spoiler potential: caution: book questions.

Do not get into this page if you are trying to read a book. This is for after you’ve read it. Likewise follow the custom of putting a subject and then dropping down a number of lines to make it possible for a reader to duck out if they don’t want the information yet.

I will answer questions about pronunciation, etc, all the little questions I’m normally asked. I won’t discuss things that disturb my creative process, like where I’m going or such. You can theorize among yourselves.


  1. rollingstone

    Thrilled to know there may be more of Morgaine and Vanye! Still envious of those who haven’t read everything you’ve published. Although I don’t claim to have read everything, but Cherryh novels do take up most of my two top bookshelves! For instance, I’ve never even seen a copy of Wave Without A Shore. And someone stole my copy of The Paladin, may they freeze in a mahen hell!

    A question for anyone who isn’t busy writing my next favorite novel: Many years ago, I read a book wherein the hero’s name was Legion. The story involved some interesting ancient alien stuff, and there was also a housecat who played an important role. Does anyone here know the name of that book? My copy was lost by the wayside many years ago, and it’s kind of driving me nuts.

  2. Hanneke

    It might be My name is Legion, by Roger Zelazny: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Name_Is_Legion_(Zelazny_stories) though I don’t remember interesting ancient alien stuff and an important housecat in that one – it’s been at least three decades since I read it so I don’t remember much detail. It’s the only book where the protagonist’s name is Legion that I know.
    Googling for Legion and book, I find it’s also the name of a comic-book character, but again no cats or ancient alien artifacts are mentioned.

  3. mitha

    Or maybe you are thinking of A Trace of Memory by Keith Laumer? A skinny little book by today’s standards, but a good story, IMO. A down-on-his-luck guy named Legion takes a job with a rich guy who turns out to be a lot more than he seems. Character named Legion, check. Alien artifacts, check. Cat…a cat doesn’t especially come to mind. That’s not to say there isn’t one, though, it’s been a while since I read it.

    A Trace of Memory is available collected with other stories by Laumer in Legions of Space as an e-book through Baen. I believe it’s out-of-print otherwise.

    • brennan

      Baen issued it as a trade paperbook last year, IIRC.

    • rollingstone

      Oh my gosh, that’s it. A Trace of Memory. Never would have remembered the name–never could forget the story. Just checking back in on this page and had forgotten asking the question–thank you so much! It was a skinny little book.

      The housecat is definitely important. 🙂

      • Deesha

        I was going to suggest one of the Acorna books by Anne McCaffrey. There is a Cat in those books with ‘Very’ definite opinions, for a ships cat.

  4. Walt

    I have, in some senses, a really nasty question, prompted by Ms Cafferty getting some nibbles on Pern. Please refuse the question if you think it’s antithetical. “Suppose `someone’ asked if you could reimagine Chanur with humans as hani and vice versa?” You have said in forwards (IIRC) that Chanur is something of a equal rights parable. (Excuse my clumsy wording.) I never saw it that way, probably because I never saw unequal rights (in my life). Apologies if this is–to use the “Japanese” phrase–a “difficult” question.

    • rollingstone

      Nothing at all personal Walt, but this question has me shuddering with horror.

    • Deesha

      Being Transgendered, I think I can see where your going with this. Might I suggest a visit to Fictionmania.tv

  5. A.S.Loki

    Hello all, and to CJ – long term fan, first time poster….

    A response to a somewhat dated thread re A/U stations, ships, and tekkie stuff….. call me naive, and although there is no description that supports this image, I’ve always thought of docking as in the old computer game Elite. The ship approaches the cylinder from the bottom, not the side, matching rotation with docking thrusters… the cone grapples, and now the ship is inside the cylinder, oriented in the same direction and rotating at the speed of the inner “core”
    Docking is a nerve shredding, boring and long process, as ship movement is brought down from k/s on approach, to m/s in proximity, then finally cm/s under computer linked control to cover the last dozens of metres

    The clamps engage, and the ship, all tens of thousands of tons of it, is manipulated towards an inside wall. The docks, then, are the section of the station at the centre, towards one ( or both ) ends. Hence Morrie Birds painful “Heavy Time” – as ( at the corp-rats insistence) he drags his weary, null G attuned body out towards the rim ( where the mofs get 1 g, and a view, albeit through plex glass floor sections) …. this wouldn’t be the case if the docks were there.

