New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.



Miscon in Missoula MT in May or June, often Radcon in the Tricities of WA. Spocon in Spokane WA,
November 2015
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Foreigner Series: Spoiler Alerts: Page 2

I’m giving the page a second section because page 1 was starting to behave oddly.

As always, wait at least 30 days from issue of the book before starting to discuss. And give our overseas friends some extra leeway: the distribution system doesn’t reach everywhere as fast!

1,092 comments to Foreigner Series: Spoiler Alerts: Page 2

  • JB Zimmerman

    Cheers folks, new poster so apologies if this comment doesn’t go where I think it will (I hope it joins the bottom of the thread…) Just came by because I was looking at the news and saw that Airbus has apparently patented what looks a whooooole lot (to me) like a junior version of Shai-shan. I won’t link it here – I don’t know the etiquette on external links – but if you google for ‘Airbus concorde 2’ you’ll find it. In short, though, it’s an airliner body underneath a big delta wing with multiple engine sets (including some which extend out the bottom after liftoff) to take it from turbofan up through I think ramjet to SCRAMjet. This one will only go Mach 4.5 and hit ~100-150k feet, but it feels like a baby step towards HOTOL SSTO! ‘Delta wing’ – check. ‘airliner body’ – check. ‘Runway takeoff’ – check. ‘Long burn after takeoff’ check. ‘Engine switchover’ – check.

  • chesty

    The thought of Cajeiri finding honest young advocates for the Heritage Party among Toby’s kids and their friends leads to thoughts on what they want, and whether Cajeiri thinks he can work something out. I’m guessing they want to find a world of their own, first and foremost, where they can be masters and Atevi can be guests. I expect Cajeiri would understand and support such an effort. Honorable cause, possibly even kabiu, and guaranteed adventure. What’s not to like?

    On a separate topic, I have a question about Damiri. Should I expect her to have a fortunate third child with Tabini, or is it best to have ONE boy and ONE girl?

    • scenario_dave

      The Heritage party seems more of an emotion based party that’s basic policy is that humans are the best. They don’t seem to want to share. They want to rule. Finding and settling a new world will take a long time. The mindset of many of the people in the Heritage party doesn’t seem very logical or long term to me.

      In the end, it’s up to Tabini. He can hire counters to argue whatever he wants. There are so many ways this could be counted. Tabini as a unit of one and Damiri and the children as three. Tabini and Cajeiri as units of one with Damiri and her daughter as an unfortunate two. Tabini and the children as a unit of three with Damiri as a unit of one. This one is unlikely because Tabini and Damiri have already decided that the baby is going to be Damiri’s child to raise.

      Tabini is the Aji. He can always count as one. Cajieri is the Aji-heir. He can count as one. I can’t see how Damiri and the baby could be counted as two sets of one each. They have to be thought of as a set.

      • chesty

        True, the leaders of the Heritage Party that we’ve met have seemed to be more interested in protecting the privileges they no longer deserve than in working toward a realistic goal. I’ve been assuming they seem petty and cartoonish because they have no peers to teach them better, being big fish in a little tiny puddle, but we don’t see from their perspective. So, I don’t know. I do worry that they will not all be inept buffoons. I was worried about Gin Kroger for a while. Didn’t Bren wonder if she was secretly a Heritage Party agent? If enough people like her share certain HP concerns about the future of humanity in their part of the universe, it might not be wise to ignore them. On the other hand, if Bren can lure at least one of them out the shadows for some straight talk, it might be good thing for all. Maybe Irene’s mom will be a key figure in coming events?

  • Rigeldeneb

    Toby’s ex is named Jill. Given the stresses on the family caused by Bren being paidhi and the threats the Heritage Party provoked against the family in the earlier books, I see no reason for Bren’s niece and nephew to be interested in the Heritage Party. I’d think they would be making extra effort to be typical Mospheirans, trying to stay out of politics and attending to their family life, education and vacations. With her former mother-in-law dead and her ex-husband more or less permanently out on the ocean, Jill would have every incentive to draw no political attention to herself and her children and every incentive to avoid activism.

