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6/02/2020 6:50 pm  #11

Re: Foreigner series observations

Absolutely. Wilson didn't like the Atevi at all. Hanks also did not like the Atevi. Of the Paidhi that we know about, 2 of the 3 don't like the Atevi. I don't think that is a coincidence. They were like that because they were chosen partly for that very trait. Wilson was doing his job exactly how State wanted him to do it. They were angry at Bren because he wasn't acting just like Wilson. 

That's why I like the Deliberations version of history better. In my canon, the government chose a whole bunch of potential Paidhi just like Wilson and Hanks. Bren had by far the best test scores but he was moved to almost the bottom of the list because he actually wanted to deal with the Atevi fairly which the government in power in the first 3 books didn't want to do. 

The Aji recognized that the Paidhi before Bren were hostile. Bren was the first one who he could work with. 


6/03/2020 7:17 pm  #12

Re: Foreigner series observations

Funny that the humans considered themselves to be superior to the atevi.  Here you have the small island of Mospheira, and how many humans on it?  Compared to the rest of the world, it's a small enclave. 
Now, Bren is in the aiji's court, not in the State Department's court, and even though he's a State Department employee, he's also the liaison with the aiji.  The humans might have greater technology, but they're at a disadvantage with numbers, and more importantly, raw materials.  It's doubtful they're going to get any further along without new technology from the ship, which hasn't yet shown, people like Gordon Hanks are living in a fantasy.  A dangerous fantasy that could make the War of the Landing look like a minor dustup.  How long before the aiji lays siege to the island and won't let supplies come in?  The humans don't have the weaponry that the atevi have, nor the innovative ingenuity that the Assassins Guild seems to be able to apply to the most innocuous technology.....oh well, just rambling...

"Those who can give up essential liberties in order to purchase a little extra security deserve neither liberty nor security." - Benjamin Franklin
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." - Marcus Aurelius

6/03/2020 9:29 pm  #13

Re: Foreigner series observations

Five books + Invitations into the series, I never really got the impression that the humans truly considered themselves superior. To me, they seemed to be split into three factions...

One was that the Atevi were superior to humans in everything except technology, and that drove fear that gave Hanks and his party power. They feared that after all their technology had been given, the Atevi would go to war and win again with nothing to use as a means of making peace. To the uninformed, it wouldn't seem unlikely considering the end to the last war was founded on the transfer of technology. If I remember correctly, in one of the early books even Bren himself had a touch of dread when he noted to himself that the Atevi were quickly approaching technological equilibrium with Mospheria. So their solution was to work with the faction of Atevi that wanted to end Bren and his technological support for Tabini, likely with the impossible hope of building Mospheria into a competent military force using their last remaining technology to make up for the lack of manpower or resources. All of that was done out of fear, fear coming from the fact that they knew the Atevi are better than them even at a technological disadvantage.

Another faction believed that the Atevi were unstable. Not superior or inferior, just dangerous when dealt with. The people in this group seemed more interested in hunkering down and hoping that the Atevi would ignore humans if humans ignored the Atevi. "Faction" isn't a very accurate word though, since as far as I understood, it was the position a fair amount of the public held and led to the majority of the Mospherian public's ambivalence to Bren and Hanks.

The last faction was Bren and his small contingent in the Foreign Office. They were the visionaries that realized the dynamics of the world had changed, that the peace agreement with the Atevi needed more than just the simple transfer of technology.

Last edited by Roci (6/04/2020 12:30 am)


6/04/2020 5:37 pm  #14

Re: Foreigner series observations

To  Roci,

I'm sure that some humans thought they were superior. There are always human that believe that their kind is inherently better then everyone else. The step from that to hating everyone else who isn't just like them is very short. I think that many people in Hanks circle are these types. 

Then there are the people like Bren and others in the Foreign Office and others who think that while the Atevi are different, they aren't inherently evil. We just need to figure out the best way to talk to them.

I believe that in the early books especially, most people don't think very much about the Atevi at all. The war happened 200 years ago. There's no one left alive who remembers the war first hand. It's distant history.  They rarely even thought about the Atevi. If someone talked about war with the Atevi, it would be like someone talking about a plague in the U.S.A. 6 months ago. "That's way in the past. It's never going to happen again. Why should we make any effort to stop something that's not going to happen anyway,"

When the ship came back, Bren's groups reaction was that we need to keep the Atevi in the loop and work together. Hank's group's reaction is that it's us or them. Kill or be killed. Most people just were waiting in fear of the unknown. 

