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This Alien Shore Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1999
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The Amazon Book Review
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The spaces between space are full of dragons. The colonists on Guera went mad--one of the plague of mutations that affected all human colonies and drove Earth back from the stars--but their controlled madness meant that they and they alone could cope with hyperspace, could ask the Earth humans they and other new human species hate for past betrayal back into space. But a virus is infecting the human-machine interfaces by which they live and stay sane, and Earth's racists are the prime suspects. Meanwhile, Jamisia, the subject of endless experiments and host to a myriad of alternate personalities, flees Earth's bloody corporate politics in pursuit of safe haven--and everyone wants a piece of her. The hacker known as Phoenix just wants revenge on the makers of the virus for the death of friends.
C.S. Friedman's galaxy full of altered humanities and vicious politics has room in it for tenderness and honor; this is a satisfying space opera because it is full of characters, some of whom will do the right thing. She is good on what stays the same when things change--the austere, mad, security expert Masada and the sweet slob Phoenix are recognizable types, but attractively individualized. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In a far-future interstellar society, star travel is monopolized by the Outspace Guild, which controls the only method of faster-than-light travel that doesn't result in horrible mutations among the star travelers. Now a deadly software virus is attacking Guild members, so the Guild's investigators, led by Dr. Masada, must learn where it came from and how to defeat it before interstellar society breaks down. Meanwhile, a young woman, Jamisia Shido, has to flee for her life from a space habitat near Earth, where all mutations are forbidden and launched, if discovered, into Guild-controlled interstellar space. Secret illegal therapy for a disaster that killed her parents has left Jamisia with an acute form of multiple-personality disorder?and may have made her the key in the fight against the virus. The plot of this stout novel is simple, with few really original details, and the Guild and Jamisia subplots fail to connect until far into the story. Still, Friedman (the Coldfire trilogy) keeps her tale moving at a vigorous pace that's boosted through an abundance of well-chosen details, such as those accruing to the characterization of Jamisia's unruly guest personality. The novel may read like a cross between cyberpunk and Star Wars, but it is likely to hold readers' interest tenaciously. The ending neither requires nor precludes a sequel, so readers are left with some hope of again encountering Jamisia and the duel between the Guild and Earth that backdrops her adventures.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
This was a reread on my iPad. I have wished for some time that she would do a rewrite in this universe.
For me, this gave a sort of disconnected feeling with it, and as such it suited me fine for reading at lunch at work.
The story mainly follows Jamisia, a young girl living in the future, where humans are in the "second age" of space colonization. The first humans to leave Earth developed severe genetic mutations, causing those on Earth to immediately cut off space exploration--and the colonies they had sent out into the great abyss. Eventually, the mutations to one planet of colonists (Guera) leads to them being able to discover a safe way to travel through space. All the disparate colonies of Earth are thus reconnected, but the Guerans hold a deeply guarded monopoly on space travel, and there is a strong theme of "racial" conflicts between the different space colonies and Earth, whose residents are often hated for the abandonment generations earlier (alternately, those from Earth often look down upon the mutated "Variants" from other planets). Jamisia starts the novel as an orphan, living on a company-owned space station that orbits Earth. Her guardian wakes her in the middle of the night--a rival company has laid siege to their station, and they are after Jamisia for reasons she doesn't know. She has to escape in the middle of the night, setting her on a voyage across space wherein she discovers who she is and what the secret is within her.
Meanwhile, the book also follows the plotline of a virus called Lucifer that is attacking the pilots of the Guerans' special space travel ships. This aspect of the plot really touches on the internet of the future--not just its limitless possibilities, but also how much higher the stakes are when our dependency on the internet means a computer virus has the capability to kill. There is a lot of theorizing about the internet being something akin to a living, sentient, unknowable creature--and really, the idea of that is not so far fetched as relates to our internet now.
There were definitely times in the middle of the book where time lagged a bit. Jamisia's three-year stint in space traveling from Earth to the anniq seemed slightly unnecessary, and characters were developed there who wound up serving little to no purpose overall. Also, I think this book would seriously benefit from a small glossary. Seriously. It took me forever to figure out what the anniq was, and then there were the myriad of terms for different "Variants" and the terms for their different customs and face-paints and what have you. A glossary would REALLY have helped.
Overall, however, the book is certainly interesting enough--the plotline is by no means stagnant, and the character development is fantastic. Jamisia, especially, is a fascinating character study--though unlike the Amazon reviewer for this book, I won't ruin why that is. I also won't ruin anything about the ending, except to say it did feel a little abrupt. It wasn't bad, per se, just...abrupt. Not what I expected. Since I've read that many liked the Coldfire Trilogy even more than this book, I'll be picking that up soon.
Most recent customer reviews
Too bad I bought the Kindle version which suffered from many grammatical and typographical errors.Read more