About the Foreigner series: Spoiler alerts

There is the general spoiler page for general questions.

I’m making this set of pages for more specific questions.

The rule is: do not ask or comment about a book until it has been at least a month in issue. I think that will make everybody happy re spoilers.


  1. brensgirlfriday

    Also, that long-sightedness of Tabini’s can be quite magnificently frightening in its sheer power and scope. You can just imagine his viewpoint as he sees it… reminiscent, perhaps, of Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘The Canadian Railroad Trilogy’.

    bittersweet; frightful in the face of coming change. elegant in elegy and effigy.

  2. weeble

    Ah, but see, Bren may have QUIT taking pay from the Mospheiran government, but Mospheira never sent a replacement. So, who is actually doing the job? While he was gone, Yolanda took over, but she was only a temporary replacement. Bren is still doing it, just being paid by Tabini.

    • brensgirlfriday

      Forsoothe, I concur in all certainty. That is what I, for one, am DYING to know. We need to see Atevi on the mainland. But.. weren’t there a few analyses from Bren throughout the books about who they would probably never go there for whatever reason? That is troubling to me. I want to see them there, probably for the same reasons you do.

      Pardon, but are you TheWeebl from Newgrounds?

    • Jcrow9

      Yabbut, Bren is still getting paid by Mospheira. He keeps saying he needs to find something to buy with the accumulated back pay.

  3. weeble

    Erm, no, although I’ve been using Weeble from way back in internet infancy.

    I think it would be interesting to actually see what John Q Public thinks of where the whole Atevi/Mospheiran/Phoenix/Station/Kyo/BadNeighbors thing is going, and what the intelligent humans are thinking about the job Bren is doing. We know the screaming-me-mes and the Heritage party were pretty hard on Bren’s family back when the ship came back, but what about now that the station is established, Reunion’s remnants have been rescued, and a new threat looms on the horizon?

    I just happened to think, if the screaming-me-mes are still active, maybe that’s why Toby is living on the boat…. neighbors get to looking at you funny, you can just move on!

  4. brensgirlfriday

    okay Woo. That poor man is a tad creepy and shouldn’t breed maybe.


    Yes yes! What you said. I am positively DYING to know what the Mospheirans are up to in Bren’s long absence. It’s like CJ has avoided them on purpose! Surely this is all part of her brilliant plan, right CJ?
    YEs. That is why Toby owns and lives on the boat. Totally agree with you there. Lucky turkey. BUt I can;t swim, so… haha. no boat for me.

  5. berylkit

    Ah yes, weeble, you are right about the original filing of intent in Foreigner (which is the book that i have read the most often). I think that’s why I was so confused about the later claim that Bren didn’t know where Banichi was from…just started my re-read of Conspirator so I will especially note the southern accent part.

    But still…i have lots of questions about Banichi & Jago. In Foreigner, Bren wasn’t as detached from Mospheria as he later became, so why did he attach so thoroughly to B&J? Is it a basic human need to belong to something larger than ourselves? I think that if Bren completely “goes native”, the tension in the books would not be the same. He needs something to keep him grounded in his humanity. And that’s his brother – a very thin thread.

    • Sapphire

      Well, no, actually, Bren doesn’t need his (sorry, idiot) brother to keep himself ‘grounded in his humanity’. Jase and many other INTERESTING humans he has met along the way help him perfectly well in that respect.

      Many times during the course of these books, we’ve had Bren ruminating on the fact that the unmentionables are more of a nuisance to him than anything else. He may feel guilt about not giving in to their constant demands and emotional blackmail, but there is little to see of regret.

      • Jcrow9

        Sorry, Sapphire, IMO you are all wet re: Toby.
        Bren must have his close human contacts to stay human and sane; talking to Jase on the phone once in a while simply ain’t gonna get it done. Hairless apes have to have certain needs met sociologically, and sleeping with his bodyguard isn’t enough. It helps, of course, but Bren needs his human contacts. Toby has proven himself to be a steady, reliable help in many situations. He may be inconvenient at times, but he is essential.

        • Sapphire

          Jcrow: as I believe I mentioned elsewhere, Bren does have close human contacts with interesting characters other than his family, which help ‘keep him human’, though he now prefers the company of the atevi. In fact, I don’t think he could live without them.

