The first time I read Revelation Space, I actually listened to it on Audible. While John Lee is a fantastic narrator, the complexity of this book was very confusing to follow by ear, especially in the small time fragments that I have to listen to audiobooks. I am very happy that I chose to reread this book by actually reading it this time, as opposed to listening to it. I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying it this time, as opposed to being a little frustrated with confusion like the first time.
Chapter 2 bounces around between the three plots and begins to give us an idea of what is going on.
Resurgam: Sylveste, Pascale, Sluka
Sluka takes a crawler back to Cuvier with a mob of diggers. Pascale stays with Sylvester at the dig site. Sylveste explains that evidence is leading him to theorize that the Amarantine caused their own sun to explode – The Event.
Sylveste attempts to decipher the inscriptions on the obilisk. The obilisk is a marker stone of something that happened. “Maybe a battle, or the appearance of a god.” He discovers that the inscription on the obilisk is a detailed map of the Pavonis solar system.
A ship comes to the dig site with militia from the Administration to arrest Sylveste. Sluka has died in the storm, along with the others in the other crawler.
Chasm City, Yellowstone, Epsilon Eridani system, 2524: Khouri
Ana Khouri gets the weapon, kill time, and location of her Target – Tarashi. She travels by cable car through the city to the kill location. Her weapon was specified by Taraschi in excruciating detail. It shoots poison darts. Tarashi also chose the exact location of the kill.
Character detail: Ana Khouri became a shadowplay assassin on the day she was revived in Yellowstone orbit from reefersleep. There was a clerical error that caused her and her husband, Fazil, to be separated by a time-distance of over 40 years. After the cryogenic holding facility called Sky’s Edge, where she and Fazil were stationed, was hit by a missile, they were frozen and all data records were lost – the cause of the mix up. She was sent to Yellowstone while Fazil was still at Sky’s Edge. It was Tanner Mirabel, another ex-soldier from the Edge, who offered her her first job as a shadowplay assassin.
(This is one of the most challenging aspects of this book: when you begin to mingle with interstellar travel, you begin to affect time. This is why the years marked at the beginning of new plots are so important, and easy to overlook.)
Khouri hunts Taraschi. She finds him, waiting casually, and shoots him with the dart. He does not die immediately, and instead tells her that the poison gives him a few months to live. Long enough to be scanned into an alpha level simulation. Taraschi explains that his mother was on of the eighty, and she wants him to join her. His family arrives at the scene. A different hermetic arrives. He watched the kill, and informs Khouri she is now working for someone called ‘The Mademoiselle”.
Aboard a lighthugger, interstellarspace, 2543: Volyova, Captain Brannigan, Nagorney
On the Nostalgia for Infinity, Triumvir Ilia Volyova takes the elevator all the down to the cryogenic chambers where the Captain is in reefersleep, and attempts to wake him.
(The ship left Kruger 60A “some years ago”and is heading towards Yellowstone to find Sylveste, thinking he can help the captain.)
Volyova gives the Captain details about Boris Nagorney. He went insane with nightmares of something he called “Sun Stealer” – his ‘private tormentor’ in his nightmares. In sketches, it is represented as “hideous birdlike creatures, skeletal and empty-socketed. We know this as the Amarantine – he did not. Volyova experimented with ways to make the gunnery, but it made Nagorney worse. He is hiding somewhere on the ship. The Captain tells her she needs to kill him.
Volyova had lied to the captain. She had already killed Nagorney in what is already one of my favorite parts of the book. Nagorney’s nightmares were highly repititious and detailed, and all were about an entity called Sun Stealer.
Nagorney ambushed Volyova and pushed her down the central elevator shaft. She used her wrist communicator to tell the ship to reverse thrust at 10g, causing her falling down the shaft to simply stop, while Nagorney was violently thrown to the cieling and killed. Volyova used a laser cutter to remove Nagorney’s head. She needed the implants implanted in his brain that allowed him to interact with the gunnery. She hopes to find a new recruit for the gunnery on Yellowstone.
- Triumvir Ilia Volyova: One of the Triumverate of the Nostalgia. Only one awake at the moment.
- Captain Brannigan: Captain of the Nostalgia. Currently in reefersleep with an unknown disease spreading out of him like roots.
- Nagorney: Previous gunnary captain.
- Sajaki: ??? other crew member of the Nostalgia. Assuming a Triumverate as only other named crew member, aside from Hegazi.
- Hegazi: ??? other crew member of the Nostalgia. Assuming a Triumverate as only other named crew member, aside from Sajaki.
- Ana Khouri: ex-Soldier. Shadowplay Assassin – hunts and kills rich people who pay her to do it.
- K. C. Ng: A hermetic that seems to be working as Khouri’s contract manager. Khouri calls him “Case”.
- Taraschi: Millionaire on Yellowstone who Khouri is currently contracted to kill.
- Sudjic: Nagorney’s lover.
- The Mademoiselle: Khouri’s new employer.
Nostalgia for Infinity
- The lighthugger. Vast. Able to support half a million people. Abandoned, except for this skeleton crew.
- 1050 levels. From ‘top’ to ‘bottom’ (or, front to back):
- 800’s: Forests
- Life support systems
- 612: Spider Room access
- 500: Gunnary
- 450: Utility section housing the armature
- 250 levels of cryo facilities able to hold 120k sleepers
- Currently, the captain is the only occupant in reefersleep.
- Chasm City: a 200 year old city situated inside a very large crater, covered by domes to protect it against the nitrogen and methane atmosphere of Yellowstone. It was a frontier town of sorts to the first explorers of the area.
- Hermetics: People living inside sealed palanquins to protect them from possible traces leftover of the Plague on Yellowstone.
- The Plague: a disease that swept through Chasm City, and possibly more of Yellowstone. Causes bulbous protrusions and tangled, leprous appendages to grown wildly
- The Eighty: The original volunteers for alpha-level brain replication.
- Alpha level simulation: a full, working copy of a human brain, able to evolve on its own. Destroys the original brain during the scan.