About me

I’m C.J. Cherryh. I write science fiction and fantasy. I travel, I figure skate, I take photos, I sometimes do art. I’ve been most of the way around the world—the only exception being the stretch fromPerth, Australia, to Ephesus, in Turkey: haven’t ever been in that sector of the globe.

I used to teach, I trained in linguistics and archaeology, and I have a web page at www.cherryh.com, if you didn’t happen to arrive here by that route. I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, and I share a house with Jane Fancher, another writer, and two cats, who have about 100,000 miles of travel on them. Jane’s webpage is www.janefancher.com —if you want the other side of any story. Plus I’m a klutz about picture managment and she loves doing it, so almost all incriminating pictures are on her website and Flickr account.

I’ve kept a journal for  many years on my website, and quite a lot of people know me pretty well from those pages, so if everybody else seems to ‘know things’ that aren’t in this blog, don’t panic. Just ask, and I or somebody else will answer.

This blog/webpresence is in no wise meant to supplant, replace, or take over from the several sites that have had content relating to my work (you know who you are, and I fully support your continuance.)

I also have a philosophy about the web. It is a place, like science fiction conventions, which grew up with rules, among the original participants, often good rules, and success brought in a whole lot of people who came in and brought different ways. I try, so far as I am able and have knowledge, to run two sites where you don’t get bombarded by ads, you don’t pick up tracking cookies, and where, if we sell something, it’s a decent value. I cannot control the Amazon store aspect of my website, and you may pick up cookies past that doorway, but it was a way to get you access to my books—all 500-odd links. Any page I would have made with those links would have been hopeless to navigate.

When I offer files for sale as e-books they will be DRM-free. I try to be honest with my readers, and hope my readers will be honest with me—and enable me to keep the lights on.

Let’s have fun on this site. I’ll be posting about my work, my life, the general craziness of a writer’s existence, my friends, and what I’m up to. Plus—the current project—the creation of Closed Circle—three writers’ response to the difficulties in the publishing industry: we are going to offer inexpensive e-books, and hope to be able to do it long-term.


  1. philospher77

    Have you picked up the graphic novels? Jane is quite a talented artist. Too bad they didn’t get farther into the series.

  2. gattaca12

    I must say the best coverart work I have seen for the Morgaine Chronicles & Exiles Gate is from the Manderin publishing house. I hunted down some second hand PB books just for the artistry, and sold off my other ones as the covers didn’t do justice to the content.

  3. CJ

    That was a beautiful one, the Mandarin cover.
    Jane has a lot of the new cover work on her blog (buttons on left sidebar), and she will be doing artwork for new items, and so will I.

  4. gattaca12

    Michael Whelan’s first two jackets for the Foreigner cycle are my favourites in the series, again really capturing the essence of your writing. Have been looking to see if there are any posters of the Foreigner picture to buy, but no joy so far on the net.

  5. BlackLife

    Bonjour. Im relatively new to your work (about 4 months reading) and I would like to say i absolutely love your books. Im currently through Downbellow Station Merchanters Luck 40,000 in Gehenna and Cyteen, and you have quickly rose up to be one of my favorite authors. So… yeah great work (im not one for introductions).
    Sincerely, Rob

  6. Vaitalla

    Hello! Just wanted to pop on and say that I’ve been a fan for almost two decades now and am thrilled to see that you have an internet presence–don’t know why I didn’t think to check before now! The Chanur series has long been some of my favorite fiction. Found your site linked by a fellow NaNoWriMo participant and can’t wait to jump into reading your journals (well, okay, maybe AFTER the NaNo month is over)! Thanks so much for all the wonderful books over the years.

    –Anne 🙂

  7. choochwitch

    I am a neubie to your site. Just downloaded the book reader for mac. I’ve been holding off on spending anything on a reader, roomie wants one and has been looking at Kindle, but we both expect that Apple will come out with a book size version of iTouch that will blow Kindle out of the water. I wanted to get an electronic copy of the Morganie serries (well loved) to replace the dilapidated achient hard cover I received from a former roomie and devoured several times over the many years. Until the middle of this year I have worked consistant 80 hour workweeks which have greatly constricted reading time. “Be good Kitties”, and wow, who has seen AVATAR!

  8. nebula61

    Hello! I’ve been a fan since 1989, when I serendipitously picked up _Exile’s Gate_ at Ardath Mayhar’s View From Orbit bookstore in Nacogdoches, TX, the year I lived there! At the time I had no idea who she was or who you were–what a discovery! I went on to read almost everything you’ve written. I hope I live to see a new Morgaine novel, or at least a film adaptation of the existing novels. Is any actress magnificent enough to play her? Oh, well, one lives and hopes….

