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Apr. 15th, 2006 @ 12:58 pm "That kif wants killing." Discussion though chapter 7 unless otherwise stated.
Oh boy, oh boy!!! So much has happened in this section. I'm goign to touch on what struck me the most. Please respond to my observations but also share what struck you. Randomness shall ensue.

*My overwhelming emotions to this section revolve around Tully. I sympathize with him greatly. First he and his crew have the most unfortunate luck to run into the kif upon first entering into a new galaxy. The kif promptly kill all but four of them. Slowly torturing and killing two of the remaining crew members. After they they torture his last companion Tully is forced out of compassion to kill his sole surviving friend. I am honestly not sure that I would be strong enough to do that. I'd like to think so but I'm not so sure. Not only does he have to live wiht the fact that he has killed his friend but he is now the only human left. No more companions to relate to, to suffer with, to communicate with. And he is very well aware of what the kif will most likely do to him, not a pretty picture.

*I love the fact that the reason Tully boarded the Pride was because he saw her crew without weapons, who though they shooed him away were not mean, but most importantly, they laughed. Their laughter brought him to them.

*The comunication tapes. Tully gave them in good faith to Pyanfar and she literally traded them with the mahe. I'm not sure yet whether I trust the mahe or not. I understand that she may not of had much choice and it could turn out to be a very good move but three of Tully's crew members died at the hand of the kif for that information. It sort of feels like she sold Tully. On the other hand I believe it was a very good move to get him registered as a member of her crew. As a civilized sapient that is of value so that he can't be claimed as property, which I fear he still might.

*Very cool scene where they are back in the airlock so Tully cna now understand all that is happening and Pyanfar doesn't realize it. I understand his anger and his fear and his exhaustion. He really has nothing to leverage with. He is completely in the hands of whoever happens to claim him at that moment, even with his papers. He blindly follows. Pyanfar realizes this and depises him for it even though she must depend on his blindingly following for the Pride's sake. Interesting paradox. I would love to know what the rest of the Pride's crew feels about Tully and his situation. And I wonder what Pyanfar would do in his situation.

*I liked the fact that Cherryh points out that just because a person is of the same species does not mean she is a friends and just because she is not of the same species doesn't mean she is an enemy.
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Date:April 18th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)

'Gods. A sentence.'

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A lot has happened in these four chapters. I feel a bit dazed by it all.

My overwhelming emotions, honestly, are starting to attach to Pyanfar. Tully is presented as so completely other; I feel like we know the hani, have some background on them, know where they're coming from. Especially Pyanfar. That makes it easier to sympathise with them. We know nothing about Tully, and his constant depiction as weak and, well, alien is affecting me. (Yes, I'm manipulable. So sue me.)

It also bothers me that he's being so wishy-washy. I don't see Pyanfar's move as a betrayal; she did what she had to do. He'd probably have done the same in her shoes: nothing to barter and in desparate need of repairs, and credit clearly doesn't go down so well with the mahendo'sat; one uses whatever resources one has. And anyhow, Tully doesn't even know that she traded away the tapes. He couldn't understand the transaction and Pyanfar never mentioned the tapes to Dur Tahar; he's just making assumptions based one what Pyanfar did say to Dur, and reaching considerably worse conclusions than are accurate.

Yes, I feel sorry for him and sympathise with him to a degree. He's been through a lot, and of course it's horrible what the kif did to him and his crew. Furthermore, it's got to be rough, being alone in a strange place, unable to understand anyone except in very limited conditions, and not knowing if he'll ever get back home or see another human as long as he lives. And I'm also not sure if the mahendo'sat are trustworthy. But Tully chose to go with the hani (and, by the way, I also love that he was drawn to them by their laughter), and Pyanfar has been trying, in her way, to do right by him. I wish he would make a greater effort to trust her and stand by his own decision.

It's interesting that the rest of the crew seems to have warmed up to Tully considerably more than Pyanfar has. Chur's constant physical contact with him during the negotiations with the mahendo'sat was particularly indicative of that fact. I wonder if/when that will change. Also if Pyanfar's aversion to touch is characteristic of the hani or unique to her.

I do agree that getting Tully's papers was a brilliant move. And I enjoyed the aside about how his signature couldn't possibly be anything but the writing of a sapient.

I really, really want to know what the frak Tully's ship was doing in unknown space without weapons. And I sincerely hope that it isn't because the human race has reached some nirvana state where they don't fight each other anymore.

I'm curious how the relations with the Tahar will play out. I feel a bit lost, not knowing the cause of the antipathy between Chanur and Tahar (is it just that they don't know each other well, or is there more to it than that?), and I half want to believe that Tahar is really willing to help. But the airlock scene seems to indicate otherwise; Dur Tahar certainly wasn't entirely friendly, and we've already seen that the hani have agendas of their own.

Since we've already discussed gender roles a bit.... The Voice was female, but the Personage male. Is this a trend among the mahendo'sat?

The jumps from Urtur to Kita were, I thought, excellently portrayed. Very suspenseful, very creative; I particularly liked that Cherryh pointed out that the body does not do so well when changing direction at extremely high speeds. I'm curious about the physics behind jumping: how far a ship can jump, why it needs a specific destination and a mass to pull it out of jump, what happens when a ship can't dump velocity quickly enough.... Has anyone noticed a specific term used for the in-between space that ships travel during jump? I keep wanting to call it 'zero space', but that's a different sci-fi 'verse.

