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At Miscon 2013, around Memorial Day, Missoula MT, At SoonerCon, in OKC, around June 15, also Spokon in Spokane, in July/August, Beyond that, we aren't sure.
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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!

879 comments to Foreigner Series: Spoiler Alerts: Page 2

  • scenario_dave

    I loved the scene with Damiri and Bren at the end of the book. It seems like Bren had to be the one to do it. Damiri wasn’t going to trust her husband completely. He’s been keeping stuff from her ever since they returned to power. She would never trust Illisidi. She has a long mixed relationship with her uncle and he is on Illisidi’s side. All of the servants would lie to her if they were ordered to. Who else knew what was going on? As much as Bren is an insider, he is always the outsider. What he told her hurt but it fit in perfectly with what she knew. She trusted him more because he was the outsider who didn’t have as much to personally gain by lying. He is also well known as a terrible liar.

    To Rigeldeneb about Tabini trust of Bren. A great aji needs to be a good judge of character. They need to sometimes roll the dice and give power to other people in order to be great. He didn’t just hand Bren power all at once. He threw Bren into very difficult situations without any preparation and Bren came through. He also got the manchi of some very intelligent and savvy Atevi. Bren’s position grew over time. He is useful because he doesn’t have clan ties like everyone else does. If he goes someplace as Tabini’s voice, people aren’t reading other clan purposes into what he is saying. There’s also a kind of shock value to having a human speak for the aji. He can also act as a bridge between Tabini and Illisidi.

    One other question, who is Illisidi’s heir over the east? The east may not want Tabini or Cajeiri as their aji.

  • tulrose

    I seem to remember Cajeiri is the heir to the East.

    I love Cajeiri’s map of associations where he adds pins of various colours and visualises his sphere of influence.

    • Hanneke

      Yes, that’s what I remember as well: Cajeiri thinks about Ilisidi having told him so, when he’s kidnapped by the eastern lord in Deliverer. it’s something I’ve been a bit worried about, ever since, because he has not yet had any chance to develop any kind of a bond with the East.
      He’s not been at Malguri for any length of time (just a short visit after the kidnapping), hasn’t spent time with the eastern lords who have man’chi to Ilisidi as the lord of Malguri, nor with their heirs, and so they have not had a chance to get to know him or evaluate him for the role of their future lord. So there are no connections there yet, except for Malguri itself, and its position as the gate between East and West – its position and resulting key role in the economy as well as previous military impregnability is, from what I’ve gathered, the reason the lord of malguri is the aiji of the East.
      If Malguri and more importantly its people can accept him as their aiji (and as it is Ilisidi’s wish-and-decision they are fairly likely to, though I expect they’d have to get to know him to really cement this) this may be enough for the rest of the East to follow Malguri’s lead in this, as they have done for centuries.
      On the other hand, it’s been said the East is quarrelsome, and all the local feuding is part of the reason others cannot get ahead in the East: they don’t know where all the lines are drawn, and cannot find out. Now Ilisidi has had the teaching of Cajeiri, and has drilled him well on all the lords of the East, their rights and duties… but would that be enough? When Ilisidi’s own absence of a few years (three without an occasional visit, when she was on the ship and after their return) is enough to trigger unrest and give people in the area ‘ambitions’ (to possibly attack the bus between Malguri airport and castle that she’s on!), despite her powerful character and strong grip on the man’chi of those around her; it makes me very doubtful of Cajeiri’s chance of success in holding on to their man’chi in the event of her death. He’ll still be young when this happens, considering her age, so untried and not well-known except for his modern, western and human associations; at least some of the East hates his strong ties to the West.
      I can see Ilisidi building the new ties between the East and the Marid (and the west coast in the shape of lord Geigi’s future heir with his eastern mother) as a way to strengthen Cajeiri’s chance to hold on to the East, as at least an extra hoped-for spin-off, as he is a part of this deal. At some point though, I expect Cajeiri will have to spend enough time at Malguri for the East to get to know him and build ties to him, separate from what they’ve been hearing on the western news (and possibly discounting or actively disliking!).
      Isn’t that part of the reason why the audience hall in the Bu-javid is open to all comers, because for the feeling of man’chi it is important that an aiji be approachable to those ateva who ultimately owe him man’chi, even if that man’chi goes through others?

