CJ Cherryh Booklist w/Notes

J-Sun

Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
5,027
More fun reading them than writing about it :)

Very true - I was looking through notebooks(!) and computer files and find I've written almost nothing about all the Cherryh I've read. And I guess it carries over to the board here and we're not alone.

I'm rather astonished at how many books you've all read of one author. I've not read that many books by any author (well, possibly asimov, but I doubt it even there).

I've read virtually all the Asimov and Heinlein SF there is which is about 40 books each (and I've got an NF by Heinlein and many many by Asimov) but I think that's it, putting Cherryh at #3. And so I actually have to stop soon. I will read no author more than Asimov (or Heinlein). ;)

I can read half a book to two books an evening depending on size.

I'm jealous. I used to be able to read a short book in two half-days (or within 24 hrs) but, for instance, I've read three stories in a collection (about 100 of 400 pages) in the month of February after managing all of four books in January. I hope to start doing better again (but I always hope that).

If we want to involve more people, I think it would have to be just the opposite: a book or a series that many of us have read, and would like to share our thoughts about.

I'll do my best but it's been a long time since I've read much Cherryh - I've only read a couple of her books in the last dozen years or so. I don't have time to re-read right now but I may flip through them to try to refresh my memory and see if I can't contribute something to a thread or two.

-----

Since we got to talking about a potential Cherryh subforum (which has come up before) I searched for all Cherryh-titled threads (which I've done before) and noticed something I hadn't before - this sort of annotated booklist has already been done. It obviously stops at 2005, does Cyteen UK style-only (the whole thing came out in US hardcover in 1988), I don't buy the "Hanan Rebellion" as much of a useful thing, it seems to exclude too much from U/A (especially Morgaine, which it puts all the way into fantasy where it's only foreground fantasy and part of the depth and resonance is the background SF) but otherwise arranges things in a way that some might find better than this one and, either way, provides another thing to compare and contrast - for instance, I should have specified that Chanur's Legacy is aptly titled and is a sort "Chanur: TNG", which it does.
 

Ray McCarthy

Sentient Marmite: The Truth may make you fret.
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
8,090
Location
The Mid West (of Ireland)
I'm jealous. I used to be able to read a short book in two half-days
But how much do I remember a year later? :)
Read Duplicate Death Georgette Heyer last night. About 5.25 hrs. Slight plot hole. Contemporary Murder mystery (in 1950), but reads very much more modern. Much different to her "historical" (Hysterical?) Romance fiction.

Morgaine, which it puts all the way into fantasy where it's only foreground fantasy and part of the depth and resonance is the background SF
To me the the Morgaine series is really fantasy, more so than Pern (which gradually introduces SF), the SF aspect is to me a sort of a McGuffin to give her bizarre "quest"/Task meaning and explain the portals.
 

J-Sun

Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
5,027
But how much do I remember a year later? :)

Definitely have that problem, too, even at my slow rate. :)

To me the the Morgaine series is really fantasy, more so than Pern (which gradually introduces SF), the SF aspect is to me a sort of a McGuffin to give her bizarre "quest"/Task meaning and explain the portals.

I'll reply on the Morgaine thread. :)
 

J-Sun

Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
5,027
Good point. The Ealdwood aka Arafel books also have a rather complicated history, not just in terms of originating in short fiction, but also in that they were revised at least once (for the 1997 omnibus edition) after initial book publication. I don't think any of the rest were, but I'm not sure.
 

chrispenycate

resident pedantissimo
Staff member
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
7,386
Location
West Sussex
Well, I've read all the Union/Alliance specifics, thirteen of the foreigner books, the Chanur series, Serpent's reach, Cuckoo's egg, Voyager, Wave waS, two of the Sword of Knowledge trilogy, several Merovingian nights, the Cloud books, Brothers of Earth, Hunter of worlds, but it's a very long time since I read the Faded Sun trilogy, and it's not in my bookshelves. I suppose I ought to do the fantasy ones.
 

Connavar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
8,411
Has anyone read this fantasy series of hers?

Fortress Series

Fortress in the Eye of Time (1995)
Fortress of Eagles (1998)
Fortress of Owls (1999)
Fortress of Dragons (2000)
Fortress of Ice (2006)

I need info about their quality, what kind of books they are.

This series,along with Faded Sun(who i already own),Foreigner series is the only book series of her in Swedish library system in their original english language. Im trying to read more of her faster, save time/money. If i bought all her books i would need 3 bookshelfs only for CJC ;)
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2004
Messages
14,699
Location
California
I've read the Fortress books, and I liked them very much indeed -- except the last one, of which I was not nearly so fond. (On the other hand, number five ends at a natural stopping point for the characters, and there is a big gap in years between the events of Fortress of Dragons and the events of Fortress of Ice. So FoI could be skipped. If one were not too curious to see what has become of those characters several years later, that is. Like that is going to happen if you like the first five.)

