Monthly Archives: July 2015

Dragon Ship – Chapter 19


In which there are many meetings.

…well, that seems a pretty clear statement that Bechimo was built in or shortly after Jethri’s time, with Arin’s ideas as guidance. There have been other people named Arin (there’s one in Crystal Dragon), and there might even have been another who was a noted thinker on subjects of interest to traders, but it’s not likely there was another who was all that and had a son who took a different path.

But we’re still stuck with the fact that the beginning of Ghost Ship states straight up that Bechimo has been awaiting a captain for over five hundred years – which is to say, since two hundred years before Jethri was born.

(On another, less contradictory, note, we have another hint to go with the one from “Intelligent Design” of a technological underpinning for psychic abilities in the Liaden Universe.)

Dragon Ship – Chapter 18


In which Laughing Cat confers with Carresens.

There are a lot of names in this chapter familiar from the Jethri books, although a large part of that is retroactive, since the Carresens family (and the Denobli family, who were a separate group back then) only appear in Trade Secret, which was written after this.

One name that isn’t retroactively familiar – though I didn’t recognise it myself the first time I read this novel, because I’m terrible with names when I’m not taking careful notes – is that of the thinker Arin, mentioned by Pilot Denobli, who was Jethri’s father Arin Gobelyn. And as such it’s probably not entirely a coincidence that the ship Theo flew for the Uncle bears his name, since the Uncle was Arin’s … let’s say “brother”, with the understanding that the Uncle’s family tree is kind of complicated.

(And the bit about Bechimo being well-suited to enact Arin’s ideas brings us back around to the idea of Bechimo having been created in Jethri’s time, only to founder once again on the fact that the numbers simply don’t add up.)

Pilot Denobli’s hair reminds me of two things. The hair itself brings to mind the elaborate spacer hairstyles mentioned in Trade Secret, which makes sense considering that Pilot Denobli is descended from the same spacer culture. The way he’s always fiddling with it makes me wonder about Theo’s first meeting with the Uncle, when he kept fiddling with his hair.

While we’re elaborating tenuous links between the Carresens and the Uncle, I’ve noticed something about their ship named OchoBalrog. The “Balrog” half has an obvious connection to the ship of that name owned by the Denobli family in Trade Secret, but we’ve seen the name Ocho once before in an entirely different context: it was the name of one of Dulsey’s siblings, way back in Crystal Soldier.

Dragon Ship – Chapter 17


In which Theo examines a possible danger to the ship.

Somehow, it hadn’t occurred to me before this point that Theo didn’t know about Clarence’s past. But it makes sense for Daav not to tell her; it’s not the kind of thing a daughter of Delgado might be expected to take calmly. She handles it all right here, but that’s after she’s got to know Clarence as a person and gained some experience of what he brings to the ship.

Theo’s statement that she’s never going back to Eylot if she has any say in it strikes me as tempting fate, but that might just be because I’ve read this book already.

Dragon Ship – Chapter 16


In which Clarence is thoroughly investigated.

In a way, this is the delayed appearance of a scene one might have expected to ensue from Clarence being recognised on the station by an unnamed party. Because he’s among friends, though, it goes a lot better than it might have done.

Probably everything Clarence says is true, but there are some gaps in his testimony that a less sympathetic questioner would have picked him up on: for instance, what was the name of the company he and O’dell used to work for? Likewise, I notice Grafton asks him if the accusation of being a Juntavas agent is true now, and neglects to ask if it was true when it was made.

The bit about how Clarence made the mistake of trusting O’dell because they came from the same place strikes an echo: one of the lessons Instructor yos’Senchul made sure Theo learned was that you can’t trust anybody just because they belong to a particular group. It seems Clarence didn’t have such good teachers, and had to learn it the hard way.

Dragon Ship – Chapter 15


In which Theo is not getting through to people.

I thought at first that the ChivinTrade guy’s repeated emphasis on there being no need for Theo to come down and get planet dust on her boots sounded like some kind of resentful prejudice against spacers, but the information that he’s afraid of something suggests other possibilities. It might be connected to the politics Theo was hoping there wasn’t going to be any of; Chustling is the planet with the procedural, rather than meteorological, landing restrictions.

