[LMB] C.J. Cherryh

Damien R. Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Tue, 19 Feb 2002 22:00:45 -0800

On Tue, Feb 19, 2002 at 04:21:52PM -0600, Bart Kemper wrote:

>  >>> (I liked it too, but I always feel so hemmed in with her
>  >>> books, really; like there's... a little maze to navigate.
>  >>> Small universe, constrained. Bujold books feel much...
>  >>> bigger, like the universe has a lot of places and people
>  >>> could just go there. Even Warrior's Apprentice, where a
>  >>> goodly chunk of the book is being stuck on one side of the
>  >>> wormhole. Weird.)
>  >
>  >> It's a function of her characters I think.  In CJC's books,
>  >> they tend to be reactive, while in LMB's, they're definintely
>  >>  pro-active.

I don't think it's just her characters.  CJC's universe _is_ smaller.
There are three habitable worlds in human space, and at least one of
them sucks.  Shots of space stations don't focus on wide shopping
concourses or gardens or exterior windows, as with Kline Station;
instead stations feel like fragile tin cans in the dark.  With smaller
tin cans (ships) scurrying between them.

And it's not just the A/U universe.  The Fortress books, for example,
also have the characters scurrying between small cramped refuges between
a lot of wilderness.  Reinforced by her map, which doesn't actually show
any of the towns or cities mentioned.  Just the political boundaries of
states.  But you don't know where anyone really _is_.

By contrast, one feels that if Glen Cook had a map for the Black Company
books, cities would be very prominent, because the action jumps from
city to city.

I guess it's a feel of wilderness more than size.  With CJC you feel
small, the characters are small, and there's a lot of Hostile Stuff out
there (also see the Rider books, or 40,000 in Gehenna).  With Cook the
cities dominate non-city.  The Nexus is nothing but 'cities', and lots
of them at that.

-xx- Damien X-)