Tag Archives: Anecha

Balance of Trade – Chapter 36

Day 177
Standard Year 1118

Irikwae Port

In which there are several reunions and a parting.

The “toy” Jethri encounters is recognizably similar to the learning toys Cantra had her own encounter with, though considerably older and understandably more decrepit. After a thousand years and more, it’s not remarkable that it malfunctions; more remarkable that it functions at all. (Though I wonder how much of the malfunction is age and decrepitude, and whether any of it comes from trying to get into the mind of someone who no longer speaks the language.)

Characters using depilatory cream instead of shaving their faces is one of those science-fiction markers that I’ve seen on and off since I was a beardless youth myself (and probably goes back much further than that). I gather, though, that it’s one of those science fiction ideas that will always remain a marker of science fiction because it seems simple in concept but is actually tricky in practice. The trouble, as I understand it, is that a man’s facial hair is generally some of the toughest hair around, and a cream strong enough to dissolve it is also strong enough to do some harm to the parts of a man’s face he was planning on keeping.

The Ruby Club is obviously pretty sleazy, even if you don’t know about the Liaden taboo that’s been alluded to but not so far stated outright. If you do, it’s really sleazy.

From there, it becomes a day for being reunited with friends, including Tan Sim and Miandra, each of whom has been having a rough time since he saw them last, and Captain ter’Astin, who is not giving anything away about what kind of time he’s been having.

It’s good to see Tan Sim again. I like Tan Sim.

I like Scout Captain ter’Astin, too. On this occasion, we get confirmation that he has some facility at sensing the thoughts of others, which had been hinted at on the previous occasion when he and Jethri met.

Speaking of things hinted at on previous occasions, we get another of those remarks about family resemblance, this time applied to Jethri and Arin.

The parting is Jethri from the weather device, which for all that it’s caused a deal of trouble might also be considered an old friend in respect of how much it represents to Jethri of his links with his father.

Balance of Trade – Chapter 35

Day 168
Standard Year 1118

Irikwae Port

In which there are several beginnings for Jethri and his family.

This is another chapter where I’d probably have a lot to say if I were reading it for the first time, but this time round it’s more the minor details catching my attention.

One really trivial detail is that when Jethri’s thinking about all the people at the Tarnia clanhouse he misses already, one of those listed is a “Mrs tel’Bonti” who is not mentioned anywhere else in the book. Presumably the person being referred to is the cook, Mrs tor’Beli, who does not otherwise appear in the list.

Seeli’s news settles it: there’s definitely something going on between her and Grig. I wonder for how long? “A couple of Standard Months” is since they began their stay on Kinaveral, but of course there’s nothing to say they haven’t been carrying on longer than that.

It’s an interesting touch that the Spacers would prefer their baby to be born in space. Seems to me that would mean they’re a long way from help if anything goes wrong, but then again a Spacer’s life consists almost entirely, one way or another, of being a long way from help if anything goes wrong.

Balance of Trade – Chapter 34

Day 166
Standard Year 1118


In which Jethri is called up for testing and certification.

Therin yos’Arimyst, the Hall Master who is to be responsible for testing Jethri for certification as a member of the Liaden Guild of Traders, is reputed to be very conservative. This mixes good and bad: on the one hand, it means Jethri isn’t going to have an easy time of it, but on the other if the conservative accepts him then he’s properly accepted, whereas if the judgement were made by a more easygoing person there might have been other more conservative Guild members still inclined to question it.

Another noteworthy bit of physical affection: Miandra places her hand on Jethri’s face, which for a Liaden is a particularly intimate gesture, reserved for close kin and other loved ones. Little wonder Meicha hisses at her.

Balance of Trade – Chapter 24

Day 139
Standard Year 1118


In which Jethri is here to learn trade and mountains.

It’s interesting that Norn ven’Deelin speaks of this as “coming home”, and makes one wonder how she would characterize returning to the house of her own clan on Liad.

Meicha and Miandra have something going on: they’re able to pick Jethri’s emotions out of his head – but perhaps not yet able to not do it, given their reactions when Jethri starts panicking (and I wonder if Ren Lar was picking up on that when he suggested it was time to end the meal). “Healer Hall has taken an interest in them”. The Delm is firm that they are not, however, dramliz – but something about the way it’s said makes me wonder if that’s an objective judgement or if there’s a stigma being carefully avoided. (Also, I wonder what it is that tips Norn ven’Deelin off about them.)

The subject of Liadens considering it impolite to mop one’s face in public is one that we will return to in more detail at a later date.

I wonder if Flinx is named (not by the characters, obviously, but perhaps by the authors) after the protagonist of Alan Dean Foster’s series of young adult novels; I can see some similarities between that Flinx and our Jethri.

Master ven’Deelin’s mention of Korval in the parlor is the first time they’ve been mentioned since Crystal Dragon (and if memory serves it will be some time again before they’re next mentioned).

Jethri’s assessment of the parlor as “smallish – maybe the size of Master ven’Deelin’s office on Elthoria” shows that he’s made some adjustments in the time since he first saw that office: back then, he was struck by how large it was.

Incidentally, it’s been nearly exactly a relumma since then, which means that in depositing Jethri on Irikwae for two relumma, Master ven’Deelin is proposing that they will be apart for almost twice as long as the entire time they’ve known each other. I can see that being worrying even without the addition of a Spacer’s horror of being left stranded.

I have a feeling that when Master ven’Deelin remarks on how careful Jethri is of her honor, she’s very gently pulling his leg. He does genuinely want to avoid doing her disservice, and I’m sure she genuinely appreciates it, but she only really makes a point of it when he’s trying to invoke a desire to avoid shaming her to get out of doing something without straight out saying he doesn’t want to do it.

Which, as I said, doesn’t mean that they don’t genuinely care about each other, and I love the scenes in this chapter which show that care.