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DREAMFALL by Joan D. Vinge


by Joan D. Vinge

Pub Date: June 5th, 1996
ISBN: 0-446-51627-9

 Another yarn featuring the half-human, half-Hydran, sometimes telepathic, always abused Cat (Catspaw, 1988, etc.). This time, on planet Refuge, Cat's employed by Tau Biotech to help plumb the secrets of the cloud-reefs, huge landforms composed of the solidified thoughts of the vast, enigmatic, floating, telepathic cloud-whales. But here, as everywhere, the psi-powered Hydrans are feared, hated, repressed, marginalized, and exploited. So when a human child is kidnapped by Hydran terrorists and held for ransom, Cat--he inadvertently helped the kidnapper--is immediately blamed by Tau's brutal police. Even when his innocence has been established, he's forced to act as a go-between--and the Hydrans mistrust Cat because his telepathy is blocked. Then Cat meets the kidnapper, the lovely Miya, and the two realize at once that they're destined soulmates. Unfortunately, Miya's sister Naoh, the chief terrorist, feels divinely inspired and intends to raise a planetary revolt. She's crazy, of course, and her plan would bring ruin to the Hydrans. Can Cat prevent a planetary disaster and hang on to Miya? The cloud-reef backdrop is spectacular but makes no sense. And despite Cat's streetwise upbringing, constantly alluded to, he hasn't learned anything useful, so his chronic suffering soon becomes tiresome. An overlong and mediocre addition to the series. (Author tour)