The first novel by the Hugo and Nebula award-winning novelist Vonda N McIntyre, The Exile Waiting introduces the world that McIntyre later made famous with her multi-award-winning Dreamsnake.
In post-apocalyptic world in which Center, an enclosed domed city, is run by slave-owning families who control the planet’s resources and are strangling the city’s economy by their decadence, Mischa, a thirteen-year old sneak thief, is struggling to support her drug-addict elder brother Chris, and their predatory uncle who uses their telepathic link with their captive younger sister Gemmi to control them. The alien pseudosibs Subone and Subtwo have come to Earth to take over Center’s resources. Subone is attracted by the decadent living on offer and begins to unlink from his sibling’s conditioning. Subtwo has fallen unexpectedly in love with a slave.
When Mischa defends Chris from Subone’s malice, Subtwo hunts her beneath Center’s foundations, and discovers how terrible Center’s cruelty has been to its inhabitants with genetically distorted bodies and minds. They have to rescue them and leave… but how?