I expect to enjoy this, since I liked Cyteen (this is the sequel), but man, the political economy of the intro doesn't make any sense to me. "Frontier conditions" on space stations -- stations with no obvious economic import. 3/4 million people in Alliance! Millions in Union! Vs. billions on Earth! Though Union's *trends*, with azi birthlabs and an apparent monopoly on rejuv, make sense.
But if you've got half a million people around Pell, why are you settling tens of thousand in other solar systems? Aaaargh.
Giving your old enemy a trade monopoly in your own space? Especially when you were more or less winning? I hope I don't have to re-read Downbelow Station and Cyteen.