Read: Emergence, by C.J. Cherryh

Cherryh‘s nineteenth Foreigner novel. Wow. I never thought that they’d end up so many, not to mention that I’m still interested in reading them… and there’s more to come. Some five or six books back I started to think of them as episodes in a long-running SF TV series, and as time passes and episodes, sorry – books, gets added to the story that impression gets ever stronger.

Emergence is the first book in the 7th 3-book arc, if form holds up, and this episode focuses on two main stories – Bren, sitting in Port Jackson waiting for Cajeiri’s Reunion associates to land, and Cajeiri, visiting with Uncle, in Tirnamardi.

Both Bren and Cajeiri are participants in bringing in a new age, but while Cajeiri is active and due to circumstances has to start act in a more lordly role in Bren’s case it means sitting back, spending his time waiting, in a isolated house on Mospheira.

Some of the characters that the regular reader has come to enjoy, such as Ilisidi and Tabini, are almost absent in Emergence. Instead some supporting characters of whom we’ve seen quite a lot through the years, but perhaps not in the most favourable light, are being allowed some space and some positive character development: I’m specifically looking at Damiri, but also at Tatiseigi, and both are welcome. Had they continued in their established tracks the story had been much less interesting.

I did enjoy the book (of course) but to be honest I kind of long for something of the dignity of a Hellburner, Cyteen, Downbelow Station, or, well, the first four Chanur books.

That said I am amazed that CJ Cherryh has managed to write the Foreigner books with such consistency: that the over-all story and the development of many of the characters that we get to meet holds together, over so many years and so many changes in the world. I do look forward to the next instalment, whenever it’s due.

And until then I look forward to a brand new Alliance-Union story, or two: one regular book, Alliance Rising, and a short story which is said to be available at Closed Circle, as soon as Alliance Rising is released.

Yes, she’s one of my favourite authors.


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