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Absolution Gap

(Revelation Space #3)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  15,993 ratings  ·  525 reviews
The Inhibitors were designed to eliminate any life-form reaching a certain level of intelligence - and they've targeted humanity. War veteran Clavain and a ragtag group of refugees have fled into hiding. Their leadership is faltering, and their situation is growing more desperate. But their little colony has just received an unexpected visitor: an avenging angel with the p ...more
Paperback, 756 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Ace Books (first published November 27th 2003)
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,993 ratings  ·  525 reviews

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mark monday
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi-modern
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
Tim Hicks
May 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
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
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
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
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 bigger
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-scifi
Story: 4/5
1: Being Vague, rambling plot with no little believable storyline
5: Ripping yarn, clever, thought provoking

Book three of the Revelation Space story puts in a familiar place with our standard cast of characters fleeing the inhibitors and trying to find a solution to the impending annihilation of humankind. There are three main branches to this story in two different time zones and of all the three books this one was the lightest in hard SciFi as it focuses more on the ending of the st
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Chris Berko
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Apr 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: e-books, read-2010
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
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
Jeff post
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Tudor Ciocarlie
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
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, dr
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
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is not that often for a book to suck me into it so much, driving my whole conscience to the point of developing dominant ideas about it.
Being the last of the Inhibitor trilogy it benefits from the previous ones build-up and resources but at the same time it sets itself apart from them by focusing more on interpersonal relations, humanity and religion. The ones who had the patience to read the first 2 books are rewarded with the characters they wanted to have, the emotional implication they c
Sotolf Flasskjegg
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
That ending really was something! It was a really worthy ending of an already awesome series. The long way really was worth it. Seen in combination with the whole series it really was a great book. In the first book everyone seemed like they were psychopaths, the second one was about too drawn out. This one was so great. Well worth it! The ending was worthy of the characters, and it left me in a great place. I enjoyed this book thoroughly.
Aug 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This is the weakest of the Revelation Space novels, which is a shame, because it is the last and it ends more with a whimper than a bang. There are two main flaws; one is that it doesn't really end the story of humanity's encounter with the Inhibitors at all and that feels unsatisfactory. There is a clear need for a fourth book to wrap things up properly, but we aren't going to get it.

The other, possibly greater, flaw is hardly unique to this book, or this writer, and has to do with a common na
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Absolution Gap is definitely my favorite in the Revelation series. The moment I started reading this third book in the trilogy, I immediately saw it wasn’t quite the same as the first two. Three things stood out. First was the prologue. It didn’t read like the main story that it made me wonder where in the whole story it would fit. Next was the setting. Absolution Gap continues the journey of those who flee the Inhibitors, but decades later. There are actually three settings from three different ...more
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Ridiculous ending? Spoilers 28 200 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
“if human beings really grasped how synthetic their world was - how much of it was stitched together not from direct perception, but from interpolation, memory, educated guesswork - they would go quietly mad.” 8 likes
“She wanted to climb on to the rack herself to wrench one of the pilgrims away from the sight that transfixed them, to rip back the cowl from their helmet, to press her own face against that blank mirror and try to make contact--before it was too late--with whatever fading glimmer of human individuality remained. She wanted to drive a rock into the faceplate, shattering faith in an instant of annihilating decompression.
And yet she knew that her anger was horribly misdirected. She knew that she only loathed and despised these pilgrims because of what what she feared had happened to Harbin. She could not smash the churches, so she desired instead to smash the gentle innocents who were drawn toward them”
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