Chasm City is a 2001 award-winning science fiction book by Alastair Reynolds. I found it fascinating, a real page-turner, with intriguing ideas and complex characters. It's focused on character and plot, but the science is there, the author being educated in physics and astronomy. This book is part of the Revelation Space series, but this one stands on its own.
from the back of the book:
Named one of the best novels of the year by both Locus and Science Fiction Chronicle, Alastair Reynolds's debut Revelation Space redefined the space opera. With Chasm City, he invites you to reenter the bizarre universe of his imagination as he redefines Hell...January Magazine says,
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 city they inhabit- only the most wretched sort of existence remains. For security operative Tanner Mirabel, t is the landscape of nightmares through which he searches for a low-life postmortal killer. But the stakes are raised when his search brings him face to face with a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget.
An intelligent, complicated and deliciously convoluted novel, Chasm City reminds the reader again and again that fiction isn't only about the destination. For a book to really work on all levels, the journey must be fascinating, as well.Publishers Weekly opens by saying, "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." SF Site calls it "a pretty impressive book".
In Chasm City the journey is riveting.
SF Signal says,
By the satisfying end of Chasm City, the reader realizes that Reynolds is an immensely skillful writer. His storytelling is superb; without realizing it at first, you are on a journey filled with imaginative scientific wonders like space elevators (the scene of a very exciting action sequence early in the novel), alien creatures, super-extreme sports (like bungee-jumping into the incredibly dangerous chasm mist – for fun!), hunting games played for keeps, generation starships, nanotechnology, shape-shifting, immortality and more. All of this is expertly woven into a first-rate space opera that leaves you wanting more.Infinity Plus describes it as "a cyperpunk-inflected thriller with a single (although complex) protagonist and a tone of hardboiled intrigue." Strange Horizons praises the storytelling and adds, "pure science fans will be pleased to know that the laws of physics are not broken here."