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Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh
Published by DAW Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
Cyteen is a thick and complex book, an exploration of intrigue and treachery in a human society that technological change has made oddly alien. Even more than ten years after the book was published, it can still provoke heated discussions on various online fora.
Ariane Emory is the near-dictator of Reseune, the principal city of Cyteen, a world that specializes in biological manipulation. From its laboratories come hordes of azi, mechanically-trained cloned humans, to fill the lower rungs of its social ladder.
When Ari is killed suddenly in an industrial accident that may have been murder, she was on the verge of a breakthrough on a matter that imperilled all humanity. Unfortunately, she left no notes on this project. There is only one way to reconstruct it.
All of Reseune's skills in biology and psychology are brought together to recreate Ariane Emory. Cloning her body is actually the easiest part. Far harder is re-creating the environment that made her the woman she was. Ari 2 must never realize that her environment is being deliberately manipulated, lest her knowledge invalidate all their efforts.
However, Ari 2 may well be more than they realize. Might they have succeeded too well?
Click to buy Cyteen in trade paperback.
If you enjoyed Cyteen, you may also enjoy 40,000 in Gehenna, which tells the other side of the story. This is the world that had the original Ariane Emory so worried, and her discovery about its culture led to her being reconstructed through cloning and environmental manipulation after her death.
This review posted October 18, 2000
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