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Absolution Gap

(Revelation Space #3)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  18,855 ratings  ·  599 reviews
They are ancient killing machines, designed to locate and destroy any life form reaching a certain level of intelligence. Now, stirred from eons of sleep, the Inhibitors have descended on their latest target: Humanity." "The first wave of Inhibitors has sent war veteran Clavain and a ragtag group of refugees into hiding. Their leadership is faltering, and their situation i ...more
Kindle Edition, 768 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Ace (first published November 27th 2003)
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Tim Hicks
What a disappointment! This last book alone adds 662 pages to the series. It continues the brilliant weaving of complex and advanced ideas, but even early in the book I started thinking, "This is getting a little silly now". It built to what promised to be a stunning conclusion, then ends with a great big "PFFFFBBBLLLLLT". What a load of bollocks!

The ending is so bad that it bursts the suspension of disbelief that carried us so far. It makes us look back and see how flimsy some of the plotlines
mark monday
imagine a gigantic gothic spacecraft, a Lovecraft in space, a horrifying monster of a ship captained by a man who is the ship itself. Captain John Brannigan! the oldest human in the galaxy; or rather, "human" ... the old captain fell prey to both a terrible melding plague and his own tortured thoughts. the captain and the ship came together, transformed into the stuff of nightmares. the ship is called Nostalgia for Infinity. it is the best part of the book, and the trilogy as well.

Reynolds compl
Absolution Gap: Overlong, tedious and frustrating conclusion
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature

Absolution Gap (2003) is the third book in Alastair Reynolds’ REVELATION 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 2001: A Space Odyssey, Iain M. Banks’ CULTURE novels, Peter Watt’s Blindsight, Richar
Sep 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a terrible, terrible ending to what started out as a very promising series. I really wanted to like this book, but it became an utter slog fairly early on, and I had to force myself over the finish line (more out of stubborness than anything; this is very rare that I feel this way but I hate to abandon books that I've started). If I hadn't read this on a Kindle, I would have been tempted to throw the book across the room in frustration upon finishing it. I still might.

First, some context ab
Heidi The Reader
Alastair Reynolds ends his space opera trilogy with Absolution Gap. Many of the characters from the last book are desperately fighting the Inhibitors, but humankind seems to be losing the war. In a final hail Mary, the Conjoiners and a new member of their race seek a distant star system where a planet seems to disappear and the phenomena is worshiped by a group of fanatics led by a prophet with religious fervor literally in his bloodstream.

For a fraction of a second something inexplicable had oc
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-scifi
Re-Read 2019.

I don't think I will change my star rating. If anything. I preferred the second time around as I was reading it, instead of listening to audio. I think some of Reynolds hard scifi can be difficult to listen to, as it can get so technical and detailed, that apparently I used to zone out to on my first read whilst driving or on the train. There were huge parts of the book where I had absolutely not recollection of the story.
Overall though, this is a huge story and I have enjoyed bein
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Recalled to life! That is a slogan from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities which applies here. I accidentally—or it could be gremlins—deleted my original review of Absolution Gap (or AbGap as I call it) and normally I can retrieve it from pasting the URL of the lost review at but this time it did not work, perhaps it has been lost too long. However, Google is still my friend and if you are at all interested just click here too see a screencap of the process. OK, the review—which you ...more
David Sven
Jul 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Have you ever wondered what it would be like for a mostly unaugmented human to make love to a cyborg who was more machinery than biology? Of course you have! Who hasn't right? For GRRM fans it's easy. Just think Joffrey plus Iron Throne.

Or perhaps you've wondered what it would be like to never blink or even close your eyes in sleep so you could watch reruns of your favourite cable shows non stop. How would you achieve such a state? Well one of the Ultras in this book goes there. Lets just say i
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please don't start with this book as it's number three (sort of) in the series, and the book IMHO is perhaps not the best way to introduce yourself to Mr.Reynolds. "Absolution Gap" though being a marvelous addition to the series is not as outright amazing as it's predictors, though a book you will want to read if you read the others. ...more
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
What the?!