Once Hank's group totally messed up, public opinion switched to Bren's group. Talking and cooperating is the right thing to do, it's much cheaper and it helps the economy. 

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7/03/2020 10:12 pm  #15

Re: Foreigner series observations

Joe - your post of 6/3 -- ramble on. I like it.

Wild about cats, handmade lace, CJ Cherryh.   politics junkie

7/03/2020 10:29 pm  #16

Re: Foreigner series observations

Roci and Dave: your posts of 6/3 and 6/4 are interesting. I agree with Dave that there does seem to have been a subgroup of Roci's group 1 that  did regard humans as superior to Atevi and were justified in trying to dominate them. If forget which book it was but somewhere Bren arrives at a new understanding of why the War of the Landing happened. (I think it is one of the later books, well after the 5th). It was a result of the sequence of people who parachuted down to the earth. The first landed just wanted a place to live in peace and have children. But the last down were the administrators, who had all along detested the ones in favor of landing and resisted to that until the station deteriorated and they had to leave. Bren says this bunch, believing they were the only ones capable of judging the situation (being super duper high powered administrators) and they then abrogated all the agreements that the first down had made with Atevi. The Atevi, not unreasonably, found this treacherous. They didn't understand human factions but expected agreements made to be permanent. The human attitude in this action is the essence of superior arrogance, I think. But, Roci, I absolutely agree with your other divisions. I think this "arrogant faction" were a small minority in your first group. Where else did the Human Heritage party come from?

Also interesting are the attitudes of the Shadow Guild, which exactly match the fears of Roci's first group. It seems there are groups on both sides, human and Atevi, which exactly match the fears of the other side. The problem is how large these hostile and suspicious factions are in their own populations.

It is uncanny how Cherryh's ideas so closely match modern American politics. I promise I won't discuss politics. But I keep hearing echoes.

Wild about cats, handmade lace, CJ Cherryh.   politics junkie

7/04/2020 8:12 pm  #17

Re: Foreigner series observations

I think that there are really 5 versions of Bren.

1) Bren Cameron the human. Mr. Cameron comes out when whenever he has to deal with other humans. 
2) Lord Bren - Lord of Najida - Bren's lesser title. He's the lord of a very small and very young territory. It's near the bottom of the list of importance except that it is in a very volatile part of the world.
3) A Paidhi. Bren acts as a paidhi between many people and groups. For example,
The Dowager and Machigi
The Aji and his wife at one point
The Aji and the Edi
And his first time, the dowager and the Aji

4) The Paidhi - He acts as a spokesman for the Aji. At times he is legally the Aji. When he negotiates with aliens. When he makes binding agreements with humans. When he was giving speeches in the Aji's name.

5) The Lord of the Heavens. On paper his greatest title.

Different people view him in different ways. 

1) Humans view him as just Bren.

2) I think that Tatiseigi views him as Lord Bren in the later books. In the first 6 books, uncle T viewed Bren as just another human. But Bren was made a lord off stage between Inheritor and Precursor. Uncle T next saw him in Destroyer. Bren risked his life for both Uncle T and the Heir multiple times in this book. Bren also gave Uncle T astute political advice on several occasions. He was in unacknowledged debt to Bren several times over but he wouldn't allow himself to be in debt to a human. But in debt to another lord is a different story. If Uncle T looks at Bren as a Lord rather than as a human, he can justify to himself treating Bren civilly, better than his own staff in many ways. 

3) A Paidhi. I think one of the things that cause the War of the Landing is people acting like a Paidhi like Bren without knowing or caring what they are doing. Bren can tell which people should be brought together and which should not, sometimes even before Ilisidi or the Aji. He suggested Geigi to Iliaisi and he suggested that Tatiseigi should make peace with the Taibeni Clan.He generally makes good suggestions because he understands the Atevi. When he gives poor advice it is usually because he is under informed.

4) Bren acting as the Paidhi and spokesman for the Aji. This is used least but it can be very useful for the Aji. The Aji cannot be everywhere. He cannot put himself in danger. But he has to show his face among his people in order to maintain their manchi. Bren speaking as the Aji can serve this purpose. He is accepted because he is almost always a peacemaker and he is not a threat to the Aji.

