Tag Archives: Katalina Tayzin

Accepting the Lance – Chapter 73

FlourPower Bakery

In which the snow removal team has more than snow on their minds.

We haven’t had a scene set in FlourPower since back when it featured in “Skyblaze”.
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Dragon in Exile – Chapter 21

Riley’s Back Room
Fortunato’s Turf

In which Miri talks about the past, and Droi thinks about the future.

And one way in which things immediately become more interesting is that Rys’s role as leader of the freed Agents, with all its responsibilities and risks, has ceased to be merely hypothetical now that there is at least one freed Agent to lead.

It’s an interesting point about Droi perhaps not having a place on the ship of the Bedel when it returns. This chapter seems to be gesturing toward the possibility that she might by then discover that she has a place on Surebleak with Rys, which would not be quite the same as being left alone among gadje. The problem I see with this as a solution is that it revives the issue of the kompani needing to have a particular number of members at the end of chafurma, which was the necessity that drove Droi to start interacting with Rys in the first place: if both Rys and Droi leave, the kompani will be short, even if the kompani keeps their daughter, which I could see being a Balance demanded of them.

(Unless, it occurred to me as I composed the previous sentence, the newly freed Agents follow Rys’s path, and enough of them join the kompani to balance the loss. I’m suspicious of this idea, though: it seems a bit too neat, the kind of prediction that I’ve usually been wrong about before with Liaden novels.)

I was right about the nosy crews being connected; good to know my intuitions aren’t entirely off. Having some kind of underground-space-detecting technology explains how they knew where to look without necessarily knowing what was in the spaces they were looking for. The mention of an Insurance Committee suggests they might also be connected to the shakedowns Pat Rin has been dealing with. It says something about their ideas of neighbourliness (or at least of the behaviour of Bosses) that they assume they can nobble the Road Boss’s nearest neighbour without anybody noticing or caring.

It occurs to me that the kompani, who have been on Surebleak many generations “to learn what there was to know”, might well have learned things that would be relevant and useful to Kareen’s project, even if they weren’t interested in the social constructs of gadje particularly. Whether anybody in the story is likely to have this occur to them, and whether the Bedel would agree to share such knowledge, who knows?

Ghost Ship – Chapter 36

Emerald Casino
Surebleak Port

In which Theo lifts.

One wonders what the Uncle knows about Clarence O’Berin, and whether his approval is a good or a bad sign.

The Uncle’s appearance has changed a bit since Theo saw him last. One change that’s pointed out is that his beard has grown (when she first met him, he had only “a sketch of a beard”); in addition to that, the earring he’s now wearing is interesting because last time it was mentioned that he didn’t have an earring but had a tendency to fiddle with the side of his head as if he was used to have one and was missing it. Given the rumours about the Uncle, one might wonder if Theo had caught him when he’d recently had to shift to a new body — and if so, what he’d been up to that cost him the old one.

He’s also packing away the wine in a hurry, but who can say if that’s significant?


In which Ichliad Brunner’s family finds him embarrassing.

At no point in the story does anybody get around to correcting Tech Brunner’s mistaken impression of who Miri is and what she’s doing; on the contrary, it’s apparently confirmed when she shows up again speaking Liaden like a native. This is amusing for those of us who have read the novels and know Miri’s story, but I wonder how it would look to a reader who hadn’t and didn’t. Would the lack of any explanation of Miri’s behaviour appear as a gap in the story, like the lack of any explanation of what Korval’s up to?

(I also see that Skel’s fate is not mentioned, but I think in that case a reader familiar with the shapes stories take can probably figure it out.)

Neither of the dates at the beginning and end matches up neatly with the dates given in I Dare. The date given for the attack on Solcintra at the beginning is the day after the date given in the novel (though I suppose the attack might have lasted long enough to carry over into a new date, according to the Standard Calendar, and the novel neglected to mention it in the excitement). The final scene, which clearly takes place after Korval is ordered off Liad and decides to migrate to Surebleak, is given a date two whole days before the date on which those things occur in the novel.

(And now it probably sounds like I don’t like this story. I do, really, I’m just not finding words to talk much about the things I like.)

Tomorrow: We return to Theo Waitley – and, at last, to sensible chapter numbers – with Saltation chapter 33.

Plan B – Chapter 14

Between Planets

In which Nova is acquainted with Miri’s family.

There’s not much to say about this chapter, which is short and mostly consists of Nova and Liz catching up on stuff the reader and most of the other major characters already know. I do like the authors’ attention to detail, even in such a short chapter, in Nova’s and Liz’s personalities and their interactions (and the second-hand glimpses of Val Con and Miri).

Plan B – Chapter 10

358 Epling Street

In which two Eldemas consult on a matter concerning their kin.

Reconstructing the chain of reasoning that might have brought Nova to Liz’s door has left me retrospectively a bit dubious about the Turtles’ thinking in the previous chapter. Nova presumably accessed Miri’s records the same way Sheather did, noticed that Liz was on the same planet where Edger met Miri and Val Con, and came to find out if they’d dropped in on Miri’s old friend and left any hints about their plans. That all makes sense. What doesn’t quite make sense, come to think of it, is the impression I got from the Turtles that they were planning to come and see Liz on the assumption that Miri and Val Con might have come to her after the Juntavas stranded them out in space; the idea that they might go for help to a friend living quietly on an out-of-the-way planet has merit in principle, but surely Lufkit doesn’t count as out-of-the-way when it’s the same planet they’d just run away from.

