Hot Best Seller

Inhibitor Phase

Availability: Ready to download

Miguel de Ruyter is a man with a past. Fleeing the 'wolves' - the xenocidal alien machines known as Inhibitors - he has protected his family and community from attack for forty years, sheltering in the caves of an airless, battered world called Michaelmas. The slightest hint of human activity could draw the wolves to their home, to destroy everything ... utterly. Which is h Miguel de Ruyter is a man with a past. Fleeing the 'wolves' - the xenocidal alien machines known as Inhibitors - he has protected his family and community from attack for forty years, sheltering in the caves of an airless, battered world called Michaelmas. The slightest hint of human activity could draw the wolves to their home, to destroy everything ... utterly. Which is how Miguel finds himself on a one-way mission with his own destructive mandate: to eliminate a passing ship, before it can bring unwanted attention down on them. Only something goes wrong. There's a lone survivor. And she knows far more about Miguel than she's letting on . . . Ranging from the depths of space to the deeps of Pattern Juggler waters, from nervous, isolated communities to the ruins of empire, this is a stealthy space opera from an author at the top of his game. Praise for Al Reynolds' Revenger 'A swashbuckling thriller' The Guardian 'A blindingly clever imagining of our solar system in the far flung future' The Sun 'A rollicking adventure yarn with action, abduction, fights and properly scary hazards' The Daily Telegraph


Compare

Miguel de Ruyter is a man with a past. Fleeing the 'wolves' - the xenocidal alien machines known as Inhibitors - he has protected his family and community from attack for forty years, sheltering in the caves of an airless, battered world called Michaelmas. The slightest hint of human activity could draw the wolves to their home, to destroy everything ... utterly. Which is h Miguel de Ruyter is a man with a past. Fleeing the 'wolves' - the xenocidal alien machines known as Inhibitors - he has protected his family and community from attack for forty years, sheltering in the caves of an airless, battered world called Michaelmas. The slightest hint of human activity could draw the wolves to their home, to destroy everything ... utterly. Which is how Miguel finds himself on a one-way mission with his own destructive mandate: to eliminate a passing ship, before it can bring unwanted attention down on them. Only something goes wrong. There's a lone survivor. And she knows far more about Miguel than she's letting on . . . Ranging from the depths of space to the deeps of Pattern Juggler waters, from nervous, isolated communities to the ruins of empire, this is a stealthy space opera from an author at the top of his game. Praise for Al Reynolds' Revenger 'A swashbuckling thriller' The Guardian 'A blindingly clever imagining of our solar system in the far flung future' The Sun 'A rollicking adventure yarn with action, abduction, fights and properly scary hazards' The Daily Telegraph

30 review for Inhibitor Phase

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nataliya

    I kept coming across Alastair Reynolds’ name in the reviews of a few trusted SF-reading friends for a while, and eventually gave him a try myself — and yeah, I found his hard-ish SF books fascinating but honestly difficult, a read you have to work for. So maybe it’s why up until now I’ve only read one book in his Inhibitor universe - just the first one, Revelation Space, and my memory of it is beyond murky since I neglected to review it (see, that’s why I write reviews - so that there’s a more p I kept coming across Alastair Reynolds’ name in the reviews of a few trusted SF-reading friends for a while, and eventually gave him a try myself — and yeah, I found his hard-ish SF books fascinating but honestly difficult, a read you have to work for. So maybe it’s why up until now I’ve only read one book in his Inhibitor universe - just the first one, Revelation Space, and my memory of it is beyond murky since I neglected to review it (see, that’s why I write reviews - so that there’s a more permanent account of my memory of the book rather than my apparently unreliable brain). “All our human adventuring was no more than a scuff on the final page; unwarranted, barely noticed.” When approaching an established series from an almost-newbie vantage point, you risk being hopelessly lost. Lucky for me, Reynolds kindly provides a brief orientation for the newbies on this universe set-up (and if you flip to the back, there are quite a few details filled in in the glossary - although it’s spoilers galore for the rest of the series), and eventually my vague memory of Revelation Space did resurface in bits and pieces, helping me along (that uber-weird John the Revelator, for instance). Plus Reynolds showed things just well enough for the reader to be able to piece things together nicely — and yet it is done without any obvious handholding. Yes, I missed a few Easter eggs there (as I’ve learned from Revelation Space wiki later), but it did not affect the understanding and enjoyment of the story, and that says quite a bit about Reynolds’ skill as a storyteller. After reading this, I ended up perusing Revelation Space wiki, which in addition to spoilers for the rest of the series (and before you gasp, I could not care less about spoilers; it’s my reading quirk) also gave me an insight into what happens after the events covered in this book, as it apparently fits somewhere in the last half of the timeline of that world — and all in an say is - okay then. Alastair Reynolds has a definition of optimism that’s different from standard. About eight centuries in the future the human society, after briefly flourishing interstellarly and surviving the Melding Plague, has fallen prey to the Inhibitors (a.k.a. “the wolves”) - ancient entities working on eliminating spacefaring civilizations. Humanity now survives in tiny hidden pockets as the former hubs of life have been destroyed and ruins of former space habitats drift lifelessly, looking at eventual full extinction. Of course, there are those who find ways to fight back, and given far far future, there are enough ultra-augmented humans (and bioengineered sentient pig descendants, actually) to come up with a way to resist. “We saw the lights go out, you and I. We have seen the ships stop flying and the worlds fall into silence. One by one we have watched the beacons of civilisation gutter into darkness. We have stood vigil in the twilight. There is no future for us now except a few squalid centuries, and only then if we are very lucky. But the Incantor buys us possibility. It hinges our history onto another track. It may be better, it may even be worse, but the one thing we can be sure of is that it will be different. And if after a few centuries we begin to understand that there have been consequences to our use of the Incantor, we shall meet them. We shall pay for our actions. But we shall have lived, and that is better than the alternative.” It’s a tight book, despite its respectable size and the action taking place across lightyears and centuries. It steadily builds up and expands its scale in the ever-growing crescendo. It’s full of ideas that are smart, sharp and very strange — just wrap your mind around hyperpigs or Pattern Jugglers and ocean intelligences (was that a nod to Solaris, perhaps?) or John the Revelator or whatever Glass actually is. It is the tried and true narrative form - a quest for relics (McGuffin, yes — but who cares?) to save the world, carried out by a ragtag band of survivors, but it’s done on a vast scale and with the entirety of whatever’s left of formerly spacefaring humanity at stake, and against a seemingly unbeatable foe for which millions of years might as well be eyeblinks. It’s rooting for ultimate underdog on cosmic scale — but scientifically enhanced underdogs in possession of lighthuggers and near-invincible spacesuits and implanted neural networks. And the world’s creepiest and most revolting interrupted space barbecue (yeah, I’m using levity here to distance myself from the horror). It’s a cruel and bleak world that Reynolds depicts. And it’s populated by characters who are cold, cruel and unlikable — until you realize that despite all that you have formed connections with them and that you learned to see through gruff and offputting exterior to shreds of decency underneath. “We’re fighting monsters. We don’t have to become monsters ourselves.” It was a slow read for me, but overall quite enjoyable. Reynolds avoids the omnipresent elsewhere excitement of humor or sex or space battles, instead focusing on doggedly determined pursuit of the goal, friendship and alliance bonds and grim seriousness — and it all works very well for the atmosphere here. And yes, I will have to return to this universe starting with the reread of Revelation Space and going on to actually meet all those people present here in tantalizing glimpses. “Presumably none of their previous funeral ceremonies had had to contend with an overly loquacious pig, and they had no contingency in place.” 4 stars. ———— Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Me happy, happy? No. I think ecstatic would be a better word. Or is there another one more comprehensive to describe the bliss I'm feeling right now? “I saw alien skies, alien suns, birthing nebulae, the scattered ashes of worlds and stars, vistas of great magnificence and equally great desolation. Time dizzied me. I had thought I understood time, but now my ignorance left me reeling. Time was vaster and colder and lonelier than anything I had ever imagined. There had already been much of it: he Me happy, happy? No. I think ecstatic would be a better word. Or is there another one more comprehensive to describe the bliss I'm feeling right now? “I saw alien skies, alien suns, birthing nebulae, the scattered ashes of worlds and stars, vistas of great magnificence and equally great desolation. Time dizzied me. I had thought I understood time, but now my ignorance left me reeling. Time was vaster and colder and lonelier than anything I had ever imagined. There had already been much of it: heavy oceanic layers of time, plunging into deep, still blackness, and my consciousness was just a feeble thing drifting in the highest sunlit layer. A galaxy’s worth of history had already passed into this ocean and been memorialised. All our human adventuring was no more than a scuff on the final page; unwarranted, barely noticed.” I couldn't agree more with the main character: this is exactly how I feel every time I read something set in this universe. No other SF author describes time and space better than Reynolds. No other makes you choke thinking about the vastness of the universe like he does. Revelation Space is the most wondrous, bleak, frightening, mind-blowing sci-fi universe ever created. He says in the foreword that this book can be read as a standalone: it does and it doesn’t. Yes, it has a beginning and a closure, a timeline of its own and an independent story. But it also encompasses past and future events (view spoiler)[and characters (hide spoiler)] from the main trilogy, Chasm City and Galactic North. They are not absolutely necessary to understand this one, but it would be a huge loss not to read them all, because no matter how gripping and mind-blowing are the events, without having in mind the bigger picture, I don’t think one will understand what truly is at stake here, and most certainly will be deprived of the joy discovering all the Easter Eggs. It has a slow start, but as always, Al Reynolds builds the dread step by step, until it leaves you breathless, keeping the best for the second half of the book. It almost literally blows your mind toward the end. I don’t think I can say more about it without giving away not-exactly spoilers, but for those who already read the above-mentioned works, it would be best to dive in without any knowledge of what waits ahead – the thrill of discovery would be tenfold not knowing. That said, I am more than thrilled that I got the chance to read another story in the Revelation Space universe, and I really hope he will write some more. And here is Al Reynolds’ blog post about this book; it doesn’t contain spoilers, but a Wordcloud teaser and some influences which he used in the story, and here are my guesses, all of them based on the titles: (view spoiler)[Scott Walker - The Old Man`s Back Again Muse - Knights Of Cydonia Ingmar Bergman - Through a Glass Darkly (I wonder if I guessed this one correctly) And of course, the leitmotif, which he does not mention, but you'll see it when you get there: John the Revelator (hide spoiler)] >>> ARC received thanks to Orion Publishing Group / Gollancz via NetGalley <<< ------ Me happy, happy! 🥰