The series is typical Cherryh, in that everyone except the guileless main character has multiple layers of complicated motivations. Although at the beginning of the first book a reader might feel on familiar ground -- even that he or she has read similar things before, although not so well-written or with such excellent prose -- that becomes less and less the case as the story progresses. It becomes very difficult to predict what the various characters will do next, largely because they don't know it themselves until they do it, they are weighing so many motives and possibilities and dangers. And that means there are many radically different things that each one might do -- depending on what they decide to believe, or risk, or whose advice they trust -- and yet still remain in character.

Tristan, the main character, is easier to predict, because you know he will try to do the right thing ... if he can only figure out what that is. Since he can't read the other characters at all well -- there is a good reason for this, which I won't give away, I'll just say that he isn't stupid -- he does things that make them very nervous, and so readers become nervous about what they might do to him, or about him.

I felt the magic was very well done. Unpredictable, hard to control. A lot of it has to do with what one wills to happen, and who has the stronger will. One can get into a lot of trouble with magic by meaning ill, but meaning well and being ignorant, or failing to know what your enemies are going to do next, can get you into a lot of trouble, too. But there are other aspects, more spell-working type aspects, too. There are a lot of politics in the mix, religious tensions, uneasy alliances among individuals.

So, yes, complex like all of Cherryh's work, very intense for the hero, who never feels quite secure and is never quite out of danger for five whole books. But one doesn't really expect a Cherryh hero to relax, does one?
 

Connavar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
8,411
Thanks Teresa that was alot of good info. Good to know there is a natural stopping point and the keyword for me the books are typical Cherryh meaning they are not the weaker works of her that takes time away from her usual quality books.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2015
Messages
1
What's wrong with 'Hestia', or is the complaint just relative? I've just re-read the book, from my TBRR pile, and enjoyed it. Not as complicated as many others, which may be a good thing. Fairly simple tale of human colony struggling against difficult natural conditions, and local aliens not recognised as intelligent. I'd say it's well worth reading. I think I've read ALL the Compact and the A/U novels, but I've stayed away from the fantasy ones, and I didn't bother past the first of the 'Foreigner' series.

Geoff
 

J-Sun

Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
5,027
Hi - welcome to the Chrons. :)

Mmm, speaking for myself, it's partly relative. If I'd read "Hestia, by Random Writer" I wouldn't go out of my way to say, "Hey, avoid this terrible book!" but I genuinely didn't think it was very good. So I only bother to single it out because it's Cherryh and it's relative to all her works of that kind but it wasn't relative disappointment that caused me to dislike it, either. Embarrassingly, I can't recall specifically what it was - my recollection is that it was just plain, uninspired, had been done many times before in at least a general sense, probably had things specifically wrong with it regarding a character I didn't think was well done and/or a plot that was flawed or gimmicked or something. That said, I don't recall it being a particular chore to read - it was short and, as you say, simple. Just definitely not required reading, IMO.

I do appreciate you sticking up for it and providing your contrasting opinion - good to have several views, especially for people wondering about whether to try a given book.
 

Ross Stephen

New Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2016
Messages
2
Inspired by a question Connavar had about Cherryh's works, here's a lengthy annotated list (initially taken from ISFDB but, obviously, much fiddled with - there are many lists which arrange her books in various ways but most of them seem to follow the marketing rather than actual contents) . Corrections almost certainly needed and very welcome.

It is arguable but, for the purposes of this post, I'm going to divide Cherryh's career into three phases.

1. 1976-1986

All of her work for this period was published by DAW and, except for the Ealdwood fantasy duo, was nominally part of the Union/Merchanter Alliance universe but few are particularly connected.

She began the Morgaine trilogy which is a "science fantasy" story which has a mention of a very tenuous connection to the Union/Alliance universe but has no necessary connection or reading order in relation to the other books though they are tightly connected to each other. (I regard these highly. Exile's Gate, listed below, was added in 1988.)

Morgaine Series
Gate of Ivrel (1976)
Well of Shiuan (1978)
Fires of Azeroth (1979)

Then she wrote two separate science fiction novels which are also nominally connected to the U/A but have no special order and are not connected to each other. (I think these are okay and Brothers is the lesser of the two.)

Brothers of Earth (1976)
Hunter of Worlds (1977)

Then she began the Faded Sun "trilogy" which is really a single huge novel (normal by today's standards) split into three. These are obviously tightly connected to each other but only loosely to U/A. (I regard these very highly.)