    The docks, of course, are huge…. I imagine the gantries as almost independent ships themselves. Huge, articulated monsters, construction cranes on steroids, with jets, pilots, docking control computers… moving up and down the docks like a window washers platform on a skyscraper, holding the vast ships as if they were twigs.

    There’s a problem of G at various deck levels that I don’t have the math for, but if the station was a cylinder 1km across, and the docks represented a void 800m across, with 100 metres of decks wrapped around it, and the outer deck was at 1g, perhaps the inner deck, next to the dock, might be 0.7 g or so?

    Re riders, I always envisaged them as being placed equidistantly around the ring. The rarified and relatively luxurious crew accomodation ( Ben finally scores!) is a deck that runs around the outside of the ship, allowing access to the riders. One thing I could never get my head round, is the dreaded swing section . A deck aligned with the rotation, that swings into a forward-back orientation under thrust…. could never envisage that mated to a rotation track ( mentioned as “rumbling around the core” in Merchanters Luck ) – but then I don’t have a mechanical eye or mind…. which, I’ll admit, has been quite a handicap in reading some of your work 😉

    I would add my voice to the call for a “what happened next” after Tripoint. I have a sneaking suspicion, that Signy Mallory might just know more about Mazians get out plan than he might like – and she doesn’t strike me as the type to sit and wait for a Mazianni move on Pell…. nor does Azov. I wouldn’t “bet” against Yeager (great name) having a say on that either, somehow.

    Finally – I’d agree that most of your work is unfilmable ( take that as a compliment) – but Heavy Time might work.

    Keep it up. Oh, and yeah…. “what time is it Ben ?…… “

    • Jcrow9

      A couple of comments, Loki.
      The Belters dock at the core, which is null G. That’s why, in Heavy Time and Hellburner, it’s always so cold and you work in microgravity while doing overhaul of the ship. Only the big iron docks out at the rim.
      Re: layout of the ship, and ring, and docking configuration, check out the inside cover of Downbelow Station for very useful sketches by Our Favorite Author. The riders are not part of the rotating cylinder, but are mounted to the frame, the “outer hull” (which is mostly a structural skeleton in the forward section of the ship).
      And, CJ has posted quite a bit during our discussions of layout of typical stations quite a ways upthread.
      As CJ would say: “welcome in!”

    • deanwmn

      Re your comment about a follow-up to “Tripoint” – it’s good to know I’m not alone in wishing there would be a return to this series. And would love to see a sequel to “Tripoint”. Much as I love the Foreigner books (I have them all), I’ve been yearning for a return to the Alliance-Union era. Another idea – a continuation of Chanur’s Legacy, wasn’t it rather left open for another book centered around Hilfy?

  6. paligri

    As I wandered the web looking to see if there was any info about when the next Foreigner book was due out, I stumbled across this site. After reading a few of the comments here it occurred to me that the “Rider at the Gate” series was left hanging at the end of the second book, “Cloud’s Rider”, back about 15 years ago. I looked and I don’t think anything in that series has come out since then. I don’t know if CJC reads this but maybe someone else in her fan or publishing world knows the answers to either of these very pressing matters (all right maybe they’re not as pressing as the economic crisis).

    • CJ

      Sure I read these: I’m webmaster, chief bottlewasher and cook on this site. 😉 I want to do another Rider book, and I’m working on getting Chernevog out. Once that’s done, and Yvgenie, I’ll be looking to bring out another one, and that’s on my list. Writing a follower is entirely possible. I’ve got to get a bit more ahead than I am—if our household would quit having crises of utterly unnerving sort, I would get that time! So let’s hope, eh?

  7. Quantium

    Hi C.J.

