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Apr. 10th, 2006 @ 12:52 am The Kif are not my friends. ( Let the discussions begin!)
At least by first impressions I believe I would not get along with the Kif, especially Mr. A the one that I think will end up being quite a bit of trouble.

To start off our discussion, though perhaps a bit belatedly, I'm just going to write some of my observations and some questions and see what the responses are. If you have other comments or questions please feel free to jump in and post them. I should also warn you that I am horrible with pronunciations (not too much of a problem here, thank goodness) but also with names and such in unfamiliar tongues (see above Mr. A as opposed to Akukkakk). This may be a bit random. It's going to be stream of thought.

*What do you think of Pyanfar?
I have to like any woman who takes as much pleasure in a shower as I, even if she happens to be a lion-like creature. Lions have never struck me as shower takers. She strikes me as experienced, brave, faulty, scared, strong, prideful, a leader, compassionate. She seems to want to do the best by those who mean the most to her (her crew, other hani) but also those who aren't so close to her (other innocent races (obviously not the kif), the outsider. It will be interesting to see how the relationship between her and her niece, Hilfi, plays out. Pyanfar reminds me of a quote (paraphrased) from U-571, "You are ready to be a captained when you can sacrifice the life of one of your men for the lives of the rest of your men." Essentially you have to make the very tough decisions for the greater good.

*How do you feel about the role of men in Hani society? They appear to be the weaker, more emotional sex according to Pyanfar.
I find it very entertaining that the men are the ones that must be coddled. It is the women who are the adventurers and such. Though it seems that on world men do have great power, they don't leave the world and it is best not to have too many men in one family. I also wonder where this thread will lead.

*How would you feel and react as the Outsider? (I'm making the assumption he's human. He certainly sounds like it.) Does he understand his situation? Why do you think he boarded the Pride.


Ok, your turn...
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mer_lowe:
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From:toxicrock
Date:April 10th, 2006 01:34 pm (UTC)
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hee hee.. so I'm on like chapter 5, I didn't know how far we were supposed to read. So I'll write more later when I'm not at work and am supposed to be doing other things. more later.....
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From:mer_lowe
Date:April 11th, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
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Congrats on getting icons. I still need to do that...
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From:toxicrock
Date:April 11th, 2006 01:46 am (UTC)

Thoughts from the East

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So, first off, this is the first sci-fi/fantasy that I have read in a while, and I quite enjoyed it. I was struck by the adeptness that Cherryh used at introducing us to the world and beings which live in it. First off, using the time-tested method of introducing an "other," In this case, the Outsider. The "other" is used to contrast to the normal people, cultures and everyday doings in the character's minds. As Pyanfar tries to figure out what the Outsider is, she introduces us to all the other species, and because she herself is a trader (of course, trade is the way that all cultures define each other) she puts in her side comments about how each species fits into her life and her world. It's not as boring as it could be and serves to introduce us both to the fantasy world as well as to Pyanfar and how she thinks.

1.)Pyanfar, interesting twist, the all female ship, and her being the strong leader. Like Zoe Washburn! ahhah go Firefly, applicable in ALL situations. Having read past Chapter III, I'd have to say that she grows on you, but I am not under the impression that she is our instant friend. You aren't drawn to her, but she serves as a logical voice in which to view the story from. THis is a good kind of character to use as a first person, because think, if we saw the story through Halfi's eyes, emotion would cloud the situation enough, and given that we don't really know what the situation is to begin with, it would be hard to follow the story.

2.) I'm guessing the author is a woman. And I'm proud to know that no only did she make the women the adventurers, and the warriors, but she'/he didn't make the mistake of entirley switching roles so that the evils of sexism still exist, just in opposites. It seems from the brief hint of what we heard, at least among the Chanur, that the men are the heart of the business end of living, and to some extent have power, but mostly planet side, and deal with everyday matters.. I suppose that if humans go into space there will have to be a seperation of who has the skills to work planet side, and who has them to work in the black, similar to skills for working in the home and at the office. I think this string of story will play out only in that the hani will have to accept the Outsider as a male, and powerful in his own right, even in the black.

3.)As of Chapter III the OUtsider hasn't played much of a coherent role. I know hes human 'cause it said so on my fly leaf, plus there is a picture on the jacket. More, I cannot say, because I'm too far along in the book.

Looking forward to hearing from the rest of you.

-turk
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From:faeriemere
Date:April 11th, 2006 03:33 am (UTC)

'Can't rest is a cheat on the ship.'

