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(Cyteen #1-3)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  9,675 ratings  ·  364 reviews
A brilliant young scientist rises to power on Cyteen, haunted by the knowledge that her predecessor and genetic duplicate died 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 inte ...more
Paperback, 680 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Aspect (first published 1988)
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Ppint it is one novel, albeit one interleaving multiple stories, and is best read - and re-read!°,°° - as one: however, some may find the book physically ea…moreit is one novel, albeit one interleaving multiple stories, and is best read - and re-read!°,°° - as one: however, some may find the book physically easier to hold, and therefore to read, as the three mmpbs warner books divided it into (specifically against the terms of their licence) after their single-volume hardcover.

° - it is a book that repays re-reading, and re-rereading: so much is going on, on so many different levels between the individual characters, between the families and power blocks within reseune and within the union, and even fairly minor decisions (and projects putting these into operation) - as seen from within ''Cyteen'', and easily overlooked - turn out to have major consequences in the long rivalry, sometimes armed conflict, between alliance - originally (earth) company - and union, and affect the establishment and the directions of
social and plot developments of entire other novels.°°

°° - and the mmpbs' & tp/bs' glued bindings don't stand up to repeated re-rereadings very well.(less)
Ppint if & when the rights revert to c.j., yes - or some eformat that is convertible;

until then, probably not - the aspect imprint of warner books no longer…more
if & when the rights revert to c.j., yes - or some eformat that is convertible;

until then, probably not - the aspect imprint of warner books no longer exists, and what was warner books is now a part of the merkin arm of livres hachette - the publishing group in turn wholly-owned by lagardère...

keep an eye open - or a bookmark for -

- love, ppint.(less)

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Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and beca
This is the second of Cherryh’s two Hugo-winning novels I’ve read now — the first being Downbelow Station — and I can safely say that she has quickly become one of my most admired SFF authors. In both books, I found myself totally compelled throughout, even when (or maybe because?) her approach is willfully oblique at times. She writes with such unabashed confidence and authority, never giving anything away, that even when details are difficult to parse fully, each scene is fascinating in and of ...more
5.5 stars. This is one of the most brilliantly written books I have ever read and I believe it is a work of special genius (no pun intended based on the subject matter of the book). This is not an EASY book to read and is not what I would describe as TONS of FUN. It is a complex, richly detailed, psychological science fiction mystery peopled by characters of vast intellect and extreme cunning. This makes the story one in which the reader must pay close attention. However, the pay off for such at ...more
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Cyteen: Exhausting study of clones, identity, and power
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
After enjoying C.J. Cherryh's 1982 Hugo Award winner Downbelow Station, it was a natural thing to move on to her 1989 Hugo winner Cyteen. I know that Cyteen is a very different creature, of course. It is a hefty 680 pages long, and extremely light on action. In fact, if you removed the extensive dialogue and exposition, I think the story would be about 100 pages long. That means the story had better be
Alex Bright
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars

Really, I'm still processing this one.

Uncertainty of any sort creates demagogues.

For me, Cherryh's Cyteen is on the same level as The Left Hand of Darkness (Le Guin) and The Broken Earth Trilogy (NK Jemisen) -- stories of immensely epic proportions, brought down to an agonizingly intimate focus. Her brilliant intersectional play between political, social, and psychological aspects of humanity is painful, realistic, and entirely prescient. She is well aware there is really no disconnect b
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a discovery.

Even with relatively high 'SciFi opera' related expectations carried over from Cherryh's Downbelow Station, Cyteen appeared unassuming and managed to easily meet and exceed most all such presumptions; proving itself not only a captivating 'court intrigue' play, but a potent and considerate speculative work.

The narrative explores unexpectedly elaborate philosophical and moral themes on humanity and individuality, with exceptional nuance and sensitivity. A lot more intima
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a hard(ish)-SF space opera if there is such a thing, which won Hugo 1989 Award.

The readers should be warmed: this is a doorstopper, longer than even many fantasy novel, which says something. It is a part of universe created by the author, which now has 27 novels plus smaller works. While it can be read as a stand alone (as I did), I guess the experience is enhanced if the whole series are read.

The story starts with some political intrigue in some Council far away – I think a poor choice
Megan Baxter
May 16, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a massive volume that is both fascinating and oddly opaque. It's a murder mystery in which the mystery is never solved. It's a consideration of the ethics of manufactured humans, without going into as much depth as it could. It's a conspiracy that is partially but not entirely explained. And it centres around a rape, which ripples through the rest of the book, and I'm not entirely convinced that it's handled well, in the end.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the chan
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Some people have complained about Cyteen being too long. The reason is because Cyteen was originally written as a three book series. Most people would do better to get the original three paperbacks and read them instead but be warned: C.J. Cherryh is not a writer for people who like short books. She writes for people who want a long, in-depth read and who aren't afraid of being plunged into a world full of new and often confusing terms, ideas, and vocabulary.

