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Cyteen | [C. J. Cherryh]

Cyteen

The saga of two young friends trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion and surveillance, of cyber-programmed servants and a ruling class with century-long lives – and the enigmatic woman who dominates them all.
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Publisher's Summary

The saga of two young friends trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion and surveillance, of cyber-programmed servants and a ruling class with century-long lives - and the enigmatic woman who dominates them all. Narrators Jonathan Davis and Gabra Zackman skillfully split up this sweeping sci-fi epic that is "at once a psychological novel, a murder mystery, and an examination of power on a grand scale." (Locus)

©1988 C.J. Cherryh (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1989

“Strongly recommended…. A future as detailed as that of Herbert’s Dune, with dozens of complex characters…. all the paranoid tension of a spy thriller.” (Newsday)

“A massive, multifaceted novel that tackles a variety of ethical, social, and political issues…. Cherryh’s worldbuilding is ambitious and her main characterizations are well-individualized…. Ultimately fascinating in concept and detail. Decidedly a major work.” (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (420 )
5 star
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3.6 (382 )
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4.1 (376 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    troy Canada 05-20-12
    troy Canada 05-20-12

    I really need to start proof reading my Reviews before I post them.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is a Heavy Book (lovely too)"

    Every now and again you read a story at the right time in your life. Stuff was going on around me, and this story gave me perspective. It's wonderful when SciFi can help and inspire in the non-fiction world.

    I am avoiding talking about the plot or the characters, because I don't want to give anything away.

    The world building that takes place in this novel is astounding. It fully fleshes out a universe where sustainable economic systems work... sometimes you run into stories where planets only have one theme or purposes, like in Star Trek TNG - Risa the pleasure planet full of vacation resorts. This book actually makes sense.

    I wouldn't have thought a story full of psychologists would be worth while, but Cherryh does an outstanding job.

    This novel is definitely worth finishing.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 05-23-12
    Lisa 05-23-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sci-Fi at its best!"

    I'm generally not a reader of sci-fi, but murder and intrigue set 3 thousand years in the future caught my attention. The detail of the story is extraordinary. What a marvelous imagination this author has! I want to hear more, but this is the only one of Ms. Cherryh's books currently available.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sammie Bozeman, MT, United States 12-28-12
    Sammie Bozeman, MT, United States 12-28-12 Member Since 2011

    -sam

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Only for the true hardcore CJ Cherryh fans"
    What would have made Cyteen better?

    It needed to move a lot faster and give the characters a little more dimension. Justin, for instance, is very important to the story's development and resolution, and yet for parts 1 through four, all he does is moan "Oh, God" about his troubles without actually addressing them.


    What was most disappointing about C. J. Cherryh’s story?

    The resolution or "punch line" of the mystery was obvious from the first 50 pages or so. I almost felt insulted that it supposedly was the big "wrapup" to the novel.


    What didn’t you like about Gabra Zackman and Jonathan Davis ’s performance?

    Jonathan Davis' reading of the computer library transcripts was ok. Gabra Zackman did fine with female characters but fell short with most of the males, especially "Uncle Dennis", who I found to be almost a caricature of an elderly gentleman.


    Any additional comments?

    I have read probably 20 books by this author, but this was the first time I tried an audiobook. Even with it sped up, I found the pace dreadfully slow and the final resolution of the book to be totally unsurprising. Maybe CJ Cherryh is someone I should stick with in print where I can skim when it gets too slow ....

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Chemainus, BC, Canada 04-18-12
    Barry Chemainus, BC, Canada 04-18-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great read"

    Very much enjoyed. I am not used to stories of this length and thought it would be hard to follow, it was the complete opposite I could not stop. Left me wanting more.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annmarie Roanoke, VA, United States 03-19-12
    Annmarie Roanoke, VA, United States 03-19-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My Favorite author is FINALLY on audible!!"

