Downbelow Station showcases Cherry's inarguable talent for complex but understandable geopolitical plots, many-layered characterization, and truly alien cultures that humans are never really going to fully understand. There are several sides to the conflict here: The Company, now in charge of an isolationist Earth; the Fleet, once the enforcement arm of the Company but now pretty much independent; Union, formed out of the farther worlds of the Beyond and possessed of a new psychological style completely foreign to Earth; Pell, a station circling a planet which circles Tau Ceti, and which only wants to left alone; and the free Merchanters, making a living hauling goods between the worlds and the stations. Pell is a civilized republic in the best tradition, but they're about to lose all that.
Hugo award winning novel. Interesting and very involved. Somewhat convuluted but I kept reading it to find out what happened. If you're a Cherryh fan, no animal in this one but some interesting aliens.
What a delight to find this older science fiction book that is a classic that I'd never read. I thought I'd read most of the really great science fiction authors. Down Below Station creates unique worlds with complex personalities, challenges, and technologies; yet, it adheres to the best in human narratives and story-telling. While the book is chock full of characters, it's still possible to understand what drives each one and be surprised as layers unfold. The plot would make an outstanding film. I'd love to see the special effects in this saga of interplanetary worlds, stations, merchant ships, and beneficent creatures.
First book in Cherryh's Alliance-Union series, one of her best series!