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Monday, November 10, 2014

Undercity by Catherine Asaro

Undercity by Catherine Asaro 

When I received the e-book from NetGalley, I had never heard of  Catherine Asaro, but when I read and loved the book, it was time to find out more about this author.

Asaro is one of those multi-talented individuals who excels in at almost everything.  She has a PhD in chemical physics and an A.M. in physics from Harvard; a B.S. with highest honors from UCLA; she teaches chemistry, physics, and math and coaches national competitions; she is a dancer and a musician; she writes science fiction novels that have won all kinds of awards including 2 Nebulas.

OK--now, it is possible to not only love the book, but to thoroughly admire the woman who works both hard science and science fiction!

Major Bhaajan, a former military officer, is now an experienced P.I.  On accepting a case from an anonymous but well-paying client, she ends up back in the city of Cries and working for  the Majda imperialists, who want her to find a runaway prince.  (Very interesting concept:  the men are kept isolated and treated, in general, as light-weights while the women rule and make all important decisions.  Ha!  The men are in the harem in this culture.)  

And then there is the Undercity and its inhabitants.  Here dwell the impoverished and marginalized--but the denizens of the Undercity have their own unique culture, and it is in the Undercity that Asaro's world-building shines.  Major Bhaajan comes from these tunnels deep in the earth, and although she has been gone a long time, she is uniquely qualified to understand the characters and the culture of the "city" that exists underneath the city of Cries.

Highly recommended for science fiction fans.

Read in Oct.;  blog post scheduled for Nov. 10

NetGalley/Baen Books

Science Fiction.  Dec. 2, 2014.  Print length:  304 pages.


  1. I've never read Catherine Asaro, but I think now that I might just have to give her books a try. :) Thanks for the review.

  2. :) It worked out nicely since it is Science Fiction Month. I really enjoyed this one!

  3. Ok, so I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but this does has an interesting premise and characterisation as well. Will have to think about this one.

  4. After reading Erased, I was thinking I ought to read more science fiction and this sounds like a great author to try. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Jenclair.

  5. Melody - The narrative is fast-paced and intense--a good story in a science-fiction setting! You might like it!

    Wendy - I have Erased on my list after your review, and I'm planning on reading more by Asaro.