Heavy Time (Company Wars Series)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sure-handed Cherryh returns to the award-winning setting of Rimrunners and Cyteen , taking readers to the frontier where independent asteroid miners Morris Bird and Ben Pollard are struggling against the increasing economic domination of the bureaucratic Company. A mysterious distress signal leads them to a wrecked ship spinning out of control, with its sole remaining crew member, Dekker, crazy and near death. Bird and Ben haul him and his ship back to Base, enduring Dekker's mad ravings and debating the ethics of claiming the craft as salvage. Soon, however, the issue becomes far more complicated--Dekker's story suggests a murder and a Company cover-up, and the political crisis he sparks threatens to do more than deprive Bird and Ben of their salvage. Superbly rendered--with believable social, economic and political backdrops, complex characters, and a tense, well-paced plot--Cherryh's novel proves that high-tech science fiction need not sacrifice literary values. (June)
Library Journal
A pair of independent claim-seekers in the asteroid belt answer a distress call, discover the remains of a ship and its half-crazed survivor, and tow their salvage to the nearest way station--where their trouble begins. Sf veteran Cherryh returns to the world of her Merchanter novels ( Downbelow Station , DAW, 1981; Merchanter's Luck , LJ 9/15/82) for a tightly plotted drama of human politics, double dealing, and treachery amid the stars. The author's singular ability to create a believable vision of a spacefaring future is exceeded only by her talent for populating that vision with ``real'' people. Highly recommended.
Kirkus Reviews
Another adventure set in the medium-future universe of Rimrunners and Cyteen; here, the action takes place in the solar system's asteroid belt, where independent miners are slowly being squeezed out by the predatory mining consortium ASTEX. Prospecting partners Morrie Bird, the old hand who owns the ship, and young, hotheaded pilot Ben Pollard encounter a wrecked, tumbling ship and discover aboard a lone survivor, Dekker, babbling and traumatized by whatever happened to him and by the loss of his partner. Hoping for salvage rights, Ben and Bird tow the hulk back to Base, and turn Dekker over to the medics. But, despite company denials, soon it emerges that at least part of Dekker's wild claims (an unreported collision, claim-jumping, a sinister plot) are true. Then, Dekker's partner's body turns up, bizarrely flung into a recovery orbit along with ores mined from a huge rock the company maintains doesn't exist. Teaming up with influential female miners Meg and Sal, Bird, Ben, and Dekker contrive to blow the lid off a massive coverup that involves ASTEX and public figures as distant as the President of Earth. Taut, gripping, realistic work, with Cherryh taking a stab at character development, and bringing her agreeably complex plot to a satisfying if unsurprising conclusion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446362238
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/29/1988
  • Series: Company Wars Series, #1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 717,148
  • Product dimensions: 4.12 (w) x 0.87 (h) x 6.75 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Its not about the plot

    I just read the "offical" reviews of Heavy Time, and the Reviewers, for the most part, really missed the boat! This story arc is about what happens to humans when they are removed from the womb of mother earth. The contrast between the Earth born Morris and the the space rat Ben is the central drama of the story. The plot is just a vehicle to drive it home; which, by the way, has been a feature of Cherryh's work since The Faded Sun. Starting at the barely comprehensible Downbelow Station, she explores what could happen to our species when we are taken completely out of our native context (at the bottom of a gravity well under a planetary atmosphere, with "down" and "up" having cell-deep meaning to us).

    "Heavy Time" refers to the concession to our earth-orginated physiology which still requires a certain amount of time in gravity or a similar mass-based force field to keep the organs and skeletal system from collapse. Each spacer must spend a certain amount of time in a simulated gravity environment periodically (referred to as "Heavy Time"). It is their last true tie to earth.

    Morris tries to "humnaize" the kid (Ben) by reading Shakespear and telling him stories, bringing to his attention the cultural norms we take for granted, but are completely out of context for a kid raised in the Belt.

    The contrast in viewpoint and the resultant contrast in ethics is highlighted when they end up rescuing Dekker, since the kids sees nothing wrong with claiming the salvage rights to his ship, but is reigned in by the older and more sympathetic (more socialized) Morris. The Women are old hand planetside revolutionaries with their own moral systems,and of course there are other moral systems. or lack thereof, involved with the faceless corporate entities. Dekker is just a "normal" Earthling caught in this web of varied value systems, trying to make sense of it all, and thereby providing us with a viewpoint to understand it.

    The point, is, summarizing this book by a plot synopsis is not summarizing the book at all. I had actually completely forgotten the plot (I read it when it came out in paperback, almost 20 years ago) but the nature of the characters remained etched in my memory. Read it for the implications of life off of mother Earth, no the old evil corporate empire plot line.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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