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Revelation Space

Narrated by: John Lee
Length: 22 hrs and 12 mins
4 out of 5 stars (122 ratings)
Non-member price: $58.57
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Publisher's Summary

Nine hundred thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just as it was on the verge of discovering space flight. Now one scientist, Dan Sylveste, will stop at nothing to solve the Amarantin riddle before ancient history repeats itself.

With no other resources at his disposal, Sylveste forges a dangerous alliance with the cyborg crew of the starship Nostalgia for Infinity. But as he closes in on the secret, a killer closes in on him because the Amarantin were destroyed for a reason. And if that reason is uncovered, the universe - and reality itself - could be irrevocably altered.

©2008 Alastair Reynolds (P)2008 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"One of the best books of the year." ( Science Fiction Chronicle)
"Ferociously intelligent and imbued with a chilling logic - it may really be like this Out There." (Stephen Baxter, co-author of The Light of Other Days)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thesle
  • Wyoming, Australia
  • 05-04-2015

A well told and complex narrative

Reynolds starts the story with several seemingly unrelated narratives that he gradually weaves together, generating interest, along with a lot of questions. Although he doesn't answer all of them in this book it would appear he has answers for them, which gives a confidence to the story typical of his other works.

The narration is the only let down, with Lee starting every sentence with an accent and ending every sentence by trailing off as if running out of breath. This makes the book difficult to listen to, especially in noisier environments like a car.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

WOW!

It starts off deceptively slow and disjointed, but enjoyable all the same. As the hours go by listening to it, you began to wonder how all of it fits together as story. It seems like there are multiple separate books being told at once, but as you realise that nothing can travel faster than light in this book's universe, it begin to realise that there is just one story being told on a scale that is hard to imagine. No words are wasted, all are slowly add to whole that crystallizes brutality fast like a rollercoaster.

As for the narrator, if I didn't know better I'd say there were at least a half dozen of them. By the time you're familiar with the main characters, hearing he said this, they said that, etc is mildly distracting because you can simply hear who said what.

Could not recommend more, but be prepared to have your mind turned on as it more than simple journey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Imaginative story but the narration is a let down

Full disclosure: I didn't finish the book. I couldn't because I got sick of John Lee's voice. I don't know why so many people love John Lee's speaking style - for me it's worse than sitting in a lecture given by Captain Kirk speaking in his most stereotyped staccato. Loud and sharp in the beginning of the sentence, tapering to a smooth quiet to nearly inaudible by the last (often important) word. Absolutely unsuitable if (like me) you do most of your listening in the car, in noisy places or in the last hour before you go to sleep. Sometimes charismatic and cool, other times an unremarkable recitation that needs your conscientious attention (and a quiet place).
And its a darn pity because I've been looking forward to this book, and such a fascinating, insightful story never let my mind wander so easily.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • AlbertPark, Australia
  • 20-08-2018

Great story!

Best Sci-if I've read in a long time :) Narrator does an excellent job of creating all the characters.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Strong story bad ending

Totally enjoyed the narrative. The twists were a bit predictable but the ending was unsatisfactory and too quick.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing sci fi

I would have to say that this is one of the best sci for books I have ever read. A breath of fresh air.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent sci fi

This is a fantastic hard sci-fi space opera, something that (especially if you've read other Reynolds) you would do well to listen to. The characters are cleverly crafted, and the story keeps you interested and intrigued right until the end.

Lee is an awesome narrator too, by far the best I've heard on Audible so far.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

In the beginning the story jumps from one character/scenario abruptly with no fluidity but toward the end of the book you don't notice this, probably becauce all the characters have become familiar.
I enjoyed this book

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, terrible narration

I listen to audio books on the bus to and from work, meaning the listening environment is a little noisy. Coupled with this narrators odd shifting tones and volumes throughout a sentence, it was impossible to get through this. I ended up picking up my hardcopy of Revelation Space instead to get my fix.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book, but narrator voices all sound the same

The story is good, takes a fair while to get going. I found I really had to pay attention as all the voices sound very similar, which makes it especially hard when the scene changes to a different character during the same chapter. I don't really think all the Russian /French accents are really necessary, I get the idea was to match them to the names, but it didn't work so well in the execution

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Peter
  • 06-07-2010

Good story - Fell out with the narrator.

