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The Prefect (Revelation Space 0.1)

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  9,854 Ratings  ·  374 Reviews
Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a policeman of sorts, and one of the best. His force is Panoply, and his beat is the multi-faceted utopian society of the Glitter Band, that vast swirl of space habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone. These days, his job is his life.
A murderous attack against a Glitter Band habitat is nasty, but it looks to be an open-and-shut case - until Dreyf
Hardcover, 410 pages
Published April 12th 2007 by Gollancz
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Krazykiwi If you click through to the series from the title of the book, there is a lot of information there.

Reynolds provides numbering only for primary three…more
If you click through to the series from the title of the book, there is a lot of information there.

Reynolds provides numbering only for primary three novels, but does give a timeline as to when the others are *set*, which differs greatly from publication order. He flat out states there's no preferred order other than the original trilogy, and even that's not set in stone.

The timeline however, does help orient the stories against each other.

Any other numbering is purely opinion, so I removed it from the series entries here on GR.(less)
Ready Player One by Ernest ClineThe Martian by Andy WeirOld Man's War by John ScalziThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsAnathem by Neal Stephenson
Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century
60th out of 521 books — 5,715 voters
Dune by Frank HerbertFoundation by Isaac AsimovHyperion by Dan SimmonsRevelation Space by Alastair ReynoldsEnder's Game by Orson Scott Card
Space Opera
17th out of 236 books — 324 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 19, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it
A delightful romp through politics and giddy inventions of the bizarre future society of the demarchists (democratic anarchism a post-scarcity system based on implants making constant polls) that reminds me of Sterling’s Schismatrix and Swanwick’s Vacuum Flowers. Reynold’s most on surface optimistic work is undercut by a creeping sadness that might in the end make this his most chilling and disturbing. Possible because it’s set in threatened utopia rather than his usual desolate settings of dead ...more
Aug 20, 2009 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Space opera/hard SF
Shelves: sf-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 28, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Alastair reynolds has become a highly competent writer of science fiction entertainments, able to balance his penchant for grotesquery and Gothicism with characters it is possible to like. In my view he has been more successful when limiting the scope of any given novel to one aspect of his larger imagined universe, allowing him to concentrate his powers of description, generating a strong flavour of the culture the action develops in. The Prefect does just that.

This particular novel is a detect
Jul 21, 2009 Cecily rated it really liked it
A multi-faceted space opera detective story. It's detailed and pretty exciting, but a lot of characters are introduced in the first 20 pages or so, and it's a little hard to keep track of who's who when you don't know who are going to be the important ones (clue: they all are).

The habitats of the Glitter Band (satellites around planet Yellowstone) are part of a libertarian demarchy (democratic anarchy), which means constant polls of everyone about everything. Paonoply is the organisation in char
Aug 05, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: britishsci-fi
One of Reynolds' most structured books, The Prefect takes place in his Revelation Space universe (before the time of the Melding Plague. Yellowstone is a human-colonized planet orbited by ten thousand individual habitats that comprise the Glitter Band. Each habitat is its own world, ranging from communities of peaceful artist-voters to Voluntary Tyrannies.

Policing all of this is the habitat of Panoply, where the policemen are called Prefects. Tom Dreyfus is a no-nonsense Prefect whose current as
Apr 11, 2010 Oscar rated it really liked it
¿Es Alastair Reynolds el mejor escritor de ciencia ficción de la década? Posiblemente.

Su particular visión de un futuro lejano es única. Un futuro en el que los grandes avances tecnológicos permiten casi cualquier cosa, y en el que los seres humanos se dividen en diferentes razas dependiendo de cuál sea su nivel de dependencia por la tecnología. Y también están las máquinas, que forman una raza aparte. Pero lo que caracteriza a Reynolds es su manera de tratar estos temas. Alastair Reynolds no pr
Mike (the Paladin)
In this one I went from 4 stars down to 3 stars and then back to 4.

There are strong characters, a sturdy world (universe....multiverse?)and a good plot. The plot however started to fray badly about halfway through the book. I felt like he'd strewn his conspiracy laden plot out into a few too many strands and then let the strands sort of get out of control. The story lost focus and even began to wear a little thin out at the edges as he shifted from place to place, view to view, and character to
Sep 02, 2010 MadProfessah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Despite never having heard his name before a year ago, British science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds has turned into one of my favorite authors.

In the space of about 8 months (December 2009 through July 2010), I have read five of his novels, all of which are set in his Revelation Space universe. Those books are (in the order I read them) Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, Chasm City, Absolution Gap and The Prefec.

