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9/01/2020 7:23 pm  #1

Cherryh's other books and other series.

This topic is for discussions of any and all of Cherryh's work--themes and ideas that reappear. About her writings other than the FOREIGNER series.

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

9/01/2020 7:29 pm  #2

Re: Cherryh's other books and other series.

I have been thinking about CJ's writings, and how they express certain ideas which keep on reappearing. One that interests me, probably the most, is that so many of her books, not just the FOREIGNER series, deal with a human dropped into an alien civilization, and then he has to cope. The really interesting part is that her human isolate individuals all get dropped into that situation by different means. It is like she is thinking "how many different ways can a human be confronted with an alien civilization. She doesn't repeat just one method over and over, but there are variations in how it happens.

For instance, Bren chooses, he does it to himself, seemingly based on his fascination with atevi, and his appointed task of preventing another war.

Haras/Thorn in COCKOO'S EGG is a clone developed to save the shonun from possibly vengeful humans. His whole life and existence is planned by the Shonun without his permission or agreement.

Aiella (not actually a human)  in HUNTER OF WORLDS is kidnapped and used by the iduve for their own purposes. (Every time I read that book I find myself thinking "is she trying to suggest how a cat or dog feels when a human takes them into the human home, without asking the cat or dog's opinion?" It might better reflect a cat's opinion than a dog's.) A human is also kidnapped by the iduve, but he is less important in the story than Aiella the Kalia.

Duncan among the mri has chosen to stay with them because he wants to understand what was killed when the   regul  bombed the mri ship in port at Kesrith.

Tully among the hani -- kidnapped by the kif, he preferred the hani, and just invited himself.

The humans on the world of the nighthorses (the Cloud series) arrived as a colony ship and had no idea what the world had in store for them. The nighthorses approached the humans and chose to make a partnership with humans.

The humans and calibans in 40 THOUSEAND IN GEHENNA were mutually taken by surpries. The humans were dropped on Gehenna by a manipulatvie human government for nefarious political purposes. The calibans took initiative to deal with them, and just incorporated the humans into their world.

This all strikes me as somewhat like what a visual artist does (or as I do in designing lace). An idea pops into one's head, but with several possible variations on the idea. So part of the process of creating is deciding what to chop out, what to censor, which variant will be the final one. And sometimes the artist creates a series so that several of the variations make it into the final work.

Last edited by lynxlacelady (10/29/2020 5:05 pm)

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

9/03/2020 8:12 pm  #3

Re: Cherryh's other books and other series.

 I just recently finished rereading the Faded Sun trilogy. Interesting how she takes the same theme or issue and explores it from different directions. Bren among the atevi. Duncan among the mri. Thorn/Haras among the shonun. Tully among the hani. The situation of each of these humans among the aliens is subtly different. It is like a visual artist who paints the same object 7 times, each a little different.

I think of it as human empathy dealing with aliens when the aliens have problems. In KUTATH one of the regul says " ...this absorptive tendency in our allies. A human named Stavros imitated our ways. A human named Duncan imitated (mri) so succesfully he is transformed. This is beyond courtesy. This is a mechanism. This is a biological mechanism by which humans survive. ... There is one human who walks from among them who allows himself to to become Impressed, who becomes the enemy...who then bridges the gap. One sacrifice. One transformation." page 100 paperback edition. (I originally posted these comments in a facebook group.)

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

10/29/2020 5:14 pm  #4

Re: Cherryh's other books and other series.

I just recently reread the Rusalka series. And I remembered something in RIDER AT THE GATE. In both series CJ plays with the idea of "how does an animal think". We have often discussed her insertion of Cajeiri's Point Of View in the FOREIGNER series. But in RIDER AT THE GATE and the last 2 in Rusalka -- CHERNEVOG and YVGENIE she gets into the mind of the horses or nighthorses. Throughout the last 2 Rusalka books she has Sasha listening to the horses or trying to think like them to mask himself from other wizards. In RIDER AT THE GATE there is a very funny account, of several pages, where Stuart is trying to get Burn, his nighthorse, to cross a damaged suspension bridge. It starts on page 309 of the paperback edition. They trade mind pictures back and forth, with the horse expressing his opinion in the images he sends.
I can't say if she gets close to real horse thinking, since I know nothing about actual horses. But it definitely adds to the story. What do you all think?

