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Intruder

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.

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!

1,193 comments to Foreigner Series: Spoiler Alerts: Page 2

  • sanford

    That was pretty much my thinking. But the issue of pair-bonding remains. That’s a very fundamental part of any psychology, so how did Atevi evolve a numerological system that is in contrast to their biology? That only odd numbers are felicitous, when their basic biology is two. I get the “marriage is for having offspring which make a third”, but that seems even more of a stretch than the absent extra to make the numbers wrk out. I realize that making the Atevi a three gendered species would have thrown everything off. But if much of Atevi psychology is biologically hard wired (e.g., manchi), and reproduction is the most basic of biological imperatives, why a distaste for even numbers? I suppose one could consider the human fascination with prime numbers and the multicultural “lucky 7”, and generalize that to Atevi. But it’s not quite fitting for me yet.

    I agree that Tabini and Damiri are both a Stability of One and so do not think of the numbers f their family. But despite the manchi that exists with Bren, I don’t think he’s considered part of the family.

  • scenario_dave

    The primary bond is the bond to the herd or clan, not the pair bond as it is in humans. Look at mecheiti in the wild. Two herds A and B have adjacent territory. At a certain time of the year all of the female mecheiti go into heat. There are several mating strategies here.

    Type A1, several males leave and join the other herd for a few weeks. The advantage of this is that the females and their genes remain in the original herd. The disadvantage is that the father of the young is not the highest status males who must remain with the herd.

    Type A2, the females join the new herd and choose to mate with the males in the new temporary herd that they find to be the most suitable, probably the highest ranking males. Then they return to their own herds.

    Type B gene distribution is where young males (or possibly females) in herds that have gotten too big are driven off. They wander hundreds of miles, in danger of being attacked by local herds the entire way until they find a herd that has too few members. Then they attempt to join. The males that succeed will be attractive to the females in the herd for a few years, until they have been there long enough for their own daughters to mature. The females that succeed will be able to mate within the herd for many years.

    Atevi do not pair bond. They bond within a clan. Most marriages are like type A1 and A2. There is a decision by both the individual and the clan as a whole that they want to have a child. They contact another clan and negotiate. In the modern world, the decision on which clan to mate with is made by the Aji and the clan as a whole, but which individuals to marry is the people involved. Once the offspring are produced the individual goes back to the original clan. There are situations where individuals form pairs outside of clan influence but they can be very unfortunate leading to both clans rejecting the new baby.

    Marriages like Tagini and Damiri are more like type B mating strategy. Damiri was not happy in either of the clans she could claim as her own. She decided to leave both clans and join an entirely new clan. But this is the least common choice partially because it is so difficult to leave and join a new clan. It goes against the nature of Atevi to leave their clans. That’s why Damiri is having difficulty truly joining her new clan. In the old days, she would have wandered so far from her old clan that she would never see them again and the attraction would fade. But in modern times, one of her old clans is just around the corner.

    All decisions are made by the clan as a whole. Usually the aji of the clan makes the decisions with the consent of the majority of the clan but if the clan as a whole object to the decision they can overrule it. However, if the aji is weak, say very young, very old or ill, the decision must be made by the group as a whole. Even numbers allow for an even split which could cause arguments within the clan. Since the basic social group is the clan, not the family as in humans, ongoing dissension within a clan is very serious. Always having odd numbers prevents an even split. There is always a way to make a firm decision, even when there is effectively no aji.

    That’s why the death of an Aji can be a very dangerous time for a clan if there is no clear consensus replacement. The clan now has even numbers and has to chose a new aji. It leaves open the possibility of a tie. This could result in the odd situation of a very young Atevi who just reached adulthood or a new member of the clan being the deciding vote on the new Aji.

    The idea of servants going into other households probably came from allied clans. If two clans ally, they need to have a way to trust the other clan. So each has a small group go and live with the other. They maintain manchi to their original clan but they form associations within the new clan. This allows each clan to have a larger structure. Having in effect spies in the other clans allows for a greater amount of trust between clans. If there is a project that would be beneficial to multiple clans which could not be built by a single clan, associated clans would be able to get together for a time to build it.

