Heavy Time by C.J. Cherryh
The Company Wars #4
“Cher. Death is. Pain’s life. And there’s, above all, sons of bitches.” – Meg Kady
This novel is about two asteroid miners in the belt who rescue a survivor from another mining vessel. The story in the foreground is about the miners and how they plan to set off for their next mission to collect ore and deal with this survivor from the wreck. The background story is about the politics of Earth (Earth Company) and ASTEX (MamaBitch) who controls the mining in the asteroid belt.
I really enjoyed this novel. Yes, it gets bogged down a times with lots of conversations about the characters feelings. It should've been editing down. It did really convey in a real way what it could actually like to be an asteroid miner, and what the politics of a mining colony in the asteroid belt could look like. She really gets down to details in what the crews do in the mining, and their off time (heavy time) in the mining station. Her grasp on computers is sometimes funny as I am now reading this in 2021 while this was written 20 years ago. Great world building though!
I don't know why I haven't heard of her before. This feels like the classic sci-fi written in the 70s & 80s. I am glad to have discovered her and now am endeavoring to read more of the series. Now, hers seems to be a bit of a tricky series for ordering (read below).
Note about the series from Wikipedia:
The Company Wars
According to the author, the novels in this universe, except Heavy Time and Hellburner (which were subsequently re-published in one volume as Devil to the Belt), can be read in any order. Those two books are chronologically the earliest in the series.
- Downbelow Station (1981) – Hugo Award winner, Locus Award nominee, 1982
- Merchanter's Luck (1982) (also published in the Alliance Space (2008) omnibus)
- Rimrunners (1989) – Locus Award nominee, 1990
- Heavy Time (1991)
- Hellburner (1992) (Devil to the Belt (2000) – single-volume edition of Heavy Time and Hellburner)
- Tripoint (1994)
- Finity's End (1997) – Locus Award nominee, 1998
So it sounds like I did a good thing by picking up Heavy Time first. I really dig the hardcover cover. I now need to read Hellburner. One point others have made about Heavy Time is that there is a lot going on down on Earth but we only hear background chatter about it in this book. Apparently you find out more about those events in the 'first book', Downbelow Station.
All-in-all, this was a great book but got bogged down in the middle with too much minutia and superfluous dialogue.