Tag Archives: Steward Vannigof

Neogenesis – Chapter 20 part VI

In which Val Con and Miri offer their solutions.

The distinction Val Con makes between those who count themselves to be Scouts and those who count themselves to be Liaden Scouts is one I was reaching for yesterday but didn’t manage to wrap words around. (And reminds me of Eylot, forcing its pilots to decide whether they were pilots who happened to be Eylotian or Eylotians who happened to be pilots.)

It also, come to think of it, suggests the possibility, if not the certainty, that at some point in the future the Scouts headquartered on Surebleak are going to accept non-Liadens into their ranks. Once you’ve reached the conclusion that being a Scout and being a Liaden are not necessarily linked, it’s an obvious consequence. (There have been hints in that direction already, too, with people mentioning that the Scouts have been providing educational opportunities on Surebleak, usually followed by commenting that Scout teachers always treat their students as prospective Scouts.)
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Neogenesis – Chapter 6 part II

In which Admiral Bunter and Tolly discuss necessary action and acceptable risk.

A nice piece of narrative judo, here. By having Tolly explain things to Admiral Bunter, the reader is informed of matters that will be relevant to the ongoing adventures of Inkirani and Tocohl, who couldn’t have handled that bit of exposition themselves without it coming down to them telling each other things they already know. As a bonus, there’s the little touch of irony that Tolly and the Admiral consider going to the place where they would have met again with their former companions, and then decide not to.

I also like the bit where Tolly is telling Admiral Bunter about the rumour regarding the Carresens-Denobli long-looper. He says that there is this rumour; he doesn’t say what he knows from his own experience of its accuracy. Of course that’s something he doesn’t need to be telling Admiral Bunter at this point in their relationship; all the Admiral needs to know is that there may be other people like him out there.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 22

The Happy Occasion

In which there are awakenings.

…or Inki could persuade Admiral Bunter to abduct Tolly (in retrospect, I should have been more suspicious about how it was a private conversation with Inki that made him change his tune) and then take off in Ahab-Esais — I’m guessing possibly with Tocohl — leaving Haz to figure out which one to follow.

Assuming she hasn’t done something more permanent to Haz than she did to Tolly.

Shan sees no reason to assume Padi’s going to have a breakout during the reception, but with the advantage of knowing this is a story I’m inclined to differ: it would be a bit of an anticlimax if all that happens next is that Shan and Padi have a friendly conversation in their hotel room. (Or would it? Considering how much Padi has bottled up, she’s in a fair way to cause a lot of fireworks if the friendly conversation cracks her open.)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 21

Admiral Bunter
Jemiatha’s Jumble Stop

In which there are preparations for arrivals and preparations for departures.

Padi is set for her trade reception, and even gets a bit of flying practice in. (Pilot Embrathiri — who incidentally is another character who’s short on gender-specific pronouns — may well have expressed a desire to sit passenger, but I’m inclined to suspect that the expression may have been preceded by a bit of prompting from Padi’s father.) Over at Jemiatha, everything’s set for Admiral Bunter, Tarigan, and Ahab-Esais to go their various ways. All seems to be proceeding smoothly.

This is probably why I’m expecting something to go horribly wrong within the next chapter or two.

(Is it wrong that I’m kind of hoping something will go horribly wrong in a way that means Haz gets to keep hanging out with Tolly? Like, say, Inki steals Tocohl and Tarigan, and Tolly, Haz, and the Admiral have to go in pursuit. Something like that, maybe.)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 19

Vivulonj Prosperu

In which Aelliana returns.

Okay, so I wouldn’t have been left in the dark much longer about Tolly sharing a background with Inki. (This is far from the first time it’s happened that I’ve wondered about a thing in a blog entry and it’s been answered in the next chapter. That’s a good thing, I figure; it means the stories are well-paced and handing out information at an appropriate rate.)

Given the fact of their shared background, I think that that’s why Inki doesn’t want Haz telling Tolly about the confrontation with Stew. (I suspect the specific detail she doesn’t want Haz sharing is less the bit where she had to convince him with money, but the bit just before that where she frightened a man who wasn’t frightened by an Yxtrang. Or maybe it is the money thing, but because if she’s the legal owner of the ship the Admiral is installed in, that might give her leverage if she decides to run off with him.) She apparently hasn’t told Tolly she’s a Lyre graduate, which is an understandable precaution since he probably wouldn’t trust her if he knew — and so doesn’t help us tell whether she should be trusted, since she’d want to avoid that either way. She’s told Haz that they’re graduates of the same institute, but in a vague way that Haz will probably take to mean that they learned mentoring in the same place. And Tocohl knows Inki is a student of the Lyre Institute, but doesn’t know that Tolly is.

Meanwhile, over in the Daav-and-Aelliana plot line, we have a recap of the Tanjalyre Institute, for the benefit of readers who had forgotten or never knew about it. Among other things. (“could not help but overhear”, forsooth.) For the record, I’m very much enjoying the Daav-and-Aelliana side of the story, but I have less to say about it because its direction is less of a surprise.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 17

Jemiatha’s Jumble Stop
Berth 12

In which it is time for a rest.

