The Prefect (Revelation Space #7) ★★★★☆

prefect (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Prefect
Series: Revelation Space #7
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 516
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, an officer in the Panoply, a police force that enforces the few laws of the Glitter Band that orbits the planet Yellowstone.

Things start off with a bang as an Ultra ship uses its engines to wipe out 1 of the 10,000 Habitats. Dreyfus is sent in to investigate by his boss, Jane Aumonier. Jane had a run-in several years ago with an entity named the Clockmaker and has a mechanical tick on neck that places all sorts of restrictions on her or it will kill her.

During Dreyfus’s investigation it becomes apparent that the Ultra Captain was framed to cover something else up. While this investigation is going on, Dreyfus’s newest underling, Thalia Ng, is sent out on a routine software patch update to 4 of the Habitats. Said patch closes a loophole that allowed those habitats to sway the voting in their habitats, which is strictly against the Law. Thalia installs the code but finds out that it hid some other code that allowed another entity to take over those Habitats.

Thus is revealed the Bad Guy, Aurora Nerval-Lermontov. She is the only surviving member of the 80, an experiment by the Sylveste’s to truly digitize humans. She has been hiding and found a ship full of Conjoiners. Said conjoiners could see the future and saw the melding plague, which spells the end of the Glitter Band, and thus Aurora, as she would be destroyed by the melding plague. Aurora wants to prevent this plague but the only way she thinks is viable is to take over and control the entire Glitter Band, no matter how many people she has to kill.

Thalia must survive on the Habitat she is on while the rest of the Panoply tries to deal with Aurora, who has a traitor inside the Panoply. She uses the resources of the 4 Habitats she controls to create drones to spread her control code to other Habitats. Panoply ends up nuking several of them to contain the spread but realize they can’t really stop Aurora.

Dreyfus realizes that the first Habitat destroyed by the Ultra ship probably contained the Clockmaker and that Aurora was behind it, as the Clockmaker is the only entity Aurora truly fears. Dreyfus races against the traitor in their midst to find the Clockmaker and release it.

The Clockmaker and Aurora end up inhabiting the entire data band, which slows them down and makes them a non-threat for at least a century or two. The Panoply and the Ultra’s get together to clean up the remnants of Aurora’s forces and Dreyfus deals with the traitor, regains some memories he never knew he’d even lost and Life Goes On.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a decent end to my Revelation Space series read. Since I had already read about the melding plague and the glitter band, the situation presented to me wasn’t completely outside what I could comprehend.

That being said, this was only a decent end to my Revelation Space series read. I enjoyed what I read but I was neither wowed or impressed nor disgusted.

Dreyfus came across as this careworn, stoic, tired man who could barely function. I didn’t enjoy him as a character even while he wasn’t boring. No character was boring though. Each and everyone was unique and made the story what it was. I didn’t feel like anyone should have been cut out nor did I feel like I wanted “someone else”. But by the end of the book I realized that my time with Reynolds was over.

It feels kind of funny to be giving this 4stars and yet saying it wasn’t good enough to keep me reading more Reynolds, but hey, thems the breaks! Reynold’s style just never grabbed me like Neal Asher’s writing did, so take from that what you may.

Glad I read this compendium of 7 books but I’ve had enough.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Galactic North (Revelation Space #6) ★★★★½

galacticnorth (Custom).jpgThis review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Galactic North
Series: Revelation Space #6
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 356
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of 8 short stories and novellas set in Reynolds Revelation Space universe. Many of them focus on the Conjoiners and we get several stories that provide history about several of the Conjoiner characters we’ve read about in previous books.

There is also a story about the Green Light that is mentioned in an earlier book and while we don’t see how humanity overcomes that, we do see how it gets started.

One of the stories gives a tip ‘o the hat to the novella Diamond Dogs. That story was much closer to a horror story and it meshed with the tone of Diamond Dogs perfectly.

 

My Thoughts:

Man, another winner of a book. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I’d already read one or two of these stories in Reynold’s Best Of… Collection but they were just as good upon a re-read.

I did enjoy the variation in length of story from novella down to a short story. It helped with the flow of the book and never made me feel like I was slogging. I also liked finding out the history and future of several characters we have already met in previous books. Reading this was a nice “rounding out” experience.

By this time, if one has read this far into Reynold’s Revelation Space universe, nothing here is going to deter one from continuing. Not even referencing one’s self in the third person. That being said, I think there is only one more book for me to read and then I’ll have to go track down his other works and figure out what order to read them.

★★★★½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days (Revelation Space #5) ★★★★☆

diamonddogsturquoisedays (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
Series: Revelation Space #5
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 296
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

This book consists of the two Revelation Space novellas that make up the title of this book.

