A fascinating novel of space politics and war. Initially it was a bit confusing keeping the multitude of characters and locations straight, but that iA fascinating novel of space politics and war. Initially it was a bit confusing keeping the multitude of characters and locations straight, but that issue does resolve itself eventually. The "geography" of space was difficult to place at first too. Trying to figure out spacial relationships between all the different space stations, and Earth, and Pell, and the Hinder stars, and the Beyond... and so on. Again, eventually the story hones in on it's central story and these issues are resolved.
I found Cherryh to be a master of character development. Though the story is more of an "ensemble cast" each of the central figures has an intriguing story and growth. Of course Downbelow contains Cherryh's signature strong female character, so overlooked by most scifi writers.
The plot has an intensity I didn't expect and a payoff that was quite different than anticipated as well.
A truly enjoyable read and a definite recommend. ...more
An excellent story with interesting insights on race relations and our opinions and behaviors towards outsiders. A very enjoyable, quick read as well.An excellent story with interesting insights on race relations and our opinions and behaviors towards outsiders. A very enjoyable, quick read as well.
Also a few interesting takes on the American "hero worship" culture. Illustrates some of the dangers of deifying individuals.
Recommended for scifi fans and anyone interested in racial metaphor stories....more
**spoiler alert** It is a beautiful thing, in one's life, to come across a work of literature which is commonly regarded as a classic, and find it who**spoiler alert** It is a beautiful thing, in one's life, to come across a work of literature which is commonly regarded as a classic, and find it wholly deserving of every ounce of praise ever bestowed upon it.
This is the situation I have encountered while reading "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". Stevenson's Victorian styled narrative is so beautifully contrived, that his words flow through your mind like the music of Mozart. The language alone is worth the praise.
My only wish is that I could have read this legendary piece of literature with no prior knowledge of the story. However deserving this work is of all its praise, and popular retelling, I fear it has done a disservice to the original work. From Broadway musicals, to episodes of Scooby Doo, this story has been told time and again. The credit this shows to the power of the original story is due, however it sours the reader to never being able to experience it, how Stevenson originally intended.
There is no female love interest, to attracted the pop culture female audience. And there was no prophetic Jekyll, railing against the lack of foresight of his contemporaries in the scientific community.
The piece that I found most fascinating was in Stevenson's exploration of the duality of the spirit of man. It's well known that this is the main focus of this story, however, I feel it's a common misconception that Jekyll = good, and Hyde = evil. Indeed, Hyde DOES = evil. However, Jekyll is something far more complicated. Jekyll is the embodiment of both good AND evil. Jekyll is the original spirit, with good and evil wrestling within it. Through science, Jekyll is able to wrest from his soul its purely evil nature, which then becomes Hyde. When he returns to his Jekyll form, however, the evil is still present. The evil that was always there. Always lurking. Jekyll has no potion to free the purely good and holy side of the human spirit. It seems this is the very failing that spirals Jekyll uncontrollably into damnation. Never being truly free of his evil, and never being solely holy, eventually evil's strength grows and grows, until it is no longer able to be restrained.
Do I recommend this work? Most assuredly. And I recommend it to everyone. Everyone should read this masterpiece of literature....more