Port Eternity Author:C. J. Cherryh _The Maid of Astolat_, a sleek, exquisitely beautiful luxury ship is owned by the rich and slightly spoiled Dela Kirn. For Dela, _The Maid_ is a plaything, but for the tight-knit family of androids who run and serve on her, _The Maid_ is a beloved home. In order to live out her fantasy of a medieval Lady and her court, Dela has named the andro... more »ids after characters in Tennyson's great epic of King Arthur and the Round Table, _The Idylls of the King_; Elaine, the beautiful, loyal maid; Vivian, the efficient keeper of the accounts; the handsome Lancelot, programmed to love Dela, and fated to wait out each of her habitually short affairs before he is called upon for comfort; and Percival, Lynette, Gawain, and Modred, the reliable crew of the ship.
From the very start of the trip, Elaine and the rest of the servants sense that something is wrong. Griffin, Dela's new lover, seems to be more than the usual mindless gigolo--he has brains, financial connections, and, most importantly, seems to command from Dela a feeling none of the them has ever seen in her before. They fear that she might even plan on marrying Griffin--and then, what would become of them? Especially of Lancelot?
Into the already tense atmosphere on _The Maid_ suddenly rips a genuine crisis. Unexpectedly, the ship is jerked by a malfunction into jumpspace--an in-between condition usually lasting only seconds (and even then, endured only with sedation). But _The Maid_ and her crew are suspended in it. Normal physical laws don't quite seem to apply--no propulsion can free them. Out of the twisting, disorienting void appears an enormous wheel-like structure, from which snake numerous connecting tubes leading to hundreds of ancient, blackened and wrecked alien ships ... ships that must have, ages ago, been snared by the giant mass of the wheel. And perhaps escape for the crew of _The Maid_ will prove as impossible as it had for those other unfortunate craft.
Soon, the tubes begin attaching themselves to the ship ... and something begins banging on the hull. As they prepare to defend _The Maid_ from the unknown beings outside, the two humans and the android crew begin to realize that the differences between them may not be so great after all -- and that in playing out this true adventure, the androids are becoming more and more like the human heros whose names they carry. And that they may share the same sad fates as well.
Movingly and excitingly told, this is engrossing adventure as only C. J. Cherryh can create it.
[Note from the person who entered the description: They aren't androids. They are azi, humans who have been genetically altered and cloned. They are "programmed" with a kind of virtual reality where drugs help imbed the instructions. Azi appear in other novels by Cherryh.]« less