Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, #2) (2024)

Revelation Space #2

Alastair Reynolds, Chris Moore(Illustration)


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Late in the twenty-sixth century, the human race has advanced enough to accidentally trigger the Inhibitors - alien killing machines designed to detect intelligent life and destroy it. The only hope for humanity lies in the recovery of a secret cache of doomsday weapons -and a renegade named Clavain who is determined to find them. But other factions want the weapons for their own purposes - and the weapons themselves have another agenda altogether...

    GenresScience FictionFictionSpace OperaSpaceAudiobookHard Science FictionScience Fiction Fantasy

694 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2002

About the author

Alastair Reynolds


I'm Al, I used to be a space scientist, and now I'm a writer, although for a time the two careers ran in parallel. I started off publishing short stories in the British SF magazine Interzone in the early 90s, then eventually branched into novels. I write about a novel a year and try to write a few short stories as well. Some of my books and stories are set in a consistent future named after Revelation Space, the first novel, but I've done a lot of other things as well and I like to keep things fresh between books.

I was born in Wales, but raised in Cornwall, and then spent time in the north of England and Scotland. I moved to the Netherlands to continue my science career and stayed there for a very long time, before eventually returning to Wales.

In my spare time I am a very keen runner, and I also enjoying hill-walking, birdwatching, horse-riding, guitar and model-making. I also dabble with paints now and then. I met my wife in the Netherlands through a mutual interest in climbing and we married back in Wales. We live surrounded by hills, woods and wildlife, and not too much excitement.

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5 stars

11,123 (37%)

4 stars

13,187 (44%)

3 stars

4,638 (15%)

2 stars

680 (2%)

1 star

176 (<1%)

Displaying 1 - 30 of 905 reviews

Mario the lone bookwolf

805 reviews4,794 followers

September 20, 2020

Trying to break free from potential extinction by quarreling about the right use of alternative, time travel induced, defense options.

The philosophical implications of what good leadership could look like are immense. Would it be right to limit the civil liberties of some groups to avoid disadvantages for all the others in the long term? That´s seen as followed: So are they really crazy, evil, malfunctioning, or have just read too much wacky human economic and political texts from between the 18th and 23rd century?

The main plot is a bit complicated, interwoven, and seems to be building on the premise that the reader knows at least a bit about the universe or has already read one of the previous novels. It´s also missing a bit more of the epic proportions, settings, and general action. Still an exceptional, incomparable read, but it could have been much more.

Good, old doomsday weapons, who has the legitimization to build, steal, use, reverse engineer, and talk to them? I have a very strong tendency to deem one of the contrary beliefs shown in 2 opposing main characters stupid and the other one wise, but there may be many individual interpretations and no certainty about right or wrong, again suffering of some for the sake of all, or, the most pretentious, naive, and dangerous attitude, not building more or even destroying the weapons one already has. Sure, great idea, it´s not as if Earth would have been covered in endless wars without the nuclear option and I am sure that alien civilizations will have many reasons not to kill, destroy, and afterward mine anything they find interesting if there is no MAD doctrine
in the background. There are many profound reasons for why this would work, for instance, unicorns, rainbows, lollypops, and freaking genocides.

As so often, I am not sure about a potential second layer behind the characters' motivations, if Reynolds implemented some subtle innuendos about ideologies I have no interest in because they are so stupid or if it are just pure extrapolations of what might happen in the future and how fractions could form. He avoids philosophizing about current and past mentalities, just shows the more or less logical standpoints of characters and fractions, mostly influenced by how they deal with tech.

It seems as if humanities and social science don´t really play a role in the more dystopian future, but especially some of the rare hereof descriptions of Demarchists, Ultras, Conjoiners,... show that there is far more potential for not just letting them fight and research, but debate, show more details of their worlds, generally world build more towards some of the less hard sciency elements. That´s not Reynolds´ style, intend, or interest, but the universe could be far much more profound if anything living would have had more than just sockpuppet function to accelerate the plot with cliffhangers, fast cuts, and rare real emotions.

Some other elements are long time range attack space battles, hyper pigs going to war, the melting captain, some mindscrews by metaphysical, technological, and physical factors, how primitive human high tech seems in contrast to real magnitude, be it quantity, quality, or, most important factor, time. What a short time we use to be sentient, semi intelligent beings and that something could be already thinking, evolving, and researching for billions of years.

I´ve already said this before, don´t start reading Reynolds without the will to skip very hard science descriptions, historical lectures about aliens evolutions, and the general lengths of a book focused and detailed descriptions of a dark, broken future.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:

February 6, 2009

This is a very frustrating book to evaluate. There is a *great* 400 page novel sitting inside this flabby 700 page slug.

Reynolds has a great imagination and is extremely thoughtful. This is fantastic hard sci-fi told on an epic scale. Well, almost hard sci-fi, he flirts (needlessly) with breaking the laws of physics, but for the most part we're sitting square in the "real world" here. He does an excellent job of thinking about the *consequences* of his technologies and the way they would shape societies and opinions. This is not modern-day life with laser guns, these are fundamentally different people living in a fundamentally different world.

But somebody get this man an editor! Of course, he has an editor, and I bet that person hates him. The prose tends to ramble around (you will read a paragraph and think "I wrote something almost exactly like that in High School") and there are scores of pages devoted to characters and side stories that are utter wastes of time.

And yet... the core is *so* good! The ideas are big, the vision grand, the science fiction thoughtful and simultaneously plausible and utterly alien. When Redemption Ark is firing on all cylinders it is so good you can forgive all the dead weight. Ultimately, if you really like hard sci-fi, you pretty much have to read this series, even if you suffer through parts of it. Nobody said life was fair or easy.

mark monday

1,747 reviews5,548 followers

July 3, 2012

i'm just going to copy and paste this from a group, because i'm lazy that way. okay maybe i'll edit it a little bit too. for kicks.

it was a good book overall, and i enjoyed it as much as its predecessor. lots of great concepts to digest and i'm still digging the basic idea behind the enemy threat of the Inhibitors. i also really liked reading about the Conjoiners, but then i'm a sucker for anything having to do with melding minds etc.

Reynolds still has his primary weakness: characterization. in the last book, his characters were one-dimensional and often Byronic or Apollonian or Nietzschean or whatever, with very little nuance or shades of gray, and just rather unappealing. in this book he is clearly trying harder. no one actually comes across as inhuman as they did in the last book. unfortunately i think his goals outstrip his talent at building real characters (at least in this book; i presume he's improved). he spends a lot of time trying to make his characters three-dimensional (some of it works; some of it is, frankly, rather amateurish)... but then by the last quarter, it is almost like he gives up because he needs the characters to do certain things so that the plot can go a certain way, and then it's back to the same dire unreasonableness that all of his characters displayed in the first book. there was a last-minute decision by Captain Brannigan/the Ship 'Nostalgia for Infinity' that was rather excruciatingly nonsensical. in retrospect, i sorta prefer the first novel's static depictions of ruthless id because then the weird characterization matches the weird concepts. it's so far in the future that humans aren't even human anymore - people are just all different types of hyper-enhanced uber-asshole genius-sociopath. makes sense to me!

ah well, can't win 'em all. the book is pretty successful in many other aspects. the goth appeal of the first novel is not as present - which makes it all a bit less distinctive - but that is more than made up for by an involving and often tensely exciting narrative of the multiple-strands-coming-together variety. the science is interesting (if a little repetitious). besides the character meltdown i mentioned, the description and persona of this gigantic haunted house of a freighter-spaceship Nostalgia for Infinity being horribly combined with depressed, formerly homicidal Capt Brannigan into a kind of organic Lovecraftian nightmare-ship, constantly growing external spikes and oozing dark fluids and basically looking like a Giger-inspired fever-dream... now that was a source of endless fascination for me. i'd like to take a vacation there! and the characterization isn't all bad all the time, for the most part it's actually okay. i really liked the lead (conflicted military commander Clavain). a key supporting character (a kind of hermetic savant named Felka) was a rather ingenious creation - and very sympathetic as well. the author did a great job setting up the motivations for the novel's villain (Skade) and watching her various permutations was interesting. overall there are a lot of bright & shiny things to look at in Redemption Ark, and i was happily distracted whenever i picked it up. well maybe not bright & shiny per se - it's more like a strange, corroded kid's toy made out of rusty knives and old tire irons by someone extremely intelligent and not too into kids.

i'm looking forward to the 3rd and last novel of the trilogy. Pattern Jugglers! the (presumable) return of messianic psychopath scientist Whatsisname. and more Conjoiners & Inhibitors!



