I think I must have discovered Cyteen sometime in 1995. It was certainly in my life by the summer of 1996. I have a memory of sitting in the dark cool pantry on one of the stray buckets of flour, reading it, sometime in the summer. Sometimes I wish that library checkout records from my teenage years existed, and that I could get copies of them, because it would in some ways be useful to have that to check up on myself.
The book came at a crucial time in my teenage development: it was about the development of identity, psychology, and ethics; I had learned what I could absorb at that time from my parents, and was hungrily trying to absorb all that I could from the world around me. The concept that one had the responsibility to track one's inputs; the concept that all ideas had an external source, some seed that sparked it; the concept that one was responsible for examining and re-examining one's processes and tracking when they were not sound: all of these were things that I hadn't thought of and found that I was desperately in need of knowing.
If I discovered it in 1995, that means that I've been waiting 14 years, give or take, for a sequel. And this is that sequel.
Of course it's flawed. I spotted two discontinuities (one very minor, one potentially major but glitching off a minor detail in the first), and the first hundred pages or so are dry and the sentence flow is awkward. By 200 pages in, all awkwardness seems to have disappeared, and the pace has picked up and things are happening. The first book takes place over more than a decade. This takes place in less than a year. There are plot threads left hanging for Book 3, but some of the nagging questions from Cyteen are answered. I startled raranax by purr-trilling at some of the best bits. The author's own love for complex aquarium setups shows up in some loving but minor details. There's psych, and plottery, and HITTING (yes, actual hitting too!!) and intrigue, and backstabbing, and computer bits, and complex machinations of catering, and that red pillow. Got to love that red pillow.