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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > 2010-03 THIS ALIEN SHORE - Finished Reading *Spoilers*

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message 1: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (sisimka) Post here to discuss This Alien Shore by C.S. Friedman. *Spoilers Allowed*


message 2: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments I read this a while back, According to my calendar Nov 2003.
My memories are vague but I enjoyed the book.


message 3: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
I read this several years ago too, when it was first Book of the Month here (and ended up becoming Book of the Year that year). I don't remember much about it.


message 4: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 808 comments I first read this book over 10 years ago. Since then I've reread it perhaps every 1-2 years. One of my favorites.

I still remember it in detail though I'm hoping I'll be able to reread it for the discussion. Sadly life has interfered with my reading lately. Well interfered with everything really. :)


message 5: by Jensownzoo (new)

Jensownzoo | 32 comments I know I read this and I know that I enjoyed it (it was one of the first that I read by this author), but darned if I can remember it, even when looking at the synopsis. Might be time for a re-read!


message 6: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I finished it. Gave it two stars. My review is here
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36162


message 7: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 808 comments Sandra wrote: "I finished it. Gave it two stars. My review is here
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36162"


Everyone has a right to their opinions, but I thought I'd toss out a couple of items that might clarify.

Jamisia is a sheltered naive kid (late teens if I remember right) who has had her home destroyed, everyone she knew killed, tossed out into a hostile universe on her own, and terrified that she's going crazy. Given her split personalities, she has never really learned coping and survival skills. I don't really think flighty is a fair description. Unstable - Oh yes, she is very unstable.

You can think of the Ainniq as a wormhole that has something hostile living in it that can sense our minds like an animal can smell its prey.

Computerized brain business: Cybernetic implants are such a staple in Science Fiction anymore, especially in the Cyberpunk subgenre, I guess its just an easy concept for me. Electronics interface directly with the brain and allow us to then interface directly with other computer systems and networks. In many ways its like having a mini computer in your head tied in with the brain.

As far as antagonists and protagonists, well it is meant to be blurry. Life is blurry. :)
There are no black and white hats in the story. Even Devlin had what he felt were noble intentions.


Oh, and before I wander off again, for those who skipped the little blurbs at the start of each chapter, go back and read them. They add a lot of history, background, and insight into the Gueran culture and are rather valuable IMO.


message 8: by Sandra (last edited Mar 11, 2010 12:14PM) (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Random - I understand your points.. I hold to my response to the book. It did not hold me on an emotional level, one of my requirements for liking a book. There were too many interruptions, too much winding, too many terms and concepts unexplained 'til the end. If you read my posts on other threads, I asked once what ainniq meant or what it was and the answer was that it was explained in the end, which it was. I got it -- your 'wormhole' explanation -- by the end of the book, but meanwhile I had no idea what was being talked about.

I am a psychotherapist who has worked with many patients with MPD or 'multiple personality disorder' as it used to be referred to. I understand where Jamisia's instability and flightiness were coming from. I have read many things that give better portrayals of this problem. This writer did not create that level of connection for me.

I agree that life is ambivalent. However, I read books to find some measure of escape from all of that ambivalence. I did not finish reading Barbara Kingsolver's Lacuna because of fragmentation and incoherence. I read a review that said it was a good book looking for a strong protagonist. Protagonists can be either good or bad, but they must have some cohesiveness. The fragmentation of this book was frustrating to me. I would just get interested in someone and a new chapter would start, interrupting the flow. While a certain amount of that provides tension and motivation to keep reading, this book did not create that mood for me.

I read the blurbs at the beginning of each chapter. Sometimes they made more sense to me than what followed.

I LOVED the other book, Flesh and Spirit and that protagonist was also unstable, ambivalent, and flighty, but I was able to connect with him...


message 9: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 626 comments I finished this book today (here's my review). I must agree with Sandra. Without an emotional connection to the characters, I became more dissatisfied with the story as I read on and on and on.

