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Foreigner (Foreigner #1)

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3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  5,771 Ratings  ·  389 Reviews
The first book in C.J.Cherryh's eponymous series, Foreigner begins an epic tale of the survivors of a lost spacecraft who crash-land on a planet inhabited by a hostile, sentient alien race.

From its beginnings as a human-alien story of first contact, the Foreigner series has become a true science fiction odyssey, following a civilization from the age of steam through early
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Paperback, 378 pages
Published July 20th 1995 by Legend (first published February 1st 1994)
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Jvilches The books group pretty neatly in sub-trilogies as far as story arc goes. If you like the first book, read the next two.
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Community Reviews

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mark monday
well-respected and prolific science fiction author-cum-scifi-anthropologist C.J. Cherryh puts her considerable gifts to work in this introductory volume to her elephantine mega-series, as she begins a sensitive new tradition: fiction that is specifically geared to those unfortunate individuals who have no experience in reading, as well as to our fellows experiencing severe mental challenges. i for one appreciate the effort and am happy to report that the writing in this novel makes every attempt ...more
Gergana
Review contains fanart and images done by me. ^.^
Sci-fi...

Let me tell you something about sci-fi books... they are scary! No, I'm not talking about movies or TV series, and yes, Astronomy was one of my favorite subject in school. But for some reason, sci-fi books are generally on a completely different level for me.

I have ventured into sci-fi territory before ...

And, occasionally, I would find something "comprehensible" enough for my fairies-and-dragons-obsessed brain.

Buuuut, in most cases..
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Brad
Mar 26, 2013 Brad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
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.
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Andrew Obrigewitsch
Mar 21, 2013 Andrew Obrigewitsch rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Really, really bored people.
Shelves: sci-fi
"I wrote this 50 page short story, what do you think?" Said C.J. Cherryh.

"It's great, but can you stretch into a 20 volume series of 500 page books? Because that's what we really need." Said the Publisher.

"Sure I can, I just will start the first volume off by turning the one paragraph stay in mountain resort into 400 pages of repetitive introspection on the part of the main character. And then I will turn the 2 page chase scene into 200 pages. And we can go from there." Said C.J. Cherryh.

This b
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Markus
It's somehow proved impossible for me to get into this book. There is nothing appealing about either characters or setting to draw me in, and there is something about the writing and the sentence structure (paragraphs usually consist of a single sentence, even the longest ones) that completely puts me off. I thus simply feel like I'm looking at words rather than reading. But as I've heard good things about the series, I might try again at some point in the future.

For now, no rating given as I pu
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Stefan
Mar 27, 2009 Stefan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Foreigner is one of the most in-depth, uncompromising examinations of the way cultures interact in science fiction. Rereading it after all this time and with the added benefit of having read some of the later books in the series, I discovered a whole new level of complexity that’s probably almost impossible to appreciate on a first reading—complexity on almost every level, from Bren’s personal life and the subtle interactions of the atevi characters on the micro-level to the incredible socio-pol ...more
Lindsay
Apr 27, 2015 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This year (2016) C.J. Cherryh was given the SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, something I think she was long overdue for. I hadn't read a Cherryh book for quite a while so I thought it was very appropriate to read one now, and while I've read this one before a long time ago, I never continued with the series due to availability issues where I lived at the time.

En-route to build a new space station as key outpost for human expansion the Phoenix suffers an accident during it's faster-
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Cathy (cathepsut)
Jan 18, 2017 Cathy (cathepsut) rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Character-driven sci-fi fans
I really liked the first two books or sections of this novel. First the arrival in the planetary system, then a fast forward of a few generations to the planetary settlers and first contact with the indigenous population of their chosen planet, the atevi. I enjoyed the setting in space and the glimpse at societal differences between the humans onboard of the ship. Down below I had fun reading from the POV of an atevi and his human counterpart was an interesting character as well.

Unfortunately, w
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Neil
May 06, 2009 Neil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first attempt at Cherryh, and I'm on the fence as to whether or not there will be more. I'm surprised that the reviews of this aren't more tepid.

The atevi are interesting: the alien species at the heart of the book, dark-skinned, larger than humans, but more importantly hardwired in a different way. Their society runs on hierarchies based on duty, but friendship and trust are notably absent. They are mathematically astute and tend to glorify numbers and seem to desire to reduce decisi
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Veronique
Sep 20, 2016 Veronique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stars-4-0, 2016
I'd never heard of Cherryh or of her epic sagas, but after reading many stellar reviews from fellow readers, I thought I really needed to try her.

