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The Prefect - Alastair Reynolds -NEW

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The Prefect - Alastair Reynolds -NEW

The Prefect - Alastair Reynolds - New

Other Alastair Reynolds SF Books click here

A novel in the Revelation Space Universe:

The novel begins with Dreyfus being sent out on a routine assignment to arrest the head of a glitter-band habitat for polling violations. After a brief fight with the habitat's security staff, he succeeds in taking her into custody and sends one of his deputies, Thalia Ng, to distribute software upgrades around the glitter band to prevent anyone from attempting a similar violation.

Dreyfus, meanwhile is sent to investigate the recent destruction of a habitat named Ruskin-Sartorious. Analysis indicates that the habitat has been destroyed by the flame of a Conjoiner Drive, and Dreyfus's team believe the lighthugger Accompaniement of Shadows, the only to have been near the habitat in recent weeks, is responsible. Before they can conclude their investigation, however, the Ultranauts take justice into their own hands and destroy the ship, but not before Dreyfus is able to converse with the captain, who convinces him that his crew were not responsible. Believing him to be true, Dreyfus and his deputy, the hyperpig Sparver, decide to investigate the matter further.

Dreyfus and Sparver interview digital backups of the inhabitants of Ruskin-Sartorious. Dreyfus speaks with one of them about the Clockmaker, an alien machine which formerly lived in a Glitter Band research centre, creating, as its name suggests, clocks, before it begun a violent killing spree and was destroyed with nuclear weapons nine years prior to the novel. He and Sparver then analyse communication records from the Ruskin-Sartorious habitat, and discover links with an orbiting asteroid owned by the Nerval-Lermontov family (a member of which is called Aurora). They defeat its defence systems and penetrate inside, discovering a Conjoiner starship trapped inside. One of them, Clepsydra, has escaped and is hiding. She meets with Dreyfus and tells him that she and the other Conjoiners had been enslaved by Aurora (now an extremely powerful software entity) to use the Exordium to predict the future. The Conjoiners predict a future devastated by what is implied to be the Melding Plague, and Aurora has been planning to respond to stop it (use of the Exordium creates a new timeline which can be changed to avoid the future the Exordium describes). She and Dreyfus escape as a ship under Aurora's control arrives and destroys the habitat.

At the same time, Thalia has distributed the software upgrade to the required four habitats across the glitter band, but it appears to be malfunctioning; information access is shut down in the habitats she has visited, and servitors (service robots used across the glitter bands) are rounding up and exterminating civilians. She and some of the survivors of the last habitat take refuge in its polling core tower, barricading the entrance. Outside, the servitors begin to construct "weevil" war machines using plans stolen by Gaffney, a Senior Prefect secretly in alliance with Aurora. Back at Panoply, Clepsydra is taken into isolation, whilst Dreyfus explains the situation to Jane Aumonier, the Supreme Prefect. Unbeknownst to him, however, Gaffney kills Clepsydra and hides the corpse in Dreyfus's quarters, which he uses to frame Dreyfus. With Dreyfus in custody, he manipulates the Senior Prefects into voting Aumonier out of office. The Prefects debate what to do about the emergence of the weevils, which have now left the four original habitats and are moving towards others.

Before very long, however, Gaffney is exposed as the murderer of Clepsydra when attempting to interrogate Dreyfus. He admits to his role in the weevil outbreak and informs the Prefects that Aurora is responsible. Aurora herself contacts Panoply and demands that they stand down, claiming to be taking over the Glitter Band for its own good. Aumonier, now back in power, refuses and orders Panoply to ready for war. Although Thalia is escapes from Aurora's forces during a disastrous attack by Panoply, simulations run by the Prefects indicate that they have virtually no chance of success; the weevils are destroying habitats and converting them into even more weevils, grossly outnumbering the Prefects. Aumonier speaks to Dreyfus and tells him that the aforementioned Clockmaker was not actually destroyed nine years previously; part of it survived and was recovered by Panoply. The ultra-secret Panoply unit, Firebrand, was established to research it. Although Aumonier ordered it shut down, she now believes its members relocated the Clockmaker to Ruskin-Sartorious. As the Clockmaker was the only intelligence in the Glitter Band capable of defeating Aurora, she attempted to destroy it. Dreyfus confronts members of Firebrand, who confirm Aumonier's theory, but reveal that the Clockmaker was not in fact destroyed; Firebrand became aware of the attack in advance as moved the Clockmaker. Following them to the surface of Yellowstone, he and Sparver fight their way into an abandoned American colony, where the Clockmaker is being hidden. Sparver leaves to fight Gaffney, who is approaching the colony with bombs to destroy the Clockmaker.

Dreyfus meets with the Clockmaker, who reveals that he is actually Philip Lascaile, a character in Revelation Space who was believed to have committed suicide after meeting with the Shrouders, but was in fact scanned to produce a simulation, which was sent back to the Shrouders, who turned it into the Clockmaker. Dreyfus tells the Clockmaker what is happening. It incapacitates him and leaves. Regaining consciousness, Dreyfus meets with Sparver. They return to Panoply to find that the weevil attack has collapsed; the Clockmaker has uploaded itself into the Glitter Band's data network and is fighting a digital war with Aurora. As such, she is unable to control the weevils effectively, and the Prefects are destroying them in alliance with the Ultras. Dreyfus begins preparing to investigate the death of Philip Lascaille, having promised to the Clockmaker to bring those responsible to justice.

