[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 14 July 2005]
Alastair Reynolds hits it out of the park with Revelation Space, a heady mixture of hard sf, space opera, and cyberpunk with a huge and epic scope.
The plotting and universe-building are first-rate, as are some of the characterizations, especially the über-cyberpunk crew of the lighthugger Nostalgia for Infinity—a lighthugger is a spacecraft that can almost reach the speed of light—who are just as weird as you’d imagine somebody would get from spending centuries in real time aboard their vessel, occasionally touching down on planets that are always changing dramatically from the passage of time.
The aliens of Revelation Space are also truly alien, which is a nice change of pace from the usual space opera “people with weird skin colors and bumps on their foreheads” aliens.
On the down side, the novel sometimes gets a bit wordy and Byzantine, and some of the central characters never really go beyond stereotypes. But those are minor quibbles—Revelation Space is the real deal.