    I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. I discoverd your Morgaine series while roaming a B. Dalton bookstore way back in the early 80’s. Jeez, it seems like yesterday. Were we ever that young?
    When I read your books the environments become so vivid for me that I can see them in my mind like a movie. One of my long-time hopes has been to see the Morgaine series actually turned into a set of feature films. Has there ever been a chance of something like that happening? I’ve always thought that your stories would make fantastic movies.

    • CJ

      The books are optioned, but it takes time and luck for an option ever to pan out as a project. I can say that they aren’t the only ones optioned for other media, not video, but more on this when we’re closer to time.

  8. paul

    I have a question. Going to the source hadn’t occurred to me.

    In the Chanur series, if I remember correctly Jik usually smoked when in the kif ships, maybe only once when Pyanfar was really grilling him. Pyanfar did say something about suspecting his government putting in mental blocks so he couldn’t reveal secrets. He did hint though. I always figured the smoking was one of his triggers for a deep post-hypnotic suggestion that locked the secrets away. Smoking in Sikkukkut’s ship’s audience room was his way of rendering himself safe from betrayal.

    Was that what you had in mind?

  9. vawitch

    I discovered a pirating site w/ at least CJ’s books on them (multiple series), can an admin please contact me for further info?
    Sorry if this is the wrong place, but I didn’t see a “report technical problem” or such.

    • CJ

      Hi there, and thank you: if you’ll include that site addy in an email to me as cj@cherryh.com, I’ll forward it to the appropriate publisher. Unfortunately this goes on a lot—it’s pure thievery, and thank goodness my readers understand it and help out.

  10. lmjsc

    Hello! I usually post on the Foreigner thread, but lately I have taken up the delightful hobby of reading ALL published CJ Cherryh books. This week, I finished the first three Chanur novels. I have two comments/questions for my fellow devotees:

    1) I may be crazy, but I think Pyanfar and Bren would get along famously. They both have had to deal with (and have emotional connections to) aliens who just don’t think/love/live the way they do, and have overcome their difficulties despite the great odds against them. I also see a bit of atevi in Pyanfar in this sense only: she leads by forging ahead herself, danger be damned, and isn’t that the way Ilisidi operates? Follow me if you can, if you are worthy, and man’chi will remain.

    2) Secondly, a mild complaint – When I purchased the Chanur “Omnibus” I assumed (incorrectly) that this was the whole of the series that was to be had. Omni means All, doesn’t it? No, apparently it doesn’t. So, instead of labeling those collected works “Omnibus” I humbly propose we change it to “Mostlybus”. 🙂 Imagine my dismay when I finished the first “Omni” only to find principal characters still in jeopardy and the big, big showdown we’ve been building to since the very beginning of the books having NOT have happened yet! 🙁 I protest! (said as she waits impatiently for more books to arrive in the mail). Has this happened to anyone else? My own fault, I suppose, for not looking more carefully when I ordered the first one. Alas, I was completely fooled by that word, “Omnibus”.

    • Deesha

      As the Mri might put it, Shon’ai

    • Bryn48

      I realize this is over a year ago, but I just reread my Chanur books. and came across the following:
      The Kif Strike Back C.J. Cherryh c1985 DAW books
      Authors Note (C.J. Cherryh, Edmond, Oklahoma, September 1985)
      Readers have asked me about the composition of this set of books. No, The Pride of Chanur is altogether a separate story, and yes, it is connected to Chanur’s Venture, the Kif Strike back, and Chanur’s Homecoming, but not as closely as are the rest. And all of them are connected to the Alliance-Union universe of Downbelow Station and the The Faded Sun and others. Compact Space lies on the opposite side of Sol from the Alliance and Union; and these events take place just after Downbelow Station and Merchanter’s Luck, and simultaneously with those in 40, 000 in Gehanna.
      The divisions in Venture, Kif and Homecoming are mine. The same mass distribution system which puts books quickly into your hands unfortunately entails considerations of size and storage for the stores and the distributors, and this reality has had its effects on writers; if readers have ever asked themselves why trilogies exist in such numbers in modern publishing, elt me explain that there are more reasons than may be apparent, many of which have nothing to do with the writers’ wishes or the publishers’, or what would be best for the story. The unfortunate fact is that the moment a writer conceives of a really long and complex story, his professional understanding of publishing advises him that the book will have problems of distribution if he does not divide it in parts. Why three and not two? Because, dear reader, books have beginnings, middles and ends; and while the middle resists being divided in most stories, it is almost always possible, by some alterations in events, to divide any tale into threes.

