|11:47AM | Mon, April 2nd | 2012
|Wll That Was Anti-Climatic [not even doing official review type review]
|book series: foreigner, wth?|
Finally got my hands on Cherryh's Intruder (Foriegner #13). And I haven't given it a proper reading. It was just a devouring. But it wasn't so fast a read through that I couldn't sense and feel the editor's hand ALL THROUGH IT. Cherryh mentioned that some copy editor had gone through, changing words, substituting others and worse. Considering the dynamics of linguistics in Cherryh's work (this particular work), changing words, even with seeming synonyms, changes A LOT, because certain words aren't used with certain languages, in order to make them distinct, even though they're both being represented in English. And there's more.
The rhythm was off; for the general narrative, for various characters ... voices were lost.
Now, Cherryh went through and had to rethink her word choices all again (whilst in the midst of working on a different book) and tried to correct things, and even sent an original, and an updated original. But I think she missed some things, or there was further confusion, because as she stated there'd been about an average of 8 corrections a page. And the editor never bothered to contact someone associated with her to find out if there was some aspect she was missing; cause popular, well published, long time published author, needed 8 corrections or more a page?
And then Cherryh had to scramble to adjust things in a couple of days.
So I'm left feeling oddly disappointed. Especially because I WAS able to read it so fast. Part of that, a lot of that, is given to excitement and having waited a whole month to get my hands on it (interlibrary, woot!). But I'm usually locked into deeper cultural meanings with this series - due to the word choices.
And it seems strange to say word choices can change so much. But it really, really, can. Especially when there's also repetitive phases and facts just gone wrong, that make instant sense as the hand of an out of it editor. Like thinking a 'young girl's very important big day/big celebration' would be a wedding, when it's the Atevi equivalent of a Quincentera and is thus a Birthday. Or repeatedly explaining what a term is.
Yes, I think that's it. This book talks down to the reader in terms of language, when Cherryh's prior works in the series never did.
And what makes this worse, is that this book, is ALL ABOUT political machinations. Which means tensions are only high, in terms of potential repercussions, possible misunderstandings, etc. Which only make sense if you're fully into the universe; which can only happen with the right language.
I really love court intrigue books, done well. They're not something I think I could write. As much as I enjoy reading it, trying to sort it all out in my head to write it seems, horribly confusing. So I admire people who can do that. But right now, this just seems oddly subpar and the most enjoyable bits were the domestic subplot revolving around Cajeri. And I'm shocked, because something detailing the interweaving of clans and politics, policies, histories, prejudices etc, is what I've really ENJOYED about the series; so a book primarily about that should have been more fulfilling. But it wasn't. I couldn't sink in.
"Going native" is a colonizer's expression, right? It's about longing, but also about contempt; it's What These People Need Is A Honky, it's about being a better native than the natives, it's about "native" meaning "primitive," "erasable". And it's also about fear: the fear of the arrogant, that if they stop erecting boundaries, they'll dissolve into the Other. - 2009, CoffeeandInk @ Livejournal.
Someone else did explore the the thoughts I'd found bubbling up to think more on later and posted about at this early entry; about the concept of the term 'Gone Native/ Going Native'.
ASIDE:Seriously since last year, since the beginning of this year, it's been amazing to me how much I wasn't at my best in 2009 at all. How clearly I wasn't thinking. How I just wasn't making connections as fast as is probably normal for me. And to think I'm still dealing with exhaustion and depression, just not at quite so heavy a megaton of weight.
Another good quote from Coffeandink
, same essay: " Cherryh, for example, isn't great at racial diversity -- lots of white and default white people in there. But the way she thinks about otherness and conflict and alien contact undercuts some of the manifest destiny/white man's burden implications of older sf.
This also explains why, as much as I near hunger for conversation on the Series (having read it twice now, 12 books, in the space of a 2 month period and seriously considering yet another re-read) - I can't last more than two mins tops skimming through boards that deal with the topic, or Cherryh's own blog hosted fan comments. It hits me right in the gut that these readers are all white and heavily unexamined in their privilege. Who they focus on, why they focus on them, the power and importance they want the white male human character to have or think he deserves, the little micro-aggressions showing that the Atevi are side-kicks in a story about the progression of their own homeworld. The very present hovering oppressive feel I get reading their words of 'What those aliens needed was a honkey. Yay!'
I feel I will lose everything that soothes me about these books, if I venture forth to dicuss them outside certain circles - subtle things like Caejeri as immigrant within his own culture.
PS: I don't read Mospherians as American AT ALL. They're space faring Canadian/Australians to me. With Ogun becoming, what I think, far too many Australians wish would happen to that land's continued Aboriginal Tribes People