Earlier this year I read three sci-fi books I strongly recommend you if you are interested by the genre. The five books making this cycle were written by Alastair Reynolds, a UK scientist who dedicated himself to writing space operas.
Back to 2007 I read Chasm City the second opus of the cycle which can be read as a stand alone. If you like this one as much as I did (I then gave it a grade of 17/20), you will love the whole series.
Taking place in a not-so-distant future, The Revelation Space cycle provides a good plot in a coherent universe filled with interesting ideas and characters.
In the 25th century Mankind have conquered near Space thanks to huge spaceships. Life expectancy has significantly increased and cryonics have enabled people to sleep for years and thus make decades long trips seem shorter.
After having discovered several civilizations who disappeared under strange circumstances, scientists begin to wonder who or what inhibits Life as Mankind seems to be the only remaining intelligent life form among the many potential planets where Life could settle.
During 3,000 pages Alastair Reynolds counts the story of the people trying to answer these and many others questions.
Here are the two main factions encountered in the books (Wikipedia extract, from the article on Redemption Ark ):
The Conjoiners, humans who have incorporated technology that allows them not only to share thoughts, but to enhance many aspects of their existence (such as vision enhancements, pain blocking, fastidious memory collection and recall etc).
The other featured faction is the Demarchists, baseline humans who originally practiced a form of decentralised mass-participatory democracy, but whose civilisation was all but destroyed by a nanotechnology plague.
Other factions are present and most of all the Inhibitors.
Here are the books :
- Revelation Space. (2000).
- Chasm City. (2001)
- Redemption Ark. ( 2002)
- Absolution Gap. (2003).
- The Prefect. (2007) Note : I didn’t read this one yet.
To conclude : even if the series isn’t as good as Vernor Vinge’s books or the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson I still strongly recommend you reading these books if you like space operas taking place in a not-so-distant future.
Grade for the series : 17/20.