Revelation Space
Chasm City
Redemption Ark
Absolution Gap
The Prefect

Revelation Space is a 2000 hard science fiction space opera novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. It was the first novel set in the universe which became known as the Revelation Space universe, although the then-unnamed universe had already been established by several published short stories.

Revelation Space was followed in publication by Chasm City, a stand-alone novel which was set earlier in the universe's timeline but wasn't strictly a prequel. Chasm City was followed by Redemption Ark, which was a direct sequel both to Revelation Space and Chasm City.

About the Author Alastair Reynolds

Alastair Preston Reynolds (born in 1966 in Barry, Wales) is a Welsh science fiction author. He specialises in dark hard science fiction and space opera. He spent his early years in Cornwall, moved back to Wales before going to Newcastle, where he read Physics and Astronomy. Afterwards, he earned a PhD from St Andrews, Scotland. In 1991, he moved to Noordwijk in the Netherlands where he met his wife Josette (who is from France). There, he worked for the European Space Research and Technology Centre, part of the European Space Agency, until 2004 when he left to pursue writing full time. He returned to Wales in 2008 and lives near Cardiff.

Alastair Reynolds wrote his first four published science fiction short stories while still a graduate student, in 1989-1991; they appeared in 1990-1992. In 1991 Reynolds graduated and moved from Scotland to the Netherlands to work at ESA. He then started spending much of his writing time on a first novel, which eventually turned into Revelation Space, while the few short stories he submitted from 1991-1995 were rejected. This ended in 1995 when his story "Byrd Land Six" was published, which he says marked the beginning of a more serious phase of writing. As of 2008 he has published over thirty shorter works and eight novels. His works are hard science fiction veiled behind space opera and noir toned stories, and reflect his professional expertise with physics and astronomy, included by extrapolating future technologies in terms that are consistent with current science. Alastair Reynolds has said he prefers to keep the science in his books to what he personally believes will be possible, and he does not believe faster-than-light travel will ever be possible, but that he adopts science he believes will be impossible when it is necessary for the story. Most of Reynolds's novels contain multiple storylines that originally appear to be completely unrelated, but merge later in the story. Five of his novels and several of his short stories take place within one consistent future universe, usually now called the Revelation Space universe after the first novel published in it, although it was originally developed in short stories for several years before the first novel. Although most characters appear in more than one novel, the works set within this future timeline rarely have the same protagonists twice. Often the protagonists from one work belong to a group that is regarded with suspicion or enmity by the protagonists of another work. While a great deal of science fiction reflects either very optimistic or dystopian visions of the human future, Reynolds's future worlds are notable in that human societies have not departed to either positive or negative extremes, but instead are similar to those of today in terms of moral ambiguity and a mixture of cruelty and decency, corruption and opportunity, despite their technology being dramatically advanced.

The Revelation Space series includes five novels, two novellas, and eight short stories set over a span of several centuries, spanning approximately 2200 to 40 000, although the novels are all set in a 300 year period spanning from 2427 to 2727. In this universe, extraterrestrial sentience exists but is elusive, and interstellar travel is primarily undertaken by a class of vessel called a lighthugger which only approaches the speed of light (Faster than light travel is possible, but it is so dangerous that no race uses it). Fermi's paradox is explained as resulting from the activities of an inorganic alien race referred to by its victims as the Inhibitors, which exterminates sentient races if they proceed above a certain level of technology. The first three novels of the series deal with humanity coming to the attention of the inhibitors and the resultant war between them. Century Rain takes place in a future universe independent of the Revelation Space universe and has different rules, such as faster-than-light travel being possible through a system of portals similar to wormholes. Century Rain also departs substantially from Reynolds's previous works, both in having a protagonist who is much closer to the perspective of our real world (in fact he is from a version of our past), serving as a proxy for the reader in confronting the unfamiliarity of the advanced science fiction aspects and in having a much more linear storytelling process. Reynolds's previous protagonists started out fully absorbed in the exoticisms of the future setting and his previous Revelation Space works have several interlinked story threads, not necessarily contemporaneous.

Pushing Ice is also a standalone story, with characters from much less distant in the future than in any of his other novels, set into a framework storyline that extends much further into the future of humanity than any of his previous novels. It contains an alternative interpretation of the Fermi paradox, intelligent sentient life in this universe is extremely scarce. The Prefect marked a return to the Revelation Space universe. Like Chasm City, it is a stand-alone novel within the Revelation Space universe. It is set prior to any of the other Relevation Space novels, though still 200 years after the original human settlement of the Epsilon Eridani system. It was published in the United Kingdom on 2 April 2007. On 7 June 2007, Reynolds announced that his next novel would be entitled House of Suns, and that it would be set in the same universe as his novella "Thousandth Night" from the One Million A.D. anthology. This novel was released in the UK on 17 April 2008 with an American release to follow.. He is presently working on a new novel which he has confirmed will be a standalone and is due for publication in October 2009. It is described by Reynolds in a recent interview as "it's SF, it's weird and it doesn't have spaceships". Alastair Reynolds further elaborated on the book in a recent release from StarShipSofa, saying that it would have steampunk influences.

 

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