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gerhard

    'All civilisations move to an accommodation of their past atrocities.' It is incredible to think that Revelation Space was published originally in 2000. Setting a new benchmark in noir space opera, it was shortlisted for the BSFA and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. The subsequent trilogy also got a mention in Damien Broderick’s Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010. If, like me, you have been reading Alastair Reynolds since then, you will appreciate what an incredible journey it has been, from R 'All civilisations move to an accommodation of their past atrocities.' It is incredible to think that Revelation Space was published originally in 2000. Setting a new benchmark in noir space opera, it was shortlisted for the BSFA and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. The subsequent trilogy also got a mention in Damien Broderick’s Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010. If, like me, you have been reading Alastair Reynolds since then, you will appreciate what an incredible journey it has been, from Revelation Space to Poseidon Children’s to Prefect Dreyfus and Revenger (which I have yet to read), not to mention singular novels like Century Rain, House of Suns and Terminal World. Reynolds also collaborated with Stephen Baxter on the superlative The Medusa Chronicles (2016), an extrapolation of a 1971 Clarke novella that for me is still one the finest New Space Operas written to date. Hence it was with a bit of trepidation that I first read about Reynolds’ return to the Revelation Space universe with Inhibitor Phase. Being decades since the titular novel and Chasm City (2001), Redemption Ark (2002) and Absolution Gap (2003), my grasp of the details was understandably a bit fuzzy. Reynolds does include a detailed timeline right at the end, but advises readers not to dip into this before the novel itself, as the supplementary material contains spoilers. What the heck, so I took the plunge and trusted Reynolds to drip-feed me just enough background to keep me going by the seat of my pants. And boy, does he deliver. The book not only brought back many wonderful memories of those earlier books, but contains quite a few surprises along the way as well. This is probably one of Reynolds’ most tightly written novels to date, despite the sprawling narrative, numerous setpieces and diverse locations. Miraculously, it also concludes within a single volume. Granted, there is room for more, but the ending as it stands is utterly perfect (and one that would make Arthur C. Clarke himself proud.) Reynolds clearly had huge fun writing this. Writers tend to follow a developmental path, making a splash with one or a series of novels, and thereafter often experimenting or branching out into other directions as their talent and inspiration multiplies. Returning to one’s roots, as it were, can be equally rewarding. At this point the established author has proven his or her chops and can just let rip. The Reynolds of Inhibitor Phase is not the brash newcomer storming the genre ramparts with his original trilogy. This is the veteran writer who has honed his craft and his audience, taking them expertly on one of his wildest rides ever, in the company of a unique ragtag bunch of characters that the reader comes to know and care for deeply.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    This new book by Reynolds is going to be slightly difficult to review. If you haven't read any of the previous novels in the Revelation Space universe, or the short stories or novellas, then you might have a perfectly fine time with the read. It takes us on a long trip through time and space, letting us still feel the horror of the Melding Plague, passing through the time of Chasm City and through the ruins of Yellowstone back when it used to glitter in The Prefect and heads us right through the This new book by Reynolds is going to be slightly difficult to review. If you haven't read any of the previous novels in the Revelation Space universe, or the short stories or novellas, then you might have a perfectly fine time with the read. It takes us on a long trip through time and space, letting us still feel the horror of the Melding Plague, passing through the time of Chasm City and through the ruins of Yellowstone back when it used to glitter in The Prefect and heads us right through the Wolves and the self-replicating ancient horror that is destroying all sentient life, more than touching on the events in Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap and sending us through Galactic North, as refugees and later as a kind of resistance front. The writing is tight and the story is nearly perfect. But. Nearly halfway through, I kept getting this nagging feeling that I had read this before. I was really enjoying everything about Glass, but just seeing Clavain return made me wonder how he was involved in all this. Mind you, I loved him in the earlier books and while I didn't read them when they came out, I did read them almost a decade ago, so maybe I was thinking that my memory was messing with me. That may still be the case, of course, and I would have to re-read the other books I mentioned again, side-by-side with this new one, to see the real differences, but I'm pretty sure that I just read a pretty extensive re-write of Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap. A lot must have been cut out and even more was tightened up, turning Inhibitor Phase into ... dare I say it ... a superior product. Am I just imagining things? I don't think so. Of course, it could be a combination of all the short stories and novellas and novels wrapped up in my head, re-formed into THIS, a fully coherent, streamlined tale of the extras, and I'm just tripping. Either way, I enjoyed it. Maybe less than I thought I would because so much of it seemed so damn familiar, but I still enjoyed it. After all, I enjoyed all the others, too. Even though I spent a lot of time on this issue, I should mention that the Revelation Space series, as a whole, is something REALLY huge and amazingly detailed for any kind of SF comparison. Indeed the complicated and subtle distinctions between what we call people, be they cyborgs, half pig-half human, uploaded minds, ocean intelligences, slugs, or so much more, is perfectly offset by the pitfalls of tech, enhanced by blood-as-physical-weapons, universe-devouring nanotech, and such large-scale constructions that would have sent Niven or Clarke into conniptions. This SF is on another scale from most. My problems or praise with it are only expressed in a comparison with Reynold's other books. Definitely worth the read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Glorious. Reynolds trimmed all the fat from this one. It is tight, fast moving, bold and thrilling, packed with big ideas and mind blowing hard sci-fi. A chilling atmosphere pervades, with the story taking shape as a kind of desperate galactic scavenger hunt across the ruined planets and settlements of the known galaxy, all destroyed in a devastating war with the implacable Inhibitor self replicating machine intelligences which have pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. Even more than previ Glorious. Reynolds trimmed all the fat from this one. It is tight, fast moving, bold and thrilling, packed with big ideas and mind blowing hard sci-fi. A chilling atmosphere pervades, with the story taking shape as a kind of desperate galactic scavenger hunt across the ruined planets and settlements of the known galaxy, all destroyed in a devastating war with the implacable Inhibitor self replicating machine intelligences which have pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. Even more than previous novels the story excels due to a well developed, eclectic group of characters representing the array of wondrous and diverse mix of fascinating transhuman sub-species from across Reynolds' Revelation Space universe. Not to mention several species of mind bogglingly bizarre aliens (the Pattern Jugglers in particular have always been a favorite, reminiscent of Stanislaw Lem's sentient sea in Solaris). Ever so deftly, Reynolds gradually reveals the myriad of secrets that each character holds in his/her long and mysterious past, linking them in some surprising and unexpected ways. This is a story of self sacrifice and of the far flung remnants of humanity overcoming their seemingly immense differences and long histories of conflict in a final bid to save the future of sentient life in the galaxy. A great read for both fans of Reynolds' Revelation Space series, for whom the world and history and even some characters will be familiar, and newcomers alike.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars While Inhibitor Phase is part of the larger Revelation Space series, the author has stated that it can be read as a standalone or entry point to the universe. Knowing this, I picked up this new release as my first Reynolds.  However I have a strong feeling that my impression of this novel was lessened by my lack of previous knowledge about the universe. It was not that I was ever truly confused, but rather that I lacked a sense of full immersion. I just always felt like I was missing som 3.5 Stars While Inhibitor Phase is part of the larger Revelation Space series, the author has stated that it can be read as a standalone or entry point to the universe. Knowing this, I picked up this new release as my first Reynolds.  However I have a strong feeling that my impression of this novel was lessened by my lack of previous knowledge about the universe. It was not that I was ever truly confused, but rather that I lacked a sense of full immersion. I just always felt like I was missing something. Saying this, I am intending to read through the Revelation Space books and will come back to re-review this one once I have a fuller understanding of the universe. In terms of the writing and worldbuilding, I was immediately impressed. It's clear why Reynolds has built such a name for himself in the genre. The universe is detailed and expansive, which makes me excited to read more of work.  For such a sprawling piece of space opera, I was quite happy by the intimacy of the character work. I thought the main character was quite likeable and good perspective to read from In terms of the story itself, I absolutely loved the setup but I lost stream about 30% in and struggled to hold my immersion. Again I feel my struggle with the plot largely stemmed from my lack of background with the universe.  Readers of the previous books will undoubtedly have a different experience than me and I would certainly recommend this book to them. For me, I still liked it, but it's clear that I need to go through the rest of the series before I can fully appreciate this one. Expect a re-review from me in the future.  Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

