Dreamfall by Joan D. Vinge Half human, half Hydran, Vinge's young protagonist, Cat, has always been an outcast in the world of the mid-21st century... In this richly detailed and suspenseful sequel to Catspaw (1989), Cat travels to the planet Refuge, home to the only surviving enclave of Hydrans, a once-powerful race of psions, or telepaths, whose nonviolent culture left them at the mercy of aggressive human expansion. As part of a research team sent to study the cloud-whales, aerial creatures whose lifecycle may hold the key to advances in nanotechnology, Cat also hopes to learn more about his alien heritage. When he inadvertently helps a young Hydran woman kidnap a human child, however, he is swept into a deadly conflict between the two races. Vinge deftly twists together multilayered plot strands as misguided loyalties and fanaticism, both human and Hydran, propel events toward inevitable disaster. Although the story loses momentum near the end, it deftly explores themes of family and loyalty. And, as always, Cat proves a sensitive and engagingly stubborn narrator. Author tour.