The Revelation Space universe is at least as interesting as Peter F. Hamil
The Prefect started out rough for me. The characterization was shoddy through the opening act -- the only female viewpoint character, Thalia Ng, was also the only character who seemed to feel any emotion at all, and as she was mainly nervous and afraid her emotions undercut my respect for her as a prefect -- especially as the other prefects whose viewpoints Reynolds showed all appeared calm, cool, collected, and totally in control. There were also moments where Reynolds forced the characters to ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Feb 17, 2013 Tudor Ciocarlie rated it really liked it
The Prefect is not the typical Revelation Space novel, but it's still another good and fun novel by Alastair Reynolds.
This is not a book that’s necessarily going to wow you. It’s not flashy. It’s not full of glitz or pizzazz. Basically this book ain’t got much bling. But I’ll tell you what this book does have: execution. The Prefect is thoughtfully and creatively designed, deceptively complex, and just plain well executed. Alastair Reynolds doesn’t use any tricks. He just put together a solid game plan and executed it with precision and style.

The Prefect makes me think of Stanford football’s offense in the Andr
Feb 21, 2012 Virginia rated it really liked it
This was pretty good!

For personal reasons, I am ridiculously pleased that Alastair Reynolds is convinced that forensics as a profession continues on, relatively unchanged down to the bureaucratic paperwork, far into the future (2427?). I do kind of wonder how the author and Inspector Gadget would get along, since they seem to hold many of the same views, at least based on this story.

I am also pleased that this book is set in a time before the melding plague, so that the glitter band is not just
Lee Penney
Jun 11, 2012 Lee Penney rated it really liked it
After reading Revelation Space I swore off Reynolds for good, but I was looking around for some sci-fi and he kept coming up. Looking through the recommendations and reading the plot outline for The Prefect it took my fancy and I gave it a go. I’m glad I did.

Although based in the same universe, the events take place at a completely different time (calling it a series is a misnomer) and is largely a detective story, following a prefect (basically a policeman) in the Glitter Band, a collection of
Aug 11, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Alastair Reynolds is what I call a “heavyweight” Science Fiction author. His stories are deep, thoughtful, and have complex characters that inhabit his intricate fictional universe. His writing reminds me of Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Robert Heinlein, and other masters of “hard” fiction. As much as I like and enjoy lighter fare, this is what I consider the epitome of excellent writing. Take any well-crafted novel by a great author in this genre and it compares favorably with the best fiction ...more
Oct 27, 2012 Guillermo rated it it was amazing
5 giant novels, 2 novellas, and a collection of short stories later, I have sadly completed everything Reynolds has written in the wonderful Revelation Space Universe. Not once has he let me down, and The Prefect was a nice way to finish it up for me.


If you want to look at it chronologically, The Prefect is actually the earliest book in the series but the last book to be published in it (not counting the short stories Great Wall of Mars, Glacial and maybe 1 or 2 others)
Jul 08, 2013 Jamie rated it really liked it

Let me explain the 4 star rating.
As a massive fan of the Revelation Space series I found this book to be a worthy companion piece, as part of a bigger picture it’s a 5 star novel, presenting the human race at its belle epoche and fleshing out the back story of the glitter band. As a book in its own right, especially when compared to Alastair Reynolds’ other works, it falls just a tiny bit short. It’s his own fault for being so damn good in the first place. The first few chapters didn't grab me a
John Boettcher
Dec 19, 2012 John Boettcher rated it it was amazing
The Prefect is a great stand-alone in the Revelation Space Universe. It takes place right before the Melding Plague and having read it as virtually the last work in the RS universe Reynold's has created, I found the book to be more succinctly put together.

The plot in the book, although having many parts and moving around, does not do so to nearly the extent as every other novel in the Revelation Space books. This is not to say that The Prefect was bad or that the other books are difficult to re
Feb 11, 2014 Brad rated it it was amazing
I was wondering how the trilogy would hold up in comparison to a kind-of prequel, and was delighted to see a greater exploration of Aurora in the hey-day of humanity's triumph. Even more, I enjoyed seeing the stakes for what they were and the premonitions of things to come. As a police procedural, it was a much better book, in my humble opinion, than Chasm City, although both had their definite charms. The stakes are always high in these books, as is the body count. I've now got my Reynolds swee ...more
Aug 26, 2013 Lee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Reynolds has without doubt become one of my favourite authors. Which is interesting
because early on in my reads of his books I found him to be too technical, taking hard scifi beyond what I could hope to understand. But as I read more of his works I have become to enjoy his work and to be honest, I think his work is just getting better

Story: 5/5
1: Being Vague, rambling plot with no little believable storyline
5: Ripping yarn, clever, thought provoking

