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The Inheritance & Other Stories
Robin Hobb, Megan Lindholm
Progress: 82/400 pages
Cherie Priest
Progress: 109/416 pages
Hope Mirrlees, Neil Gaiman, Douglas A. Anderson
Progress: 146/236 pages
The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories
Don DeLillo
Progress: 34/224 pages
Sane New World: Taming the Mind
Ruby Wax
Progress: 16/256 pages
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
'John Townsend', 'Henry Cloud'
Progress: 69/320 pages

Downbelow Station

Downbelow Station - C. J. Cherryh Downbelow Station takes place in 2352/3 in a future history where space has been colonized but mostly through space stations. Downbelow Station, orbiting the world of Pell, is one of the few attached to a life-supporting world. Most of the action centres around Pell/Downbelow (the terms are used interchangeably for both the station and the planet) but also takes place in space. The main players are the Earth Company – which is the company that initially began exploration and colonization and is involved in trade, the Company Fleet who are now acting somewhat independently of the Company itself, the Union Alliance – a break-away group of colonies at war with the Fleet (and to a lesser extent the Company) and then a motley group of merchanters who just want to trade and make money with whomever will deal with them. Oh and Pell station itself who is attempting to be independent but as the book begins, and the boundaries between Earth and Union space are being re-drawn, finds itself at the strategic centre of pretty much everyone’s plans.I want to say I enjoyed this more than I did because it has some very good elements. If you enjoyed the kind of complex SciFi story, where different factions are presented with their pros and cons and there’s not necessarily clear lines between heroes and villains, something that deals with the gritty realities of space war and the mundane, as well as the macro level politics and economics of it – something a lot like say the rebooted Battlestar Galactica say, then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this. It has all those elements and Cherryh wields them well into a compelling story.But. There had to be a but. There’s something about her writing style, her sentence construction, that threw me off. I can tell you because I measured it (yep the spreadsheet is back with a vengeance) that my reading speed halved from its normal level during the reading of this book. In fact I took a decision early on to “power through” and pretty much read it in a couple of days last weekend, partly because I was worried that if I put it down for any length of time I wouldn’t pick it up again.Now not everyone will feel this way. Some will enjoy her prose no doubt, but I do know from the S&L Goodreads group that I’m far from the only one with this problem. Which is a shame because I think there’s a great story there but for me it was like wading through treacle to get to it.