  9. ftierson

    After enjoying your books over the years, I find myself hoping that the first four Chanur books will be made into movies, especially as I see how well real actors and CGI “magic” can be mixed these days. Having said that, I also find myself dreading the books being made into movies, mostly for two reasons. First, I can envision how much a poorly made movie could screw up the original story lines. Second, I have created my own image/reality from the books and don’t want it ruined by someone showing me theirs… But I do want to thank you for the worlds and characters you’ve painted for me…:)


  10. quiveran

    I discovered your site via a long way around, the KaCSFFS site, you’re one of only six authors on their link because you’re a Midwesterner by birth (they graciously “forgave” your birthplace of cross-state rival St.Louis). I read Rusulka a while back because I was aware of the folk-tale first and later Fortress of Eagles. What amazes me even more though is finding out you figure-skate (not on Wikipedia). I am just learning how to ice-skate myself in the sole adult class with 10 other beginners. What a challenge with all the kiddies zipping around you but who says an old dog can’t be taught new tricks?

    Rob the Quiveran

    • CJ

      I started at age 61, thinking I’d love to do something technical like gee, skate backwards. I’m pretty good at backwards, and I do 3-turns and a waltz jump. Advice: there’s such a thing as ‘crash pads.’ Not cheap. But cheaper than a broken bone. Get them at icessorize.com. Guys can wear them under compression shorts. Women, under tights. (there’s no glue involved and they dont’ show from the outside: they’re thin gel sheets that can save you big hurt.) Two: helmet. Pros don’t wear them, but beginners should. Three: halfpipe wrist guards. This is until you learn to fall in a superman glide without jamming your wrist. These will guarantee you don’t, and they will improve your skid, which can save your face. 😉 I only used the guards for a while, since I have now learned how to fall safely, but they will save your bacon a few times while you learn. Never let somebody’s snigger discourage you from a helmet, either.

      Welcome in—and enjoy!

      • Sandor

        Definitely wrist guards!

        Our 9 yo skateboards, and even if when he fought wearing the helmet, he never fought against the wrist guards. #1 injury in skate boarding, and probably pretty high up there for ice skating!

        • CJ

          For beginners, definitely: I’ve been on the ice when somebody broke an arm due to inexperience and it’s a nasty sound. The thing is, once you know where to put your hands in a fall, you slide. But the learning curve can be brutal. If you have those wristguards on, they force you to hold your hands in a certain way, notably in front of you, and if you fall on your hands, you will slide 20 feet with those guards on—NOT tuck them under you and break a wrist. Once you understand what you’re doing you don’t do things like put your arm under you while falling; but until you have the concept that you fall on the side of your butt and keep your arms out and your head up, human instinct can make you do baaad things. You may only need them for 6 weeks; the helmet—well, that’s something you don’t shake until you NEVER fall and hit your head. Fatalities can happen in this sport, and mostly because of a fall on one’s head. Brain buckets will let you off with nothing but a little headache.

  11. quiveran

    thx for the suggestions, tomorrow is our last ice-skating class and I need to invest in some equipment as I journey forth on my own. Next on my “to do” list is learning Latin – to say it is more intimidating than ice-skating is perhaps not a just assessment. I have the equipment for this one ironically enough, several books including a 1930’s, tattered leatherbound primer on “Medieval Latin” which I heard someone say a few years ago (a Jesuit no less – or maybe “of course”) is easier to pick up than classical Latin. As one who taught it, what is your take on the matter?

    • CJ

      Check my website cherryh.com for the Latin lessons. That should give you some help.
      Frankly I find mediaeval Latin, with its auxiliary verbs run amok, is a pita. Go classical.

