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Foreigner

de C. J. Cherryh

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Foreigner (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
2,020605,932 (3.9)2 / 395
The story of humans stranded on an alien planet where registered assassination is a way of life. They are the descendants of a space ship which lost its way 500 years earlier. They live on an island and the only contact they are allowed with the mainland is through one human, the foreigner of the novel.… (més)
  1. 30
    Invader de C. J. Cherryh (reading_fox)
    reading_fox: Obvious really, it's the sequel.
  2. 10
    Embassytown de China Miéville (electronicmemory)
  3. 10
    Ancillary Justice de Ann Leckie (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Leckie has said that Cherryh's Foreigner books were a big influence on Ancillary Justice and sequels
  4. 00
    Ambassador 1: Seeing Red de Patty Jansen (Jarandel)
    Jarandel: Ambassadors to aliens
  5. 00
    The Course of Empire de Eric Flint (Jarandel)
    Jarandel: Diplomats exploring alien mindsets.
  6. 12
    Blindsight de Peter Watts (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Two books that push the boundaries on our understanding of what constitutes alien cultures and intelligences.
  7. 03
    Barrayar de Lois McMaster Bujold (reading_fox)
    reading_fox: Both character driven social SF rather than technologically focused.
S'està carregant…

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Es mostren 1-5 de 59 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This was another one of my series-sampling audio listens, to see if I might want to pursue it in print someday. It was also my first time reading anything by C. J. Cherryh, whom I’ve often seen mentioned favorably.

Audio Narration
The narrator was Daniel Thomas May and he’s now on my list as one of the good ones! His narration style is very much the style I prefer. It’s a more understated and unobtrusive reading. He didn’t overly dramatize or exaggerate the characters or the story and he sort of faded into the background while I just focused on the story and almost forgot I was being read to. That is exactly what I like best. He also did a good job of differentiating character voices, and I can’t think of a single aspect of his narration that ever annoyed me.

There are a lot of unfamiliar sorts of names and terms and that was a little more overwhelming to me in audio at first than it would have been in print. A word feels more solid and memorable to me if I see it in print than it does if I only hear it, and I’m somehow much less frustrated by not knowing how a word is properly pronounced than I am by not knowing how it’s spelled. Once the story settled into its rhythm, I was less bothered by it and didn’t have any significant confusion that impacted my ability to follow the story.

Story
The story is a little misleading at first. It’s broken up into three “books”, although the first two books are very short. The second book was sort of like a prologue, and the first book was sort of like a prologue to that prologue. I enjoyed both books, but they gave an impression that the story was going to be something different than it was. Fortunately I enjoyed the third book also, which is when the real story starts.

Because of this structure, it’s hard to give a brief, spoiler-free taste of what this book is about for anybody reading this review who’s curious. If you know the state of affairs at the beginning of the third book, then it spoils the preliminary details from the first and second book. Yet the first and second books really don’t describe the story at all. So I’ll put a brief explanation of how book three starts in spoiler tags, and people can read it or not as they choose. The story focuses on a human ambassador to an alien people on an alien planet where some humans became stranded 200 years ago. At the beginning of his story, somebody tries to assassinate him.

The main character, Bren, is the type of character I don’t always like reading about, so it’s a little surprising to me that I was so invested in his story. He can be a bit whiny, and he often came across as not being very competent at or even well-suited for his job. Nevertheless, I cared about what happened to him, and I did like some elements of his personality, and I very much liked the other characters that we saw through his eyes.

I wasn’t always engrossed in the story, but it generally held my interest. With audiobooks, I usually have trouble listening for much more than an hour at a time. Even if I want to keep cross-stitching, I turn off the audiobook to give my ears a rest. I easily surpassed that a few times listening to this book. The ending wasn’t terribly satisfying. The most immediate issue was sort of resolved, but this is clearly just the first part of a larger story. There were also hints of interesting backstories that I wanted to learn more about. No doubt all of this would be better satisfied by continuing the series.

I’m marking this one as a “yes” regarding whether or not I want to revisit it in print someday and read further into the series. I would very much like to continue the story at some point. I also think I would enjoy re-reading this first book in print because I sometimes felt like there were nuances to the story that I would have grasped better that way. ( )
  YouKneeK | Apr 3, 2021 |
This book is the first in a long saga, and so I am possibly not being entirely fair in my rating. Keeping that in mind, taken as a single book I think this book had a major problem.

