Next Author: Jenna Rhodes
Previous Author: Mike Resnick

Alastair Reynolds

Alastair Reynolds was born in Wales in 1966. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy. From 1991 until 2007, he lived in The Netherlands, where he was employed by The European Space Agency as an astrophysicist. He is now a full-time writer.

Click here for more books by Alastair Reynolds.

Revelation Space

Revelation Space — (2000- ) This highly-acclaimed first novel is destined to establish Alastair Reynolds as one of science fiction’s most intelligent and revolutionary new voices. Revelation Space is a sprawling operatic novel that ranges across vast gulfs of time and space to arrive at a terrifying conclusion. When human colonists settled the Amarantin homeworld, few of them bothered to question the disappearance of its native population almost a million years before. But one man, Dan Silvester, is convinced that solving the riddle of the Amarantin is vital to human survival. As he nears the truth he learns that someone wants him dead. Because the Amarantin were destroyed for a reason-and if that reason is made public, the universe-and reality itself-could be forever altered.

Revelation Space: Dark, dense, slow-burning space opera

Readers’ average rating:

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds

I’ve been planning to read this series for many years, because Alastair Reynolds, Peter F. Hamilton, Stephen Baxter, Ken MacLeod, Charles Stross and Iain M. Banks are regularly mentioned at the forefront of the British Hard SF movement. Sure, there are many non-British well-known hard SF and space opera practitioners like Read More

Chasm City: Gothic cyberpunk at its dark best

Readers’ average rating:

Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds

Chasm City (2001) is the fourth Alastair Reynolds book I’ve read in his REVELATION SPACE series, though it is a stand-alone and a much better book. The main trilogy (Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap) featured a lot of good hard SF world-building, but was heavily weighed down by clunky characters, dialogue, and extremely bloated page-count. While Chasm City is not any shorter at around 700 pages, it make... Read More

Redemption Ark: Promising ideas but excessive page-count

Readers’ average rating:

Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds

Redemption Ark (2002) is the follow-up to Revelation Space, Alastair Reynolds’ debut novel and the second book in his REVELATION SPACE series of hard SF space opera in which highly-augmented human factions encounter implacable killer machines bent on exterminating sentient life. The first entry had elements of Bruce Sterling’s Schismatrix, Frank Herbert’s Read More

Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days: Two novellas by Alastair Reynolds

Readers’ average rating:

Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days by Alastair Reynolds

For years I’ve been planning to read Alastair Reynolds’ REVELATION SPACE series; I even own all the books in audio format. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. But when I got an audio copy of Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days, a collection of two stand-alone novellas set in Reynolds’ world, it seemed like the right time and place to jump in.

Diamond Dogs is an exciting horror adventure that was, honestly, just a touch too gruesome for me, even though I loved the plot and scenery. The story starts in Chasm City, a place I can’t wait to explore in Reynolds’ novel called Chasm City. A wealthy eccentric man has assembled a team of adventurers that he takes to the mysterious Blood Spire on the planet Golgotha. (Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?)... Read More

Absolution Gap: Overlong, tedious and frustrating conclusion

Readers’ average rating:

Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds

Absolution Gap (2003) is the third book in Alastair ReynoldsREVELATION SPACE series of large-canvas hard SF in which post-human factions battle each other and implacable machines bent on exterminating sentient life. The series has elements of Bruce Sterling’s Schismatrix, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Arthur C. Clarke’s... Read More

The Prefect: Complex detective procedural set among orbitals

Readers’ average rating:

The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds

The Prefect is the fifth Alastair Reynolds book I’ve read in his REVELATION SPACE series, though it is a stand-alone and set earlier in chronology than the other books. By the time of the main trilogy Revelation Space (2000), Redemption Ark (2002), and Absolution Gap (2003), the Glitter Band of 10,000 orbitals has already been destroyed by the corrosive Melding Plague, so we see only its wrecked aftermath. With such tantalizing hints, it is ... Read More

Galactic North: Reynolds excels at shorter lengths

Readers’ average rating:

Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds

Having read all the full-length novels in Alastair ReynoldsREVELATION SPACE series, I knew I’d eventually get to his shorter works set in the same dark and complex universe. The main novels are Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, Chasm City, Absolution Gap, and The Prefect. Reynolds has produced a ... Read More

Century Rain: Noir, hard SF, and a dash of romance

Readers’ average rating: 

Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds

Century Rain (2004) is the first novel Alastair Reynolds published outside of his REVELATION SPACE setting. It combines elements of noir, hard science fiction and time travel with a dash of romance. Reynolds also experimented with noir elements in Chasm City and The Prefect (which I think is one of his best novels). The melding of noir and science fiction doesn’t work as well in Century Rain; this book is not one of Reynold's stronger novels.

The novel opens in the late 23rd century with archaeologist Verity Auger leading two students through the ruins of Paris. Earth has been destroyed by an event referred to as the nanocaust during the 2070s. A host of tiny machines, released to correct the centuries of abuse heaped upon the ear... Read More

Pushing Ice: Stand-alone hard SF from Reynolds

Readers’ average rating: Comment Reviews for this post are disabled. Please enable it first

Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds

Pushing Ice (2005) is a standalone novel. It is not set in Alastair Reynolds’ REVELATION SPACE universe and as far as I can tell it is not related to any of his other works either. On his website, Reynolds mentions that there may one day be a sequel though. Pushing Ice is space opera on an intimidating scale but, unfortunately, I don't think it gets close to the best the REVELATION SPACE universe has to offer.

The year is 2057 and humanity has escaped the Earth's gravity well. The outer planets and asteroid belt are frequently visited by mining ships, of which the Rockhopper is one. When Saturn's moon Janus inexplicably leaves orbit and heads out of the solar system in the direction of Spica, a star in the cons... Read More

Troika: Russian cosmonauts explore a BDO

Readers’ average rating:

Troika by Alastair Reynolds

Troika is a stand-alone hard science fiction novella that was first published in the 2010 anthology Godlike Machines edited by Jonathan Strahan. In 2011 it was published on its own by Subterranean Press. The story is Alastair Reynolds’ take on the Big Dumb Object trope.

In Reynolds’ future, Russia is the world’s only major superpower and has sent three cosmonauts to examine an alien object, which they call the Matryoshka, which has arrived in Earth’s solar system through a wormhole. The story takes place years after the cosmonauts return and one has escaped the mental institution he’s been imprisoned in to visit the female astronomer who was part of their crew and now liv... Read More

Slow Bullets: Small, but packs a punch

Readers’ average rating:

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

Slow Bullets
is the latest addition to Alastair Reynolds’ impressive body of work, a slim novella which he manages to fill with plausible far-future technology, interstellar war, and questions of identity and legacy.

Scurelya “Scur” Timsuk Shunde is a soldier for the Peripheral Systems, which are at war with the Central Worlds. One of the central points of conflict are the Books which each side holds sacred; while never explicitly named, the Books share several common tenets, and are clearly religious in nature. This war has gone on for a long time, ranging across countless star systems, but a ceasefire has finally been declared. Of course, after extended periods of conflict, it can be difficult to convince people that peace has been achieved. Orvin, a vicious war criminal who is wanted by both sides, capt... Read More