zondag 23 juli 2017

"Revelation Space" by Alastair Reynolds

“The human capacity for grief. It just isn't capable of providing an adequate emotional response once the dead exceed a few dozen in number. And it doesn't just level off—it just gives up, resets itself to zero. Admit it. None of us feel a damn about these people.”

Human colonists are settling Resurgam, the homeworld of the Amarantin, an alien species which was wiped out completely thousands of years ago. Dan Sylveste is an archeologist who is investigating an ancient Amarantin city. He finds out that the very thing that destroyed Amarantin civilization, might still pose a threat.
Ilia Volyova is a crew member of the giant spaceship Nostalgia for Infinity, and is looking for Sylveste, who she thinks can help her captain, who has been infected with a strange virus.
Ana Khouri is an ex-military, now professional assassin, who is hired by the mysterious 'Mademoiselle' to murder Sylveste.
The three stories blend together as Sylveste tries to escape his fate, while at the same time trying to find a cure for the Nostalia's captain and finding out what led to the Amarantin's demise.

An intriguing novel. A quote from fellow author Paul McAuley describes this book as 'cybergoth space opera' and that is an excellent description. There's the universe and time-spanning scope, the cyberpunk factor and a touch of horror. This is so-called 'hard SF', which means there's a lot of focus on technology. It's pretty tough to get your head around the weird science fictional concepts in this book. Ultimately, this is what started to put me off a bit. For me, the book could have done with about 200 pages less, which would have helped the story develop more fluently. A case of 'a touch too much'. It has to be said, though, that this 'hard SF' is usually not my thing, so I'm sure afficionados will love the stuff. Still, I quite enjoyed the book.

Author: Alastair Reynolds
Title: Revelation Space
Publisher: Gollanzc, London
Year: 2013 (orig. 2000)
Number of pages: 598 p.
ISBN: 9780575129061

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