507 reviews827 followers

February 20, 2015

Revelation Space was the first Reynolds book I read, I imagine it is the starting point for most Reynolds readers as it is his best known and breakthrough book. While I quite like some of Revelation Space I was not exactly won over by it. I found some of it quite hard to follow and the pace flagged from time to time. However, I understood and liked enough of it to try another Reynolds book. Happily that turned out to be House of Suns, a book now firmly ensconced in my SF Top 20 bookshelf, it is a brilliant standalone book, though not part of the Rev Space series. A few months after that I read Chasm City (a standalone novel set in the Rev Space universe) , and it was a case of "He Shoots, He Scores!" again.

My reservation about reading Redemption Ark is that it is apparently a continuation of Revelation Space, a book I did not like that much, and thanks to my sieve-like memory I have forgotten most of the details of the settings, events, characters names etc. Still, I really wanted to read it as it is Reynolds' highest rated book (in average score) on Goodreads. Fortunately I came across Cecily's excellent review where she mentioned that it could be read as a standalone, that is good enough for me, I'll do some Googling if I really need help. So here we are! Now, if you want to read a well written and intelligent review of this book head over to the aforementioned Cecily's review, on the other hand if you are in the market for a rambling, incoherent review you have come to the right place.

The events of Redemption Ark take place a few decades after the end of Revelation Space, the central plot concerns the search for "hell-class weapons" which - as the name implies - are basically futuristic super duper WMD capable of wiping out spaceships and probably whole planets with a single shot. They are needed to protect humanity from The Inhibitors (AKA The Wolves) whose mission in life appears to be the destruction of intelligent life wherever they find it (their motivation is more complex than that but that is spoiler territory). Fans of Reynold's mind blowing epic epicness will not be disappointed with the scale of Redemption Ark. The Inhibitors are playing an extremely long game here.

The book features a couple of characters from the previous book but the central character is Nevil Clavain a man who has taken it upon himself to save humanity and having a suitably miserable time of it, I mean whoever heard of a proper hero with a "joie de vivre" attitude?

As with all the Reynolds books I have read Redemption Ark is full of "sensawonder" inventions in an epic scale setting. This book is a huge improvement on Revelation Space in term of writing and characterization. One problem I found with Revelation Space is that the female characters seem to be badass Ellen Ripley types.
Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, #2) (6)
(Ellen Ripley, she's the one on the left with the gun!)

The two returning characters Ilia Volyova and Ana Khouri have matured a lot since Revelation Space, they now seem less like kickass sci-fi babes than believable human beings with flaws and insecurities. Nevil Clavain is a very complex and conflicted individuals, even the villainous characters have understandable motivation, not to mention one or two sympathetic AI characters. Along the way there are passages that ruminate upon the meaning and value of sentience, even the idea of "love" is examined in intelligent non-saccharine terms. I am a sucker for characters redemption, I often feel moved when a character is convincingly redeeming himself / herself. As the title implies redemption is a central theme of the book. One particular chapter brought a lump to my throat and that is where the fifth star of the book's rating is earned. Every book that I rate at five stars made me feel something, like a wee touch at the emotional core. Such books are all too rare (which may be a good thing, otherwise I'd be an emotional wreck every time I read a book).

So once again He Shoots, He Scores!
My next Reynolds will be Doctor Who: Harvest of Time because Venusian Aikido is cool!



262 reviews62 followers

June 7, 2023

Foarte buna continuare. Aproape toate problemele primului volum au fost rezolvate, imbunatatite. Abia astept sa citesc volumul trei. Recomand cu caldura pentru orice pasionat de S.F.
Very good continuation. Almost all the problems of the first volume have been solved, improved. I can't wait to read volume three. I warmly recommend for any S.F.



417 reviews2,159 followers

Shelved as 'abandoned'

March 11, 2013

Caveat: this is not really a review, but rather a plaintive cry and is based on having read the previous book set in this universe in full (Revelation Space), an abortive attempt to read the non-series Reynolds book House of Suns, and finally the book in question up to page 236 (out of 694!)…hence no star rating.

Why won’t you let me love you Alastair Reynolds? I *need* some high quality space opera, preferably with various factions of humanity living on planets, in orbital habitats, and on space ships with varying levels of (and relationships to) technology, physical modifications, and philosophical outlook. I want star faring ships encountering bizarre eco-systems, maybe some incomprehensible precursor alien tech, and some fine shading of cyberpunk in the background. I desire a virtual tour of the variegated human cosmos as it exists in this world with a bit of a peek at the variety and wonder that it offers, obviously with a large dollop of the bad, decayed, and criminal thrown in for good measure. Also, please have it written in some decent prose. You seem to be able to provide all of this for me, Mr. Reynolds but, but…you don’t. *sigh*

I fell in love with these wonderful skiffy elements as presented in works like The Ophiuchi Hotline, Vacuum Flowers, and (the dearest of all to my heart) Schismatrix Plus. At least two of these are avowed sources for your own work Alastair…why then can’t I love you?! Why do I always find myself struggling with your books? Why do I finish them (when I do) with a vague sense of dissatisfaction? Why do your worlds seem less real, less interesting, less perceptible to my mind’s eye than those of other writers? Actually I think I may be able to pinpoint it to a few distinct areas:

First of all there…are…too…many…words. What is it with fantasy and sci-fi these days needing to push the page count beyond 400, 500, even 600 pages (let’s not even mention Peter F. Hamilton right now, ok)? Reynolds falls into this trap with verbose descriptions that manage to be both excessively wordy and complex and yet vague and difficult for me to parse into a real image. In addition while Reynolds is in no way a bad writer his prose is very, well, I guess I’d say workman-like. I’m willing to wade through high page counts and verbose descriptions, but you better have a way with words if you’re gonna force me through it. A word to the wise Alastair? An editor could really help you out with that! Compress! Refine! Streamline! This over-wordiness conjoined with lack of clarity means that even when Reynolds has a cool idea it just fails to translate (for me at least). I can’t inhabit your worlds when the words that express them keep me at arm’s length.

Secondly I have to admit that I don’t find his characters particularly interesting or well developed. They aren’t always bland (though they often are), but they tend to exhibit character more through narrative fiat than they do by action. I’m told what they’re like much more often than I’m shown it. There is also the niggling little aspect that even when they come from diametrically opposed human factions, supposedly based on completely different philosophies, technologies and even physiologies, they all seem pretty hom*ogenous. When I hear the Conjoiners (members of a supposed hive-mind) Skade or Clavain talking neither of them really seem much different in outlook or attitude than the ‘Ultra’ Ilia Volyova or the ‘normal’ Ana Khouri. Also, isn’t Felka supposed to be a brain-damaged semi-autistic Conjoiner unable to interact with others or read social cues? Why does she talk just like everyone else and seem to have no problem at all functioning when I see her in action, despite the repeated assurances peppered throughout the text that she is a broken human being who doesn’t know how to relate?

