Review: After reading my first novel by Cherryh, Foreigner, resulting in mixed thoughts, I wanted to try another. I chose Downbelow Station because it is her most-lauded work. As with Foreigner, it took me at least half way through to get hooked, and even after that, I would set the book down for long stretches of time. This is a conundrum because I enjoyed the book, found the story intricate, intriguing, and well-told, and the characters complex, complete, and tangible. Several scenes even gave me the physical chills. So why did I have a hard time finishing this novel?
Perhaps it is because so much of the story is political maneuvering or the running internal dialogue of the characters? Perhaps because the action doesn’t start until near the end and the first two-thirds of the book is set-up for the bloody last third? Either way, I’m tempted to say it’s a characteristic of Cherryh, but I would need to read at least two more of her novels to really say with certainty. Cherryh’s strength is her characters. They have a complexity rare in fiction, one that as an aspiring writer, I must learn. In particular, her character Signy Mallory, will stay with me as a favorite, not just in Cherryh’s universe, but from any book I’ve read.
As with Foreigner, I finished this book certain that this is a well-told story, one worth the accolades, and one I will recommend.
Bookmarks: 7 of 10
1982: Hugo Award for Best Novel: Winner
1982: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel: shortlist Nominee
1987: Locus Award, All-Time Best SF Novel: Position 41
1998: Locus Award, All-Time Best SF Novel Before 1990: Position 25
Year Published: 1981
Date Finished: 9-6-2016