Cyteen (1988) is a Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel by C. J. Cherryh set in her Alliance-Union universe. The murder of a major Union politician and scientist has deep, long-lasting repercussions.
Founded in 2201 by a group of dissident scientists and engineers, the Cyteen star system includes the planet Cyteen and Cyteen Station. Cyteen declared its independence from Earth in 2300 CE and now serves as the capital of Union. It is located at Lalande 46650 (BD+01 4774).
The planet's atmosphere is moderately toxic to humans, necessitating enclaves, or semi-encapsulated city-states, which influences Union's political outlook. Cyteen is seen as the antithesis of Earth; the heart of Union is the research facility Reseune, the center of all research and development of human cloning. Cloned "Azi" provide the additional population Union needs to exist and expand, a policy which Earth and the Alliance, Union's main rival, deplore and refuse to sanction.
Azi are incubated in vitro in "womb-tanks", but citizen or "CIT" babies can also be cloned the same way, for example to replace a dead child. The fundamental difference between azi and regular humans is that they are educated from birth via "tape", a computer-controlled combination of conditioning and biofeedback training. This technology is not limited to azi; it is used by normal humans as well, though to a lesser extent and after they have a chance to develop (i.e. usually after the age of six). This results in profound psychological differences; for example, humans are much more capable of handling new and uncertain situations, while azi are able to concentrate better.
The overall educational programme of an azi is referred to as his or her "psychset". Designing tapes is an extremely complex discipline since a badly designed psychset can cause azi to become emotionally unstable.