Tag Archives: Solcintra Port

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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Due Diligence – Chapter 1

In which Fer Gun pen’Uldra is given an offer he can’t refuse.

I was right: I did know the protagonist’s name from somewhere. I was also right when I decided it would more entertaining trying to figure out where as the story went along than it would have been to just look up the answer.

In fact, I enjoyed having no idea where the first chapter was going so much that I’ve decided to do this novella a chapter at a time, to make the enjoyment last a bit longer.
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The Gathering Edge – Chapter 26

Bechimo
Crew Lockers

In which news is received of absent friends.

There I go again: the question I asked last entry is immediately answered, and not in the way I expected.
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Alliance of Equals – Chapter 30

Langlastport

In which the results of recent efforts are considered.

Well, I was right about the Terran expert. I like the little bits with Admiral Bunter applying his lessons in how to express his feelings through how he speaks. I’m not surprised Inki set a core mandate — in the circumstances, it’s a reasonable precaution for her to take — but it’s going to make Tolly’s task harder (which is of course why it’s a reasonable precaution for her to take).

I am still finding the repeated reassurances regarding Padi’s situation to be the opposite of reassuring. We’re about due for a dramatic climax, and a big bust-out would provide that nicely. I assume something’s going to come up that pushes things over the edge; my money’s currently on Broker Plishet upgrading himself from ‘nuisance’ to ‘threat’ (though I still don’t know what his deal is), with a side bet on the customs inspection turning out to have some sinister connection after all.

I notice we haven’t heard much from Daav and Aelliana lately. Are they actually going to get involved in either of the main plots at any point? Well, the best way to find out is to read on, so I’ll do that.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 29

Langlastport

In which Broker Plishet is not as clever as he thinks he is.

Here, one of the threads tying the two plot lines together is the consideration of melant’i.

On Padi’s side, there’s her awareness of the fact that her current melant’i is that of a peaceful trader, not of a pilot in a dangerous situation with several youngsters depending on her. (Which itself shows her development beginning from the beginning of the novel, when she was inclined to fall back into that familiar melant’i whenever uncertain.)

I’m not sure how much furtherer Admiral Bunter is going to get in his studies by turning to melant’i plays; I get the impression, from earlier mentions, that they tend toward extreme situations of the kind where a person is so hedged about by necessity that the only way forward is the death of their dearest friend or whatever. (Recall that Anne in Local Custom was guided somewhat in her understanding of Er Thom by the Liaden literature she’d read, and didn’t always find it a useful guide.) I’m also a bit dubious about his choice of illustrious expert, who by his name is Terran rather than Liaden; on top which is the characterisation of melant’i plays as “exotic”. Then again, the Admiral is himself an outsider to Liaden culture, so perhaps an outsider’s description is what he would find useful.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 26

Langlastport
The Torridon Hotel

In which there is conversation after dinner.

I don’t know if it’s significant that Shan describes the Liaden tongue as “the language of home” when speaking to the jeweller, after all the reminders there have been that the children of Korval need to stop thinking of Liad as home. Probably it’s just that that’s a conventional phrase and the situation is not appropriate for a more precise description.

I also don’t know if it’s significant that we’re getting a reminder now of Master Moonel, who appeared in Local Custom. That was back when Shan was a small boy, and Moonel was already the most respected jeweller on Liad, so it is not a surprise to learn now that he has since died. (Shan mentions that his shop stands empty; I wonder if that’s a sign that it happened recently, or perhaps that he was so respected nobody wishes to try taking his place.)

Possibly it is the death that matters — it makes two scenes in a row where the subject of death has come up in proximity with Padi, which helps things remain ominous even as her conversation with her father seems to be going well.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 38

Boss Conrad’s House
Blair Road

In which Penn Kalhoon has something to say.

I was wrong about the meeting Pat Rin sent Quin to, which I might have known if I’d thought; on further consideration, if it had been something other than an ordinary sort of meeting Pat Rin would have said so. This is not the first time I’ve been wrong in this novel about an upcoming meeting going to be the occasion for excitement; my persistent mistake has been to misunderstand what kind of story this is. I kept assuming that if a meeting got mentioned it was probably going to be important to the plot, and that if trouble was brewing it would come to a head quickly, but this is a more slow-burn story than that, and meetings of the Council of Bosses are important to the plot even if nothing dramatic happens at them simply because it matters to the characters that there is a Council of Bosses and that it’s holding regular meetings.

And that brings us around to what Pat Rin tells Penn, which is another thread of the ongoing thing about how the new ways are going to survive: if Pat Rin and Val Con and Miri get killed, that isn’t the end of the new Surebleak. Korval might have shown the way, but they couldn’t have made it happen without Surebleakeans, and now the way has been shown the Surebleakeans can make it happen without Korval if they have to.

I suspect it speaks to how much Surebleak has improved already that Pat Rin is able to compare its port to Solcintra’s Mid Port instead of its Low Port. For that matter, the state Surebleak Port was in when Pat Rin arrived was so run-down and uninhabited it might not even have stood a comparison to the Low Port, which whatever it may not be at least has an active population.

