the anniversary edition calls the foreigner series Cherryh's masterwork, and in rereading this first book, i can see the glimmers of what has the potethe anniversary edition calls the foreigner series Cherryh's masterwork, and in rereading this first book, i can see the glimmers of what has the potential to be pretty amazing... and yet also remember why i stopped there rather than going on to the rest after the first time i read it over a decade ago.
foreigner is a slice out of the life of Bren Cameron, translator to the government of this end of the alien world that a spaceshipful of humans are marooned on. people have been stuck on this planet for a couple of hundred years, and there was already a well developed society there first. these people don't think like humans, don't act like humans, and don't understand plenty of fundamental human concepts...but they look human enough to confuse the attempts to bridge these gaps.
Bren spends a good portion of this story being drug around like a piece of luggage, lamenting his failure of total understanding of what's going on. my younger self was bored in places with Bren's lack of action and the time he spends contemplating the situation he's in rather than doing something about it. my older self is intrigued by the glimpses of a truly alien society, one that others misguidedly think humans can understand if only we have the right words, while failing to note the basic biological differences in hardwiring and response. it's a very neat idea to contemplate the wrongheadedness that this other being, that's just a bit taller and a bit darker, walks likes us and talks like us, so must have the same desires and drives if only you can find the right word to explain it.
the pacing is still a little slow, and Bren is an object as much as a character here, but the abrupt, unresolved ending has me jumping straight to that long-neglected 2nd story....more
when I first read this back somewhen in grade school, it was one of the only 5-star books I ever experienced a4.5 stars, an average of then & now.
when I first read this back somewhen in grade school, it was one of the only 5-star books I ever experienced as part of my public school curriculum.
as an adult, there are some things about the pacing that seem a little off on this othwise solid read, so 4 stars, even though the last page still wrings tears. or maybe it's not the pacing, but instead the fact that there are NO surprises whatsoever in here: 20 years later, I still remember all of the plot details as they happen, so indelible has this story of rabbits hiking to mordor been in my head. ...more
first read somewhere in 1991 or 2 or 3, 5 stars then, and still amazingly powerful now.
when i first read this at 14 or 15 or so, it was more than a lifirst read somewhere in 1991 or 2 or 3, 5 stars then, and still amazingly powerful now.
when i first read this at 14 or 15 or so, it was more than a little transgressive. it was sort of about sex, in a way that felt very frank and intimate (voyeuristic?). it's still sort of about sex, but maybe more about permission and choice and alienation (both literal and figurative). 'Dawn' is an uncomfortable book. at its heart, it's about choices that are no choice at all - if you want to live, you must choose to do so under an unlivable compromise of yourself. there are no easy answers, there's only a struggle to do the best you can while not giving away any essential parts of yourself. the main character is intensely real, full of flesh-and-blood energy, deeply relatable though you will never find yourself completely in her situation.
the blurb on the back of my 1980something copy makes it sound more salaciously pulp than it actually is, and my blurb here makes it sound more coldly intellectual than it actually is, so ignore us both. it's a provoking thought experiment that's simultaneously a gripping yarn, well worth snapping up....more
the short version: it kept my up way too late one night, then kept me firmly on the couch a good chunk of the following day. very compelling.
the longthe short version: it kept my up way too late one night, then kept me firmly on the couch a good chunk of the following day. very compelling.
