Tag Archives: Lytaxin

Shout of Honor – Chapter 7

In which Vepal and Sanchez go for a walk.

Commander Sanchez’s “easy security job on Panore” rings a bell; in “Quiet Knives”, Panore is the holiday planet for rich people that the protagonists were always saying they’d go visit some day.
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Neogenesis – Chapter 13 part II

In which Tolly offers Hazenthull a game of cards.

Looking back over my past posts, I apparently never got around to remarking on the fact that Nostrilia has almost the same name as Cordwainer Smith’s most famous planet in the universe (as seen in the novel Norstrilia, the short story “Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons”, and others). I’ve been waiting nearly two years for the story to reach Nostrilia so I can see if the two planets have anything in common beyond their names.
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Due Diligence – Chapter 7

In which Fer Gun thinks before he signs.

I think this is the most detailed explanation we’ve had of how there came to be so few people in Korval.
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Roving Gambler

In which Quin yos’Phelium finds occupation.

Oh, so that’s what a nerligig does.

It strikes me that “Roving Gambler” is very much about what the Code calls “proper conduct”. It’s full of people facing the question of what would be the correct thing to do in the circumstance, and as like as not finding that it’s not an easy question on a world like Surebleak, which is continually being challenged on what answers it did have. The kinds range from small domestic questions involving a father and his son to big policy issues involving the Boss of Bosses (and in classic melant’i fashion, the extreme ends of the spectrum involve the same people wearing different hats).

Korval has it particularly bad, as Pat Rin points out at the end, because they’re used to living on Liad and having the Code to consult on questions like this, but now they’re on Surebleak and the answers are different. (Something that’s foreshadowed all the way through the story, as Quin keeps finding moments where proper Liaden behaviour doesn’t quite fit the circumstance.) I’m not surprised that it was Kareen who’s been given the job of figuring out their situation; if anybody knows about proper conduct, it’s her. It’s interesting, though, that she’s specifically stated to have been ordered by the Delms to study the question: Is that just them putting an official stamp on the enterprise, or did they find that she was unwilling to get started?

I suppose if there’s any course of study that might help prepare one for running a planet, Generalist might be it. It’s been a while since we’ve encountered a professional Generalist; I’m pretty sure the last one was Quin’s many-times-grandfather Jela.

On the question of Surebleak’s seasons, I find this story inconclusive; all we hear about the weather is that it’s recently turned good after a long bad stretch, which doesn’t say much on a planet with weather like Surebleak’s, and anyway it’s not clear precisely how long after Ghost Ship it takes place, so there’d be no way of comparing.

Tomorrow: “The Rifle’s First Wife”

Ghost Ship – Chapter 40

Jelaza Kazone

In which various preparations are made.

And while Val Con is off dealing with his metaphorical bombshell, Miri is stuck with another one – which is going to become rather less metaphorical if it’s not dealt with promptly.

This is one of Korval’s weak points at the moment: there aren’t very many members of the clan, all things considered, and there is such a lot to do. And if it should happen that something comes up when everybody who could do it is already elsewhere, there’s going to be serious trouble. (Come to think of it, this situation was somewhat foreshadowed earlier, with the difficulty they had lining up a suitable group to go and retrieve the children from their hiding place.) Now I’m maybe a bit surprised that the Department hasn’t tried to do anything with that, but then again maybe they don’t have any good ideas about what trouble they could cause that would require a specific clanmember to deal with; they only stumbled on this one by accident.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 14

Arin’s Toss
In Transit

In which the Uncle has a job for Theo and the Colonel has a job for Clarence.

I’m still suspicious about what the Uncle is up to. Giving Theo a course change while she’s en route means that anybody who might have been paying attention to the flight plan she filed won’t know about her side trip, and might suggest that he has reason to suspect that somebody is paying such attention. The amendment won’t do anything to help Theo evade pursuit, though, since it still ends with her arriving at Ploster in the time frame that the Department is expecting her to arrive. More likely is that the Uncle is only interested in helping himself, and hiding his interest in whatever might be waiting at Tokeo.

We were told in the first chapter of this book how long Bechimo has been on the lam, so the mention of the tales being “older than the Plan” might give us a limit on how old the Department is. Or it might just mean that there have always been ghost ship tales, and in Bechimo‘s case they just happen to be true. In any case, it’s not much of a limit, since it’s far enough back to comfortably include every mention in the prequels of what might be the Department. (Although, since we’re doing comparisons, it still makes Bechimo a couple of centuries younger than Jeeves, and a couple more centuries younger than Edger.)

I’m a mite puzzled by Max, the tug pilot with the colourful hair. Pat Rin’s round-up of pilots in I Dare included Surebleak Port’s tug pilot with colourful hair, but her name was Dostie Welsin.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 10

Spaceport Gondola

In which old machines make their presence felt.

That’s the trouble with signing on with the Uncle. On the up side, he has an interest in old things that’s useful for dealing with the Bechimo situation. On the down side, that same interest means that associating with him is not exactly keeping a low profile when it comes to certain other people who have an interest in old things like Bechimo.

When Priscilla was trying to find out about Tactical Defense Pod 77, Pod 78 was the only other one of the series listed as still active, with a cryptic notation she didn’t have time to follow up at the time.

Saltation – Chapter 34

Out from Alanzia

In which Mayko Ikari explains her presence.

So, now we have some idea of when this is in relation to the rest of what’s going on: it’s after the Yxtrang invasion of Lytaxin was defeated. The question now: how much after? Not a great deal, perhaps, if the effects are only just becoming apparent — and Mayko’s remark that nobody is quite sure what Korval is up to suggests that it’s before Korval’s very public standoff with the Department.

It’s interesting, getting a bit of a look at how all that stuff appears from the outside; a reminder that the universe is wide enough to contain people to whom all that life-and-death struggle is a distant event that carries opportunity in its wake.

I Dare – Chapter 55


In which the Captain acts for the safety of the passengers.

The mode of Ultimate Authority, which is referred to twice in this chapter, has, perhaps unsurprisingly, not come up much before: three times in the series up to this point. Priscilla adopts it briefly when putting Sav Rid Olanek in his place at the end of Conflict of Honors; Commander of Agents is said in Carpe Diem to use it when dealing with his underlings; and Val Con, greeting the Tree in Plan B, places the Tree in the position of ultimate authority.

The fact that it’s used twice in this chapter, and by whom, is the central conflict in a nutshell: the first is Commander of Agents again, and the second is Miri when she takes on the melant’i of Liad’s Captain. And I think it says something that, whereas Miri adopts the mode temporarily and in a situation where she is in fact the duly-appointed ultimate authority until the emergency is resolved, the Commander is not only self-appointed but apparently expects to be regarded as the ultimate authority all the time.

There’s a leap near the end of the chapter that I’ve never been able to follow. After the doomsday weapons are activated, ter’Fendil says he can deactivate them if Val Con gives him the control device, and Val Con does. Then it cuts to another scene, and when it cuts back everybody’s running for their lives and talking about the urgent need to do something before the weapons break out and start killing everybody. Is there something missing, or is it just me missing something?