          I have a deep personal antipathy particularly towards the female component of Bren’s family, which actually spoils my reading of the story, since I am most interested in developments between Bren/the atevi/the ship humans/perhaps the kyo in future. For me, the personal stuff relevant to the female members of his family diverts from the story. As a character, I simply find Toby a boring nuisance who gets under everyone’s feet (though he is perfectly ‘nice’, and the odd communication between Bren and him doesn’t bother me too much).

  6. brennan

    From what we see of Bren, I think he stopped working “for” the Mospheiran establishment the moment he arrived on the mainland. In every instance, we see that he is focused on the long-term good of the humans on the planet and the long-term health of Atevi society pursuant to that. His “superiors” are politicians and bureaucrats, typical careerists focused on their own short-term benefit. Their agendas for the Paidhi are generally either contradictory or would result in absolute disaster if implemented.
    Over time, as he has learned the measure of Tabini, Ilsidi, Geigi and Cajieri, he has decided that advising them and supporting their initiatives will directly benefit the Atevi ashidat and indirectly the Mospheirans. Encountering the ship-folk and the Kyo and freely mixing Atevi, shipfolk and Mospheirans on the space station simply complicate and accelerate his progress to the goal; and added additional groups whose long-term benefit must be served for the good of all. It is clear that in every difficulty he is looking for win-win solutions and will try to reason with anyone who isn’t actively shooting at him.
    As far as the debate regarding subplots and cast of characters is concerned, I think we should moot the subject and defer to an award-winning modern master of worldbuilding, plotting and characterization. Oh, I think we may have a candidate!

  7. Wepox

    I think that Bren is dealing with several different cultures. Atevi of course, Mospheria, the ship, the other station folk, the Kyo, if we stop thinking of them as human vs Atevi we can see that the humans are also differentiated into separate groups.
    Mospherians are a closed minded, self centered, parochial group. they are suspicious of everyone not aligned with with their narrow view. They will be more inclined to act in their own individual self interest as opposed to what is best for Mospherians or God forbid the planet as a whole.
    Ship-Folks are a tightly woven group, more than family, they are a clan. they see things in terms of group advantages or disadvantages not individual ones. They are as likely to back a project that will benefit other groups if they can see the benefit to them.
    Reunion Station Folk are loosely aligned and work together to the group benefit so long as everyone is taken care of. Living in a tin can where death is just an airlock away creates a forced camaraderie that may cause more stress to them than not. They are merchants and interested in trade and advantage, this requires having someone to trade with. they are as fair as possible as long as a profit is made.
    The Kyo are… well who knows. they are not like anyhign seen before, so that will be interesting.
    the Atevi, they “own” the planet, they are dealing with invaders, technology, space, infelicitous numbers in dealing with space travel. The original battle lines that existed in Atevi society before the battle of the landing are blurring and fading in light of the new challenges being presented to them.
    Bren is navigating the murky waters of all of these groups. his job is made easier by the fact that three of the four groups speak english (?), but he is required to appease each group while still getting his mission accomplished.
    I get the impression that Bren was playing fast and loose with Illisidi’s eastern ports and trade in Marid and that she had to accept his negotiations. I saw that as the point where Bren became more than just the Paidhi and became an advocate for the planet and all of the diverse groups allied with it. I predict that even Tabini will bow before his decisions.

  8. Wepox

    to further the conversation above: Bren is not a member of any one of the diverse groups, but is attached to all of them. Bren is truly a universal planetary citizen, one who is interested in the greater good of all despite what any one or several groups think. The divergent directions that each “race” would take the planet’s future in creates the stresses that Bren deals with every day, every decision, every interaction that he is involved in.
    With great trepidation I will bring up the “unmentionables” in that Bren is still a product of Mospheria despite the distance he has traveled since his days on the island. His visceral connection is with his ex and sib. Intellectually he may be connected to Banachi and Jago but his guts belong to the human culture. That being said, does the word ” human” encompass all of he humans or just “his” humans from Mospheria?

    Notice Sapphire that i have not mentioned the actual names of the hated ones. However i crave your opinion of my hypothesis.

    • Sapphire

      Wepox: I don’t believe Bren is connected solely intellectually with Jago and Banichi (or other atevi like Tano, Algini, Tabini and the dowager). I think his feelings towards them run very deeply, and he actually cares very much about them – he in fact couldn’t live without them. Witness the scenes in many of the books where Bren sees or thinks that Banichi or Jago are in danger, and note his reactions.