It hadn’t occurred to me how useful a scholar of the history of education might be in a city trying to develop a proper education system. I wonder how long the authors have been planning that one.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 11

Jelaza Kazone
Surebleak

In which the carpet shop has a visitor who wants Pat Rin to pay.

The discussion of how the dream adapts itself to the dreamer (and is not, for one thing, just restricted to “do you kill this person who is important to you?”) is reassuring in regard to the question of whether every one of the captured agents will be able to be offered a choice. But now I have another concern: The fact that many of the Department’s agents were bound unwillingly to a course and a goal they wouldn’t have chosen in their right minds doesn’t necessarily imply that there are no agents who would support the Department’s aims if given a free choice.

Quin’s story is a reminder of how long we’ve been following Korval’s recent history; “great-grandmother” sounds like such a long time ago, and I thought at first of some unknown ancestor, but count it back and it’s Chi yos’Phelium, whom we already know. (And that’s the second mention of her in two chapters. I don’t know if that’s going to be significant, or is just a coincidence.)

A garnet trade ring is pretty good; not the Master Trader’s amethyst, but only a few rungs below it.

Beslin vin’Tenzing’s attack would be a useful illustration in a discussion about why “revenge” is not always an appropriate synonym for “Balance”. It’s not a well-considered Balancing, even if one accepts that Pat Rin bears full responsibility for the people killed when he fired on Solcintra (and I think a full account of the responsibility there would need to consider the role of the Department, who chose to use those people as a human shield). If nothing else, it’s an attempt to redress vin’Tenzing’s losses that leaves out all the other people who sustained losses in the attack. There is more than one family that lost a child, and there’s only one Quin; they can’t all settle it by shooting him.

…though that doesn’t mean vin’Tenzing is going to be the only one to give it a try.

Dragon Ship – Chapter 29

Jump

In which Theo seeks a relief of tension.

This is one of those chapters where I’d probably have something to say if I were reading it for the first time, but because I’m re-reading I’m just nodding along going “Yes, I remember that bit” and nothing’s jumping out at me as remarkable.

I do kind of wonder if Hevelin’s intense interest in Theo’s mental picture of Daav was all on Daav’s account, or if some of it was due to her including the Tree in the picture.

Skyblaze

In which Vertu dea’San decides that somebody ought to do something.

This story is, among other things, a valuable reminder that while Korval were happy enough to be thrown off Liad for their part in the Battle of Solcintra, there are others served similarly for whom it might not be so pleasant.

Reading a story featuring “galan’ranubiet” (Treasure of the House) and “galandaria” (compatriot), I find myself wondering after the meaning of “yos’Galan”.

I said a few days ago I was going to have something more to say about taxis. The bulk of this story takes place at a time when there’s only one licensed taxi driver in Surebleak Port City, and even at the end of the story the number has only grown to three, with some consideration being given to a fourth. That sets it before the climactic sequence of Necessity’s Child, which contains at least three active taxis and likely more.

(So why have I scheduled it after? We’ll come back to that.)

Now let us consider the other major indicator of when it’s set: the passing of the seasons. The main section of the story takes place in local winter, at some point after Korval came to settle on Surebleak, with the last section taking place early in the following spring. That’s straightforward enough.

Now we have two choices:

Ghost Ship tells us that Korval settled on Surebleak before winter turned to spring, that Theo’s visit occurred during late spring (this point is made on multiple occasions), and that the event which kicks off the plot of Necessity’s Child occurred a few weeks before the onset of summer. This seems to fit: Vertu arrives during Korval’s first winter, joins Jemie in the taxi business, and they spend the spring building up the business to a point that will account for the flock of taxis bringing people to the new school when it opens in early summer. The bit near the end of this story, with Vertu and Jemie in early spring considering diversifying into the ground-courier business, meshes nicely with Jemie’s cameo in Ghost Ship, in late spring, delivering a courier message.

However. Necessity’s Child itself claims to begin in late winter, which would put the school opening in early spring, and allow little if any time for the building of the taxi fleet.

After due consideration, I have decided I prefer the timeline suggested by Ghost Ship, and not just because it’s more insistent about it. (Ghost Ship, as I said, mentions the season repeatedly, while the beginning of Necessity’s Child does so only once – and, for that matter, the school opening scene has a mention of how warm the day is, which might be taken to mean that even the end of Necessity’s Child disagrees with the beginning about what time of year it is.)

There are still a couple of more short stories and a novel set on Surebleak which I haven’t read yet because they all came out after I began the re-read; I’ll be interested to see when they claim to be set.

(When I was scheduling the re-read, the one detail I remembered from all this confusion was that Ghost Ship was set in spring, but I forgot that it said Korval had been there since winter, so I thought Vertu’s first winter on Surebleak must be after both Ghost Ship and Necessity’s Child, and scheduled “Skyblaze” accordingly. If I were doing it now, I would definitely put “Skyblaze” before Necessity’s Child.)


Tomorrow: “Roving Gambler”, one of those stories set on Surebleak that I haven’t read yet.