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Chasm City

(Revelation Space #0.3)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  22,357 ratings  ·  855 reviews
The once-utopian Chasm City -a doomed 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 M ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 694 pages
Published May 27th 2003 by Ace Books (first published May 2001)
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Chris Nagy I feel the same way buddy. I think I'm going to give it a rest. Nothing much has happened in 300 pages as far as plot goes, Jeez. Frustrating. I gave …moreI feel the same way buddy. I think I'm going to give it a rest. Nothing much has happened in 300 pages as far as plot goes, Jeez. Frustrating. I gave up on The Prefect also. The names and plot just seemed so corny. I have read 3 of Reynolds' books that I have liked though; those being, Revelation Space, Century Rain, and Pushing Ice.
I want to like Reynolds, but man he can be boring as hell.
I know this probably doesn't help, but at least you and I both know that we are not alone. Yawn. Sorry.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Welcome to the fabulous, rotten, mutated, degenerated, cyberpunk dystopian nightmare where the elite is celebrating with sick games while the base is rotting away, good old Roman decadence style. Want some cheap, illegal, operation as a welcome gift to make sure that you don´t grey/green goo too much and make the place even slimier and grittier?

Possibly one of the darkest future city planning scenarios, it reminded me of China Mieville and shorter descriptions of decay and madness in other Sci-F
Kevin Kelsey
Posted at Heradas

“How long would you have to live; how much good would you need to do, to compensate for one act of pure evil you’d committed as a younger man?”

Very, very good. One of those books that I massively enjoy having read, past tense, but ultimately didn’t enjoy while reading. It slogs, and turns its wheels for about 200 pages in the middle, but I see now why it was necessary, and it ultimately pays off in strides.

Strong similarities to Iain M. Banks’ Use of Weapons, except that it didn
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever read for so long that your shoulder seizes up, and you have to stretch, but you do it one arm at a time so you can keep reading with your other hand? That happened to me while reading Chasm City. Even physical pain could not make me put this book down- I was getting to work half awake from my late nights with this one, and hanging out for my lunch breaks so I could race through a few more pages.

While the rest of the Revelation Space series deals with big ticket narrative items- One
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“I’ve been sent here to kill someone who probably doesn’t deserve it, and my only justification for it is some absurd adherence to a code of honour no one here understands or even respects.”
While reading the book I was a little bothered by the protagonist's motivation which did not make a lot of sense to me. Suddenly Alastair Reynolds addressed my problem directly and things begin to fall into place. This book is a very intricately plotted sf novel with strong element of a noir thriller, bu
Dirk Grobbelaar
One of the big contributing factors to this novel’s success is the atmosphere that Reynolds injects into his Revelation Space books. I love this series of books, and Chasm City in particular. I was pretty invested in this story, but boy was it an emotional roller coaster. The author does not shy away from the darkness.

The abstract (moral) theme that Reynolds brings to the fore here resonated strongly with me. I also found the build up nice and suspenseful, and I quite liked the resolution even
Oct 27, 2020 rated it liked it

3.5 stars

Chasm City is the sequel to Revelation Space but works fine as a standalone.


Chasm City follows two main characters via a narrative in which one man, Tanner Mirabel, has visions of another man, Sky Haussmann.

Chronologically, the story begins in the 26th century, when Earth launches a fleet of generation starships to establish a colony on a distant planet.

The ships carry humans in reefersleep (hibernation), who will be revived when the ships reach their destination, hundreds of yea
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Is this what a China Miéville novel would be like if China Miéville wasn't so much with the prose? Because like China, Alastair Reynolds is totally horny for the Big Idea (and perhaps even better than him at actually providing a sort of logical justification for all the weird and wacky world-building he does, though that simply might be a circumstance of his preferred genre -- hard sci-fi -- more or less demanding that kind of effort from an author.) (Also he is an ex-scientist of some sort.)

David Sven
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, sci-fi
Chasm City. Originally settled by self-replicating robots carrying the genetic material to construct humans on site ahead of a more conventional colonisation. A city built around a chasm that spews gas and steam that is harnessed to generate energy and atmosphere. A city that experienced a 200 year utopia known as the Belle Epoche where technology advanced to the stage where implants and nanotechnology made immortality viable. A city where buildings were grown and designed by nano machinery. A c ...more
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This novel tried my patience. It was a struggle to plough through these 600+ pages, with seemingly no payoff at the end to warrant reams and reams of not-particularly-active "action" and a plot twist that could be seen a thousand miles away.

Too much description, scenery-setting, exposition, people talking without purpose. Too many damned words that contributes little to the reader's understanding of the world, its history, etc. Ultimate fail: what should be background overwhelms the foreground.

Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book Chasm City is the sequel to "REVELATION SPACE" and is a bit better than the first. ...more
Chasm City: Gothic cyberpunk at its dark best
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Chasm City (2001) is the fourth Alastair Reynolds book I’ve read in his REVELATION SPACE series, though it is a stand-alone and a much better book. The main trilogy (Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap) featured a lot of good hard SF world-building, but was heavily weighed down by clunky characters, dialogue, and extremely bloated page-count. While Chasm City is not any shorter at around 700 pages, i
May 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: appreciators of strong endings who don't mind flat characters
Recommended to jade by: my poor brother-in-law who now has to suffer me ranting about this book in his DMs
“victory loses its meaning without the memory of what you've vanquished.”

what starts as a simple revenge story in a cyberpunk dystopia turns out to be much more complex as several characters’ lives, both past and present, interlock and slowly reveal the Real Truth of the matter.

we initially follow two storylines: one with our first-person protagonist tanner mirabel, a gruff security operative and weapons expert, who’s looking to kill the guy who murdered his previous clients. the sec
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Reasons not to listen to this audiobook while assembling cabinets:

1. That moment when a big reveal happens and you say "HOLY SHIT!!!!" tends to make people panic.
2. You have to take the cabinet apart and reassemble it. Twice.

This was absolutely amazing! The main character, Tanner, is an assassin who is on the trail of a man that he intends to kill for revenge. Throughout the book Tanner is also flashing back on this crucified martyr named Sky. Through this we get to see who Sky was and how the c
Manuel Antão
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Stupid Space Elevator: "Chasm City" by Alastair Reynolds

How far down can you bring the science in science-fiction before it becomes simply fiction? For instance, if we image a world were exploration of the moon never ceased, and wherein this exploration led to development and a permanent society but stayed within the context of current existing technology, is this science-fiction? Or is science-fiction simply described as anything diff
Kara Babcock
We all have triggers, certain topics in our beloved genres that instantly make us sit up and pay attention. Artificial intelligence is one such trigger for me; identity is another. (Both touch on philosophy of the mind, a field that fascinates me, and I suspect this is why they intrigue me.) There is scant AI in Chasm City, but there is plenty of reflection on identity and the ramifications of using technology to alter one’s identity. As every other review notes, this book is part of the Revelat ...more
The family's godfather sat back in his plush leather recliner and calmly ordered the hit, like the man who was about to be murdered was nothing more than a bug to be squashed …

The crack sniper squinted through his gun's sight, aligning the target's forehead in the crosshairs, and pulled the trigger with no second thoughts or remorse …

The muck and grime of the city's underworld didn't alarm him at all, as he trudged through the rain-flooded streets in search of his prey …

Come one, come all, see t
Apr 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this because Alistair Reynolds is my teenage son's favourite author. Although it is sometimes labelled as Revelation Space book 2, he reckoned this was the best book and has the advantage of being readable as a standalone story.

Although you could summarise it as a long chase story of hunter and hunted, it is a complex and well-written page turner (and there are quite a lot of pages), the main theme of which is the nature of identity and the effects of various ways of changing it (e.g. bo
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction

"How long would you have to live; how much good would you have to do, to compensate for one act of pure evil you'd committed as a younger man?"

Redemption. It seems to be one of Reynold's favorite themes. It was prevelant in the Revelation Space series, and it takes
center stage in Chasm City.

It's normal for Alastair's novels to push the 500 page mark, but unlike other works I've read in this genre, his stories
are lean and mean. This is the leanest and meanest story I've read of his. Although
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“How long would you have to live; how much good would you need to do, to compensate for one act of pure evil you’d committed as a younger man?”

The darkest in the Revelation universe so far, even horrifying one, with a brilliant crescendo in events and terrifying characters. I changed my feelings about the main one several times during reading, from pure hatred to pity and sympathy and now that I finished it, I have no idea whether I hate him or not.
“’Why would people want to experience s
There's something very important attached to modern, well-crafted space-opera. It's not precisely the way new and old tech drives the boundaries of plot, nor is it the very common feel of jaded semi-immortals gripping onto their lives in fascist drama. It's something hidden, an underlay of expectations that successfully build so much momentum that the text screams like a runaway train and it doesn't matter how much inane and crazy plot-twists crop up, because you're just left holding on to the r ...more
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It's a great sci-fi book, maybe one of the best of this century. There are three main points, why it is so good.

