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Downbelow Station (20th Anniversary) (Daw Book Collectors) Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 2001

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Downbelow Station (20th Anniversary) (Daw Book Collectors) + Cyteen + Regenesis (Daw Book Collectors)
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Product Details

  • Series: Daw Book Collectors (Book 420)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756400597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756400590
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.4 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Cherryh tantalizes our minds...captures our hearts and involves us completely...a consistently thoughtful and entertaining writer."Publisher's Weekly

"Satisfying and rewarding."Analog

About the Author

C. J. Cherryh planned to write since the age of ten. When she was older, she learned to use a type writer while triple-majoring in Classics, Latin and Greek. At 33, she signed over her first three books to DAW and has worked with DAW ever since. She can be found at

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:

Customer Reviews

This is what science fiction is all about.
Clay Hunt (
The characters are indeed flat, as others have mentioned, and there are way too may of them.
The characters are interesting and their interactions are the spice of the story.
J. K. Kelley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had read about C.J. Cherryh's massive Alliance-Union series in a science-fiction encyclopedia and wanted to find a good place to start. The encyclopedia suggested what it considered her two best books, Downbelow Station and Cyteen. As it turned out I could find neither of them immediately, but I kept the two in the back of my mind over the months as I shopped. And, one day, while searching through a bookstore, I found to my pleasant surprise that the publisher had released a new edition of the novel, which I quickly snapped up and read.

Now, to the actual novel. Since I had no prior knowledge of any other Cherryh book, I just held my breath and dove right in. Fortunately, Cherryh does not bog you down in continuity, giving you all the pertinent information right in the first chapter, thus absolving the reader of any feeling that they are missing something that happened previously. The story is an excellent thriller, highlighting a wondrous cast of characters, and giving them a genuine disaster to overcome, allowing the reader to see exactly what makes each character tick as things fall further and further apart. Throw in an interstellar war and numerous subplots and you have probably the finest science-fiction novel on the subject, though its length may daunt less dedicated readers. Still, it remains one of Cherryh's finest works, even today, almost twenty years later
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 11, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first met Carolyn Cherry(h) at AggieCon in the late '70s, when she was still teaching school in Oklahoma and had just completed her first novel, _Brothers of Earth_. She had written that book in a sort of social vacuum, with no notion of the existence of the fannish world and was amazed at the warm reception she received from a bunch of enthusiastic strangers. That book and its sequels, plus the "Morgaine" trilogy, made me a fan and I enjoyed her work for years, including this first installment in the "Merchanter" series when it first appeared. Unfortunately, success seems to have made her lazy in recent years and she has recently been churning out interminable formulaic series, often sharing the credit with younger writers, and I find most of those efforts to be unreadable. Anyway. Downbelow Station showcases Cherry's inarguable talent for complex but understandable geopolitical plots, many-layered characterization, and truly alien cultures that humans are never really going to fully understand. There are several sides to the conflict here: The Company, now in charge of an isolationist Earth; the Fleet, once the enforcement arm of the Company but now pretty much independent; Union, formed out of the farther worlds of the Beyond and possessed of a new psychological style completely foreign to Earth; Pell, a station circling a planet which circles Tau Ceti, and which only wants to left alone; and the free Merchanters, making a living hauling goods between the worlds and the stations. Pell is a civilized republic in the best tradition, but they're about to lose all that. Mazian's Fleet has been on its own devices for far too long to have a regard for any other culture and is quite willing to destroy a station and all its thousands of inhabitants in order to keep it out of Union's hands.Read more ›
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's been quite a few years since I first read "Downbelow Station", having found a dog-eared copy in a used-book store in Silver Spring, Maryland, and since then just about every book Cherryh ever wrote has come to grace my bookshelf. But still, I come back to this novel, which won the Hugo award in the early 80s (1981, I believe).
It's evident from the style that this is one of Cherryh's earlier books; it's not as smooth or sophisticated as "Tripoint" or "Cyteen", both of which are set in the same universe. It does, however, represent a sweeping vision of humanity's possible future, showing not only how we may colonize the stars, but how living among the stars may change us as humans.
For it is one of the most impressive things about this book that the characters are human. Over a year after my last re-reading, I still recall Angelo Konstantin, Elene Quen, Jon Lukas, Signy Mallory, Vassily Kressich, Satin and the rest as if they were old friends. "Downbelow Station" is not only a splendid introduction to Cherryh's thoroughly explored and well-populated Alliance-Union universe, it's an excellent introduction to science fiction in general, as a novel that addresses the tough questions of humanity's future
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dave Deubler on July 11, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's easy to see why Cherryh's work is so lauded by the prize-givers of the science fiction community. Downbelow Station is like a complex spy thriller set in an otherworldly locale. There are dozens of forces in play, most of them at odds with each other: the space station Pell, Mazian's Fleet, the planet Cyteen, the forces of the Union, the Konstantin family, the curious alien creatures called 'the hisa', fleets of Merchanters, the ambitious captain Signy Mallory, and hosts of others. Balancing all these forces (or even keeping track of them) is a momentous task, and Cherryh should be applauded for her technical achievement in piecing it all together.
But all that aside, this reviewer finds the book far more technically admirable than pleasurable. Trying to remember who's who, and what they're trying to accomplish, and who they're squaring off against, can be extremely frustrating, especially for a casual reader. Perhaps those who've read the previous books in this series would be better prepared for the vast array of political and social forces whose intertwinings provide the real plot for this novel. In any case the bigger problem with this 400 plus page book is that it is positively bone dry. There is no hint of humor anywhere in this volume, nor is there much sentiment or real emotional impact, largely because the reader's attention is scattered among so many different characters that this reviewer found it difficult to identify with any of them. Indeed, one could well be halfway through the book and still not know which characters are the heroes and which are the villains. Surely this is one of the book's strong points from a historical-political perspective, but as an entertainment it's a near-disaster.
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