    I have always thought that part of Bren’s attachment to Cajieri is partly fueled by frustrated paternal instincts. He is not likely to ever have children of his own and he has never been able to connect with his brother’s children, though, if I remember correctly, Jill and the children have visited his estate at least once. I seem to remember some kind of party. . . Does anyone else?

    • Neco-ji

      Little references tell me that Bren has- or had- some kind of attachment to his brother’s kids; he used to send them birthday money, at least. In Inheritor, at the end, he hosted a “children’s birthday party” on the beach. I remember Tano and Algini being tasked with security for that one, and Bren and Jago watched from the terrace. He also made sure Toby got the phone call when Julie fell and was taken to hospital; he seemed very concerned then, so I think a little attachment remains, though it is possible that he was mostly just concerned for his brother.

      I really love Bren’s attachment to Cajeiri, not only for the boy, but for his father. I think someone even mentioned that Bren was a good surrogate father (possibly even Tabini himself), but I’m not sure where or what the actual wording was on that one.

      Jago told Bren (in Pretender? on the mecheiti ride back to Tirnamardi after the skirmish in the hills) that Cajeiri talked to Bren because he listened to him “like a man”, instead of patronizing (or ignoring) and treating him like a boy.

      They are good for each other, I think. Cajeiri seems to fill a space for Bren’s orphaned instincts, and Bren seems to fill a space for Cajeiri’s need for… something. Mature judgement, a role model, something like that.

      • chesty

        The “like a man” thing continues. When Bren’s aishid warned Cajeiri’s directly, “as if he were grown up and important”, I thought, “Well, you are important, and you are growing up, fast.” I hope not too fast.

  • scenario_dave

    Bren sounds like the classic cool uncle. The man who may or may want to have his own children but does like to interact with them. The fact that he talks to Cajeiri like a man and not like a child fits in with that. I don’t know if there is an equivalent in the Atevi but I assume so since none of the Atevi think it’s strange that a adult male who is not a child’s father would show interest in the child.

    Many children want multiple role models and teachers so they can compare them. Its generally best for the child as well. You can’t take the human model too closely but a teacher and roll model do not have the same emotional context as a friend does.

  • Raesean

    I’ve been rereading the whole Foreigner series at bedtime, doing half a chapter or so an evening until I get so sleepy my head is drooping between sentences. It’s been a great “real time” experience rather than touching base with the story at yearly intervals, especially since the books I’ve been reading this summer have been the meeting of the Kwo and the destruction of Reunion Station and, right now, the attempt back on “Earth” to reseat Tabini in the aijinate. Currently, clans are converging on Tatisegi’s front lawn and, a theme of this particular book, pretty much everyone is so stressed they are trotting out their worst manners.

    An unexpected benefit, perhaps you could call it, of nodding off during reading is that, once I set the book aside and do go to sleep, Bren and the Atevi wander through my early night timedreams. Nothing overly concrete and plot-like, but they and especially Cajeiri are mingled in with other sleepy considerations of the day past.

  • Rigeldeneb

    It occurs to me that maybe Bren “talks” to Cajeiri as if Cajeiri were an adult and not a child because–Cajeiri is as tall as Bren. Might be an unconscious response to that eye-to-eye contact. Also, Bren seems to instinctively respect any sentient creature–it seems to be part of his character. I can’t see him talking down to anybody.

    It really is difficult to wait for the next book in the series, since each book raises new questions and sets up new situations. Will the next book be about the Kyo and the station or will it focus on planet-side politics that affect the aji’s standing (what is Machigi up to?)? Will we see more station politics? I admit to being really interested in station politics, since I find the stationers just a little less alien in their responses and thinking processes than the Kyo. We haven’t much discussed the events of “Tracker” and I am already hankering for the next book!

  • scenario_dave

    I don’t think that Bren only talks to Cajeiri as an adult because of his size. Bren is a superb politician. He automatically talks to people in a way that he will be best understood. Cajeiri associates are exclusively adults or older adolescents. He has been pushed to think as an adult his whole life. He is also brilliant.