This is the first Alastair Reynolds book I have read and it grew on me. The first third is a little confusing; the main cause of which I think is the narrator's style. I have greatly enjoyed John Lee's narration in other books but on this occasion I felt it left quite a lot to be desired. It sounded like he had spend a lot of time perfecting some sort of Eastern European accent and then, when he had got it just right, he applied it to all the characters! Therefore, at times, I had no idea who was speaking. Once you get a feel for the plot and who everyone is, the 'audio-homogeneity' is not really a big issue, but it did take me a while longer than usual to settle into this book.

On the whole I found it enjoyable, with a good story and some great sci-fi moments, although it did not inspire me to read any sequels for a while, especially as I have read numerous reviews of the opinion that this book is the best of the bunch.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 20-01-2013

Narration difficult to follow

I could not get into this book, the narrator - normally brilliant - was my biggest issue. I could not follow the separation in plot lines. The narration jumped from one to the other without any pause, introduction or announcement, maybe a small thing, but it was enough for me

26 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mr Munn
  • 02-04-2014

Buy a hard copy instead !!!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narration - truly awful. SO bad I couldn't manage to finish the book.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Don't really know as could not finish it due to the monotonous intonation of the narrator. The first audiobook I haven't managed to finish :-(

What didn’t you like about John Lee’s performance?

Very flat performance with a monotone intonation with no variation in pitch or speed. It really ruined the part of the book that I actually could face listening to. I managed about an hour before it got so bad I gave up and listened to something else.

Was Revelation Space worth the listening time?

I only managed an hour before giving up - can't really comment on the story but it sounded like an interesting premise.

Any additional comments?

The first time have ever felt the need to write a review and I am doing so just to warn people to buy the paper version of the book and read it for yourself as the flat narration sucks all the joy from the story. Take heed reader - the narration alone makes this a true waste of a credit - you have been warned !!!

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tim
  • 14-04-2011

Good book, terrible reader

Revelation space is one of many books I've read in dead tree format, and have revisited in audiobook form. Usually it's a very rewarding experience, and I loved this book when I read it so had high hopes for the more immersive medium of audio.

However this is the second Alastair Reynolds book I've listened to, and I just can't face any more of them as John Lee's narration ruins them. His pacing... is... terrible.

That's only the second time in years of audible membership a narrator has spoiled the experience, but a bitterly disappointing one as I was looking forwards to making my way through Reynold's back catalogue.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Edward
  • 16-10-2009

Really worth a try

It is amazing how opinions differ. I thought this was excellent and I went on to enjoy all his books in written form. You should definitely try one as you have a whole oeuvre to look forward to if you enjoy it.
I would point out that I think Ricky Gervais is a very dull comedian and that The Office is tedious drivel so my tastes may not lie on the average!

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 12-12-2011

Good Book? Awful Narration!

I have never actually given up on an audio-book before and I have library with Audible.co.uk of over 200 unabridged titles. I have however, given up trying with this book though and the sad thing is, that it has nothing to do with the author!

After restarting the title over 5 times, I still have no idea what the story is about as I found the narration to be rambling and dull which resulted in me missing large amounts of the narrative as my attention wandered to just about anything else. John Lee's reading quite simply bored me beyond belief and I wish I had heeded the reviews written by John (in Hampshire) and Tim (in Ayrshire).

Perhaps the book would be great with a different reader (my vote would go to Peter Kenny who is brilliant in Iain M Banks' audio books), who knows?

John Lee was a terrific narrator in Ken Follett's books, but not in Revelation Space.

I certainly won't be buying the rest of the series.

