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)
Hard Sci-Fi Connoiseur.
After all the mentions (all negative) of Chasm City in the series I was very excited to get into this book. Interestingly most of the creepy stuff happens not in Chasm City but in the stories leading up to the main characters arrival. All in all a solid addition to the universe though a bit disjointed at time. Pacing at the end is odd. As with The Prefect, if you're unfamiliar with Revelation Space start with that series as it sets an important foundation and makes this book more enjoyable.
Yes. Revelation Space gets sniped because of how density and depth of Reynold's Universe. Chasm City fills the back story for a couple of the planets as well as explaining the historical momentum behind the "present day" in his universe.
The nods he gave towards "Revelation Space" were also enjoyable, as was the noir hint and the quippy nature of the characters.
The protagonist. There is no way I can explain without blowing the book.
Tanner's fish out of water experience as he descends from the Ice Mendicant's station to the surface of Yellowstone was outstanding. The supporting cast also adds to the scenery.
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.
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.
The story had nothing to do with the first book. I found the "dream sequences" more interesting than the main story.
My first foray into Reynolds' universe and writing. I am suitably impressed.Chasm City was widely recommended as a good starting point to new readers of Reynolds and I am certainly glad I listened to that advice. What you get in CC is a rich world chalk full of gritty imagery and strong characters - and if I can say this without being too on the nose, characters with multiple layers; like a snake's skin ;)I enthusiastically recommend CC either for new readers of Reynolds (like me) or to those who are jumping around in his universe. The ending fully satisfied with the threads weaving together, quite intricately I might add.
John Lee was excellent - my first experience listening to him. I appreciated his pacing and range in voice as well.
Traveler and writer of strange tales. AKA The Editor's Gadfly
I wanted to cheer on a protagonist, but the story robs of that opportunity. There was no motivation for Sky Houseman to turn bad.
This book is fantastic. for anyone that loves science fiction particularly hard science fiction this book is amazing. I couldn't recommend more. it's a great follow-up to Revelation space. excellent prequel explains a little bit more about the world. the universe this author has created is amazing in its depth. I love it. will continue reading.
Original, relentless, grim
The story has arc works fantastically allowing you to piece together the plots strands just at the right pace.
All characters are fantastic and John Lee's voice is perfectly suited to each of them, had me gripped!
The resolution - without wanting to give anything away...
A super book from a good writer given a sprinkling of scary dust from the magical John Lee which moved the story to another level for me.
"Chasm City - wow"
I'm a big fan of Aladtair Reynolds' Revelation Space series, and I think this is the best of them all
The original novel kept me glued to the book for a week, and lots of subsequent rereading
It brings together future warfare, secret agents, space travel with a real noir feel
This audio novel enhances the experience. John Lee's narration is excellent, highly convincing and believable
In my opinion, this is the best sci -fi novel of the past 15 years
A wonderful romp through space. This tale and its twists and turns keeps you on the edge of your seat. I just could not wait for the next excuse to listen. A great mix of adventure, science & technology. Where does this guy get his ideas?? And yes, it does answer some of the questions that I had in my head after reading 'Revolation Space'.
As alway John Lee does a superb job of bringing it all to life and making some of the more complex concepts.
"Reynolds is THE SF writer of the moment."
Reynolds' own version of 'Known' space is coherent and disturbing, involving and dark. John Lee narrates with clear diction and engages the listener. Highly recommended.
What a captivating story, plenty of action and some majestic characterisation. A unique and quite brilliant mechanism for telling several stories concurrently, and a superb 'reveal' awaits the listener to weave each strand into a completed tableux as the book concludes.
My fourth Alastair Reynolds audible book and my favorite so far, highly recommended.
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