1. First is a plot. It is interesting, captivating and consistant, but this isn't so important. Composition is. There are three story lines, from the first glance almost unconnected. But when they finally merge, you can see, how good Reynolds is. This composition is kind of quirky, but it makes the whole picture very beautiful.

2. This is hard sci-fi. Reynolds is a physicist, so his fic
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who has read the earlier books in the series
Shelves: favorites
Chasm City is the third prequel to Alistair Reynolds' "Revelation Space" series, but it is not a sequel to The Prefect, and Elysium Fire. In addition to the main series and prequels, many characters and places are present in "Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alistair Reynolds", Pushing Ice (which I have not yet read), Galactic North (which I have not yet read), Diamond Dogs, and the short story Open and Shut (which I have also not read). As for the reading order, my recommendation would be th ...more
I tried reading Reynolds as a teen and HATED it. It left me cold and miserable. Now in my thirties I'm finding everything I've been looking for in space opera! Finally!

This was a damn good book. Interesting characters (with ridiculous layers of hidden personalities and memories that only get triggered at certain times and and and). Wonderful tech, and civilisations falling from the grace given them by their tech when the Melding Plague takes over everything above a certain complexity.

Decent act
Chris Berko
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This works on so many different levels. It is an excellent sci-fi yarn with awesome ideas, it is a Memento-like who-the-fuck-is-who mystery, and at it's basest level it is an old fashioned revenge tale; and I loved every minute of it. This is my second Reynolds book after the original Revelation Space novel and while I loved both books, this was easier to read and flowed more smoothly. The gigantic concepts and shit are still there but the writing is more mature and confident. Nowadays this book ...more
Once again Alastair Reynolds has me all over the place with my thoughts on his books. There are parts of this story that I throughly enjoyed and would happily give four stars and then there are great rafts of it that I found dull and couldn't wait for the chapter to end. Thus three stars is the result.

Chasm City has some Revelation Space theme to it, but you couldn't be faulted in thinking that there were two Alastair Reynolds in the authoring world. This story is told in such a different way t
Aug 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans, sci-fi writers
This is the first alastair Reynolds book I read, and I was so blown off my ass I couldn't think straight for a few days. This guy has the perfect toolkit for writing science fiction: a background in astrophysics, an amazing imagination, a strong sense of character and a compelling plot with a deserving ending. What attracts me most to his writing is his uncanny grasp of human nature and human behavior, and what it would evolve into when projected into the future, when technological advancements ...more
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I really wish GoodReads did half stars - because I liked this one more than just a "3 rating" would suggest. For me, 4 and 5 star books are things that I would like to read again, they are books I loved, and books I would recommend to others. This is definitely a book I'd recommend to someone that liked sci-fi, but it isn't going to make my favorites list or be something I'll read again.

Chasm City was a good story, but it was slow to get going. There really isn't one likeable character in the e
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Chasm City is proof that Alastair Reynolds has a dark side. And it is wonderful.

This is a revenge tale following a bad ass, morally ambivalent (yet perhaps ultimately redeemable?) mercenary pursuing his prey across ruined, deformed worlds devastated by war and a catastrophic nanobot plague. During his pursuit, he slowly unravels, revealing a murky, disturbing past.

The story is smart and quick paced, and the world building superb. Reynolds paints a brooding, menacing landscape, brimming with mind
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ignore the cliched and slightly silly first chapter, and Keep with the story

From chapter 2 on, it's great. A Cook's tour of Chasm City and some very entertaining and interesting characters. A great back story, and several central mysteries.

Would be 5-star but the ending was a bit ham-fisted.

I just started #3 in the Revelation Space series, Redemption Ark and it starts off wonderfully!

NOTE: Please, please also read Turquoise Days, a novella, and short stories Enloa, Weather, and Zima Blue. Surely
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who live Leviathan Wakes or Judas Unchained
Shelves: favorites
British science fiction master Alastair Reynolds has very quickly become one of my favorite authors and  Chasm City  is a big part of that. Although it is not formally in the Revelation Space trilogy of Revelation Space, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap, it is set in the same universe as those other books, like The Prefect  and his short story collection Galactic North.

Specifically, Chasm City is located on the planet Yellowstone, which once featured the most advanced human civilization in
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I'm Al, I used to be a space scientist, and now I'm a writer, although for a time the two careers ran in parallel. I started off publishing short stories in the British SF magazine Interzone in the early 90s, then eventually branched into novels. I write about a novel a year and try to write a few short stories as well. Some of my books and stories are set in a consistent future named after Revela ...more

Other books in the series

Revelation Space (3 books)
  • Revelation Space (Revelation Space, #1)
  • Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, #2)
  • Absolution Gap (Revelation Space, #3)

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