Monday, January 25, 2010

Last night I finished Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh.

I don't know if this is set in the same universe as the other two books (Rimrunners and Heavy Time), since it starts with a starship going off course, getting lost and having to settle on an already occupied planet.

The feel of this book is completely different from the other two. It still uses a very limited first person perspective, but it isn't as frantic or claustrophobic feeling as the other two. After a few introductory settings, the main character acts as an interface between the humans and the aliens. The humans are isolated on an island to keep them from interacting with the aliens, a state of affairs that came about after misunderstandings between the two races led to a war.

In some ways, the aliens are very human-like, humanoid but larger. I think this is done to add emphasis to the narrators thoughts on how fundamentally different they are beneath the surface. The aliens do not have the same kind of emotions as humans, resulting in a very different political setup.

The book is a little frustrating to read, because during a lot of it the narrator is ignorant of what is really going on around him, and is very passive as well. He is spirited from place to place, and only has his speculations about why things are happening. Towards the end, as the part of the story about the human/alien differences develops, it gets more interesting. And by the end, we know the reasons for the other characters actions.

It looks like a long series, and I'm mixed about getting in to it, but I will probably try at least one more.