      • nekokami

        All good points… but I think Illisidi is already working to address these concerns. She’s made a point of inviting Cajeiri’s Calrunaidi cousins to several events and being sure Cajeiri meets them (and did anyone else notice that one of them is a girl close to his own age?) and she successfully forced the issue of Cajeiri being a relative of Drien’s in Deliverer. Bren himself is likely to have a good reputation in Malguri, based on what we’ve seen of his interactions with others there, and now he’s been the architect of a major trade agreement designed to bring prosperity to the far East. Cajeiri’s association with Bren could become a strong advantage. Cenedi’s obvious support is also likely to help (assuming Cenedi outlives Illisidi, but I think his sponsorship of Cajeiri is likely to be known and valued even after he is gone).

        Cajeiri seems to have very strong aiji-level man’chi drawing power of his own. Antaro and Jegari latched onto him almost instantly, and the Grandmother of the Edi seems to see promise in him– partially as Illisidi’s pupil, but I think also in his own right. And most of all, he has the “caring” thing that I think is the mark of a true aiji. As much as he resents having to be adult at such an early age, he automatically takes a protective, responsible role for others very quickly. He was completely taken with Geigi’s description of “a table at which everyone can sit,” and wants to make a world like that. I think that’s partly Bren’s influence– and as I’ve already said, I thing Bren is a natural man’chi magnet. :)

        • Hanneke

          I agree. The one worrying thing is Ilisidi’s age. If she has time enough to bring her plots to fruition, and for Cajeiri to meet some of his Eastern relatives and future dependants, I think things will have a good chance to work out.
          Cajeiri will be lord of Malguri for quite some time before having to take over from Tabini, if all goes well, and that may give him time and space to build up the man’chi flowing to him in the East, before having to become aiji of the Western Association as well.

          At that point he would, in effect, be aiji of the whole continent & Mospheira as well, maybe of the entire world (I’m not sure about the southern islands), if he can fulfill his potential as a bridge between all the separate associations and clans.
          Atevi society would have to learn to be more tolerant of different philosophical ideas and number theories, like the Edi € Gan, and the Midedeni in the East, and the southern islands which preserve meat, to accomodate such a world-wide association.
          Very great upheavals all around!

          He knows that is his future and his function, and when the time comes I don’t think he’d willingly let go of that power; though at the moment, if given a choice, I suspect he might prefer to become the captain of the future atevi starship, as someone upstream said ;)

          • paul

            Do we know anything about what an ateva’s natural lifespan might be? Not that I recall off the top of my head.

            Also there’s this: Illisidi is always portrayed as quite small, Bren’s size. We likewise don’t know anything about her girlhood. Now, this is reasoning from terrestrial life forms, but from M. musculus to C. elegans, calorie restricted diets extend life span, up to 50%. Could she have had severe privation in her girlhood with consequent life extension?

  • Rigeldeneb

    To Scenario_Dave: Yes, very plausible explanation for Tabini’s trust in Bren–thanks. Works for me. I am recalling that Illisidi, too, “tests” people–tosses them into a dire and chancy situation to see what they will do. Bren keeps drinking her tea, even after she poisoned him (Foreigner)–and that whole incident was her dare, to see how he would react. Bren constantly demonstrates that he is “reliable,” a term that also seems to be tied up in the interactions of man’chi (and will get you a death sentence if Cenedi or Banichi declare that one is not “reliable”). The Shadow Guild was not *reliable* in any sense of the word–another reason it was so bad for general Atevi society.

    Ilisidi also “tested” Sabin, and they now have a healthy respect for one another.

    Another quality of aijis seems to be a willingness to stir the pot, take risks, and to be skillfully unpredictable.

    “Fuss” Bren thinks, “is a lord’s job” (Peacemaker 170, hardback)

    To J.C. Salomon, exploring the gift-giving aspect of man’chi: I recall earlier examples in Invader (book 2), for example, the flowers laid out in rows, to Bren’s bewilderment, during his visit to Patinandi Aerospace. He had “gifted” the region with industry; they presented him with flowers as–well, humans would say as a show of appreciation–whatever is the atevi equivalent. This “gift-giving” also explains the green-sauced pizza, presented with such anxious desire to please by staff (one of my favorite scenes).