    • nekokami

      In general, I agree, but I think the gender distinctions may not hold on the Earth of the Atevi as strongly as they do on our Earth. Females and males may be equally likely to leave one herd/clan and try to join another. It is also not clear that only the highest-status males or females can breed, even among mecheiti. It may be true, however, that the highest-status males or females (aijiin) nearly always mate outside their own herd/clan.

      I think the books may be slightly inconsistent on the question of male/female roles, though. While there have been statements implying genderless politics, Illisidi is the only really successful Ragi female lord we’ve seen, and her power is often “unofficial.” The last three aijiin of the Western Association, at least, have all been male, and only a male (Murini) has successfully challenged the position, even temporarily. Direiso and Cosadi both came to bad ends relatively quickly. The Edi and the Gan stand out for venerating “grandmother stones” and being led by women, but are regarded as heretics. Illisidi and her cousin out East are not Ragi. After Tabini, the most powerful ateva we know of in the aishiditat is Geigi, and after that, Tatiseigi (and the two of them might flip-flop in position). After that, probably Machigi. Damiri doesn’t seem to have any position in the hasdrawad or tashrid. Members of the various committees almost all seem to be male (I can’t think of an exception offhand). I’ve never been sure whether this is intentional or a side-effect of the author living in a relatively sexist society and being immersed in examples that influence fictional choices unconsciously.

  • scenario_dave

    I was thinking that a male leaving to join a far distant clan is more likely because one male in a new tribe would be more successful in spreading his genes. The fact that they survived alone for what may be several years shows that the individual is strong and smart and a survivor. One male in a new herd may have several offspring every season from multiple mates. One female would only be able to have one or two offspring every year or two.

    I would think that all males and females can breed but I would think that the higher the status the more likely it would be. They might be like bonobo’s where everyone gets to breed but the higher status males get to do it more often with the higher status females and vice versa. Atevi are intelligent and can modify their natural instincts if they want.

    I agree that most of the higher offices tend to be male. Maybe it’s involved in birth order. Cajeiri was first born and is the heir. Maybe males tend to be born first and females second. Since males are the first born, they tend to be groomed for the leadership roles. Illisidi might have had an older brother who died young leaving her the heir as the now oldest child. Illisidi has real direct power in the east but not direct power in the west because she is an easterner, not because she is a woman.

    Cajeiri has two brother sister pairs in his household. I can’t remember who is the oldest in each pair. If the male is older in both cases it would tend to support my hypothesis.

    • tulrose

      I got the impression that of Cajeiri’s brother-sister pairs, the brother is the elder of the Taibeni and the sister the elder of the other.

      • Neco-ji

        I thought Antaro was older than Jegari (they’re 15or16 and 17or18 I think), but I’m not certain about who the older is of Vejico and Lucasi (they were 19 and 20 when they first showed up, but I was never clear on what age applied to whom).

        They seem very young for the incredible amount of responsibility they hold.

    • JLS

      According to “Deceiver” Lucasi has man’chi to his sister Veijico; I would think that that would have more importance within any atevi hierarchy than birth order. And man’chi doesn’t necessarily flow from youngest to oldest; Algini’s man’chi to Bren supposedly runs through Tano, who is quite a bit younger than him.

      • Xheralt

        Jico-ji and Casi-ji had family man’chi to each other, while they had failed to attach to Cajeiri (or anyone else). Once Jeri-ji proved he really was Boss, attachment began. The unconventional currents of cooperation between Bren’s household, Illisidi’s hosehold, and Tabini’s confused them.

        That’s an obsolete view of Algini’s man’chi, how it was in the beginning. He has since developed man’chi/attachment directly to Bren.

        • JLS

          The only two definite things I recall ever being said about Algini’s man’chi are his own addressing Bren as aiji-ma (which idicates that Bren is the person that his man’chi flows to be doesn’t tell us by what route or through how many people) and Banichi saying after that that Algini’s man’chi was through Tano (and I described that as “supposedly” only because while it’s unlikely Banichi was lying it’s very likely that he was only telling the minimum of truth rather than the whole truth). And those two moments were only a little over a year ago in the lives of the characters.

