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Alternate Realities by C. J. Cherryh
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I read Port Eternity some years back, and when I picked this up in the thrift store it was Wave Without a Shore that caught my attention, so that's where I started. I love the concept of the 'invisible' aliens, whose presence so offends humans' sensibilities that they refuse to acknowledge them no matter how inconvenient.

I just wish... hmm. So often fiction portrays this inevitable descent into murder and societal mayhem and then a convenient rebuilding and... perhaps I'm in a mood because on the one hand things don't get rebuilt so easily, and on the other it's awfully convenient to the narrative that things descend there anyway; the more mundane (in my society) reality of the dysfunction carrying on being... functionally dysfunctional is not nearly so cathartic, but I kind of want to see it being addressed sometime. Or maybe I don't really because it'd be too grim; I just want someone to come up with a solution I know doesn't really exist because I want my own society to be fixed already. So yeah, that. ( )
1 vote zeborah | Mar 20, 2014 |
This is a collection of three short novels, "Port Eternity," "Wave Without a Shore," and "Voyager in Night." The first concerns a wealthy woman's pleasure ship, staffed by androids that she has named for characters from Arthurian legend. The ship becomes lost in an unknown region of space; this crisis affects both the humans and the androids, who have varying degrees of knowledge about the story their names are drawn from. This knowledge sometimes informs their actions and interactions. "Voyager in Night" concerns a small mining ship manned by a woman, her brother, and her husband; they have an encounter with an alien ship that contains intelligences both powerful and strange; their lives are changed forever. In "Wave Without a Shore," an isolated planet named Freedom is home to Herrin Law, an artist whose conception of reality is challenged by his experiences. I enjoyed the first two stories more than the third, which featured a cast of characters almost impossible to like or care about (at least until near the end, when Herrin undergoes drastic changes in his life that reshape his worldview). Though these stories are interesting and thought-provoking, ultimately they are less engaging than the bulk of Cherryh's work, and I'd be inclined to recommend almost any other of her works before this one.
2 vote ejj1955 | Dec 2, 2008 |
Three novellas, long short stories or short novels, all nominally set in the Aliance/Union timeline but somewhat distant from the events described in the main books.

Port Eternity: Lady Dela, rich owner and descendant of founders of a new planet travels at her whim with her collection of azi. Although there is no Arthur, her servants have all been raised without their knowledge in an Authurian tradition. The story is told from the POV of the gentle maid Elaine, and takes place onboard Dela's ship as they depart with her newest lover Griffin. An accident in jump strands them at a strange location and once the azi recieve an arthurian tape, their behaviors start to become more man-born when faced with danger.

The most obviously Union based story of the three it drags a bit in places, because Elaine spends a lot of time carrying or tidying, over all I find it charming take on a future arthurian legend.

Voyager in the night: One of CJCs strangest stories! Rafe and Jillian Murray with Paul Gains are start-up merchanters around the new Endevour station. They get caught up in the deep when a bogey drops in on them, and take sides in an internal disspute amoungst the crew, is the captain, disagrees [] is agressive and ((())) is mad. ... Works remarkably well and the "names" do make sense later on. Requires some concentration but provokes deep thoughts concerning the strengths of understanding your weaknesses.

Wave without a Shore: definetly the most accessible of the tales, with little conection to Alliance/Union universe. Merrin Law is a Master of Arts, Waden Jenks a Master of Politics, on a world founded by philosophers. Who's Art is the greatest? who's reallity superceeds the other? When Outsiders arrive, the matter is put to the test, with results that shock both parties.

Altogether the stories work well exploring the weaknesses of being human in various ways, and helping they help define your strengths. not the most captivating of CJCs works but still very deep with much to think about. ( )
  reading_fox | Jun 11, 2008 |
Despite my adoration of C. J. Cherryh, I found little of this early work to be compelling. ( )
  KarenIrelandPhillips | Jan 13, 2008 |
Collecting three of Cherryh's novellas into one easily carried volume, this is a great choice for any long plane or train ride. What I love most about ALTERNATE REALITIES is how different each story is from it's compatriots, thematically as well as technically.

"Port Eternity" reads almost like a fairy tale gone horribly awry. It's about identity, patterning yourself after heroes, and finding who you are in the midst of crisis.

"Wave Without a Shore" seems like a sci-fi tribute to Ayn Rand's THE FOUNTAINHEAD. An obsessive artist, a love triangle, a whole other reality that's right beneath the surface... my favorite story of the three hands down.

"Voyager in Night" has very cyberpunk connotations to me, mixed with a bit of A.C. Clarke's RAMA books. A.I.'s battling each other for supremacy of a system, human and clones caught in the middle. Very, very strange novella. ( )
1 vote maravedi | Oct 11, 2007 |
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She was a beautiful ship, the Maid of Astolat, beautiful in the way ships can be when cost means nothing, and money certainly meant nothing except the comfort and the pleasure of my lady Dela Kirn. (Port Eternity)
1,000,000 rise of terrene hominids. (Voyager in night)
Freedom was one of those places honest ships avoided, a pleasant world of a pleasant star, but lacking a station at which ships could dock, and by reason of its location on the limb's sparse edge, inconvenient for ships on fixed schedules. (Wave without a shore)
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Book description
Contains 3 short novels:

Port Eternity

Wave Without a Shore

Voyager in Night
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0886779464, Mass Market Paperback)

Long out of print, these three acclaimed, stand-alone novels by the brilliant C.J. Cherryh are among her personal favorites. She calls them the "magic cookie books"- treats she wrote for herself-three daringly original works that explore the more "fantastic" themes of science fiction....

Port Eternity

Camelot lives again-on a spaceship manned by Arthurian androids...

"Marvelous." -Voya

"A thoughtful work by an intelligent writer."-Science Fiction & Fantasy

Wave Without a Shore

Is there alien life on the planet Freedom? If so, why can only some people see them?

"Thoughtful...engrossing."-Publishers Weekly

"A gem."-Los Angeles Times

Voyager in Night

A human space crew's collision with an alien ship ends in death-and rebirth....

"Suspenseful...and fresh."-New York Times

"Intelligent space adventure and an intriguing psychological novel...thoughtful, original."-Chicago Sun-Times

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Long out of print, these three acclaimed novels are among Cherryh's personal favorites. The Court of Camelot lives again in "Port Eternity". Invisible alien life inhabits the planet Freedom in "Wave Without a Shore". Finally, in "Voyager in Night", a human space crew's collision with an alien ship ends in death -- and rebirth.… (more)

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