The prefect is a stand alone story about th
David Sven
Mar 11, 2014 David Sven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. My favourite Revelation Space novel to date. The only downside is it’s the last one and my Rev space journey has ended – but it has ended very satisfactorily. And at least there are more Alastair Reynolds novels to explore. This is the second book in the series I have listened to on audio and I have to say, John Lee does an excellent job at narration. It’s hard to describe how he adds to the overall tone of the book but I think he just adds a touch of sophistication, a touch of “dark ...more
Aug 20, 2013 Cristina rated it it was amazing
Alastair Reynolds nu-mi era un nume familiar înainte să încep Prefectul. După ce l-am terminat, mi l-am însemnat în minte, deşi uneori aglomerarea de elemente hard SF m-a obosit. De ce mi-a plăcut atunci? Pentru că, în ciuda amănuntelor ce ţin de tehnologie, ritmul este alert. În esenţă, avem o dilemă poliţistă inclusă într-un cadru de space opera, care reuşeşte să mai şi pună întrebări despre societate şi politică, bine şi rău, discriminare, umanitatea inteligenţei artificiale, dimensiunea sacr ...more
Luke Burrage
Second time through this novel, this time as an audiobook. I actually enjoyed it more this time round!

Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #204 or #205. Also episode #019, for a review from the first time I read it back in 2008.
May 15, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2016
5 Stars

The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds is a nearly perfect book to me. I finally had to conclude my time in the Revelation Space universe by reading this one the 7th and final book of the epic space opera. People nitpick Reynolds and complain about his writing. They claim that his characters are too thin, his prose too plain, and his plots too complex. Well let me tell you, even if some of those points ring true at times, there is no denying that Reynolds is a masterful storyteller and a giant
Aug 12, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
I can see this novel being made into a film directed by Ridley Scott and in the mold of Alien and Blade Runner, or Peter Hyams' 1981 film starring Sean Connery Outland.

The Prefect, first published in 2007, by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds, is a stand alone novel but a part of his larger Revelation Space universe of stories and novels. It was a Locus Award nominee for Best SF novel in 2008 (Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union won that year) and was also a nominee for 2007 best novel b
Unfortunately I think i would have possibly enjoyed it more had I not skipped books 2,3,4 in the series. It also doesn't help that'd I'd already completely forgotten Revelation Space, not a good sign of my opinion of Reynolds prior work. I read a few reviews claiming The Prefect stood on it's own really well. I disagree. Much of the world building is clearly established in the other books. The evil, Misguided, easily fooled security Prefect Sheridan was halariously bad. Every part he was in I cr ...more
Nov 23, 2014 Apatt rated it really liked it
Alastair Reynolds is an author I keep coming back to like a regular customer, for the simple reason that he is among the top three best sci-fi authors working today (I have no idea who the other two are, I just estimate that if I were to do a top three ranking he would be in it).

The Prefect is set earlier in the Revelation Space timeline. This is not going to mean very much to anyone who has never read anything from Reynold’s epic Revelation Space series. That said this is a standalone book in t
Jan 12, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommendation: I recommend a buy on this if you like a dreary, noir like setting in your science fiction, that is mixed with mystery, and has a focus on figuring out the world building.

Alastair Reynolds continues to put out novels, like The Prefect, that invokes in me the same feelings I felt when I first saw Blade Runner or Alien. The prefect is a space opera science fiction novel with focus on mystery and world building. This book is set in the Revelation Space Universe but other books are no
Jul 27, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing
Yeah, I'm a fan. I continue to be impressed (blown away?) by Reynolds's epic imagination. In this stand alone installment of the Revelation Space universe, prefect Tom Dreyfuss investigates a massacre at one of the "Glitter Band" habitats. Without getting into the very deep Revelation Space weeds, the "Glitter Band" is a 10,000 habit strong confederation of humans in outer space. They are all different, ranging from fascist states to extremely liberal ones. There are a few principles they all mu ...more
Jul 03, 2016 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

That’s me now, at the end of The Prefect and Revelation Space series. I tried to stretch it as much as I could, but eventually it came to an end…

From the construction’s point of view, if Revelation Space is the thunderstorm, The Prefect is the rainbow after it. Gripping from the very first pages, it’s the most alert and colorful of the entire series. The descriptions of the habitats and their denizens are stunning; the technological and medical details are so punctilious they appear as real as
Mark Hebwood
Oct 02, 2016 Mark Hebwood rated it really liked it
Something is happening that I would not have expected. I am becoming an Alastair Reynolds fan!

Even the books I did not like that much clearly showed that Alastair is a bright guy, and capable of weaving clever and intricate plots. But I am increasingly discovering that he is also versatile as a writer, that he masters different genres of storytelling. Of the ones I read, Revelation Space is part of a sweeping epic, Terminal World a rambunctious adventure story, and Chasm City a revenge thriller.
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Alastair Reynolds, former scientist and now full-time writer. Most of what he writes is science fiction, with a strong concern for scientific verisimilitude (although he is prepared to break the rules for the sake of a good story). He has lived in England, Scotland and the Netherlands where he worked as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency until 2004, but now makes his home back in his ...more
More about Alastair Reynolds...

Other Books in the Series

Revelation Space (5 books)
  • Chasm City
  • Revelation Space
  • Redemption Ark
  • Absolution Gap

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