          So I’ve somehow managed to miss a major plot point somewhere that updates the above … would much appreciate muchly if you could let me know where (if you can’t recall the specific volume I can easily narrow it down from a scene description) so I can grab the appropriate book and do a little re-reading … thanks.

        • JLS

          The only two definite things I recall ever being said about Algini’s man’chi are his own addressing Bren as aiji-ma (which idicates that Bren is the person that his man’chi flows to be doesn’t tell us by what route or through how many people) and Banichi saying after that that Algini’s man’chi was through Tano (and I described that as “supposedly” only because while it’s unlikely Banichi was lying it’s very likely that he was only telling the minimum of truth rather than the whole truth). And those two moments were only a little over a year ago in the lives of the characters.

          So I’ve somehow managed to miss a major plot point somewhere that updates the above … would appreciate muchly if you could let me know where (if you can’t recall the specific volume I can easily narrow it down from a scene description) so I can grab the appropriate book and do a little re-reading … thanks.

  • Xheralt

    You’ve clearly remembered the scene where “my man’chi flowed to you through Tano” was said. But the very next line AFTER THAT was “…but no more”. It was there that direct man’chi was implied if not outright declared, IIRC. Also, while it was a sea change in the relationship, I wouldn’t exactly classify it as an earthshaking *plot* point.

  • drashizu

    Xheralt, I don’t think that conversation involves Algini directly; I think it’s Banichi explaining matters to Bren, and he says that Algini doesn’t (he actually says “can’t”) have man’chi within their household, but he has it through Tano. I’m talking about the scene at the end of Pretender – there might be another that I’m missing. Later on Jago mentions that after the special meeting of the Guild, they’ll resign any man’chi outside the household, but that’s not very conclusive: that could still describe a situation where Tano has man’chi to Bren and Algini’s man’chi flows through Tano.

    I couldn’t find the scene where Algini says that that line, but I might be looking in the wrong book.

  • JLS

    Thank you.
    Okay, I have my copy of “Pretender” sitting in front of me, open to the scene where Banichi has explained that Algini’s man’chi to Bren’s household is through Tano (as Algini never offered any further clarification at the time of the “Aiji-ma” thanks to Cajeiri’s interruption) and I’m not seeing “no more” or anything resembling it anywhere (I did go so far as to open up the ebook to run a phrase search … nada)

    What I am seeing is:

    “Algini and Tano have a strong man’chi within this house. Your bringing them back to the continent was a great favor to them.”

    “Algini is bound not to discuss it, but, Bren-ji, he and Tano are now free to continue assignment here. They wish to do so. They are not able to answer questions.”

    “Algini is required to be here. Technically, he cannot have man’chi within our household, but he holds it to Tano.”

    “Tano. Man’chi to Tano, you say.”
    That required some consideration on Banichi’s part, deep consideration. Finally: “Tano has become his partner.”
    “Become.”
    “They are old acquaintances, different in man’chi. They have acquired one, through Tano, to this house. They have become what they are, quite firmly so. One may have more than one man’chi, Bren-ji.”

    And, in the interests of thoroughness (because I am most curious about this), I’ve grabbed “Deliverer”, which contains the follow-up on this and in Algini’s own words:

    “It seems we are now without official employment, nandi. Tano suggests we would still be welcome here.”

    and

    “We are yours. We now have no other man’chi, and we are very content with that situation.”

    So no, not seeing anything that states or implies that the path of Algini’s man’chi shifted. The reason for my being puzzled and wanting to find what I’ve apparently missed (when I tend to pay quite close attention to who definitely has been established as having man’chi to who as opposed to Bren’s guessing without knowing for sure) is that a shift of this kind would alter quite a few of my perceptions of man’chi and the characters so I’d really like to know where my rethinking has to begin.

  • Rigeldeneb

    I am half way through Visitor. And the going so far is very very good! Politics and linguistics!! Regarding the cover–most eye-catching, love the shades of blue and purple. Bren, though. . .he should *not* wear that face into any negotiations! His expression reminds me of a poster I once had of a majestic bald eagle–same fierce frowning beaky glare. The poster’s caption said, “I AM smiling.”

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