Diamond Dogs follows a man driven to explore a mysterious tower on a forsaken planet. The tower is made up of rooms with a puzzle in each room. Answer correctly and the door to the next room opens. Answer incorrectly and the Tower punishes you. This man gathers a group together and they begin the journey. They have a geneticist with them who helps change their bodies and minds to answer the various challenges. Along the way it is revealed that the man is actually a clone of the original man. Each clone is programmed with the memories of all those who came before and convinced that that particular clone CAN beat the tower. Eventually, only 2 other members of the group and the clone survive and the 2 remaining members turn back before they die. The clone continues on. Eventually one of the members can’t resist the lure and the story ends with him sneaking off on a spaceship to return to the Tower.

Turquoise Days follows 2 sisters on a Pattern Juggler world. Pattern Jugglers are ocean wide remnants of a civilization. They take in the mind of anyone who swims in their oceans and sometimes rearrange the swimmer’s mind and gives them a boost. The planet sees a spaceship coming and one night there is unprecedented Pattern Juggler activity. The sisters go swimming illegaly and one becomes one with the ocean and other has nothing happen to her. The spaceship arrives 2 years later with a contingent of scientists who want to study the Pattern Jugglers. Only it turns out they trying to revive a specific memory in the Pattern Jugglers and imprint it on all of their members. Said memory is of a Tyrant. The remaining sister convinces the Pattern Jugglers to resist the invaders and it does, agains all the humans on the planet. The book ends with the remaining sister giving herself to the ocean and the Pattern Jugglers destroying everything.

 

My Thoughts:

Cheery stories, eh? I’d read the first one in the book Beyond the Aquila Rift back in ’16. I couldn’t remember if that was the whole story or not. I enjoyed the story this time around too but my goodness, it was depressing. Not only the clones (all of them) megalomania but then the story ending with the other main character being drawn back by his own lust for knowledge. So good and evocative but I just groaned inside.

The second story was new to me so that made it quite fun to read. The ending wasn’t quite what I was expecting but considering Reynolds’ penchant for extinction events, once I thought about it it didn’t really surprise me. Reynolds is definitely a gloomy gus of a guy so don’t expect human exceptionalism to be part of the story. We don’t get to pull a rabbit out of our collective hat and save the day.

I really liked that Reynolds didn’t have 3 story plots going on that ever so slowly tied together. A good way to start the month out.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Absolution Gap (Revelation Space #4) ★★★☆½

absolutiongap (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Absolution Gap
Series: Revelation Space #4
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 704
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Quaiche is sent out to find sellable things for his Ultra masters and as it is his last chance, he’d better find something good. He finds a bridge on the moon Hela with an extinct species on it. He also finds a planet, Haldora, that randomly blinks out of existence. With his lover dying during this exploration, and a religious virus in his brain, Quaiche goes full on cult and starts a new religion based upon the planet’s disappearance.

Rashmika Els has grown up on the moon Hela and she is convinced that the extinct species, the Scuttlers, were not wiped out by the Inhibitors but by something else. Her brother had gone into the religious machine setup by Quaiche and Rashmika is determined to find him and prove her ideas. She gets embroiled in some plots Quaiche has going and it becomes evident that Rashmika has a lot of secrets of her own.

Scorpio the pig has been running things on the planet Ararat while Clavain has been off whining, sulking, do whatever the phracking loser has been sitting on his ass doing in the hinterlands. Unfortunately, when a one person craft comes to Ararat and disgorges Ana Khouri, things start to get complicated. Skade and the Conjoiners have been fighting Remontaine and his group of people. The Inhibitors are now involved and things are bad. Ana has a super baby (mentally) that Skade kidnaps. Skade crashes on Ararat, bringing the baby and the Inhibitors. The group on Ararat rescue Aura, the baby and then a group takes the spaceship and escapes into space. Aura tells them to go to Hela but Scorpio ignores her and heads back to Chasm City, only to see the whole system being infested and destroyed by the Inhibitors.

The Inhibitors are now making a push to wipe out humanity as a whole and Aura claims that only at Hela can Humanity’s salvation have a chance.

Everything comes together at Hela. Rashmika is actually Aura with her memories blocked and the disappearing planet Haldora is actually a machine for communicating with an alternate universe. The beings in the alternate universe claim they can destroy the Inhibitors if humanity will open the door for them. Everyone wants to let the Shadows through except Aura realizes it is a test by a third party. Humanity doesn’t let the shadows through and passes. They get help from this mysterious party and humanity begins to win the war against the Inhibitors.

The book ends 400 years after these events where Humanity is once again on the run from the Green Plague, a plague that turns all star systems into green globes and allows humanity to survive, but at the cost of any outward expansion. Very bleak.