Point three is kind of a mash up of one and two I guess: both issues seem to mean that even when Reynolds has, in theory, a really cool idea I just don’t quite believe him when I see the execution. Case in point: the Conjoiners. Aren’t these guys supposed to be a networked hive-mind? How come they all seem to have completely distinct personalities with little to no interface between them aside from the ability to talk ‘telepathically’ to each other and a need to live in close proximity? Maybe I just have a too simplistic expectation of what a hive-mind is, but I got no real sense of how personalities might shade into each other, or be completely subsumed, in such an environment. Sorry Alastair, but Swanwick did it better. Another example: the Inhibitors. They’re billed as ancient, semi-dormant, and incomprehensible aliens with a mission to destroy any and all sentient life in the galaxy. Sounds like a winner, right? All I can say is that if you want to read about the incomprehensible, and even non-sentient, coming to destroy humanity check out *sigh* I’m sorry I’m probably being a bit harsh here, but I just had such high expectations of you Alastair…what happened?! I know, I know, it’s not you it’s me. We want the same things…I just want you to give them to me in a way you’re not prepared to…I guess it’s just best if we part ways. I’m sorry.

    sci-fi space-opera

Heidi The Reader

1,395 reviews1,538 followers

February 21, 2020

In Redemption Ark, we return to the universe of Revelation Space in the second book of Alastair Reynolds' science fiction series. Some of the characters readers will recognize, others are new. As usual, we are treated to Reynolds' prodigious talent when it comes to heaping helpings of the science part of science fiction.

Those are the best parts of this book: the futuristic space battles and the mysterious machinations of the Inhibitors, machines designed by an alien intelligence to wipe out civilizations that develop the technology to travel among the stars. For the reasoning behind this decision, you'll have to read the book. :)

They had never encountered another extant machine-using intelligence, nothing to measure themselves against. Until now. And what this machine-using intelligence did, so it seemed, was stalk, infiltrate and slaughter, and then invade skulls. pg 7

Humanity has divided itself into distinctive groups during its expansion into space, one of the most notable of these being the Conjoiners, a technologically advanced society that has linked its digital implants in a sort of hive mind. This link created a sort of "enlightenment" and connected the Conjoiners together in ways that aren't quantifiable by those outside of the group.

"Down at the very deepest level Skade detected a few partitioned private memories that he did not think she could read. For a thrilling instant she was tempted to reach in an edit the man's own blockades, screening one or two tiny cherished memories from their owner. Skade resisted; it was enough to know that she could." pg 30

However, not everyone wants to allow the neural Conjoiner implants for fear of the loss of autonomy or privacy (see above) and embrace a more Luddite view of technology. This limited use of technology was pushed further by the appearance of a "melding plague," an alien infestation that invades technology in an organic manner and consumes it, creating something else.

As you can tell from my rambling, Reynolds has created a universe populated with fascinating cultures, technologies and relationships. My main quibble with this book, as it was with his last, is his seeming inability to write about emotions. The extraordinary breakthrough of the Conjoiners was intimately connected to emotion and sharing it in a way that was impossible prior to the neural implants- an evolution of mankind. Reynolds puts all that depth into one or two lines of one paragraph of the book, which was fascinating to me, but also infuriating.

"Once you've touched someone else's mind, walked through their dreams, seen the world through their eyes, felt the world through their skin... well... there never seemed to be any real need to go back to the old way." pg 528

He could have written a whole book about that one idea if he wanted to- I'd read it.

Another issue I had was the conclusion, which I won't spoil for anyone here, but he writes it as almost an afterthought. For more than 500 pages, he built to this spectacular conclusion, which he then tossed away.

I was so mad.

On the other hand, he sets up the next book in the series beautifully, which must have pleased his publisher.

Highly recommended for science fiction readers. There are few who write the science better than Alastair Reynolds, but don't expect too much in the way of emotional depth or exploration.

    fantasy-and-sci-fi fiction the-numinous-book-club

David Sven

288 reviews472 followers

July 21, 2013

The plague ship Nostalgia for Infinity is back. 4 kilometres of machine melded into a cathedral of the grotesque that is part spaceship, part alien virus, part man, more than a bit creepy and 100% Awesome.

Nuff said...but wait, there's more

As if taking the concept of cyborg to the extreme isn't enough, Nostalgia for Infinity comes packing heat. Hell-class weapons. And they aren't call hell-class for nothing - each of them capable of unleashing Armageddon with a thought. And is the mind behind that thought sane? Is it even human? Now that is a good question.

Of course, it takes more than one spaceship to make a space opera, and Reynolds serves it up from Lighthugger capital ships pursuing each other at near light speed, to space battles with heavy relativistic weapons spewing carnage over immense distance, to space pirates, to hyperpigs riding thruster trikes - (think choppers in space with guns and armour maybe with "Bacon Rules" splashed on the side).

This book we also get a close up look at the conjoiner faction. Humans who have taken neural augmentation to the point where thought is enhanced by nano machines. Communication is done directly mind to mind to hive via implant. Virtual telepathy.

And The Inhibitors are also back. Or rather, they are awake, thanks to Silveste poking where he should left well enough alone in Revelation Space. Machine intelligence programmed to detect and eliminate intelligence. Now they know we are here. They know we are sentient. They know we can traverse space. They want us dead, and they know how to make it so.

For those who read Chasm City before this we get a couple of major characters from that story making an appearance. It doesn't matter if you haven't read Chasm City - but it was pretty cool knowing their history and having that extra background to their motivations.

Also back for more are the Triumvir Volyova, Ana Kouri and of course "The Captain" (More or/and less).

The audio narration was good. If you are considering the audio book then I think you'll find John Lee gives a strong performance and his voice has a quality that really adds to the gothic feel of the book.

If you've already started the Rev Space series and want to know if it gets better, I can tell you now, it does. So suit up, lock and load, pack some extra medichines because this one might fry your brains with an apocalyptic dose of cool.

4.5 stars

    audiobooks sci-fi


722 reviews301 followers

October 23, 2016

Redemption Ark: Promising ideas ruined by excessive page-count
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Redemption Ark (2002) is the follow-up to Revelation Space, Alastair Reynolds’ debut novel and the second book in his REVELATION SPACE series of hard SF space opera in which highly-augmented human factions encounter implacable killer machines bent on exterminating sentient life. The first entry had elements of Bruce Sterling’s Schismatrix, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Iain M. Banks’ CULTURE novels, Peter Watt’s Blindsight, Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon, and even some Lovecraftian elements for good measure. There were plenty of good ideas, detailed world-building and post-human technological modifications, but the characters were cold and unappealing, and the pacing was glacial.

Redemption Ark is the middle book of main 3-book REVELATION SPACE sequence (Chasm City and The Prefect are stand-alone novels set in the same universe), and unfortunately this book shares the same weaknesses as the first book, which is why I settled on a 3-star rating. Despite lots of promising concepts and tantalizing glimpses of the remorseless and powerful Inhibitors, the majority of this very long book (694 pages) is wasted on the protracted conflict involving Nevil Clavain, a defector to the Conjoiners (telepathically-linked hive-mind humans who rarely act like it); Skade, a militarily-trained Conjoiner whose mission is to retrieve the “hell-class” weapons that have been stolen from them; Antoinette Bax, a Demarchist who allies with Clavain when he splits with the Conjoiners; Ilia Volyova and Ana Khouri, two carry-over characters from Revelation Space who control the Nostalgia for Infinity, a ship that has become fused with its captain John Brannigan after being infected with the nanotech Melding Plague; an autistic Conjoiner named Felka who comes in mental contact with the terrifying Inhibitors; and Galiana, the founder of the Conjoiners, who has been absent for decades on a deep-space mission but carries both an alien consciousness and (maybe, just maybe) some hints for human survival.

All the elements are here for a rip-roaring hard SF space opera, and perhaps with a much more ruthless editor this could have been possible, but instead we get a glacially-paced story much like the previous offering, where characters talk, debate, scheme, and speculate for about 70% of the book, with just 30% of real action and plot-progression. This is a common complaint of mine, but it seems like this has actually been SF readers’ preference over the last decade or two, based on the book length of hard SF practitioners like Alastair Reynolds, Peter F. Hamilton, Stephen Baxter, Vernor Vinge, Kim Stanley Robinson, Dan Simmons and Iain M. Banks. So perhaps I’m in the minority here, but I don’t see why brilliant SF ideas and characters can’t deliver a great story in just 300-400 pages. I often wish I was given remit to edit these books down to that length, travel back in time, and read the trimmed-down versions instead. Just wish-fulfillment, alas.

