Nightingale — Alastair Reynolds

Nightingale, written by Alastair Reynolds.What begins as a war-criminal hunt slowly turns more and more strange and out of control for our intrepid party of hunters.

I really enjoyed this super good novella.   It was nice of Alastair to throw a delicious little shorty between Revelation Space and Redemption Ark: both the size of trilogies in their own right.

And the ending is brilliant.

Available in the collection, Galactic North.

Next up in the series is Redemption Ark

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Revelation Space — Alastair Reynolds

This is one rather large book but, thankfully, it’s one rather good book as well that keeps those pages turn, turn, turning.

I think my only complaint is that when Volyova uses the Nostalgia for Infinity as a murder weapon by accelerating it and braking it in order to smash one of her crew to death, there’s no explanation as to what happened to everything else in this massive ship that wasn’t nailed down properly.   Like, what happened to all the ship-slime, rats, shuttle craft, the weapons cache and many other things besides: were all of the these things nailed down to protect them against such repeated high G acceleration and forward braking phases?   There were many ways of carrying out this killing that didn’t require any further explanation, but to use the method that Volyova did and then for Alastair to just fail to explain what happened to everything else in the ship does annoy me somewhat.

Because the ship isn’t designed to brake in the forward motion.   It’s designed to accelerate to one G continuously up to the half way point of the journey, then it will flip 180 degrees and use the same one G thrust to slow itself down.   Why would the engines suddenly be capable of huge 10 G burns in both directions just to kill one person?   I really think it’s needs a proper explaining.

But yeah, i know, that’s how picky i have to be to find any real criticism of this immense book.   It is the only fault i could find, and to be fair, most people would probably read this and not even think about it.

I do hope that doesn’t put anyone off (not that i think for one moment that it would ), because other than that one bizarre murder it’s super good, great writing, great characters, everything as we’ve come to expect so far in this series.

And i look forward to some more: next up is Nightingale.

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Grafenwalder’s Bestiary — Alastair Reynolds

Grafenwalder's Bestiary, written by Alastair Reynolds.This one has call backs to A Spy in Europa, Diamond Dogs, and Chasm City, so if you missed reading any of those then you really need to go and read them first.

And it’s such a good short, like, really good.   The ending is brilliant.

Available in the collection, Galactic North.

And now, finally, at long last, we get onto the title work, Revelation Space.   Yes peoples, it’s finally the big books’ time to be read, so it may be a while between future reviews.

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Turquoise Days — Alastair Reynolds

Turquoise Days, written by Alastair Reynolds.In this book we go off to the planet Turquoise, so named because it’s an ocean planet covered in turquoise oceans.

Within the oceans are the Pattern Jugglers that got a mention in Diamond Dogs, and in this book we get a much deeper introduction to them.

So yeah, a really enjoyable novella adding yet another alien layer onto the growing alien layers of the Revelation Space universe.

Available in the duology, Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days.

And the next book in the series is Grafenwalder’s Bestiary.

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The Last Log of the Lachrimosa — Alastair Reynolds

The Last Log of the Lachrimosa, written by Alastair Reynolds.The Lachrimosa is an Ultra vessel whose captain has bought some information which he believes will make him a lot of profit.   And so the ship ends up at a planet exploring a place the crew really don’t want to explore.

This has hints of the wars between the maggots and the machines that was mentioned in Chasm City, and it seems we’re getting info dumped for the big books at the end of the series.   Info dumping aside, it’s an enjoyable novella to whizz through in a day or so.

Available in the collection, Beyond the Aquila Rift.

This is folllowed by Turquoise Days.

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Chasm City — Alastair Reynolds

Wow, now that was an epic sci-fi journey.   My Kindle showed it at 11495 Loc points, which makes it easily longer than some trilogies, and it’s all just one book: great value for money.

In this book we begin by following a character, Tanner Mirabel, who is a mercenary of sorts.   Tanner seems to have been infected with an indoctrination virus that gives him a historical/religious figure’s memories as dreams and flash backs.   On top of this Tanner has also wound up leaving the planet he was on, Sky’s Edge, and gone off on a lighthugger to Yellowstone, not realising the Melding Plague has destroyed everything.   Then, to add insult to injury, Tanner is also suffering reefer-sleep amnesia, although he does remember some things, like the fact that he came to Yellowstone to kill the man who killed his boss’ girlfriend.

But everything is not quite as it seems, people are waiting for Tanner, people are hunting Tanner, and some people just want to kill Tanner — or whoever he might be.

Brilliant!   This book has so many twists and turns as a fucked-up Tanner takes us on a fucked-up guided tour around Yellowstone’s Chasm City, a post Melding Plague Chasm City that’s just totally fucked-up.   Alastair does the most amazing writing job.

Scores on the doors: to quote from Spinal Tap, “Look, right across the board… 11, 11, 11…”

Next up is The Last Log of the Lachrimosa.

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Dilation Sleep — Alastair Reynolds

Dilation Sleep, written by Alastair Reynolds.So we continue with the same theme from Monkey Suit, in that we’re on an lighthugger running away from Yellowstone and the Melding Plague.

This enjoyable little short introduces us to the real science of time dilation, wherein the nearer one gets to the speed of light, the faster time passes in the outside universe in relation to those on the space ship.

And if we take this idea and put those on the space ship in reefer-sleep, where their bodies and brains are taken down into hibernation state — so hardly ageing at all — and then send them close to light speed for a few years, decades can pass in the outside universe while these people age a few weeks or months: thus being known as dilation sleep.

Then if we look at the situation that is occurring on Yellowstone and consider that rich refugees can afford to pay Ultras to go on a trip around the galaxy in dilation sleep for a few years while hopefully everything back home gets sorted out, and that is where we are in this book.

Except that one of the crew has been awakened by the ship because something has gone wrong and needs fixing.

Good stuff.

Available in the collection, Galactic North.

And the next book is Chasm City, which most definitely isn’t a short: more like a whole trilogy under one cover.

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Monkey Suit — Alastair Reynolds

Monkey Suit, written by Alastair Reynolds.The Ultras are running away from Yellowstone and the Glitter Band after a virus, The Melding Plague, has destroyed everything by attacking all nano-machinery and implants.   In this story we join a ship of Ultras and their hull-monkeys who are having some issues.

A short little story, but plenty good enough, giving us a bit more insight into the lives of the Ultras on their light-hugging ships.

Available in the collection, Deep Navigation.

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Diamond Dogs — Alastair Reynolds

Diamond Dogs, written by Alastair Reynolds.This is brilliant, yet so gruesome and twisted and you just have no idea how it’s going to end until you get to the end.

One imagines that Alastair really enjoyed watching The Cube and decided to shoe horn something similar but alien and even more fucked up into the Revelation Space Universe.   And what a great job he did of it too.

This book is available in the collections, Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days and Beyond the Aquila Rift.

Enjoy!

Next in line is Monkey Suit.

Alastair’s Page

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Elysium Fire — Alastair Reynolds

What’s odd about this book is that it starts with an explanation of Yellowstone and the Glitter Band which would have been much better placed before Aurora Rising — which the lack thereof was my one and only absolute criticism of that book.   It’s a bit late to put the info dump that one needs in the first Prefect Dreyfus book at the front of the second Prefect Dreyfus book.

Anyway, that aside, this is a superb book that totally builds on Aurora Rising, with all our favourite characters, good and bad, and some new ones too.   And it’s huge too, so huge but so unputdownable that i kept skipping my evening meditation session to keep reading this for a while longer and then staying awake a little past sleepy time too.

Excellently written, excellent characters, just excellent all round.

And up next it’s Diamond Dogs.

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