  7. 5 out of 5

    William

    3.5 rounded up to 4. Inhibitor Phase pulled me in early with well-written suspense and mystery in the early chapters, but after The Swine House I got bored. Lady Arek's disappearing and re-appearing was totally unnecessary and should have been cut from the book. Charybdis was anti-climactic. Worst of all was the tag-along treatment given to Scorpio. He literally did nothing the entire book but stand around making wisecracks. He had no action, no critical role in anything. It was almost like Al rea 3.5 rounded up to 4. Inhibitor Phase pulled me in early with well-written suspense and mystery in the early chapters, but after The Swine House I got bored. Lady Arek's disappearing and re-appearing was totally unnecessary and should have been cut from the book. Charybdis was anti-climactic. Worst of all was the tag-along treatment given to Scorpio. He literally did nothing the entire book but stand around making wisecracks. He had no action, no critical role in anything. It was almost like Al realized this, and had all the characters repeatedly tell him how important he was to the mission, and how much they relied upon him, and they REALLY hammed it up! He had one critical scene that could have been re-written so that Nevil saw the wisdom in Warren's argument without Scorp's input. I would have preferred he wasn't in the book. Some of Al's wild imagination was on display with The Swine House, the Nestbuilder's ship, and the Merfolk. Even these scenes pale in comparison to earlier books. The plot was linear, and a little flat. Don't get me wrong, it was nice to return Revelation Space, and the first third of the book was excellent, but it is the weakest book of the series by far. I'd say read it if you really want another trip to Revelation Space, but it's perfectly skippable. If it weren't a RS book, I would have DNF'd it around 50%.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Extraordinarily terrific. Inhibitor Phase, though linked to at least five other novels as well as novellas and shirts in Reynolds’ Revelation Space Universe, was designed as a stand-alone novel at least according to the preface. It succeeds quite well on its own without necessarily needing more background but there are big broad hints that there’s hundreds of years of history lurking in the background. It opens in a far off hidden corner of the universe where the last remnants of the human race h Extraordinarily terrific. Inhibitor Phase, though linked to at least five other novels as well as novellas and shirts in Reynolds’ Revelation Space Universe, was designed as a stand-alone novel at least according to the preface. It succeeds quite well on its own without necessarily needing more background but there are big broad hints that there’s hundreds of years of history lurking in the background. It opens in a far off hidden corner of the universe where the last remnants of the human race have burrowed into caverns on a lonely planet, hoping beyond hope that they’ll escape the notice of the wolves. No signals, no radio are allowed to escape because of fear of detection. And, any prospecting craft must be swiftly dealt with. We are barely given a glimpse of the ferocious wolves who have devoured the known universe, but they are not what you’d expect as Reynolds lets us readers know that life out there among the stars comes in many forms, some very unexpected. Without giving too much away, the story is a grand adventure with a Gandalf like figure, glass if you will, gathering warriors and weapons for the great battle with the wolves. Almost like a Dungeons and Dragons Game, our not-so-merry crew has to go to different spots and gather these fearsome weapons, each of which requires adventures among hulking spacecraft, rescuing giant pig people from being the wrong kind of guests at a giant barbecue, and fighting off aquatic creatures. All of these adventures are in secret to avoid detection from the ever-present wolves who are ready to react at the first sign of human life. Reynolds is a gifted storyteller and this one engages the reader from start to finish on the edge of your seats so they say. It’s also a universe where sentient life is anything other than you expect, often self-replicating or half genetically designed or machine-altered and consciousness is something possessed by many.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    This is a novel I would have probably really loved a decade or two ago, but in the meantime, I started preferring human-scale books (even if they are space opera, they still can be so with the right setting and characters) and being left somewhat cold by galaxy-spanning action with incredible technologies etc as they start blending into author/plot dependent magic - we need this ingredient now, it surely appears, maybe after lots of trials and tribulations of course and with the explanation of w This is a novel I would have probably really loved a decade or two ago, but in the meantime, I started preferring human-scale books (even if they are space opera, they still can be so with the right setting and characters) and being left somewhat cold by galaxy-spanning action with incredible technologies etc as they start blending into author/plot dependent magic - we need this ingredient now, it surely appears, maybe after lots of trials and tribulations of course and with the explanation of why it couldn't appear five days, five years or five decades ago for example, but all is at the whim of the author as we lack the natural comprehension of the setting and its limits. So most of this book reads like that, with everything pretty much at the author's whim, why it zigs or zags that way, though it definitely has a sense of wonder and its moments of human scale especially at the beginning and at the end.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    Sequel to Reynolds’ Absolution Gap. Revelation Space heroes band together in a quest to halt the nigh complete genocide of humanity by the alien, self-replicating, robotic, Inhibitors. The Swine Queens Court? My ebook formatted version was 660-pages. A dead tree copy would be 497-pages. It had a UK 2021 copyright. This book includes a: Dramatis Personae, a Historical Note and a Glossary. I highly recommend reading the Historical Note before starting the book. Alastair Reynolds is a British sc Sequel to Reynolds’ Absolution Gap. Revelation Space heroes band together in a quest to halt the nigh complete genocide of humanity by the alien, self-replicating, robotic, Inhibitors. The Swine Queens Court? My ebook formatted version was 660-pages. A dead tree copy would be 497-pages. It had a UK 2021 copyright. This book includes a: Dramatis Personae, a Historical Note and a Glossary. I highly recommend reading the Historical Note before starting the book. Alastair Reynolds is a British science fiction author. He has written more than twenty novels, primarily in three major series and standalone. This was the fourth book in his Inhibitor Sequence story arc of the Revelation Space universe. I have read many of the authors books. The last book I read by him was Century Rain (my review). Its strongly recommended to have a firm grounding in the Revelation Space universe, particularly the Inhibitor Sequence story arc before reading this. In particular, this is a sequel to Abolution Gap . This book would be incomprehensible, without already being Revelation Space savvy. This story was a turning-of-the-tide for the on-the-ropes humanity facing their genocide by the Inhibitors. The story takes place after most of the year 2727 events in Absolution Gap. A band of re-badged heroes from the Inhibitor Sequence stories are gathered together by rogue Conjoiners to put paid to the Inhibitors (re-badged as wolves) by using alien technology to re-create a superweapon before humanity goes extinct . This book, which many of us have been waiting for since 2003’s Absolution Gap, somewhat makes-up for Reynolds' misstep. Inhibitor Phase is one of the best science fiction stories I've read in the past two years. Some of you may know how discerning I am about books, and how hard it is for me to express that opinion? Its hardish science fiction, written by a skilled writer of the genre. There has not been much of that out there lately. This story is marginally better than Adrian Tchaikovsky's's science fiction, when he stays away from the Standard Sci-Fi Setting trope. Several parts of the book held me in rapt attention. Reynolds was not shy about killing-off, well-developed characters. That kept me on my toes. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m a sucker for the Heroic Sacrifice trope. I got more than a few chuckles out of the hyperpig porcine humor. Revelation Space aliens have oft been copied by less imaginative authors. There's a deeper dive into a couple of the best in this story. Also the astrogation was real. (As any fan of KSP will note.) For example, there was a very lucid description of a solar, gravity deceleration. Typically, you read about "sling-shot" accelerations, not the other way around. However, this was not a great work. There were several things that kept it penned into the only Good category. Firstly, you really need to already be a Revelation Space junkie to get everything out of this story. The author heavily re-uses its: characters, locations, plot lines and plot elements. For example, I had forgotten the properties of the story's Gideon Stones McGuffin. That annoyed me for several chapters. (Were they first introduced in Zima Blue and Other Stories?) Reynolds is a proficient author. Also, I like Brit-speak narratives. However, the editing was only adequate. There were several grammar errors, some typographical issues, and several technical errors. For example, I would have liked that Warren Clavain’s, Martian flashbacks which began several chapters to have had more separation than a “¶” before (re)entering the present. Note that there was no: Sex, Substance Abuse or Rock ‘n Roll in the story. This was despite there being oblique references to it having happened in the past. In this way the story felt very YA. (view spoiler)[I found it strange that the male character Warren Clavain was almost immediately, so comfortable with the female HourGlass character's lady parts in Reynolds exercise of the Two Beings, One Body trope? (hide spoiler)] However, it was a couple of scenes in the ruins of the Glitter Band and Chasm City that set my teeth on edge. It had me wondering why his editor hadn’t slapped the author up against the side of the head, and sent him back to his laptop. (view spoiler)[The scene using the starship Scythe to move huge stones around inside a hollow, Glitter Band asteroid was ridiculous. It was like using your Porsche to clean your property by employing it to bulldoze your crap to the kerb. As if, the Inhibitors wouldn’t detect all the construction activity to make those big stone tumblers? The second was the Mad Max aspect of the Swine Queen’s court in Chasm City. I thought I was reading a rip-off of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome ? The Swine Queen had too many minions, and too few hyperpig captives for everyone to get three squares of the other white meat. The whole hyperpig cannibalism-fetish plotline was too OTT for a Reynolds story. (hide spoiler)] Eighteen (18) years after Absolution Gap Reynolds finally got back to that story. However, a large portion of his audience has perished in reefersleep. (Some committed seppuku over his writing the Revenger series.) Their memories of Revelation Space have dimmed. Folks have moved on to Reynolds-esque, new authors like Adrian Tchaikovsky and others who are still writing hard-ish, space operas. This was a good story, but not a really good story. It was uneven in its narrative. Mostly it was hyper-realistic, vintage Reynolds, but it also contained a lot of drivel too. I thought this book also arrived about 15-years too late for his fans. Its success depended on a deep knowledge, of the very richly embroidered Revelation Space universe. To too many of us Yellowstone has become only a dim memory. My hope is that he follows this up quickly with a Greenfly story in the Inhibitor Sequence ?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tomislav

    “All civilizations move to an accommodation of their past atrocities. Some do it by acceptance, some by forgetting.” In Alastair Reynolds’ new novel Inhibitor Phase, this is also true of individual characters. (view spoiler)[The first-person protagonist, Miguel de Ruyter, has a past which is not known to anyone in his current life, including himself. His situation is well developed before he and the reader begin to learn the truth. Due to sufficient time spent without that foreknowledge, I began “All civilizations move to an accommodation of their past atrocities. Some do it by acceptance, some by forgetting.” In Alastair Reynolds’ new novel Inhibitor Phase, this is also true of individual characters. (view spoiler)[The first-person protagonist, Miguel de Ruyter, has a past which is not known to anyone in his current life, including himself. His situation is well developed before he and the reader begin to learn the truth. Due to sufficient time spent without that foreknowledge, I began to identify with Miguel, and so was taken along on his ride through several wild life-transitions. (hide spoiler)] In spite of his declared intention that this be a stand-alone novel, this novel does fit into the shared universe and story-line of Alastair Reynolds' larger body of work. The Inhibitors are a galaxy-wide post-organic distributed machine race whose goal is to confine intelligent life to individual planets, in order to enable life-preserving interventions during a crisis 3 billion years in the future when the Milky Way will collide with Andromeda Galaxy. They achieve this by exterminating civilizations as they emerge into the interstellar arena. Reynolds has set a few stand-alone novels in the Revelation Space universe, but this one is set in time after Absolution Gap (2003), third of a trilogy, and after eighteen years extends the Inhibitor story-line to a fourth book. If you come upon the book as a stand-alone, you can read it and make sense of it, but will miss out on the fact that Reynolds is returning to, and extending, some previously established characters, concepts, and events. In the novel, we follow first-person protagonist Miguel de Ruyter, who is a leader among a community of humans hiding from the Inhibitors on an airless and barely inhabitable planet. The narrative is chronological and single-track (not always the case with Reynolds), as eventually his experiences take him into the wider conflict with the Inhibitors. However, there is a minor but important subplot set centuries earlier, in a human/post-human conflict on Mars. This ties to a 2000 short story by Reynolds entitled “The Great Wall of Mars.” The story is background to several Revelation Space novels, and can be found in his collection Galactic North (2006). As enthused as I was to enjoy the dizzying astrophysical travel, desperate conflicts and personality braiding of Reynolds’ style of space opera, I grew somewhat dissatisfied with the ending. This seems to be a pattern for me, as I had a similar response to the ending of his Poseidon's Wake (2015). It is as if his writing style is more suited to endless plot turns than conclusion. (view spoiler)[ “Kind of a big deal not to have mentioned that” Pinky observed. “Glass never concealed any part of it. You just didn’t ask the right questions of her.” So, Glass has been carrying around a pivotal secret weapon and a merged Slug personality throughout the novel and that is only exposed in the heat of the final battle? This comes close to Deus ex machina. And “They have a name for themselves, but it would break our sanity to utter it. Call them slugs.” So, just saying their name out loud induces insanity? That sounds like a magic incantation. (hide spoiler)] There is room for a fifth novel, although the setting and the Inhibitor story-arc would of necessity evolve further. I read an Advance Reader Copy of Inhibitor Phase, by Alastair Reynolds in ebook, which I received from Hachette Book Group (Orbit) through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review on social media platforms and on my book review blog. This new title is scheduled for release on 12 October 2021.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    Holy smokes, what a book! Everything I loved about the Revelation Space trilogy and then some: a Clavain, hyperpigs, Chasm City, wild alien weapons, blood and guts, Pattern Jugglers, and a lighthugger with an amazing name. The story starts out in Sun Hollow, where a small colony of humans scrape a living underground to avoid detection by the Wolves. A ship is detected entering their space, and colony protocol is to intercept it before unwanted attention is directed at their planet. Miguel de Ruyt Holy smokes, what a book! Everything I loved about the Revelation Space trilogy and then some: a Clavain, hyperpigs, Chasm City, wild alien weapons, blood and guts, Pattern Jugglers, and a lighthugger with an amazing name. The story starts out in Sun Hollow, where a small colony of humans scrape a living underground to avoid detection by the Wolves. A ship is detected entering their space, and colony protocol is to intercept it before unwanted attention is directed at their planet. Miguel de Ruyter draws the short straw and flies out to meet the lighthugger The Silence in Heaven, but before he can launch a close-range missile the ship blows up on its own. As he searches the debris field for clues to what happened, he hears a signal. "Help me. Is anyone out there? I need help!" My only detraction is that Al Reynolds recycles a familiar trick from the earlier novels, i.e., almost every character is really somebody else. I have no idea why he likes to do this so much, but I was happy enough with the fast-moving pace and interesting plot that I almost didn't mind. Let's recap the amazing ship names we've seen so far in this universe. Accompaniment of Shadows Bride of the Wind Faint Memory of Hokusai Gnostic Ascension Dominatrix Lark Descending Madonna of the Wasps Nostalgia for Infinity Melancholia of Departure Pelican in Impiety Silence Under Snow Transfigured Night Voice of Evening The Silence in Heaven

