Thoughts after 7th (or so) re-read...

Janny Wurts Chat Area: Arc 1: Curse of the Mistwraith: Curse of the Mistwraith: Thoughts after 7th (or so) re-read...

   By Neil on Saturday, February 03, 2007 - 04:48 am: Edit Post

I note in CoTM that Haliron would consider staying in an Initiate hostel when travelling (mentionned when talking to Steivan).

Ath's adepts presumably serve some purpose in supporting the mysteries but are insufficiently numerous today?

Would Arithon have met an Ath adept during his apprenticeship with Haliron I wonder? Elaira may steer him to a meeting also sooner or later?

Maybe humanity will learn to connect with Athera at a deeper level through music and song.

Arithon could eventually teach a lot to human initiates such as those in Dari's line or his own since the Shand royal line is now in him and all his descendants are arguably 2 "mixed" talents geas-encouraged (the shand gift much more diluted I guess but the "farsight" is accessible for use).

The paravians have singers who seem to sing for other purposes (building / warding); not just singing for fun. Maybe humans can learn to do this / build themselves up to learn to support higher frequency environments even if it takes generations?

   By Konran on Sunday, February 04, 2007 - 09:07 pm: Edit Post

Zomg, you guys, check this out! =O

I've been rereading the series in preparation for the new one (slow going though as I've only been reading on break at work), and I found this little gem (page 571 in my paperback copy of CotM):

"Returned to his post at Althain Tower, Sethvir bends his regard toward Rockfell Peak to check the wards which bind the Mistwraith; he finds no flaws, and a small ease of mind, for though Arithon could build on his training and possibly unravel those securities, having suffered to subdue such an evil, Rathain's prince was least likely to meddle in foolishness..."

Now, in light of current events, are you guys thinking what I'm thinking? D= Because I'm thinking...


If he can bend the iyats to his will, as they're spirits of a sort, what's stopping him from possibly trying a similar trick with the Mistwraith? I can't see anything right now driving him to release the wraiths, but there is more yet to come... Janny never puts anything in without a reason, *especially* in the triplets.

   By Neil on Monday, February 05, 2007 - 08:26 am: Edit Post

Not sure Arithon would at this point (TK) let the mistwraith out.

Didn't the mistwraith actually take on board all of Arithon's training?

For me - today at any rate - this is a foreshadowing of the fact that the mistwratih given time could free itself.

   By Blue on Monday, February 05, 2007 - 09:25 am: Edit Post

I don't know, Konran, the Iyats are energy beings, and "not quite balanced into completion." Unlike the spirits trapped in Rockfell, the Iyats, as they exist at the moment, are not sentient/intelligent/self aware. Kind of the difference between being able to program a robot cat and training a real one.

   By Trys on Monday, February 05, 2007 - 12:10 pm: Edit Post


I believe it was stated somewhere that everything ever held in Rockfell Pit has escaped. ;)


   By Neil on Monday, February 05, 2007 - 01:50 pm: Edit Post

*Grin* All but the iyats. Davien let them out as part of the uprising.

   By Konran on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 01:16 am: Edit Post

Blue - Still, the idea of Arithon unleashing the wraiths for whatever reason is an intriguing one, and one I hadn't thought of until then ;) just keeping my possibilities open. It would also be an interesting parallel between Arithon and Davien; as said above, Davien unleashed the iyats as part of his "Havens"...

   By Neil on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 04:36 am: Edit Post


*Grin*. The mistwraith was the initial "issue" and I suspect will be the last thing we get to in this series.

What would be the benefit of releasing the wraiths?

Leaving the mistwraith free - in CotM - seemed to imply paravian extinction.

I think that Arithon and Davien have a lot of other issues to deal with.

Curiously Davien pops out periodically whilst Arithon is "chez Davien"...where was he going? Purely reconaissance or something else?.

Arithon is still trying to mitigate clan issues...I fear he may face many more challenges.

   By Laneth Shadow-Walker on Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 10:14 pm: Edit Post

What if the free wraiths bound for Athera discover their "brethren", having been cut off from each other for 500 years-ish?

The free wraiths would work toward freeing the mistwraith from Rockfell and *I assume* they would assimilate each others' knowledge, exchanging gossip if ye will on the locals (Fellowship, Lysaer, Arithon - others they've come in contact with? Paravians from years ago?)

If the Free Wraiths were to join with the Mistwraith, both would elevate the others' level of dangerousness, for the knowledge shared.

