Monthly Archives: June 2015

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 30

In which a packed day draws to a close.

Silain has a good point, which I hadn’t considered when I was reading this novel for the first time and expecting Rys to wind up being accepted into the kompani. He fits in well enough now, but as he himself said earlier they can’t make a definite decision until they know how he might be changed by regaining his lost memories.

Another thing I hadn’t properly considered when I was reading this novel for the first time is that when Kezzi asked if it might be possible to find a ship that had been lost, I thought she was thinking of the ship that the headman and the luthia were discussing a while ago, the overdue ship that was to have come for the kompani at the end of their chafurma. Of course it isn’t; even if the headman and the luthia hadn’t decided on a wait-and-see course about that, I don’t think any child of the Bedel would tell gadje about their ship, let alone invite gadje to track it down. (In fairness to my younger self, I don’t think we’ve actually been shown Kezzi learning about the ship that she is asking about, which may have thrown me off.)

I think giving Peter and Luce another chance to find their place at school is the right decision. Maybe they’ll take it, and everybody will be happy, and if they don’t at least they’ll be somewhere someone’s got an eye on them. Between those two possibilities, isn’t that pretty much the point of the child-off-the-street policy?

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 29

In which it is sometimes necessary to attend to one repair at a time.

The two plot strands in this chapter are connected by the issue of rushing things: Udari, inspired by having something to work with, attempts to rush Rys’s recovery, with no good result; Pat Rin finds that circumstances are forcing them to rush the opening of the new consolidated school.

(If it can be said that the opening is rushed when the school building is so far behind schedule, thanks to the people Rys used to work for. And that reminds me that one of those people is still on the loose, so the fact that there has been no further sabotage on the school might just mean that they’re having another go at lulling the Dragon into a false sense of security.)

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 28

In which Syl Vor and Kezzi are early to school.

And this, of course, is exactly the kind of thing one might expect to happen when a child of Korval promises to be no more trouble than necessary.

We’re getting a lot more Surebleak street names in this book than we have before. I wonder if the authors had their own map, and played their own version of the school route-learning game.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 27

In which several characters give thought to the future.

One of the things I remember thinking the first time I read this chapter was, “Well, if that’s how they’re going to make up the numbers, I guess this means Rys isn’t going to be staying with the kompani permanently.”

The child Droi sets out to get on behalf of the kompani is one possible candidate for the title character, although not the only one. The title might not even be referring to a character at all; after all there is an old saying which holds that Invention is Necessity’s child, and we’ve already seen several characters being inventive in response to various necessities.

The scene with Nova and Mike at the beginning of the chapter is another of the ones that makes me wonder what I’d see if I owned a pair of shipping goggles.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 26

In which Kezzi has dinner with her family.

The description of the “yellow plate with a design that might have been flowers or birds, or both, painted around the edge” reminds me of this plate, which comes from a 19th-century English dinnerware set that inspired the classic young adult novel The Owl Service. It’s been long enough since I read The Owl Service myself, though, that I don’t have any definite thoughts about what might be suggested by the comparison, even assuming it’s not just a coincidence.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 25

In which Syl Vor introduces his sister to a game.

The information-trading game is interesting, because it’s never been mentioned before in a Liaden story, but it’s very similar to a game featured in one of Lee and Miller’s non-Liaden works.

Master Walk was published in a chapbook about a decade ago (the ebook edition is still available), and also appears in the print anthology Double Vision. I get the impression it was hoping to be the first of a new series – it’s got that feeling about it, like how you can often tell if a telemovie started life as a pilot episode – but so far there have been no sequels.

It’s science fiction again, set in a galaxy that is like and unlike that of the Liadens in various respects. The trading of information is a big thing both in the setting in general and the plot of Master Walk in particular, and the traders of information play the token-swapping game to keep score during a transaction. (It is considered that a transaction has not been completed with honor unless each participant gives and receives equal value.) The full game, at least in that version, uses tokens of several denominations, allowing a considerable amount of precision when indicating how much value is placed on a piece of information received.

There’s a moment that’s stayed with me, where a trader asks a question, receives the answer, and hands over a token indicating how valuable they found the answer to be – and the person they’re dealing with immediately also hands over a token, indicating that they’ve received valuable information from the size of the token the answer elicited.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 24

In which there’s a new boy in the class.

Score one for Ms Taylor, declining to invite trouble by letting Pete and Luce sit close together.

There’s a large chunk of the middle of the novel that I don’t remember from the first time I read it, so I know only as much about Pete and Luce as Syl Vor does at this point, but I don’t like it any more than he does.


Now in Progress: Phase 6 – Kind of Complicated (Ghost Ship to Dragon Ship, via Necessity’s Child and some shorter works)

Phase 7 – New Worlds (Dragon in Exile and anything else left or newly-added)
will commence on Monday, 24 August 2015

Schedule | Find the stories | FAQ

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 23

In which Rys’s brothers give him a hand.

We continue to get to know Syl Vor’s classmates as he does. Kaleb’s family seem to know a thing or two about medicine, though whether it’s professional interest or just practical experience isn’t clear yet. Several of them have grandmothers, which is reassuring considering some of the stories we’ve heard about life expectancy on Surebleak, or cats, or both. I like the way Syl Vor disarms Rudy’s attack.

Rys is worrying again about the missing part of his memory, and how the person he is without it might differ from the person he would be with it. He may be right to do so, considering that even when he thinks he’s got all his memories of yesterday back he’s still missing any memory of his conversation with the lady who recognised him. (And is that his memory sequestering the conversation because it relates to other stuff he’s not ready to face, or did she do it somehow?)

Schedule revision

The internet was only supposed to be out for three-four days. It ended up being three weeks. Such is life.

Here’s the revised posting schedule:

  • 23/6 – Necessity’s Child resumes
  • 9/7 – “Skyblaze”
  • 10/7 – “Roving Gambler”
  • 11/7 – “The Rifle’s First Wife”
  • 12/7 – Dragon Ship
  • 24/8 – Dragon in Exile