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andreas

    Synopsis: Inhibitors are alien machines which nearly extinguished humanity. The novel follows Miguel de Ruyter who fled to a reclused, battered world Michaelmas with his family and a small community. They smallest sign of technology would reactivate the Inhibitors attention and lead to their destruction. One day, a spaceship passed their system and Miguel set out to destroy it before it would bring unwanted attention. He finds a lone survivor, and from there, every went different, because she kn Synopsis: Inhibitors are alien machines which nearly extinguished humanity. The novel follows Miguel de Ruyter who fled to a reclused, battered world Michaelmas with his family and a small community. They smallest sign of technology would reactivate the Inhibitors attention and lead to their destruction. One day, a spaceship passed their system and Miguel set out to destroy it before it would bring unwanted attention. He finds a lone survivor, and from there, every went different, because she knows about Miguel’s past. To protect his family, he needs to leave them behind and follow the survivor on a quest against the Inhibitors. Review: I’m no Reynolds specialist, his lineup of doorstoppers seemed always daunting to me. The only longer novel from him that I’ve read is Revelation Space, and that one didn’t exactly blow me away. On the other hand I’ve consumed a longer list from his short fiction, and most of them were really great. There’s his 2007 post-post apocalypse “The sledge maker’s daughter” (review), his 2014 story “In Babelsberg” (review), a hard SF story “A Murmuration” (review), Sun drilling in “16 Questions for Kamala Chatterchee” (review), and the longest and most current novella from him I’ve read so far “Permafrost” (review). That’s quite a lot for one author on my blog, but still: I seem to run around this author and don’t dare to dive into his work. Funny, because I like his (short) work so much! Do you have similar restraints from certain authors? Having said that, this is the second novel from Reynolds. It didn’t seem like a huge risk, because it’s standalone, though set loosely in the Revelation Space series (relating this novel to the whereabouts of the whole series is left as an exercise to the reader). That’s the first good thing about it for someone who only dares to tip his toes into the cold water. Then, there is the ever increasing tension, starting slowly, building up dread step by step, never letting your attention wander around. Mind-blowing at the end. And then the sidekicks stealing the show: Pinky is a sardonic, absolutely loyal uplifted swine (called “hyperpigs”) and Agent Glass with superpowers. As one could suspect, they deliver a lot of relentless action-thriller. Together with main protagonist Miguel, they have a lot to say about identity and transformation. But wait, this is not a philosophical book, and thank you for that. So many brilliant, vivid aliens, technology, crafts, and space! This is truly epic, as far as a Space Opera can go. Of course, it isn’t Hard SF, some parts of the fiction aren’t exactly plausible, but the disbelief und upcoming questions are overridden by the novel’s pacing, finishing off with an interesting conclusion. Will I return to Reynolds? Certainly, there’s a new short-story in the Made to Robots anthology. but will I dive into the Revelation swamp? Here I’m more a procrastinator, but tempted more through this enjoyable book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mo

    I am grateful to Orion for the ARC Edit So, I went back and finished the book out of misguided obstinacy. The book improves in the last 15%, but not significantly enough to change my opinion, so the original review stands. Original Review DNF at 83% Al Reynolds is a titan of the space opera genre. His books are well-regarded and loved, yet I haven't had a chance to read him before. So, I dived into Inhibitor Phase with high expectations. This novel is an entry into the Revelation Space universe, which I am grateful to Orion for the ARC Edit So, I went back and finished the book out of misguided obstinacy. The book improves in the last 15%, but not significantly enough to change my opinion, so the original review stands. Original Review DNF at 83% Al Reynolds is a titan of the space opera genre. His books are well-regarded and loved, yet I haven't had a chance to read him before. So, I dived into Inhibitor Phase with high expectations. This novel is an entry into the Revelation Space universe, which already has an impressive 17 entries between novels, novella, and short stories. In the introduction, Reynolds explains that new readers need not feel deterred as the book can be read as standalone. There is an optional and brief description of the universe and some major events at the outset, which I found gives useful context. The story opens in strong fashion, with Miguel de Ruyter, a leader of a relatively small human community hiding from the xenocidal 'wolves', dealing with a crisis. The first 15% or so of the book moves swiftly, setting good momentum and tension to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Then begins the book's 'main story' as our protagonists set out to find a MacGuffin. What follows is a series of loosely-jointed fetch quests, that offer little character development, tension, or emotional heft. It doesn't help that the main character, Miguel, is incredibly annoying. He is alternately vindictive, needy, sarcastic, naive, impulsive, and irrational. He appears to switch between complete mistrust and blind subservience in the blink of an eye. Other characters, with the exception of Glass, are hardly any more endearing. I found most of the dialogue, especially in the middle part of the book, to be surprisingly poor. Some exchanges were so cringeworthy that it became uncomfortable to continue reading. I almost gave up several times, but kept going as I really wanted to like this. Despite all the above, the world-building is first class. This is a universe that's been meticulously crafted, and positively abounds with ideological diversity and imaginative dexterity. Regrettably, this was ultimately not my cup of tea. I might try the earlier novels in the future, hoping they might shed a different light on this entry, but for now, I need a break.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris Berko

    Amazing read. This might need the tightest and most consequential book of the Revelation Space series. Old characters from previous books make various appearances and I hope this is the start of a trilogy or something along those lines because too much awesomeness was included but not concluded and he needs to finish what he started. Easily five stars for this.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anthony O'Connor

    4.5 First things first, at the start of the book dat boi Alastair Reynolds opines that Inhibitor Phase could be read as a standalone sci-fi yarn that people who've never read a Revelation Space book in their life could enjoy and understand. While I respect ol mate's right to believe that, my response is a fairly ardent "yeah nah, mate." The number of callbacks, references and straight up continuations contained within Inhibitor Phase are pretty dizzying for someone like me who has read all the boo 4.5 First things first, at the start of the book dat boi Alastair Reynolds opines that Inhibitor Phase could be read as a standalone sci-fi yarn that people who've never read a Revelation Space book in their life could enjoy and understand. While I respect ol mate's right to believe that, my response is a fairly ardent "yeah nah, mate." The number of callbacks, references and straight up continuations contained within Inhibitor Phase are pretty dizzying for someone like me who has read all the books, and I suspect for newbies will basically be borderline bewildering. Happily, those of you (us) who HAVE read the books, will enjoy this book as the proper fulfilling epilogue to the series we never quite got with Absolution Gap. I'll tread lightly here when it comes to spoilers, but suffice to say a whole bunch of storylines that felt abruptly cut off are continued (and often concluded) in ways that feel apt and emotionally satisfying. Yet again, Reynolds's extraordinary imagination impresses, but in a disciplined fashion, with little to no bloat and no tangents that feel unnecessary. I have no idea if Reynolds will return to this universe (I'd love to see Dreyfus face the Melding Plague, just quietly), but if not he's finally given it a proper send off and a reminder of why we love these stirring, surreal and utterly transporting tales in the first place. Cheers ta, Al.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Mézard

