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Chasm City (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 3 May 2001

4.1 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Paperback, 3 May 2001
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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (3 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575068787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575068780
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 3.8 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,420,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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


Space opera at its fantastic best. ("Book Browser") Cutting edge biology, AI, and alien intrigue...Reynolds is on fire. ("Booklist")

"Deep, complex...a new world of wonder." -Denver Post

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

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
This book suffers from verbosity, not so much the descriptive prose but from the mouths of characters who all seem to have an unlimited intelligence and massive vocabulary. It acts like a barrier to any empathy a reader may have with say Tanner Mirabel. Despite everything that happens to him he seems to change very little, and after reading the ending I didn't get the point of the revelation of who he really is/was. Interestingly enough the passages from Sky Hausmann's story and Tanner's past are much more interesting and seductive than what happens to Tanner in Chasm City and I wonder if that is what ultimately stops the book from being a classic. It has to end in the present and that just hasn't been anything more than a rudimetary adventure compared to the tales from the past. The 'fight' at the end is deeply, deeply unsatisfying, how many times have we seen this, and why when everything else is spectacular is this so brief and unimaginative? The 'bite' at the end is ridiculous.
This is almost a Dan Simmons novel and it borrows a fair few ideas from him, but it doesn't quite do it. Not for me anyway.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Only the second book I've read by Alastair Reynolds (after Revelation Space) and I look forward to reading more. Although much has been made of his scientific background with the ESA don't think that this is a book bogged down with purely science. His imagination is boundless and he weaves a fantastic story of discovery and revenge from two different people. It's different to Revelation Space in that most of the story is centred on a single planet rather than deep space (but you do get a historical story linked in about how a flotilla of giant ships travelled across the galaxy to populate said planet.) As with Revelation Space seemingly random and unconnected events come together as the story progresses.

Chasm City was a much different reading experience to Revelation Space as the story is mainly told from a first person perspective. But as the main character was the focus it works really well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A deep well of masterful genius!

Imagination is stretched to the limit and beyond in this novel - to places I thought it impossible for a mind to conceiveably go and return intact.

I read this book after reading others in the series: Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap, Revelation Space (I know, start at the beginning and finish at the end - but I like to do things the hard way!), and I wanted to find out where it all started.

Although it was the first book in the series (I think), it loses none of its impact reading it out of order. The novel hits the ground running and continues at blistering pace, taking the reader across time and space, pushing the boundaries of ingenuity and illusion.

From the outset the hero struggles with his moralistic status, swinging constantly into anti-hero mode, and we never really know if we should love or hate him. Who is he really? He loses and gains friends constantly, and they in turn are discredited or killed as he thunders forward on a seemingly suicidal quest.

The novel on its way describes strange and wonderful machines and concepts which make some kind of sense, and one day may even be practical as our own world fills to bursting point. Like all good Science Fiction, it keeps its deepest roots subtly in the present and has lessons for us all.

A thoroughly rivetting read.

Author of The W.D.P.S.
The W.D.P.S - Book One
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