Plan B – Chapter 9

Juntavas Headquarters

In which Edger and Sheather decide to search elsewhere.

Edger and Sheather have apparently been sitting around on Shaltren for the last few months, waiting for any response to the Juntavas danger-tree broadcast. Maybe that doesn’t seem like such a long time to a Turtle, though it’s long enough that even they are getting a bit impatient. I bet it seemed much longer to the Juntavas.

Plan B – Chapter 6

Erob’s Clanhouse

In which nobody’s going anywhere just yet.

Jase’s initial failure to recognize Miri has several faces to it. One, explicitly identified, is that she’s wearing uncharacteristically high class clothes, placing her in a context Jase has never seen her in before. (So is Val Con, which presumably goes some way to explaining why Jase doesn’t recognise him either, though in his case it’s more understandable since Jase only met him the once.) Another is presumably that she’s carrying herself more like a Liaden, thanks to the studying she’s been doing to pass muster with Erob. (Though I suspect her body language would have shown at least a bit more Liaden anyway, after being stranded for months with Val Con.) And then there’s the family resemblance, which, added to the clothes and the body language, not only produces an impression of an unfamiliar person but suggests a specific incorrect direction for Jase to try and figure out how she knows him. (And confirms again, if it were needed, that Miri really is of Erob.)

Plan B – Chapter 4

Approaching Erob

In which Miri Tayzin Robertson meets her family.

I suspect Val Con of conscious irony when he says that Korval has never ruled the world, considering how many people over the centuries have glossed Delm Korval as King of Liad. There’s definitely irony, though unconscious on Miri’s part (but conscious on the part of the authors) in Miri’s reassurance to herself that she’s never going back to Surebleak.

Val Con’s address to the child of Jela’s hope is an example of a literary convention that makes linguists and historians wail and gnash their teeth: the use of “thee” and “thy” to indicate archaic formality. The problem is that “thee” and “thy” are actually archaic informality; to the extent that English has ever had something resembling Liad’s distinction between High Tongue and Low Tongue, “thee” and “thy” were Low Tongue, used when speaking with close friends and family — or, depending on context, to address social inferiors. Not the most appropriate of modes for the most junior servant to use in addressing the utmost authority!

I’m willing to buy that the guest apartment Val Con and Miri are staying in is bigger than Zhena Trelu’s house, but I think the bit about the bathroom the size of Lytaxin spaceport is probably an exaggeration.

Val Con’s recitation of his relatives has two or three notable omissions. Two are easily explained: Shan’s lifemating and Anthora’s children post-date Val Con being taken by the Department, so of course he doesn’t know about them. That explanation doesn’t cover the complete lack of any mention of Line bel’Tarda, but that may be covered by the disclaimer that he’s only touching on the minimum necessary to survive the evening’s social event; perhaps Val Con figured that the odds of anyone of Erob mentioning bel’Tarda at the dinner were low enough that they could safely be left, along with the attendant explanations, for another time.

I wonder what it portends that Emrith Tiazan is Delm Erob but Bendara Tiazan is Thodelm Tiazan. Perhaps just that Erob and Tiazan, unlike Korval and yos’Phelium in their present state, are large enough that one person cannot do both jobs well.

Plan B – Chapter 2

Standard Year 1393
Vandar Orbit and Jump

In which Miri is not keen on sleep-learning.

The timing gets tricky again here: Val Con says that he and Miri have been together on Vandar for eight months, but there’s a solid date near the beginning of Carpe Diem and there’s a solid date near the beginning of I Dare and the gap between them is closer to four months.

Four Standard months, that is: Val Con doesn’t say what kind of months he’s thinking of, and since they’ve only just left Vandar, maybe he’s thinking of Vandar’s months — and if that’s so, and a Vandar month is about half the length of a Standard month, it all fits together.

If this is the case, it would also neatly solve the puzzle in Carpe Diem where Val Con said it had been slightly over a month since they left Lufkit and Miri said it was less than a month and the best estimate I could come up with said it was about 20 days. If Val Con was already thinking in local months (which would make sense for a Scout who’s trained to pick up local customs) and Miri was thinking in Standard months (which would make sense for an untrained person who was struggling to pick up the local language), that fits together too.

It’s a good thing I enjoy figuring out how much smarter than me the authors are, considering how often it happens.

Something else I’ve been wrong about, that I need to make a note of because it’s come up in the comments before: I’d always thought before this re-read that autodocs and sleep-learning units were the same thing, but every time I re-read a bit that I thought supported that impression I turn out to have misunderstood it. This chapter is where the confusion started for me; it’s the first time in publication order we see someone go into a sleep-learning machine, and I thought it was the same device as the autodoc Miri was in a few chapters ago, partly because Miri lies down in both and partly because Val Con gets her tested by the autodoc to see if she’s ready to try sleep-learning. On this re-read, I’m picking up the differences, like the autodoc having an entrance hatch on the side that cycles open and closed and the sleep-learner having a lid on the top that raises and lowers.