      For equipment, definitely your own skates, asap. I use Graf, but they’re hard to get in the states. Reidell is good. Avoid Jackson’s low-end skates, imho. They broke down too fast. A skate bag makes things more convenient, and you can have spare lacehooks, etc, in there, not to mention some elastic bandage and bandaids. Line up a professional skate-sharpener, the best going: never ever, ever, ever allow ‘the shop’ to touch your skate blades, once you get good ones. Having your skates aimed in different directions even microscopically is not a good idea, and it can take a number of visits to a good skate sharpener with lock-tight equipment and guides before they can correct the damage done by some guy who just holds the skate up to a grinding wheel and hopes. 😉 Lacing: lace snugly as a really firm handshake. You shouldn’t have numb spots resulting from the lacing. I do a half-tie between each of the ankle lacings. Nice thing about Grafs: no break-in misery: they use a synthetic tongue that flexes. But don’t get anything cheaper than the Richmond model if you can avoid it. Blades: Coronation Ace is a good learning blade. Cyclone Taylor in Vancouver BC is where I got mine, [I believe they’re online as Skateforless] and if you send a good tight tracing of your feet, they can ship you a pair of boots to try and ship back if they aren’t a good fit. Once you do find a fit, you order your blades to fit the boots, (they come in inches) and get them mated to the boots by somebody who knows what they’re doing. (basically the blade fits between your big toe and the second toe, and on back to the heel on a balance that will stand unaided before you screw the heel down. You don’t do all the screws, just the sliding screws at first. I only have 5 screws in each boot, even after 2 years. 😉

  12. Gandalf62

    I’ve been reading your books since before I escaped Oklahoma (in 1980, to be exact) 😉 I very much like your Closed Circle idea… will the new Foreigner book be available there? If not, I hope it will be available in e-book form at the same time as hardcover… my wife has banned me buying more physical books (because our house was about to collapse from the shear weight of all the books… and that is even after putting boxes of books into a storage unit).

  13. quiveran

    thanks so much! I’ve opted out of ice-skating class for the summer so I can practice the basics I’ve learned and ready to get off using the public skates. Still trying to get my kids to try it out as a “summer activity”. The skatesforless site was easy to find not sure if I can afford the Graf, will probably opt for a Reidell.
    Im gonna try out the classical Latin lessons, makes sense too if I prefer reading Tacitus over Aquinas.

  14. Myrtle

    Hello there. I’m the cliched “long time fan; first time commentor” *smile*

    I am re-reading Deliverer for the don’t know exactly how manyeth time and I was struck with the desire to just say “Thank you”. Thank you for being the wordsmith you are. I’ve enjoyed many of your books through the years, but the First Contact/Foreigner series had me at hello and hasn’t dulled.

    So, enjoy the garden; may you have many creative moments and peace when they just won’t come…and just “thank you”. *bow*

    • Myrtle

      (Just a P.S. For those from the old Shejidan board…I was NessO. Hope to reconnect with a few old acquaintances also.)

  15. Welwyn

    Totally agree about the Latin. Forego medieval. Return to the past. My favourite subject. Like, say, jigsaw puzzles with words standing in for the shapes. Or a mystery novel in one sentence, a long sentence of course, full of clauses and just writhing with verbs. Find the main one! Go on, I dare you!

    You know when the Church Latin stuff comes on at Christmas? I have to cover my ears when I hear the “vee” sound.

    Do you read mysteries? If so or if not, have a look at Donna Leon’s Commissario Brunetti, who always turns to Tacitus and such, when life is complicated. She’s a very elegant writer.

  16. libera

    you are one of my favourite author!!! Your works alone would put you very high in the list, but cats, horses, latin and figure ice skating make you win the contest!!!
    And also your easy way to “deal” with your fans! One have the feeling of being really in touch with you,; while i’m navigating in your site and your blog, from the “mithical writer” of my teen age you became a real person!
    (sorry for any grammatical, syntactic or lexical error, i’m trying to benefit from your english lessons too)

  17. Jordan Fox

    I’m sure that I’m a total nerd when i say this, but regardless of that, I’m a huge fan of the Compact Space series, and of Chanur’s Legacy in particular. I’ve found a rather interesting piece of work on an older site that made me reread the book, and I wish there was another book to continue the series. But enough about what I want, C.J. Cherryh is definitely one of my favorite authors. She’s a standard that I use to evaluate new books when I read them.

    Here’s the link:

    It’s got excellent character depth for such a short piece, given what Ms. Cherryh created to begin with.

  18. Indie__Authors

    Hi I’m pleased to “meet” you. I love your Morgaine novels and would really really appreciate another one. 🙂

    I can’t seem to find where I can purchase and download your books from?

  19. Retreever

    Just found your site, I’m a long, long time fan – really enjoy Chanur Cycle, Fortress Cycle, Foreigner Cycle and Faded Sun Series. Thanks for all your fine work!

  20. Dragonrider Gal

    I also just found your site! Sorry if posting my question about your inspiration for the Atavi was out of place in your blog. 🙁 Like I noted there, I adore your work and hope things keep going well for the new year!

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