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Visitor by C. J. Cherryh
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Visitor (edition 2017)

by C. J. Cherryh (Author), Todd Lockwood (Cover artist)

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839145,226 (4.32)1
Member:macha
Title:Visitor
Authors:C. J. Cherryh (Author)
Other authors:Todd Lockwood (Cover artist)
Info:DAW (2017), Edition: Reprint, 384 pages. MM Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:sf, Foreigner series, atevi, kyo, diplomacy, translation theory, first contact, space opera

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Visitor by C. J. Cherryh (Author)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
this one's a bit of a problem child, maybe because it has to rehash so much of the series past to move it forward, which affects Cherryh's usually impeccable breathless pacing. on the other hand, it does definitively move the narrative forward after a long period of sidetrips, so that's good. the kyo ship comes back, and Bren has to throw out the translator's manual (a very interesting return to Cherryh's original field in retrospect), craft a peace treaty, and address a whole lot of secrets, among the ship captains and the kyo too, pertaining to what really happened at the point of first contact. so it's a very important book in this long series, tying together and illuminating a lot of threads in the interest of resolution. and it feels like it might make a satisfying conclusion to the series, though personally i hope for many sidetrips yet to come. ( )
  macha | Apr 21, 2017 |
The 17th book in CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series kicks off immediately after the closing events of its predecessor 'Tracker'. A semblance of peace has been restored to Alpha station as it orbits the Earth of the Atevi. Bren Cameron is rid of the troublesome human stationmaster Tillington, and Braddock, putative leader of the restive refugees from Reunion Station is in atevi custody. Human associates of the heir to the leadership of the atevi, the young gentleman Cajieri, are safe after their misadventures. Not ideal, but manageable. The kyo starship continues to approach the space station. For talking, or perhaps for less desirable actions.

This latest installment draws heavily on backstory from the the series. In particular it draws on the events of 'Explorer', and just what happened at Reunion and why. Complicated of course in that many of the protagonists are dead, and records are lost or locked away.

The tension builds as the arrival of the Kyo ship becomes imminent. If something goes wrong, there is no escape here. There are the distraction of human and atevi politics to consider. Bren Cameron muses on how he became paidhi, and the changes that he brought to the role, all the while desperately boning up on what little kyo vocabulary was accumulated back at Reunion. How accurate is the story he knows?

The tension is maintained as the kyo arrive, and through the taut negotiations between kyo and atevi and paidhi. The process of deciphering a language from first principles is unpicked and is fascinating. What role do facial expressions hold, and what information is imparted by what cannot be heard?

And then the author lobs a bomb into the series leading to the cliffhanger ending. The reader is left speculating on the necessity for secrecy, the likely effect on trust of such deceptions, and just when these newly planted seeds might come to to fruition, and will that harvest be for good or ill. This is a 'payoff' entry in the sequence. The author has choices on how to proceed, as options for the series widen out from the tight focus on the atevi homeworld. I for one am delighted by this turn of events, and eagerly anticipate the closing installment in the 6th Foreigner trilogy (!) ' Convergence'. ( )
  orkydd | Feb 2, 2017 |
I was disappointed with this book. I know we’re on the seventeenth book of a series and it’s to be expected that I’d find one not-so-good but I don’t think that way about Cherryh. There’s a reason she’s my favorite currently-writing SF author. I expect a good one every single time, dammit!

This story was long on Bren mentally anguishing about his abilities, which seemed entirely derivative of the first books, and…quite frankly…had me skimming a few pages of him iterating on, “Hell, I’m going to screw this up!” We could have fit the plot advancement into about a quarter of the volume. There’s a twist in the story but it wasn’t a total shocker as the possibility flitted across my mind long ago given the events of Books 4-6.

The biggest disappointment, however, was that she didn’t deliver on her forte: the creation of plausibly alien beings who are, well, alien. Most of her creations—the atevi of this series, the majat, kif, regul, etc.—seem quite “other”. But the kyo just seem like humans in gray masks. She’d hint that they had totally different thought processes, then walk away from the idea and portray them as just like us. In fact, Bren would repeatedly caution himself that he couldn’t assume something meant the same thing to the kyo as it did to a human or ateva…then he’d proceed on the assumption it did and it almost invariably was true.

I hope this book was an aberration with the kyo as bit players who never really got meaty parts from the script writers. She’s apparently doing these books in “fortunate threes” so I assume at least one more is to come. I hope I enjoy it as much as I did the earlier books in this series. ( )
1 vote TadAD | Jan 9, 2017 |
During this past year pets have died, friends have died, and my greatest fear was that Cherryh could die before she finished writing "Visitor." I've been attached to series before--Elizabeth Peters, Martha Grimes, Elizabeth George, Ellis Peters, Anne Perry, Margaret Maron, and many others--but this is the first series I've ever been ADDICTED to. When I finished "Tracker" I was so unable to let go that I began again at the first novel and reread all sixteen novels in sequence while I waited for "Visitor"'s publication, and I'll probably have to do so once more before the eighteenth novel appears. I'd like to compare Cherryh to Henry James, but that's not quite fair; she isn't nearly as precious as James, and her plots SEEM more action-packed, but I think that's TV-age high-excitement window dressing, because the central action is primarily psychological, spare and controlled, real significance dressed up in apparently less significant ruffles and flounces, like characters dressed for tea with Great-Grandmother. Things seem to happen, then seem less important than characters had anticipated, and finally turn out to have been deeply meaningful after all. Cherryh also has James's gift for characterization, for playing hide-and-seek with motive, for expanding and shrinking the consequences of behavior along with the characters' perceptions of those consequences, and and above all for urgent consideration of language. If I tried to imaging a 21st century James writing science fiction, he'd look rather like Cherryh. ( )
  adeeba_zamaan | Jun 21, 2016 |
Typical Cherryh move to drop a bomb in the middle of the book and have a cliffhanger at the end. But the writing is so fabulous and the characters so fascinating that it's totally worth it. ( )
  litalex | May 18, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cherryh, C. J.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lockwood, ToddCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, Daniel ThomasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The lift slowed and shifted sideways.
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Kyo spaceship comes
Bren's task- tripartite treaty
Between aliens
(pickupsticks)

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