The Starward and workings within space by those sorcerers that made it up there, would be given to the mistwraith; the Atheran info given to the free would be devastating.

Also, would the free wraiths be able to stir up the Meth-spawn?

What about toying with the Grimwards holding the Drake's dreams?

   By fhcbandmom on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 08:18 pm: Edit Post

I have a thought after my numerous re-reads also (well, more than one thought, but the space here is limited! :-)

SPOILER for those who haven't read Traitor's Knot

In Peril's Gate, Selide makes a vow thru the waystone that she will not use Elaira to bring Arithon down. Elaira is left to make the decison on Arithon's fate when the time comes that Arithon needs help. If this vow is binding, how is it that Selide is able to put a "spell" on Elaira that will transfer to Arithon and cause pregnancy - not just for elaira, but for any woman Arithon has relations with? I thought I read in Peril's Gate, that the repercussion for ignoring this vow could be Selide's death. did I misread this? how come nothing happened to Selide?

   By Lisa on Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 05:44 am: Edit Post

I'm not sure but i think that when selidie made that vow she said something like "i prime selidie do vow" but seeing as its really morriel not selidie then maybe the vow wasn't valid in the first place.

   By Mark Stephen Kominski on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 02:15 pm: Edit Post

Not sure if it's my 7th re-read yet, but I'm definitely past 3. Couldn't help noticing this time, however, what else was lost when the Mistwraith slapped Arithon and Lysaer with their respective geases (if that's a word!). The pre-Curse interplay between the two, especially when Dakar baiting, is a treasure, and is never (well, to date, anyway!) really recreated again between either prince and the people closest to them. Too much has happened, both between them and to each individually, for them to be able to regain that loose-fitting, devil-may-care relationship that had started to bloom before the Mistwraith struck.

   By Trys on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 02:26 pm: Edit Post

Mark, you raised an interesting question: what is the plural form of the word geas. I searched the net and came up with some varying information. First, doesn't know the word geas... but pointed to 'reference' sites. Poking through some reference sites for a few minutes turned up the following plural versions of the word geas (or geis): geasan or geasa...

but I also found geases used, but no where that this is specifically defined as a plural version of geas...

so I'm wondering if the plural version is used anywhere in these books?

   By Mark Stephen Kominski on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 03:43 pm: Edit Post

I can't remember seeing it, Mr. Gryphon sir, but that's a lot of pages to remember. Will try to keep an eye out for it.

I'd also done a search, although decidedly more cursory than yours, before using 'geases' in the post. Don't know about you, but I can't see myself using either 'geasan or 'geasa in a sentence and being comfortable with it...;-)

   By Trys on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 06:31 pm: Edit Post

Mr! Gryphon.... wow... ::shakes head in wonderment at such formality:: ;)

Mark, I agree... geasan sounds like something you'd rub on something you want to get rid of. <bg>

or, and I apologize in advance for this but it's how my brain works sometimes:

Geasan... Geasoff... <grin>

   By Neil on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 06:45 am: Edit Post

Rereading the scene where Sethvir (early on in COTM) sees the sword and is very happy ;-)

He considered that the "princes' betrayal" has not been in vain.

Have I missed someting? Is this an obvious reference to something I have not understood? Did the princes not get a freewill choice re: west gate? I seem to recall from one of the short stories that a prince was asked to go and he refused? I forget.


From the prologue there is mention of "canon" and "temple archives" so this for me, still, indicates that the religion of light carries on (without Lysaer...he is not named here) for some time to come...


   By Mark Stephen Kominski on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 01:50 pm: Edit Post

The Crown Prince of Shand, in Child of Prophesy, is (I think!) who you're referring to, Neil. I am presuming (and perhaps forgetting, in the process) that the other princes were not the last of their lines at the time they went thru West Gate (ie, their fathers and brothers died after their passage). Shand's, on the other hand, knew he was the last, and refused to forsake his heritage, as he saw it.

Careful Trys; we should never allow Wars of Light and Shadow to mix with Ralph Macchio, what the heck?! If only it were as simple as Geasan, Geasoff...

*Pictures Sunchildren Local 505 on Janny's lawn, with signs reading "Down with Miaghi", and "Clear your curses the Paravian way".

See what you started?! ;-)

   By motley on Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - 03:58 pm: Edit Post

had a giggle at the words 'gaesan' and so on... it DID sound like something requiring the Mad Prophet's 'horse-sized doses' of peppermint... to alleviate.