Knnn, t'ca, and chi intrigue me. Especially the knnn, as they've figured so much in the chase, and as human space seems to lie beyond knnn space. I hope we get to learn more about them.
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Date:April 21st, 2006 05:35 am (UTC)

Re: 'Gods. A sentence.'

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I think the Tahar are a rival clan and are up to no good for Chanur. They have their own interests at stake. Not that I can really blame them, but I am not sure charity/compassion is a part of their vocab. One could argue about whether it is in Pyanfur's or not. I'm fairly positive it is in Chur's because of the way she treats Tully. Or is she babying him because she knows he's male.

I want to know more about the knnn-kif relationship. Something else is going on there.

As for humans in space without weapons. I too hope it is not because we have reached a state of non-war. I just can't see that happening. But I can see them/us sending out a non-armed scientific exploration vessel (what do we send out now?). That naivety I can believe.
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Date:April 21st, 2006 01:33 pm (UTC)

Re: 'Gods. A sentence.'

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Clearly, Tahar and Chanur are rivals, but why? Just to be rivals? Because they live on opposite sides of the planet and don't have much opportunity to be friendly? Because there's some ongoing feud? That's what I'm wondering.

Charity and compassion don't seem to sit well with the hani, I agree. But I'm an optimist (sometimes), and I'd like to think that they mean well. And anyway, what does Tahar want? Aside from Chanur's humiliation.

I suppose that's possible, yes. Good point. Which now causes me to wonder what the posited time-frame for this is. Could it be, say, the late twentieth/early twenty-first century, when people are only just capable of intersystem travel? (Noting, of course, that Cherryh wrote these in the early '80s and could well have supposed such a thing.)
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Date:April 26th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC)


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What ho everyone! (a la Bertie Wooster) I have arrived, a week and a half late, but here I be!! Well, LETS SEE! About the whole, humans in space without weapons (and this may show my political bent). I slightly agree with Mer. BUT, we don't KNOW (do we) that the humans had no weapons? Could it be that a.) they were bushwhacked, and didn't have time to, or b.) humans have FINALLY reached a level of sanity where it is acceptable to try and communicate with other beings BEFORE you shoot, bag, stuff and put in a museum whomever you happen to meet? On that note, I don't agree with Mer, and I do agree with Pua (?) that Tully wasn't angry about the release of the tapes. I was under the impression that the humans didn't complete the translation tapes for the kif more as a self protection, rather than an attempt to keep communication channels with other sentients closed. I thought that the humans knew that the kif were'nt friendly, and didn't complete the tapes so that there was no WAY that the kif could torture some information out of them that the humans didn't want known (plus, I read something about this on the dust jacket). I don't think that Tully was angry about losing the tapes, I think he may have been upset about knowing what magnitude of inmport he missed by being unable to communicate outside the ship, and that Pyanfar gave what was "his" to someone he didn't know without his permission.

The mahendo'sat I think are just another species, neither enemies nor friends. But Goldtooth was somewhat helpful to Pyanfar on Meetspace (the first station), and he is at least willing to communicate openly (to everyone) which is more than you can say about the other hani.

speaking of the other hani. I would guess that their is conflict between the two tribes just due to interspecies conflict. I would assume that there are different kinds of alliances on planet and off. They are different worlds, communities, different lifestyles!!

Re: one of mer's first comments, about liking Pyanfar more than Tully; one of my hang ups in liking Tully is that we don't know the history of the human race between now and where TUlly is. Humans could have evolved/devolved into something today that we would not find morally acceptable, or something along those lines. THis often happens in sci-fi (read: Orson Scott Card, Star Wars, etc), and I, personally, am always hesitant to like the human race in the future until I know the history of them. Which is odd, because I'll just accept on faith that other species are good or bad as is presented in the initial introduction. Tricky device used by authors!!

Ok. Now I'm only a week behind! Hopefully caught up soon!!
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Date:April 28th, 2006 03:40 am (UTC)

Re: Huzzah!!!

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Interesting take. You've given me much food for thought.

Oh, and by the way, yes, I'm Pua; hi!

I'm pretty sure Tully said something about his ship not having weapons. Here, p. 61: '"Did you shoot at the kif first, Tully?" "No. No weapons. My ship have no weapons."' But your point b is a good one. I suppose it's possible that the humans didn't realise until too late that the kif were hostile.

But Goldtooth knows something about the kif! And he's not saying what. That makes me suspicious. Not to mention the dubious nature of his motives.

Ditto about Tully and the human race. Funny, isn't it, how we're willing to accept stereotyped alien species, but wary about stereotyping humans?
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Date:April 28th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Huzzah!!!

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Pua meet Turk/Laura. Turk meet Pua. You have both seen pictures of the other and heard my stories. Now meet and don't share too much dirt on me. :)

Possibly because we are human. We know through history what humans are capable of, both extreme good and bad. I, for one, do not want to be represented by some of our species.

I think that Cherryh realizes our tendency to be harder on our speices than others so she adds the conflict between the hani and the truces between the speices.