If you liked Revelation Space, you'll like this book even more! Although an entirely new string of characters are introduced and the story seems to deter from the 'long plot' set up in Revelation Space, the story in this book is more entertaining and engaging overall. I really enjoyed this book b/c the characters are all very strong and the plot keeps you intrigued through every twist and turn. John Lee, as always, does a fantastic job developing character personalities through their voices, no complaints there. About the only thing i was disappointed with in this book was the deviation from the 'long plot' of the Revelation Space series but as i said, its absolutely worth a listen.
After reading six of his novels, I would recommend that "hard" sci-fi fans of "space opera" start here with Alastair Reynolds. Chasm City kind of blew my mind. Reynolds has done some very creative things writing in the first person, and Chasm City is my favorite example. After Chasm City, try "The Prefect" and/or "House of Suns." If you're really enjoying yourself, proceed to Revelation Space, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap or some of the others, which I can't yet comment on.
I like the style of the way this fellow writes, and he creates very interesting and engaging characters. The plot line seemed to hold a lot of potential. But, as the protagonist slips into having more and more dreams, it reminded me of Hamilton's Dreaming Void and Temporal Void novels. Feels like an easy out for the author, although I will say Reynolds' dreams at least expand the story and seem to make some sense. Both authors seemed to rely on characters having unbelievable powers to the point of being ludicrous (and another easy way out of needing more rational explanations). And, what the protagonist and almost everyone else does to the aliens in the "6th ship" behind the convoy is just downright inhuman. Of course, how those aliens ever managed to build anything given their physiology strains credulity. In the end, I felt more sympathy / empathy for the aliens and Methusala (an old fish) than I did for any of these distinctly unlikeable characters. I can't recommend this one, but I appreciated they way Reynolds and the narrator told the story, flawed though it may be. And so, I know I'll listen to another Reynolds yarn.
If authors have odds and ends in the desk, they may not string together into a coherent book length work.
The crafting of a city at the end of an interstellar journey that survives on steam technology due to the onset of the alien melding plague.
A character realizing that they are not who they think they are.
The chase scenes in the cable cars. Again, these are not what one would think they are.
I did not enjoy this book, mainly because I prefer a linear story. This one, with it's flashbacks, and converging story lines was confusing to me, and tiring. However, someone with a more agile mind may enjoy it. ;-)
Reynolds weaves a story through multiple points of view, first in third person, then in third,with flashbacks complicating the multiple story lines even further But, unlike many novels that use such techniques as gimmicks, each element is intrinsic to the telling of a very entertaining story.
Be aware that while usually classified as space opera, Chasm City primarily takes place in two static places: aboard a "light hugger" ship and in the eponymous city on a faraway world in the distant future.
While locations remain static, the ideas--bio-enginerring, manipulated genes, memory transplants--and concepts--the nature of religions, how much good is needed to counter acts of evil--are sweeping.
While Chasm City takes place in the Revelation Space universe, it is not necessary to have read any of the other novels in order to appreciate this onel. Chasm City works just fine as a stand-alone, and might well be the best place to introduce oneself to the creative genius of Alastair Reynolds.
As usual, John Lee's narration is outstanding.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
It has been years since I have come across a new work of hard Science Fiction that was as satisfying as CHASM CITY. This novel is chock full of scientific concepts that are used in ingenious ways; and what is more, the characterization is well fleshed out. First Alistair Reynolds creates a whole new culture set on a far away colony world then he introduces aberrations in technology that have altered humanity. There are no good guys here. This is a tale told of the seedy underworld of society. After learning a little about how the world works Reynolds starts revealing the back story of the protagonist. And everything is not as it seems; in fact everything is far stranger, and psychologically devious, than I could have imagined. I listened to this novel twice in-a-row because I wanted to track the convoluted story with the map in my head from the first go-round. Reynolds has written a story that rewards the careful listener.
John Lee has a great voice for this book. His slight English accent fits since the author is also English. I realized about half-way through that the dialog, which is quite gritty in some scenes, is smoothed by the dulcet tones of John Lee. Some of the characters could have benefited from a more sarcastic delivery, such as that of Todd McLaren in ALTERED CARBON, but now I would not want top trade John Lee for anyone. He has become the voice of Revelation Space for me. Lee is adept at multiple voices, given each character their own particular accent, immediately recognizable, and enunciated. This is an overall great audiobook, ripe for repeat soundings.
Now I know what a space opera is. A normal Soap with laser beams and silver jump suits.
Although a nice big story. It was not really what I was looking for in a science fiction novel.
I may try this author again if I he wrote any real hard scifi books.
Enjoy the adventure
The best Alastair Reynolds book I have heard at Audible. Human colonized worlds, futuristic space travel and the twists – turns in the plot left me feeling like a pretzel. Just add salt and I’m ready to be dropped in a bag of Rolled Gold.