   By Sleo on Sunday, September 18, 2011 - 12:05 pm: Edit Post

I'm just rereading for the third or fourth time -- can't remember -- and was struck by what someone asked about Asandir's bind on Arithon's memories being against the Law of the Major Balance, so I went back and reread. The text says something about the free will of the princes being tempered by the need to salvage the age, and then when Asandir performs the block, says it's only temporary and also only partial - that he blocks recognition only...

I'm also struck by how much I get caught up in the story, even after many rereads and much discussion. It is quite compelling!

   By Sleo on Sunday, September 18, 2011 - 04:59 pm: Edit Post

Just making note of some of my observations on this reread. It struck me in reading Chapter VII, that Maenelle doesn't seem to know much about the activities of the F7. She asks if it's true that one of the sorcerers was wounded in the fight with the Mistwraith. Asandir agrees and names Traithe. I was kind of incredulous that in 500 years the F7 hasn't interacted more with the clans. I know the town born don't want anything to do with sorcery, but the clans? No.

And then, in chapter 8, here's a quote from Lysaer, incredibly poignant in light of all that follows: In the scene at Camris, where he volunteers Arithon to play for the clan -- "Brother, he said on a strange edge of exasperation, will you have done with moping and play?"

And lastly about these three chapters, the scene of the casting of strands is finally clear to me. My brain must've been wrapped in cotton wool when I read that scene before. Cry mercy! The choices ahead are dismal. Brilliant writing.

   By Annette on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 02:24 am: Edit Post


"Returned to his post at Althain Tower, Sethvir bends his regard toward Rockfell Peak to check the wards which bind the Mistwraith; he finds no flaws, and a small ease of mind, for though Arithon could build on his training and possibly unravel those securities, having suffered to subdue such an evil, Rathain's prince was least likely to meddle in foolishness..."

This is coming up in the next book. I always took it as a hint that Arithon would let them out. Janny throws so many hints in there, after so many re-reads some just glow like neon lights. The Wraiths are not going to be expanding on their knowledge locked up, so although they could try to escape using what they learned from Arithon, they are not free to learn anything more. Arithon is free and learning new things and expanding on his talents.

The hint for the most likely reason Arithon would go scale Rockfell peak and break the wardings is in Fugitive Prince, just before Morriel arrives at Althain Tower with her Waystone. Pretty sure there is only one reason Arithon would risk setting that Mistwraith loose, he would do it to save Traithe. The Mistwraith is holding captive something Arithon is going to be after, the only way to get back what Traithe lost is deal with the Mistwraith. Arithon has to get in there to do that.

And given such a tasty morsel, the wraiths even if freed are hardly going to leave. Remains to be seen how Arithon deals with them. But as a group entity maybe he could try something similar to how he dealt with the Necromancers.

   By Neil on Sunday, July 06, 2014 - 05:44 am: Edit Post

I had a couple of silly theories...upon rereading COTM...and I am considering - not lightly considering there are so many other books to read - a complete reread of the series since I commute on a train each day now and have plenty of time for reading.

Silly idea 1: Enithen Tuer was unusually wakeful when the group leaves here in Erdane and she washes Arithon's clothes. Throwaway comment or was she doing something arcane?

Sily idea 2: Arition calls Sethvir a thief in the serious somewhere "pilfering fingers" or something like this. Are all those inkpots without corks in Althain really because he needs some human foibles or does he have a spell to confiscate ink from towmborn looking to write contracts for selling/buying land? ;-)

I am likely, very likely, looking for things that aren't there since I feel there certainly are things there that I have yet missed but these were new thoughts from (10th or more?) reread ;-)

Oh and Asandir seemed more unhappy than ever when having to trap Arithon...really really went against the grain it seems.

   By Neil on Monday, July 21, 2014 - 09:15 am: Edit Post

I am not sure when I last reread CoTM but in 2014 I watched Lysaer a little more closely after Etarra.

He notices the nature of the land not being farmed. He seems to draws quite detailed conclusions quickly about this? So he is observant.

He also notices that the "inspiration to risk martyrdom for the cause" might not be his own. Idiocy. Lysaer is plagued by doubt.

"If his attack had not been distrupted, worse horrors could have visited Athera than 7000 dead ettaran soldiers". Is this irony that Lysear feels that Arithon's survival and not Lysaer's would mean Athera suffers more?

Would Lysaer think of Athera or the humans on Athera?) I am probably reading too much here but doubts or not doubt he decides Arithon would "toy with the world"

This I assume is the curse influencing...where Lysaer might step back and reflect natually, the curse gives him motivation to still go after Arithon?

