Scout’s Progress – Chapter 22

In which Daav sees Aelliana home.

Another progression of similar situations across chapters: Two chapters ago, Daav and Aelliana started holding hands “that they should not lose each other” in the crowd. One chapter ago, Yolan took Sed Ric’s hand in the darkness, “to lead him, she told herself fiercely”, with the implication that that wasn’t the only reason. In this chapter, Daav and Aelliana hold hands again, “though the station was barely crowded”.

A thing that amused me when I noticed it: The glossary at the end of the book includes the Liaden word va’netra, which is translated as “stray puppy” in this chapter when Daav uses it to describe Yolan and Sed Ric. The word itself appears nowhere in the novel except only in English translation, but it’s in the glossary all the same.

The subplot of the stray puppies seems at first glance to have no connection to the main plot, but it has thematic links forward and back. Their situation as Aelliana describes it here, “without kin on Liad, with no hope of going elsewhere”, is the situation Aelliana herself might have been in now if the luck had not been with her. And the idea of a person being cast out from their clan is going to reappear later.

Daav tells Aelliana that the custom to shun the clanless and withhold all aid is only custom, “the Code, not the Council”. Even the Code may be less strict on the matter than it’s usually interpreted to be, at least based on the section of it quoted at the head of an earlier chapter. That excerpt is very clear that a person cast out from their clan must be shunned and denied aid by the members of the clan that cast them out, but is less restrictive as regards the members of other clans. Another clan may not offer the outcast the benefits of a full clan membership, but there’s nothing there about not being allowed to, for instance, lend them a few dex and help them find a job.

I’m beginning to worry about Voni. Does she never think for herself?

5 thoughts on “Scout’s Progress – Chapter 22

  1. Ed8r

    What do you picture as the distance between Solcintra and Chonselta? Or have we been told?

    We know they are separate enough to have recognizable accents, but then so are Boston and New York City. The ferry ride alone seems to take two hours, which for a local ferry in our day, might be about 50 miles. But later, in chapter 35, Sinit thinks about the amazing and adventurous life Aelliana lived, over on the other side of the world…is Sinit just applying hyperbole? Or a metaphor for how different that life is, rather than physical distance? And we know that some pilots, at least Korval, fly themselves between Solcintra and Chonselta. Is one of them on an island? across a bay from each other? What?

  2. Paul A. Post author

    I have always pictured the ferry as a flying service, rather than a boat. I can’t at the moment pin down why, except that in this chapter there’s a mention of the passengers disengaging shock-webbing once the ferry is in motion, which sounds to me more like “seatbelts on during take-off and landing” than anything I associate with a water ferry. A two-hour flight would expand the distance considerably. (Especially with modern or future technology — Concorde could do London to New York in around three hours, and I saw an article recently that said with current technology it would be possible to build a plane that did the same route in an hour.)

    Another thing that comes to mind is that Chonselta has its own spaceport, which again argues for a greater distance. Even with space travel being such a regular part of Liaden life, I don’t suppose they would need two spaceports only 50 miles apart.

  3. Ed8r

    Well, exactly. There was something about the setting on the ferry that seemed more like a ferryboat to me, but it would make much more sense if it were a flying ferry.

  4. Paul A. Post author

    A couple of additional data points from earlier in the novel, that I noticed on this re-read:
    – When Aelliana first travels to Solcintra to claim Ride the Luck, it’s explicitly by flight, with Rema and Val Mon giving her a lift in their own ship.
    – Delm Aragon also describes Chonselta as being on “the far side of the world” from Solcintra when he’s talking to the chel’Mara about the events at the casino.

    I’ve been trying to figure out if there’s anything to be deduced about time zones, but I haven’t come to any firm conclusions yet. I do have an impression that Chonselta’s ahead of Solcintra; it seems like when day is just starting in Solcintra, people are already up and about in Chonselta, and when it’s late in Solcintra it’s even later in Chonselta.

  5. Othin

    Just a short while ago I saw a documentation on the ekranoplan flying boat: Russia’s ‘Caspian Sea Monster’. Could be the authors had something similar in mind, when looking for a fast way for connecting Chonselta and Solcintra.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *