Tag Archives: ven’Tura Tables

Neogenesis – Chapter 4

Vivulonj Prosperu

In which Daav and Aelliana explore the boundaries of their new situation.

It is a good question, how the Tree knew they’d need those particular seed pods; we’ve had cause to ask similar questions before, though usually not involving such a complicated and unpredictable chain of events. I don’t find the suggestion that the pods would never have ripened if they hadn’t been needed reassuring, because it suggests that the pods are themselves aware of their surroundings and capable of interpreting events, which is a disconcerting attribute to ascribe to (a) a small lump of vegetable matter with no apparent nervous system, and (b) something one has recently eaten.
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The Gathering Edge – Chapter 23

Aubernet System

In which Bechimo arrives in a new place.

Lots of technical details in this chapter, which is impresive but not the kind of thing I personally find most entertaining to read or talk about.
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Dragon in Exile – Chapter 10

Jelaza Kazone

In which Kareen and Kamele have an informative conversation.

I was a bit glib and a lot unfair when I suggested that Kareen might view Kamele as a performing dog. A better way to characterise the situation might be that Kamele has a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for learning the intricacies of the Liaden language, which makes it easier for one to forgive any stumbles since she’s clearly doing her best and it’s not her fault she’s not fully fluent yet. One might be less forgiving of a Terran who seemed to have made only the effort required to get by, for instance.

Also, they seem to actually like each other, a fact of which I took some convincing if only because Kareen has generally not made friends easily and it seemed unlikely that she would find it any easier with a non-Liaden.

(It’s interesting that, after Kamele was worried she might miss nuances if the conversation about the portrait was in Liaden, Kareen makes what must have been a deliberate choice to step out of Liaden into Terran to tell her about it, perhaps specifically to spare her that worry.)

Kareen’s description of the circumstances of Er Thom’s birth didn’t quite make sense to me at first: I wasn’t sure why it would be necessary for yos’Galan to produce a back-up delm of certain piloting ability when there was already Sae Zar. I think, though, that the problem with Sae Zar as a back-up delm is that he didn’t have the training for it; we know that training for a delm’s heir begins when he or she is very young, as happened for Daav (and Er Thom, as the designated back-up heir, got the same training). Also, Sae Zar was already designated as the heir to yos’Galan’s Master Trader, and to add Delm’s Heir to his pile would have been a disservice to yos’Galan, to be avoided unless no other solution was available.

Of the delms Kareen mentions in passing, we have heard of Jeni yos’Phelium, who helped establish the Scout Academy, and Theonna yos’Phelium, who was responsible for the Tactical Defense Pods. Edil yos’Phelium and Var Ond ter’Asten are new names. (ter’Asten is itself also a new name, unless it’s an alternate transliteration of “ter’Astin” – Jethri’s friend the scout was named Jan Rek ter’Astin.)

The implication of Kamele’s remark about Aelliana also being delm is, as I understand it, that her death wasn’t as simple as Daav failing his duty as delm to protect the vulnerable and husband the clan’s resources; Aelliana was also acting as delm, with a different assessment of who was most vulnerable and which resources the clan could least afford to lose, and no time for the two halves of the delm to reach a consensus.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 5

Arin’s Toss
Solcintra Port

In which Theo’s father tells her the truth.

Theo’s conversation with her father is one of those things that’s obviously significant but I don’t know how to talk about. (I do wonder if it helps Theo to learn that Val Con’s mother was a respected scholar. It seems like it might make the whole preposterous situation feel slightly more familiar.)

Either Theo’s taxi ride from the Port or her nap, or both, must have consumed a considerable amount of time, since it is now the day set for Korval’s departure and Theo left the Port at dawn the previous day. (Local calendar, explicitly stated, so it’s not one of those things where the Standard Day changes halfway through the local day.) No, excuse me: Theo went to call a taxi at dawn; maybe the city’s in such a commotion at the moment that it took most of the day to turn up.

The detail about Trealla Fantrol is interesting; they couldn’t take it with them, but they weren’t going to let it fall into anyone else’s hands. In which light, I wonder what it says that they didn’t mind letting Liad keep the formal gardens.

Tomorrow: “Moon on the Hills”, then back to Chapter 6.

Saltation – Chapter 11

Counseling Center
Anlingdin Piloting Academy

In which Theo is given some paperwork to review.

Theo goes to see the counselor Chelly recommended, meets Kara again, and receives a letter from Captain Cho informing her, among other things, that news of her dramatic landing has been directed to her mother, on the Safe World of Delgado. Kind of a transitional chapter, this, full of consequences unfolding but not yet unfolded far enough to be clear on how they’ll turn out.

Saltation – Chapter 10

Erkes Dormitory, Suite 302
Anlingdin Piloting Academy

In which Theo studies the ven’Tura Tables.

The comment I made yesterday about how much Theo is learning about Korval lately would have gone better with this chapter, it turns out. Too late now.

This chapter has the most detailed explanation of anywhere in the series about what it is the ven’Tura Tables actually do. And it is, I think, another example of the authors having a better idea later, at least when it comes to the bit about the Caylon Revisions involving a reconsideration of the very mathematics underlying the Tables; Scout’s Progress gave the impression that the mathematics was sound and the revision was more in the way of checking for calculation and typesetting errors.