    The gifts of the children to Cajeiri are suitably modest. I wondered if that was policy or lack of resources. . .

  • scenario_dave

    I wonder if this scenario is plausible. About 6 years from now when Cajeiri is fellacious 15,Illisidi has a serious health scare. Cajeiri moves to Malguri and acts in Illisidi’s behalf. (Even though he is a minor, he is treated as the heir in minor issues at least.) He ends up living in Malguri as Illisidi slowly hands over power to him. But he has a Ragi accent and Ragi manners and I’d bet that many people in the east would consider him an outsider. Illisidi spent a lot of time in the west and still ruled the east but she was the natural ruler of the east who proved her worth and earned their manchi. Cajeiri may require a lot more face time to do the same thing.

    At the same time Damiri and Seimiro are still living at the capital. Around 10 years later when Cajeiri is 25 and Seimiro is 16 Illisidi and Lord Tatiseigi die. Cajeiri becomes lord of Malguri and Damiri becomes lord of the Atageini. Fast forward another 20 or 30 years. Cajeiri has spent most of his time in Malguri because there are other powerful Eastern aji disputing his claim to be lord of the east. Seimiro has been at the capital sitting proxy for her mother, the powerful and respected Lord of the Atageini. At some point Tabini dies. Cajeiri is his official heir but the aishidi’tat are not legally required to choose him as Aji. They choose Seimiro because she has been present in the west for the last 20+ years and has got the manchi of many important Atevi.

    So the situation stays the same. Grandmother/Grandson co-rule to Father/Son co-rule to Brother/Sister co-rule.

  • scenario_dave

    Oops, I had originally written felicitous 15 and changed it by mistake. My bad.

    I thought of a couple of more points. Cajeiri will probably have to spend a fair amount of time in the Marid for a while to cement that agreement. He will probably also have to spend time on the station when the aliens come back. The aliens put a lot of value in precedent and since he was there during the first negotiation, they’re going to want to talk to him during further negotiations. They may also ask Bren and him to help negotiate with the other aliens.

    Is it best for the Atevi to have only one powerful Aji? It seemed to work out better with two. I think the transition of power from Tabini’s great-grandfather, to grandfather to father to him went smoother because Illisidi was there. Even if it was to keep Illisidi from power there was no major strife during these times. It would work even better with three if the Marid can become as stable as the east under Illisidi is. When an Aji dies there isn’t as much of a power vacuum. If an aji proves incompetent, manchi would naturally flow to the other two aji and the incompentent aji would fall with little fight. The entire world as a household. One leader with two strong associates.

    I think Bren is right that Toby is the best choice for paidhi. The paidhi used to be a translator, it is now a political position. Toby is better known to the Atevi. He risked his life for Illisidi and Tabini more than once. His manchi is proven. Any other human would just be a translator. We have an example in earlier books of what can happen when a paidhi doesn’t have the right political instincts.

  • scenario_dave

    Oops, I had originally written felicitous 15 and changed it by mistake. Spelling error via google. My bad.

    I thought of a couple of more points. Cajeiri will probably have to spend a fair amount of time in the Marid for a while to cement that agreement. He will probably also have to spend time on the station when the aliens come back. The aliens put a lot of value in precedent and since he was there during the first negotiation, they’re going to want to talk to him during further negotiations. They may also ask Bren and him to help negotiate with the other aliens.

    Is it best for the Atevi to have only one powerful Aji? It seemed to work out better with two. I think the transition of power from Tabini’s great-grandfather, to grandfather to father to him went smoother because Illisidi was there. Even if it was to keep Illisidi from power there was no major strife during these times. It would work even better with three if the Marid can become as stable as the east under Illisidi is. When an Aji dies there isn’t as much of a power vacuum. If an aji proves incompetent, manchi would naturally flow to the other two aji and the incompentent aji would fall with little fight. The entire world as a household. One leader with two strong associates.

    I think Bren is right that Toby is the best choice for paidhi. The paidhi used to be a translator, it is now a political position. Toby is better known to the Atevi. He risked his life for Illisidi and Tabini more than once. His manchi is proven. Any other human would just be a translator. We have an example in earlier books of what can happen when a paidhi doesn’t have the right political instincts.