In any case, what I found most frustrating about Redemption Ark (besides the generally unconvincing distinctions between various classes of post-humans who all seem to think and behave fairly similarly despite their supposed differences) is that at least 300+ pages are devoted to an interminable struggle to get control of the “hell-class” doomsday weapons of mysterious origin. Supposedly made by Conjoiners sometime in the past, exact knowledge of who made them and how has been lost, what they can do is unknown, and no new ones can be created.

As Clavain and Slade chase each other across known space, continually trying to wrest control of the weapons cache by subterfuge or force, the reader is left wondering what the point of all this is. After all, we know at the end of Revelation Space that the ultra-powerful and utterly-remorseless alien machine-intelligences known as Inhibitors are intent on destroying all sentient space-faring races, having successfully done so countless times over hundreds of millions of years. So it’s crazy that the various factions of super-intelligent humans hope that a handful of doomsday weapons can be used against them. But it doesn’t take advanced neural implants and hyper-intelligence to know that these weapons are as likely to harm them as a sling-shot is to destroy the Deathstar. But that is exactly what they assume, even as the Inhibitors begin some very-ominous terraforming activity in human-occupied space that are obvious preparations for wiping out the human vermin they have been alerted to.

There is also the matter of Daniel Sylveste, the scientist from Revelation Space who might have access to ancient alien knowledge that could help humanity to combat the Inhibitors. Well, despite almost 700 pages, we learn absolutely nothing about his fate. Ditto for the alien Shrouders and Pattern Jugglers, two fascinating species that play no role in this book. Clearly they are being saved for the final book, Absolution Gap, but I would have appreciated even a few teasers. At this point I am far too invested to give up, as I do want to know what happens to humanity against seemingly impossible odds, but I have little confidence that the final installment will improve on the weaknesses of the first two books.

I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by John Lee, who does most of Reynolds’ books. This time there were fewer scenes featuring characters with Russian or Eastern European accents, so it was easier to follow than Revelation Space. Still, I took a number of very long walks to finish off this book, and chances are I would have given up if I were reading it in print form.

    cyberpunk distant-worlds galaxy-spanning


975 reviews686 followers

March 14, 2016

Better and even darker than the previous one. And so realistic written that it gives you shivers. The action may take place in 27th century but the time scale references spans over 3 billion years. There are concepts which are simply too big to comprehend:

"The grand story of life in the Milky Way - across the entire local group - might just be one thread in something humblingly vast."

Can't wait to see how it will end...

PS: and here you have Nostalgia for Infinity (isn't she beautiful?) :)

Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, #2) (13)

    sci-fi z-to-a-reynolds


1,195 reviews4,592 followers

December 4, 2013

Number two in the Revelation Space trilogy; you could read it as a standalone story, but it's better to read in sequence, and it helps if you've also read Chasm City (

This is a long treasure hunt for super weapons, conducted by two competing factions (though both have the same intention), with a life-or-death deadline. Although that is true, it does it an injustice because there is far more complexity and intrigue than that implies. Reynolds has really thought out his technology, worlds, people and how they interact and evolve over very long time periods.

In fact, deceit and integrity are the main themes, with many characters living a lie (or several) and double-dealing, though it is never confusing.

The context is a power struggle amongst the Conjoiners (also known as Spiders), who are winning a war against the Demarchists (democratic anarchy), while The Inhibitors are trying to destroy intelligent life once it embarks on interplanetary travel. This creates plenty of threads to the story, keeps it exciting and prevents it being a simple, butch shoot 'em up or war story.

The ending (always tricky in the middle of a series) is particularly good balance: semi-satisfying if you have to wait a while before reading the final installment, but tantaliseing enough to make you keen to read on.

Interesting ideas:

* The practicality of a hive mind. The Conjoiners are a human group who have developed the ability to link minds, but also, and crucially, to limit it to some extent. There are some wonderful dscriptions: "Skade peered into his mind, glimpsing a surface slurry of recent experiences and emotions... Beneath the slurry were deeper layers of memory, mnemonic structures plunging down into opaque darkeness like great drowned monuments... Down at the very deepest level, Skade detected a few partitioned private memories... she was tempted to reach in and edit the man's own blockades... Skade resisted; it was enough to know that she could." And it affects emotions too, "He felt Skade's irritation bleeding into his own emotional state." When shutting it out/off, "he felt the million background thoughts of the Mother Nest drop from his mind like a single dying sigh".

* Accelerated neural processing, which means someone could "watch an apple fall from a table and compose a commemorative haiku before it reached the ground."

* Space wars are fundamentally different from those on Earth: "no element of surprise. But there almost never was in a space war... war in space was a game of total transparency. It was a war between enemies who could safely each assume the other to be omniscient."

* Issues of extreme longevity. If you live for hundreds of years, should marriage be for life? Should youthful crimes taint later life or is it right to declare "There is no need for us to be puppets of our past"?

Random quotes:

* "In zero gravity, heads did not loll lifelessly... in space the dead were often difficult to tell from the living."

* "The growths [melding plague, on a ship] had a mad artistry about them, a foul flamboyance which both awed and revolted... There were places where some major structure had been echoed and re-echoed in a fractal diminuendo, vanishing down to the limit of vision."

* "For the galaxy, as much as it was a machine for making metals, and thereby complex chemistry, and thereby life, could also be seen as a machine for making wars."

* "I need to have a word - a serious word - with weapon 17." (I like that because it echoes the wonderful film, "Dark Star".)

* "The symbols and sinuous indentations of the programming language resembling the intricately formalized stanzas of some [Vogon?] poetry."

Inevitably, there are irritations, but they are minor, especially when you consider the length of the book.

* There are a couple of sections where there is too much backstory in too short a time, in too unsububtle a way.

* There is plenty of detail about all the many characters and yet most of them still lack personality. For example, although there are strong and significant female characters, they could be men, if it weren't for their names and the use of her/she.

* In other books, I had wondered at how little mention there was of relationships (not that I want gory or slushy details in sci fi). This book demonstrates that Reynolds is best avoiding them. Antoinette and Xave's love scenes are awful and the sexual tension between a couple of other characters is just banal.

* Characters make Biblical analogies (the Promised Land, the Lamb, the prodigal son), though I'd be surprised if they would be understood so far away in time and space.

* There is an implausible reliance on paper documents and pneumatic tubes on Resurgam, even allowing for the fact it is a relatively poor and backward planet. Similarly, a doubt about paternity in as more advanced community could be easily solved (even with current technology).

* Too many dead people aren't really dead, or only slightly and/or temporarily so. I don't object in principle but it gets irritating when done to excess.

Overall, another riveting Reynolds. (My Revelation Space review:

    scifi-future-speculative-fict series-and-sequels

David Rubenstein

824 reviews2,667 followers

September 16, 2017

I usually judge science fiction novels by the new ideas, technologies and concepts that are depicted. But this story just has too many. It felt to me that just about "anything goes". People are capable of just about anything, so there seem to be no limits.

In this story, people's memories can be erased, or transferred to an inanimate object. "True death" occurs when someone dies without their minds being transferred into storage. Weapons are conscious, and sometimes require reasoning with, before deploying them. Your space ship may be conscious, and may in fact be the reincarnation of a rehabilitated criminal. The person in front of you might be a human, or might be an artificially intelligent proxy. Who knows?

The book seemed overly long. It took a very long time to understand what was going on. I felt lost, to tell the truth, and I wondered if the fault was simply mine, that I had not followed the storyline through lack of attention. As a result, since I was kept in the dark for so long, by the time the overall plot was unwrapped, I was lost, and I didn't care about any of the characters.

