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Finity's End Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1998
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Finity's End falls after Merchanter's Luck but before Tripoint in the lineup of C.J. Cherryh's Merchanter novels (part of the author's award-winning Alliance/Union universe). It resumes the story of Fletcher Neihart, an orphan and unwanted foster child who, against his will, joins the crew of the legendary merchanter ship Finity's End. As Neihart struggles to find his place both on the ship and in the world, the ship undertakes a mission critical to the continuing peace between the Earth, Alliance, and Union factions. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Finity's End is complex, insightful writing. Cherryh understands human nature under stress, and has a gift for conveying the immediacy of interactions, concerns, betrayals, and forgiveness. -- Science Fiction Age --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The object in this next scene creates all kinds of problems. The 'hisa' (proper name, but not capitalized) are gently evicting Fletcher Neihart, human, the central character. He is an orphan, and becoming inured to rejection- in fact, he is burning his bridges again.
Some hisa on the planet are meditating under the dead gaze of carved 'Sun watchers'. A very old hisa speaks to him:
'A chill went down his back as those eyes sought his, with the mask between them. "You walk with Great Sun. I walk with Sun my time, bad time, lot shoot, lot die."
The war. War wasn't a word they were ever supposed to use with hisa.
"I know," he said.
"You walk with Sun," she said, and from the grass beside her took up a spirit stick, a carved stick as long as a human's forearm, a carved stick done up with woven strands and feathers and stones. He'd seen them on gravesites, at boundaries, at important places hisa meant to mark.
"Take," she said, and offered it to him.
Humans weren't supposed to touch such things. But she offered it, and he took it carefully in one hand. He saw intricate carvings, and the wear of age and the discoloration at one end that said it might have been set in dark earth once.
"You take," she said.
He didn't know what to say. He couldn't own such a thing. Or maybe--maybe it was a grave marker. They were, sometimes. Maybe it was his dying she meant.
"Why?" he asked. "Do what with it?...' (p. 310)
Spacer human family system has flaws. Spacer couples do not marry- women hook up with other spacers while on liberty, and deliver aboard ship. Many children never know their fathers. This was already featured in previous stories like Downbelow Station (20th Anniversary) (Daw Book Collectors) or Merchanter's Luck.
In this plot, we alternately follow the unpleasant Fletcher, or the cagey Administrator of Pell space station, or hear negotiations to end the war, when piracy threatened trade between Human outposts. Be patient- eventually the bigger picture comes into focus. On the personal level, Fletcher resists this latest foster family. His up-bringing as a stationer does not prepare him for crew assignments, or extreme stresses of 'Jump'ing between star systems. Cherryh again takes you into the head of a disturbed person who spends intervals dreaming under tranquilization while the ship travels through nightmarish places. The impact is very disorienting. Answers come faster and faster as Finity's End jumps for Esperance station and critical negotiations.
Some problems- you will know which- are not solved, even though Fletcher and the Neiharts do show that they can solve the biggest ones. Since this is the last book of the series, we will never know. (minus one star) Good voyage, anyway!
Give Cherryh a chance if you haven't read anything by her before - you won't find lots of shoot-em-up action, but you'll find amazing characters within the best framework that Science Fiction has to offer. And this is a great one to start out with. She's written many books and you'll have many days to spend with each of them if you like her writing.
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Almost two decades ago, war loomed and the vast merchant ship Finity's End answered its...Read more