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Disappointed. 3 stars with a bit of nostalgia, 2.5 without. ** SPOILERS AHEAD ** "Any sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic" A.C. Clarke (sorry for the cliché). I am afraid this episode is too much on the fantasy side, going against expectations. Sure Reynolds is not know to be hard-science, more epic space operas with big ideas. My problem is there are no big ideas (or at least not new ones) and everything feels like deus ex-machina (machinae?). - De Ruyter fake memories: Chasm City but Disappointed. 3 stars with a bit of nostalgia, 2.5 without. ** SPOILERS AHEAD ** "Any sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic" A.C. Clarke (sorry for the cliché). I am afraid this episode is too much on the fantasy side, going against expectations. Sure Reynolds is not know to be hard-science, more epic space operas with big ideas. My problem is there are no big ideas (or at least not new ones) and everything feels like deus ex-machina (machinae?). - De Ruyter fake memories: Chasm City but not done as well - Gideon stone: we need stuff to go in high pressure environment, here is convenient magical artifact. We do not care how it works, do not bother trying to grok it. Let's just use it and replace it with another one should the need arise. - Swinehouse conundrum: seems uselessly complicated. I feel I have read the haemoclast thing already. Maybe not from Reynold but almost exactly the same. And with all their technological advantage, is it the best they could really do. I would have prefer them to outsmart the Swine Queen throwing the Stones about and let her die with the rest of Yellowstone - Pinky: way to much "Pinky is the best hyperpig/friend/ally/whatever", "Pinky will outlive us all" (the way it is going, sure. Maybe not Aura/Jesus though). We get it. At some point, I started skimming all the chatter to get to things getting done. - Re-destruction of the Rust belt/Chasm City: underwhelming. And Yellowstone again. I mean, yes this is the major human settlement, but something fresh would have been good too. - Captain Brannegan: feels a bit like a waste. Could have been more epic, for such an epic character. - Pattern Juggler: okay, tried something new, did not work really well IMHO. - Lady Arek is not dead: massive deus ex-machina. - Charybdis/Nestbuilders/Slugs: underwhelming. Could have been good, maybe focus on Glass encounter with the slug, maybe more interactions, more historical perspectives. Feels like Mass Effect/Fantasy: walked in the crypt, blasted enemies, picked secrets, all along with strangely stressful deadlines and unnecessary deaths. - Final: nothing. What is this Incantor thing? Wait for Inhibitors Phase season 2. I read it in a couple of days, I wanted to be excited about it, get to the new big idea, the new revelation, but nothing panned out. At best, this is a rehash playing on nostalgia. Still, I will probably read the next ones because Reynolds has written really excellent novels. This is not one of these unfortunately.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    *high pitched keening noise* New Alastair Reynolds. Set in the Revelation Space universe. *high pitched keening noise* I received this book from the publisher at no cost. Trade paperback available August 31, $32.99. In case the above reaction wasn't enough to give it away, I am a verrrry big fan of Alastair Reynolds. Which isn't to say I love everything he's written; I haven't. However, Revelation Space continues to be one of my very favourite sequences of books, ever, so the idea of another in *high pitched keening noise* New Alastair Reynolds. Set in the Revelation Space universe. *high pitched keening noise* I received this book from the publisher at no cost. Trade paperback available August 31, $32.99. In case the above reaction wasn't enough to give it away, I am a verrrry big fan of Alastair Reynolds. Which isn't to say I love everything he's written; I haven't. However, Revelation Space continues to be one of my very favourite sequences of books, ever, so the idea of another in that universe... well. /fans self. The preface suggests you could read this cold, and I guess you could - certainly enough other books ask you to work pretty hard, with random names like Conjoiner thrown at you with little explanation. There's a joy in discovering what it's all about! For me, though, a huge part of the joy came from remembering all the details of the Revelation Space universe, so I really have no idea what it would be like to go in with no knowledge. This story is set later than almost all of the other Revelation Space stories. Humanity is on the brink thanks to an external threat - and there's an interesting connection here to the Cixin Liu's Remembrance of Earth's Past stories, with the idea of profligate species spewing out radio and other signals and just letting everyone who might be out there hear you... and that maybe that's not a good idea. Miguel de Ruyter is sheltering with a small band of humans on a very inhospitable rock. As always happens, a stranger comes to town... and things go very wrong very quickly. People aren't who you expect, mistakes are made, epic crises are experienced and occasionally averted, light years are travelled, planets are visited. Discoveries, chases, explosions; courage is found and choices are made. I loved it. I loved it a lot. I love the way it talks about humanity (very broadly interpreted) in all its messy, confusing, loving, courageous, selfish and impossible character. I love the grand scope and the narrow detail and the insistence that there must be room for both. I love the writing and the characters and I'm so excited that it exists.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

    ARC via NetGalley I love Reynold’s Revelation Space universe and this is a worthy addition to the series. While not as complex as some of his other stories (it’s more a treasure hunt than anything else) it’s definitely as satisfying and catches us up with some old friends from the series. Very much recommended

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ollie Bowdoin

    Thank you to Net Galley and Orbit Books for the ERC approval, in exchange for a fair and honest review! This book blew the barn doors open on the Revelation Space series previously written. It unassumingly brought in characters from the past I was 100 percent not expecting. The gist is that we are further down the RS timeline in a hidden colony of rare humans trying to survive the ever hunting inhibitors from dealing a death blow to possibly one of the last groups of humans. As the book starts, Mig Thank you to Net Galley and Orbit Books for the ERC approval, in exchange for a fair and honest review! This book blew the barn doors open on the Revelation Space series previously written. It unassumingly brought in characters from the past I was 100 percent not expecting. The gist is that we are further down the RS timeline in a hidden colony of rare humans trying to survive the ever hunting inhibitors from dealing a death blow to possibly one of the last groups of humans. As the book starts, Miguel De Ruyter is attempting to save his settlement by ensuring its not found by others in a very extreme manner. During this event, his future becomes somewhat entangled with a very mysterious person/survivor named “Glass”. UK cover design: http://www.blacksheep-uk.com/ What follows is an Odyssey of exploration through the remains of a destroyed, but advanced civilization that is at times very scary, horrible, magnificent, majestic, wondrous, and always nail-biting. Reynolds hit a home run, more like a bottom of the ninth, two out, down by 3, world series Grand Slam. It has been a couple years since I went through all of the Revelation Space books, as a result, I was frustratingly forgetful about some of the key events. I believe I also read them out of sequence in some way as well as I didn’t realize what I was in for initially when I started them. I know I started with “Revelation Space” but I am not sure what order I read the rest of them as I didn’t realize they were all connected. I hope to re-read the series in order before too long, especially after reading Inhibitor Phase. I kept enough of past characters and events to easily stay engaged and follow along though. Reynolds absolutely brought me back to that amazement and surreal atmosphere of previous RS books, but comfortably added to this grand cycle of far future human odyssey. There are so many insanely crazy things to talk about in this book. If you haven’t yet read the past Alastair Reynolds stuff in this series, but are looking for an incredible space opera/science fiction read, this one fits the bill. Even without the past knowledge, you can be sure that you will get more out of this book than you will expect. Do I dare divulge some of this madness to entice you? Of course. But, in order to avoid spoilers, I have to avoid talking about all these crazy things. I can say “John The Revelator” though, as well as “The Pattern Jugglers” and even “Nest Builders” “Ararat” “Spaceship” “Sleepers” and, I know I’m walking the line on revelaing too much but here it goes: “Quantum”. Don’t blame me for almost giving the book away there, my review must have some component of the books material in order to make this even halfway entertaining. I mean, It’s the book you want to read, not the review. But when Mr. Reynolds writes a book, I am here to read it and in this case, command you if I could to read it too. I will settle for a simple 5 star recommendation in this case though. My only criticism would fall at the end. The ending was a great fit and the tension was rising all the way to the finish. I guess I wanted an ending that led to a new revelation, to the beginning of a new series. Admittedly that would be very hard to do when humans have all but disappeared, but with hope and at least a few earthly people swinging around the universe, there is a chance for more. Of course, within what’s already been created, there are many characters and mysteries that have a backdrop that would welcome a book written around them, but that’s not up to me, is it?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Minna