And--I didn't read it. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator, John Lee did not help me to understand the storyline better. He has a pleasant, British accent, but he makes very little effort helping the listener to know who is speaking. He does little if anything to differentiate men's voices from women's. So, I definitely do not recommend the audiobook.


Chris Berko

471 reviews126 followers

July 1, 2018

This was a hugely satisfying read for me. Every thread was brought to it's logical conclusion and there were just enough new nuggets dropped to make me want to read the next one. I don't know if I like this or Chasm City more, I like them both for different reasons, but one thing that is cool about this series is that I'm three books in and while there is a overall larger story being told each one is totally self-contained. For the last week this has been the kind of book that talks to me while I'm trying to do other things. If I'm watching a movie it's saying "c'mon this movie sucks, come read thirty pages." When I'm at work it's like, "remember how cool it was when this thing did that one thing to that thing, remember that?" Or when I'm trying to go to sleep and it sends concentrated shots of adrenaline to my brain to keep me up for another chapter, yeah it's that good. Big ideas, a gigantic story, and a sincerely massive and awesome finale, big time recommended!

Pranav Prabhu

173 reviews66 followers

July 23, 2021

Redemption Ark is a much-improved sequel to Revelation Space, addressing many of the aspects I had issues with the first novel while maintaining all the qualities that I enjoyed. It deals with a lot of fascinating scientific concepts and ideas, and these were once again my favourite parts of the book.

“It’s the people who don’t worry—those who never have any doubts that what they’re doing is good and right—they’re the ones that cause the problems.”

Character motivations and actions were something I had an issue with in the first book, and this novel fixed a lot of that for me. Clavain, Felka, Remontoire, as well as the returning characters from the first book, felt more like real people with understandable motivations, making both good and bad decisions on the limited information they had to the best of their ability. Some of them were also quite likeable and interesting, even if they didn't have the greatest depth. However, I felt that some of the character relationships, especially the romantic ones were very contrived and out of place. I would never have thought I'd enjoy reading about a sentient pig crime boss named Scorpio but found everything involving him and the other hyperpigs very interesting.

The various worldbuilding elements introduced, such as the hyperpigs and the myriad factions like the Demarchists and the Conjoiners added a lot of depth and immersion to the setting. We get a much deeper look at the politics and the societal structure of the Conjoiners and their unstable relationship with the Demarchist factions in proximity to Yellowstone, the central planet around which a lot of this conflict occurs. We also get a closer look at the background politics of Chasm City, which we got a tiny glimpse of in the last book.

Being a hard sci-fi book, there is a lot of detail put into the scientific concepts explored and a lot of it is something I enjoy reading, such as the fascinating mechanisms of the Exordium project or the inertia-suppressing technology. However, I felt on many occasions that it was overexplained and repetitive, with the excessive detail reducing my engagement with the story being told. There are also various side-plots such as those of Antoinette and Xavier, and while I like reading those sections, there might have been too much focus given to those parts of the story, making the book feel quite lengthy. The ending was weird in some ways, the book cuts off and then some of the events that occurred are told to a character after they happened. While this narrative device can be done well and I thought some of it was, it made the ending feel abrupt, with some important setup and resolution happening off-screen.

I also liked the writing more than in Revelation Space: the dialogue felt less stilted and the way the story unfolded felt a lot more organic and didn't feel as contrived as some of the situations in the previous book. The creeping dread of space, the gothic feel of the world, and the atmospheric work done by Reynolds was excellent. His in-world metaphors are also fun to read and feel very appropriate. The plot had many interesting aspects, the main threat established in the last book comes to the forefront and we find out a lot more about the history of the world, especially the Conjoiner society. Overall, an engaging sequel to Revelation Space with better, more interesting characters that broadened the scope of the world and introduced many new and fascinating elements.

Rachel (Kalanadi)

748 reviews1,481 followers

October 30, 2017

The characters felt so much better in this one than in Revelation Space. That should lend the story more urgency (since the characters are trying to avert disaster, because they obviously care about people and humanity...), but gosh this is long. I love the plot, I love the tech, I love all the things about the worldbuilding, but I had to take a star off for how bloated this began to feel. At 80% I was still waiting for that convergence of all the plotlines that happened about 50% through Revelation Space. This one has more characters, more side stories, more tangents, and more exposition, and it needed to be leaner and stick to the point more.

For example, I really liked Antoinette and Xavier. Their side story was very good. But it felt like a standalone short story shoved into this novel when it really shouldn't have been.

Looking forward to the conclusion in Absolution Gap though. Even if it doesn't go out with a bang, I'm eager to read some of Reynolds' other books that are highly recommended.


Lucian Bogdan

359 reviews21 followers

April 29, 2021

De fiecare dată când citesc o carte scrisă de Reynolds pot fi sigur că provocarea intelectuală va fi la cote înalte. Hard SF de super-clasă, concepte uluitoare - un adevărat festin pentru mine. Da, personajele nu sunt punctul lui forte. Nici interacțiunile dintre ele, care uneori par forțate. Chiar și descrierea unor scene scârțâie în unele cazuri. Sau unele fire narative secundare sunt aduse în prim plan, apoi uitate cale de zeci de pagini.
Cu toate acestea, dacă ar fi să aleg între scrierea lui cu minusurile enunțate mai sus, dar cu ideile alea extraordinare, exploatate excepțional și o carte excelent scrisă din punct de vedere stilistic a la Dostoievski, ori Marquez, dar cu subiecte care, pentru mine, sunt de o banalitate înfiorătoare, l-aș alege pe Reynolds în 100% din cazuri.
Pentru că e exact ceea ce-mi doresc eu de la literatură. Să mă ducă unde nici cu gândul n-am gândit.
Traducere bună spre foarte bună, marca Mihai-Dan Pavelescu.


246 reviews39 followers

March 5, 2020

Redemption Ark is a fantastic sequel that begins where Revelation Space left off. In addition to characters carried forward from the original, we have some new recruits:
Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, #2) (21)

Alistair Reynolds raised the bar in all respects with this sequel. Very much adheres to "The Al Reynolds Formula," in that it's a well-written mix of sci-fi, horror, suspense, and mystery. Redemption Ark is in the same setting as many stories from "Beyond The Aquila Rift," which I had fun referencing. In terms of readability, it is a page-turner, keeping the midnight oil burning.

In addition to being a great book, Redemption Ark is a treatise on the dangers of the kind of closed-minded thinking which plagues our world today. To wit, “It’s the people who don’t worry—those who never have any doubts that what they’re doing is good and right—they’re the ones that cause the problems.”

Anyone reading has most-likely read Revelation Space, and to them, I'll say "more of the same but better." I will end here because Absolution Gap is calling me. Another Al Reynolds masterpiece.



1,179 reviews264 followers

March 31, 2010

this is my second Alastair Reynolds novel and the second of the trilogy. I am blown away by the level of realism, depth, and structure of this series. Throw in some incredible characterizations and you have a premium sci-fi series. It also does not hurt the science when the author is a rocket scientist. There are strong protagonists here that make you believe in them. The antagonist is your typical science fiction type of "Grey Goo", mass of tiny robots that are threatening life as we know it. Even though this is a very long novel, you will have a difficult time putting it down. I cannot wait to read more. If you are a science fiction fan, Alastair Reynolds should not be missed.

    e-books read-2010

Michael Finocchiaro

Author3 books5,858 followers

May 7, 2024

After Revelation Space and Chasm City, I'd recommend reading this thriller that takes place 30 years after RS. It is a fantastic space opera full of interesting characters and superb technology. The Skade character is particularly tenacious and vicious in equal parts. Khouri reminds me of an Iain Banks heroine. And Clavain is a great bad-ass. This is just such a fun book and you will need to read Absolution Gap to finish out this trilogy and see how things end up after the cliffhanger ending!

    aliens fiction novels


351 reviews222 followers

July 1, 2013

I have been cruising along with this series, pretty much sitting on the fence on whether I really liked it. Then a third of the way through this book it all clicked together and I was hooked. There is no defining moment or change in the writing style, it really just starts to bring the whole epic story together and you suddenly become aware of the sheer scale of story.

