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All things atevi! - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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All things atevi! [May. 19th, 2013|06:24 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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This is the spoiler discussion thread for talking about C.J. Cherryh's Protector and all the books that came before it. This is #14 in the series, so there is plenty to spoil here--careful of the comments section.

We have often joked in my house that the plot of the last trilogy is How Bren Got His Apartment Back. But honestly, I think one of the things I appreciate most about this series is how she has used the groundwork she laid with "big story" in the earlier volumes to tell "little story" here with big consequences. By the time you get this far in the series, Cajeiri's birthday party has implications that would have been completely opaque if she'd tried to start the series with it. Bren can struggle to get his apartment back and Cajeiri can have his friends for a birthday party, and these simple plots are thoroughly, completely SF.

There is still the obvious Looming Big Story Plot Point. But she's getting places with little story. I will be fascinated to see how she ties the two together at the end of this trilogy and in the next one. Any guesses on how long she's aiming for? After Protector I felt like 18 might do, although 21 would be more fortuitous and honestly I will keep reading them as long as she keeps writing them.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: rushthatspeaks
2013-05-20 12:49 am (UTC)
I sat there at the end of the book going '... we haven't actually had Cajeiri's actual birthday yet'. I am starting to think of the plot of this trilogy as Cajeiri Anticipates His Birthday While Everyone Else Anticipates Aliens.

There was an odd lack of danger in this book, for me. I mean, there was even a point made of how likely a place for an ambush the basement the kids were in was, and no. And Cajeiri's pet escaping didn't turn out to endanger anybody. As a thing in a series this is great, because not every basement has ambushes, especially when security is good, and not every little slipup has terrible consequences-- some are neutral, or, as in this one where the pet found the security hole, good. But it made the pacing on the book level weird. I believe these are three-volume novels at this point rather than trilogy installments, because if I think of this one as the middle of a book it is just fine, and if it has to be a book all by itself it's kind of... wonky in shape.

No idea how long she's going, though.

A question I've been meaning to ask somebody: so I bounced off the first book, Foreigner, so hard I have never been able to read it. I started at book two, it clicked, I proceeded. I keep trying to go back, and it doesn't work. Was there any group established in Foreigner, in like, the first-contact bit at the beginning or something, which might be the lineal ancestor of the deeply-hidden anti-non-atevi faction which was at the root of this coup and which Bren etcetera have been chasing down for so long now? Because it felt, when the group was described, as though it ought to be a callback to something or other, it had the feel of something that should be a loop or tie something together, but I could be hallucinating, and I haven't read the relevant book and can't.

Thank you for the thread, that was a pleasant fifteen minutes off from sewing.
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[User Picture]From: markgritter
2013-05-20 02:27 am (UTC)
I don't recall any such setup. The introductory bit is really just about random human being brought away to talk to the atevi, sort of a setup for the later paidhiin. None of the translocation of the people on Mospheria came up at all, or any internal atevi politics, or the War of the Landing itself.

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[User Picture]From: arkessian
2013-05-20 10:36 am (UTC)
Somewhere in the two unnecessary first parts of the first book (that I read somewhere CJ Cherryh didn't intend to include but wrote for her own benefit) there might be seeds that were later built upon, but as I never re-read those two parts, I don't know.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-05-20 12:14 pm (UTC)
I sat there at the end of the book going '... we haven't actually had Cajeiri's actual birthday yet'.

Right, it's like the previous bit of, "Wait, we still don't know whether Bren gets his apartment back or not."

And I do agree that they are three-volume novels at this point. timprov is refusing to read them one at a time for that very reason. Early on she was writing individual books, and now she's carving off hunks of story, and both are fine, they're just not the same thing.
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[User Picture]From: arkessian
2013-05-20 10:45 am (UTC)
I also appreciate the way characters have developed -- characters that in other hands might have 'single use' continue to grow and change and be significant. And that development is wholly consistent with their atevi being.

Tatiseigi for one, flexing his stance as he understands how the world around him is changing, but always being at core himself.

And Geigi demonstrating in this last book what an astute judge of situations and tactics and strategy he is, placing essential and unexpected firepower exactly where it will affect the situation best -- and giving me one of those 'well of course that would happen; why didn't I see it coming moments.'
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[User Picture]From: arkessian
2013-05-20 11:50 am (UTC)
Yes, that pattern is interesting, isn't it? With the exception of Gin, it's an effective way to illustrate how man'chi, can affect relationship structures. Either that or Bren is a special snowflake who can convert everyone he meets to his side :)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2013-05-20 12:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, sure, that's what I want. I'm just trying to figure out if it's what she wants also. Because definitely, Cajeiri managing the aishidi'tat is one of the things I would love to read.
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[User Picture]From: arkessian
2013-05-20 01:07 pm (UTC)
Cajeiri with his unique perspective on humans, and his associations across the continent.. yes, please. Although of course, that implies that Tabini is no longer with us, which would be sad. I'm already worried about Ilsidi's advancing years...
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