Well, darn. I was beginning to really like Inki. But of course she would be really likeable, if a graduate of the Lyre Institute is anything a graduate of the Tanjalyre Institute — not to mention, as she said herself, possessed of considerable persuasive abilities. However, I think it’s too much to hope that the Institute could have produced two experienced mentors who both went rogue, and if an AI-stunning weapon is introduced in the second act it’s probably going to go off in the third.

Or is it? Would Inki let Tocohl know she had an AI-stunning weapon if her plans included using it on Tocohl? And we have been told that it was because Tolly was a mentor that he was able to work himself free of the Institute’s control, so if anyone was going to repeat the feat perhaps it would be another mentor. But I’m definitely not going to trust her now. And I wish I knew whether Tocohl knows what it means to be a graduate of the Lyre Institute.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 16

Jemiatha’s Jumble Stop
Berth 12

In which Tolly has his first in-person meeting with the Admiral.

Work continues on Admiral Bunter. It appears that the transfer does have to be done all in one go, which makes sense, and that Tocohl and Jeeves did plan ahead and pack a selection of things for him to be transferred into, which I suppose I should have expected.

The idea that Bechimo might have chosen to leave Admiral Bunter behind in the active expectation that he would fall apart by himself before too long is not a pleasant one, but it seems enough like something Bechimo might have done before Theo and Clarence started teaching him some consideration that I’m not sure he didn’t do it. (Theo, on the other hand, I don’t think would have done it deliberately. I expect she just didn’t think.)

I’m intrigued by the mention of Inki having mentored a judge. Who uses a machine — especially an illegal machine — as a judge?

I wonder if the theme of people being put in new bodies can be extended to the other main plot strand, back on Dutiful Passage. I can’t see an obvious way to apply it to Padi, but there is Shan — rather than being put into a new body he’s not certain how much to trust, he isn’t certain how much to trust what Lute might be putting into the body he already has.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 15

Jemiatha’s Jumble Stop
Berth 12

In which an alliance of equals begins its work.

Tolly’s got a job on his hands, here. It will be easier to set Admiral Bunter straight once he’s in a proper installation where he can think properly and has more room for new ideas, but I suspect Tolly’s going to have to manage some straightening out before he can even get the Admiral to agree to the move. If I were the Admiral, I’d be suspicious about being moved into a new body, and worried about what might happen while I was in the middle of moving and not able to concentrate. Not to mention that what ships Inkirani might find to move him into presumably aren’t armed, or Bechimo would have stuck the Admiral into one of them in the first place, and the Admiral might object to being put in a body that makes it harder for him to carry out what he knows to be his job.

I wonder if it would be possible to do a partial move to begin with — say, perhaps just the bits that are crammed into extra and unsuitable computers like the commissary computer someone mentioned, so that he went from being split between thirteen comps on seven ships to being in eight comps on eight ships. That way he’d still have access to all the capabilities of his existing ships, but be less fractured, and have room to think in the new ship, so he could properly consider what he wanted to do next.

It strikes me that there’s a commonality of theme across the two halves of this chapter, speaking of being suspicious about being moved into a new body. Daav has been moved into a new body without being consulted first, and he’s suspicious of what might have been lost — or added — in the process.

(I keep thinking of the pilot who visited Tinsori Light, and who destroyed his ship and himself with it because he couldn’t trust either not to have had any nasty surprises installed in them, and hoping Daav’s situation is not going to come to a similar end.)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 12

Jemiatha’s Jumble Stop

In which the experts confer.

That went smoother than I expected. At least as far as the two-experts situation goes; there’s plenty else to worry me instead.

I’m not keen on Tocohl’s side project. I’m worried it will lead to her being insufficiently attentive, at some key moment, to the job she was sent here to do. I’m also not sure it’s a wise pursuit in itself; I’m less confident than Tocohl is that the ancient logic, if does exist and if it does have allegiance to the Enemy, can be pursuaded that that cause is done with. (Particularly since I’m still inclined to view the return of Spiral Dance as a sign that the Enemy maybe isn’t sealed away as impregnably as all that.)

(I wonder if there’s any way Spiral Dance could be the ancient logic these rumours are about.)

Another thing that has me worried is the interlude with Ren Zel and Anthora. If the authors are taking the time to introduce them now, that suggests there’s going to be a situation later that’s bad enough for them to need to get directly involved.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 11

Dutiful Passage

In which you wait ages for one, then two show up at once.

It’s still not clear what manner of person Stew’s expert is; a courier ship registered out of Waymart could be just about anybody. It may imply something that Stew doesn’t recognise the name straight off; that suggests he asked for an expert from someone he knew could provide one, but that he didn’t contact the expert directly.

The name of the expert’s ship, for what it may be worth, seems to have a Biblical derivation: Ahab was a famously wicked king, and Esaias is an alternate transliteration of the prophet who is usually rendered in English as Isaiah. (Which makes an interesting juxtaposition, if that’s what the referents are.) These days the name Ahab is more familiar as the name of the obsessive hunter in Moby-Dick, which strikes me as a bit ominous.

It’ll be interesting to see how the metaphor of Padi as the bowl develops. It occurs to me that the idea of weapons and art coming together in harmony is also applicable to her father, who’s been struggling with that himself at least since his visit to Weapons Hall. (It also occurs to me, on a more mundane note, to wonder if Shan ever did find out how the potter planned to deal with bulk orders.)