  • scenario_dave

    Sorry for the double post. :)

  • Rigeldeneb

    Yes, we cannot discount the Kyo when it comes to considering Cajeiri’s fate. The Kyo will come–and I cannot wait. And then there is the problem of the mysterious aliens that trouble the Kyo. Who are they? Will we ever meet them?

    I agree, scenario_dave, that the paidhi has become more political agent than translator, but my favorite parts of this series are when Bren is acting as a translator, because that means encounters with the Other, wherein lies a great deal of my pleasure in science fiction. I hope that CJ will plunge us back into that world very soon. And by encounters with the Other, I include ship-folk, Mospheirans and Reunioners–because these humans have become rather strange, too.

  • scenario_dave

    I could easily see a book where the Kyo insist that Cajeiri, Bren and maybe Illisidi go with them to negotiate for them with the other set of aliens. Maybe in the new Atevi ship with ? as the Atevi captains.

    I think the next series will at least start with Illisidi trying to settle the problems with the station humans once and for all. Planting servants in the enemies camp is a classic Atevi strategy. I would bet she allowed Cajeiri to be become associated with the human kids with the idea that if they seems to be appropriate she could use the association later.

    I would bet that the kids will be spending a lot of time on the Atevi side of the station when they get back. Then they’ll use the kids association with selected people on the station humans side to get a better idea of the politics and the pressure points. Kids know a lot more about the real situation than most adults think they do.

  • joelfinkle

    A couple of thoughts about Peacemaker, with spoilers being only teensy tiny:

    1) A human-style birthday cake would seem to have possible problems for those who are counters: how many slices, what shapes, etc., would be felicitous? Individual tea-cakes certainly seem to avoid that spot… but it makes the human child’s “he got a bigger slice than I did” problems seem miniscule.

    2) Jase-aiji’s bodyguard’s armor: I forget just how big they are described as being, but at around Ateva-scale, right? Is there enough room for a sitting- or fetal-position pilot in the torso, and the entire unit being myoelectrically controlled?* That would certainly seem more comfortable than being statue-still while standing.
    (* for reference see anime Patlabor or Gundam, although the Gundam mecha are 20-60′ tall).

    • Jcrow9

      There seems to be quite a lot of similarity to the combat rigs described so well in Rimrunners, which seem much like a medieval suit of armor in basic structure, with feet in boots, legs in legs, and so on–the rig is assembled around the operator, with a pressure sensor lining, essentially, which senses body movement to initiate/control/regulate suit movement. Samewise the rigs used in-ship during the War of Succession in Arc Two, though these seem to be mostly sensors, with minimal armor/power assist component (ISTR Banichi basically picks one up with the operator inside and starts to disassemble the suit despite the occupant’s efforts) and armament consisting of pellet stunners using electrical energy rather than the explosive-projectile weapons used in Peacemaker.
      .
      Somewhere in the current arc I believe the human armor rigs are described as being of about the same height as an Ateva.
      .
      And I agree, locking the armor and standing absolutely still for hours on end seems awfully uncomfortable!

      • Hanneke

        It’s hard work, just standing still, and something the people in those jobs are selected for being able to do, from what I’ve heard. I also read that they use patterns of small movements, like wiggling their toes, tensing and relaxing muscles which aren’t visible at a small distance, but help them keep their blood flowing in their legs and stop their feet going to sleep while they stand there. In one of those armor suits, those movements should be patterned into the enhancement software, so the guards can wiggle a bit without the suit enhancing those movements into visibility.
        Standing still in an on-guard attitude is something that ‘ceremonial’ guards do as part of their jobs. There are guards on display, sometimes in colourful costumes, at all kinds of official occasions. Here I see them on TV at things like a coronation, royal wedding, yearly royal speech for the opening of parliament, official reception of heads of state, state dinners and such, and there are probably a lot more such occasions that aren’t televised. There are the secret service type guards in suits, the military types of guards in (sometimes colourful historic) uniforms, and probably hidden guards as well – at least the first two have to stay standing still in their assigned spots for as long as the occasion lasts, anything up to two hours at a time or so I think I remember reading.
        Kaplan and Polano’s standing and guarding is in that sense no different, except for having to program the suits to make the necessary wiggle-room possible without causing a visible shimmy.

