Downbelow Station

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As I write up comments on books I’ve read in the last little while but left lying around my desk instead of blogging and filing, I find this book sitting there taunting me. I really wanted to like this book, I was quite excited when I bought it. However, Its Cherryh at her worst — wordy and kind of goes nowhere. There’s an interesting idea here, but the book needs to be half its current length. I got half way through and gave up. A disappointment.

Downbelow Station Book Cover Downbelow Station
C. J. Cherryh
Fiction
DAW
1981
439

The station at Pell's Star, traditionally neutral, holds the key to victory in a struggle between the decaying stellar empire of Earth and the rebel forces of the colonies, in a twentieth anniversary edition, complete with a special introduction by the author, of the classic science fiction novel. Reissue.

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Cyteen: The Vindication

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This is the final book in the Cyteen trilogy (proceeded by Cyteen: The Betrayal and Cyteen: The Rebirth). This book is good in that it avoids much of the politics that mired the first book. Additionally, its nice to see Ari2 and Justin resolve some of their differences, even if its from a position of mutual distrust. The series doesn’t really resolve the problem of Ari’s research, but I assume that theme is covered more in later books.

[isbn: 0445204303]
[award: winner hugo 1989]

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Cyteen: The Rebirth

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This book is a follow up to Cyteen: The Betrayal, and was originally published in the same volume as it. The book would make little sense without having read Cyteen: The Betrayal first. Apart from that its a good book, and much more readable than the first. I think that’s mostly because all the important scene setting is done and we can finally get on with things. That was my impression with the first book too — the second half was better than the first.

[award: nominee hugo 1989]
[isbn: 0445204540]

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Cyteen: The Betrayal

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I read this book at the recommendation of my father. Its an interesting concept — artificially produced humans have been created to fill gaps in a society far out on the edges of occupied space. However, how are these artificial humans different from “real” humans? How are they different from slaves given they are programmed to perform certain duties with joy and without question?

However, despite the interesting concept, the first two thirds of the book are very slow, and took me ages to read. The last third was much better and I think I’ll read the sequels because of that. If the book had stopped after the boring bit, there would be no way I’d read the next book. I think part of the problem is that this book was originally in one volume, instead of the three volume set I own.

[isbn: 0445204524]
[award: winner hugo 1989]

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Body Armor: 2000

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I love a good anthology, although I’d read a few of these stories before:

  • Contact! (David Drake): this story is quite unlike the other stuff of his that I have read, mostly because its set in the Vietnam War, not the far future. A good story with an excellent twist.
  • The Warbots (Larry S. Todd): this one wasn’t for me. I’m not sure what point the author was trying to make, if any. Its just a long history of imaginary weapons.
  • The Scapegoat (C. J. Cherryh): this is long, being a novella, and a little hard to read in places because the story jumps around. Overall, a good read though. My first Cherryh, although I have a lot queued up on the shelf.
  • The Last Crusade (George H. Smith): this was a good story, and would have fit well in Battlefields Beyond Tomorrow as it has a similar war-is-hopeless tone.
  • Hired Man (Richard C. Meredith): there is a nice twist at the end of this one, although its obvious a few pages before it happens.
  • Early Model (Robert Sheckley): I was surprised by this one, its the first Sheckley story I’ve read that I didn’t hate. Its not fantastic, but its way better than Bill the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains or his story in Foundation’s Friends.
  • In the Bone (Gordon R. Dickson): this story is odd, and I’m not 100% sure what I think of it. It was entertaining, but also a little hard to believe.
  • The Chemically Pure Warriors (Allen Kim Lang): this was a good story, being quite reminiscent of Tilley’s Amtrak Wars series.
  • Right To Life (Thomas A. Easton): this story is in the same vein as Make Room, Make Room! and Logan’s Run, whilst still being distinct and interesting.
  • Or Battle’s Sound (Harry Harrison): appeared in Battlefields Beyond Tomorrow.
  • Hero (Joe Haldeman): appeared in Battlefields Beyond Tomorrow, and was turned into The Forever War.

    [isbn: 0441069762]

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