Foreigner (First Foreigner Series #1) by C. J. Cherryh, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Foreigner (First Foreigner Series #1)

Foreigner (First Foreigner Series #1)

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by C. J. Cherryh
     
 

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It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix set out on its original mission--to reach a carefully selected star system and build a station there which would welcome traders and expand the human presence into a new and profitable sector of space. At the start of its journey, Phoenix had represented Earth's latest and most progressive

Overview

It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix set out on its original mission--to reach a carefully selected star system and build a station there which would welcome traders and expand the human presence into a new and profitable sector of space. At the start of its journey, Phoenix had represented Earth's latest and most progressive colonial commitment, drawing upon all the expertise gained from past successes. Optics had told planners where the rich stars were: robots had probed the way without any risk to human lives, and had returned with reliable navigational data and firsthand observations. What those observations had shown the prospective colonists was a rich system with a clear path to a strand of stars that promised Phoenix's crew incredible wealth as shareholders in the pioneer trading station.

But despite careful preparations, all did not go according to plan for the Phoenix and her crew.For when the ship went into hyperdrive, it came out in a completely uncharted area of space--a place with no recognizable reference coordinates, and no way home.

Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner, originally published in 1994, is the first novel in what has become the three-time Hugo Award winner's most popular saga to date -- an in-depth exploration of human/alien interaction and of what it means to be human.

A great deal has changed in the five centuries since a lost colonial starship running desperately low on fuel fatefully found sanctuary on a nearby G5 star. After a small group of humans landed and learned that the world was already populated with an aggressive race of aliens known as atevi -- giant black-skinned, yellow-eyed warriors -- a short but fierce war ensued. Impossibly outnumbered, the technologically superior humans ended the bloodshed by agreeing to share their scientific advances in return for their own sovereign land. They are exiled to a large but remote island, and the only human who is allowed interaction with the atevi is known as the paidhi -- a moderator of sorts who must be a master diplomat as well as a dedicated student of the very complex atevi culture. As the paidhi, Bren Cameron must deal with a society that has 14 different words for betrayal and none for friendship. In a civilization where assassination is an "ordinary and legal social adjustment," Cameron learns quickly how to stay alive.

Cherryh's Foreigner sequence (Foreigner, Invader, Inheritor, et. al.) is arguably one of the best-known sagas dealing with the interplay of humanity and alien cultures. Mixing adventure and intrigue with an almost sociological look at her characters, Cherryh's Foreigner series is comparable to Alan Dean Foster's Commonwealth novels -- energetic, insightful, and wildly entertaining. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Three-time Hugo award-winning novelist Cherryh depicts a beleaguered human colony on a futuristic alien planet. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Exiled to the island of Mospheira, a colony of stranded humans relies on one man, their ``paidhi'' (liaison), to explain their ways to the dominant species of their adopted world. When Bren Cameron, the current paidhi, becomes the target for assassination in a culture where licensed murder is a recognized political solution, the conflict between species becomes a life-and-death struggle for survival and understanding. Veteran sf/fantasy author Cherryh plays her strongest suit in this exploration of human/alien contact, producing an incisive study-in-contrast of what it means to be human in a world where trust is nonexistent. A good purchase for most sf collections.
Roland Green
A large new novel from C. J. Cherryh is always a pleasure. When it marks her return to the anthropological sf in which she has made such a name for herself (most notably the Chanur novels), it is doubly so. "Foreigner" proceeds from the venerable premise of the lost starship whose crew had to land the ship wherever possible. It ended up on a planet whose native race, the atevi, practice--among other interesting habits--registered assassinations. Two centuries after the landing, only one human, the paidhi, is allowed out of the human enclave--and at the opening of the book, he is the object of an unregistered assassination attempt. The subsequent tale is one of those Cherryh novels that is longer on world building, exotic aliens, and characterization than on action, although it is not short on that. Well up to Cherryh's usual high standard.
From the Publisher
"Three-time Hugo-winner Cherryh's gift for conjuring believable alien cultures is in full force here, and her characters, including the fascinatingly unpredictable atevi, are brought to life with a sure and convincing hand." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Veteran sf/fantasy author Cherryh plays her strongest suit in this exploration of human/alien contact, producing an incisive study-in-contrast of what it means to be human in a world where trust is nonexistent. A good purchase for most sf collections." —Library Journal