 

My Thoughts:

Something about this book just didn’t grab me. Part of it is that the whole time frame thing really throws me off, even while making perfect sense. Without a FTL means of travel, events happen at greatly disparate times until they all come together. I think part of my issue is that Reynolds starts his threads so far apart that I feel like I’m reading 3 different novels at once and it’s not until the last 25% or so that they get tied together. I also don’t like the Conjoiners as specific characters, ie, Clavain, Skade, Remontaine, Aura, etc. As a group I find them fascinating but as individuals I almost universally hate them all.

For this book I found the ideas are what carried me along. However, at over 700 pages that is a lot of “idea” to drag along.

Overall, I just don’t have a lot to say. I am enjoying this Revelation Space but not nearly as much as Neal Asher’s Polity books. I am enjoying it much more than Banks’ wretched The Culture series though. I consider Asher, Reynolds and Banks the triumvirate of British SF for some reason and they’re ranked as I listed them. I have to admit, I was hoping that I’d enjoy them all equally but since they all write rather differently, that isn’t to be the case. At least I’m enjoying Reynolds enough to keep on reading his stuff.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Redemption Ark (Revelation Space #3) ★★★★☆

redemption ark (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Redemption Ark
Series: Revelation Space #3
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 708
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Inhibitors have arrived in force in the area of the planet Resurgam. It is up to 2 former pirate Ultras to get the 200,000 people scattered about Resurgam shuttled to the only vessel in near space that can hold them all. Said ship is fully engulfed by the melding plague which consumed its Captain, who now IS as much the ship as he is himself.

The Conjoiners have been aware of the threat of the Inhibitors for several centuries and have been working on a “quiet” inertialess drive that will allow them, and only them, to run away and hopefully escape notice from the Inhibitors. One man decides that isn’t right and goes after the cache of weapons on board the Ultras ship orbiting Resurgam. The main set of Conjoiners set off in pursuit of this man to get the weapons for themselves and to stop him from informing the rest of humanity, which would cause widespread panic.

The Inhibitors take apart several moons and a planet to create a weapon to make the system’s sun into a flamethrower. Resurgam is destroyed and only a couple thousand people make it off the planet. The renegade Conjoiner figures that the Inhibitors were supposed to be shepherds, not butchers and that with the wear and tear of the billions of years that their programming has slipped.

And some storyline about an independent freighter captain who gets involved in it all.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this while I was reading this but as soon as I was done it promptly left my mind. Part of it was the storyline with the Ultras, from the first book. They came across as pansies for whatever reason.

The whole Conjoiner and Inhibitor storylines was interesting to read, but once again, as soon as the book was done, so was I. It didn’t grab me. It didn’t leave me bored by any means, but it just didn’t force me on.

Definitely the weakest of the Revelation Space series so far. Still was a good book, mind you. Just not as engaging as the previous two. Nor is it an auspicious start to the year…

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Chasm City (Revelation Space #2) ★★★★½

chasmcity (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Chasm City
Series: Revelation Space #2
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 708
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

Tanner Mirabel wakes up with his memories scrambled. All he really knows is that he has to track down and kill one Argent Reivich, the man who killed his boss and boss’s wife. Tanner is now on Chasm City, light years from Sky’s Edge and he is without allies, without money and without much information. Thankfully, his memory is slowly coming back.

Tanner gets involved in problems on Chasm City when he’s kidnapped and used for a Hunt. The rich immortals living on Chasm City are bored and the Hunt is one way they alleviate such boredom. Between some unexpected allies and his own military background, Tanner turns the tables and suddenly has some allies, some money and some serious firepower. Unfortunately, while his memory is returning, other memories are also returning, the memories of Sky Haussman, the founder of Sky’s Edge. Which is impossible as Sky was crucified and killed a LONG time ago. Maybe Tanner is just going insane.

Tanner tracks Reivich down to an asteroid where Reivich is undergoing a Deep Scan, one where he will destroy his body but upload his mind. During all of this more and more memories are returning and Tanner finds out that the real Tanner is hunting HIM. Tanner is Kahuella, a war criminal from Sky’s Edge. There is a showdown between the two Tanners and “our” Tanner wins when he releases an unknown ability, the ability to bite with envenomed fangs and kills the original Tanner. ALL of “our” Tanner’s memories come crashing back and he realizes he is Sky Haussman and that the dreams of Haussman he’s been having aren’t from a bio-plague but true memories.

Tanner chooses to remain as Tanner and start a security company on Chasm City and give the Hunt the set of rules we are familiar with from the previous book.

 

My Thoughts:

In-freaking-credible! I enjoyed this read so much that I’m not really sure what to focus on. The only downside I guess.