    These characters feel like cardboard cut-outs, but they all manage to be annoying in the same way: stubborn and uncommunicative. Have a chat and get on the same page people. No need to be so arch and coy all the time. DNF at 89.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Whisper19

    overall this was a good book, a fun return to the main RS plot. You get to re-visit many places from the previous novels and see characters you might have forgotten about. Scorpio is just precious and he needs to be protected at all costs. Tp see how far he's come from that first moment we meet him - just for that this series deserves a 10. The thing that didn't help with the enjoyment and the flow of the novel - unnecessary repetition of information we got in previous parts of the novel - unneces overall this was a good book, a fun return to the main RS plot. You get to re-visit many places from the previous novels and see characters you might have forgotten about. Scorpio is just precious and he needs to be protected at all costs. Tp see how far he's come from that first moment we meet him - just for that this series deserves a 10. The thing that didn't help with the enjoyment and the flow of the novel - unnecessary repetition of information we got in previous parts of the novel - unnecessary (IMO) lingering on certain events. The part with the Pattern Jugglers was just too long. But as a last (so far) book in RS series it's a good one. I loved this readalong, and like I said in one of my previous posts I'll read anything else he publishes in this universe, but first House of Suns

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yev

    Although Reynolds states that this can be read as a standalone, I don't think he'd want to want to say otherwise. It's true that it can be, but I think that would be decidedly inadvisable. This books draws upon thirty-one years of Revelation Space stories, though mostly it references from the last twenty-two years. If you're someone who cares about getting all the references, you'll need to have read all his previous RS works before reading this. If that's too much, then having read Great Wall o Although Reynolds states that this can be read as a standalone, I don't think he'd want to want to say otherwise. It's true that it can be, but I think that would be decidedly inadvisable. This books draws upon thirty-one years of Revelation Space stories, though mostly it references from the last twenty-two years. If you're someone who cares about getting all the references, you'll need to have read all his previous RS works before reading this. If that's too much, then having read Great Wall of Mars, the Revelation Space Trilogy, and Chasm City should be sufficient to recognize almost all of them. This takes place between the end of the final chapter of Absolution Gap and its epilogue and at the time of Great Wall of Mars for the flashbacks. There are noticeable differences in this as compared to the RS trilogy. While I still consider it rather bloated for how much is accomplished in around 500 pages, at least he's improved his pacing and avoided skipping parts of the plot for whatever reason he may have had in previous books. The characters still have some very silly dialogue and questionable characterizations at times, though he's become better at presenting them consistently. The weakest part to me was the plot. It's odd in that it's more of a fantasy plot than what I'd typically consider science fiction. This isn't necessarily undesirable, but it was strange to have read it in what's often described as a "Hard SF" series, not that I'd agree with that. If this were a fantasy story, it'd be that a wizard comes to find the chosen one who has to acquire the sacred keys to unlock the forbidden temple of the gods to acquire the holy relic of power to defeat the evil overlord. It was similar to that to me, but as science fiction. I don't know how much this would matter to the average reader because the purpose of much of it is to show off tech and do fancy space things. The best part was that finally the Inhibitors are shown in battle and are given much more detail of how they go about destroying everything than has been shown in all the past books combined probably. I would have preferred much more involvement from them, but it wasn't meant to be. If there's another book, maybe it'll be about fighting them, but I doubt it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    GuardFellow

    First up I want to say that I love the early work of Alastair Reynolds. Chasm City and Pushing Ice are two of my all time favourite books... That said the last few books I have read by him have really not been to the same standard (Revenger, Blue Remembered Earth and now Inhibitor Phase) -Spoilers ahead- This novel starts off really well! A rag tag group of humans on the run from The Inhibitors (a seemingly un defeat-able group of machines from his previous books. We have a good few pages where it First up I want to say that I love the early work of Alastair Reynolds. Chasm City and Pushing Ice are two of my all time favourite books... That said the last few books I have read by him have really not been to the same standard (Revenger, Blue Remembered Earth and now Inhibitor Phase) -Spoilers ahead- This novel starts off really well! A rag tag group of humans on the run from The Inhibitors (a seemingly un defeat-able group of machines from his previous books. We have a good few pages where it seems that things have really changed for the human race. But then about 20 pages in our hero is swept away by a mystery character who has a seemingly hyper advanced ship that can do anything including fly everywhere undetected by the Wolves, make anything, save anyone etc. We then zip around the galaxy, the super ship overcomes every problem it faces and then bop, we have a super-weapon and it turns out the Inhibitors were not such a problem after all (I presume, that ending? what a stinker!) On top of all this we are subjected to page after page of pig love where the main character seems to think Pinky is the embodiment of all that is good and great in humanity (hard to get my head around, how can the pigs function at all with trotter hands and use the high tech doo dads, opposable thumbs are so 20th century I guess?) All in all it was nice to have the memories of Revelation Space and Chasm City bubble up in my brain from when I was in my early 20s but this book was a huge disappointment for me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    The Professor

    “Just when I thought the universe was done throwing weird shit at me…” More spiffing sci-fi from Alastair Reynolds, this time serving up the usual smorgasbord of well-written adventure fiction while offering a narrative which gently touches on issues of identity in an age – 2021 – riven with its own furious tussle with identity politics. This is obviously a hilarious no-brainer for fans of the “Revelation Space” universe and while you certainly benefit from having gorged on the previous volumes “Just when I thought the universe was done throwing weird shit at me…” More spiffing sci-fi from Alastair Reynolds, this time serving up the usual smorgasbord of well-written adventure fiction while offering a narrative which gently touches on issues of identity in an age – 2021 – riven with its own furious tussle with identity politics. This is obviously a hilarious no-brainer for fans of the “Revelation Space” universe and while you certainly benefit from having gorged on the previous volumes “Phase” can be read as a standalone; Reynolds is at pains not to alienate newcomers. This novel has all the usual thrills and spills we’ve come to expect, convincing argot, some great new ideas (“haemoclasts”) and set pieces to get the pulse racing (in particular the horrors of the Swinehouse and the Scythe’s descent into a star), the occasional movie reference ("Are you all right?"/"I'd say I'm pretty far from all right") and some early toothsome developments which immediately reveal that Reynolds’ capsule summary of the plot in his occasional publicity pieces was barely scratching the surface of what goes down here. I mean he was describing at most the first paragraph or so, bless him. As usual in Reynolds’ fiction sex is minimal and humour is fleeting, usually of the wry aside variety but I have never felt either of those was a deficit. Everything else served up by this author hits this reader’s spot and then some. Reynolds sits in that goldilocks zone of mainstream SF entertainment that unashamedly loves gonzo blockbuster set pieces but also great ideas and genuinely good writing. It’s a tougher combination to pull off than you might imagine. The plot concerns characters old and new assembling to hunt down an Incantor, “a weapon of absolute last resort” against the dread Inhibitors and even for a fairly hefty five hundred pager this covers some incredible ground; God help Framestore trying to put this on a screen, you’d be carrying out VFX artists on stretchers. At its heart it’s a big old hunk of adventure story with characters (specifically Glass) who can be crazily fallible (which is great for drama) and who don’t necessarily trust or get on with anyone so that when they do it lands with real emotional impact. Writing-wise I particularly liked how casually Reynolds mentioned black fingernails at one point only to have that tiny detail become a crucial indicator later on. His conceptual and descriptive abilities are all present and correct ("...black icebergs of gored and disembowelled habitats...") and my only quibble would be one of pacing: the passage to Ararat, planet of the Pattern Jugglers, concerns the organisation of one conversation in order to find out one piece of information – a lot of “Phase” boils down to a “fetch quest” – and the level of fine detail in this journey tested this readers patience. The pace soon picked up though and the finale involving the descent into Charybdis was wonderfully atmospheric and thrilling. As for the aforementioned theme of identity, much of this is impossible to discuss without spoilers but numerous characters are operating under aliases and the line that leapt off the page with reference to, um, “one” character was “There’s no easy answer to what I’ve become, nothing simple and binary…”. Reynolds doesn’t proselytize or signal his politics but in “Phase” this stuff really is woven into the connective tissue of the narrative and he has form when it comes to nodding towards twenty-first century current affairs in his fiction. An eye on the real world helps lift the novel above a lot of other dumb as nuts dreck (not that dumb as nuts dreck isn’t enjoyable). “Phase” is a great ride, a welcome addition to the mosaic of “Revelation Space” novels and I suspect I am not the only reader who still can’t get enough of a certain irascible hyperpig. "We need him to unlock the riddle of Charybdis."

