A sci-fi adventure, a political drama, and a love story.
The colony of Maya has few habitable areas; and two distinct groups of
settlers. One group is "Changed" - genetically enhanced, confident in
their superiority. They live in a mountain complex, served by
technology that gives them every luxury. The other group, down below,
are more what we would see as "normal" humans - they live in a
crowded, poverty-stricken, but often joyous and life-filled community
called Babelion, that, due to its Hindu background, we might see as
bearing some resemblance to urban living in India today.
In a token nod to 'fairness,' the young people of both communities are
tested for ability together - if they can communicate with the
artificial intelligence than runs the mountain community, they are
allowed to live there. Of course, none of the young people from
Babelion ever pass the test. But the test provides an opportunity for
a young 'changed' woman, Della, to meet a boy from the other side of
the tracks - and her tryst results in her bearing a son, Anselm.
Unwelcome among his mother's people, Anselm grows up to become a
political leader and revolutionary firebrand in Babelion, agitating
for equal rights.
But more may be going on than just this local struggle, as a larger
drama is gradually revealed, involving the rulers of a galactic empire
which the forsaken people of Maya had entirely forgotten....
A rich and complex book - and a very enjoyable one. Shariann Lewitt is
definitely an under-recognized author.