In Chasm City
, Alastair Reynolds revisits the noir
universe of his debut SF blockbuster Revelation Space
with a suspenseful, convoluted pursuit story. Its dizzying reversals and games of disguise are reminiscent of Iain M Banks at his trickiest.
The main narrative stars trained killer Tanner Mirabel, a man hell-bent on revenge, who stalks his enemy Reivich from the world Sky's Edge across a 15-year interstellar gap to the gaudy, poisoned melting pot of Chasm City. Flashbacks reveal the violent events and worse repercussions that so badly twisted Mirabel and others. Virus-induced dreams provide a third story line from inside the head of legendary traitor-messiah Sky Haussmann, who long ago shaped the original colonisation of Sky's Edge and whose real story never got into the history books.
Chasm City's complications include spectacular space-elevator sabotage, faulty antimatter drives, hidden aliens, mystery drugs, exotic bio-modification, tailored disease, high-tech weaponry, a new and deadlier form of bungee-jumping, and that traditional SF symptom of decadence: organised hunts with human prey. Violent death is never far off, but our protagonist has deeper worries in that his own motives and memories, even his identity, don't seem to add up quite as they should ...
After many chases, captures and escapes, these tangled plot strands are satisfyingly resolved. Masks are stripped away, and webs of lies exposed. Revelations range from the origin of the dread Melding Plague (which once nightmarishly merged Chasm City's people, machines and buildings) to the reason for an irrational fear of alcoves. An enjoyably tense, tortuous SF thriller. --David Langford
The brilliant follow-up to the bestselling REVELATION SPACE.