  26. 5 out of 5

    Annemieke / A Dance with Books

    This didn't quite turn out to be my cup of tea and I dfn-ed it after a good 100 pages. I was just dreading picking it back up. Which had everything to do with the characters. The main characters name seems to be a play on a dutch historical figure. Miguel de Ruyter - Michiel de Ruyter. Hard to miss. And it didn't feel right. There is more attention these days to the wrong things, like slave trade, de Ruyter did though not all want to hear it. There are also a bunch of references to history and p This didn't quite turn out to be my cup of tea and I dfn-ed it after a good 100 pages. I was just dreading picking it back up. Which had everything to do with the characters. The main characters name seems to be a play on a dutch historical figure. Miguel de Ruyter - Michiel de Ruyter. Hard to miss. And it didn't feel right. There is more attention these days to the wrong things, like slave trade, de Ruyter did though not all want to hear it. There are also a bunch of references to history and previous books from what I gather about this main character and something to do with his name. And I couldn't quite shake it. I haven't read any of the other works in this series but it was sold as a standalone in the series. I don't think that is quite true.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dushan

    This book isn't without its flaws. I seriously considered giving up at least a couple of times, but for the sake of avoiding spoilers I won't mention anything. Then again, some parts, well most parts, were mind-blowing as fuck. The more I think about it, the more mind-blowing it is. Reynolds really makes you feel the immensity of space with its almost infinite terrors, but also infinite surprises, many of them positive. The moment you think that's all there is in his cosmos, something else comes This book isn't without its flaws. I seriously considered giving up at least a couple of times, but for the sake of avoiding spoilers I won't mention anything. Then again, some parts, well most parts, were mind-blowing as fuck. The more I think about it, the more mind-blowing it is. Reynolds really makes you feel the immensity of space with its almost infinite terrors, but also infinite surprises, many of them positive. The moment you think that's all there is in his cosmos, something else comes up, more immense, more alien, deeper, wider, stranger. A character within a character within a character, a reality within a reality within a reality, a spaceship within a spaceship within a... But it also makes you feel, and a lot. The ending honestly moved this book from 3/4 stars to 5 stars for me. Alastair has a knack for characters and tying everything up, connecting the vast and the universal, with the human and the personal, renewing hope again.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John Folk-Williams

    Alastair Reynolds brings us back to the Revelation Space universe with the magnificent Inhibitor Phase. It’s a story about sacrifice, redemption, rebirth and basic human bonds of friendship, love and loyalty that builds to a powerful conclusion. ... It starts with an extreme situation and doesn’t let up. Humanity’s last small settlements are hiding out from the devastating alien Inhibitors, swarming black cube robots bent solely on the annihilation of advanced technology among all species in the u Alastair Reynolds brings us back to the Revelation Space universe with the magnificent Inhibitor Phase. It’s a story about sacrifice, redemption, rebirth and basic human bonds of friendship, love and loyalty that builds to a powerful conclusion. ... It starts with an extreme situation and doesn’t let up. Humanity’s last small settlements are hiding out from the devastating alien Inhibitors, swarming black cube robots bent solely on the annihilation of advanced technology among all species in the universe. The people of Sun Hollow, a community of a few thousand living underground on a desolate planet, detect an incoming spaceship that threatens to arouse the Inhibitors that can overcome all human weapons. At all costs, that ship and its human passengers must be destroyed before getting too close and focusing Inhibitor attention on the hidden survivors. It’s a grim task that falls to Miguel de Ruyter, Sun Hollow’s leader. He sets off on a suicide mission, but strangely the ship seems to self-destruct and he rescues the sole survivor in a cramped ejection capsule. That survivor turns out to be a woman calling herself Glass who was never on board that ship but on a trip of her own to find Miguel. Using superior technology that overwhelms Sun Hollow’s defenses, she compels de Ruyter to go with her on a years’ long mission to find the one weapon that holds out hope of destroying the Inhibitors. It requires a painful break with his family and the only life he has known, but Glass leaves him no choice. Too much is at stake. Glass’s spaceship, Scythe, takes Miguel to the planet Yellowstone and Chasm City, broken down long ago by the Melding Plague then hit by Inhibitors, where they find essential crew members. These include Scorpio, known as Pinky, a leader among the hyperpig chimera race of humans. In Chasm City they have to descend to a hellhole known as the Swinehouse to retrieve an essential stone of powerful alien properties and liberate dozens of the intelligent pigs from certain slaughter. But that’s just for starters. They have to travel through the photosphere of a star, descend to the planet Ararat and there swim in an ocean teaming with the alien Pattern Jugglers. This is a hive mind race that has accumulated knowledge from all races in the universe and includes the memories of Nevil Clavain who has special knowledge about the Incantor and about Miguel’s past. There they also encounter a race of merfolk, a human-seal adaptation to a water world, that may be able to give a new home to the refugee hyperpigs. Then it’s on to Charybdis, the most intimidating planet of all, a gas giant where a symbiont race may survive that holds the key to Incantor technology. I’m skimming the surface here to give you an idea of the range of adventures without spoiling the essential elements of the story. Each stage of the journey uncovers new, almost insurmountable problems. Reynolds offers detailed and cogent explanations for each exotic technology the crew finds and has to use to achieve the next goal. The bonds among the crew are tested to the breaking point over and over, and accomplishing each task requires incredible sacrifice. We can never forget that it’s humanity’s fate at stake in the face of an implacable foe. ... Inhibitor Phase is an enormously satisfying adventure that works on many levels. It’s about sacrificing personal safety for the sake of humanity’s survival and about the resilience of the species even when forced to change forms to live under drastic conditions. Most of all it’s about the rebirth of individuals, humanity and even technology that in some forms takes on a life of its own. One great line captures that theme of human continuity: You don’t have to be human to be people. The consciousness, inventiveness, and the bonds that hold communities together survive no matter the changes in appearance or the complexity of merging minds. I have no idea if Reynolds intends to continue the story of the fight against the Inhibitors, though the ending of the novel sets up the next step. As a fan, I’d love to see it but even on its own, Inhibitor Phase is an unforgettable book. Read the full review at SciFi Mind.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Craig M

    Now this is what you call back on form. Bravo Mr Reynolds this was fantastic. I loved everything about this book and to be honest it was a real struggle to put it down. Easy five stars from me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    S.J. Higbee

    Reynolds used to be a space scientist and that clearly shows in this book, which is absolutely crammed with all sorts of technical details to explain why the world is the way it is. I’m aware that I used to thoroughly enjoy reading these types of books, back in the days when most hard sci-fi was stuffed full of techie toys and deep explanations as to why things were the way they were. Reynolds has attempted to humanise Miguel by giving us a ringside seat in a first-person viewpoint. And the gripp Reynolds used to be a space scientist and that clearly shows in this book, which is absolutely crammed with all sorts of technical details to explain why the world is the way it is. I’m aware that I used to thoroughly enjoy reading these types of books, back in the days when most hard sci-fi was stuffed full of techie toys and deep explanations as to why things were the way they were. Reynolds has attempted to humanise Miguel by giving us a ringside seat in a first-person viewpoint. And the gripping start of this book quickly pulled me into the adventure. However, because this is set in the Revelation Space world, there are all sorts of techie tricks and gismos that we apparently need to know about in jaw-dropping detail. Inevitably, in order to keep the pace up in a book crammed with all sorts of adventures, the characterisation suffered. It doesn’t help that he is a posthuman, who has lived for a very long time with layers of experiences that makes it difficult to empathise with him. And Reynolds simply hasn’t the time or inclination to give us more than a few bonding moments with a very complex being, so that over the course of the story, I didn’t really care about any of the main protagonists. I also struggled with the sheer bleak awfulness of the lives that humanity has been reduced to in this terrible post-apocalyptic universe that has been razed by the Inhibitors. That’s more my problem than the writing – I hadn’t remembered just how terrible the Revelation Space world actually is. However, I didn’t have any problem with continuing to turn the pages, due to the stunning inventiveness of Reynolds’ imagination. I never knew what would happen next. And there were times that when I thought I did know what was going on, it turned out to be something else. If you have read and enjoyed Reynolds’ Revelation Space novels, then track down this one – you won’t be disappointed. If you are fed up with the current taste for character-led space opera and yearn for the hard sci-fi adventures we used to see, then grab a copy. This wasn’t my favourite Reynolds’ read – but it certainly offers something very different from much of the current space adventures on the shelves. The ebook arc copy of Inhibitor Phase was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book. 7/10

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...