Named one of the best novels of the year by both Locus and Science Fiction Chronicle, Alastair Reynolds's debut Revelation Space redefined the space opera. With Chasm City, Reynolds invites you to reenter the bizarre universe of his imagination as he redefines Hell.
The once-utopian Chasm City - a domed human settlement on an otherwise inhospitable planet - has been overrun by a virus known as the Melding Plague, capable of infecting any body, organic or computerized. Now, with the entire city corrupted---from the people to the very buildings they inhabit---only the most wretched sort of existence remains. For security operative Tanner Mirabel, it is the landscape of nightmares through which he searches for a lowlife postmortal killer. But the stakes are raised when his search brings him face to face with a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget.
©2008 Alastair Reynolds; (P)2009 Tantor
"Consistently startling.... Reynolds remains one of the hottest...SF writers around." (Publishers Weekly)
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I almost always read many audible reviews before I pick up a new audio book, but in the case of the Revelation Space series, I really wish I had read the reviews on each of the books before I started any of them. If I had I would have realized that although Audible has Chasm City listed as book 2 in the Revelation Space series, it is actually a prequel to Revelation Space and can stand alone. I would have also seen Michael's and Robert Eric Koch's reviews suggesting that you start Alastair Reynolds with this book. Although my first Reynolds was House of Suns and I think that's a great one to start with, I certainly agree with those reviewers that Chasm City would be a good place to start and I would strongly recommend that you get your first introduction to the world of Revelation Space via Chasm City rather than with Revelation Space. Although Revelation Space was published only a year earlier than Chasm City, there is an enormous improvement in Reynold's writing between the two books. Chasm City is not only much more tightly plotted and easier to follow, there is very adept use of symbolism and foreshadowing in Chasm City that adds suspense and thrills that just weren't there in Revelation Space. (Makes me want to listen again just to find all those little gems that were cluing my subconscious.)
This is a really dark, kind of creepy story and Reynolds uses such evocative language through much of the book that I was surprised a couple of times while listening to look up and realize it was a nice sunny day out - in my head I was tip-toeing through ghost spaceships, diving into the mists of Chasm City, and evading hunters on the mean streets at night. There are two story lines interwoven into the novel and both are told first person. Reynolds has done a wonderful job in pulling the listener into both stories and the plot is well organized so it is easy to follow although it is rather intricate. The first person perspective in this novel can give you the willies at times - I didn't like the decisions that one of the POV characters was making as he becomes rather megalomaniacal, but I had already so identified with him that I couldn't quite stop rooting for him even while hating him. Now, THAT is creepy-good writing!
This is a much more methodical layout of Revelation Space than you get in the debut novel and I think reading Chasm City first would make it easier to follow Revelation Space. John Lee brought his A-game to this book so the narration is great also.
Great future science, good characters, super-twisty plot, terrific writing, wonderful narration - this is a killer good audio book!
Another great story by Alastair Reynolds. Listened to the audio format of this one; as always, narrator John Lee does a FANTASTIC job of telling the story, keeping the characters separate with his amazing variety of voices, and adding just the right touch of emotion and intonation at all the right times. And of course it's very pleasant to listen to, I still think it sounds just like Sean Connery reading the story. In short, I wish he was the narrator of a lot more audiobooks out there.
This one was a standalone book in Alastair Reynold's "Revelation Space" universe, which with each book shows off the depth of Reynold's universe and the planning he's put into it. This one is a standalone, and a prequel to the Trilogy proper that adds a lot of backstory. A bit darker and very much like a Noir mystery, it keeps you interested, and guessing, right up until the end. There was quite a bit of language in it as one might imagine from this type of story.
I am very glad he wrote this one from first-person viewpoint. I also rather enjoy the info-dumps that Reynolds puts into a lot of his stories - a plot device not used by everyone and even reviled by some, but I think it's necessary with stories of this complexity. Besides, they always appear at just the right moments and helps to avoid the frustration of wondering what's really going on that some authors make you go through.