      A lot of the time Bren seems to somewhat resent his family because of the demands they make on him, and frankly doesn’t want or need to spend time with them. He has a very active, interesting and demanding life, with an important job to do, and the demands made by those selfish, vile women are simply unwanted interferences that he does not need. As mentioned above, Toby is simply a boring ‘nice’ man – for me an unconvincing character that is much less interesting than many of the humans Bren has dealt with in space. Too much of him and his ridiculous actions just slows down the story and diverts it from its interesting aspects (Bren/atevi/’space’ humans/potentially the kyo).

  9. Bryn48

    I don’t understand the people who dislike Toby, Barb and the other Mospherian (sp) characters in Brens’ life. Understand you are seeing them only from Brens point of view, getting only his idea of what this person is. So his Mother had problems, these affected Bren and his ties to the island and pushed him more to the Atevi, interesting that he runs from emotional involvements. Bren at first assumes that Atevi do not have emotional bonds because the court language is so unemotional. Bren thinks of Barb as his “party girl”, the person he used to relieve the tension of his job. Toby is the “stay at home brother” with the normal job. In the two years that Bren was gone a lot has changed on the island and the mainland. Bren has not caught up with all the changes yet. You are getting his assumptions of what these people are, and his assumptions are not always right.
    What interests me is … how much unauthorized contact is there between the island and the mainland? Smuggling? Cell phones!

  10. Sapphire

    Bryn48: how can you say we are seeing these people only from Bren’s point of view? The younger female’s vile, selfish behaviour is extremely clear: throwing herself into his arm’s because she is trying to assert control over him, in a situation that would be obvious to most people is inappropriate; going shopping for clothes without a thought for anyone’s danger; playing various mind games with Bren; being present in situations where she is clearly not wanted and endangering others; in the midst of a crisis, worrying about not having make-up with her, for God’s sake, and so on. The mother’s equally vile behaviour was also aimed at control of ‘her boys’, disguised as ‘love’, since she hadn’t had the sense to build up other interests and allow her children lead their own lives. I’M FED UP TO THE TEETH WITH THEM AND TRUST WE WON’T SEE MUCH MORE OF THEM IN THE BOOKS (the mother’s dead, thank God, but hopefully the boat will sink and that will be the end of the other two). Otherwise I will just have to consider whether to continue reading the sequence.

  11. iminnocent

    Sapphire, it is clear you have very strong opinions on several characters in this series. So do others. I have enjoyed following this thread. Until now. I find your SHOUTING, and your attempt to control which characters should not even be mentioned in these discussions offensive.

  12. Sapphire

    I’m sorry you find my comments offensive. Perhaps I’ve just become too involved and obsessed with these books, and should become less so.

    Never mind – I shall cease my comments forthwith.

    • Jcrow9

      Sapphire, I think what is off-putting to people (well, me, anyway) is that you seem so strident on this topic. I don’t think anyone is trying to shut you up, we just ask that you relax a bit and allow some discussion instead of bluntly saying you think these characters should not be in the books, or even discussed, for Pete’s sake. Please also keep in mind that writing in all caps is considered to be the same as shouting at someone.
      We’re all here because we enjoy CJ’s writing… can’t we all just get along? 😉

  13. Sapphire

    Jcrow9: yes, I was shouting, intentionally I think, out of frustration with the discussion. That’s why I will disengage from any further comments on this particular aspect of the books. I’m too much of an obsessive anyway, have a horrible slipped disk in the upper spine at present (not as bad as it was), and have a lot of work to do, so am rather grouchy at present.

    I’ve been meaning to comment on the jacket, so might as well do it here. I actually think it is OK, though not as good as the previous two, which were outstanding. Bren looks a bit odd on this one, but otherwise the illustration is very dynamic. Todd Lockwood is normally a good illustrator. I also like the coloured boards, which were a feature of the first few titles in the sequence. It would be great if the endpapers could be coloured as well, as in the initial titles. I know this increases the book production costs, but the hardbacks are quite expensive, so making the presentation of this aspect of the books as decent as possible is quite important.

  14. CJ

    Polite discussion, please. I hope this is enough to say.

    • brensgirlfriday

      Goodness, yes. I stopped commenting so much because I realized I couldn’t stand the fighting in so many forums… plus I just spontaneously forget my interests now and then! So…

      Please kiss and make up more often, you guys! Just like Bren, I am a person who really feels uncomfortable when other people fight… and then, when i am the subject of unrest, too… it’s just too much. So please try harder in future!
      huggies to everyone!

