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. Spearmint

    I have a question that probably has no answer, given the order in which the books were written, but I’m gonna ask it anyway.

    Hunter of Worlds takes place in the Alliance-Unionverse, so it seems reasonable to assume that the physics of FTL travel are the same for Ashanome as for human ships. The process of Jump seems to be roughly conserved between humans, the knnn/t’ca/whoever it was invented FTL in the Compact, the mri, the regul, and even ‘s extremely advanced ship, so it appears to be a physical requirement for FTL in that universe rather than a solution that arose in a specific cultural context. The iduve must use hyperspace in the same way.

    But when Ashanome moves between star systems Daniel takes no drugs, yet seems to experience no ill effects. How is this possible?

    (My pet theory is that the iduve, who control their weapons and ship telepathically and clearly have the ability to create a brain/technology interface, are another species that would need drugs to Jump under normal circumstances, and have therefore developed some sort of technological buffer that shields their ships from the mind-warping effects of hyperspace. But I’m curious to see how you would retcon this.)

    Also, the Union must know about the existence of Walkers like Capella, since they seem to crop up irregularly in most spacefaring populations. Why aren’t they engineering their pilot azi to take advantage of this genetic quirk? It seems like a huge advantage if you could reliably produce pilots who didn’t come of Jump addled.

    • CJ

      Very good questions. Hunter was written long before the Alliance-Union Universe. But we may bet that Ashanome has some tricks of its own.

      As for your other observation, it is known, and that’s a very good idea. Hmmn.

    • purplejulian

      I thought Daniel got acclimated to jump without drugs, whereas the Iduve having a different sort of mind set could cope with it, but it made him really ill to start with, nearly killed him.

      • Spearmint

        I think you’re thinking of Duncan from Faded Sun. It’s never brought up in Hunter. It’s possible Daniel acclimated back when he was still with the amaut, but he didn’t even seem to notice the Jumps happening, and no one in the other books ever acclimated that completely.

        Plus no one is worried about Margret and Arle at the end, and Daniel should have been freaking out if he knew they were going to need drugs in five minutes when the ship left the system. (Especially since Aiela had just blown most of their political capital on Tejef.)

        Of course, if it’s set in a different universe as Ms. Cherryh seems to imply above, the whole issue is moot, but it gets packaged as a Hanan book, so I always assumed the Metrosi was out on the far edge of Alliance space somewhere. That way I get to fantasize about chance encounters between the mri and the iduve, who rather deserve each other.

  2. ericf

    I just found out that you will have a story included in an anthology titled Swords and Dark magic that is coming out from Harper EOS.
    Since they published your Fortress novels and your Hammerfall sequence I was wondering if you still have some kind of contract with them.
    I’d like to see that third Hammerfall novel some time, unless there were no plans for one?

  3. CJ

    THis volume is edited by other people, so it is its own piece of business. There’s no ongoing contract between me and Harper at this moment, though that’s not saying there will never be. They’ve expressed no interest in continuing Hammerfall, which means I can do as I please online.

    One of the worst things about writing, the way the industry has bent, is creating worlds you then can’t continue because some aspect of the promotion wasn’t right or the distributors didn’t like or whatever. And if it’s tied to older things, they’re scared to publish it…read my piece on Closed Circle, and you’ll see what I mean.

    But getting into this e-book thing, I find my spirits picking up with the thought, hey, if this is viable economically, I can do those things. I can write the way I wrote before the publishing world went crazy and I can continue things I always meant to continue.

  4. tulrose

    Don’t you find this liberating?

  5. Spiderdavon

    So do we!! The very best of luck to your endeavours.

  6. maj_walt

    In Downbelow station, we read that Porey has been scarred… is there a backstory on how this happened? (Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy lol)

    Also, Porey lands on Downbelow in what seems to be a smaller version of the shuttle — was this vehicle Pell Station equipment — or do carriers use have these as standard equipment?

    I love landers 🙂

  7. CJ

    Some carriers do have that option.
    Porey’s face—I can only say it hasn’t improved his disposition.

  8. reading-fox

    Forge of Heaven

    Ila has First Movement tech that makes her immortal. Ian and Luz aren’t Movement they’re Outsiders, without this knowledge. Their Nanocelles overcame Ila’s, so how come all of them remain immortal? It was bugging me the entire way through, along with what happened to Norit? Not even a passing rememberance?

    I was very surprised at the completely different feel between Hammerfall and Forge, I loved Concord Station though. And I’d love to see a third Hammerfall!

    • Asad Sayeed

      Erm, I thought these entities were infectious and recombinant agents, which is why they were so dangerous. So Ian and Luz would easily have made themselves immortal by infecting themselves with the Ila’s tech, but recombining it with their own so that they would have control over it. Since, of course, they’d have to be as long-lived as the Ila to continue to be her jailers and see The Project through.

    • CJ

      Lord, here’s one of the most aggravating penalties of the stop-start way editors want, then don’t-want, then might-want, and then drop a series, and I feel as if I’ve got orphans all over New York. My memory of what I was doing begins to get scrambled, and this one I once had an answer for and now have let it slip my mind. I’d love to get back to that set of books.

  9. HRHSpence


    Could you resolve a few questions that have been bantered about by several of your fans concerning the physical attributes of the Atevi people? Starting with skin color. Do they have a range of colors like humans do? What is that range if they have it and if not, what is the color of their skin? Is it chocolate, burnt umber, black, ebony? and hair, black & straight like the Chinese, or black and wavy like the Sicilians? or a range?

    And are they mammalian like human females? And what exactly do you mean when you say that they are alien looking but beautiful? Like the elves of LotR? or like werewolves just before they stop looking human? or what?