Alastair Reynolds is a fantastic writer, and often, the challenge is to pick a first read of this exceptional author. Well, this is a GREAT place to begin: Strong plot and subplots, wonderful descriptive wring that draws you in, characters with appreciable depth, and a universe that is chock full of original ideas and execution. Chasm City is, in my humble opinion, one of the author's best works.
And it's also a GREAT listen.
You've probably read the audiobook's description, and have made a general opinion. Well, stop there. You have NO IDEA how well this has been written for you, the listener.
From viruses that cause religious memories and experiences, to dna-level bio-political synchronicity, to infected nanotechnology that warps architecture, to biology and societies on a far-flung planet that went from becoming the hub of the known galaxy slowly grinding into the dregs of a forgotten but very active planet of biological and social mysteries. Place a ferocious chase between murderer and hunter in this maelstrom, and throw in a backstory involving deception on the multigenerational starships that delivered mankind to this world. It's simply engaging and listen-worthy.
AND. You can start here to get acquainted with the author's other works.
There is a challenge though, and it's keeping up with the sweeping storylines that crisscross at many points within the story. Pay attention, and you won't be disappointed.
Keep your hands in the car at all times, because this is one exhilarating roller-coaster ride.
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Alastair Reynolds is easily one of the three or four best science fiction writers working today and when it comes to hard SF, there’s really no one better. I’m convinced that Reynold’s body of work will be the standard by which both space opera and hard SF are judged for years to come. Chasm City is his best stand-alone novel (just barely nudged from the top spot imo by Redemption Ark). The novel is set within the Revelation Space universe, delving deep into the future culture in which the events of Revelation Space take place. A truly original and groundbreaking novel, Chasm City truly does redefine the space opera genre. While most space operas find convenient ways around Einstein and physics, Reynolds actually uses the physical restrictions of the real world to tell his story. The characters are relatable but just weird enough to work in the context of his universe. I highly recommend this novel for any SF fan and it works as a great introduction to Reynold’s body of work. The narration of John Lee seems, at times, a little colloquial but is otherwise fine.
I've read Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap, The Prefect, and now Chasm City, and I feel it's safe to say the latter is Alastair Reynold's best work. The story is great, but the thing that really makes it stand out is it's the only novel in the series written from the first person perspective. Therefore, the entire novel focuses on character development, which is done brilliantly. I don't feel like this book would diminish greatness were I to read it/listen to it several more times.
Nice tie in to the other books. Great narrator, with a variety of accents that I enjoyed. A little confusing when some of the "dreams" begin, but you grow used to it. Love the story line, and Reynolds writing. Enjoyable book.
It has been a while since I took iPod out of my car into home to listen to a book. Chasm City was the book which gripped me so much that I did that.
This was my first "read" of Reynolds and quite a pleasant one! I am great fan of darker, atmospheric and realistic (as far as we can imagine it today) science fiction which covers not only science and technology but also human aspect of future. This book has it all! Story is very atmospheric and surrounding, settings and tech are not completely whacked out like in some sf fantasy books and there is a lot of human aspect and emotions, unlike some dry classics like Rama or Ringworld.
The Narrator is very adequate. In Revelation Space - which I listen to now - John Lee has the annoying habit to start a sentence with much intonation and trail out from there, becoming silenter and silenter - this was complained about by some in reviews to RS. Well, it is not present here! John Lee is really much better in this one IMHO.
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.
Alastair Reynolds blew me away with this space opera, and I've read the series 3 times now. He creates entire genres of humans. Different worlds and whole new enemies and dangers. Chasm City is an amazing back story for a few planets in the universe. John Lee is the best narrator!
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This book/series had almost universally positive reviews. The story is quite complex, with multiple time-lines and multiple story-lines that don’t come together until the very end. There are some interesting story elements and interesting ideas, yet I never got into the story and did not care about the conclusion.
This book has a combination of sub-genre which I don’t prefer. First, the characters are largely from the military-sci-fi sub-genre (even the non-military characters), with somewhat flat, military characterizations, having little of the nuances of flesh and blood characters. Second, the story is largely from the fantasy-sci-fi sub-genre, where the science is not really integrated with the story, and is instead only used to create a framework for the fantasy themes. The science does not really hang together into an integrated whole. For example there is clearly very high sensor technology available, yet some guy keeps a totally secret compartment large enough to keep a huge alien technically enhanced psychotic dolphin (and a few people) hidden on a spacecraft secret for decades.
