Glossary for the REVELATION SPACE universe. This as much as aide memoire for myself, as it is a work in progress. I’ve removed one or two entries that referred to failed stories or pieces that later broke away from the RS universe, and doubtless there are still a few such stubs present.




Ack-Am. Accelerated anti-matter. Weapons system.


Alpha-level. An evolving, interactive simulation containing an exact (or near perfect) representation of the detailed brain structure of a particular subject. Turing compliant.





Banshees. Extralegal agents operating in near-Yellowstone airspace during the Conjoiner-Demarchist war.


Beta-level. A simulation of an actual individual created by mimetic software. Turing compliant, but enjoys little or no legal protection under most authorities.


Bloodcutters. Black market geneticists operating beyond Demarchist law.



Boser. Directed energy system employing coherent (Bose-Einstein condensate) matter, usually with a laser or particle-beam precursor.


Bulk Chitin Polymer. Common Demarchist construction material, inspired by insect chitin.




Canasian. A language incorporating elements of Cantonese and Quebecois French. The main language of Demarchists.


Canopy. The upper strata of Chasm City in the post-plague years.


Carousel. A space habitat with (commonly) a wheel-based architecture.


Coalition for Neural Purity. An amalgamation of conservative states opposed to mind augmentation technologies.


Compad. A personal data entry/retrieval device, about the size of a printed book.


Communicant. A human splinter group of the post-Inhibitor era. Communicants have been modified for exceptional linguistics skills.


Conjoiners. A human faction employing extensive mind-to-mind linkage. Emerging from Mars at the time of the Transenlightenment, Conjoiner technology made human starflight practicable.


Cryo-arithmetic engine. Quantum-computational cooling system, employing local thermodynamic violation. Conjoiner invention.


Crabber. Anti-hermetic assassination device.




Demarchists. A human faction using implants to achieve real-time participatory democracy.


Dreamfuel. Narcotic substance found in Chasm City after the Melding Plague.





Eidetic. Stored memories, skills or personality patterns, and the associated imprinting technology.


Eighty. One of the eighty victims of the failed neural uploading experiments of Calvin System. Also, the incident itself.


Entoptic. Machine-generated visual hallucination.


Eraserhead. An agent of the Ferrisville Convention authorised to impound and delete all extant simulations of a felon.


Exordium. A secret project within Conjoiner society, concerned with acausal signalling.




Fand. An Earthlike colony world around Lacaille 9352. Settled by Demarchists and Conjoiners.


Field-trawl. Portable emergency trawl.




Gamma-level. Simulation of a fictitious personality. Turing-compliance not necessary.


Geld codes. Software incorporated into universally self-repairing machines to prevent self-replication. Queens are machines that either lack geld codes or have had their geld codes by-passed.


Glitter Band. In pre-plague years, the ring of 10,000 habitats orbiting Yellowstone.


Great Wall of Mars. A 200 km-tall ringlike ‘atmospheric dam’ built on Mars before the Transenlightenment. Designed by Europan Demarchists under Sandra Voi, the wall employed advanced, actively-strengthened materials science. Dismantled by Coalition forces on the eve of the second Conjoiner war.


Greenfly. Self-replicating terraforming technology developed by Fand Demarchists.




Hamadryad. Large snake-like creature indigenous to Sky’s Edge.


Haven. A colony world orbiting Gliese 687.


Hermetic. In the post-plague era, someone who retains subcellular implants, protecting themselves against contamination by remaining inside sealed armour.


Holoclavier. Musical instrument resembling a piano.


Hyperdiamond. An allotrope of carbon reinforced by the application of piezo-electrical currents.


Hyperpig. Pig-human chimera of human-level intelligence.




Ice Mendicants. The order of hospices dedicated to the care of the newly thawed.


Idlewild. The Ice Mendicant hospice orbiting Yellowstone.




Janitor rats. Bio-engineered housekeeping creatures.


Jugglers – see Pattern Jugglers.







Lighthugger. Any large space vehicle with a relativistic cruise ceiling.




M-suit. Membrane-based pressure suit of Demarchist design.


Medichine. Subcellular nanotechnology, usually of a biomedical rather than military/cybernetic nature.


Melding Plague. Nanotechnological virus of probable alien origin, responsible for collapse of the Demarchist golden age in 2510.


Mixmaster. A specialist in genetic engineering and modification within Demarchist society.


Mulch. The lower strata of Chasm City in the post-plague years.




Nestbuilders. Symbiotic intelligences who have retained starfaring capability despite the emergence of the Inhibitors.


Neural death. Enforced destruction of fine-scale brain structure to prevent resurrection by trawl.


Norte. A language incorporating elements of English and Spanish.




Oomingmaktok. The primary snowflake city on Turquoise.




Palanquin. The travelling environment of a hermetic.


Pattern Jugglers. Amorphous, aquatic alien organisms forming a single information processing entity. Jugglers have been encountered on several isolated worlds, implying some earlier seeding program. Jugglers record and update the neural patterns of sentient organisms entering their seas.


Pig – see hyperpig.


Postmortal. A person making use of longevity therapies.


Proxy. A machine or program designed to function at a distance from its controller. May have autonomy.




Queen. See geld codes.




Ramliner. Passenger carrying lighthugger.


Reefer. A cryogenic sleep casket.


Reefersleep. The cryogenic freezing technology adopted by Ultras.


Resurgam. An archaeological colony orbiting Delta Pavonis, the former homeworld of the avian Amarantin.


Russish. A language derived from Russian and English elements.


Rust Belt. In post-plague years, the band of mainly ruined habitats still orbiting Yellowstone.




Servitor. Autonomous robot, usually lacking free-will.


Shadowplay. System of legalised assassination in post-plague Yellowstone.


Shroud. Stellar-scale metric engineering artefact of non-human origin.


Shrouders. Hypothetical alien builders of Shrouds.


Skyjacks. Cyborgised outer solar-system miners known for their intense isolationism.


Stormplayer. An artist in large-scale weather modification.




Teeconax. Neurally-driven musical instrument.


Trawl. General term for a family of neural imaging technologies with the resolution to extract and interpret declarative memories.


Trollhattan. A skyjack glassmaker; of or pertaining to the Trollhattan school.


Turquoise. A Pattern Juggler world orbiting Groombridge 1618.




Ultras (Ultranauts). The permanent starfaring crew of lighthuggers.




Volantor. Personal transatmospheric vehicle.




Wedding Gun. Device for implanting isotopically tagged neural material into the skull of a recipient.






Yellowstone. The major settled world in the Epsilon Eridani system.




Zion. A colony world orbiting Lalande 21258.