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Chasm City (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 10 Jan 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New edition edition (10 Jan 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575073659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575073654
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 804,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alastair Reynolds was born in Barry, South Wales, in 1966. He studied at Newcastle and St Andrews Universities and has a Ph.D. in astronomy. Since 1991 he has lived in the Netherlands, near Leiden. He gave up working as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency to become a full-time writer. Revelation space and Pushing Ice were shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award; Revelation space, Absolution Gape, Diamond Dogs and Century Rain were shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Award and Chasm City won the British Science Fiction Award.

Revelation Space Trilogy:

Revelation Space
Redemption Ark
Absolution Gap

Standalone novels:

Chasm City
Century Rain
Pushing Ice
The Prefect
House of Suns
Terminal World


Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
Galactic North
Zima Blue and Other Stories

Product Description

Amazon Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Come to Chasm City and embark on a mind-bending ride through the universe of Revelation Space

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Aug 2001
Format: Paperback
Alastair Reynolds has written another fantastic novel in "Chasm City" - it's just like "Revelation Space," except better, its hard-edged science fiction with great characters, we get the vastness of space, inner and outer. Alastair Reynolds is indeed a brilliant writer. I found it gripping, very clever, with wonderful descriptions that create a strong visual dimension as you read the story. Alastair's imagination really stretches you.
Every time I thought the story had crested, some new twist and turn kept occurring. Throughout this 524-page novel, the various story lines kept coming together, there was obviously so much more of the plot to unravel. Two-thirds into the story and I just couldn't put the book down. I just stayed up till 2 a.m. to finish "Chasm City," eagerly turning each page, drawn to each word like a caterpillar crossing a blade of grass, to see what new part of the story would be revealed.
I can't sleep as I'm still reeling from this magnificent book. Wow, what a feeling! Even after having read Alastair's first debut novel "Revelation Space," I was completely unprepared for the many wonders within "Chasm City." Parts of this novel reminded me of "The Fountains of Paradise" by Arthur C. Clarke, "Perdido Street Station" by China Mieville and "Metal Fatigue" by Sean Williams.
Tanner Mirabel was a security specialist who never made a mistake......until the day a women in his care was blown away during an attack by a vengeful young postmortal named Argent Reivich.
Tanner's pursuit of Reivich takes him away from his homeworld, across light-years of space, to Chasm City, the domed human settlement on the otherwise inhospitable planet Yellowstone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve on 17 Dec 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is set over a much shorter timescale than his first book (Revelation Space) and the story is much tighter and more pleasurable to read for it.
There are three interesting storylines that converge toward the end, but I must say that I thought the 'twist' was obvious from the middle of the book.
The universe this book is set in is the same as Revelation Space, although in a slightly different period and there are plenty of references to the first book to help place this story. However, this is an entirely independent story from Revelation Space.
Chasm city is a horror - it's buildings, machines and society ruined by the melding plague. There is an almost Dickensian feel about the poor, Mulch dwellers and the upper class Canopy society. Chasm City is quite well described and has many interesting features.
However, the characters are too shallow. We never really know what motivates most of them. Tanner Mirabel is supposed to be a professional soldier/mercenary but his professional detachment goes out the window as he vows to avenge his boss's assassination, travelling across space for 15 years in suspended animation to track down the killer, Reivich. The motley crew he links up with variously want to mislead him, kidnap him or/and kill him, but all end up going off together to confront the big baddy near the end on Tanners side. For the most part, it is not clear why they each have a change of heart.
There are other oddities as well - mutant pigs who pop up now and again to save Tanner, then are never mentioned again. The Mixmasters scan his body for physiological changes and injuries and spot his retinal modifications but miss his poisonous fangs and his missing arm. Still, no one's perfect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Baxter on 16 Oct 2003
Format: Paperback
Chasm City is the follow up to Alistar Reynolds first book Revelation Space. The book's opening pages are satisfyingly dark and tense, but unfortunately the author fails to capitalise on this and the story ends up being far lighter than the intial pages would implie.

The Canopy dwellers also seem very reminiscent of the Culture and other similarities exist between Reynolds and Ian Banks writing, but there is enough original content there to satisfy those looking for a new experience especially for those that enjoy hard science SF. That said this book is far lighter on the hard science than Revelation Space.

For those that have read his first book Chasm City returns to Yellowstone and Sky's Edge; concentrating its story around the melding plague, and revealing far more history than previously supplied. In doing so Reynolds successfully adds depth to his universe. A nice touch is that the first two books can be read in any order both giving hints at what's in the other. It also retains the same outrageously slippery plot which truly has you guessing right to the end as the original.

This is a exceedingly well written book and even with it's hard science, as a relative new comer to the genre I found it easy and compulsive reading. Well worth checking out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jason tudor on 22 Nov 2001
Format: Paperback
One thing most reviewers seem to agree on is that Reynolds is more than welcome to this magnificent genre. His pace never lets up and I particularly enjoy his ability to weave multi layered plots. This is particularly evident here although you can read other reviews for details. I also believe that he has the ability to convey character motivation in a way that only a handful of others are capable of. I say this because after a few chapters I wanted to kill that bastard Reivich even thugh I didn't have a clue about the man, which now I think about it, you never do.
Why then has our young Welsh author failed to gain 5 stars? Well, it's not because I'm a tight get but instead, where the likes of Herbert, Bear, Banks and Simmons craft whole pieces of art with equal attention to each part of the story, I feel that Reynolds has yet to work out how to end a novel. The maggot part was particularly dull. Still, not bad at all for a second novel although I thought Revelation Space was better.
My advice is buy it, read it and then remember that it's still early doors because this man will only get better.
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