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Wave Without a Shore by C. J. Cherryh

Wave Without a Shore (1981)

by C. J. Cherryh

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347846,863 (3.51)36
  1. 10
    The City & The City by China Miéville (reading_fox)
    reading_fox: Covers the same ground regarding visualising concepts.

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Wow. Just wow. In this short novel Cherryh does what she usually does in her stories, creates a world, and culture, both alien and familiar...but this time it's on a scale that even she rarely attains. With virtually no fighting or other actions so common in SciFi, she hurls the reader along in this story of an artist who went too far and threatened a society conditioned to be blind to reality. Superb. ( )
  fuzzi | Feb 4, 2019 |
Nearly a perfect little SF novel. In many ways, I found this reminiscent of Le Guin's City of Illusions. Where Le Guin explores the meaning of truth, Cherryh toys with the individual's perception of reality; how the strength of one person's intellect and charisma can sway the perceived reality of weaker minds. Exploring class structures, racism, and alienation through a solipsistic lens, Cherryh writes a tight narrative that, as I have come to expect from her, starts somewhat slowly, but then builds inexorably to a satisfying conclusion. ( )
  ScoLgo | Feb 9, 2017 |
If one's subjective reality clashes with objective reality, or someone else's subjective reality, what happens to reality? Can all realities be true?

On a planet named Freedom, in a metropolis named Kierkegaard, the Artist and the First Citizen share a subjective reality. Until, one day, the Artist begins to notice things which should not be there. These "things" are the Ahnit, natives of Freedom, who have been ignored by the colonists for generations so as to have become Invisible. What, then, becomes of the Artist's and the First Citizen's realities? What happens when war comes to Kierkegaard at the behest of the First Citizen's expansion of his subjective reality?

Simple, yet complex, this is a novella which demands more than one reading. I found it both intriguing and mind bending. And enjoyable. ( )
  AuntieClio | Mar 13, 2015 |
Not as good as her other Allaince/Union books but still quite an interesting read. ( )
  SChant | Jul 12, 2013 |
Wave Without a Shore is a stand-alone novel by C. J. Cherryh, one of my favorites. I was reminded of it when reading Dr. Neutron's review of The City and the City, so I pulled it off the shelf for a quick reread. I currently own it in an omnibus edition called Alternate Realities, with Port Eternity and Voyager in Night. I used to own it as a discrete novel, but I gave it away to a professor whose research methods seminar reminded me of the story. He was always going on about defining reality with sketches of clouds (that would be the intangible concepts, or immaterial reality) and brick walls (that would be the operationalized definition for the purpose of collecting data to try to measure reality). Or maybe not, it's been a few years, and I just packed up all my notes from grad school.

Anyway, Wave Without a Shore is a sort of first not-quite-contact novel. And a story about the dialectic run amok. On a small, remote planet, a human colony was established. The planet is called Freedom, the main continent, Sartre, and the capitol, Kierkegaard. Can you see where this might be going? The three main human characters are Herrin Law the artist, Waden Jenks the politico and soon-to-be First Citizen (read: dictator), and Keye Lynn the creative ethicist, the three most brilliant students at University.

Except for the first, each chapter opens with a little dialectic interchange between Herrin and someone else. The first opens with a quote by Pythagoras: Man is the measure of all things. At first these little stand-along snippets of dialogue reflect Herrin's character through his past or future, but generally unrelated to the events in the chapter. Later in the book, the dialectic prologues converge with the story.

The story follows Herrin from his small-town upbringing to his arrival at the central university and meeting Waden and Keye to creating the first piece of public art once Waden assumes power to subsequent events once various conflicts emerge.

The culture of Freedom is structured by people's definitions of reality rather than anything so crass as objective reality. To acknowledge the existence of something that isn't considered "real" is to be declared insane, and therefore invisible. And so a whole invisible underclass, including the unacknowledged nonhuman Others populates the city. With them comes a grey economy, as goods disappear from the visible, "real" community to circulate among the invisibles, in effect, creating a closed system, even though all of its loops are not acknowledged. When offworlders come, they disrupt society and individual lives in so many ways, and the world will never be the same. ( )
2 vote justchris | Jun 20, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. J. Cherryhprimary authorall editionscalculated
Maitz, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0879976462, Mass Market Paperback)

In this science fiction novel from one of the genre's leading female writers, the inhabitants of the planet Freedom decide what constitutes reality - and they are selective. C.J.Cherryh has twice won the Hugo Award and is the recipient of numerous other awards and honours.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:36 -0400)

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