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Downbelow Station (The Company Wars #1)
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Group Reads > July 2017 - Downbelow Station

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message 1: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1046 comments Mod
This is to discuss one of July's group reads, Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh.


message 2: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1046 comments Mod
I've been meaning to read this one for ages, so i'm glad it was one of the winnners. Just need to get a copy now.


message 3: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 237 comments I started this one some 10 days ago, very curious for this writer. But, what a giant piece of work this is. Saw she wrote lots of books too. I just passed 20%, I hope to find time to also read Galapagos this month. About the book: it is a quite depressing story till now, interesting where it is going to end. It really is about people while I think the circumstances are also very interesting.


message 4: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) | 216 comments She is one of my favorite SF authors. I started out with her "Mri" series in the 70s. "Cyteen" is also a good read in this series. It will be fun, folks!


Marc-André | 139 comments I'm waiting for it to arrive by mail. It will be my first book by Cherryh and I've been wanting to read her and that series inpeticular for a long time.


message 6: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 237 comments Someone mixed some Pooh Bears in my space opera?


message 7: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) | 216 comments Indeed.


Michael | 26 comments I first read this many years ago and I remember thinking very highly of both the book and the author. I'm just starting my reread and I'm very curious to see how my opinion may (or may not!) have changed.


Marc-André | 139 comments I got my book by mail. It is an used copy from 1981. I'm 20 pages in and liking it so far, althought Cherryh's syntaxe seems odd some times. Like there are jump cuts or something.

There are blue prints of the station at the beginning of the book. Funny how that reminds me of world maps in fantasy books. I wonder if Tolkien started the trend.


message 10: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 237 comments Anybody making progress? I'm halfway now. I must say it's difficult sometimes not to put it aside for another book. It's not a bad story, only it fails for me to be really fascinating. Given that, it's a long story. Still determined to finish it though. I own another two books I believe are in this series, Merchanter's luck & 40.000 in Gehenna, but I doubt that I will pick them up soon.


message 11: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1046 comments Mod
Leo wrote: "Anybody making progress? I'm halfway now. I must say it's difficult sometimes not to put it aside for another book. It's not a bad story, only it fails for me to be really fascinating. Given that, ..."

I'm at about 15% and struggling to get into it. I'm not sure if it's the book or the fact i'm really busy and so not really able to concentrate properly on it. I'm hoping this will change.


Marc-André | 139 comments Yeah, I'm not engrossed by the book as much as I'd like, but I also just moved in a new house with my GF and our baby. With the renovations and the baby, I have little time to read.


message 13: by Buck (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 749 comments I read this in 2014. Here's my review:

"It took me quite a while to read this book. I just couldn't get into it. I don't much care for C. J. Cherryh's writing style, although I did get used to it. The writing is not lyrical. Sometimes it seemed to me as if English is not Cherryh's first language. Her phrasing sometimes is choppy and not quite right. In the early stages, I considered abandoning the book. I have Cherryh's novel Cyteen on my list of science fiction books to read one of these days, and I began to think that that would be just crazy. It's much too long - It would just be too much of a chore to read if it's written like Downbelow Station. Then, finally, perhaps a third of the way in, things started to fall together. I decided not to abandon it. By two thirds I was fully engrossed. It's a good book, if you can stay with it long enough."

I still haven't read Cyteen


message 14: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1046 comments Mod
I'm up to 25% and i'm getting more interested but not totally hooked. I wonder if it's just a thing for books on a galactic scale that there is so much back story that they take a while to really get started. Red Mars was particularly bad for this.


message 15: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 237 comments I'm at 2/3. The way I'm reading, which is about one hour a day, mostly divided even in 2 or 3 parts, is not fit to enjoy it. I agree with Jo that a lot of things are happening and we follow quite some people and, eh, poohbears. Sometimes I forget names and persons who were mentioned some 50 or 100p ago. That doesn't help. It takes a long time before the story starts running. Coming this far it does get better for me I must say. I'm developing more curiosity for how it goes on. Maybe I give some other books of the series a try, I saw that the following books still have good and better ratings. A strange thing is that the people and actions seam to be described from some distance, with very little emotion. Or something like that. Must be typical for this writer.


message 16: by Leo (last edited Jul 20, 2017 11:29AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 237 comments I read that Cyteen must be good, Buck. So said Gregg.


message 17: by Dan (last edited Jul 20, 2017 08:53PM) (new)

Dan Quigley | 56 comments This book won some serious awards:

Awards:
1982 Hugo Winner
1982 Locus SF Nominated

Lists:
Locus Best SF Novels of All-Time
The Classics of Science Fiction
Award Winning Books by Women Authors
Baen Reader's List of Recommended Military SF
Easton Press Masterpieces of Science Fiction
WWEnd Top Listed Books of All-Time
WWEnd Most Read Books of All-Time
The Defining Science Fiction Books of the 1980s
Science Fiction by Women Writers

It's #25 here: https://www.worldswithoutend.com/list...

I've read another Cherryh novel. Boy was it demanding! Still, I should give this a go.


message 18: by Donna Rae (new)

Donna Rae Jones | 100 comments Jo wrote: "I'm up to 25% and i'm getting more interested but not totally hooked. I wonder if it's just a thing for books on a galactic scale that there is so much back story that they take a while to really g..."

I think you might be right about that, Jo. World-building and research are such dominant aspects of a contemporary sci-fi writer's art that they probably take on a life of their own within the author's mind. This is good for building plausibility within a novel, but has its downside for the general reader when the author steps over the thin line between enough information and too much. This must be all the more tricky for a galactic scale novel with back stories to fill.

I haven't read Red Mars, but I found Neal Stephenson's Seveneves to be much like that.


message 19: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments I want to read at least one of her books someday. Maybe Foreigner. But I've been travelling this month and decide to read the shorter book club pick this month.


message 20: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 237 comments Finished today. I think this was my longest group read till now. I can add that I liked the book better in the second half; the story got more focussed and the persons acting in it more familiar. Still found the Hisa a strange element in the book. Although they did lighten up the story and made it less depressing.


message 21: by Marc-André (last edited Jul 31, 2017 04:58PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marc-André | 139 comments I'm only at 30%, but I'm picking up steam right when the story is getting interesting.

Still, I'm at a funny part. I'm right where the Earth ambasadors are offered a bad bargain and a some counsel member from Pell is there. The ambassadors do not recognize him and I'm not sure if I should know him or not. Too many characters.


message 22: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1046 comments Mod
I've just finished. Slightly disappointed as I was expecting a lot. There were some good parts and the second half certainly was better than the first. I agree with you Leo that the Hisa were a bit strange. I guess this will be explained in the next book. I'm not sure i'm ready to read the second book yet though.


message 23: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) | 216 comments The Hisa show up briefly in "Finity's End". I am not sure she spends anymore to with them after that. Besides the Chanur I would say the Hisa are the most accessible of her aliens. She focuses on the nonhumanness of extraterrestrials since she is not writing space opera but cultural conflict SF.


message 24: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments Gregg wrote: "She focuses on the nonhumanness of extraterrestrials since she is not writing space opera but cultural conflict SF. "

That is what makes me want to read something by her. But then I look at the books and they are so long and are parts of long series, so I move on to something else instead.


message 25: by Gregg (last edited Aug 02, 2017 02:07PM) (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) | 216 comments "Foreigner" is very immersed in the atevi alienness. If you like it then you can continue the series. "Forty Thousands in Gehenna" is a stand alone story as are several others such as: "Hunter of Worlds". But frankly, I can't get enough of her and after not reading her since '97 I have a pile to catch up on now. And I can't wait!


message 26: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) | 216 comments Also, one of my favorites, "Serpent's Reach" is a stand alone story about the humans and the majat, a hive intelligence. Great stuff!


message 27: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments Thanks. I've already got Foreigner on my to-read shelf. I'll get to it someday!


Marc-André | 139 comments It was a slog to finish it but, I managed. The novel won the Hugo in 1982, but I'm not sure why. The plot is predictable. The characters are similar and we get confused between them. Althought it is set in space, there is no technology that really drives the novels. The aliens are forgettable and I'm not sure what was their role.

Maybe it was ground breaking when it was released and was copied, so now it seems derivative.


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