Chelly is back, although by the sound of it only until he can arrange to go somewhere far away. Which doesn’t entirely surprise me, after what he’s been through.

If the chain of command in the dorm room goes Senior, First Bunk, Second Bunk, I wonder what it is that distinguishes First Bunk from Second. Is there an actual judgement of aptitude involved, or is it arbitrarily based on something like “person who happened to pick the top bunk” or “first non-senior to move their luggage in”? If it’s one of the latter options, Asu has no call get in a snit about Theo being First Bunk, since she turned down the first choice of bunks herself. (And if there’s a judgement of aptitude involved, I think Theo’s the right choice; as Chelly says, Asu isn’t malicious but she doesn’t think.)

In fairness to Asu, I feel I should note that although Chelly is described as leaving his bags “where Asu could complain that she’d almost fallen over them when she came back”, Asu doesn’t in fact do any such thing.

Saltation – Chapter 9

History of Piloting
Anlingdin Piloting Academy

In which Theo meets Kara ven’Arith.

Theo is learning a lot of family history without knowing it, lately. Although I suppose that was to some extent inevitable once she started learning piloting, considering how much the history of piloting is bound up with the history of Korval.

I think Inspector Johansen is being unfair, here: it would have been one thing to be down on Theo for not doing all the assigned reading, if that was what she had done, and I would even allow that it would have been reasonable to be somewhat disappointed by the class’s lack of initiative — but to mock them for not doing something they hadn’t been called on to do seems to me to be pushing it, especially since I get the impression that Johansen was counting on them to have not done it so she could be grumpy about it. Or maybe I’m being unfair now, and she was just in a bad mood about something.

Kara, with her own version of having grown up between Liaden and Terran cultures and a willingness to share her understanding, could be a useful friend for Theo to have. (Not that I’m saying, of course, that usefulness ought to be an only or a primary criterion for a friendship.)

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 40

In which Daav yos’Phelium dies and Jen Sar Kiladi returns to teaching.

Thus, Daav’s Balance: Having identified ignorance as the enemy, he will take the fight to the enemy by sending out Professor Kiladi to battle ignorance. In so doing, he will also remove himself from the clan and hide in a place where nobody will look for him, so that news of his death might be believed, and the Terran Party be given what they want before anyone else is harmed.

(And while a teacher with Kiladi’s accomplishments might surely have many grateful former students, given the name of the university involved I like to think that the influential alumnus who arranged for Kiladi to be given a place was Chames Dobson.)

Thus, also, the truth about Daav’s blackouts: through the lifemate bond, Aelliana lives on in him, in the manner of Rool Tiazan’s lady in the old story. Incidentally, it’s interesting to note that the last time Rool Tiazan’s lady was mentioned, it was Daav himself recounting that very story in Local Custom. Of course, knowing the story doesn’t mean he believes it, and even if he does one can understand why he might not think of it being repeated in his own case. Rool Tiazan and his lady were of the dramliz, and planned for the eventuality, neither of which are true of Daav and Aelliana.

I see a whole bunch of things going into this being possible. Daav is doubtless correct that the Tree had a hand in it (or whatever the corresponding metaphor is for Trees), but I don’t think that’s all. I think that, however it’s possible for Aelliana’s mind to be hosted in Daav’s head, it can’t have hurt that he already had from his Grandmother the ability to hold other personalities in his head, nor that he’d been keeping that ability in practice with Professor Kiladi. (It’s interesting to think that perhaps, in a sense, Professor Kiladi is responsible for saving Aelliana.) Another thing, which I noticed for the first time on this re-read, is that Master Kestra makes a point of mentioning that Daav no longer overflows with mental whatever-it-is that previously caused Healers to have to keep their distance: whatever it was he had too much of for one person, apparently it’s now been chanelled into sustaining two.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 29

In which Daav keeps himself busy with a day of consultations.

I’m not sure Daav’s explanation isn’t partly backward; he says that Mizel wouldn’t want to make an alliance with someone she blames for her son’s death, but I suspect on some level she’s chosen to forego an alliance with Korval so that she can blame Daav. There are other people who might be more fairly considered responsible for Ran Eld’s death, starting with Ran Eld himself, but they all have the disadvantage that Birin Caylon has to live with them every day; much more comforting to be able to blame someone who will shortly return to a distant orbit and remain out of sight and out of mind.

(“He was not the disrupter of the dance, but he was the only one of those new and uneasy things that they could dispose of without tearing still further the already riven fabric of their lives.”)

Incidentally, if Daav’s estimate of Mr dea’Gauss’s age is accurate, Mr dea’Gauss is about the same age as Lady Kareen and Luken bel’Tarda.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 21

In which Hevelin is employed and Jen Sar Kiladi is recognised.

The fame of the Revisor of the ven’Tura Tables is spread far and wide; not even by travelling into Terran-held space has Aelliana avoided being greeted as that Caylon by the pilots she meets. (That implies that there are underlying principles shared by both the Terran and the Liaden methods of space travel, if the ven’Tura Tables are of use to both.)

The norbear with the rusty streaks in his fur is named Hevelin, in tribute to the authors’ friend Rusty Hevelin, who by all accounts was that happy person mentioned in the chapter quote who found a friend at every port.