The Prefect
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The Prefect (Revelation Space standalone)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  5,684 ratings  ·  251 reviews
Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a law enforcement officer. His current case: investigating a murderous attack against one of the Glitter Band habitats that leaves nine hundred people dead. But then he uncovers an even greater threat-a covert plot by an enigmatic entity seeking nothing less than total control of the Glitter Band.
ebook, 576 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Ace Books (first published 2007)
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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...more
David Sven
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
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...more
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 the...more
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...more
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 11, 2012 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Guillermo Azuarte
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)...more
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...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.
Tudor Ciocarlie
The Prefect is not the typical Revelation Space novel, but it's still another good and fun novel by Alastair Reynolds.
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
Lee Penney
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...more

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...more
I have read a few books from Reynolds several years ago, and I did like them. I was satisfied with The Prefect too. Actually, more than satisfied, I liked it very much.

Being a scifi fan, I always enjoy good science fiction stories. The Prefect is one of those which feels real. It happens in the future, in a far galaxy. The people use technology we just dream about today. There are futuristic habitats, which are members of an utopian democracy. But in spite of these, the story feels like it real...more
Willy Eckerslike
Set in the Revelation Space universe but long before the melding plague struck, we get a chance to see the glory (or perhaps the hedonistic pointlessness) of the Glitter Band in its heyday. The story chronicles the evolution of a seemingly simple vote rigging investigation into a massive conspiracy that threatens to overwhelm the Glitter Band and, although this book can be read as a stand-alone novel, some prior knowledge of the earlier Revelation stories is useful. As the plot twists and turns...more
Clay Scott Brown
As you may or may not be aware we’ve been closely reading the Science Fiction works of Mr. Alistair Reynolds, most notably the Revelation Space Novels of this author.

The series supposedly ended with Absolution Gap, yet here we have a new Revelation Space novel called The Prefect which is set within the Revelation Space Universe, in particular 100 years before the Plague that destroys the Glitter Band.

In the books before this one it is quite clear that the Melding Plague has turned this ‘utopia’...more
¿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...more
Mar 16, 2010 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: HardSF Group
Shelves: bookclub, scifi
Note: if you spot the note "Revelation Space, Book 5", don't worry. The author's own website states that they are not all chronological, and that this one can be read without regard to any overall sequence.

I wish I could give this five stars, because I really think it was magnificently crafted. But as good as it was, there was no dramatic a-ha moment in which my perceptions shifted: this book didn't change my life, even in the modest manner of, for example, Peter Watts' Blindsight .

At the same t...more
Chris Limb
I don't know why I missed this one on publication having previously devoured all of Alastair Reynolds's output as soon as it had appeared but in some ways I am glad I did as it meant I had an unexpected bonus read before moving on to his latest novel.

This is a welcome return to the Revelation Space series of novels and short stories and in many ways a prequel to the main sequence. Although it works very well as a standalone, some pre knowledge of the background of this universe is advisable and...more
This has a slow start, an interesting middle but it just feels like everything is slowly, painfully slowly, dragging along. Wish the beginning had not been so excruciatingly slow. Listened to this in audiobook and the first six hours felt like background read that was just on the edge of engaging.
There are some failings in here, some too convenient plot points, some situations where people could just have lied but didn’t, but overall the last third of the book wasn’t that bad. The ending was an...more
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...more
Mad Professah
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. Hamilton'
Based on current evidence, I'm reasonably certain that my enjoyment of an Alastair Reynolds book is directly proportional to how much that book deals with Yellowstone. Chasm City is the best of the Revelation Space books I've read so far, and Absolution Gap was the worst, and the others all fit the pattern too.

The Prefect is different, though, because it takes place before all the other books, during the height of Demarchist civilization back when the Rust Belt was still the Glitter Band. Becaus...more
Aug 20, 2009 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Harold Ogle
A great book that I enjoyed very, very much. It's a detective novel set in the ultra-high-tech society that Alastair Reynolds has written about previously in books like Chasm City. Apparently I'm a sucker for such juxtapositions of genre, as I loved this book as much or more as one of my other favorites, Walter Jon Williams' Voice of the Whirlwind. The book follows three characters who are all prefects of Panoply, the legal enforcement organization. It's simple to think of them as cops, but thei...more
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...more
Another cracking novel set in the Revelation Space universe. This time we're back in the Glitter Band, a ring of 10,000 habitats surrounding the planet Yellowstone, and deep in a mystery that could end with the extinction of humanity in the region.

Prefect Tom Dreyfuss has a serious crime to solve - someone or something has destroyed an entire habitat but how and to what end? The prime suspects are the Ultras and there are hints as to it being the last known whereabouts of the Clockmaker, a psych...more
S.A. Barton
A solid, enjoyable read. Written as a standalone story in a universe established in previous books, but still accessible. It has been a couple of years since I read the previous stories, and the level of exposition here, while not intrusive to the reader, gave me enough information that what I did not remember about the author's universe did not detract from my experience as a reader. The detective story aspect did not alienate me despite the fact that I am not a fan of the detective genre--rath...more
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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...
Revelation Space (Revelation Space, #1) Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, #2) Chasm City House of Suns Absolution Gap (Revelation Space, #3)

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