I guessed the mystery early on (before 100 pages) and understood the concept of the ainniq, but not the uniqueness of the outpilots until halfway or two-thirds of the way through.


message 10: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 808 comments Interesting, personally I formed an emotional attachment to a few of the characters.
Masada of course. He was fascinating to me. Actually I found the Gueran society fascinating. :)
I was also very much drawn to Phoenix, Derik, Guildmaster Kent, and a few others.


message 11: by Jane (new)

Jane (hippygoth66) | 101 comments I enjoyed the book and the only thing I would change is more of Phoenix, I wish he had been introduced to the story earlier.
I liked the balance of tech and the personal, and think the interal discussions between Jamisia and the Others worked well. As was the protrayal of Masada. I found it interesting that the character least equiped to deal with emotions is the one that I was most drawn to.


message 12: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 808 comments Jane wrote: "I enjoyed the book and the only thing I would change is more of Phoenix, I wish he had been introduced to the story earlier."

I have to agree. I would have loved to see Phoenix earlier in the book. He was a neat character and I really liked him. I have to admit a weakness towards cyberpunk type themes.


message 13: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I liked him too, and the fact that he turned up so late is one of my complaints about the book.


message 14: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 626 comments I liked Masada, quite a bit. That I could relate very well to him doesn't say positive things about my psyche. :)

Phoenix was likable, but too thinly developed. And reminded me of annoying sons who live in basements and play video games 24-hours a day. :)


message 15: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I kept trying to figure out who the guy was who was murdered by -- was it Delhi?-- the whole episode seemed to have nothing to do with the rest of the book.

Jon, I liked Masada, too. It always baffles me how characters who are supposed to have no emotion actually have emotion. Didn't someone do a study that showed that without emotion humans have no motivation to act in any way whatsoever?


message 16: by Jane (new)

Jane (hippygoth66) | 101 comments Masada wasn't meant not to have emotion but to rather have an inability to interprete emotions in other people or work out their motivations.


message 17: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Jane wrote: "Masada wasn't meant not to have emotion but to rather have an inability to interprete emotions in other people or work out their motivations."

I thought he was always trying to figure out if he loved his wife and only knew that he missed her. I thought he couldn't figure out his own emotions and hence the emotions of others were mysterious to him.


message 18: by Jane (new)

Jane (hippygoth66) | 101 comments Sandra wrote: "Jane wrote: "Masada wasn't meant not to have emotion but to rather have an inability to interprete emotions in other people or work out their motivations."

I thought he was always trying to figu..."


He was, but the way I read this was I thought he was trying to work out if what he felt for his wife (missing her is an ondication of emotional attachment) was the same as what other people call love. If you don't understand the language of emotion how can you know if what you feel is the same as other people. That is my view anyway.


message 19: by Marty (new)

Marty (martyjm) | 310 comments I finished it. I did not find Jamisia interesting or sympathetic enough to carry the story. The Guerans are the interesting characters.


message 20: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Jane wrote: "Sandra wrote: "Jane wrote: "Masada wasn't meant not to have emotion but to rather have an inability to interprete emotions in other people or work out their motivations."

I thought he was always t..."


I think we're agreeing here. I thought she was trying to write him as having no emotions and it didn't work because he obviously does have emotions, just no language for them, as you say.


message 21: by Bookbrow (last edited Apr 02, 2010 08:29PM) (new)

Bookbrow | 93 comments I really enjoyed the book, it started well and the mystery of Jamisia's story drew me in. I also liked the premise of the altered Humans, the almost Japanese ritualistic nature of the Guerans, and the multiple personalities of Jamisia. I was expecting a little more from the Pheonix character but on the flip side enjoyed the Masada character quite a bit. I too liked the quotes / notes at the start of each chapter, they added a little meat to the book. Very good world building on the whole.

Part of this book reminded me of the Orson Scott card Book Xenocide which is not a bad thing.


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