by Alastair Reynolds

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Review

Just so you know where I stand as a reviewer: if you start off your book with a deadly "razor storm" bearing down on archaeologists at a dig site on an alien planet, I'll probably follow your story wherever it goes from there. I just can’t get enough of that stuff. Now that I've made this disclosure, let me share with you just one of the interesting concepts Alastair Reynolds brings forth in this excellent novel. In the universe of Revelation Space, humanity has colonized interstellar space but must still grapple with the vast distances between star systems. Gigantic ships called "light-huggers" can go almost, but not quite, the speed of light, so it can still take years to reach your destination and the only way to do much interstellar travel within a human lifetime is through cryogenic stasis. Pretty standard stuff for space opera, but Reynolds really leverages this conceit to serve his story. One character, having been wounded in battle, is placed in stasis for a medical transfer and, due to a clerical error, wakes up to find she was accidentally sent to a frontier system and has been asleep for twenty years. Since it would take another twenty years to return, her old life is as good as gone and there's nothing left to do but try to make a new life on this new world (naturally, she becomes an assassin). Reynolds works in lots of big concepts and also does a great job of capturing the sense of wonder that goes along with exploring the unknown, which is one of my favorite aspects of this genre. An engaging, suspenseful story of ideas, I'd recommend Revelation Space for anyone interested in space adventure.

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