"A seriously probing, thoughtful, intelligent piece of work, with more insight in half a dozen pages than most authors manage in half a thousand." —Kirkus Reviews

"A large new novel from C.J. Cherryh is always welcome. When it marks her return to the anthropological SF in which she has made such a name, it is a double pleasure. The ensuing story is not short on action, but stronger (like much of Cherryh's work) on world-building, exotic aliens, and characterization. Well up to Cherryh's usual high standard." —The Chicago Sun-Times

"A typically close-grained and carefully constructed world, filled with arresting details of atevi life and history. The long and deliberate setup pays off more than satisfactorily, but without any sense of a pat or closed-off solution. A book that will stick in the mind a lot longer than the usual adventure romp." —Locus

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780886776374
Publisher:
DAW
Publication date:
11/01/1994
Series:
Foreigner Universe Series, #1
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
4.32(w) x 6.82(h) x 1.17(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Three-time Hugo-winner Cherryh's gift for conjuring believable alien cultures is in full force here, and her characters, including the fascinatingly unpredictable atevi, are brought to life with a sure and convincing hand." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Veteran sf/fantasy author Cherryh plays her strongest suit in this exploration of human/alien contact, producing an incisive study-in-contrast of what it means to be human in a world where trust is nonexistent. A good purchase for most sf collections." —Library Journal

"A seriously probing, thoughtful, intelligent piece of work, with more insight in half a dozen pages than most authors manage in half a thousand." —Kirkus Reviews

"A large new novel from C.J. Cherryh is always welcome. When it marks her return to the anthropological SF in which she has made such a name, it is a double pleasure. The ensuing story is not short on action, but stronger (like much of Cherryh's work) on world-building, exotic aliens, and characterization. Well up to Cherryh's usual high standard." —The Chicago Sun-Times

"A typically close-grained and carefully constructed world, filled with arresting details of atevi life and history. The long and deliberate setup pays off more than satisfactorily, but without any sense of a pat or closed-off solution. A book that will stick in the mind a lot longer than the usual adventure romp." —Locus

Meet the Author

C. J. Cherryh planned to write since the age of ten. When she was older, she learned to use a type writer while triple-majoring in Classics, Latin and Greek. At 33, she signed over her first three books to DAW and has worked with DAW ever since. She can be found at cherryh.com.

