Alastair Reynolds redefines Hell in this award-winning novel that confirms him as “the most exciting space opera writer working today”(Locus).
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 nightmare through which he searches for a low-life post-mortal killer. But the stakes are raised when his search brings him face to face with a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget.
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. Reynolds remains one of the hottest new SF writers around.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Pretty good book
No, the book wasn't that bad at all. It took a little time for me to get into it, to adjust to the more stilted dialog than in "Redemption Space", but once there this book held my interest until the end. All in all it was money well spent, a good space opera.
It's a wonderful experience when a Science Fiction lover finds an Alastair Reynolds. His words create a story, like a painter paints a picture. The images are wonderous.
Of his books so far read, this is my favorite
I am fairly certain that I’ve now read all of the Revelation Space books. I also read them in no particular order but this one last. I really liked them all. His limiting his interstellar culture to the confines of a luminal speed limit was well thought out, extended lifespans, suspended animation in sleeper modules, and uploaded minds, made the otherwise total discontinuity between locales and people less discontinuous while still impinging on the possibilities. After reading this story, I now like all the others even more. His characters are memorable, Triumver Ilia Volyova, from Revelation Space and Redemption Ark is my favorite in particular, the Pigs my favorite in general. His concepts from ships to cities to aliens are fantastic and beautifully conveyed. Just read them all. You’ll see!