the long version: Jim Butcher is sneaky. he sucked you in a long time ago (and if you haven't been sucked in, get right on in there. and start from the beginning, it's important & well worth it) with a fun couple of books about a hardboiled detective of a wizard. at some point a few adventures in, though, this lark started getting serious, and the mysteries our hero was sorting out got less about a random client in trouble and more about keeping himself & his friends alive. nobody is invincible, and for every step won there's a pretty steep price to pay. it's compelling, interesting, complex without being bogged down in gimmicks reading. anyone else would have jumped the shark 11 books in, but this keeps getting better....more
an amazing example of social commentary without any trace of bitter pill to swallow. Silence (we learn this is an old-fashioned “virtue name”) introduan amazing example of social commentary without any trace of bitter pill to swallow. Silence (we learn this is an old-fashioned “virtue name”) introduced my tender little teenage brain to the idea of feminist sci-fi. we meet the main character just as her grandfather has died, and her uncle has stolen her inheritance to pay his gambling debts. having no other recourse, she throws her lot in with a pair of seemingly honest but disreputable space-farers. our heroine is dismissed by the system and by her own family, considered either property or a convenient solution by the men in her life, and is an all-around second-class citizen. this isn’t the tale of a shrinking-violet martyr, though: she finds ways to buck the system from within, and carve out a satisfying life on her own terms.
none of which would be worth the hill of proverbial beans if it wasn’t a good story. no trouble there, either, since ‘the roads of heaven’ is easily one of the best rollicking space-opera adventure tales i’ve ever read. we’re tearing through the life story of a tough-as-nails space pilot (take that han solo!), hurtling between worlds with her two husbands (!), who goes on to become an amazingly powerful alchemist magician, and discovers the lost road to old earth.
i re-read this trilogy every few years, and it's actually gotten better with time/age. if you can find a copy, highly recommended....more
it's been many a year now since the first time i picked up these super fun Anita Blake books, the words that launched a thousand imitators and were prit's been many a year now since the first time i picked up these super fun Anita Blake books, the words that launched a thousand imitators and were pretty well the start of the whole modern-times supernatural adult fantasy/horror/mystery genre (see also: Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Lilith Saintcrow, Kim Harrison, etc etc). this is the first book-club edition of her stuff, comprising books 1,2, and 3 of the series, and up through book 6, this is the best it got.
the series deals with an outwardly-feisty but internally-prudish/shy/haunted animator (as in, she raises the dead for a living. go ahead and ask dad about that disputed clause in his will.) and the occasional work she does helping out the police with supernatural-based crimes. over the course of these first 6 books, our heroine is involved with bounty hunters, hit men, vampires, fairies, and a dizzying plethora of were-creatures of every stripe. it's every bit as fun and action-packed as it sounds, and each book is a breezy quick (nearly un-put-down-able) read.
while you don't have to read any of the first 6 strictly in order, there's solid story arc and character development going on over the course of these books. the world the characters inhabit is real in a matter-of-fact way, just different enough from ours to make you consider the fact that it might actually be that way in the next state over.
a word of caution: after book 6, the author started taking this series in a radically different direction (detour to porn-land) that just didn't work out so well with the established characters. so if you like a good story, read these first ones and then stop. if you like more erotica, pick it up at book 9 and go from there....more
Butcher is now on the 9th of his Harry Dresden books, and in a truly magical feat, the series is still going strong. there is NO point in starting theButcher is now on the 9th of his Harry Dresden books, and in a truly magical feat, the series is still going strong. there is NO point in starting the series with this book...new readers will be lost in the alluded-to but not explained background stories of each of the detailed characters. with a lot of authors balancing this many people, everyone's voices start to run together; not so here, so once you've caught up with the other books, there's no problem keeping up.
the whole series is a lot of fun, and each one is a pretty quick read. they're all well worth checking out.
the sci-fi channel started running a tv show based on these books in january 07, and while the show is pretty good, these books are worlds better....more
since i think it's required in the vast majority of American classrooms, i read this right along with everyone else somewhen in high school, and uttersince i think it's required in the vast majority of American classrooms, i read this right along with everyone else somewhen in high school, and utterly hated it.
wow, what a difference 2 decades makes.
the prose is just lovely, and Fitzgerald had a marvelous talent at metaphor (descriptive and lush, without being too damn clever for its own good). it's a relatively simple story of love and yearning for things you can't have (or never could), and i guess my teenager brain wasn't emotionally mature enough for subtle glances across the room and quiet desperation....more