Foreigner, the first in the series of the same name, is an intriguing read. A human starship finds itself lost in space. Queue a few generations later, and this little enclave of humanity has split into two factions, one that stayed on the Phoenix, the other taking refuge on a planet that supports life, but inhabited by a hostile, sentient race. The no
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Jokoloyo
Jan 15, 2009 Jokoloyo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Borrowing the words from Liviu: I tried this book, but it is not for me.

This novel has good opening, but after that the story is dragging with unmemorable ending (I don't remember the ending, and I don't really care). And there are a lot of plots/questions unresolved.

Then I found out that this book is the first of a pretty long series (around 20 years in the making between book 1 and book 15). Maybe that's why the ending is not so satisfying, but that's my opinion.

I admit, I bought this novel du
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Sandra
Jul 11, 2010 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, favorites
Well. The star system is very frustrating. I can't decide if my frustration at trying to understand the atevi species that humans deal with in this book is a function of my fuzzy thinking or a function of C.J. Cherryh's brilliance in making me feel like the hero, Bren, felt through much of the book. Therefore it's hard to figure out how many stars to give it. At any rate, the tension that built throughout the book as Bren struggled to figure out what was happening to the world where he served as ...more
S.A. Bolich
Sep 09, 2011 S.A. Bolich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cherryh is among my favorite genre authors, though some of her books have left me cold. This isn't one of them. Admittedly, it starts out slow. You must wade through two sections of backstory before you get to the real opening of the series, when Bren, the main character, is attacked in his rooms without a clue as to why. From there it takes off like a bullet and, despite Cherryh's often long (and characteristic) lapses into musings by the character on life, the universe and everything, it never ...more
Twilight2000
Aug 16, 2010 Twilight2000 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the great gems! CJ has written a wonderful first-contact series with a really accessible protagonist. The Aliens are truly alien - the humans frequently irritatingly human ;>. This is the beginning of a 12 books series - written in 4 trilogies. One can read as many of the trilogies as one would wish. While they build, one upon another, if one wished to stop after 1 or 2 or 3 of them, the stories are sufficiently tied up that one can.

I can't imagine stopping - in fact, I started
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Stuart
Jul 26, 2011 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A good read. A very believable account of how humans and aliens might interact. I should preface my comments that I have not read the other nine (?) books in the series, so I am basing my thoughts solely on this book. The book gives a short account of how humans arrived on the planet (An exploring spaceship went off course). The account is sketchy and leaves holes which are filled in later in the book, as a kind of surprise (at least it was a surprise to me).

The reader discovers gradually throu
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Ron
Oct 31, 2011 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Four stars is a bit of a stretch, but I'm a sucker for first contact stories. And, even though Cherryh's aliens are as human as you'd find on Star Trek (and the bulk of this book happens 200 years after first contact), the aliens are enough different that our protagonist, Bren--even though he's a professional interpreter--spends a lot of time obsessing about what they're really thinking. The plot revolves around the fact that the Atevi have fourteen words for betrayal but none for trust.

What's n
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Maggie K
Jun 27, 2011 Maggie K rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
ugh. I was about halfway through this book and said out loud "Yay, something happened!" and realized I could no longer waste time with this. (Except for the first two introductoy books) it was the most repetitive thing ever! Bren can't go anywhere by himself. Bren is bored. There was what possibly could have been an assassination attempt and now he is locked up somewhere. That is all, and i wrote it in three sentences.
I REALLY wanted to like this book, and I hear it gets better, but if i saw the
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Chelsea
Feb 10, 2017 Chelsea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
THANK GOD THAT'S OVER.

Tune into the podcast for something more detailed than that.
Josh
Jul 30, 2013 Josh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition


That's it, I give up... I got over halfway, but I cannot finish this book. It is one of the most boring plot lines I have ever read. The main character is so childish and whiny, I just can't take it anymore.

This is not the right way to go about writing a story. There are reasons that we have rules about good writing. Why is it that an established author is allowed to break them, while beginning writers would be chastised and told to "go rewrite"? This is unfair. We should be just as hard on big
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Gary
Apr 01, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been sitting on this book at least a decade; currently feel like a tool for not reading it ages ago. Of course I'm hooked now that the series is seventeen books long and counting.
Kaitlin
This was an interesting read for me becuase I didn't really know what to expect when I started it and I definitely wouldn't have guessed where it ended up going. This was the january pick for Magical Space Pussycats, and I look forward to discussing it in detail in episode 9 soon!