      • Sapphire

        Well, I’m the ‘guilty’ party here, so I apologise unreservedly to anyone who found my remarks offensive, and promise to henceforth stay off a specific subject (which has been done to death here anyway). I originally meant to type a particular comment in italics (to stress something above), rather than to do so in caps (which I know looks like shouting). However, I couldn’t find out how to type in italics here – usually there is a tab you can just click onto after highlighting a passage you want to italicize. I was a bit pressed for time, so couldn’t search around to find out how to do this on this site…

        • CJ

          I’ve tried unsuccessfully to find a WP app to give users that function, and what I get is a “You can use these HTML tags…]. My own quickie solution is an *asterisk* before and after…I at least did find the preview function, thanks to the one who suggested it. And you might be able to get ital by typing pointy-brackets around em and then a /em in pointy brackets around a word or section to end it. That’s HTML code for ’emphasis’ and ‘end emphasis’. It works for me. Thank everyone for calming the waters. Virtual tea for everyone all around and let that be the end of stress.

          • brensgirlfriday

            oh good…

            but for me, apps are evil. Bad bad apps. But if they work for you, CJ, more power to ya! -hugsz-

          • smartcat

            So if I do this I might get italics?

            Preview shows italics following your instructions. Yea!!!

          • Sapphire

            CJ: thanks very much for the helpful suggestions. I did try them on the word ‘not’ below, but with no luck (probably doing something wrong). I did, however, find a smiley icon.

            This is not meant as an insult of any kind, rather as a compliment: with regard to my antics above I blame the author in part for making the characters so real. 🙂

            • CJ

              Look for Foreigner Discussion: Spoiler Alerts: Page 2. I think we’re getting some overruns and weird placements due to the number of comments, or something. Weirdness is happening. SO I’ll give you all a fresh start on page 2.

  15. brensgirlfriday

    um, not that I WAS in this particular scuffle, mind. I just meant in general. Jsut to make that clear nad not sound like a narcissist.


    Anyway, so, CJ! Did you like the cover art of Betrayer?

    And what happened to that evil maid from Deceiver, I think it was? Didn’t she get popped or something? I can’t recall, but I do know she seemed like she could become an evil genius maybe, given the proper biological incentive. IT was kind of amusing, that bit with her in. Evil babysitter, and what. Might you have Brenny Bren Bren do some fancy mental footwork in Banichi’s Home Province soon? That would get our gourd in a happy way but good, we’ve long been waiting for such a tasty sandwich!

  16. CJ

    Indeed. No fighting. Everybody be nice. Then everybody has a much nicer time here. And that includes me.

  17. CJ

    Re the cover art—sometimes the artist gets realworld pressure that affects what he can–has time to— do. Just lately he had to remind DAW that he hadn’t gotten the book yet. Everybody panicked. They thought he’d had the book for quite a while. Then he has to do some head-work and figure out what to do. It’s not all just standing grandly in front of the easel and daubing paint on…you have to figure what won’t give anything away, but that will be attractive enough or odd enough to make somebody pick up the book for a closer look, and then what will give the reader an aha! moment when they get to that bit. And when you don’t get the book on time—that gets to be a pretty harried situation.

    • brensgirlfriday

      Exactly! It’s schedules nad deadlines and planning andworrying. Just like in writing. Not that I will ever know the joy of a deadline… or fundage for my work! haha I keep on tryin though.

      maybe I’ll feel good enough, some day.

      ANYWAY… ooooo spoilers! sealed lips! oooo

  18. CJ

    The missing maid. Ah, yes. And other comings and goings, but my lips are sealed!

  19. brensgirlfriday

    Then again, being my type of -easily upset in some ways- person, i may just self-publish my 45,720 words! Ahahah i could never be as good as you CJ. You totally top all of us lowly fans with your Mad Skillz of English. And, I am always amazed by the scope of your vision; not empty praise, just the truth. it’s really something when one can produce something and get it done, and I, as a fan and aspiring writer of little merit, can always count on you to be brilliant and inspiring. Hells, your writing fires parts of my brain that never get fired otherwise, and for that, with regard to not only my being an undiagnosed aspie but also just a me who loves to write, I am very grateful.

    aherm. back to the topic at hand…

    let’s see… um…

    o the way oyu say that… all shivery like!

    t h e m i s s i n g m a i d.

    That could be a title! -runs away to think-

  20. brensgirlfriday

    oh god I know what you mean, doll. I downloaded google translator because I wanted it to translate stuff, cheers and chips for the obvious, what? But it brings up this gigantor blue page of text every time i linger for more than a second anywhere with my mouse. Heathens. I despise inefficient software.

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