What I loved was the world-building. I have to give credit to Cherryh for the construction of an alien culture that felt entirely alien. A fundamentally different and incomprehensible culture, but nevertheless one that can be written about and made the setting for an entire series.

What I thought was the book's biggest problem was the protagonist. Bren is so utterly clueless. Seriously he felt like a 5 year old sometimes. He simply spent the entire book being surprised, shocked, confused, angered and terrified. He spends a significant part of the book whining and complaining and essentially reacting to the problems, rather than being proactive and trying to have some kind of plan. And he is the only PoV. It made the middle of the book very difficult to read.

Nevertheless I am sure that he grows and learns and stuff. I just hope he hurries up about it. ( )
  Andorion | Feb 6, 2021 |
This had a very slow start, with two different prologues. And the entire first half was mostly a lot of internal monologuing and descriptions. But I'm still giving it four stars because the aliens were just that good. They have their own fully-constructed world, culture, animals, history, everything. And the human ambassador, who is the main character, has spent his life studying them and still doesn't understand.

There's a plot, but it's not really about the plot. It's about the impossibility of understanding and predicting someone who doesn't think or feel the way you do.

As a science fiction writer myself, I shut this one with a mind teeming with ideas of how to make my work better. That makes it one of the most important books I've read this year. I'm glad I didn't give up on it. ( )
  jennelikejennay | Dec 31, 2020 |
Third read, 8/18/16:

What can I say? Until it gets to Bren, I'm not attached to the story much, but the fact that so much of them comes back to haunt us in subsequent novels makes me *want* to pay attention. But other than that, once Bren is in the spotlight and we're in his head, I'm there, and this becomes one of my favorite novels. :)

Why? The psychology, mainly. The Atevi are really fantastic aliens and the real diamond in this series is the fact that they are not hardwired the same way as us. Their knee-jerk reactions are *not* ours, and Bren, our interpreter/diplomat, starts out in the middle of an assassination attempt on his life for reasons he doesn't understand and political associations and alien emotions that refuse to be cracked. It doesn't help that the Atevi think of everything in a type of numerology, that word orders and groupings of people or objects are either fortunate or unfortunate, that Bren must do the equivalent of tensor calculus with ever sentence, and then he gets thrown into the really life-threatening situations.

The whole novel is about trying to understand his situation, and its harrowing and I'm just as concerned and confused as the MC. And this is still true even when I've read a good portion of the rest of the series and this is my third read for this one. Can I be even more impressed than this?

Will Bren's decisions alter the destinies of the stranded human colony and the aliens? Is he betraying his own kind? Or can he rely on his gut reactions? Can he ever trust the Atevi?

Totally amazing thriller. :)


Original review:

My personal favorites of Cherryh are the Foreigner books, hands down. And that's even while excluding her actual Hugo winners, Downbelow Station and Cyteen.

It's been so long since I started the Foreigner series that I only very vaguely recall having to struggle a little bit at the beginning. The second readthrough, on the other hand, was an absolute joy, picking up and retaining all those previously annoying details that then brought the tale to life. Nothing is wasted. The tension between remaining loyal to the human community and getting sucked into the political tensions of an interesting alien race that could seriously benefit from a greater stream of technology was like a draft of pure clean water in comparison to so many years of ham-fisted Star Trek.

The seriously twisted mental gymnastics of having to speak through numerology made me really believe, deep down, that these aliens were not only brighter than us, but they were also natural Shakespearean poets. I also learned more about herd mentality from this book than I did from any other source, and she made it truly exciting.

What will Bren do? Will he betray his own kind? Is it right to do so? Is he being set up to die?

The poor Paidhi was so lost. I loved it. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Epic. ( )
  bit-of-a-list-tiger | May 5, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
C. J. Cherryhautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Long, MilesDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
May, Daniel ThomasNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Whelan, MichaelAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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The story of humans stranded on an alien planet where registered assassination is a way of life. They are the descendants of a space ship which lost its way 500 years earlier. They live on an island and the only contact they are allowed with the mainland is through one human, the foreigner of the novel.

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