- Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: DAW; 20th Anniversary ed. edition (Dec 1 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0756400597
- ISBN-13: 978-0756400590
- Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 3.7 x 17.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 204 g
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #315,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Downbelow Station (20th Anniversary) Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1 2001
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Praise for Downbelow Station:
Winner of the 1982 Hugo Award for Best Novel
"Cherryh has created her strongest character and her best novel in a story of space exploration, colonization and war." —Questar
"Full of imagination, action, and understandable, sympathetic characters...." —Analog
“The well-drawn variety of backgrounds and motivations of the characters is the work’s strength.” —VOYA
“A solid, vividly realized background; excellent characterization of humans and aliens; and an ability to keep a story moving… Intelligent space adventure, conceived and executed on a grand scale.” —Booklist
“Downbelow Station is a fascinating, complex deep-space-war political novel with a lot of subtle twists.” —Fantasiae
About the Author
C. J. Cherryh planned to write since the age of ten. When she was older, she learned to use a typewriter while triple-majoring in Classics, Latin, and Greek. With more than seventy books to her credit, and the winner of three Hugo Awards, she is one of the most prolific and highly respected authors in the science fiction field. Cherryh was recently named a Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. She lives in Washington state. She can be found at cherryh.com.
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There are plenty of places to find out what this book is about - what I want to discuss is the framework she created to house this book. I once read that Frank Herbert spent many years doing the preperation for writing DUNE, and that's why he was able to continue writing so many books based on the series. We all know how much time Tolkien put into his universe before he published his first Middle Earth book.
Cherryh has accomplished something similar with this book - the first of the Merchanter series. But this book deals with important human issues - politics, ethics, government, love, relationships, friendship, human rights, environmental issues, etc... - in ways that none of those others do. Her world is gritty and realistic - you can actually envision living in it. And this is the first of many set in this universe.
I've read other reviews claiming it is too complicated with too many characters and too many motivations. Uhm... Okay. The beauty of the book is how she makes this complex world come together and really hum. Amazing. Well worth the effort to read. And not in any way a chore to work your way through.
As always with Cherryh, it depicts a truly alien race and the issues humanity faces interacting with it. Also as always, the writing is quite dense; no word is wasted and no section is padded. Can't scan-read Cherryh.
Everyone and everything *feels* right. The Mazianni feel like the quasi-pirates they are. The honchos running Pell feel like oligarchs trying to balance against many forces. Union feels like a distant, dangerous force. Dockside feels like a large, rough, dangerous place.
The characters are interesting and their interactions are the spice of the story. Mallory really feels like the sort of captain you'd want if your ship was set against powerful forces, and her attitude towards her erstwhile superiors is great.
It tells a great story, leaving the outcome well in doubt for a long time and weaving all of the above into a tale that deserved its awards. Belongs on every SF reader's bookshelf.
What is refreshing about this book is that, unlike most other science fiction writers (and today's newspapers, radio, and government spokesmen!), Cherry does NOT gives us a simplistic view of right/wrong, good/bad, but makes the clear the economic and ideological forces that put whole peoples into opposition. The opening scenes of this book are unforgettable, with panicked civilians driven to riot, violence, and murder. And yet even the most villainous characters are not irrational and clearly have reasons for what they are doing.
I found this a fascinating book, with an intelligently thought out political and economic system. I only wish Cherryh could so clearly explain why WE continue to have violence and riots in OUR world.
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