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First Channel by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
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1583116,315 (3.46)1 / 6

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This is part of a series I loved in my teens that was published from the 1970s through the 1980s, and I don't believe any are in print. I find that a shame. Though I wouldn't count this a deathless science fiction classic featuring an awesome prose style such as that of say, Ursula LeGuin, it's one I enjoyed in the same way as books by Marion Zimmer Bradley or Anne McCaffrey. As good, solid action/adventure, often featuring romance and imaginative world-building. I own eight of the books, all I could track down after reading the first one--which was this one, First Channel.

The premise of this book is that in the far future humans have mutated into two different types. One kind, the Sime, feeds on the energy of the other kind, the Gen. But this mutation--or possibly genetic manipulation, erupted suddenly and violently, with Simes going through a change at adolescence in which they gained tentacles allowing them to rip the energy from Gens--causing death. And their cycle means they have to do it every month.

As a result, civilization collapsed and reemerged split into two sides. In the Gen society, when some adolescents change into Simes, they're immediately killed. In Sime society, if their energy settles into Gens, they become slaves and food. And parentage is no predictor. So parents raise children knowing that one way or the other they could lose them, see them become monsters or cattle.

Enter Rimon Farris and Kadi. They love each other, but there's a problem. Rimon can't seem to make it an entire month without needing to kill. And Kadi at sixteen still hasn't made the change. Then it turns out she's turned into a Gen. A nonperson. Food. And Rimon has to try to help her get to Gen territory without killing her himself--even if the separation breaks both their hearts. But as the title hints, they make a momentous discovery that just might allow Sime and Gen to live together without killing each other.

This is a fun read--solidly written with characters to care about and an appealing romance. And no, it's not "amazing" but it's a book I've read more than once because I so enjoy the world and characters, and this one is my second favorite in the series, after Ambrov Keon. Thus the four and a half stars, even if this isn't worthy of a Hugo or Nebula or Pulitzer, it's one that has more than earned a permanent place on by bookshelf. I think the series is fully comparable to, say, McCaffrey's Pern in quality and enjoyment even if not in popularity. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Jul 27, 2011 |
In the far future, the human race is divided into Sime and Gen, just as it is into male and female. Simes must take energy from Gens each month to live, but when they do so, the Gen dies. Can Rimon Farris, a Sime, save his wife, who is Gen, and learn to found a new way of life for both? ( )
  WingedWolf | Aug 5, 2006 |
In the far future, the human race is divided into Sime and Gen, just as it is into male and female. Simes must take energy from Gens each month to live, but when they do so, the Gen dies. Can Rimon Farris, a Sime, save his wife, who is Gen, and learn to found a new way of life for both? ( )
  WingedWolf | Apr 24, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jacqueline Lichtenbergprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lorrah, Jeanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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