Named one of the best novels of the year by both Locus and Science Fiction Chronicle, Alastair Reynolds's debut Revelation Space redefined the space opera. With Chasm City, Reynolds invites you to reenter the bizarre universe of his imagination as he redefines Hell.
The once-utopian Chasm City - a domed human settlement on an otherwise inhospitable planet - has been overrun by a virus known as the Melding Plague, capable of infecting any body, organic or computerized. Now, with the entire city corrupted---from the people to the very buildings they inhabit---only the most wretched sort of existence remains. For security operative Tanner Mirabel, it is the landscape of nightmares through which he searches for a lowlife postmortal killer. But the stakes are raised when his search brings him face to face with a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget.
I almost always read many audible reviews before I pick up a new audio book, but in the case of the Revelation Space series, I really wish I had read the reviews on each of the books before I started any of them. If I had I would have realized that although Audible has Chasm City listed as book 2 in the Revelation Space series, it is actually a prequel to Revelation Space and can stand alone. I would have also seen Michael's and Robert Eric Koch's reviews suggesting that you start Alastair Reynolds with this book. Although my first Reynolds was House of Suns and I think that's a great one to start with, I certainly agree with those reviewers that Chasm City would be a good place to start and I would strongly recommend that you get your first introduction to the world of Revelation Space via Chasm City rather than with Revelation Space. Although Revelation Space was published only a year earlier than Chasm City, there is an enormous improvement in Reynold's writing between the two books. Chasm City is not only much more tightly plotted and easier to follow, there is very adept use of symbolism and foreshadowing in Chasm City that adds suspense and thrills that just weren't there in Revelation Space. (Makes me want to listen again just to find all those little gems that were cluing my subconscious.)
This is a really dark, kind of creepy story and Reynolds uses such evocative language through much of the book that I was surprised a couple of times while listening to look up and realize it was a nice sunny day out - in my head I was tip-toeing through ghost spaceships, diving into the mists of Chasm City, and evading hunters on the mean streets at night. There are two story lines interwoven into the novel and both are told first person. Reynolds has done a wonderful job in pulling the listener into both stories and the plot is well organized so it is easy to follow although it is rather intricate. The first person perspective in this novel can give you the willies at times - I didn't like the decisions that one of the POV characters was making as he becomes rather megalomaniacal, but I had already so identified with him that I couldn't quite stop rooting for him even while hating him. Now, THAT is creepy-good writing!
This is a much more methodical layout of Revelation Space than you get in the debut novel and I think reading Chasm City first would make it easier to follow Revelation Space. John Lee brought his A-game to this book so the narration is great also.
Great future science, good characters, super-twisty plot, terrific writing, wonderful narration - this is a killer good audio book!
72 sur 72 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
Another great story by Alastair Reynolds. Listened to the audio format of this one; as always, narrator John Lee does a FANTASTIC job of telling the story, keeping the characters separate with his amazing variety of voices, and adding just the right touch of emotion and intonation at all the right times. And of course it's very pleasant to listen to, I still think it sounds just like Sean Connery reading the story. In short, I wish he was the narrator of a lot more audiobooks out there.
This one was a standalone book in Alastair Reynold's "Revelation Space" universe, which with each book shows off the depth of Reynold's universe and the planning he's put into it. This one is a standalone, and a prequel to the Trilogy proper that adds a lot of backstory. A bit darker and very much like a Noir mystery, it keeps you interested, and guessing, right up until the end. There was quite a bit of language in it as one might imagine from this type of story.
I am very glad he wrote this one from first-person viewpoint. I also rather enjoy the info-dumps that Reynolds puts into a lot of his stories - a plot device not used by everyone and even reviled by some, but I think it's necessary with stories of this complexity. Besides, they always appear at just the right moments and helps to avoid the frustration of wondering what's really going on that some authors make you go through.
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Alastair Reynolds is a fantastic writer, and often, the challenge is to pick a first read of this exceptional author. Well, this is a GREAT place to begin: Strong plot and subplots, wonderful descriptive wring that draws you in, characters with appreciable depth, and a universe that is chock full of original ideas and execution. Chasm City is, in my humble opinion, one of the author's best works.
And it's also a GREAT listen.
You've probably read the audiobook's description, and have made a general opinion. Well, stop there. You have NO IDEA how well this has been written for you, the listener.