Redemption Ark is brilliant writing. The technical sci-fi stuff is still there, but didn't seem as grandiose as in book one, but it seemed to fit better with the overall story in its description. The characters really begin to shine through out this journey and some favourite members of book one make an appearance and their personalities have a big impact on decision making, that not only affect the locals, but humanity as a whole.

There is a much bigger focus on the Conjoiners in this story and it is well thought out and completely believable. I think that reynolds has done a masterful job of these splinter groups of humans that have formed their own species. Conjoiner, demarkists and Ultras are all easily definable in their growth as sentient races and the way they are all personally and later as a whole learning to deal with the threat of the inhibitors has me utterly transformed from a fence sitter to a fanboy.

This is probably one of the biggest epics i have read. I thought the reality dysfunction was out there in epicness, but the basis of the story was quite small and Hamilton surrounded it with many branches. Revelation is huge in its base story and as Reynolds starts to leak more and more of the 'real' story behind the inhibitors you begin to feel dwarfed by the sheer scale of it all. One of those, "ok, so picture what your universe is actually inside. I think that is why Reynolds is giving us the story slowly, if he dumped on me, what I know now, I think my head would have imploded.

I am so HAPPY that I stuck with this story, from a three star 'not sure about this' reader I am already looking forward to reading the first book again.



444 reviews3 followers

August 17, 2022

This series has gotten deeper and better. Such a well realized universe. The plots are tangling together wonderfully, with many little surprises from other stories in the arc (esp from Chasm City, which I am so glad I read very early on, after Revelation Space in fact). The book was pretty bleak near the end, but the epilogue really made up for it, with some wonderful little tidbits for the future stories. I am going to struggle to not just jump straight into Absolution Gap

2022 Reread.

Gods what a dense mess of a book. Brilliant, complicated, dark, and massive. I just love the world building in this series. It's a hot mess. But the best kind. I don't really have much new to add to my review, if you've read any Reynolds in this series then you know what you are in for.

I am happy to finally get this far, so far they've all been re-reads. But I never did finish the series, so now I can finally go in to the last book prepared. It's only been about 18 years since I picked up the first one.

    audiobook science-fiction space-opera

Scott Rhee

2,003 reviews93 followers

July 23, 2012

Alastair Reynolds's sequel to "Revelation Space" and "Chasm City", "Redemption Ark" takes the reader into the far far future, where mankind has inadvertently awakened an ancient race of machines called Inhibitors, whose job it is to literally "inhibit" the evolution of any species before they become too technologically advanced. Mankind doesn't have a chance against the Inhibitors, who can destroy moons, planets, and stars, which leaves only one alternative for mankind: get the hell out of the galaxy. A rag-tag group of humans (and other intelligent life forms) decide to turn an enormous space-cruiser into an ark, using it to evacuate as many humans as possible and get as far from the Inhibitors as possible. Unfortunately, space (and time) is limited. There's also the added problem that an interstellar war is raging between two camps of humans: the Conjoiners and the Demarchists. The politics involved being a bit too complicated to explain, the war has been raging so long that some humans would rather face extinction than work together with the Enemy side. Reynolds has created a fun, thought-provoking, and exciting space opera series that is as well-written as it is entertaining. Fans of Frank Herbert's "Dune" series and Dan Simmons's "Hyperion" series will enjoy Reynolds. Looking forward to starting book 4 in this series.



641 reviews556 followers

December 29, 2008

Sequel to the impressive but flawed Revelation Space. Another 550 pages of interstellar plotting – one of those rotating POV books tracking multiple factions all located somewhere along the sympathy-repulsion spectrum while they maneuver against each other for advantage while an external danger closes in. The external danger being the Wolves, ancient alien machines whose job it is to prune life from the galaxy for reasons not as evil as you might think.

The best part is still the worldbuilding – war propaganda sent by implanted dream! Alien oceans that imprint neural patterns! Awesome nanotech plague! Oh and the gender politics, by which I mean that there nearly isn't any. Women are just people who do jobs well and poorly, end of sentence, no flourishes, no grandstanding.

His timing has gotten better, but the people are still awfully difficult to really empathize with because they're so impressively and appropriately futurified. And the whole thematic arc is more of a vague gesture.

But still some of the best hard SF I've read this year, for the worldbuilding alone. You have to like hard SF to like this, but if you do, you should.

    fiction science-fiction


1,501 reviews37 followers

February 24, 2022

The second book of the Revelation Space trilogy seemed to be quite a bit longer than the first but that may have been because most of the worldbuilding had already been done and there was less exciting new stuff. Like most Reynolds books there a a slow start where all the characters and POV's are introduced and for me things did not really start happening until about the half way mark. Once the story took off I found myself doing some extra reading each day. There were a couple of characters in this book that were introduced in Chasm City, but that's not essential, just additional background info.
For most of this book I found myself conflicted about which faction were correct. All of them had valid points of view that ultimately had similar goals. The way these played out was well written and added a lot of tension to the last 1/3rd of the book. Now on to the third volume.

    2022-bookshelf-clearance e-book read-in-2022


558 reviews392 followers

September 17, 2007

The surreal hyjinks continue in Reynold's apocalyptic epic. Adding propaganda dreams, fetus cops, hyperpigs, orwellian governments, and the terrifying inertia engines(trust me this is true horror), and a doomy cosmic scope. Some how five hundred pages is riddled with tension. Don't compare with pieces of crap like Orson Scott Card, rather Mieville,M.John Harrison, or Swanwick


302 reviews42 followers

April 10, 2018


In the second book of the Revelation Space series Reynolds continues to build his world even more, and with his writing becoming better and better as he brings us in an incredible adventure that could change humanity and the whole universe for ever.

The war between the human factions in the recent years has grown and the Demarchists are now in a very critical point as the Conjoiners prepare for their final strike. But all that will change when Skade, a high-level Conjoiner, discovers that the Inhibitors, an alien machine-like race, have awakened from their long lethargy and are preparing to start their own big war; which threatens to destroy not only their own faction, but all the human races of the universe.
Skade will try, through her own plans, to bring Clavain to the Conjoiner side, a former military leader who had fought against them on Mars 400 years ago and winning the title of “The Butcher of Tharsis”, and assign him the mission to travel deep into the edge of the universe and bring back their -long ago- lost Hell-Class weapons; which were created under extreme secrecy as they can reach a very lethal power.
However, Clavain, as he wants to find answers for his beloved Galiana and her mysterious condition, he will be forced to join the “inner circle” of the Conjoiners, and come between their machinations and all their secrets that were so much hidden; but what he will discover is something much more than he had expected and it will put him in a great adventure, and also bring him against even greater enemies.

On the other side of the universe, Volyova will have to face, too, her own adventures as, having become now an outlaw between the human factions after the events in Cerberus/Hades, she will fall into the first plans of the Inhibitors and along with Khouri they will have to find a way to save Resurgam and its people. But, on the way, that may prove something more difficult than they had calculated and, when Clavain’s plans get entangled between them, it may well bring the destruction to themselves and to all the people of Resurgam.

The story of this book I have to say gets even larger dimensions than Revelation Space as Reynolds here develops his world much more and with his ideas, even though they are certainly become more -technologically- heavy, they can not help but impress you in this, truly, enormous universe.
Of course, the book drags a little more than it should in some places, giving the impression that it is a bit more “introductory” as he prepare us for the next, and final, book in the series; but nevertheless Reynolds writing, as also in Revelation Space, flows very well and with ideas becoming even more powerful and subversive, and also managing to make this adventure even more enjoyable than before.

