Cyteen, #1Cyteen, #1 by C.J. Cherryh

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

this refers to the audiobook version.

it’s pretty rare for me to be unable to slog through more than a couple hours of such a highly-regarded work. if i know a book has some serious fan weight behind it, i will put some extra effort into trying to digest it. but since this is the second time i’ve proved unable to slog through it, i’m gonna stick a fork in it.

the first time i tried to read the dead-tree version. i thought maybe listening to the audio version would be an improvement… but, it actually brought up quite a bit of hilarity that the print version lacks.

the book starts out with politics, politics, politics. and history, related as if from a textbook. why? why? any textbook will kill the lovely tapestry of history, bleed it of all its color, even a fictional one. and politics… perhaps when this book was written politics was more a background noise in people’s lives, since it functioned reasonably well. but to anybody paying attention for the last 12 years in the US, politics has become a reflexive gag. we have had major aversion therapy.

it would be ok if the political characters had some character–if we could see them as people–but at least in the first few hours of the audiobook, that’s not the case. they are for the most part walking agendas, agendas of stuff we don’t know (and have no reason to care) about. so it’s rather like studying for an exam in a subject you don’t care about but are required to take: you try to track it, cram the facts in, just get to the next chapter.

the part that had me laughing myself silly on the bike trail, though, was the reports on the clones. that poor reader! he had to actually sit there and recite:

zero zero zero dot zero zero zero zero dot zero zero zero one.
zero zero zero dot zero zero zero zero dot zero zero zero two.

or whatever the precise text was (believe me though the endless strings of zeros were there). now i know that when you read the dead-tree version, your eyes just skim over that stuff and pick out the important facts: other clone batches had multiples, this one had only one. but after being politicked and historied at for three hours, i just could not take any more.