Friday, March 27, 2009

Regenesis by C J Cherryh (26/81)

category: Speculative Fiction
C2009 592pages 4 stars

18-year-old Ari 2 works hard to take on the mantle of the original Ariane Emory, studying under the tutelage of Justin Warrick and learning from Ari 1’s personal journals. When Justin’s original, Jordan, returns from exile the question of who actually murdered the first Ari reemerges, but at a difficult time. The Council of Nine is undergoing a brutal power struggle and Ari must decide if she should take control. And she can’t afford any mistakes or she’ll follow her genemother to the grave. This is the sequel to Cherryh’s Hugo Award-winning novel, Cyteen.

This story is interwoven between the original persons and their clones (often with the same name) so that it’s almost like playing chess with extra pieces. Or, maybe it’s like the 3-D chess from Star Trek. With such a large cast, it’s quite an effort to keep everybody straight and also to remember how they relate to one another. It’s certainly a very rich book and you can’t breeze through it. The political machinations are very complex as well. So, if I’m not a ‘hard’ sci-fi reader and I don’t enjoy politics, why did I bother with Regenesis? Because I enjoyed Cyteen and I was curious to find out who off’d Ari 1, in a Who-Shot-JR kind of way. The only reason I am able to tolerate the political nature of Cherryh’s work is because the way she writes interpersonal relationships is fascinating. Most of the major players are either politicians and/or scientists working on pyschsets – so these people are adept at working each other over. And this culture of who is manipulating who and for what purpose is dizzying. Honestly, if this is anything like what real politicians live with, I pity them. The claustrophobia and paranoia come through well in Cherryh’s writing and when the battle for dominance came to a head, I was ready for the resolution. The book felt long at times, but not so badly that I walked away from it. It’s an excellent sequel. It feels just like Cyteen and that’s saying something considering they were written 20 years apart.

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