Absolution Gap By Alastair Reynolds: Things I Disliked

Absolution Gap Cover

I’m a fan of Alastair Reynolds and I’ve read all of his books, most of them at least two times or more. His Revelation Space series was really interesting. I’m in the midst of finishing up Absolution Gap for the 3rd time, and I’ve started to notice some things that I dislike.

I just went through my archives and found my previous review of the book. Here are some excerpts:

Again, Reynolds uses the artifice of a planet trap in his novel, this was used in his first one too, Revelation Space. Though the novel is a page turner, I do believe that Pushing Ice is a much stronger novel. Absolution Gap came out in 2003 and Pushing Ice in 2005, so it is good to hear that his next novels will be getting even better.

Though I did enjoy seeing the end of this storyline in the Revelation Space universe, I still feel some disappointment to the resolution of the whole affair. The thing that really bothers me is that Reynolds started with using The Melding Plague as a nanocaust. Then went on to use the Inhibitors as galaxy wide machines that wiped out entire civilizations to minimize the impact of the collision of the Milky Way with another galaxy 3 billion years from now. And then, he goes back to another nanocaust, the greenfly. I mean, come on. I do understand the fascination with nanocausts, but time and time again in his novels? And to top this off, he never really explains these Neumann machines at all, not in enough detail. So Alastair Reynolds, if you are reading this, I love your writing but you need to write a lot more so that I can be satisfied. Get to work! Seriously, I don’t believe that he will touch these storylines again, albeit in a few short stories which he has done in the past.

When I read it the last time, I wasn’t gushing about it either. Here are some further points that I did not like, excluding the deaths of Clavain and Skade. The death of Clavain was gratuitous and uncalled for. It didn’t bring the plot forward in any way and we’re left with Scorpio as the so-called leader of the Nostalgia for Infinity. Although I liked Scorpio in the previous novel, I disliked him in this one. He didn’t make great decisions and he wasn’t that interesting.

Quaiche is another problem. I understand the need to focus on Hela and Haldora, but why did he have to spawn his ridiculous religion after he saw Haldora vanish the 1st time in 2615? Ridiculous. It’s really ignorant, especially since he was aboard the Gnostic Ascension, an Ultra lighthugger.

The girl who never lies.

I almost rolled my eyes when I read this line in Absolution Gap. Just like Aena in the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons, Aura is humanity’s savior. I disliked her character and how it was portrayed.

The destruction of Chasm City on Resurgam was also annoying. This planet was pivotal in the previous novels and its destruction was straightforward and undramatic. I also didn’t like how the narrative switched through different times in the novel. I get that he needed to do so, but it was still a bit annoying.

Once again, for someone who wants to read some great hard science fiction, the rest of the Revelation Space series is very good. In my opinion, both House of Suns and Pushing Ice, as well as The Prefect, are much stronger novels.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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