I'd say no, if you want to start with a short story book go for Galatic North as most of the stories are in the same universe as the later Chasm City/Revelation Space ect. Also within its own right the short stories are excelent with varied and original ideas. Most definatly read this at some point but if you want the feel of space opera (like Peter F Hamilton(Incidently my favorate author at the moment)) go throught his Revelation space series.
Hi.....I agree. Read Galactic North first. Revalation space can be a bit heavy going at the start. A lot of the foundations of the story are taken as read and not explained until later in the book(s). Galactic North gives you a good grounding via some great stories. It is well worth persisting with Revalation Space.The series and the associated spin off books are excellent.