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Showing 1-10 of 68 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 154 reviews
VINE VOICEon February 20, 2017
Chasm City - Novel, Science Fiction - [0736 - 2017-02-20]

Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds is a science fiction novel and is also known as book 2 in the 5 book (so far) "Revelation Space" series published during 2000-2007. Curious readers may ask can this novel be read without reading the prior book "Revelation Space". In truth yes it can but your enjoyment and the comprehension of story events would be greatly enhanced if you had read "Revelation Space". Fortunately there is an authors introduction to this book that may or may not help new readers.

In this long novel, my paperback was 694 pages with a small font, one Tanner Mirabel - a solider-of-fortune - persists against overwhelming odds to hunts down an individual, Argent Reivich, that killed his friends. In my opinion the plot is almost immaterial to the author's elaborate descriptions of Chasm City, it residences and the circumstances of it's creation and de-evolution. Another sub-plot that I found most interesting is the story of Sky Haussmann founder of his Tanner Mirabel's home world, Sky's Edge. Tanner experiences Haussmann story through virus-induced flashbacks.

This is an elaborate and detailed science-fiction story that kept me up many evenings. Alastair Reynolds crams an encyclopedia of background in this novel that induced this reader to read book 3 "Redemption Ark". I am not exaggerating when I use the term encyclopedia. The Wikipedia has numerous pages on the characters, factors and locations of Revelation Space. Readers are strongly encouraged to check out the information - I was impressed, indeed.

Mr. Reynolds, with his Ph.D. in astronomy is a master at technological extrapolation. Therefore this story exhibits many "hard" aspects of hardware type science-fiction that will cause long time fans weep with joy and others to whimper with annoyance.
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on December 17, 2005
If your considering this series, and you should be, read this book first, followed by revelation Space. I did the opposite, and I can tell you RS would have made much more sence if I had read CC first. It is also first timeline-wise. Anyway, fantastic book, my favorite current author. Im off to read diamond dogs next!
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on December 24, 2016
Reynolds' Pushing Ice is a great SF novel. Others of his that I've read, including this one, are long on technological wonders and short on plot interest. There is meandering around rather than any real purpose or urgency to the plot, and after 150 or 200 pages I gave up and stopped reading it.
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on April 18, 2015
This was my first Alastair Reynolds book. I mention this as I found it to be one of if not the best book of his career.

Most who read "Revelation Space" prior to this book (the recommended're signing up for a 4 book series here and if you enjoy his writing as much as I do you'll be hurrying to the next) rated it somewhat lower. As it is somewhat intermixed with the overall Revelation Space series time line, and a departure in style from the series, I can see where it would seem a "missed mark".

Do yourself a favor, read this book first like I did, and then go through Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, and wrap if not warp it up with Absolution Gap.

My taste runs along the lines of Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury and Sturgeon.
For the newer generation, Varley, Niven, and William Gibson.
Only mentioned as if you have similar preferences I believe you will find Reynolds the best living writer out there today who is capable of working in their ilk. Speculative Fiction being what it is it continues to morph, but the roots of what it's about matter and Reynolds gets it. Personally I believe it's hard to believe he doesn't have a fist full of Hugos and Nebulas. To me it's an indictment of what the SFWA has become today.

One twist after another will lead you down this intergalactic, interdimensional rabbithole. For those old jaded devils like myself it's wonderful to get the synapses enticed once again. For new readers, Hell, save yourself some time and check out what this man is doing. Twisted, yet so true.

Lastly, please note the term "space opera" was not used once in the above.
I personally detest that descriptor, but it's in the lexicon now so be it.
To call this space opera is an insult.
This is hard edged hard science fiction.
It's the edge, not the science, that makes his work.
Don't worry about the physics...Reynolds has that covered as well...and you don't need to have a fundamental grasp of interdimensional Brane theory to enjoy what he's laying down.

It seems like many these days are flocking to the anti heroes, almost reveling in darker more evil work. The beauty of reading Reynolds is you'll see both altruistic and ultimate evil works done by complex characters. In Reynolds cosmos, you may find it takes millennia to determine who really was good or evil.

It's wonderfully complicated, and a delight to discover.
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VINE VOICEon March 29, 2008
Before writing this review I read over the bad reviews just to make sure I wasn't looking back with rose colored glasses.

Okay. I found it to be a page turner of a book. After reading the bad reviews I think this is one of those books that will only suit you if you don't mind stories that wander a bit. I thought it was captivating and it kept my interest all the way through.