From viruses that cause religious memories and experiences, to dna-level bio-political synchronicity, to infected nanotechnology that warps architecture, to biology and societies on a far-flung planet that went from becoming the hub of the known galaxy slowly grinding into the dregs of a forgotten but very active planet of biological and social mysteries. Place a ferocious chase between murderer and hunter in this maelstrom, and throw in a backstory involving deception on the multigenerational starships that delivered mankind to this world. It's simply engaging and listen-worthy.
AND. You can start here to get acquainted with the author's other works.
There is a challenge though, and it's keeping up with the sweeping storylines that crisscross at many points within the story. Pay attention, and you won't be disappointed.
Keep your hands in the car at all times, because this is one exhilarating roller-coaster ride.
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Any additional comments?
Alastair Reynolds is easily one of the three or four best science fiction writers working today and when it comes to hard SF, there’s really no one better. I’m convinced that Reynold’s body of work will be the standard by which both space opera and hard SF are judged for years to come. Chasm City is his best stand-alone novel (just barely nudged from the top spot imo by Redemption Ark). The novel is set within the Revelation Space universe, delving deep into the future culture in which the events of Revelation Space take place. A truly original and groundbreaking novel, Chasm City truly does redefine the space opera genre. While most space operas find convenient ways around Einstein and physics, Reynolds actually uses the physical restrictions of the real world to tell his story. The characters are relatable but just weird enough to work in the context of his universe. I highly recommend this novel for any SF fan and it works as a great introduction to Reynold’s body of work. The narration of John Lee seems, at times, a little colloquial but is otherwise fine.
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Would you listen to Chasm City again? Why?
I've read Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap, The Prefect, and now Chasm City, and I feel it's safe to say the latter is Alastair Reynold's best work. The story is great, but the thing that really makes it stand out is it's the only novel in the series written from the first person perspective. Therefore, the entire novel focuses on character development, which is done brilliantly. I don't feel like this book would diminish greatness were I to read it/listen to it several more times.
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Nice tie in to the other books. Great narrator, with a variety of accents that I enjoyed. A little confusing when some of the "dreams" begin, but you grow used to it. Love the story line, and Reynolds writing. Enjoyable book.
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Ex-soldier/sniper/assassin/security chief Tanner Mirabel was born on Sky's Edge, a backwater world colonized hundreds of years ago by the first and last solar-system-born flotilla of generation ships that upon reaching the target world disintegrated into a never-ending civil war. Thus when the people of Sky's Edge trade with space-living Ultranauts for advanced technologies, they eschew longevity in favor of weaponry. Other cultures like that of the planet Yellowstone's Chasm City's "post-mortal," body-modifying, and jaded aristocrats (who live in the Canopy above the Mulch-dwelling downtrodden humans and bio-engineered pigs) view Sky's Edge as a world of quaint savages. But Chasm City has its own problems, having been visited seven years ago by the Melding Plague, which mutated myriad nanotech machines, especially the "medichines" embedded throughout bodies, brains, and blood streams, and made nightmarish monstrosities like human-building hybrids. The plague is somewhat under control, thanks in part to the mysterious drug Dream Fuel--But what will happen when Tanner comes to Chasm City on a quest of revenge against Argent Reivich, a Sky's Edge aristocrat whose men shot off Tanner's foot and killed his arms dealer boss Cahuella and Cahuella's wife Gitta, on whom Tanner had a crush? And what is the meaning of Tanner's vivid "dreams" (complete with stigmata) of the life of Sky Haussmann, the man responsible for getting the flotilla to Sky's Edge but also for committing such heinous crimes that he was crucified, thereby inspiring a religion to spring up around his legend?
Alastair Reynolds' big novel Chasm City (2001), like his others, is full of sublime space opera noir replete with driven characters and flora and fauna and technologies and cultures extrapolated from particular (often extreme) environments. Tanner is no saint, having become a clinical assassin killing even his own side's soldiers without questioning the reasons for his orders, and then having gone to work as security chief for war criminal Cahuella. But he does have a knightly code whereby if you help him he'll help you, if the situation permits he won't be unnecessarily cruel or homicidal, and if he gives his word he keeps it. He is quite the tough talker, as if having stepped out of a hardboiled pulp mystery and into a space opera. Indeed, some of the dialogue is cliched or klunky, like "Gideon is extremely bad news," and "Don't even think about trying something or you'll become an interesting addition to the décor." That said, Reynolds also writes some neat lines, like "You look so out of place, Tanner, that you're in danger of starting a fashion," and "Just start the thing up, or the only composing you'll be doing is decomposing."