    If you could answer these questions I might get a few sketches in.

  10. CJ

    I view them as truly black, but remember the golden eyes: there is pigment in their makeup that can shade toward brown, more in some individuals than others, and exposure to sun tends to darken the skin. Hair ranges from straight to slightly wavy (the owners of such hair are not happy with it, given the traditional styles). They are mammalian in that sense, since that arrangement is more convenient for an upright posture. Michael Whelan worked from one of my sketches. The eyes are not as efficient as human in high sun, but are much better at night, and hearing is very acute.

  11. maj_walt

    I’m curious about interrogation techiques that the Company would use on suspected Union spies. We know that Union can do all kinds of nasty things to get information. What about the Company?

    Do they have mindwipe capability? My own thinking is that they’d use whatever they had, and deny it publicly.

  12. CJ

    The Company has whatever they can liberate from Union, via smuggling etc., and some ships have far less regulation about it than Union does. Union, as you know, has had a little bit of trouble with a philosophical difference between Defense, State, and Science—some view Science as dictatorial, and Science views State as too permissive toward Defense.

  13. Spearmint

    Another random question about minutae- when Skkukuk shows up in the Pride’s accessway, his exact pledge is “Chanur’s safety is mine. I offer it my weapons.” It, as in Chanur clan, not Pyanfar. And this is long before Pyanfar gives him her “Hani sfik is attached to clans not individuals” speech.

    How did he know to pledge himself to the clan rather than Pyanfar personally? For a gag gift, he seems quite well informed.

    • Soren

      Skkukuk is a smart bastard, and we’ve seen him play games with his identity pretty often – it’s not much of a stretch to imagine he maneuvered himself into a position of being given away by pretending to be much less useful and important than he actually was.

      • Spearmint

        We don’t even need to imagine that, really; it’s much better to turn over a high ranking prisoner to your sort-of-ally for torture and/or adoption into her crew than it is to turn over a slave. All a slave can do is serve drinks and get knocked around, but with Skkukuk there was potential for all sorts of benefits- either the hani kill him and he dies an amusing, pathetic death, he takes over the ship and reveals Pyanfar’s incompetence before Sikkukkut risks anything by relying on her, or he gets integrated into the crew, which will keep the hani off-balance and supply Pyanfar with some much-needed tactical advice. It’s a win-win-win scenario for the hakkikt, no need for deception.

        But Skkukuk seems extremely well informed for a kif of any rank. It makes sense in Legacy; his mekt-hakkikt is hani so there’s a huge percentage for him in reading up on hani culture. But he had no way to know he’d be joining a hani crew someday back in Kif Strikes Back, yet he still knew enough to make a culturally nuanced declaration of loyalty.

        That level of awareness isn’t common even among high ranking kif- Sikkukkut is clearly intelligent, curious about other cultures and fairly well-educated, but he has a lot of trouble following even basic hani logic like “Threatening Anuurn is not a good strategy for securing the undying loyalty of hani subordinates.”

        So I’m wondering what Skkukuk’s old job was, if he got to know hani so well. Maybe he just talked to Tahar clan a lot while they were imprisoned.

  14. Soren

    I have a couple questions about the planet Cyteen – namely, which direction does it spin, and how widespread is the terraforming (IE, does it extend much beyond the settled areas)? I think you’ve mentioned that the native life was in danger, which implies that terraforming is fairly extensive, at least in some respects.

    I ask only because I’m profoundly dissatisfied with the existing map in the book, and I’d like to make my own, with somewhat better detail.

  15. CJ

    I have envisioned it (being an absentminded type) having it with much the same axial tilt and spin as Earth. The terraforming got a bad start when the first-in teams decided to let loose cyanobacteria in the bay. That made a heckuva mess, which they’re still remediating. The effluent from early settlements was another problem. Bacteria are hardy things, and got loose, into the main river—since Ari I, they’ve been working on treating the effluent and watching out for escapes…and incursions. Pigs are their allies in that.
    But pigs mean more bacteria.
    There are only 3 big centers of population on the planet, but the mining camps like Big Blue, turned into a small town and now it’s got ‘contact’ problems. The difficulty is less the megafauna than the microfauna.

    • Soren

      So it’s really more a fractional problem of cleaning out things that, while relatively minor differences from Earthly standards, still represent pervasive threats to human life (bacteria, and the carcinogenic fibers in the atmosphere), than totally reshaping the biosphere, correct?

      • CJ

        Wherever the two sorts of bacteria encounter, you get a lot of foam, froth, and stinky nastiness. They started to terraform the place, then discovered it was a goldmine of exotic biology, then launched out trying to undo what they’d done. Unfortunately the ocean was the first thing the first-in contaminated, in a very ill-conceived terraforming program.

  16. Hieronymus Illinensis

    I am sure this question has already been answered many times, but how is C without a following H pronounced in atevi names, such as “Cenedi”?
    Like S before front vowels and like K otherwise, as in English or French?
    Always like K, as in Welsh?
    Always like TS as in German?

  17. maj_walt

    I’ve got a question about the Fleet’s carriers. Except for the ECS-1 Europe, the carriers pretty much identical? I’m referring to the time that the Fleet acually launched from Sol. In the intervening years, I know there was a lot of patch-work done to all so that none were really alike.

    Another question — are the bigger merchanter ships like Finity’s End and Dublin Again of the same configuration as the carriers? By this I mean a rotating core surrounded by an open framework. I see the smaller ships like the Loki as long cylinders with a rotating torus near the bow (kind of like a steering wheel)

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