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

10/29/2020 5:32 pm  #5

Re: Cherryh's other books and other series.

I think I need to read Rider and Cloud again!  It’s been along time, and I really enjoyed them. Nver could get into the Rusalka books.

As to horses, nighthorses seem way different, food preferences aside. 

Last edited by Aja Jin (10/29/2020 5:38 pm)


10/30/2020 9:24 am  #6

Re: Cherryh's other books and other series.

I actually just finished reading the Cloud series this past week. I liked it and wish there was another book or two to explore that fascinating wilderness where no one has been before. Sending a party up there to follow up on the ending of Cloud's Rider would have been a good excuse, but I suppose it will have to remain to the imagination.

On most Cherryh stories, I have glowing reviews of the aliens and animals, but something stood out to me after finishing the Cloud Series: The nighthorses are almost exactly the same as the dusei in the Faded Sun Trilogy!

Both are telepathic, both select and bond with a specific human or mri, and both have a strong risk of losing their sanity and going rogue if their chosen person dies or rejects them. They are both said to have chosen to bond with humans and mri because they find humanoid minds fascinating and addicting. They make people terrible liars in their presence if they aren't skilled at maintaining their composure under pressure. They are both seemingly the apex predators of their environments.

I liked both series very much, and the nighthorses especially made a good focus for a Space Western story. All the stories by Cherryh that I've read have so much variety that nighthorses and dusei stood out for being so similar.

Last edited by Roci (10/30/2020 9:30 am)


10/30/2020 12:38 pm  #7

Re: Cherryh's other books and other series.

I just finished rereading Cuckoo’s Egg and Paladin- both very much stand alone, very complete in themselves, and among my very favorites. Cuckoo has all the exploration of the other that permeates much of her work. Paladin shares with it and with some of the others the weapons training as part of a philosophy of life. But it really is different from the rest, in a good way. 


10/30/2020 4:28 pm  #8

Re: Cherryh's other books and other series.

I went back to the Fortress series....the favorite of those is "Fortress of Dragons".  When I first read "Fortress in the Eye of Time", it felt kind of slow, as though I were orienting myself to a new world - well, I WAS!!!!

I've still not resolved a question I asked CJC about the series.  In "Fortress of Dragons", Hasufin is no longer a viable entity, when Tristan faces down the evil in the gray space.  In fact, she mentions that Hasufin can't even pull himself back together even with bits of straw and dust.  Yet, in "Fortress of Ice", guess who's back, with Orien Aswydd.  Those wizards are a tricky bunch, no? 

Even Tarien changes, although I guess if I had to sit as a prisoner in what was my own home, while my son is out running around doing princely and wizardly stuff, I might turn sour, too.

"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

10/30/2020 4:35 pm  #9

Re: Cherryh's other books and other series.

Aja Jin - One thing I find especially interesting in the Rusalka stories, is how whenever one of the good wizards wishes someone safe, Babi pops up. And it isn't until the end of the 3rd volume that the significance becomes clear. Wish Babi safe, and that enables Babi to eat the vodyanoy.

Roci - I agree with your wish for another Cloud book, just as you describe it. But I never made a connection between nighthorses and dusei. Very interesting idea.

Kokipy - Cuckoos Egg is one of my favorites, too. I have enjoyed Paladin, but there aren't any aliens!

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

3/01/2021 7:05 pm  #10

Re: Cherryh's other books and other series.

I have just reread the Morgaine series. 2 things come to mind. The stories revolve around the idea of a stargate for instantaneous travel, and around the idea of 2 souls in 1 body. These ideas do occur in other scifi stories. (and the TV drama STARGATE.) Some of you are very well and widely read in scifi literature. I'm wondering where those 2 ideas started. What author first expressed those ideas -- body sharing and star gate? Do any of you know who those writers might be? And how old are those ideas?

Last edited by lynxlacelady (3/03/2021 6:51 pm)

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

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