Review: Chasm City

Series: Revelation Space

Chasm City takes a bit of a step sideways from Revelation Space, which on more reading makes perfect sense. It’s not a sequel but rather a novel set in the same universe, a bit earlier in the timeline.

From the worldbuilding perspective, this extends and deepens what came earlier in Revelation Space, in particularly giving us a few insights into how early colonies could have been created in a universe without faster than light travel, the origins of the Melding Plague, and more backstory about Chasm City. All around, a very interesting world. It’s a relatively grim possible future, but a well imagined one.

So far as plot goes, the story is relatively complicated, with at least timelines mixing together: a fleet of generation ships from Earth crossing between the stars, a hunting party on the war torn world they eventually settled on, and a quarry chased into the strange, plague ravaged world of Chasm City. Especially towards the end, it starts to get a little blurry exactly what is going on, but that’s part of the draw of the story’s climax. It’s an unreliable narrator taken to an interesting extreme.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I’m not sure if I should have read Redemption Ark next or if it’s not particularly relevant, but either way I liked the extra depth that Chasm City brings to its universe.