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Chasm City - Alastair Reynolds -NEW - revelation space universe

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Chasm City - Alastair Reynolds -NEW - revelation space universe

Chasm City - Alastair Reynolds - New

Other Alastair Reynolds SF Books click here

A novel in the Revelation Space Universe:

Chasm City is framed and largely written in the voice of Tanner Mirabel, a security expert who has come to Chasm City to avenge the death of his former client's wife at the hands of a "postmortal" noble named Argent Reivich. Tanner arrives to find that Yellowstone, the most advanced civilization in human history, has descended into squalor; an alien nanotech virus known as the Melding Plague has wreaked havoc throughout the system. Chasm City, a dense forest of mile-high shapeshifting skyscrapers, has melted into a slum. The Glitter Band, a sparkling diorama of ten thousand orbital habitats, has been reduced to a "Rust Belt" of a few hundred survivors, mostly primitive and pre-nanotech antiques. In this chaos of plague and desolation, Tanner seeks his prey, only to discover that Reivich's motives are more complex than he originally thought. In the midst of his hunt, he begins experiencing virus-induced flashbacks from the life of Sky Haussman, the founder of his homeworld, Sky's Edge, who is both revered and reviled for the crimes he committed for his people. From the depths of the gas plume at the heart of Chasm City, to the aristocratic canopy spanning what remains of the skyscrapers, Mirabel begins to unravel the mystery of the Melding Plague.

Chronolgy of the Revelation Space Universe: The chronology of the Revelation Space Universe extents to roughly one billion years into the past, when the "Dawn War"- a galaxy-spanning conflict over the availability of various natural resources, resulted in almost all sentient life in the galaxy being wiped out. One race of survivors, later termed the Inhibitors, having converted itself to machine form, predicted that the impending Andromeda-Milky Way collision, roughly 3 billion years in our future, may severely damage the capacity of either galaxy to support life. Consequently, they planned to adjust the positions of stars and suchlike to limit the damage the collision would cause. Also central to the Inhibitor project was the eradication of all species above a certain technological level until the crisis was over (as they believed no species would be capable of co-operating on such a large-scale project). Whilst they were relatively successful, certain advanced species were able to hide from Inhibitor forces, or even fight back.

There is little information available on the history of the Revelation Space Universe in the near future, save that numerous wars occurred during the 21st and 22nd Centuries and that a flotilla of generation ships were deployed to colonise a planet orbiting the star 61 Cygni (this becomes a major segment of the plot of Chasm City). The flotilla was later to reach a planet termed Sky's Edge, which was to be embroiled in war until human civilisation there was eradicated. In 2190, the Conjoiners emerged as a result of increased experimentation with neural implants. In response, the Coalition for Neural Purity was formed, opposed to the Conjoiners. Nevil Clavain fought on the side of the Coalition in the ensuing war, but defected later on after being betrayed. Clavain, and the Conjoiners, succeeded in escaping the solar system and left for surrounding stars.

For the next few centuries, the so called Belle Epoque, humanity enjoyed a period of relative peace and prosperity, with several planets being colonised. The most successful planet of all was Yellowstone, a planet orbiting the star Epsilon Eridani, site of the Glitter Band and Chasm City. Technologies developed included the Conjoiner Drive, a gift from the Conjoiners (who resumed contact with humanity at an unknown time), advanced nanotechnology, and numerous other devices. With the exception of an attempted takeover on Yellowstone, no major incidents affected humanity during this time.

The Belle Epoque was terminated by the advent of the Melding Plague in 2510, a nanotechnological virus that destroyed all other nanotechnology it came into contact with. Only the Conjoiners were unaffected by this disaster, which devastated the civilisation around Yellowstone. War between the Demarchists and Conjoiners erupted as a result of the plague.

Meanwhile, activities around a far-flung human colony on the planet Resurgam, orbiting the star Delta Pavonis inadvertently attracted the attention of the Inhibitors. The Conjoiners, also made aware of this event, sent Clavain to recover the exceedingly powerful "Cache Weapons" from this system (said weapons having been stolen from the Conjoiners centuries before) that could be used to fend off the Inhibitors while the Conjoiners escaped. Clavain instead defected from the Conjoiners, intending to use the weapons to protect all of humanity. Skade, another Conjoiner, was sent to stop him and recover the weapons. They fought around the Resurgam system, with Clavain and his allies eventually obtaining the weapons. Clavain's ally Remontoire agreed to seek out alien assistance from the Hades Matrix, a nearby alien computer disguised as a neutron star, whilst Clavain sheltered refugees from Resurgam on another planet, later termed Ararat.

Remontoire returned in 2675, only a few days after Clavain's death at the hands of Skade, who had arrived with him. Remontoire and his allies were now at war with the Inhibitors, assisted by alien technology obtained from Hades. Even so, it was realised that the humans would not last indefinitely, and Clavain's people, now led by Scorpio decided to seek out the mysterious "Shadows", a race believed to be near a moon called Hela, site of a theocracy. Aura, daughter of Ana Khouri (an ally of Remontoire) infiltrated the theocracy under the pseudonym Rashmika Els. After considerable conflict, Scorpio and Aura realised that contacting the Shadows was inadvisable. They instead contacted the Nestbuilders, who provided them with weapons capable of defeating the Inhibitors. As such, the Inhibitors were effectively eradicated from human space, with buffer zones and frontiers established to keep them at bay.