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Foreigner 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read Sci-Fi for years and have yet find a book that held my attention as this book did. I have also read 'Precursor'. This one also is very good. I look forward to reading the third book in the trilogy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I admit to being intrigued by C.J. Cherryh's work. When I first picked up this book, I could not set it down. The story line was strong enough to grip me from the very beginning and I can only hope that one day I will have the skills and talent that this woman has. A terrific book and series. A must read for any diehard Science Fiction fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is, by far, one of the most engrossing, intriguing, fascinating science fiction stories that I've discovered in my more than five decades of voracious reading. It's not for anyone seeking a light read. The Foreigner series begins with an inadvertent meeting of two civilizations when an earth space ship becomes lost and builds a satellite station orbiting a world with its own unique civilization; one so unlike that of humans that it requires total separation of the denizens of this world, the Atevi, and humans. This is determined after humans land on the Atevis' world, encroach on Atevi land and wreak havoc to the point that only one human is allowed to leave an island to which the "aliens" are relegated. That human, Bren Cameron, is the ambassador (paidhi) to the Atevi, and he must learn their language and their customs, all of which are fraught with linguistic and conventional "bombs," any of which could easily cause his immediate demise and further warfare. The Atevi have no words for like and love. Their civilization is based on formality, mathematics and strict codes of loyalty and honor. Cameron, is protected by two members of the Assassins Guild, which keeps the peace in Atevi society. He is the size of a child compared to the huge black and beautiful, if intimidating, inhabitants of the world on which he must tread very carefully in order to maintain a tentative peace. This is the first of a series that so far spans 13 books, and they are filled with intrigue, adventure, intelligence, humor and unforgettable characters. I highly recommend them all.
BuddhaJM More than 1 year ago
Atevi are not like the rest of us. Understatement. This story of first contact points out the huge potential for misunderstanding and conflict, or true communication leading to progress. Which path we take is going to be determined by how we communicate, and any assumptions we hold. With Atevi, one quickly learns to cast aside our assumptions and to learn to listen in a new way. Further more, understand that courtesy is not only desireable when addressing Atevi; it may be what stands between you and a quick and final end. Whatever you previously understood about loyalty needs to be re-thought. With Atevi, loyalty is not simply a choice, it is everything. Once your word is given to an Atevi it is expected that it will be kept, without exception. Once association is established with an Atevi, it remains in place for life. The Atevi really know what it means to pledge yourself to a cause or a person. Nothing is half-way with them, know that going in.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cherryh creates very real characters, incredible alien societies, and an excellent story line that will keep you readng. Not your usual action fantasy fare, but deep and thoughtful; mindful of the differences that make us unique, but carried to a new understanding of what makes a species unique.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unbelievably great saga! I've read all four of the Foreigner Universe books out to date. Characters you come to truly care about, exotic aliens, space opera mixed with great political intrigue - Superb! The only bad part about them is waiting for the next book!! OCT 2001 - Defender!!! I just can't wait!
bonsai9933 More than 1 year ago
The author creates a believable world where humans and the native atevi population still live apart 200 years  after first contact. Bren Cameron, the current paidhi, is liasson between the humans and atevi, and encounters the same difficulties and awkward moments that even the most seasoned diplomat . experiences. The plot is very engaging and the author beautifully paints vivid scenery and characters, such that I'm  anxious to go on to her next book. The plot is very engaging and the author beautifully paints vivid scenery and characters, such that I'm anxious to go on to her next book.
joleneb3 More than 1 year ago
I first read this when first published, and I've just re-read from #1 through #14. This series is worth every dime that allowed me to read it, not just the first and second times, but the third and probably the fourth time too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely excellent, but be prepared to pay close attention: plot frequently turns on seemingly minor details and people mentioned in passing come back later in important roles. If you get distracted or skim, you'll miss something key and find yourself wondering why something turned out thus and so. After I finished the series I had to go back and re-read books 1-3 to fill in what I'd obviously missed the first time around. Also, (mainly relevant to the first book) do not let impatience with the hypochondriacal, self-absorbed protagonist prevent you from getting to know the Atevi. He does grow up and become less annoying , though I wouldn't say he ever really becomes a truly likeable character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great plot and character development. The only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars isvthat the beginning was somewhat confusing, especially since Cherryh switches scenarios just a sshe draws the reader in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Engaging and believable. Cherryh's greatest strength lies in creating a complete alien culture. Humans are Human and Atevi are Atevi through and through. It gets better and better the further into the series you go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bren is a fascinating character that grows and develops as the series continues. At first he is a young man who takes over an extremely dangerous postion as the human translator to the Atevi. Human colonists are stranded on the Atevi earth. I've been reading the Foreigner novels since this book came out over10 years ago; and after reading each one, I await the next with great expectation. The characters, locations, and human vs. Atevi relations and conflicts are intriguing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting to go back and reread the Foreigner intoduction. The characters have become much more complex. Atevi society reminds me of Imperial Japan in its rigidity and complexity. This is more about the clash of cultures than science fiction. That said, when are the rest of the series going to be released? I will buy them as soon as they are released. They are so information dense, i get more out of them every time i reread them. Please,please rerelease the Pride of Chanur series. Ah,heck,ALL of Ms. Cherryh's series!
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Rich in storyline
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