   By Phome on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 06:10 am: Edit Post

Oh, blast it to Sithaer! I just posted a long response and it's gone (forgot to press "ok" after the preview).

Something along the lines of Lysaer is *unable* to separate his own motivations from Desthierre's curse because it is bound to his inborn trait for Justice. Since he lacks Arithon's training in arcane matters, he cannot distinguish when his thoughts are his own or spurred by the curse. He does on several occasions reflect on his own bizarre behavior, such as after the meeting with the Koriani witch where he trades information about the Waystone's location for Arithon's whereabouts (Book 2, I know), and also after destroying the fleet at Werpoint. But he cannot "grasp" the reason for his behavior, and the moments pass by.

My second point was how interesting I am finding Janny's portrayal of Arithon in this re-read. Almost never do we get Arithon's own internal dialogue, apart from a few precious moments such as his tienelle scrying before Tal Quorin. But mostly, we "see" Arithon from other characters' points of view. I was musing whether this was a deliberate choice to do with plot (i.e. to forestall us knowing too much since Arithon does so much foresighted long-range planning) or whether it was a deliberate choice to keep a distance between the reader and Arithon, making him a mysterious slippery eel that we cannot help but want to know more.

Sadly, I had put all this much more elegantly the first time round. This time I'll press "OK"!

   By Neil on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 07:16 am: Edit Post

I think I explained badly...

I felt that Lysaer was well aware, at this point in the narrative, that something was up since he questioned his decisions/motivations feeling it was not being entirely his own. He could distinguish (if Arithon was not nearby and the curse in full swing).

   By Phome on Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 08:32 am: Edit Post

Agreed Neil. In the presence of both half-brothers, the curse certainly prevents either one of them from thinking clearly (and if I recall correctly, this reaction becomes stronger every time they meet).

Lysaer does seem somewhat aware of what is happening to him but not entirely. He keeps justifying his behavior - this seems to be largely brought about by the curse being tied to his inborn trait through the s'Illesid line. Even in the absence of Arithon, the curse is able to "control" Lysaer's motivations and decisions as seen in Lysaer's visit to the Ath adepts later on.

   By HJ on Monday, April 09, 2018 - 02:18 pm: Edit Post

Do I need to write SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS? If you've never read this book, or later ones in the series, then probably best not to read this post.
Beyond the Worldsend Gate: The Red Desert!
The very different upbringings of the brothers; their individual life experiences and prejudices, causing such distrust and antagonism between them. It grieves me that later in the book, I know that they do form a rapport of sorts, before the Curse strikes.

I really enjoyed the previous chapter as well, with the counterpoint of the Rauven Mage's grief versus Sethvir's excitement. It's a desperately sad notion that the princes' grandfather will never know what becomes of his grandsons'

I loved Arithon's 'trial' with the King of Amroth. Agonising. And I'm feeling more sympathetic towards Lysaer than I ever have, reading again his conflicted feelings and the offhand way he is treated by his father. Also, the hindsight of knowing how his character develops in (much) later books has mellowed my opinion of him.

I also adore the introduction of Asandir and Dakar. Nostalgia strikes! I miss their interaction so much.

Having read all of the books to date, nostalgia is the key word for me since it's been, I'm guessing, maybe 15 years since I last read CotM. My copy is falling apart because I read it to death way back. I've re-read the later ones several times, but a full series re-read is now totally in order!

LOVING this book as much as I ever did, and seeing and feeling so much more than I ever did before. Possibly because of my own maturity and life experiences in the years since I last read it. I'm relishing every page and looking forward to re-living the next nine books in the series!

   By weirdlittlepony on Tuesday, April 02, 2019 - 03:05 am: Edit Post

Wow, been a while since anyone was here. Anyway, I'm on my 3rd read of CotM (2nd read was maybe 2015, 1st read I think 2002), and just thought I'd come in and read the boards again, and had some thoughts. Not sure if anyone will see this but...

I think the main problem underlying most of the issues in the book is that humanity in general is selfish, and has a selective memory with regards to history. A lot of the disagreement has to do with the 'unfairness' of the Compact and how it keeps humanity in an artificially prolonged medieval stage and also prevents them, as the (seemingly) most numerous and (in their opinion/to their knowledge) highly evolved sentient beings on the planet, from arranging things to their own benefit or as they see fit for their own development as a species. It's definitely the main argument that the Koriani Order seems to have, with its ostensibly humanitarian outlook/mission.

