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Publisher's Summary

The Beyond started with the Stations orbiting the stars nearest Earth. The Great Circle the interstellar freighters traveled was long, but not unmanageable, and the early Stations were emotionally and politically dependent on Mother Earth. The Earth Company that ran this immense operation reaped incalculable profits and influenced the affairs of nations.  

Then came Pell, the first station centered around a newly discovered living planet. The discovery of Pell's World forever altered the power balance of the Beyond. Earth was no longer the anchor that kept this vast empire from coming adrift, the one living mote in a sterile universe.  

But Pell was just the first living planet. Then came Cyteen, and later others, and a new and frighteningly different society grew in the farther reaches of space. The importance of Earth faded and the Company reaped ever smaller profits as the economic focus of space turned outward. But the powerful Earth Fleet was still a presence in the Beyond, and Pell Station was to become the last stronghold in a titanic struggle between the vast, dynamic forces of the rebel Union and those who defended Earth's last, desperate grasp for the stars.  

Performed by Karen Novack, Zeke Alton, Robb Moreira, James Konicek, Holly Adams, James Lewis, Peter Holdway, Daniel Llaca, JJ Johnson, Triya Leong, Marni Penning, Keith Richards, Chris Davenport, John Kielty, Rob McFadyen, Joe Mallon, Nanette Savard, Anthony Palmini, Jason Keller, Brandon Burton, Yasmin Tuazon, Wyn Delano, Tanja Milojevic, Debi Tinsley, Jacob Yeh, Terence Aselford, Niusha Nawab, Eric Messner, Steve Wannall, Nora Achrati, Alejandro Ruiz, Colleen Delany, Michael John Casey, Bradley Foster Smith, and Ken Jackson.

©1981 C.J. Cherryh (P)2021 Graphic Audio LLC

What listeners say about Downbelow Station (1 of 2) (Dramatized)

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Stunningly Magnificent Performance/Production

Wow. This utterly magnificent Graphic Audio production clearly and vividly delivers Part 1 of two parts of C.J. Cherryh's masterpiece Downbelow Station.

By the way, they chose a good place for the break, minimizing the painful-cliffhanger effect. Also, I think bits were cut out but the whole story is essentially there. Instead of seeming abridged or distorted, they seem to be telling the whole story and telling it well. The events, settings, and technologies are clear and plausible, with all their interconnections. The many strong personalities, human and alien, are distinct, memorable, and believable, so we react to the characters as individuals, whether they're warmly engaging or coldly detestable.

The production's clarity lets Cherryh's brilliant writing shine through. It made me appreciate how meticulously crafted her universe is, and how deftly she weaves together world-building, character development, and plot advancement. Also, the way she shows us not just small individual details such as smells (okay, some of the smells are overwhelming so "small" is not an adequate word), but also enormous cumulative phenomena such as the emotional, social, and economic drain of an achingly-prolonged interstellar war.

Sorry if this review is a bit incoherent, but I started listening to Downbelow Station at midnight, having set the sleep timer so I could fall asleep to it. Ha! I listened to it all night, repeatedly extending the sleep timer, until it finished around 7:00 this morning. And it was worth it.

This is a wonderful production of a great book.

5 people found this helpful

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Not great

I was excited about this production, but ultimately disappointed with the dramatization of Downbelow. As a big fan of the novel and original recording, I have to say this one feels abridged. Lacking the “he said/she said” words… it almost clips along too fast. There is not pause enough for me to feel the emotions that the characters must be feeling.

Also where is the prologue? The opening that sets the tone of the War and explains the Union/Company/Earth conflict? If I hadn’t read Downbelow before, I’d be completely lost.

The line delivery is stiff, like the voice actors are reading their lines cold and don’t quite understand the context of their own conversations. Especially Elene. Every line is read like a teenage brat… not a devastated young Merchanter. The Hisa sound silly, almost offensively silly…

The music is fine and the ambiance is cool. I like the crackle of the radios, coms, and breather masks. It’s just the voice acting that I couldn’t get through. Listened for 2 hours. Couldn’t take it anymore.

Love the book itself. Cherryh is one of the Greats. Love Brian Troxell’s recording of Downbelow Station. If you want an audio version that does this Hugo winner justice, I’d recommend passing this dramatization by and going with Troxell.

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  • James Baxter
  • 03-13-22

Fantastic adaption

Really one of the best adaptions I've ever listened to. Graphic Audio is really top notch.

1 person found this helpful