Overall, it is a very good continuation and, even though the story drags a little in some places, Reynolds manages to raise the series to an even higher level.

Ελληνική κριτική:

Ο πόλεμος μεταξύ των φατριών της ανθρωπότητας τα τελευταία χρόνια έχει μεγαλώσει και οι Demarchists πλέον βρίσκονται σε ένα πολύ κρίσιμο σημείο καθώς οι Conjoiners ετοιμάζονται για το τελικό τους χτύπημα. Όμως όλα αυτά θα αλλάξουν όταν η Skade, μια Conjoiner του ανώτατου επιπέδου, ανακαλύψει ότι οι Inhibitors, μια εξωγήινη μηχανική φυλή, έχουν ξυπνήσει από τον μακρύ λήθαργό τους και ετοιμάζονται να ξεκινήσουν τον δικό τους μεγάλο πόλεμο, που απειλεί όχι καταστρέψει την φατρία τους, αλλά όλες της ανθρώπινες φυλές του σύμπαντος.
Η Skade θα προσπαθήσει, μέσα από τα δικά της σχέδια, να φέρει με το μέρος των Conjoiners τον Clavain, έναν πρώην στρατιωτικό ηγέτη που είχε πολεμήσει εναντίων τους στον πλανήτη Άρη πριν 400 χρόνια κερδίζοντας επάξια τον τίτλο «The Butcher of Tharsis», και να του αναθέσει την αποστολή να ταξιδέψει στην άκρη του σύμπαντος και φέρει πίσω τα -εδώ και πολύ καιρό- χαμένα Hell-Class όπλα τους, τα οποία είχαν δημιουργηθεί κάτω από άκρως μυστικότητα καθώς μπορούν να φτάσουν σε θανατηφόρα ισχύ.
Ωστόσο, ο Clavain, θέλοντας να βρει απαντήσεις για την αγαπημένη του Galiana και την μυστηριώδες κατάστασή της, θα αναγκαστεί να ενταχθεί στον «εσωτερικό κύκλο» των Conjoiners, μπαίνοντας μέσα στις μηχανογραφίες τους και όλα τους τα μυστικά που είχαν τόσο πολύ κρυμμένα, όμως αυτό που θα ανακαλύψει είναι κάτι πολύ περισσότερο απ’ ότι περίμενε και θα τον βάλει σε μια μεγάλη περιπέτεια, αλλά και φέρνοντάς τον αντιμέτωπο με ακόμα μεγαλύτερους εχθρούς.

Από την άλλη μεριά του σύμπαντος, η Volyova θα αντιμετωπίσει και αυτή τις δικές της περιπέτειες καθώς, έχοντας πλέον γίνει επικηρυγμένη ανάμεσα στις φατρίες της ανθρωπότητας μετά τα συμβάντα στον Cerberus/Hades, θα ανακαλύψει τα πρώτα σχέδια των Inhibitors και μαζί με την Khouri θα πρέπει να βρουν ένα τρόπο για σώσουν τον πλανήτη Resurgam και τους ανθρώπους της. Όμως αυτό στην πορεία ίσως αποδειχθεί δυσκολότερο απ’ ότι υπολόγιζαν όταν στην μέση μπλεχτούν και τα σχέδια του Clavain, και μπορεί κάλλιστα να φέρει την καταστροφή στους ίδιους αλλά και σε όλους τους ανθρώπους του πλανήτη Resurgam.

Η ιστορία σε αυτό το βιβλίο πρέπει να πω παίρνει ακόμα μεγαλύτερες διαστάσεις από το προηγούμενο καθώς ο Reynolds εδώ αναπτύσσει πολύ περισσότερο τον κόσμο με τις ιδέες του, παρ’ όλο που είναι σίγουρα πιο -τεχνολογικά- βαριές, δεν μπορούν παρά να σε εντυπωσιάσουν σε αυτόν το, πραγματικά, τεράστιο σύμπαν.
Βέβαια, το βιβλίο τραβάει λίγο παραπάνω απ’ όσο θα έπρεπε σε αρκετά σημεία, δίνοντας την αίσθηση ότι είναι πιο «εισαγωγικό» καθώς μας προετοιμάζει για το επόμενο, και τελευταίο, βιβλίο της σειράς, όμως παρ’ όλα αυτά η γραφή του Reynolds, όπως επίσης και στο Revelation Space, κυλάει πολύ καλά με τις ιδέες του να είναι ακόμα πιο δυνατές και ανατρεπτικές, και καταφέρνοντας να κάνει αυτή την περιπέτεια ακόμα πιο απολαυστική από πριν.

Συνολικά, είναι μια πολύ καλή συνέχεια και, παρ’ όλο που σε κάποια σημεία τραβάει λίγο, ο Reynolds καταφέρνει να ανεβάσει αυτή την σειρά σε ακόμα υψηλότερο επίπεδο.

    hard-sci-fi science-fiction space-opera


307 reviews11 followers

October 13, 2022

It's been a long time since I read about such an enjoyable little evil creature like Skade. It is a shame that this all-star badgirl was eager to lose her head so often.

This is my second reread of this massive book, and I enjoyed it as same as the first time. Alastair writing is pleasurable to read, and I can slurp his crazy theories with ease. Redemption Ark is part of the Inhibitor series but can be very well read alone. It is better to know the first book, but it is unnecessary. There are new characters here and many new storylines and twists. Alastair knows how to make this universe look alive, and he still keeps his writing very concise. Almost everything in the book is vital for the story, forming a nice fitting puzzle when combined.

It is THE Hard Science Fiction book, full of almost believable physics based on current knowledge. It is the twenty-seventh century, so humanity looks a little bit different, and gene manipulation or a little bit of machine enhancement is not unusual. And to this hard science fiction opera are sprinkled scenes of pure horror. How would you like to be deleted from the universe, lose your body or be possessed by an unsatiable analytical mind? I loved these nuggets of horror, and this is what pushed this book into five-star territory.

Yeah, there are some loose bits here and there - Scorpio, Thorn, and Remontoire are not that fleshed-out, believable characters, and Irina goes all mental in the end. Also, the final revelation is a little illogical; galaxies are so huge that there will be only a few stars colliding when the "event" comes. But those are just a few scratches on the pretty face of this beast of the story.


Antonio TL

272 reviews33 followers

May 16, 2022

Este libro, que forma parte de la serie Revelation Space del autor, se desarrolla aproximadamente dentro de 600 años, después de que la humanidad haya comenzado a extenderse por toda la galaxia.

Las actividades humanas han llamado la atención de los Inhibidores, máquinas alienígenas cuya misión parece ser la eliminación de toda vida inteligente.Asi explica Reynolds la Paradoja de Fermi. Han venido a la estrella Delta Pavonis, hogar del planeta Resurgam, poblado por más de 200.000 personas. Los inhibidores comienzan a desarmar sistemáticamente el gigante gaseoso del sistema, además de varias de sus lunas, para construir un inmenso dispositivo de capacidad desconocida (imagínate si Júpiter y varias de sus lunas se fueran desmontando sistemáticamente y se pudiera ver en cambio un dispositivo alienígena en crecimientocada noche en el cielo). Sea lo que sea, no es nafa bueno para la gente de Resurgam.

Se intenta evacuar a la gente de Resurgam, unos cientos a la vez, a una nave llamada Nostalgia for Infinity, para llevarlos a otro sistema. Hace años, el capitán del barco, John Brannigan, fue víctima de la peste de fusión. Lo pusieron en un sueño criogénico para tratar de frenar los efectos de la plaga; no funcionó por mucho tiempo. Ahora, el Capitán Brannigan se ha fudionado con la nave

La nave también tiene una gran cantidad de armas de alto poder, algunas de las cuales se pueden medir en kilómetros. Son lo único que posiblemente puede detener a los inhibidores; no se les llama "armas de clase infernal" por nada. Varias facciones quieren esas armas para sus propios fines, incluido un renegado llamado Clavain. Las propias armas pueden tener otras ideas. Si no se detiene a los inhibidores ahora, no les llevará mucho tiempo, en términos cósmicos, encontrar la Tierra.