  11. sanford

    First the compliments to set up the mildly unpleasant questions I have. CJ, you have finally surpassed Heinlein as my favorite writer of anything of all time. Thank you. I have been reading some (almost always fiction except for the 14 years of college) daily for approximately 58 years daily. The creativity, quality of narrative and dialogue, and story structure are unequaled. I have friends who are screenwriters who teach me things. The sophistication with which you create the psychology of “the other” and observe its interactions with humans is amazing. Foreigner is without a doubt my favorite series of all time, I’ve gone through so many paperback copies. I re-read the whole series before each new book. Which bring me to my querulous question: Why are e-books so expensive, often the same as paperback or hardback? I have become addicted to my kindle but could never afford to buy the series at its current price. I am a long time library user but physical books are a hassle for a man who reads daily. Having been a scientific journal editor, I have some awareness of the cost of producing physical books. And I certainly want the outstanding writers appropriately compensated for the laborious effort, talent, creativity, and dedication. Please pardon any infelicities in my question, full respect is intended and I truly seek enlightenment,not to complain. The honor of a response is not expected but would be treasured as a way of enlightening me in the new world of co-existing hardback, paperback, and ebook. If you have read this, many thanks for your indulgence.

  12. CJ

    It’s a hard question, and one we spent a lot of time figuring. The books that require no work except a few weeks of conversion and another week or two of cover prep I’ve charged 5.00 for. The ones that require several months of rework, rewriting, new copyright (35.00 fee each title), and such, involving two people checking, crosschecking, and converting, are 9.95. Meanwhile I have to pay the bills and buy groceries. I work up to 18 hours a day. I spend the main part of the day working on new things for regular publication; and spare time, such as Jane and I can find I spend working on Closed Circle stuff, which leave us not too much time. Our sales volume is such that we can’t really make much, but we cover expenses and make a little. I don’t know what it would work out to per hour. And if we can ever get the sales volume up, it would be possible to lower prices—but we’ve tried that. There’s really no difference in sales, whatever the price, so I think volume and profitability has to come just by being here, being steady, and let people find us.

    • sanford

      CJ, thank you so much for your thoughtful (and rapid) reply. Makes complete sense, I now appreciate the time involved in converting to ebook format. I was thinking of the process as more like (F)ile, Save (A)s, *.mobi. Clearly wrong on my part. I totally understand working 18 hours a day and sometimes figuring out you are earning cents per hour. And doing things that do not really require your talents but that you don’t have anyone else to do for you. Been there, done that. So I guess I’ll just start another change jar to buy the whole Foreigner series in kindle format. Maybe you’ll have them all up here by the time there’s enough. I presume you get make more from e-books purchased here than an Amazon, I would far rather pay a little more if needs and have more go to the creator and less to the distributor.

  13. Hanneke

    CJ, are you still an Amazon affiliate or whatever it was called?
    I don’t see the linkbutton anymore, that you used to have somewhere at the top. Where, if we used that to get to the Amazon store and bought stuff, you got a few cents extra? Maybe I’m just being obtuse?

    If it doesn’t work that way for general store visits anymore, would it help to generate a little more income to put up a link to the C.J. Cherryh-page or the Foreigner books at the big ebook-stores (Amazon, B&N, maybe amazon.co.uk or Kobo?) somewhere in the lefthand column?

    I don’t know, but if the ebooks that are published by DAW have to go through the big ebook-stores, and can’t be sold directly through Closed-Circle, any way to make those sales generate a few cents more for the author seems like a good idea to me – but not if the effort to organise this costs more time than the cents would make up for.