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Thoughts on Pyanfar: I like her. She's prickly, proud, and withdrawn, but not cocky or ignorant. She has a lot of experience under her belt and seems to have fairly sound judgement. Her relationship with Hilfy adds an interesting dynamic to the story; I agree that it'll be interesting to watch that develop.

That's a good quote for where Pyanfar is at the end of chapter three.

On a side note, it amuses me how much her name sounds like 'panther'.

I'm curious about hani males. I agree with everything that has been said about them so far, and I'm hoping that we'll learn more about hani gender roles as the story progresses. The whole idea of (more or less?) equal authourity but different competencies intrigues me.

Ditto Turk about the Outsider: My book description and cover art also indicate that he's human. Still, I'd have guessed as much from the description in the text. His portrayal as, well, the Outsider, is a great perspective. Even knowing that he's human and therefore sympathising with him, I am forced to see him as an alien simply because Pyanfar is the protagonist. It works surprisingly well. His reactions are what one might expect, yet they come across as puzzling, presented as they are from Pyanfar's uncomprehending point of view.

I love the language instruction unit. That just strikes me as ingenious.

Another note on the different species: Cherryh's construction of that universe is brilliant. She does an excellent job of portraying extremely different species (what an imagination!). Personally, I think the oxy- versus meth-breathers dichotomy especially creative, and the use of 'gtst' to refer to the stsho gender is just genius.
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From:toxicrock
Date:April 11th, 2006 12:52 pm (UTC)

Re: 'Can't rest is a cheat on the ship.'

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the oxy vs methane breathers us definatly creative, though as a chemist, I just don't see it working. You can't breath carbon... even plants breath in oxygen with their carbon!
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From:faeriemere
Date:April 11th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)

Re: 'Can't rest is a cheat on the ship.'

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Is a carbon/oxygen-less atmosphere actually impossible?
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From:toxicrock
Date:April 12th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)

Re: 'Can't rest is a cheat on the ship.'

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Not impossible to exist, but to the extent that I understand chemistry, nothing close to what exists on earth could breath methane, or some other carbon only molecule. Carbon just isn't all that reactive, and it would be very hard to extract the carbon from the methane, and wouldn't be very usefull. Plus, if what you needed to live was carbon, injesting (like we do) would be a much better way of assimilating it. (i'm such a dork...and can you believe I know all this and am still failing Chem?)
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From:faeriemere
Date:April 12th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)

Re: 'Can't rest is a cheat on the ship.'

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I'm guessing that the meth-breathers are supposed to be extremely different from anything that exists on Earth.

Regardless, I have no idea how the chemistry of methane or carbon (or oxygen, for that matter) works, so I'll just have to take your word for it. (No, I would never guess from what you just said that you're failing Chem.)
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From:mer_lowe
Date:April 13th, 2006 04:35 am (UTC)

Re: 'Can't rest is a cheat on the ship.'

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Sorry I have been absent on the posts, but I promise I have been reading them. And I have to admit that I have also read ahead (perhaps past the next stopping point but I just couldn't help myself). How far has everyone else read? Tell me what I can actually chat about.

I, too, am curious about hani males. Even more so about the way the genders interact both on world and off world. The black seems to be the female realm. It is interesting to see how hard it is for Pyanfar to imagine a male being allowed in space. She keeps wanting to call the Outsider it.

Turk I am very proud that you have added the firefly references.

I like Cherryh's description of the universe and the way she set it up but I do get a bit confused. Then again that could be my lack of training in the world of sci if. I am much better in seeing different races than in just reading about them.

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From:faeriemere
Date:April 14th, 2006 01:15 am (UTC)

Re: 'Can't rest is a cheat on the ship.'

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No worries; you're hardly the only one who's been absent. *coughBetsCarriecough*

Chat away; just post spoiler warnings. The easiest way is to put a cut in your post or name your comment something like 'Spoilers for after chapter [?]'. I admit that I've only gotten through chapter three, myself; I'll probably do 5-7 tomorrow and/or Saturday.

The 'it' thing is funny, isn't it? Everyone else on her crew has gotten used to the idea of him being male (at least, they're reasonably comfortable referring to him as 'him'). I wonder why she's having such difficulties....

That's one of the things I like about literary sci-fi, actually. Audiovisual sci-fi can be dreadfully unimaginative with alien species. Note how almost all aliens in television and film are humanoid.
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From:coventry_lance
Date:April 14th, 2006 03:47 am (UTC)
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I am sorry I haven't discussed anything. I'm even more sorry 'cause I haven't finished the first section. I will make sure I catch up to speed this next week.

That said, I really like Pyanfar, and fear something awful is going to happen to Hilfy.

