interstellar spaceflight. And they're desperate to find Sylveste because their captain has been infected with the Melding Plague, a virus that attacks human cells and machine nanotechnology in equal measure, perverting them into grotesque combinations. It's believed that only the technological expertise of the Sylveste family can help cure the captain.

Meanwhile, in 2524 in Chasm City, Yellowstone, professional assassin Ana Khouri is hired by a mysterious figure known as The Mademoiselle to infiltrate the crew of the Nostalgia for Infinity as it reaches orbit around Yellowstone. Khouri's new employer knows the ship will follow Sylveste to the edge of human space in an attempt to find a cure for its captain, and gives Khouri explicit orders to kill Sylveste once the Nostalgia for Infinity's crew have found him. Using subterfuge, this new employer is able to arrange a meeting twenty years later between Khouri and one of the ship's triumvirs, Ilia Volyova, making it appear as though the meeting happened by chance.

In 2566, after Khouri has successfully infiltrated the crew of the Nostalgia for Infinity as the ship's new gunnery officer, the ship arrives in orbit around Resurgam. Desperate to secure Sylveste's expertise to help cure their captain, triumvirs Volyova, Sajaki and Hegazi demand the fledgling Resurgam civilisation turn Sylveste over to them. When the government of the small human colony balks, Volyova reminds them of the power at the disposal of her massive ship by apparently wiping out one of the planet's settlements with a single discharge of the Infinity's weapons.

Fearing the consequences of defying the Ultras for a second time, and knowing full well the starship is capable of destroying all human life on the planet, Resurgam's government hands over Sylveste, who travels to orbit accompanied by his wife, Pascale.

Once aboard, however, Sylveste turns the tables—he informs the triumvirs that he has antimatter bombs hidden inside the implants in his artificial eyes. A detonation from one of those anti-matter bombs would be enough to destroy the Nostalgia for Infinity. Emboldened, Sylveste makes a deal with the crew—he will attempt to cure their captain in exchange for them using their ship to take him closer to Cerberus, a planet near Resurgam that carried particular significance for the Amarantin civilisation.

As Sylveste and the crew of the Nostalgia for Infinity approach Cerberus, Sylveste realizes the massive celestial body isn't a planet at all—but rather, a massive technological beacon, aimed at alerting machine sentience to the appearance of new star-faring cultures. It is this beacon, Sylveste belatedly realises, that alerted a machine intelligence known as the Inhibitors to the presence of the Amarantin, and ultimately caused the demise of that race. The beacon begins to activate and Sylveste detonates the bombs in his eyes to destroy the facility.

Publication historyEdit

As this was Alastair Reynolds's first published hardback or hardcover fiction, and was published in a relatively small initial print run in the United Kingdom, it subsequently became a collectible first edition.

See alsoEdit

Revelation Space series
NOVELS
A Prefect Dreyfus Emergency
(crime fiction series, 2007-present)
Aurora Rising (2007) | Open and Shut (short story midquel, 2018) | Elysium Fire (2018)
----
Chasm City
(standalone novel, 2001)
----
Inhibitor trilogy
(main novel series, 2000-2003)
Revelation Space (2000) | Redemption Ark (2002) | Absolution Gap (2003)

ANTHOLOGIES
Galactic North
(2006, short stories)
Great Wall of Mars | Glacial | A Spy in Europa | Weather
Dilation Sleep | Grafenwalder's Bestiary | Nightingale | Galactic North
----
Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
(2003, novellas)
Diamond Dogs | Turquoise Days
----
Other anthologies
Deep Navigation (2010) - Monkey Suit (2009)
Beyond the Aquila Rift (2016) - The Last Log of the Lachrimosa (2014)
Infinite Stars (2017) - Night Passage (2017)

PUBLISHED ONLINE
Subterranean Press Magazine (2014, summer issue) - The Last Log of the Lachrimosa (2014)
Gollancz / Hachette UK (2018) - Open and Shut (2018)

BEHIND THE SCENES / RELATED ARTICLES
Revelation Space universe | Alastair Reynolds | Websites
Cultural and scientific references | Adaptations | Translations
Book cover art | Fan art

External linksEdit

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