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Chasm City Hardcover – April 1, 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews

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Hardcover, April 1, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this worthy follow-up to his well-received first novel, Revelation Space (2001), an especially intelligent far-future foray, British author Reynolds transmutes space opera into a noirish, baroque, picaresque mystery tale. Honor requires that Tanner Mirabel, a weapons specialist/bodyguard, track down and destroy the man who killed his boss. Tanner's pursuit takes him to the planet Yellowstone, where a nano-plague has mutated the glittering human cultural showcase of Chasm City into something bizarre, dark and extremely dangerous. He's aided or threatened or both, at different times by a host of human and not-quite-human characters. Relying on his own combat skills and hard-boiled attitude, Tanner keeps seeking revenge even though he begins to wonder why he's doing it, especially after intrusions of other people's memories lead him to suspect he's not who he thinks he is. Inventiveness and tone are Reynolds's strong points. Presented in a sustained burst of weirdness, the novel's details are consistently startling but convincing in context, and the loose ends eventually tie neatly together. The narrator's tough-guy stance works too, both as an expression of Tanner's personality and as a defensive reaction to the setting's intimidating strangeness. Think of a combination of the movie Blade Runner and one of Jack Vance's ironic SF adventure novels. If the ending feels a bit flat, that's probably inevitable after the exuberant display of wonders earlier.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

When security specialist Tanner Mirabel loses a client, killed by an assassin named Argent Reivich, he sets off on a manhunt to bring Reivich to justice. His search leads him to the domed community of Chasm City, located on the planet Yellowstone. There he confronts the city's strange, mutated inhabitants victims of a nanotechnological virus and ultimately comes up against his own worst fears and inner demons. The author of Revelation Space combines sf noir with technothriller in a dark vision of the future that belongs in most sf collections.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover; 1st edition (April 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441009123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441009121
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,033,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chris Lee Mullins on October 16, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Chasm City" is an odd book, a tangent to the universe that Reynolds in creating with his books "Revelation Space", "Redemption Ark" and "Absolution Gap". Technically, it is not a sequel to "Revelation Space", but rather a fleshing out of the same universe.

I won't waste your time going over plot details. "Chasm City" is a detective novel and revenge fantasy. Prepare to have your conceptions regarding almost every single character in the novel changed at least once. No one is who they seem. Its a great companion piece to Reynolds' overarching plot, but can be read on its own without having picked up "Revelation Space". However, some events and characters (ie - Sky Haussman and Sky's Edge are huge plot movers here, both of which are mentioned in "Revelation Space")

Some reviewers say that Tanner Mirabel, the protagonist of "Chasm City", makes his way into the other books of the series. I can't say one way or the other, as I'm only 100 pages into "Redemption Ark". Still, "Chasm City" is a wonderful piece of sci-fi, taken on its own or as part of a series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading Revelation Space, Reynolds' first novel, I was hoping to enjoy Chasm City just as much. In fact, I tried - really, really hard - to enjoy this book more than I did. But if I'm honest, it fell far short of my expectations.
As in Revelation Space, Reynolds interweaves multiple storylines in this book, each of them occurring in a different time frame. However, he doesn't handle them nearly as deftly as he did in his first novel, making Chasm City a rather uneven read. I agree with the other reviewers who felt that the Sky Hausmann storyline is the best part of the book. By contrast, the Chasm City storyline, which is ostensibly the main plotline of this novel, is very shaky. The characters behave unbelievably, the environment (Chasm City itself) is not nearly as interesting as it could have been, and the author ruins most of the plot twists by dropping numerous obvious hints along the way. In the end, I couldn't even forgive Tanner Mirabel his erratic behavior, even though Reynolds tries to justify it through one of his plot twists.
Don't get me wrong - this is not a terrible book. In fact, parts of it are great. In addition to the Sky Hausmann story, I thought that the first couple of chapters with Tanner Mirabel were riveting. It's just that the novel as a whole does not live up to this auspicious beginning.
So, while I can't enthusiastically recommend this book, I can make a qualified recommendation: If you loved Revelation Space and want to experience a different part of that universe, consider Chasm City. Just don't set your expecatations too high.
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Format: Hardcover
Chasm City is the main city of the planet Yellowstone, which orbits Epsilon Eridani. Some 7 years prior to the action of the book, Yellowstone and its orbital habitats were devastated by the Melding Plague, which destroyed the nanomachines upon which much of the high-tech infrastructure depended, and which effected horrible alterations in anything (and anyone) dependent on that sort of technology.
The central thread of the this novel is brutally simple: Tanner Mirabel comes to Yellowstone from Sky's Edge looking to kill Argent Reivich, who had killed the woman Tanner loved. However, that's just the skeleton on which a more complex plot is hung. The story unfolds in three threads, all nominally from Tanner's point of view. The first thread takes place over a rather short period in Chasm City as Tanner looks for Reivich, in the process learning a lot about the curious nature of the decayed city -- especially the conflicts between the "Mulch" (lower class) and the Canopy (where the aristocrats hang out). Tanner becomes involved in a dangerous "Game," in which bored Canopy residents kidnap people from the Mulch and hunt them to their death. He also hears of the illicit trade in "Dream Fuel," which seems to give users immunity from the Melding Plague.
Another thread tells, in flashbacks, of Tanner's association with the arms dealer Cahuella back on Sky's Edge, and Cahuella's wife Gitta (with whom he falls in love), and Reivich's attempt on Cahuella's life (in revenge for Cahuella supplying the weapons that killed Reivich's family), which led to Gitta's death. Finally, Tanner has apparently been infected with an "indoctrination virus," which implants memories of Sky Haussmann, the sometimes revered, sometimes hated, last Captain of the first ship to reach Sky's Edge.
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Format: Hardcover
While Chasm City may lack a little bit of the epic scale/harder sci-fi of Revelation Space, I still found it to be an enormously compelling read, and it really got tough to put down with about a hundred pages left. From an overall quality perspective, I put it right on par with Revelation Space, which I thought was terrific.
Although I guess it's really a subjective assessment, dependent on each reader's tastes/reading histroy, I disagree with those who thought Chasm City was slow. Quite the contrary, I thought Reynolds did an admirable job of moving the stories along at a brisk pace, revealing just enough information at each point to keep you hooked for what was to come. And even though there are some sharp plot twists as the book progresses, I never felt deliberately manipulated or "misled" by the author, which is really something I resent as a reader. (And which many authors are guilty of doing.)
Reynolds also did a superb job of telling two stories at once, and I was equally enthralled by both of the main story lines. Bottom line is that I'd highly recommend this book. Along with Revelation Space, it's one of the finest I've read this year.
By the way - Reynolds is a Brit, and hence, the third installment of this series, Redemption Ark, is being published June 27th in the UK, simulataneously as both paperback and hardcover. If you can't wait for it to hit stateside (like me), you can order it from the amazon.co.uk web site. You'll pay a little more for the shipping, of course, but I won't hesitate for a second to pay the premium. (If you like Reynolds or any other British writers, amazon.co.uk is a great place to find works that aren't yet - if at all - available in the states.)
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