Faded Sun "Series"
The Faded Sun: Kesrith (1978)
The Faded Sun: Shon'jir (1978)
The Faded Sun: Kutath (1979)

Then she wrote two more separate novels. Hestia is barely connected to U/A and Serpent's Reach is very much a Union novel, though there are inconsistencies with some aspects of other Union novels. (Hestia is easily her single worst novel and was not reprinted during her recent omnibus reprints. Serpent's Reach is pretty good - perhaps average for Cherryh.)

Hestia (1979)
Serpent's Reach (1980)

With Downbelow Station, she won her first Best Novel Hugo and started the strict U/A sequence though even those are not as tight as Morgaine or Faded Sun. Downbelow deals with the Company wars and Merchanter's Luck is a very loose sequel with a very different focus and 40K is a Union book. (These are respectively great, very good, good and are core U/A reading. There are several followups, published 1988-1997 + 2009, listed below.)

Union/Alliance Semi-Series
Downbelow Station (1981)
Merchanter's Luck (1982)
Forty Thousand in Gehenna (1983)

Then she wrote perhaps her best singleton. This, like almost everything, is vaguely related to the U/A universe but has no real specific connection.

Wave Without a Shore (1981)

Then she began another tight series. If I recall correctly, this wasn't specifically connected to U/A at all, being "Compact Space" but it later turned out that Compact Space was another region in U/A space and some events in the U/A books are referred to (in a distant way) in the Chanur books. But they don't really have to be read in any order in relation to the other U/A books - they are in strict order relative to each other, though. (They're excellent. Chanur's Legacy, listed below, was added in 1992.)

Chanur Series
The Pride of Chanur (1982)
Chanur's Venture (1984)
The Kif Strike Back (1985)
Chanur's Homecoming (1986)

Another good singleton with vague Union mentions.

Port Eternity (1982)

A pure fantasy duo (expanded from a novella, originally - not bad for what it is).

Ealdwood Duo
The Dreamstone (1983)
The Tree of Swords and Jewels (1983)

Another pair of singletons with loose connections. Voyager includes a rather inconsistent U/A timeline. (They're both fine, though Voyager is written in a rather experimental mode.)

Voyager in Night (1984)
Cuckoo's Egg (1985)

This is the only book of this period that I haven't read. I'm not sure if it came out as a novel and then was turned into a shared world (called "Merovingen Nights") or if it was conceived as a shared world to start with. I think the latter. I think this has the usual mention that it's in the U/A universe but I'd be amazed if there's any real connection.

Angel with the Sword (1985)

Meanwhile, she released a connected collection of "dying earth" far future science fantasy tales and a collection of miscellaneous stories, including her very first Hugo winner (for Short Story), but both these collection were superseded later.

Sunfall (1981 C)
Visible Light (1986 C)

2. 1986-1993

Her second phase was published by multiple publishers and included a bunch of shared-world things, other media/marketing nonsense, and fantasy, along with some U/A books and a pointless collection.

This is a shared world with a much inferior writer (based on a solo work or two I've read). I haven't read these either. No U/A connection, as they are fantasies.

Hell Shared World Series
The Gates of Hell (1986) with Janet Morris
Kings in Hell (1987) with Janet Morris
Legions of Hell (1987)

U/A Part 2
This U/A chunk, where she switched from DAW to Warner, comes in at least four parts (and there are still three books yet to come in Part 3).

A belated Morgaine book (that is just as good as the first and makes a great finish to the series).
Exile's Gate (1988)

Cyteen is a Union book. Rimrunners is a Merchanter book. Cyteen got her her second Hugo for Novel. (It was okay but I actually enjoyed the shorter, tighter Merchanter book more.)

Cyteen (1988)
Rimrunners (1989)

A tightly connected duo of prequels set before Downbelow Station. (I like these a lot but they really need a sequel but never got one.)

Heavy Time (1991)
Hellburner (1992)

Finally, Chanur's Legacy gave the Chanur books a belated sequel like the Morgaine books. (Unlike the Morgaine books, it isn't really necessary as a final book and isn't as good, but it's still pretty good.)

Chanur's Legacy (1992)

Moving on from U/A, there's this fantasy singleton (not read).

The Paladin (1988)

Three fantasy books "with" other authors (written by them but outlined by Cherryh, or something like - not read).

A Sword of Knowledge "Collaborative" Series
A Dirge for Sabis (1989) with Leslie Fish
Wizard Spawn (1989) with Nancy Asire
Reap the Whirlwind (1989) with Mercedes Lackey

A highly regarded fantasy trilogy (also not read).