Humanity then enjoyed a second, 400 year long golden age. After this, however, came the Greenfly outbreak, in which human civilisation was destroyed by a rogue terraforming system of human origin that destroyed planets and converted them to millions of orbiting, vegetation-filled habitats. The Greenfly began to subsume most of human space, with all efforts to stop them failing. The storyline of the Revelation Space universe thus far concludes with humanity leaving the Milky Way galaxy in an attempt to set up a new civilisation elsewhere.

Revelation Space
Chasm City
Redemption Ark
Absolution Gap
The Prefect

Revelation Space is a 2000 hard science fiction space opera novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. It was the first novel set in the universe which became known as the Revelation Space universe, although the then-unnamed universe had already been established by several published short stories.

Revelation Space was followed in publication by Chasm City, a stand-alone novel which was set earlier in the universe's timeline but wasn't strictly a prequel. Chasm City was followed by Redemption Ark, which was a direct sequel both to Revelation Space and Chasm City.

About the Author Alastair Reynolds

Alastair Preston Reynolds (born in 1966 in Barry, Wales) is a Welsh science fiction author. He specialises in dark hard science fiction and space opera. He spent his early years in Cornwall, moved back to Wales before going to Newcastle, where he read Physics and Astronomy. Afterwards, he earned a PhD from St Andrews, Scotland. In 1991, he moved to Noordwijk in the Netherlands where he met his wife Josette (who is from France). There, he worked for the European Space Research and Technology Centre, part of the European Space Agency, until 2004 when he left to pursue writing full time. He returned to Wales in 2008 and lives near Cardiff.

Alastair Reynolds wrote his first four published science fiction short stories while still a graduate student, in 1989-1991; they appeared in 1990-1992. In 1991 Reynolds graduated and moved from Scotland to the Netherlands to work at ESA. He then started spending much of his writing time on a first novel, which eventually turned into Revelation Space, while the few short stories he submitted from 1991-1995 were rejected. This ended in 1995 when his story "Byrd Land Six" was published, which he says marked the beginning of a more serious phase of writing. As of 2008 he has published over thirty shorter works and eight novels. His works are hard science fiction veiled behind space opera and noir toned stories, and reflect his professional expertise with physics and astronomy, included by extrapolating future technologies in terms that are consistent with current science. Alastair Reynolds has said he prefers to keep the science in his books to what he personally believes will be possible, and he does not believe faster-than-light travel will ever be possible, but that he adopts science he believes will be impossible when it is necessary for the story. Most of Reynolds's novels contain multiple storylines that originally appear to be completely unrelated, but merge later in the story. Five of his novels and several of his short stories take place within one consistent future universe, usually now called the Revelation Space universe after the first novel published in it, although it was originally developed in short stories for several years before the first novel. Although most characters appear in more than one novel, the works set within this future timeline rarely have the same protagonists twice. Often the protagonists from one work belong to a group that is regarded with suspicion or enmity by the protagonists of another work. While a great deal of science fiction reflects either very optimistic or dystopian visions of the human future, Reynolds's future worlds are notable in that human societies have not departed to either positive or negative extremes, but instead are similar to those of today in terms of moral ambiguity and a mixture of cruelty and decency, corruption and opportunity, despite their technology being dramatically advanced.

The Revelation Space series includes five novels, two novellas, and eight short stories set over a span of several centuries, spanning approximately 2200 to 40 000, although the novels are all set in a 300 year period spanning from 2427 to 2727. In this universe, extraterrestrial sentience exists but is elusive, and interstellar travel is primarily undertaken by a class of vessel called a lighthugger which only approaches the speed of light (Faster than light travel is possible, but it is so dangerous that no race uses it). Fermi's paradox is explained as resulting from the activities of an inorganic alien race referred to by its victims as the Inhibitors, which exterminates sentient races if they proceed above a certain level of technology. The first three novels of the series deal with humanity coming to the attention of the inhibitors and the resultant war between them. Century Rain takes place in a future universe independent of the Revelation Space universe and has different rules, such as faster-than-light travel being possible through a system of portals similar to wormholes. Century Rain also departs substantially from Reynolds's previous works, both in having a protagonist who is much closer to the perspective of our real world (in fact he is from a version of our past), serving as a proxy for the reader in confronting the unfamiliarity of the advanced science fiction aspects and in having a much more linear storytelling process. Reynolds's previous protagonists started out fully absorbed in the exoticisms of the future setting and his previous Revelation Space works have several interlinked story threads, not necessarily contemporaneous.

Pushing Ice is also a standalone story, with characters from much less distant in the future than in any of his other novels, set into a framework storyline that extends much further into the future of humanity than any of his previous novels. It contains an alternative interpretation of the Fermi paradox, intelligent sentient life in this universe is extremely scarce. The Prefect marked a return to the Revelation Space universe. Like Chasm City, it is a stand-alone novel within the Revelation Space universe. It is set prior to any of the other Relevation Space novels, though still 200 years after the original human settlement of the Epsilon Eridani system. It was published in the United Kingdom on 2 April 2007. On 7 June 2007, Reynolds announced that his next novel would be entitled House of Suns, and that it would be set in the same universe as his novella "Thousandth Night" from the One Million A.D. anthology. This novel was released in the UK on 17 April 2008 with an American release to follow.. He is presently working on a new novel which he has confirmed will be a standalone and is due for publication in October 2009. It is described by Reynolds in a recent interview as "it's SF, it's weird and it doesn't have spaceships". Alastair Reynolds further elaborated on the book in a recent release from StarShipSofa, saying that it would have steampunk influences.

 

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