It felt to me that the science and characterizations were very subordinate to the fantasy/mystery aspects of the story. Characters would do things modestly inconsistent with their character because the story required it. The science seemed incidental, providing whatever was necessary as a framework for the mostly fantasy story.
It seems most people find the complex fantasy/mystery aspects of this story well worth time. I did finish it, but will not go on in the series.
Chasm City is part of the revelation space series, in the timeline of that universe it comes second in the series - but on the advice of the author from his own website I listened to this 4th and I would agree that is the best way to go through the series. That said this book stands perfectly well without any of the others and does do not have an ending that requires you to read more nor does it require you to have read any of the previous books. Reads perfectly well as a stand alone.
John Lee is for me a great Narrator, some people do not seem to get on well with his style but I personally find him very easy to listen to and I enjoy every book he reads.
It took me the best part of 2 weeks to listen to this one which for me is quite a long time. I have over indulged in the revelation space series in the last couple of months - listening to them one after the other, which is quite an undertaking in terms of time! I think I will take a short break from there now and listen to another Author - till I return for a listen to The Prefect :) Had I not been so indulgent in this series I am sure I would listened to this book in 4 or 5 sittings.
Fantastic series and for the number of Audible credits you use compared to the many hours of listening you get, the value for money is superb.
This is a fantastic book that kept me fumbling for an excuse to don my headphones and continue listening, Alastair manages to write twists into his novels that reveal themselves subtly and exactly when they should, I never found myself guessing them prematurely or getting lost in the plot.
His superb grasp on physics and evolutionary biology combined with his creative imagination make the whole story very credible and intriguing, I would recommend listening to "Revelation space" before this, and visiting Alastairs website to view the chronological order of all his novels as they are not clear from here.
great book and loved the variety of characters. hope more in the future.
"Hi5 Alastair Lad!"
In Short an Awesome book, well read, very good story, very good characters, I'm no expert but it gets my approval.
...if you can get past the jarring American pronunciations. The reader is mostly excellent, but the constant "flow tiller" for flotilla and similar oddities make this hard work sometimes.
The editors have also allowed several misuses of "I" for "me" and vice-versa.
However the. story is well paced and the plot is nicely serpentine.
"assassins across the galaxy"
well narrated with a dynamic plot line. however sudden jolts of scene change could have been made a bit smoother, unless that was the intention.
"Life is What You Make It"
This story is brilliantly written and the convoluted plot needs to be listened to attentively. There has been critisism of the narrator, but although his diction is annunciated and sometimes theatrical for the main character does work if you let it. After all we are talking about alien humans. The minor characters take mant other accents, inclding Brummie, but you usually know whose speaking. Even when things get really complicated! The sf plot is memorable and although a slow burn overall, it is cut into chunks which have enough action to excite all the way through.
"Reynolds at his best"
Reynolds once again showing his fantastic ability to weave seemingly unconnected story lines into an epic conclusion, all performed beautifully be Lee. Onto the next!
"This is my favorite book."
Yes. This was the first sci-fi book I read as a teenager. Maybe I am biased and nostalgic but this is still my favorite book to date. If you, like me, enjoy interesting and new ideas then Chasm City is a great introduction into Alastair Reynolds 'Revelation Space' Universe! Expect grand ideas, excellent characters and plot twists.
Overall a great read.
The sci-fi ideas in the story.
Space Opera Thriller
Perhaps this is a biased review. I urge you to form your own opinion.
"Loved the story, weird narration"
Very engaging and complex plot, it was surprisingly good. The only thing I wasn't keen on was the narration. It was like he was shooting for "old english gentleman" with the main character's voice - really pompous and annoying, a bit like something out of a 1970s James Bond movie. But it didn't detract too much from my enjoyment of the story, so I'd still give it a big thumbs up.
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