Russian Trilogy
Rusalka (1989)
Chernevog (1990)
Yvgenie (1991)

Two highly regarded fantasy singletons (also not read).

The Goblin Mirror (1992)
Faery in Shadow (1993)

A small press collection that has nothing of substance not available elsewhere.

Glass and Amber (1987 C)

3. 1994-present

After what was really a significant lull in her (at least SF) career, she rebooted by returning to DAW and producing the successful and never-ending Foreigner books (some of the other books were still published by others). The Foreigner books are apparently tightly connected to each other but were intended to be separate from U/A - they may have been joined at some point - I don't know. (I read the first couple-three but then quit when she released the fourth, or something like that. They were okay but I didn't want to get involved in another open-ended Cherryh series.)

Foreigner Series
Foreigner (1994)
Invader (1995)
Inheritor (1996)
Precursor (1999)
Defender (2001)
Explorer (2002)
Destroyer (2005)
Pretender (2006)
Deliverer (2007)
Conspirator (2009)
Deceiver (2010)
Betrayer (2011)
Intruder (2012)
Protector (2013)
Peacemaker (2014)

All she's done in U/A is tack on two more Merchanter novels for Warner, similar in kind to, e.g., Rimrunners, but singletons at heart (Tripoint was excellent; Finity's End was not) until, after a dozen-year gap, doing Regenesis for DAW. I think that's a direct sequel to Cyteen. (It's in The Pile.)

U/A Part 3
Tripoint (1994)
Finity's End (1997)
Regenesis (2009)

A fantasy quintet.

Fortress Series
Fortress in the Eye of Time (1995)
Fortress of Eagles (1998)
Fortress of Owls (1999)
Fortress of Dragons (2000)
Fortress of Ice (2006)

A science fantasy duo (I think - maybe pure fantasy), apparently unconnected to U/A (but unread).

Finisterre Duo
Rider at the Gate (1995)
Cloud's Rider (1996)

A belated TV tie-in novel.

Lois & Clark (1996)

A series that, again, was intended to be separate from U/A (so I skipped it) but was apparently belatedly connected somehow. This was apparently supposed to be more than a duo but maybe wasn't very successful.

Gene Wars Duo
Hammerfall (2001)
Forge of Heaven (2004)

The definitive, comprehensive Cherryh short fiction collection.

The Collected Short Fiction of C. J. Cherryh (2004 C)

tl; dr

She wrote numerous Union/Alliance books that are mostly single within the universal backdrop and don't form a connected larger plot, though there are subsets within that universe of Chanur, Faded Sun, and even Morgaine books. Also, there are books, still loose, which focus more specifically on the Merchanter Alliance ships or Union worlds which are similarly single-like except Cyteen/Regenesis. Then she's also written the huge Foreigner series and small Hammerfall duo. For fantasy, none of the series of Ealdwood, Russian, or Fortress are related to anything else, as far as I know, and there are a few singletons. And then there are Merovingen Nights, Hell, and Sword of Knowledge "junk" series as well as the Lois & Clark tie. For her short fiction, you can get Sunfall/Visible Light or get the Collected Stories which includes those two and previously uncollected stories equal in length to either of the earlier collections.
Great list, I've read 45 of her novels and now I see more great reading ahead.
 

clovis-man

Prehistoric Irish Cynic
Joined
Sep 28, 2007
Messages
2,414
If I'd read "Hestia, by Random Writer" I wouldn't go out of my way to say, "Hey, avoid this terrible book!" but I genuinely didn't think it was very good. So I only bother to single it out because it's Cherryh and it's relative to all her works of that kind but it wasn't relative disappointment that caused me to dislike it, either. Embarrassingly, I can't recall specifically what it was - my recollection is that it was just plain, uninspired, had been done many times before in at least a general sense, probably had things specifically wrong with it regarding a character I didn't think was well done and/or a plot that was flawed or gimmicked or something. That said, I don't recall it being a particular chore to read - it was short and, as you say, simple. Just definitely not required reading, IMO.

Just noticed your post on Hestia. It's one of those earlier works of hers that is a little short on substance. But, as you say it was a quick read and didn't do me any harm. I only read it this year myself because I ran across a used paperback copy. Her novels are generally noteworthy in large part because of her excellent character development. I guess Hestia is the exception that proves the rule.
 

Bick

A Member of the Forum
Supporter
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
3,369
Location
Auckland, NZ
Mods - could this thread be "stickied" - I refer to J-Sun's synopsis/bibliography quite often... It much more up to date than the thread on Cherryh that is 'stickied'. Cheers.
 

Similar threads


Top