    I have been a fan of CJ Cherryh for over 20 years, and I am so happy her books are now available on Audible. She is an incredible writer, her characters are well-written, there is nothing better than reading (or listening) to a book from the Union perspective, and then reading one of the Alliance books so you can see how strange the Unioners are to others.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard Atlanta, GA, United States 05-08-12
    Howard Atlanta, GA, United States 05-08-12 Member Since 2007

    TaxProf

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better in Context"

    I read this story many years ago shortly after reading Downbelow Station and a few of the other, related novels in the Alliance Space universe. The world depicted in Cyteen made a nice contrast with the other societies created by Cherryh. But listening to it by itself, I found the story excrutiatingly slow with very little plot. If you are an Asimov fan, this book will put you to sleep. If you prefer Heinlein, you might like the introspective nature of the book. I recently purchased the sequel to this book (Regenesis), and I doubt I will give it a try. Of the related novels, I most enjoyed Merchanter's Luck.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Wellington, New Zealand 04-05-12
    Alison Wellington, New Zealand 04-05-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Still intriguing after all these years"

    I first read Cyteen 25 years ago; nothing dates faster than imaginings of future technology (talk of fiche and faxes for example), but the core ideas behind Cyteen remain intriguing. The slower first part begins with an ageing Ariane Emory in charge of a sprawling business and scientific empire, the main product of which is gene-manipulated humans, the azi. From the moment azi are born from artificial wombs, they are trained and conditioned by carefully designed drug assisted ''tape' learning to be perfect workers, soldiers, or whatever. There's probably a bit much overview info on the political and scientific history and situation (the sort of stuff easily skim-read in a written novel), but there's also a murder mystery, a sinister security system, political terrorists and plenty of intrigue - all picking up pace as the story goes along.

    The reading is excellent.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles E. Richardson bink 04-23-12 Member Since 2008

    bink

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    "Great Author, Solid Science Fiction"
    Where does Cyteen rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Cyteen won multiple award when it came out because it explored the future of a humanity that could shape itself and how the limits of the universe, time, and distance would change humanity. It is a great and DEEP novel.

    Having said this, I don't consider it her best work. The book lumbers through detail and the first third of the book has not real main character, until the woman who dies at the beginning starts to grow up. To me Cyteen is not as tightly written as Cherryh's later work. But Cyteen does a good job of exploring the effects of genetics, environmental control, and human evolutional limitations.

    This book is not among my top 10 audio books, though it was an thought provoking book. I am glad I listened to it.

    I love C. J. Cherryh books. I wish they had started with any of her other series like the Chanur and Foreigner series. I love her exploration of human/alien relations.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cyteen?

    When you realize the Hindu religion may have been truly started with control of human genetics and rebuild of a life.


    What about Gabra Zackman and Jonathan Davis ’s performance did you like?

    I liked the use of the male voice in a dry archivist manner. Those passages were a more academic exposure to the books underlying theme. However, the author and original editors should have shortened and tightened these passages. BUT Jonathan's voice acting went well with the material.

    Gabra did better with the women's voices. The main male character sounded too whiney in the voice she gave him. It portrayed him more as a childish whiner than as a troubled "special". But I liked her voice very much and would love to here it in other strong female lead sci fi. I loved her portrayal of the main female older self.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. It was too slow in the first third and too long at 36 hours.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are not one to explore deep subjects, then avoid this book. If you want to hear thoughts on a very deep subject we are just starting into, this is a good listen, not a great one, but solid.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maura 04-16-14
    Maura 04-16-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Intense tension!"
    Where does Cyteen rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    3


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cyteen?

    learning about tapes


    What does Gabra Zackman and Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    As always.. when a person tells a story vs words on a page? more person-al


    Any additional comments?

    C.J. really pushes the psychological in this book. Every book she writes; she does this to a degree. In Cyteen, the thread woven in and through the relationships and through the story is pulled taut to the point of uncomfortable. I had many moments that I had to step away and catch my breath and slow my heart rate. uuummm both times I listened ...hehehe

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hope Niagara Park, Australia 03-18-14
    Hope Niagara Park, Australia 03-18-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "good narration, amazing story"

    loved it! sad that "regenesis" doesn't seem to be available in audio format here.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 59 results PREVIOUS126NEXT
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  • Graham
    Harrow, United Kingdom
    7/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Soporific boring start"

    Although well read, this book sent me to sleep within fifteen minutes or so, I tried several times to listen to it.
    The start of the book was so boring! I like at least a little interesting action at the beginning of a book to keep my interest.
    I realise a foundation must be set out to give the story structure, but if it make you sleepy then it's not for me. I guess some would love the political type boring banter it starts with.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sam
    Chorley, United Kingdom
    6/30/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Value for money"

    I wouldn't class this as a murder mystery at all and it never really gets to where you want it to go. Some of the more fascinating aspects are never explored while others get way too much attention.

    However, as a concept it's great, tells a good story and the character development is fantastic. Overall very good value for money

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Neil
    Brockenhurst, United Kingdom
    5/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "truly awful"

    Please don't download it is the worst book I've downloaded. There is little story and... well I managed about 3 hours before closing it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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