        • Here’s a secret about standing in place for a while, especially if you’re expected to be in a position of “attention” or “parade rest” (which is actually LESS restful than “attention). You don’t lock your knees – the legs are slightly flexed and that gives you the opportunity to tighten your thigh muscles as well as your hips to get blood flowing….but I still think the armor suits that Kaplan and friend wear will have some sort of massage mechanism, since the suits are supposed to be tailored to each of them….my guess, though.

  • I think if you’re in one position for a while, the blood starts to pool in your legs, causing them to swell, and also incurring the chance of deep vein thrombosis. To combat that, I would presume that the suits have some sort of massaging mechanism to keep the blood from pooling. It might not be active all the time, but something that would kick in when the suit was locked into position, and could be controlled by the wearer as to the intensity of the massage. The only other thing that would bother me would be the fact that I can’t sit still for very long, no matter what. The more confined I feel, the harder it is to sit still – it’s actually restless leg syndrome or RLS – and while it’s treatable with different medications, I’ve found that there were other medications which exacerbate the problem, especially when they’re taken in combination with the medications which are supposed to relieve the problem. For example, gabapentin is supposed to relieve them, but if you’re taking Zoloft (sertraline) as well, it made my RLS worse. I’m finally off both of those medications and the RLS is at a minimum. I think now it’s more psychological than physical or neurological. I drove my neurologist crazy trying to figure out what was causing it, and we started titrating me off them and the condition markedly lessened. Now if we could just figure out those anomalies in the brain……

  • Rigeldeneb

    Ah, the tales Kaplan and Polano have to tell. . .

  • CJ

    I was in a marching band for a number of my teen years; our director was a ex-Navy officer. And he was pretty spit-n-polish. It wasn’t unusual for somebody (one poor guy was the usual) to take a header during a prolonged park for a section of the band to figure something out. Down he’d go and we’d just grab the French horn, which was spendy to repair, and it was his, so his choice.

    On one occasion we were all lined up for a US Marine inspection as part of a contest, and there was a delay. I recall a Marine noncom yelling about our band in particular being left at attention while something got sorted out. I figured if the US Marines were complaining it was too long, it was pretty darned long.

    But we were good.

  • CJ

    And yep, I figure once those suits are locked, the occupant has the chance even to hitch up a bit and rest his butt. ;) There’s a bit of room in there when the suits are at rest: they clamp down more when in action.

    • I just sort of assumed that the suits were really complicated jobbies that could put their occupants in a sedated state while feeding them intravenously and taking care of bodily waste and doing auto-massage and moisturizing skin and so on.

  • Tommie

    Hmmm… You mean, “I need a really good rest, so I’m putting on my armor”?

  • Rigeldeneb

    Maybe even music or movies?

    • I for one find it difficult to stay pacified by music and movies even when belted down in an airplane seat. For a long haul flight, I get up at least 3-4 times and walk (which is supposed to be good for you anyway). But I don’t doubt the suits could do that. I wonder what it would be like, though, for a ship-dweller to watch movies that were filmed on a planet, in cities they’ll never see and can’t actually imagine living in.

  • CJ

    Certainly Cajeiri was greatly transported by The Three Musketeers, and dinosaurs. He’s still quite disappointed about the dinos.

    • That makes me kind of wonder what the prehistoric life on the atevi planet must have been like. There are lizardlike things that produce edible eggs, there must be dinosaurs somewhere in their paleontology!

      Cajeiri anyway grew up on a planet, and atevi habits and styles (judging by the book covers :) ) wouldn’t find a period piece set in France *entirely* alien, I wouldn’t think.

  • CJ

    You have a little hint in Boji, the wi’itikin, and Tatiseigi’s basement. The Southern Island has a lot of prehistory and fossil records. Paleontology is a late-blooming science among atevi. Archaeology is still a curiosity more than a science.

  • chondrite

    I just twigged to the fact that many of the alkaloids the atevi find yummy are prevalent in plants that give you the pip in excess: the solanaceae, potatoes, tomatoes, and outliers like datura and nightshade(!) Have any Human farmers ever attempted a plant exchange with Atevi farmers? Datura and nightshade might be quite properly kabiu, and tasty as well! “I’ll take the bottoms of these here potatoes, and you can have the tops.”

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