I didn’t give this 5stars because I’m not sure how this will hold up to a re-read. 75% of the tension was not knowing what was going on with Tanner and his memories and now that I know, I don’t know how that will affect future re-reads. And that is it.

This had everything I wanted in a good Science Fiction story. Aliens, sentient and otherwise, weapons of mass destruction and little weapons, a grand amount of fighting and death and carnage that really racks up the body count. It was very similar to a Polity novel but Alastair’s style is so different from Neal Asher that there is NO mistaking the difference or feeling that you’re retreading territory.

The Sky Haussman episodes felt very much like history lessons but there was enough intrigue going on that it didn’t come across as boring info dumps. I have to admit though, most of the time info dumps don’t bother me, except when they do. I still haven’t figured out what the difference is though.

Alastair handles the time differentials skillfully. This book pretty much takes place at the same time as Revelation Space and so we get ties to make that book slightly fuller and here we find out information to make a re-read of RS richer.

Tanner makes for a great character. He’s driven, has a great skill set, has a conscience and still isn’t above killing people who are gunning for him. Following him as he remembers things was great fun. The whole memory thing was wicked weird, as the very idea was unsettling. If the mind can be so easily mucked around with, nothing is then sacred. But then, most materialists believe that the mind is just a series of synapses and electrical responses that can be transposed onto another medium “once we know enough”.

Apparently this was a novella first before it was expanded to this full length novel. So check the length of the one you’re reading if you’re not sure. I read the full novel and am not sure I’d want to try this as a novella.

★★★★½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Revelation Space (Revelation Space #1) ★★★★☆

revelationspace (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Revelation Space
Series: Revelation Space #1
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 596
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

An archeologist on the world of Resurgam is trying to prove that the extinct inhabitants of the planet had gotten to the technological standpoint of space travel. The rest of the colony just wants to terraform the world so they can live. A coup occurs and the archeologist, Dan Sylveste, is imprisoned and yet given enough freedom to perform his research. He eventually proves his theories right but still hasn’t answered how the aliens went extinct.

Ana Khouri, separated from her husband in a military accident and sent to the wrong world, has become an assassin for the near immortal rich in Chasm City. She’s hired by Madam to go and kill Sylveste. Khouri is hired by some Ultra’s (space goths from what I could tell who love to meddle with their bodies) who are on their way to Resurgam as well. They want Sylveste as well, to heal their captain, who is being taken over by some sort of viral plague that is melding him to the ship.

The Ultras kidnap Silvestre and his wife, while Khouri must deal with a digital avatar of the Madam in her head. Also on board the ship, is a shadowy something called Sun Stealer, which drove Khouri’s predecessor insanse. Sun Stealer is also the name of the being on the final monument of the aliens on Resurgam. Sylvestre also has the digital recording of his dead father in his head. Good times.

Turns out there is a dead species of aliens who lived to make sure no other species ever reached a certain technological level. They left artifacts scattered around the universe that would lead to the destruction of any species that interacted with them and that is what lead to the destruction of life on Resurgam.

The humans are all being manipulated by various alien factions to use the device so humanity will be the next target and draw away attention from them. Things don’t go according to the aliens plans and the humans survive and now know about the traps.Silvestre and his wife decide to stay on the artifact as digital incarnations while Khouri and the lone surviving Ultra head back to human space.

Hopefully to warn everyone. We aren’t told.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a VERY complex storyline, hence my rather inarticulate ramble of a synopsis. The universe that Reynolds has created reminds me a lot of Neal Asher’s Polity and Asher’s fascination with the Jain, long dead aliens inimical to all other lifeforms. Here Reynolds calls them the Inhibitors but it is not until nearly the end that we find out about them clearly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Unfortunately, most of the characters were rather unlikeable so my enjoyment was tempered by disgust. Khouri was the least objectionable person but she was a pawn for almost all of the book. I would say the ideas and the storyline were able to overcome the characters. That doesn’t happen very often for me.

After reading this, I feel like I have a decent grasp on modern Space Opera. Between Revelation Space, The Polity and The Culture, I can say it is something that I really like when it is done according to my tastes. I was apprehensive about starting this series, as I ended up disliking Banks’ The Culture book quite a bit. Thankfully this seemed to be more in line with The Polity, a series that I’m pretty in love with.

The inclusion of techno-porn (ie, the abundant description of technologies above and beyond the call of duty) did make me skip whole paragrapsh while reading. From a layman’s perspective, talking about that kind of thing does nothing for me and is just babble. So I skip it. It also tends to date your book for those who do know what you’re writing about, as theories go out of style like fashion. Sometimes being a little vague is ok.

I tore through this in about 3 days. Started it on a Thursday evening and finished it up by reading all day Saturday. I’m glad I’ve got all 7 novels in the series lined up. I hope the others live up to this one.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)