5) The Lord of the Heavens. This is rarely used. It seems to have 2 purposes. It's original purpose was to give him status against the Dowager. Her natural inclination is to just take control of a situation herself. But when she and Bren are in space, dealing with humans, Bren should be the one in charge. She knows it but she is naturally an Aji. However, on paper, the Lord of the Heavens in the heavens is a lord in his domain. And the Heavens is a big domain which on paper is potentially more powerful than the East or the Marid. The Dowager can defer to a lord in his own lands without losing status. If the Aji had not made Bren a major lord, the Dowager would have just taken over.
The other time it is used is by the Dowager to make a point. She considers Bren to be a close ally. When one of her enemies disrespects Bren and she wants to put them in their place she calls him the Lord of the Heavens. 

Last edited by scenario_dave (7/04/2020 8:52 pm)

     Thread Starter

7/04/2020 8:45 pm  #18

Re: Foreigner series observations

One thing that I've been wondering is how did an insignificant, young and small clan like Najida get a suite right next to the Aji's in the most desired living place on the planet.

Here is my head canon. 

Shejidan was from ancient times the most important city in the west because of its location. It prospered with trade with all of the clans including the distant east. It built a castle which acted as an embassy and trade center. The top and most important floor had 5 occupants.

1) The aji of Shejidan, 
2) The Aji of the east.
3) The lord of the central districts. Which was the Atageini from way back.
4) A clan which was powerful at the time but no longer exists.
5) The predecessor clan to the Najida.

Najida was just a tiny part of a very large and very powerful clan. But the clan's manchi fractured into many pieces over time. The last time it fractured was fairly recently. Probably sometime just before the War of the Landing. 
The Lord of the big older clan lived in the capital and traveled to Najida. They almost never went to the clan's capital. The Lords siblings ruled over the rest of the clans territory. Manchi broke and the original Lord kept manchi in the two places he visited regularly, the capital and Najida. The remainder of their territory broke up into many smaller clans. Much of it ended up being absorbed by other clans and eventually given to the Edi.  The original name of the clan belongs to the clans capital. Najida is considered to be a brand new clan. At this point the clan had lost its power so whenever they restored the capital a room or two was taken away and given to the larger clans leaving 3 huge apartments and 1 efficiency apartment. They kept the room because giving it to anyone else would cause such a fight it wouldn't be worth it. 

Bren actually inherited it because of several reasons. 
The locals would never accept a Lord from the central clans. They would kill them. They would also never accept someone from the Marid. But selecting the wrong local lord would be interfering in Edi politics. Bren was a total outsider. He didn't have any baggage. He could act in the best interest of the estate. You would also be putting the best negotiator on the planet in the most volatile place on the planet.  Bren's one of the few people who could talk to all of the parties involved. 

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7/05/2020 5:52 pm  #19

Re: Foreigner series observations

Dave - Very interesting analysis. My only mild objection is about how Bren got Najida.  At some point in the story Tabini says he wants Bren nearby for his own convenience. We don't see exactly how it happens but the implication is that Tabini simply gave the apartment to Bren at some point. I don't recall Cherryh using "Nabjida" as the name of the clan that used to hold Najida and the Bujavid apartment. She says they were Maladesi, a clan that died out, and the Farai claim to have inherited their claim. So it appears that when the Maladesi died out Tabinin just gave Bren their 2 properties, Najida and the Bujavid apartment.

Wild about cats, handmade lace, CJ Cherryh.   politics junkie

7/05/2020 8:04 pm  #20

Re: Foreigner series observations

lynxlacelady wrote:

Dave - Very interesting analysis. My only mild objection is about how Bren got Najida.  At some point in the story Tabini says he wants Bren nearby for his own convenience. We don't see exactly how it happens but the implication is that Tabini simply gave the apartment to Bren at some point. I don't recall Cherryh using "Nabjida" as the name of the clan that used to hold Najida and the Bujavid apartment. She says they were Maladesi, a clan that died out, and the Farai claim to have inherited their claim. So it appears that when the Maladesi died out Tabinin just gave Bren their 2 properties, Najida and the Bujavid apartment.

Your right that the clan name was Maladesi. I had forgotten and used Najida as a substitute. My bad.

My question is why did the Maladesi have an apartment in the most desired place in the entire world? There are 4 apartments on that floor:
1) The Aji, who is the ruler of the world, essentially.
2) The Dowagers who rules the east.
3) The Atageini - who are a very old, very large and very powerful clan
4) The Maladesi - A small extinct clan with two known properties, a small apartment right next to the Aji and a small estate.

CJ said several times that the Maladesi were a small, young and insignificant clan before they went extinct. How did they end up with an apartment in the most desired location on the planet? They had to have had it for centuries and why didn't they get pushed out of it sometime? 

     Thread Starter

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