So the story in Foreigner is just the very tip of what is now a very long series. This book starts off with a crew in space travelling to set up a colony. They somehow end up lost and the only place they can reach to re
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Kelley Ceccato
May 31, 2013 Kelley Ceccato rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing and detailed depiction of a culture clash, featuring a fascinating race of aliens.

Cherryh is an enormously skilled and insightful writer, but I've always found her books to be a bit slow going -- not so slow that I'm tempted to put them down, but still, demanding more concentration and patience than a lot of the books I pick up. This isn't a bad thing. Often, the books we have to take our time with are the most rewarding. But I think I've finally put my finger on why Cherryh "reads
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Kelly Flanagan
Jun 25, 2011 Kelly Flanagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a difficult book. I think it was meant to be difficult,but that doesn't help now, does it? The book is about humans messing up their trajectory and ending up somewhere in the universe they never expected. After generations of trying to find home, or a viable planet, the only one there was had not only sentient people but civilized ones living in a gently industrialized way in the cities and as country folk always have in the country. But the Atevi are different in a very important way. ...more
Jan
Aug 01, 2011 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was awesome, and I'm still reeling from all the confusion and repercussions and violence and things to come. I would have given this 5 stars, if only I hadn't still been so confused about everyones motivations at the end. I suspect this series is truly divided among trilogies, and that much will only become clear after reading the first three books.

Bren Cameron is the Paidhi - the Interpretor/Ambassador - in the Atevi society. Unfortunately for him, there's an assasination attempt on him, a
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Kari Chapman
***Contains Minor Spoilers***

I found this book very frustrating. The book opens with introducing us to several POV characters and introducing a very interesting story. A space ship on the way to go colonize a planet gets lost and winds up somewhere unknown, with very little fuel and the only way to get more is very dangerous. Just as we're getting ready to settle in and see what happens and how they save everything - boom, cut to "Book 2".

So, book two, we once again have several POV characters.
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Banner
Aug 09, 2011 Banner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Ok the bottom line for me, was the aliens. I wanted to like this book, but just couldn't get pass the bland presentation of the aliens and their society. The plot was very engaging and I felt there is a lot of promise for this series, but I just couldn't get over the aliens. They drink tea, have "bric a brac" in their homes and watch the evening news. There are aspect of the culture that made open communication difficult between their human neighbors, which is interesting and has promise; but I ...more
Christopher
Jan 14, 2013 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
House Hesson
Aug 21, 2010 House Hesson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Full disclosure: If you know us more than superficially, you know that our love for this series borders on obsession. I don't think any of these books can get less than four stars from us.

That said, the original starts out with one of the bigger weak points in the series. Book One and Book Two of the...book...are background pieces that we're glad to have in the context of the whole series, but not strongly connected to the events of Book Three - the real story. Cherryh presented them to her edit
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Arkadeb
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 bigges
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Kathryn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Sci-Fi & Fantasy ...: March/April 2015 Group Read: Foreigner 39 27 Jun 19, 2015 03:29PM  
Anyone else re-reading this Series? 5 26 Feb 11, 2015 01:47PM  
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Currently resident in Spokane, Washington, C.J. Cherryh has won four Hugos and is one of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed authors in the science fiction and fantasy field. She is the author of more than forty novels. Her hobbies include travel, photography, reef culture, Mariners baseball, and, a late passion, figure skating: she intends to compete in the adult USFSA track. She began ...more
More about C.J. Cherryh...

Other Books in the Series

Foreigner (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Invader (Foreigner, #2)
  • Inheritor (Foreigner, #3)
  • Precursor (Foreigner, #4)
  • Defender (Foreigner, #5)
  • Explorer (Foreigner, #6)
  • Destroyer (Foreigner, #7)
  • Pretender (Foreigner, #8)
  • Deliverer (Foreigner, #9)
  • Conspirator (Foreigner, #10)
  • Deceiver (Foreigner, #11)

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“Trust was a word you couldn't translate. But the atevi had fourteen words for betrayal.” 1 likes
“Baji-naji, nand' paidhi. Fortune has a human face and bastard Chance whores drunken down your streets.” 1 likes
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