However the thing is that Paravia and Athera don't belong to humanity. It's a completely different planet. Humans don't have indigenous rights; they didn't evolve on Athera, they arrived as interstellar refugees and were granted residency on sufferance, subject to the restrictions of the Compact. 'Citizenship' rights (I can't seem to think of the right word but I think you know what I mean) were never granted. Those for whom the strictures of the Compact were too much to accept were given means to leave to the Splinter Worlds through the Worldsend Gates'of those who remained, it was therefore expected that they would live by the rules and teach their descendents said rules, along with the history to understand it.

The Koriani Order, particularly Morriel who has lived long enough to remember first-hand, should recall that the Fellowship of Seven aren't 'playing God', and they aren't setting their own rules to subjugate others; they're *stewards*. There is really no point in blaming them or nurturing enmity with them for any perceived unfairness because they weren't the ones who set the rules, they're just the ones bound to enforce them. I'm not certain, but I cannot see how the Koriathain can possibly not know that at the back of it all is the Dragons' binding on the F7, and not simply the F7's attachment/commitment to the Paravians, that is driving everything. I mean, come on, dreaming dragon ghosts create disturbances too real and great and dangerous to be ignored! It is not possible to overlook their part, except through deliberate choice, is it?

To quote Janny (as quoted in the Paravia Wiki): 'The Law of the Major Balance is a term for a concept that is not human-centric. These concepts were not brought in by the Fellowship, or by Man, but would reflect to some degree human effort to ascribe meaning to what cannot be defined in a linear fashion.'

I think it's telling that Janny takes the time to specifically state, during Lysaer's first contact with the Maenalle and the Clans of Camris: 'Land-owning, an inalienable tradition on Dascen Elur, appeared to be bloodletting violation in Tysan. The prince held the concept daunting and uncivilised that he might one day be expected to punish a man for laying claim to the farmland he tilled. If Tysan's charter of governance denied the security of home and hearth-rights, small wonder the townsmen had let sedition from a spiteful sorcerer incite them to bloody rebellion. Anxious to change the subject, if not the injustice of such laws, Lysaer admired the exceptional beauty of the tapestries.'

I'm noticing especially strongly this read how Janny keeps putting in details of how a Fellowship Sorcerer perceives the world'everything in intimate, specific nuance: 'Asandir did not see stone, but the crystalline lattices that matrixed its substance, and beyond that to the delicate, ribbon-like glimmers that were the underpinnings of all being, that stabilised vibration in matter. More, as a man might know his most treasured possessions, the Sorcerer recognised everything he scried, not according to type, but in Name, that unique understanding of every object's individuality.'

Put all that together with the fact that Athera is a 'high resonance' planet (unlike Earth and the Splinter Worlds) and must be kept that way, and how not all humans were suited to live on it even physically speaking, I think one of the concepts we might be being pushed to consider in the books is that of human rights'what makes our species more deserving of consideration over, or superior to, any other existence? What makes us think/act/feel as such? Even on Earth instead of a world not our own.

   By Sleo on Tuesday, April 02, 2019 - 07:33 am: Edit Post

@weird little pony: I applaud your insight and your ability to express it so clearly! I love your post.

   By weirdlittlepony on Monday, April 08, 2019 - 09:49 pm: Edit Post

Aww thanks Sleo. Seems like we're the only 2 still with an eye on this board though.. haha.

   By Jeff on Monday, April 08, 2019 - 10:49 pm: Edit Post

I'm reading also when posts arrive by email; just not saying much.

   By weirdlittlepony on Tuesday, April 09, 2019 - 10:44 pm: Edit Post

_On How Lysaer And Arithon Are Presented_

I've been trying to re-locate the chat thread where there was a discussion about how Janny gives us lots of details about Lysaer's thought processes, but leaves Arithon's shrouded in mystery. I finished my 3rd read of COTM last night and I was just thinking' I don't think Janny would do that when she's said that both sides are being shown to the reader so that we can examine them and come to our own conclusions after (a hopefully objective) analysis. I think it's a matter of her trying to show us that the two princes have very different thought processes.

Some years back, a team that I was in conducted an exercise in which we tried to explain to each other in as visceral terms as possible how our minds work. It was very enlightening. For example, when someone just suddenly says a word, like 'cat', what's the first thing in your mind? For some, they saw an image of a cat in their mind's eye'one saw a line drawing of a random cat, one saw an image of the stray cat that lived near her home, another saw an oil painting that she did long ago of a cat she once owned. One person saw nothing but 'heard' a meow in his head. For me, I literally saw the text for 'cat' in my mindscape. Like fonts being printed out. CAT. Thoughts that follow were also experienced in very different ways. Some had associated images and ideas showing up like in a mind map; some processed in terms of lists of attributes; some experienced memory-feelings'softness of fur, roughness of tongue; I always see paragraphs of text, and in that case I had a paragraph show up in my head that read something like: 'Cat. Feline. Favourite species: unsure. Lots of strays downstairs. What cat are we looking for/talking about?'

