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Primary Inversion (Saga of the Skolian Empire (Paperback)) Paperback – 15 May 1996
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About the Author
Catherine Asaro received a doctorate in physics from Harvard University, has published a number of papers on theoretical physics and was a physics professor until 1990, when she established Molecudyne Research. A former ballerina, she has performed with ballets and in musicals on both coasts. She lives with her husband and daughter in Columbia, Maryland.
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She has an MA in physics from Harvard and her publications include - "Complex speeds and special relativity," Catherine Asaro, Am. Jour. Phys. April 1996
So, I think I'll read the space propulsion section of the book more carefully next time around - because this is a book that would repay a second reading even without the physics.
The novel has a few minor glitches in the writing style, especially early on when there's rather more 'telling' than 'showing'. This soon smooths out a lot, and besides, it was her first novel.
This novel shows us a complex future in which empathic abilities are closely tied into the military us of faster than light craft. This creates a cruelly ironic world where the people necessary to be the really high-tech military are also those who most feel the pain of another person's death.
Asaro works this neatly into her work and this alone would make a good novel. However, what I really enjoyed was that she wrote a romance that avoids the clichés. There was a point early on where I groaned and thought: "Oh Lord, standard romance cliche number four coming up - and it didn't happen!" I found the avoidance of the clichés greatly increased my enjoyment of the book as I was unable to predict what would happen next.
This is a book that I'll happily recommend to anyone who wants hard SF with a dash of romance.
Soz is not only telepathic, but also a bioengineered psi warrior pilot – thus on all fronts she seems to inspire fear rather than love. She’s long lived, and has a history behind her that brings much depth to the character, and the reader is able to read much into her actions as a result.
Jaibroil Highton is the Highton heir to the Traders – enemies of the Skolian empire. When Soz and Jaiobriol first meet, they find they are able to make the rare psi bond of true Rhon – essentially they are enemies, but the only true match for each other.
Asaro doesn’t make it easy for Soz, who is conflicted by many loyalties and also by her own drives, desires and ambitions. Ultimately events work around her until she feels she has no choice but to act, although the cost is high. By the end of the book, she has lost as much as she has gained.
A strong, complex, character driven novel with much in it as a vision of the future. The scientific elements are well thought out and well drawn, although I did get a little lost in the science of it from time to time. Nevertheless, a must for any Psi-Fi (ha!) reader
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