PLEASE NOTE: THE STAR RATING I HAVE GIVEN THIS BOOK RELATES PURELY TO THE NARATION.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • John Mcloughlin
  • 29-03-2011

An excellent book let down by the reader

Alistair Reynolds creates a very compelling universe, with interesting characters, location and technology. The details he puts into the universe create a very immersive experience, which can be a little confusing at the beginning as we jump both in time and location between the characters of the story. But the story is well worth staying with as the story unfolds.

Then we come to the reader. Oh dear is the kindest way to put to it. I'm sure John Lee is a talented individual, but reading books aloud is not one of his talents. The voices he uses to depict different characters varies so faintly that it's nigh on impossible to tell when one character stops speaking and another responds. Then his normal reading voice suffer from the same problem, often its hard to tell when the narration has topped, and someone is speaking again. This one experience with John Lee has put me off buying anymore books read by him, as I want to concentrate on the plot, not figuring out which character is speaking or whether its actually narration.

So my conclusion is that this an excellent book with enjoyable plot, characters and settings, quite spectacularly let down by the reader.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alexander
  • 30-05-2017

Really excellent, narration is NOT as bad as the other reviews say

The book is really phenomenal. It's a good technical science fiction piece written by a PhD astrophysicist who worked for the European Space Agency. I can't wait to start listening to the next in the series.

Many of the reviews on here bemoan the narration, but let me expound on this. At first there are three different storylines with short passages of each jumping around quite artfully keeping you engaged in all three.

Unfortunately this audiobook is engineered with no indication of when it switches. I agree with many of the reviews that there needs to be a substantial pause like you have at the end of each chapter. When I was listening to this and trying to mark papers I was losing the string of events and it was confusing, but if I kept it to less mentally engaging tasks, like cooking or driving I could follow easily. Furthermore, once you are a couple hours in you get to know the names of the characters and it isn't really an issue, and by the last third of the book the storylines have coalesced. The narrator himself does a really excellent job with voices and acting. He is excellent in other audiobooks and he is excellent in this one. Furthermore, from the reviews I've read this spacing issue doesn't continue with the rest of the books in the series.

I highly recommend this book. It's a new favourite of the substantial number of science fiction titles I have consumed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Martin
  • 10-04-2013

Start of a fantastic tale..

I love this book, just finished it and getting ready to download the sequels (and prequels) set in the same universe. The Narrator is fantastic and I have listened to a lot that he has done, great job done on the narration here and elsehwere by the narrator, who I find very easy to listen to.... I found the following on the Authors website which I think it is worth sharing as the chronology of the publishing dates does not follow the chronology of the story - I really want to pick up where this one leaves me..... so from the Authors website.......... "Of my books to date, five are set in the same universe. The reading order isn't that critical, in my view, but it probably improves things to read REVELATION SPACE, REDEMPTION ARK and ABSOLUTION GAP in that sequence. The other related books, CHASM CITY and THE PREFECT, as well as the collections DIAMOND DOGS, TURQUOISE DAYS and GALACTIC NORTH, can be read at any point (or in fact, not read at all)."

I hope that someone else finds that info from Alastair Reynolds as useful as I have done - if you like Sci Fi, this series is for you... Aliens, Ancient Relics, super weapons, super humas, Ai, cyborgs, vast time scales, vast distances, vast wars, mystery, plot twists, great characters.......this has all that and some :) happy listener.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jaspal
  • 06-08-2012

Confusing audio, maybe better as a written work

This is the first audiobook I've actually given up on. A shame really, I quite like Alastair Reynolds' work and despite the thoroughly unlikable characters, there are some interesting ideas in the story.

The French and mid-European sounding accents are somewhat similar so it can be hard to work out who is speaking (at first).

The plot jumps around a bit (in time and locations) - because there are very few cues in the audio that the narrative has moved to another planet (and the voices sounds similar) - I had to work hard just to keep track of what was going on. Even slightly longer pauses in the narration between planets/times would have helped me spot that that the story had moved elsewhere.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful