Sunday, April 27, 2014
Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh
A massive novel which feels even longer than it is. The book starts with a huge infodump where the history of the background is explained. Then a massive number of characters is introduced. It took some time to get in to the book – for some degree I never got into it. Practically everything in the book is presented as discussions. People discuss, discuss, discuss. For variety’s sake sometimes there are some introspective self-reflective musings of some character and an occasional discussion with a computer program. There is little else than some sort of discussion (after the infodump) in the book. Practically nothing is described; nothing is presented as a straight narrative, everything is presented by different sorts of discussions.
Cloning is commonplace. There are sort of “worker drone” clones which have been brain washed with “tapes” for menial task. There are also clones of certain especially intelligent people which are reared to be as similar as possible as their counterparts. A woman has been the leader of the most important research laboratory for decades. She looks young due to sophisticated longevity treatments, but is over 100 years old. She seduces a seventeen-year-old clone, who severely traumatized by the experience. (Seventeen-year-old adolescent boy who is severely traumatizes by sex??) His father later finds out and the female scientist ends up as dead. It might have been an accident, but the father is pressured to confess murder. Later a clone of the deceased woman is created. She is reared in as similar conditions as possible as her clone parent, so that her personality and intelligence would be similar. Her predecessor has left behind a sophisticated computer program which offers advice for her actions. It seems that she will be even more brilliant than her “mother”. She slowly starts to regain her clone mother’s positions in the society at very young age. There is a lot of different sorts of scheming, and fairly little happens. The ending felt very abrupt, however. It is also surprising, that the ethical considerations of using cloned, programmed human clones for menial tasks is hardly explored.
Not among my favorites among the Hugo-award winners. (now over 90% of all of them read).