Books such as this are usually writte
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: hugo_winners
This was a difficult one. I'm in two minds about the book.

On one hand the detailed political, social and physiological structure of the world is nothing but awesome. This society feels absolutely real. The political intrigues are believable and intricate. The psychological manipulations, the helplessness of some of the characters in terms of heteronomy is palpable - up to the point where I physically felt nauseated and in actual pain for one of the protagonists. Such a carnal reaction is rather
Oct 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, sf-mistressworks
I realised this was a long book when the hefty tome arrived in the post and I viewed the small font but I didn't think it would take me this long to finish.

I don't tend to like long books; I am instantly sceptical and always question whether they genuinely needs to be. I notice that this volume was once published in three parts (against the will of the author) and I have to agree that it doesn't really make sense to break up the story in that way. What it really needed was some good editing, som
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-read
Outstanding. The precursor to Regenesis (one of the best books I've read), successor to Downbelow Station - which I am looking forward to (to tracing the development of this Union-Alliance series back to the origin).

It is the most intensely detailed sf I've read, and rivals Asimov's Foundation series and Herbert's Dune series for the verisimilitude of their sociological foundations that make all great science fiction books GREAT.

It is a psychological thriller and an sf political novel - very rar
Lisa Eskra
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh. A 680-page paperback but don't be fooled. I'm pretty sure this novel chalks in at 300K+ words. It certainly weighs a few pounds.

A third of the way through, I'm calling it quits. I might pick it up again if there's nothing else in the house to read. But definitely some other time.

The writing itself is very good. Literally, that is the only thing that kept me going (and the hope things would suddenly get interesting). Cherryh's portrait of the universe has a lot of richness
Lawd, how am I going to talk about this book? This is going to be a very long review!

As a prelude: I’ve been using a reading tracker app on my phone called Leio, and it is my very favourite thing. It can tell me that I read this book for 16 hours and 42 minutes, over 18 days. And that my average speed was 1 min 28 sec per page. This took longer because I was on vacation for part of it, but Cyteen is still a slow-going complex monster at 680 pages. It’s about power, abuse, and manipulation, on bo
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Read for the Hugo & Nebula - Best Novels Group.

This novel brought out a whole array of feelings in me, it's a book I could love but there were too many things that did not work for me. I tried, yet I failed (quote by C.J. Cherryh.. Just kidding!).

I also tried thinking of a way to make my points without sounding too harsh and after thinking of various formats I've settled on a simple one, just rating separately every single aspect of the book using Goodreads 5-star rating.

5 stars:
- Artificial Zy
Norman Cook
Dec 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Spoilers ahead!

I try to read every Hugo Award nominee. For a reason I don’t remember, I never read Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh when it was nominated in 1989. Maybe my library didn’t have a copy; maybe I was intimidated by the length of the book (680 densely packed pages) (or I didn’t have enough time to finish); or perhaps I had read stuff by Cherryh before and had been underwhelmed. Whatever the reason, I recently decided to give Cyteen a try after I read a blog post extolling its virtues. In fact,
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Big and dense and complicated and really, really, really good.

This is our first real visit to Union; specifically, the capital planet Cyteen (less habitable for humans than either Pell or Earth, but, unlike Pell, unencumbered by intelligent natives so they can start seriously terraforming; but that's really almost entirely secondary to the story), even more specifically, the administrative offices and laboratories of Reseune, the corporation (which, in this context, means quasi-independent, a se
Edwin Priest
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Cyteen is one of the more frustrating books I have read recently. It is on the one hand brilliant and packed with thought provoking intellection, and on the other hand, a plodding and ponderous book in which very little happens and which I found a chore to read.

This book is deep and sweeping, and the points for discussion are innumerable. Clearly at the center are the concepts of how we come to be who we are, the whole nature versus nurture concept, the essence of how we are shaped and learn. C.
Jamie Collins
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is only my second C.J. Cherryh novel, and I liked it very much. I found it to be a more intimate, character-driven story than Downbelow Station.

This takes place almost entirely at a research institute called Reseune which specializes in human cloning. They also produce special clones known as “Azi” who are subjected to intense conditioning from birth which gives them a different psychological makeup from regular humans. The Azi exist largely as an enslaved workforce.

I suppose enslaved is t
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all adults
A truly extraordinary book. Cherryh's insights into "tape" and "deep tape" (much like hypnosis) for training and learning are amazing. Her presentation of politics, psychology and human emotion and failings are wonderful, and her prose is some of the finest around.

I loved the "Boys from Brazil" theme in the book; the re-creation of a person without "magical knowledge transfer" but through re-creation of childhood environments and deep hypnotic training of a life recorded closely.

The social issue
Oct 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, favorites
OMG! What a book! Best Cherryh yet! Now I have to read Forty-thousand in Gehenna and Regenesis! I can see why it won the Hugo. It's non stop psychological thriller with so many plot twists and unexpected turns that one can hardly keep up. She makes me hate a character and then come to understand them if not like them in a most interesting way, uncovering layers and layers of meaning.

I could hardly put it down and am now sad that it's over and I'll have to get myself involved in another book to g
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-bingo-2019
Thanks to Strix to reccing this to me, as it fits my /r/fantasy bingo square for user rec. 4.25/5 stars, rounded down.

CW for rape. (one scene with long-lasting implications)

Deep, dense, and thick as a brick, Cyteen is like Huxley's Brave New World on steroids mixed with a dash of Asimov's Foundation. It follows the lives of three PRs (basically clones) of very intelligent and powerful humans. It is a story about their growth and development, but it is most certainly not centered on that. There's
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I liked this book. I thought I wouldn't because of the long, political start, where I almost gave up, but it was a book club read, so I persevered. I even think it's four stars because I was so interested in the character of Ari2. Great worldbuilding. But pacing was poor.

I think that the amount of lip biting that went on was ridiculous. There are other reactions to stress and emotion. All the characters' lips should have been scarred for life.

And after I read ALL THAT, (view spoiler)
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 2018
It feels pretty late to be reviewing this novel close to thirty years after its publication, so review it I won't. I'll just jot down a few notes.

This is my first novel by Cherryh and I had very little idea what to expect other than knowing it would have a raped male charater. I do want to say that it's dense and hugely satisfying, that it takes on terribly difficult subjects and (mostly) does them justice, and that I loved how it was sprawling and strangely paced (the events from the blurb tak
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 4/5

This is the most original book of the Alliance-Union universe (since it began with The Faded Sun: Kesrith in 1978). It is also very good science fiction. What Cherryh has done here is worthy of being compared to what Asimov did for robots; she simply does it for clones. Finally, it is also much better than average Cherryh. Each of those explained in more detail below.

Cherry is one of the most nominated science fiction writers of her era (a
Luke Burrage
Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #383.

Wow, that felt like a long book. Not in a bad way, but I totally understand why the publishers wanted to split it into three books.
Lis Carey
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, fiction, f-sf
I will confess it up front. I love this book.

Yes, it's long. It was originally published in three volumes in paperback, in the late 1980s. That made sense from a physical size point of view; it doesn't make sense in terms of the story. This is, like The Lord of the Rings, a long, single novel.

It is, as another review commented, a murder mystery in which the mystery is never solved, and features a conspiracy which is partially but never completely explained. We don't get all the answers.

That's pa
Who killed Ari Emory?
You won't find the final answer to this central question in this huge tome. But other topics like genetics, sexual abuse, or psychology are discussed intensely from different viewpoints. Most central is the broad theme of cloning (or psychogenesis, which is the exact cloning of body and mind) which makes it very relevant for current discussions of that theme. Mix it with lots of political scheming, homeopathic dosis of action, and a very bad tension arc to get this mileston
When Ariane Emory (the first), head of Reseune genetic facilities, is murdered by Jordon Warrick, the next generation at Reseune has their shackles weakened just enough that they might be able to make a difference. Ariane Emory (the second), a replicate of Ariane Emory (the first), grows up in a tightly controlled environment with the hope that she will be just like her predecessor, but things don't work exactly as they hoped, she's starting where Ariane 1 left off, with the skill, instincts, an ...more
If “Brave New World” met The Gormenghast novels, this would be the offspring. Like Gormenghast, Cyteen is not an easy book to read. For one thing, it is very long book, at some 350,000 words. It is also a slow book- it covers two decades in Cherryh’s Alliance-Union universe. It is two bildungsroman in one, as it follows the two protagonists- Justin Warrick and Ariane Emory II- both clones of their parents, as they grow and adapt to their circumstances. The concept of nature vs nurture is at the ...more
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Hugo & Nebula Awa...: March 2019 "Cyteen" <Caution! Spoilers May Be Present!> 51 29 May 12, 2020 06:06PM  
Hugo & Nebula Awa...: March 2019 "Cyteen" <No Spoilers> 54 35 May 12, 2020 09:26AM  
Anyone else certain they know? 10 73 Jun 15, 2016 03:13PM  
Science Fiction A...: * May 2016 - Cyteen 19 34 May 24, 2016 03:02PM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: "Cyteen" by C.J. Cherryh 43 83 Dec 08, 2014 04:55AM  
Feminist Science ...: Cyteen (Cyteen #1-3) by C. J. Cherryh (August 2014) 40 53 Sep 23, 2014 09:21PM  

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Currently resident in Spokane, Washington, C.J. Cherryh has won four Hugos and is one of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed authors in the science fiction and fantasy field. She is the author of more than forty novels. Her hobbies include travel, photography, reef culture, Mariners baseball, and, a late passion, figure skating: she intends to compete in the adult USFSA track. She began ...more

Other books in the series

Cyteen (4 books)
  • The Betrayal (Cyteen, #1)
  • The Rebirth (Cyteen, #2)
  • The Vindication (Cyteen, #3)
  • Regenesis (Cyteen, #4)

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