I'll give you two examples to help you gauge your interest. I am not comparing anything other than the story wandering around.

Robert Ludlum. To me, Ludlum spends an inordinate amount of time describing details that have nothing to do with anything. Mostly, I don't read him because of that. I found this book to be a lot less than Ludlum at his worst.

Michael Moorcock. I really want to like Elric and the stories Moorcock writes but he contradicts himself too much for me and I feel pulled out of the story too often. I found Reynold's book to be much better than Moorcock in this respect.

I have read Revelation Space (book one of the four) already. That probably has a lot to do with my opinion since I was familiar with the universe already.

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on January 3, 2014
I liked the first one, avoided the 3rd because of the reviews, should have avoided this one.

I'm astounded by how variable Alastair's writing is between books. The editors on this one either sucked, or he was just not focused. I already downloaded another, before I read this one, I hope it is better.

He has some good ideas and concepts, but the often terrible dialog which don't do them justice, I flipped through many, many pages which led nowhere and didn't contribute to the storyline beyond being filler.

Flat characters, exchanges that were not believable, stating of the obvious, story lines left incomplete, i was dismayed.
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on August 17, 2014
A have been kind of a fan of Alastair Reynolds for the last two-three years. AR is a great writer always providing good and credible science fiction. Some memorable situations and always good stories.
But it is not perfect. Some books (as with any writer) are more polished than others and in some cases it is possible to see some evolution in his writing. Chasm City is an exciting adventure. But it is too long. It feels way before The Prefect in various aspects including the length. It felt like reading Lord of the Rings. Too much reading, too little happening. For (p)ages and (p)ages.
Characters are not the weak side of AR. They are always three-dimensional and interesting. However, here I felt that one main character was a kind of Sylvester Stallone/Arnold Schwarzenegger type, which means: uni-dimensional, tough guy. And that type of character leads to plain dialog (approaching stupidity) and also to action-movie cliches (I've done terrible things; You don't want to know me; I could kill him if I wanted, etc. etc.). And that is the part that didn't really convince me.
For some people the type of story, tone and development could be really enjoyable since it feels as a Hollywood-style sci-fi movie. But that also means that the film script has contradictions and non-senses here and there. For me, a book, especially one authored by AR, is something where you expect way more thinking than in a Hollywood movie. However, the final turn and underlying story was exciting and creative. Nothing to complain about. The complain is about the 90% of the book with unnecessary nonsensical comings and goings badly justified and full of movie clichés.
Better than "Revelation space", not as good as "The Prefect".
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on March 29, 2015
First off, I am primarily a fantasy reader. Have read very limited amount of scifi. I tried really hard to get through Revelation Space and made it about halfway through before throwing in the towel, something I RARELY do. I just wasn't interested in characters and felt confused by all the "hard" science. A friend told me that Chasm City was standalone and good entry point for Reynolds, and I should at least give it a try before I gave up on Reynolds. I am so glad I gave it a shot! For me anyway, this book just grabbed me right away and I felt more connection with the characters than Revelation Space and didn't seem as intimidating, for lack of a better word. Major page turner, intelligently written on multiple levels and probably in my top 20 list. Now on to read the other Revelation Space standalone and maybe some of his newer work. Still not sure whether to give the trilogy itself another shot. I don't know if I have ever had such a polar opposite reaction to two books by same author in any genre. Either way, just my humble two cents, you should read Chasm City!!
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on July 27, 2015
I don't have an extensive analysis to write, but while I highly enjoyed Revelation Space, this novel proved to be a great disappointment. While initially engrossing and well written, the main characters in the main plot-line devolved into one-dimensional and unbelievable shadows of what they were initially presented as. The plot was predictable and at times inconsistent. The locations were inconsistent as well, with some of the technology poorly thought-out and misplaced. The Sky Haussman plot-line was much better organized, and could have been expanded from it's supplementary role.

I would not recommend this novel, but I do intend to continue reading the Revalation Space novels. Hopefully the next ones will be more like their namesake and less like Chasm City.
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on May 31, 2015
Chasm City has an engaging story with lots of action. Reynolds' writing style makes this book fun and easy to read. This book stands alone, but it's much more interesting in the context of the Revelation Space trilogy. There are several "ah ha" moments where events in the trilogy suddenly gain much more backstory. The whole idea of Chasm City and the disaster that befell them (explained in the prologue) make a rich background for a sci-fi story, and Reynolds capitalizes it well. Sometimes the characters' motivations seemed a little unrealistic (too trusting for example) but not so much that it interfered with the story. A highly recommended read.
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