The final in a rather involved trilogy that is neither the same story as the previous two/nor the characters and in no way final. So many tantalising threads from the the previous two books are left to hang. The first two in this series showed great promise and I was very much looking forward to this one - I can't think of the last time I was so disappointed in an author.

The thing that became most apparent to me after finishing this one is that the author was using his characters as to
With his Revelation Space trilogy and the spinoff books Chasm City and The Prefect , Alastair Reynolds has accomplished the best world-building outside of Iain M. Banks' Culture novels. Truly, I can't understate how impressed I am with what Reynolds has put together.

Over the last ten weeks or so I have fallen in love with the Revelation Space universe and I simply can't get enough of the stories or characters that occupy it. I started with The Prefect, not realizing it was part of a b
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a journey this trilogy was!

Although unexpected, the events in this last part have a deeper meaning when ruminate upon, one which cannot be glimpsed by reading the first two.
Even the ending was kinda unexpected (I guessed half of it, but the other not a bit).

As I said in my point of view for the first part, this story's key points are unpredictable, which makes it even more interesting - if that can be - taking into consideration the amount of mind blowing concepts and immensity.
And even as
This is the fourth novel I've ready by Alastair Reynolds, and I have to admit that while it took me a bit of time to get into the writing, the effort is never wasted. The build-up is slow but very steady, and I can honestly say that the final explosions are quite good. There's always something else to look forward to, on the other hand, and I suppose my only wish would be to have a prolific amount of works to support each one. A universe this detailed ought to at least be a lot more full than a ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
A long, meandering, and ultimately boring conclusion to the fantastic premise of Revelation Space. Instead of roaring to a conclusion, it sloooowly crosses the finish line of a completely different race.

Quality-wise I think Absolution Gap is on par with Redemption Ark, but with the original cast gone, my favorite characters pointlessly dead, and zero focus on the promised purpose of the series, I was bored. I did not care about the new characters. I did not care about their storylines.

I'm moving
Chris Berko
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one but there were some long drawn out parts that almost bored me. The story was smaller and more personal than previous installments but the tech and the action were definitely on par. There were some fantasy elements in this one that had not been in any of the other books and for technically being the fourth, including Chasm City, it seemed like a weird time to intoduce something so different in style and feel. This was my fourth and least favorite book by this author but still fo ...more
Aug 03, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci Fi fans
This is the conclusion of the three part series, and while I thought it was the weakest of the series, I still get insane pleasure out of this man's writing. I think the main problem this book has is that it is missing what would seem to be a very vital sense of urgency concerning the Inhibitors. Now, the nature of this galaxy he has created reminds us that our perception of the passage of time is quite different from the galaxy's perception, but even so, there is a race of machines out there de ...more
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final novel in the Revelation Space Trilogy concludes one of the great space operas of the modern era. Though not the best book of the trilogy (I reserve that spot for Revelation Space itself), Absolution Gap brings the vast, centuries-spanning epic to a satisfactory conclusion. (view spoiler) ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
 Absolution: A freeing from blame or guilt.

Clavain is staring across an ocean on planet Ararat. He is sitting alone in meditation, struggling with feelings of remorse and guilt. Does he take the swim that would allow the Juggler marine mass to absorb his mind/soul with their own?

Scorpio arrives. He finds Clavain in his place of solitude and self imposed exile. A small craft has landed and Scorpio feels this may mark the local resumption of humanities war against the Inhibitors. Or maybe this
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All adult readers
Shelves: favorites
I have been dreading this. While there are more prequels in the Revelation Space series I have yet to read; the main series has come to an end, and I am thankful for the opportunity to enjoy it.
Amidst the chaotic tendrils of Covid-19, fortune has provided me an opportunity, a place to hide and enjoy my new favorite series. That's the power of books, I think, and Revelation Space is a story of surviving chaos. The crazy, unknowable universe can rage and burn around us, but we can still go somew
Manuel Antão
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Titanic Style: "Absolution Gap" by Alastair Reynolds

