Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Chanur Saga

The Chanur Saga (omnibus)

C.J. Cherryh

  —   $7.99   —   Book

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Fiction, Science Fiction

I first encountered this story as a filk song entitled "The Pride of Chanur", which for some reason is unavailable on the web. Pity, that. Anyway, I encountered this song at a young age, younger than I probably should have been reading this stuff (just due to complexity issues; as I've said before, Cherryh's a bit dense for your average young teen.) But anyway, the basic topic, a human-meets-aliens tale from the aliens' point of view, would be enough for a typical writer, but not for Cherryh.

Because anyone who can figure out this new species and its motivations is going to be on top of the heap.

Pyanfar Chanur first encounters this human as a refugee from a kif ship. Kif are status-concious killers, always looking for advantage, and they found and seized this human's ship, killing its crew during the interrogation process. Tully is the only survivor, an escapee who sought out the hani ship because he saw their crew members laughing.

Immediately, Pyanfar and her crew are in loads of trouble, as the kif all but start a war in pursuit. Moreover, the xenophobic stsho and the advantage-seeking mahendo-stat are involved, and the incomprehensible methane-breathing knnn are stirred up... and all over one previously unknown species.

And that's just the first book.

The only thing that bothers me about this omnibus is that the first novel, The Pride of Chanur, stands alone, while the next two are part of a quartet, a fact which I had forgotten until I was near the end of the book. It is extremely annoying to realize that you need to find more books to complete the story when you're at the end of the ones you have. But I otherwise recommend this as the story is fairly straightforward for Cherryh, as it is mostly told from Pyanfar's viewpoint.

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