Anyway, Reynolds writes great, vivid, sf-strange descriptions. The giant hamadryad "snakes" of Sky's Edge and the outre denizens and buildings of Chasm City and the creepy kinky Ultras of no fixed address are all top notch. He does great space opera sublime, as in his depiction of super advanced alien maggots or grubs who've been space faring for at least 300 million years, long enough to make all human endeavor look like a veneer of dust atop a mountain. (Hey, I enjoy having my species get taken down a peg or two.) And check out this clockwork gun: "It was made completely out of carbon--diamond, mostly--but with some fullerenes for lubrication and energy-storage. There were no metals or explosives in it; no circuitry. Only intricate levers and ratches, greased by fullerene spheres. It fired spin-stabilised diamond flechettes, drawing its power from the relaxation of fullerene springs coiled almost to breaking point. You wound it up with a key, like a clockwork mouse."
(Alas, after plenty of attention, the gun plays no role in the plot.)
Reynolds writes exciting action scenes, featuring plenty of graphic violence. But he has a prudish aversion to sex, as in the only scene hinting at love making:
I pulled her to me, looking into her face.
"For today, yes."
[Here we must imagine the sexy interlude that Reynolds doesn't write.]
I woke before Zebra.
He likes to start in the middle of the action and to dole out information little by little, so that beginning his book is disorienting, but if you persevere and grasp clues, you start figuring out what's happened and caring about what will happen. (In fact, a few times in the second half of the novel he tries to be too helpful by summarizing too much information to be sure the reader keeps up to speed.)
There are plenty of compelling themes here: life and death, immortality and mortality, memory and identity, war and peace, the degree to which ethical action is essential or relative, the possibility of personal or social change, etc.
However, I have trouble with the "Life's what you make it" theme and the suggestion that hero and war criminal are just fluid definitions applied by people in power. That's probably true, but such an attitude may be used to remove responsibility for war crimes and murder. Is Reynolds advocating a let-the-past-go approach to atrocities because we're different today, as if changing into better people frees us from having to pay for past crimes?
About the audiobook. . . Although reader John Lee does a great booming Lago/Maggot, creepy Marco Ferris, and sandpapery Reivich and brings the book to life, too often he tries too hard to differentiate characters from the same class in the same culture via different accents, like Quirrenbach (German ?) and Zebra (British), both of whom are from Chasm City's Canopy, or Gomez (cockney or Celtic?) and Sky (British), both of whom are from the Santiago generation ship. And when he's not indulging in accents, many of his characters sound similar, due to his British base accent and somewhat snide dialogue delivery.
Chasm City shares the same universe as many of Reynolds' other novels, but I believe they are all stand alones. Fans of big scale hardboiled space opera should like this book.
3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
It has been a while since I took iPod out of my car into home to listen to a book. Chasm City was the book which gripped me so much that I did that.
This was my first "read" of Reynolds and quite a pleasant one! I am great fan of darker, atmospheric and realistic (as far as we can imagine it today) science fiction which covers not only science and technology but also human aspect of future. This book has it all! Story is very atmospheric and surrounding, settings and tech are not completely whacked out like in some sf fantasy books and there is a lot of human aspect and emotions, unlike some dry classics like Rama or Ringworld.
The Narrator is very adequate. In Revelation Space - which I listen to now - John Lee has the annoying habit to start a sentence with much intonation and trail out from there, becoming silenter and silenter - this was complained about by some in reviews to RS. Well, it is not present here! John Lee is really much better in this one IMHO.
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Alastair Reynolds blew me away with this space opera, and I've read the series 3 times now. He creates entire genres of humans. Different worlds and whole new enemies and dangers. Chasm City is an amazing back story for a few planets in the universe. John Lee is the best narrator!
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The best Alastair Reynolds book I have heard at Audible. Human colonized worlds, futuristic space travel and the twists – turns in the plot left me feeling like a pretzel. Just add salt and I’m ready to be dropped in a bag of Rolled Gold.
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The clues are all around you in plain sight but it took me very long to see what was actually happening.
Very interesting and layered.
I liked the idea of the melding plague and its origin.
The old question "who am I" from a different perspective.