By the way, if I was on that ship, I think I'd be annoyed by the way Pyanfar practically coddles Hilfy at points. But maybe the fact they're all family helps them understand?
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From:mer_lowe
Date:April 14th, 2006 05:53 am (UTC)

Coddling

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I think the fact that Hilfy is possibly the next in line to command the Pride and it's her first space voyage the crew understands that specail circumstances apply.
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From:toxicrock
Date:April 14th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Coddling

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true, and we don't know if that is standard procedure for ANY female's maiden voyage. But it does irritate me that Pyanfar is always thinking how she needs to be hard on Hilfy, and then isnt. Seems to me that the hani race hasn't left ALL sentimentality to the males!
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From:faeriemere
Date:April 15th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
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Whyever not? What have you been doing with yourself? You don't even have school as an excuse! *restrains self from further indignation*

*sheepishly* Sorry.

I agree with Mer about Hilfy: It seems to me that she's a special case. And I don't think that Pyanfar is coddling Hilfy, exactly. She's just hard on her in a different way.
From:lilmssuzieq
Date:April 14th, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC)
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I haven't even got the book yet.... *ducks for cover* I have been meaning too, and I really want a book to read that isn't for school... Shall go to the library soon and catch up....
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From:coventry_lance
Date:April 27th, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
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Okay, so here goes.

I like Pyanfar a lot. The worst thing about her is I can't decide how to pronounce her name! Really, is it like pie-an-far or pea-an-far? She gives it three syllables when talking to Tully. And I liked her from the beginning.

I think I like how it's a female ship.

I had a hard time learning to like Tully. Felt sorry for him, yes, but didn't like him. Really, he's rather personality-less, at least at first.

I keep getting the other species confused. The knn sing, so that's easy. The kif are the tall bad guys in dark cloaks, okay. Which are the mahendo'sat and which are the stsho? And what does mahe mean again?

I also have that trouble with places. Where's Kita? How does the jumping work? I haven't read sci-fi in quite some time, and it's driving me up a wall trying to figure it out. After a while, I just figure it's not necessary to remember.

Have read through part of 7 now, but have to leave for teaching a dance lesson really soon, but I will keep catching up with this stuff. Love your guys' input!

Oh, which two Hani are short and which two are big? I think Tirun is one of the large sisters, and Chur is one of the small ones, but beyond that, I'm not sure anymore, and little details like that bug me.

And either Cherryh's English skills are awful, or my reading skills are, 'cause I've been having so much trouble following her sentences. I keep having to re-read and re-read to understand what's going on, not plot-wise, but just sentence by sentence. Is anyone else having this trouble?
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From:faeriemere
Date:April 28th, 2006 03:24 am (UTC)
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I think of Pyanfar pronouncing her name with a slurred y. Sounded out, it's something like 'pee-AN-far', but said normally, it would sound more like the second i in 'California'. Not that it matters. You can pronounce it however you like; the only person who can really say how it ought to be said is Cherryh, herself.

Mahe is, I think, the singular adjective and noun form of 'mahendo'sat'. The mahendo'sat are a species; a mahe is an individual. A mahe captain is a captain belonging to the mahendo'sat species. A mahen ship (note the adjective ending; it seems to differ depending on whether it's being applied to people or things) is a ship made by the mahendo'sat. The mahendo'sat seem to be tall and dark-furred, and possibly vaguely humanoid. At any rate, they seem to possess four limbs, two of which they use to walk upright, and a single head. And we know that they breathe oxygen.

The stsho are also tall, but smooth-skinned, and I think I recall something about them having four arms. (I could be getting that last bit mixed up with another species. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.) Heavily into makeup; hermaphroditic and therefore not 'he' or 'she', but gst. Also oxy-breathers but apparently at the edge of hani understanding.

Kita Point is an intermediate system. The jump from Urtur to Kirdu was too big for the Pride to manage at once, so they had to break it into two inter-system jumps: Urtur to Kita and Kita to Kirdu.

Jumping is this universe' equivalent of warp speed, zero space, or whatever other faster-than-light travel you can think of. They jump between systems, but slow down to sub-light-speed in-system. There's more to the physics of jumping, obviously, as indicated by the Pride's limitations and so forth, but I haven't quite picked up on all of it yet. Something about travelling between masses and carrying mass to be able to travel further during jumps...?

Haral and Tirun are the bigger pair of sisters; Geran and Chur are the smaller pair. Haral is also the oldest crewmember.

Occasionally, I've had trouble following the writing, but I figure it's just me not being able to concentrate. I've been having the same problem with most of the other reading I've been doing as well lately, fun or otherwise. Your brain might just be on overload from school.