Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh

The Pride of Chanur is a space opera set in the Compact, a loose confederacy of alien races bound by trade.

The story centers around the unexpected appearance of Tully, a human alien belonging to a previously unknown species, who stows aboard the titular vessel with its lionine hani crew and captain, Pyanfar Chanur. Tully is fleeing the kif, a treacherous species given to thievery and warlike behavior.

While the story is entertaining with much to admire, I struggled with Cherryh's writing throughout. To me, Cherryh's prose style feels very rushed and jagged, with too many lengthy sentences stuck together with comma splices, colons, and em dashes. This mars the book's pacing and takes attention away from the story, placing focus instead on the writing construction. Call me a purist, but I still favor simple, declarative sentences.

That said, I recognize that prose style is a matter of taste, and I'll admit that I just might not get Cherryh. Certainly, The Pride of Chanur is one of the most beloved books in the SF canon and Cherryh has long been a perennial fan-favorite author. So maybe it's me.

Still, The Pride of Chanur is worth reading for its superlative SF story, even if, like me, you find Cherryh a much better storyteller than writer.

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