There's a character called Quaiche, a religious devotee who sets up the giant Cathedrals. Their function is to traverse Hela (the moon of the gas giant Haldora) so as to observe its parent planet in the hope that it will disappear for a split second, showing what's within. Quaiche uses a special in-doctrinal virus to maintain religious faith among his supporters, though I'm not sure t
Apr 10, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010, e-books
I was extremely disappointed with this 3rd concluding book of the series. Where the first 2 excelled, character development, this book was really missing. The main characters of the first 2 books were pretty much finished with their stories after 2 books. Some were even ruined in this book and they acted quite out of character. The overall theme of man versus machine was not really brought to conclusion, it contained nothing new. I would have stopped reading this book 100 pages in, but I pushed ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Impressive and interesting conclusion to the Revelation Space trilogy. At first I was a little disappointed by the low key ending, but after a couple of days I find this perfectly human ending, very appropriate and satisfying.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of the very best aspects of the Revelation Space series is that each of the four books in this series (Chasm City must be read as #2 ... in my rarely humble opinion ...) is significantly different from the previous - new planets, new characters, new situations, new mysteries - but with enough overlap to be very satisfying. See my reviews of the previous 3 books.

Absolution Gap is fascinating and clever in so many ways, with empathetic characters and good pacing and action (mostly). The promin
The third in the Revelation Space series, picking up where Redemption Ark ( left off. I have been impressed by all the Reynolds I have read, but around the half-way mark, this one was struggling to be worth 3*. However, it redeemed itself in the last quarter, to deserve 4*.

Like many of Reynolds' books, this is a story with three main, interrelated, strands, though it is simpler than the previous two Revelation Space volumes - or perhaps that is just becau
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having finally finished this book, i can confidently say that this whole series is the perfect definition of "hate-reading" ; the act of self punishment some readers go through with certain books or series because they're completists and/or masochists. I have valid reasons for doing this to myself though, Alastair Reynolds can actually write excellent, awe-inspiring hard scifi with grand ideas, the world-building in his books is detailed and diverse.

I don't even fault him his constant grim,
Absolutely stunning. Full of so many amazing set pieces and characters. I particularly loved how Scorpio and Captain Brannigan basically were the main characters of this book. They're both such fascinating characters.

I need to go read the short story Galactic North again for more illumination about the ending.

The Revelation Space universe is probably my favorite scifi setting, and my second favorite fictional world after Bas-Lag. Pity the only thing I have left to read in this setting is The Pre
Simon Mcleish
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in August 2004.

This novel completes the story of Revelation Space and Redemption Ark, about how the human race falls foul of machines named Inhibitors or wolves, which destroy interstellar civilizations when alerted by the use of particular kinds of advanced technology. (Chasm City and the pair of novellas Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days share the same background, but are not part of the same story.) At the end of Redemption Ark, one group of humans had taken re
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Somehow or other I got it into my head that I'd finished the entire Revelation Space series, only to suddenly realize that I had left out one book. This discovery was one of the happiest of my reading year, in 2017.

It's been a long time since I actually read this book--I'm writing the review in January 2018 for a book I read in May 2017--so I won't go into any details. I will just say that I remember this being one of the very best books of the series, standing alongside The Prefect. It had som
Victor Tanasa
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After finishing Redemption Ark, I received The Martian and The Handmaid's Tale in the mail and, excited about them, I was very close to reading either, instead of continuing with Absolution Gap. That would have been a mistake, as I had a blast with the latter :)

It was a bit strange though, as throughout the whole series, I had a feeling of unease and that something I couldn't really put into words was bothering me, while at the same time I couldn't wait to pick up the books again to see what hap
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Ridiculous ending? Spoilers 28 216 May 03, 2015 10:38PM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 0575083166 2 27 Feb 07, 2012 05:11AM  

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I'm Al, now a Goodreads author. I used to be a space scientist, and now I'm a writer, although for a time the two careers ran in parallel. I started off publishing short stories in the British SF magazine Interzone in the early 90s, then eventually branched into novels. I write about a novel a year and try to write a few short stories as well. Some of my books and stories are set in a consistent f ...more

Other books in the series

Revelation Space (3 books)
  • Revelation Space (Revelation Space, #1)
  • Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, #2)

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