Thursday, February 07, 2019

11. Chanur's Venture by C.J. Cherryh

I feel quite bad about the way I treated this book.  The top of the front cover ripped off a couple of days in.  I found it and the next book together at Moe's and I suspect the previous owner had read them both together as they are the same publisher and edition.  Although the pages were hard to keep open and the interiors quite fresh.
The story here is almost a direct continuation from The Pride of Chanur.  Captain Pyanfar is back with her crew trying to work as normally as before the whole flair-up with the Kid when once again the human Tully is dumped in her lap.  It's hard to tell what is going on but the stakes are higher as it appears the humans are sending a war fleet.
I found this book a bit hard to get through.  It really isn't the book's fault, though.  The situation is complex and the various species are probably the closest to truly different than I have ever read in a sci-fi book.  The situation is stressful and the captain responds to it in a very realistic way.  These believable elements manifest themselves in a way, however, that distanced me from the story.  The various species do not understand each other well and in several cases, not at all.  It makes it difficult to understand what exactly is going on.  Part of this is purposeful as Pyanfar is also in the dark about a lot of the big political machinations going on around her.  But that level of intrigued coupled with difficulty of understanding what characters are saying (and them not understanding each other), I wasn't really clear or connected with what was going on.
The basic action is clear enough to follow and there is a clear objective, to protect the human and keep the ship alive, so the pages do turn. It's the back story and the politics which are driving the action that I am not clear about.
This book is also psychologically realistic, but this too turned me off.  These adventurous space situations where the stakes are real (such as the status of your family, your life, the lives of your crew and loved ones, etc.) would actually be extremely stressful and mostly very unpleasant.  You get that feeling in this book.  The thing is, those are mostly feelings I am trying to avoid when I read science fiction.
This really is only half the book, basically split in two to sell more copies I suspect.  It ends just as things get going.  I'll crank through the last one, but I suspect that while I'll enjoy the plight of the ship, I'll be unsatisfied with the reveal of the stellar space politics.

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