May 2024
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Foreigner, C.J. Cherryh

FOREIGNER takes its reader onto an alien world, introducing them to an alien species, known as the atevi, mainly through their interaction with one man, Bren Cameron.  The book explores themes of differences in cultures and many aspects of human nature – how we expect others to be like us.

I found it interesting.  The first 100 pages of the book are not indicative of the whole; they seem to serve largely as background for the main story, tossing the reader straight into a predicament that is hard to understand at first.   All becomes clear eventually.  I found that the main character, Bren, thought a little more than was necessary; others have found him whiny, but I didn’t, just the author likes to let him deliberate on events and differences.  Some of his digressions were interesting, some involved technical stuff which is what I don’t like about science fiction, but overall they added to the book’s feel even if they were a slight diversion from the main plot.  Towards the end, however, the book really grabs the reader and doesn’t let go as the plot moves at a dizzying pace to its final conclusion.

The most interesting part was probably the way Bren reacted towards the atevi.  He trusts them when they have no word for trust, likes them when they have no word for like, and in general reacts in fascinating ways.  It’s also interesting to see their emotions, which do seem to exist, they’re just different.  I’m very interested to learn more and if I pick up the next books in the series, that will be why.


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