Compared to the status report at the beginning of the book, when Win Ton first went into the Remastering Unit, there’s been improvement in most measures, with Neurological and Skeletal the same, and Dermal, Reproductive, and Urinary somewhat lower (which might be a sign that the Unit is currently focusing its efforts on the bits Win Ton needs to survive).

Dragon Ship – Chapter 14


In which Theo explores the shopping district and her options.

That’s two different ways the authors have signalled the correct pronunciation of “Bechimo” this book, when most of the names in this series are lucky to be accorded one. I remember thinking when I got this far the first time that the authors must have fielded a lot of queries about it, or had to put up with a lot of mispronunciations, to expend so much effort on making it clear. Or maybe only the first time was for the benefit of the readers, and this time is an acknowledgement that if people who are unfamiliar with the name are liable to get it wrong in the real world the same is true of characters in the story.

I’m going to make note of the bit about the Department being able to implant a hidden course of action into a person’s mind, in case it comes up again later. Well, it has at least once, I guess, if that’s what Agent bar’Obin used to reel in Rys in the written-later Necessity’s Child. And, of course, we might already have seen it in action without knowing it. Though I figure they didn’t use it on the guy they sent to assassinate Miri at the party, or he wouldn’t have been deflected by his personal qualms.

The sections of the story told from Theo’s point of view are increasingly including explicit references to Theo’s temper and the effects it has on others, which indicates an increased amount of self-awareness on her part.

Another interesting moment reflecting Theo’s personal evolution is when, without apparently thinking anything of it, she uses the phrase “back home” to refer to returning to Bechimo.

Dragon Ship – Chapter 13


In which Clarence explores the shopping district and his options.

When Joyita first announced himself, he had two rings on one hand. Now he has three.

Although I’ve read the book before, I don’t confidently recall who it is that Clarence has run into, but I have a sort of feeling that it’s not as bad as it might be. And it might be pretty bad, considering the last time Clarence unexpectedly ran into someone who recognised him, it was one of his old Juntavas colleagues, and he ended up having to shoot the guy.

Dragon Ship – Chapter 12

Spwao System Arrival

In which there are several updates on Daav’s condition.

Although the narrator seems to be making a point of not referring to the pilot in the Uncle’s care as “Daav”, or by any other name – the only time he’s named is when the Uncle uses the name by which he knows him – which is interesting, though I’m not sure what the point might be.

Olwen sel’Iprith is another familiar name from the past. As she says, she’s an old colleague of Daav’s who knew him very well indeed; she appears or is mentioned in both the Daav-and-Aelliana books, and plays an incidental but unknowingly influential role in Local Custom.

Dragon Ship – Chapter 11

Middle Orbit
Departing Cresthaller

In which Theo and the Uncle have information brought to their attentions.

This is, I think, the most unambiguous statement we’ve ever had that this Uncle is the same one (for some value of “same”) as the one who appeared in the Crystal duology. Though I’m not sure which, out of all the peoples who crossed Cantra’s path in the duology, the Uncle is counting as “his enemies”.

And the bit about Dulsey’s eyes is interesting, because if she prefers grey eyes that indicates that her eye color is subject to change.

Speaking of names we’ve seen before: Ynsolt’i, which Theo mentions as one of their upcoming stops, is the planet where Jethri has his life-changing encounter at the beginning of Balance of Trade. And the Spwao system, with its two planets and then-brand-new Tradedesk Station, features in the sequel, Trade Secret (though that was actually written after Dragon Ship).

I notice Bechimo’s given up on protesting against being called “Chimmy”.

Dragon Ship – Chapter 10

Landing Pad Number Nine
Regent’s Airfield Number One

In which Bechimo takes on cargo at an airport.

Twenty-three Standard years is a long time for the pods to have been in storage. That means they’ve been in storage longer than Shan’s been a Jump pilot, let alone a Master Trader – and longer than Theo’s been alive.

And another drib of what’s happened to Daav. I suspect the authors of stringing out the scenes that don’t involve Theo so that no two of them appear without a bit of Theo in between. There are probably good and sufficient reasons for this; after all, it is officially a book about Theo.