    Bren talks to and up to a point treats Cajeiri as an adult because Cajeiri acts more like one than many of the people that Bren deals with on a day to day basis.

    Bren also knows that by talking to Cajeiri as an adult, he is setting the expectation with Cajeiri that he would act like an adult. Cajeiri tends to act much better when he is treated like an adult and kept in the information loop.

  • chesty

    Jeichido. She is very fine.

  • Hanneke

    How do the Atevi handle those unavoidable but endless numbrrs like pi, that are part of the matural world but impossible to solve completely?
    I don’t remember if they use a base-10 system, but I expect it wpn’t come out neatly in another base either.
    I also can’t remember if anything has been said about them using circles in their designs, but it’s such a simple universal shape I can’t imagine it going unused. Unless it’s a taboo because it drives the ‘counters round the bend… no, even simple roads and traintracks need bends for which one would need pi to calculate, I think (I’m no good at math and numbers).
    Considering how much they hate the uncertainty in the numbers at very large and very small levels, near-lightspeed and quantum and computers, I rather expect them to dislike numbers like pi quite viscerally, which might translate to a dislike of perfect circles. Maybe that’s why the large presentation porcelains were asymmetric, iirc?

  • Hanneke

    How do the Atevi handle those unavoidable but endless numbers like pi, that are part of the natural world but impossible to solve completely?
    I don’t remember if they use a base-10 system (I think so, because they had the same number of digits as humans which would be a logical base for choosing to learn to count in 10s, and it would be very much harder for Bren to calculate and talk in another base at the same time), but I expect it won’t come out neatly in another base either.
    I also can’t remember if anything has been said about them using circles in their designs, but it’s such a simple universal shape I can’t imagine it going unused. Unless it’s a taboo because it drives the ‘counters round the bend… no, even simple roads and traintracks need bends for which one would need pi to calculate, I think (I’m no good at math and numbers), and the same goes for arches in bridges and windows.
    Considering how much they hate the uncertainty in the numbers at very large and very small levels, near-lightspeed and quantum and computers, I rather expect them to dislike numbers like pi quite viscerally, which might translate to a dislike of perfect circles. Maybe that’s why the large presentation porcelains were asymmetric, iirc?
    I just woke up thinking about this one morning – perhaps I should start a reread and pay better attention to the details.

  • Hanneke

    How do atevi handle numbers like pi, that keep on going endlessly?
    With their need for precision I’d think it would drive the ‘counters round the bend, but as it’s needed for designing anything with a circular segment like bends in roads and traintracks and arches in bridges and castle portals they couldn’t do without. Would it give them a visceral dislike of circles, the way that even numbers grate on their senses? Or would it be a sort of symbol of ultimate indivisibility?

    • paul

      Irrational numbers certainly shocked the Pythagoreans’ dogma.

      “Since of all things numbers are by nature the first, in numbers they (the Pythagoreans) thought they perceived many analogies to things that exist and are produced, more than in fire, and earth, and Avater; as that a certain affection of numbers was justice; a certain other affection, soul and intellect; another, opportunity; and of the rest, so to say, each in like manner; and moreover, seeing the affections and ratios of what pertains to harmony to consist in numbers, since other things seemed in their entire nature to be formed in the likeness of numbers, and in all nature numbers are the first, they supposed the elements of numbers to be the elements of all things”. Quoted by Sir William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870, p. 620)

      “Greek mathematicians termed this ratio of incommensurable magnitudes alogos, or inexpressible. Hippasus, however, was not lauded for his efforts: according to one legend, he made his discovery while out at sea, and was subsequently thrown overboard by his fellow Pythagoreans ‘…for having produced an element in the universe which denied the…doctrine that all phenomena in the universe can be reduced to whole numbers and their ratios.’ Another legend states that Hippasus was merely exiled for this revelation. Whatever the consequence to Hippasus himself, his discovery posed a very serious problem to Pythagorean mathematics, since it shattered the assumption that number and geometry were inseparable–a foundation of their theory.” (Wikipeda – Irrational numbers)

    • paul

      We also strongly associate the “Golden Ratio” with the Greeks. It is also irrational. 😉

    • Jcrow9

      As regards pi, why assume they calculate the ratio out? Pi can be expressed explicitly as a ratio: 22/7. Done.