    And getting DAW to consider Closed-Circle a regular distribution channel for C.J. Cherryh ebooks might cause a lot more administrative hassle than you’ld want, for the slight increase in income it might generate.

  14. CJ

    Thanks, Hanneke—thanks to you guys, there is now some movement on getting those missing e-books out; and I should, if I can get the moral fortitude, look into the Amazon store again: they don’t give us anything on books or Kindle; they restrict so many things it’s just crazy. But some things might be of general interest.

  15. MagpieNest

    Hi! While unpacking after moving house, I just rediscovered my copy of Rider at the Gate. I simply couldn’t help but re-read it. Hungry for more, I need to track down my Cloud’s Rider for a re-read as well. (How did they end up in separate boxes?!)

    It got me wondering whether those were the only two Nighthorse tales? It looks like that, from your bibliography and the Universes page on Closed Circle… Do you ever intend explore that particular world and its characters further in the future?

    • CJ

      Not necessarily the only ones forever, but Harper had the habit of starting a series, and if it didn’t become Lord of the Rings, they’d balk on any more.

  16. joekc6nlx

    New question, Fortress Series, in Fortress of Dragons, Tristen names Tarien’s child Elfwyn, he says it three times as he is pulling the boy back from the Edge. So, that makes it real. (Trying to remember Emuin’s remark, ‘Once is an accident, two is divisible, and three….?’)

    In Fortress of Ice, however, you wrote that Tarien named him, not Tristen.

    One wonders how she stayed so evil through the years, and if Orien were warded in the stones by both Emuin and Tristen, how did she get out to harass Elfwyn, how did Hasufin come back to “life” if he was nothing but straw and dust when Tristen destroyed the “Lord of Magic”? In “Eye of Time”, it says that Tarien never forgave her sister for that minute precedence in their birth, and would gladly stick a knife in her….” If Orien is truly back, why is it that Tarien still accepts her. Didn’t Tarien reject her utterly when Elfwyn was born, Page 225, and then again on Page 393 when Tristen went to Ilefinian through the gray space. It was Tarien and Ninevrise who supported each other against Orien’s magic. On page 394, “…a skirl of dust that, out of the grass of the ruins of Althalen, became the shape of a man… bits of grass and dust formed all the substance that Hasufin Heltain could command now. He had failed his master, failed his bid for the child. The man of dust had reached after Owl, but fell asunder, no more at last than dust and chaff.” Just curious how Tarien became almost as bad as her sister in “Ice”, and allowed her sister to dominate her again. Three times she rejects Orien (the first time was on Page 217), and what we say or do three times is powerful. “One is an accident, two is divisable, but three makes it strong.” I’m paraphrasing here…..

  17. clamshell2013

    I had the good fortune to find a whole box of C.J. Cherryh’s books at an Op Shop. Rider At The Gate was there, and I would really love to get my hands on Cloud’s Rider. Is there any chance this will someday be digitised? Or some shop that might have it? My local SciFi bookstore expert said he couldn’t get it.

  18. Robert Carroll

    Cloud’s Rider:

    Although it has telepathy, I’m guessing you consider it science fiction since it has colonists who in recent history landed on the world.

    Is it set in one of your specific universes?

  19. CJ

    No, it’s separate. You’ll notice in the books that, first of all, physical contact helps, and secondly, not everybody can handle the input. It’s also not an ability humans have. They can communicate with the night-horses, which are the upper end of evolution on their planet, but you’ll note that the night-horses have trained humans to respond to them more than the other way around. And not all night-horses are inclined or able to deal with the invaders.

  20. Robert Carroll

    Thanks for the reply!

    I’ll have to find Rider At The Gate also. Interesting. A big part of the story is the humans getting called by the creatures and some of them respond. I hadn’t thought of it as training them, but I see what you mean. While reading I was mainly caught up in the idea of the wild calling to you, and something in your soul answering. I missed the part about some nighthorses not working with humans at all (probably just don’t remember).

    Would you say it’s most of the horses that work with humans and have an interest? Or that it’s more like the ratio among humans where only a small fraction are interested?

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