I don't have my physical book with me right now but I'm just thinking, it's really interesting that when Morriel is analysing what she and Lirenda got from the character scans they did with Elaira's help, she jumps on Arithon being emotionally reactive and on Lysaer being a much more logical and rational type. I think what's happening is that Janny is doing her best to express to us in words the princes' minds'Lysaer literally thinks in words accompanied by images from either memory or imagination, while Arithon experiences thought in imagery and emotion, and his mind produces cascades of both which he has to filter through before language can take over. And therefore, he's just as clearly shown to us as Lysaer, because it's all in his reactions, his expressions, his actions. I think his being described as silent and walled off is not an indication that his thoughts are being hidden from us, but that he's processing his emotions and impressions and isn't putting words to them until they crystallise, so to speak, and then he/Janny can put his later responses/conclusions/decisions into words.

Of course, I could be completely wrong. Haha.

_Dealing With Aliens_

Just another line of thought that I've been having while finishing the book and preparing to go on to The Ships of Merior. I'm not sure if this is considered off-topic since I'm going to be referencing another author's works down the line, but I'm just thinking along the lines of how humanity on Paravia seems to see themselves as native (and though I know that 500 years is a long time, it's also really short when you consider our current human history on Earth' is man's memory really THAT short/selective?) and the Paravians as 'alien' and 'other'. But the reality is that humanity is the alien species on this planet.

Humanity being the alien species in long-term residence on a planet not their own, and whose natives are not yet extinct, shouldn't be the species by whose concepts of morality and ethics we judge anything happening in this narrative' right? I mean, one of the pet peeves I have when reading most fantasy/sci-fi is that no matter where and when in the universe humanity ends up, somehow everything tends to be interpreted from its perspective and a lot of times the aliens end up accepting the human point of view or approach to things. And it's presented as somehow right that this should happen, as though humanity is without question the most morally/ethically advanced species in the universe.

So I really like it that Janny keeps reminding us that Paravia/Athera is not a human world to begin with. I think in this age where space tourism is actually going to become a reality and people are actively preparing to attempt to colonise/terraform Mars, it's not too early to start getting people to think about Contact With Other Spacefaring/Sentient/Intelligent Species.

The only other series I've personally come across that deals with this issue well (meaning, in a manner somewhat comparable to Janny's sensitive handling of the various complexities involved) is the Foreigner series by CJ Cherryh. In there, humanity is also the alien species that is given leave to reside on a planet that they have pretty much crash-landed on. Except, there's no go-between like the Fellowship of Seven; they deal with the planet's native inhabitants'and all their cultural and political complexities'directly. A system is later worked out to make things smoother, and then things get complicated. It's quite riveting.

   By Clansman on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 08:31 am: Edit Post

WLP, I would add Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series to Cherryh's Foreigner. OSC did an amazing job of demonstrating how history is distorted by the telling, often for selfish reasons (Ender's brother), and how villains are made of those who were really just tools (Ender) in the hands of puppetmasters (Ender's brother). That the first two books in this series won both the Nebula and the Hugo is demonstrative of their quality.

OSC presents a non-humanistic approach in a very human way to dealing with alien species. I.e., he helps us puny humans to look beyond our own perspective, writing from a perspective-widening view, instead of the classic white hats v. black hats.

Bad SF is just like those Hollywood movies that have a poster of someone holding a gun. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, kill all the bad guys, moralize about the greatness of your own cause/nation, and everything will be good (Terry Goodkind, anyone?). Except, who are the bad guys, and who is good? Who's cause is just, the democratic elected leaders, or the indigenous peoples living on the fringes, governing by their traditions? What is the morality of ignoring the evils of poverty, addiction and economic hegemony, while crying freedom of choice? It's the authors that ask those questions that get my reading time.

   By weirdlittlepony on Monday, April 15, 2019 - 09:23 pm: Edit Post

Clansman, thanks for the reminder about OSC. He was one of my favourite authors back in my school days. I'd almost forgotten about the books in recent years though, being occupied with other things (haha). Totally agree with what you say about good SF versus bad SF.

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