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Cyteen Paperback – September 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 696 pages
  • Publisher: Aspect; Reprint edition (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446671274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446671279
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Genetic manipulation, murder, intrigue and politics are just part of the story of a young scientist in this substantial book. C. J. Cherryh, who won the 1989 Hugo Award for this novel, following on her Hugo Award-winning Downbelow Station, offers another ambitious work. A geneticist is murdered by an adviser, but the scientist is replicated in the lab, leaving a prodigy who attempts to chart a different fate. The book is intense and complex yet always presented with the flow of true storytelling.

From Library Journal

A brilliant young scientist rises to power on Cyteen, haunted by the knowledge that her predecessorand genetic duplicatedied at the hands of one of her trusted advisors. Murder, politics, and genetic manipulation provide the framework for the latest Union-Alliance novel by the author of Downbelow Station. Cherryh's talent for intense, literate storytelling maintains interest throughout this long, complex novel. Highly recommended. JC
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I've written sf and fantasy for publication since 1975...but I've written a lot longer than that. I have a background in Mediterranean archaeology, Latin, Greek, that sort of thing; my hobbies are travel, photography, planetary geology, physics, pond-building for koi...I run a marine tank, can plumb most anything, and I figure-skate.

I believe in the future: I'm an optimist for good reason---I've studied a lot of history, in which, yes, there is climate change, and our species has been through it. We've never faced it fully armed with what we now know, and if we play our cards right, we'll use it as a technological springboard and carry on in very interesting ways.

I also believe a writer owes a reader a book that has more than general despair to spread about: I write about clever, determined people who don't put up with situations, not for long, anyway: people who find solutions inspire me.

My personal websites and blog: http://www.cherryh.com
http://www.cherryh.com/WaveWithoutAShore
http://www.closed-circle.net

Customer Reviews

Interesting characters, fascinating story.
Norman Kurland
The fact that Grant is also azi gives him particular insight into certain kinds of problems in psychset design.
Ian Farbrother
I would recommend it to any fan of science fiction.
LAUREN OLOUGHLIN

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
When I first read this fat, extraordinary novel a decade ago, I concluded it was one of the best science fiction novels produced in (at least) the past half-century, and, having now re-read it, I still believe that. It's set in Cherryh's Merchanter universe (a couple of generations after the concluding war, the story of which she told in Downbelow Station), but that's really only the distant backdrop. (You'll also find here the back-story to Forty Thousand in Gehenna.) This is a very detailed, very in-depth, very carefully worked-out, very thought-provoking study of power and the claustrophobic effects of its mis-management, of the relationship of "natural born" psychology to manufactured and tailored minds, of the effects on a society of an artificial underclass (the "azi") that is both more and less than chattel slavery, . . . and along with all that, a satisfying and very affecting story of a cold, slightly inhuman genius and the mystery of her death (which was possibly a murder), and the replicate who is intended to replace her -- and who succeeds more completely, perhaps, than her creators ever anticipated. At 680 pages, there are, of course, several other plots moving full-tilt, also filled with detail and nuance, but they all interrelate nearly seamlessly. Her ability to play off one character's collection of concerns against another's is amazing, and she shows a considerable (and very speculative) understanding of the depths of psychological intervention. She's also a master of precise prose . . . when she wants to be. I have never doubted that this book did indeed deserve the Hugo it was awarded. And now I shall put it back on its shelf for another decade.
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on August 15, 1997
Format: Paperback
Cyteen. To me, the word just sounds evil. I don't know why, perhaps it's the way the syllables run together. All I know is that everytime I saw the word spoken in Cherryh's other great SF novel, Downbelow Station, I couldn't help but shudder. Perhaps it's was the coldness of the people there, or the whispered way everyone spoke about the planet, or the ranks of faceless soldiers, all the same.

And now about this diverse world comes Cyteen, the novel. What a novel it is, close to seven hundred pages, and Cherryh used every single page to tell this story of young friends trapped in a world of security constantly watching over their shoulder. This book reeked paranoia in a way that would make Thomas Pynchon proud. Friends and enemies all meld together in this novel and you can never tell which is which.

Cherryh does a great job detailing the planet Cyteen and the society that grows up on it. The people and culture are as diverse as (dare I say it?) Frank Herbert's Dune. You get a feel for the government and the politics that surround everyday life, the behind the scenes stuff regular people don't know about.

But that's not it. Cherryh also gives us arguments on the different between the born men and the azi, the genetically created people, weaving these threads into an already idea packed story.

Nothing Cherryh has written before or since can come even close to this book. The only two I can think of are Downbelow Station or maybe even Forty Thousand in Gehenna (which ties into this novel). It's a landmark of science-fiction and should be read by any who consider themselves a fan
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on February 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
C. J. Cherryh has been developing her universe of the Alliance/Union empires for quite some time through several books. Most of these are very good action novels with complicated plots and believable characters, but they typically do not have deep themes. Cyteen, however, is the centerpiece of this universe, with great, insightful looks at the ethics and methods of cloning, slavery, identity (what makes you you?), genetics versus environment, the art of politics, and an incredible look at the inner psychology of the gifted, super-intelligent. This book is not an easy read - it requires some effort and thought by the reader to understand the points presented, but the reader will be richly rewarded for his effort.
The prose style is very clipped, almost abbreviated, and does much to give the reader a sense of unstoppable, pell-mell action and high tension, but it does take some getting used to. Especially at the beginning of the book, where Cherryh drops the reader into this very complex and alien world with very little background explanation of the situation, the people, or the world, it is easy for the reader to become lost and confused. But if the reader will persevere, bit by bit he will find an envisioned world constructed in the best traditions of the field, fully as rich and satisfying as Tolkien's Middle Earth or Herbert's Dune, but with dark overtones reminiscent of Huxley's Brave New World and the paranoid mind control of Orwell's 1984.
The plot is a complex intertwining of power politics, intriguing scientific concepts, and the personal life histories of some very dynamic characters caught up in the Byzantine struggles for ultimate control of this world.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 12, 1997
Format: Paperback
How do you know that when you wake up in the morning, all your memories and knowledge is yours? How do you know when what people do around you is entirely spontaneous reaction to the world around you? For little Ari, she doesn't and she can't. Otherwise the experiment fails.

Cherryh has done a masterful job in this story to show how a complex concept like cloning can be done. As science breaks through even now with techniques for cloning, it only gives us a body. Cherryh gives one possible method, one that works with the kind of Big Brother future SF tends to hint so strongly at. Take all the records of a person's life. Every tidbit, every mistake, every triumph, and recreate them.

I haven't given this a 10 mostly because while I think this is a superb book, there are a few drawbacks. It's *long*. It covers the entire childhood of a woman. It's not the easiest of reads, which isn't a problem, but makes it difficult to encourage others to read it.

Regardless of which, if you get a chance to read it, do so. It's well worth it.
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