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. BlueCatShip

    It might be both a capacity or talent for being able to communicate those ways, and an interest or need to do so.

    Some people have a gift for certain subjects, but don’t pursue them. Some have an avid interest, but not the innate ability: they can still learn it and develop. Then you have some with both, where it comes naturally. Or some have talent and interest, but the opportunity doesn’t arrive for some life circumstance.

    I’d imagine it would work that way with the night-horses: Not every night-horse would want to bother with a human, and not every human might want to get involved with another species…of those humans who don’t think it’s all just some crazed fluffy notion, which some might.


    I’ve had good luck ordering used or new out-of-print books from Amazon, for instance. This is certainly a way to get backlist, out of print titles, or ones not currently on the shelf at your local book store.


    Uh…and unlikely as it may be…this might be worth a shot. — Robert Carroll, by any chance, do you have relatives from Oklahoma? Those two names are given names for a great grandfather and a great uncle, both long gone. — I’m going to presume it’s mere coincidence, but it’s a nice coincidence, if so.

  2. paul

    Chanur: Does anybody remember in which book, which part, it was revealed Kohan had been gored by an uruus trying to protect Hilfy?

  3. Teresa

    I haven’t commented here in quite awhile, and I’m hesitant to bring in one of my infamous “I was just wondering …” musings, but I’m just wondering what became of the Foreigner audio movie project. Did it go away? I haven’t seen much activity on the FB page for eons. On another note, I have been keeping up with Convergence and look forward to the next. I may post more about that in the Foreigner thread. Thanks for the great stories and characters.

  4. CJ

    Alas, it sort of withered away. So, so many media projects do that. I wish they’d been able to get it together—nice folk, they seem, but the luck just wasn’t with them.

    • Teresa

      Oh, what a shame. Dramatic podcasts are becoming popular now, kind of like old-time radio. I think it would be great to have such a project for the Foreigner universe.

  5. Teresa

    I have an Alliance/Union confusion.

    Not sure where or how to ask this, but I hadn’t visited the site in a few years, and can’t find something I’m looking for.

    There used to be a sort of description of the Alliance/Union timeline that broke the books down into trilogies and groups and indicated where they occur on the timeline. Right now, I’m reading Cyteen, and I’m confused about its place in the timeline as relates to the Merchanter books, etc. I broke my own rule and read the Merchanter series and Downbelow Station out of order, I think. So is Cyteen a prequel written after the others?

    • CJ

      Cyteen takes place after the Company Wars.

  6. Jaxartes

    Maybe this one is what you want: http://www.cherryh.com/www/univer.htm . According to that (and my memory of limited accuracy), Cyteen comes after the Merchanter books. Prequel written later describes Heavy Time and Hellburner.

    But I wouldn’t advocate getting hung up on chronology. There was a time when one’d read things in whatever order they showed up at the local bookstore.

  7. Sapphire

    I’ve just been re-reading the Chanur books. It’s hard to believe that the last one was written in 1992. They are wonderful books, which get better the further you get into the sequence. I wondered whether there was any chance that we would meet our friends again in more books (I’ve become particularly fond of the clever Kif prince)? There are more stories to be told about the canny ‘cats’, I’m sure … a wonderful world, and I love the descriptions of the stations and the atmosphere in them. (I wasn’t sure where to post on this topic, and this seemed to be the best place I could find.)

    • Sapphire

      No response to this so I’ll continue the conversation with myself. 🙂 I’ve now re-read the Chanur books AGAIN, for the second time in a row. The things I especially like about them are the depictions of the great space stations (no one describes these so well and so evocatively as does CJ, also in some of the Alliance novels), the space ships careening over vast distances out in the dark, the marvellous aliens, with the huge differences in their ways of thought and appearance, and the tension. This is exactly the sort of thing that attracted me to the science fiction genre as a child, and which continues to draw me now wherever I encounter it (sadly, not too frequently any more, so I’m stuck with re-reading the old books on my shelves). These titles evoke a sense of wonder and positivity in me. Wonderful stuff – I’d really love to see more of the Hani, Kif, Mahen, Knn and all the others in more books.

      • Raesean

        I second Sapphire’s attraction to the depiction of both the space stations and the interactions very different thinking/feeling species. Makes me want to explore space too!

        • Sapphire

          Yes, me too. No one, as far as I’m aware, has depicted alien intelligent species in such intricate detail, and made them appear convincingly other than human – something that must be very tricky, given that these books are being written by a human!

          I’ve studied archaeology and history for years. Trying to decipher ancient civilisations can bring a similar sense of wonder, though for me in that case the feeling is less intense, probably because the finds relate to humans, who (however different their beliefs and lives were from ours) are all of the same species and thus have similar instincts. Interesting: my sister is also very keen on history, and she too re-reads similar science fiction literature to mine.

