[By Nic Lindh on Monday, 22 August 2005]
Set in Alastair Reynolds’s Revelation Space universe, Chasm City departs from the grand epic scale of that trilogy, instead focusing on Chasm City after the ravages of a horrific disease dubbed the Melding Plague, and the history of Sky’s Edge, a world trapped in perennial warfare.
Basically, the novel feels like a grand homage: Chasm City is the bleak, rain-drenched Los Angeles of Blade Runner, and the protagonist, Mirabel Tanner, has more than a touch of Raymond Chandler, while the core of the plot gives more than a nod and a wave to Philip K. Dick.
All good influences to have.
On the plus side, Chasm City is taut and interesting, with more ideas per page than most literature and a well-engineered plot.
On the minus side, some of the characters are under-developed, and some of the dialogue is wooden.
As a whole, though, Chasm City is a thoroughly enjoyable romp with a gleam in its machine-infested eye.