      • Hanneke

        That makes sense – I just didn’t know it. Sorry, maybe we did get that in class long ago and I completely forgot, as I’m very bad with numbers.

        I got completely mixed up by switching in the year (8-9) I learned my tables from Dutch (which says everything between twelve and 100 as nine-and-thirty, reversing for that one digit the order in which you need to write down what you hear) to English (which says thirty-nine, as makes sense when you write down what you hear) and then back again. Decades later I still need to enumerate longer numbers as single digits to avoid making mistakes in writing it down.
        I’m probably just bad at math, but I tend to blame my starting to be bad at it on the confusion caused by that switch, in that year when the mental basics for math were being laid.

      • The ratio 22/7 is an approximation to pi, somewhat less accurate than the decimal approximation 3.14 (or 3.142 or 3.1416 or 3.14159 or …). When mathematicians call a number “irrational”, they mean that you cannot write any ratio that exactly corresponds to it; and pi has long been proven to be irrational.

      • paul

        Sorry, 22/7=3.14285714!
        You’re off in just the third decimal.

      • paul

        Re: pi, π. Irrational numbers cannot be represented by any fraction, i.e. division, of whole numbers. (Sorry, I had to rush off to a doctor’s appointment. I should have mentioned this in the previous post.)

  • nekokami

    And to clarify, irrational numbers are always irrational, regardless of numerical base. :) (Repeating decimals are different– one third can be expressed evenly in base 3 or base 9, for example, but is expressed as a repeating pattern in base 10 or base 8.)

    On the other hand, irrational numbers have very precisely defined properties, and can be calculated to arbitrary precision. I imagine there’s a long tradition of ‘counters expanding the number of digits of pi to increase the knowledge of “true numbers.” I don’t know if atevi would ever have had the Pythagorean hissy-fit over irrational numbers, given their near-intuitive understanding of mathematics. Given that they don’t like numbers that are easily divisible, especially by 2, they actually might have a special fondness for pi, e, etc. I’m curious about how they refer to the square root of -1, though — this is necessary for certain kinds of geometry, like calculating the volume of a truncated pyramid, not to mention electronics applications. I would be very surprised if they call it “imaginary,” and their initial reaction to that human term might be quite amusing.

    I’ve been assuming the atevi abhorrence for easily divisible numbers, especially even numbers, has to do with their need to know the status of manchi, and manchi could be threatened by a tie among two evenly sized factions of followers. The higher numbers seem to become more or less desirable if they can be parsed into groups that might be too evenly matched– I’m a bit surprised that 9 is so felicitous, but I suppose atevi don’t experience a three-way tie very often, with manchi being such a strong force urging them to resolve all ties as fast as possible.

  • Neco-ji

    Questions! Well, questions and random thoughts, because I am the nosy sort that thinks too much:

    Are there alcoholic atevi? There’s mention of people drinking too much in celebration and perhaps not making good decisions because of it, but surely there are some who go beyond the norm and fall into alcoholism? Or does atevi society have a way of preventing that?

    Are there atevi born with disabilities (blind, deaf, etc)? If so, might they also have a form of sign language or Braille to accommodate them?

    What happens to those who are born with more serious problems? Are they kept in the home with the family, or sent to some kind of special care facility? Are they left to a much harsher fate?

    I was very pleased (I am so weird) when I read about the Guild Observers. Ruheso, with her missing arm, and Sisui with his half an ear, are the first Guild members we’ve seen with obvious evidence of serious injury (who aren’t in Bren’s aishid, or in Ilisidi’s guard). Most of the Guild mentioned in the previous books all seemed to be in pretty immaculate shape, give or take age.

    Considering their athletic lifestyles, continuous physical training and the risks they take in their jobs, how many older Guild members suddenly find themselves with osteoarthritis or worn out joints? That kind of profession surely takes a toll on even the hardiest members eventually. Healthcare and retirement packages for the Guild are probably pretty good, considering.

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