Esta es una estupenda novela. Normalmente, miraría un libro de bolsillo de más de 600 páginas y diría No, gracias; pero no cuando Alastair Reynolds es el autor. Hace un buen trabajo de principio a fin, escribiendo en una gran escala de millones de años. Para aquellos a los que les gustan las historias alucinantes, esto es muy recomendable. Una gran ópera espacial con algunos personajes interesantes. No siempre está claro quiénes son los buenos y los malos, lo que la hace aún más fascinante



733 reviews343 followers

November 28, 2021

The human race has finally ended up triggering the release of the Inhibitors on them: ancient killing machines designed to kill any developed-enough intelligent life. The only hope lies in recovering a secret cache of Conjoiner doomsday weapons – and many want to find it, for different purposes, including a renegade named Nevil Clavain. And the weapons themselves have their own agenda…

Once again, here might be spoilers for other books included… I think one might benefit or enjoy the book more if one has read the ’Great Wall Of Mars’ short story (in the Galactic North-collection), the novella Turquoise Days (for some Pattern Jugglers background), and the books Revelation Space, Chasm City, and the second Prefect one, Elysium Fire.

Anyway, I was cheered because I got to connect with Galiana, Nevil Clavain, and Felka again, and each gain more depth to their character in this book, though Galiana’s is a bit brief due to her . Nevil Clavain in this story is feeling his years, and increasingly wishes he could just rest – and reefersleep is becoming too dangerous due to his age (hundreds of years). Felka is struggling in this story, too – though she has become slowly quite communicative, she is now backsliding to looking inwardly. When at one point she shares a bit of her mind with Clavain’s, she warns him not to look too deep, as her inner mindscape’s deeper levels are too chaotic for normal minds. So the reader understand her, and may pity her, a bit. She is face-blind, which makes things also hard for her. At the end of the book, she finds some peace in .

The consequences of the previous book, Revelation Space, are clear, and the fight for the special weapons on the ship which Ilia Volyova, Ana Khouri, and the Captain have has begun. Two outside groups want them: Clavain’s ship (he has , and ships belonging to other Conjoiners who have no intention of being gentle to get to them. Clavain has allies on his ship, which he got from Chasm City (a final gift to humanity from H, formerly known as ), including some ferocious pigs, of which the most important is Scorpio, who changes from a murderous criminal to a good ally during the book’s timeline).

Some other important characters include Antoinette Bax, whose ship proves quite useful (and the ship has a beta-level that has a secret); Skade, a somewhat obsessive Conjoiner, who is very determined to get what is needed; Thorn the rebellious leader on Resurgam who seems to become during the story; and Remontoire, who although bit of a side character, is still in the end more loyal to Clavain than the Conjoiner Mother Nest.
Some nice nods back, like Sister Amelia (of the Mendicants’ place) small help for Antoinette Bax as she leaves to give a funeral to her father. Clavain listening to Quirrenbach’s music while traveling to Yellowstone in his corvette. Some familiar faces in H’s crew: Manoukian and Zebra, and then what happened to . We also meet a descendant of .

And some beautiful scenes are in the story, like Felka’s home in the Mother Nest, the planet where things end . The scary scene of Ana Khouri and Thorn visiting the was scary and awesome, and something I wouldn’t mind seeing on film. And of course, there are also some horrific sights in the story, but I’ve kind of grown to expect such to happen when reading this series. :-P

I think it was good that scenes on Resurgam, and its evacuation later, were not given too much scenes in the story – not really my favorite part, but certainly necessary for the plot. The way of using Galiana’s Exordium to take a look into the future – and getting messages from there – was also interesting. The point about Andromeda galaxy colliding with the Milky Way is a real fact for our own future.

At the end of the book, some things are still hanging in the air, like how can they And of course, how long will Clavain still be among them, being as old as he is? So that leaves room for further story in the next book, Absolution Gap.
Clearly a middle book of a trilogy in a series, but quite enjoyable, with calms moments and fast action scenes, horror and beauty (sometimes both at the same time).

Oleksandr Zholud

1,251 reviews123 followers

April 4, 2023

This is the second volume of the main sequence of Revelation Space Series. Surprisingly enough, it starts not as a direct continuation of the first book, but introduces a bunch of new characters, whose story ark will later in the book intertwine with the events and heroes of the first volume. It is an unusual author’s decision but new characters are just as interesting.

The story starts with Skade, a woman with enough bio-modifications to among other things fully control her brain chemistry. She also has voices in her head, but it is fine. She finds out that an exploration ship with Galiana, the progenitor of her faction of mankind, the Conjoiners, has returned. However, it was attacked on its way by something they named ‘wolves’ who killed the ship’s crew and infected Galiana, so she should be held frozen.

The story shifts to Antoinette Bax, who decides to fulfill the last will of her father, ending up at a crossfire between Spiders and Zombies. Spiders are the Conjoiners [see above] and Zombies are the Demarchists and they are in a decades-long war…

Finally, there is Clavain, the Butcher of Tharsis, an old man, who centuries ago sided with Galiana, and helped to raise her part daughter half pet project Felka, a highly autistic woman with unique thought patterns.

The new characters are great, and some old ones will return as the story progresses. What I like the most in this series is the wealth of details, even if they aren’t essential for the main story, but create a great background. As an example see the following piece:

The outer habitat lane was a bristling grey torus spinning within the Rust Belt, the ramshackle procession of habitats and the gutted remains of habitats that, despite all that had happened, still orbited Yellowstone. Habitats came in all shapes and sizes even before they began to suffer age, sabotage and collision. Some were enormous air-filled cylinders or spheres, adorned with mirrors and delicate gold sunshades. Others had been constructed on small asteroids or comet fragments, eased into orbit around Yellowstone by armies of Skyjacks. Sometimes the habitats wormed deep within these solid foundations, transforming their rocky hearts into a confusion of vertiginous plazas and air-filled public spaces. Others were built mainly on the surface, for ease of access to and from local space. These domed low-grav communities were clumped together like frogspawn, shot through with the iridescent green and blue of miniature biomes. Typically, the domes showed evidence of hasty repair work: scars and spider webs of emergency epoxy sealant or foam-diamond. Some had not been resealed, and what lay within was dark and lifeless, like the ashes of a fire.

Other habitats conformed to less pragmatic designs. There were wild spirals and helices, like blown glass or nautilus shells. There were enormous concatenations of spheres and tubes resembling organic molecules. There were habitats that reshaped themselves continually, slow symphonic movements of pure architecture. There were others that had clung to an outmoded design through stubborn centuries, resisting all innovation and frippery. A few others had cloaked themselves in fogs of pulverised matter, concealing their true design.

Then there were the derelicts. Some had been evacuated during the plague and had suffered no major catastrophes afterwards, but the majority had been struck by collision fragments from other habitats that had already crashed and burned. A few had been scuttled, blown apart by nuclear charges; not much remained of those. Some had been reclaimed and re-fitted during the years of reconstruction. A few were still held by aggressive squatters, despite the best efforts of the Ferrisville Convention to evict them.

Carousel New Copenhagen had weathered the plague years more successfully than some, but it had not come through totally unscathed. In the current era it was a single fat ring, rotating slowly. The rim of the ring was a kilometre wide. Seen from a distance, it was a festering blur of intricate structures, as if a strip of industrial cityscape had been wound on the outside of a wheel. Closer, it resolved into a coral-like mass of gantries and cranes and docking bays, service towers and recessed parking bays, spindly latticework exfoliating into vacuum, studded with a million stuttering lights of welding torches, advertising slogans and winking landing beacons. Arriving and departing ships, even in wartime, formed a haze of insect motion around the rim. Traffic management around Copenhagen was a headache.

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