          The Chanur books are so detailed and so good to read that I may now go back and re-read them for the third time…

  8. CJ

    Well, I think you’re going to be somewhat pleased with Alliance Rising.

    • Sapphire

      Is that me? If yes, that will be brilliant! Thank you. Can’t wait for that one.

    • michael.j.lacey

      I had “a moment”, when I googled “Alliance Rising” and found a http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com link, from 1 Jan ’18, to a 400 page ebook.

      It’s gone again now, so I guess you’re not quite ready – but to say I’m looking forward to it would be a massive understatement.

      • BlueCatShip

        Last I recall CJC saying here, it’s still in editing or somewhere in the process before publication. But more good news: There will be a second volume from the publisher, plus CJC will have a personally published Alliance History at closed-circle.net when Alliance Rising comes out. That might not be her official title for the history book, and we fans haven’t heard yet the title of the second novel. So hey, more to love, there. 🙂 And yes, everyone’s looking forward to them!

        It could be some months more before it or they are published, but when they’re further in the process, or available for pre-order, we’ll hear more news. So stay tuned!

  9. Neco-ji

    How old is Phoenix?

    I was trying to figure it in my head from what I knew- bits and pieces gleaned from the books- and was coming up with something close to 500 to 600 years, and thinking I must have got my numbers wrong somewhere.

    I know that it was a retrofitted merchant ship turned colony carrier (I think that was mentioned early on in the intro of Foreigner?) So it must have clocked a few good years before it was turned to the colonization program, then there’s the travel time itself- unknown, since no one seems able to track how long that’d been in folded space- then about a year (maybe more) spent at the deadly double stars trying to mine for fuel, and then an undetermined amount of time spent looking for and reaching the atevi sun, before what sounds like 150-200 years of building a station in orbit (I think Geigi’s letters mentioned the “growth” of the Foreign Star in the heavens, which the atevi watched in some curiosity/worry), and then two hundred or so years of humans downworld…

    Phoenix must be something like Finity’s End- completely self sustaining, with all of its machining equipment, plus the factory for producing station parts and processing materials from the miners. It must be a helluva ship to have all that on board!

    Do you have any sketches or drawings of Phoenix? All the bits I’ve read in the books about it have only succeeded in creating a jumbled and confused image in my head of what must be a very impressive spacecraft indeed.

    I know the atevi books are set in a different, separate universe from A/U, but if they could fit into that same set of stars, where would the atevi and the kyo fall into place in relation to human space? I assume we’re all still in the same galaxy, just very far apart?

    • CJ

      I’ve never said, but 400 years wouldn’t be off, from the time of her building, refitted a hundred years later, and then lost.

  10. Neco-ji

    And, because my life is filled with questions, and these details were never very clear:

    How do Mospheirans mark the passage of time? Do they reckon things via the time scale of Old Earth? Or did they update their date/time reckoning according to the planet they live on (there is a funny inconsistency with Bren’s age in the early books which seemed to suggest that humans and atevi figured age differently). Do they reckon their years on the planet as a new society (starting from year 0 and counting up) or did they continue the Old Earth counting of years, or incorporate an atevi style calendar instead?

    • CJ

      They use their own time scale. They are coming to use both calendars, but their people began to develop their own space-based time frame during their ‘lost’ period.

      • joekc6nlx

        “Now it’s two months out and it’s two months back, pushin’ the speed of light.
        Twenty years on your home world’s track, pushin’ the speed of light….”


        • Neco-ji

          I actually love that song, lol.

          • joekc6nlx

            so do I. In 2014, CJ and Jane graciously gave me a copy of the lyrics and chords, and then taught me the song. I had brought my guitar at Shejicon V, and played it one night, but my nerves were really acting up. I don’t like playing for crowds.

  11. John Concannon

    I seem to recall that there might have been a Union-Alliance story that was going to be posted on “Wave.” Have I missed it?

  12. CJ

    No, you haven’t. There is an upcoming Alliance-Union novel from DAW, Alliance Rising, and when it comes out, there is a background history that will come out on closed-circle.

    • Levanah10

      Any decision yet on a release date for Alliance Rising?

    • michael.j.lacey

      Hello CJ,

      Am I missing something obvious? I’m looking for the Alliance-Union History on closed-circle and not seeing it… (this is probably the web equivalent of asking a member of staff in a shop where the sugar is – and them pointing behind me….)

  13. CJ

    No news yet. Betsy was stalled reading it because of family illness, but should be back at it soon.

  14. Jean

    C J, you are the best writer and I love all your books. I have to sort my library out and wish I had a room for just your books! I love all of your books and I’m pretty sure I have all of them. Whenever you publish a new one , it brings joy to my heart. You are the best. I haven’t been here for awhile and love the new site. Well done C J! All the best to you and yours.

  15. Levanah10

    Any word on making the Alliance-Union history available on Closed Circle?

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