"Emissaries From The Dead" discussion
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Yeah I thought the world-building was pretty good as well. Overall I liked the main character too which is a bonus. Some of the supporting characters aren't quite as fleshed out as I would like. I think that it was quite clear that Castro was setting up a universe to act as a playground for his heroine and that we will see her again in future books.
I found the beginning - the introduction to our heroine - intensely creepy and unsettling, and really enjoyed the mystery.
I have book 2, The Third Claw of God but have not rushed to read it.
I admit, though, society today tends to treat children who are really too young to have the cognitive abilities to make moral decisions as adults so who knows...
But that set up gave the story depth and created a level of confusion based on her distrusting herself that made you doubt her observations and conclusions.
I agree, it's a little harder to understand society's evaluation of her. Perhaps, at the time, it was poorly understood what had happened. Maybe murder is much less common. It was less convincing, but I could buy it - society can be very irrational.
I agree it gave the story both a creepiness and a depth. For some reason though, it led me to believe her observations more rather than less. Something about her being apart and an outsider. It, correctly or not, made me feel she could more objectively evaluate a situation she was never a part of.
Overall, I thought her attitude made sense. She wasn't totally screwed up, just fearful of getting too close to other people.
I agree she would feel guilt, but also thought it odd that the authorities also branded her.
What I didn't understand was why the human housing was designed in such an uncomfortable fashion. They brought the habitats with them, so why didn't they design in flat floors? Even if they were supposed to look organic from the outside for some reason, this wouldn't mean they had to be so uncomfortable inside. Plus, if they can gather the resouces to send a huge ship to a far away place, why can't they afford portapotties for the habitats. I know these features helped the author to establish the outpost as precarious, but these features seemed arbitrarily uncomfortable.
I did have a connection when he finally explained the story and you saw the events before and after the massacre through the eyes of the little girl. That wasn't creepy to me, just really, really sad.
I don't think any of the characters were particularly likeable, but that didn't matter for me. It's almost like I was another person working off their time in this strange environment, watching. I wasn't terribly connected to any of them, but I was interested in the goings on as long as I was stuck there. This makes it sound like I didn't like the book, when quite the opposite is true.
I did feel some sympathy for the outpost's leader, feeling he got a bit of a bum rap. Oddly, I just realize that my image of him was very similar to the picture of the author on my copy of the book.
Because they didn't know what caused the massacre. For a long time after the massacre that little girl would have been kept 'safe' and studied in very controlled circumstances as she grew up into the woman we see. In the kind of universe depicted in the novel that would then mean a massive debt which would have required a massive indenture to pay off. One might say that the Diplomatic Services used the massacre to form Andrea Cort in to the person they wanted and also put her in the position of always having to work for them. They were getting a very useful tool.
I think the universe depicted where nearly everyone was indentured (I think it was everyone we saw) was interesting and certainly at odds with a lot of previous SF.
What was less enjoyable was the detective novel aspect of the story, which was only interesting in that it led to more SF ideas. But then, there are very few detective novels/shows/movies that I enjoy, as the formulaic and cliched nature of detective stories bores me rather quickly.
I'd also be interested in knowing if anyone can think of a reason for the uncomfortable housing as I described in post #27, beyond helping the author establish the situation as precarious.
Well it was a controlled environment. Humans weren't allowed all their high-tech toys. Presumably the uncomfortable housing was also a condition set down by the AISource anything else being deemed too disruptive.
I was willing to overlook this whole thing and enjoyed the worldbuilding and the story a lot. Still, I could see no reason. If the AISource had provided the housing, maybe I could see it, but these people brought these uncomfortable abodes with them!
It seemed to me that the AIsource was trying to make the conditions very difficult for the humans so that they could study them studying the Brachiators.
What I did not understand, and probably because I don't really understand computers, was how there could be a rogue element of the AIsource.
However, I do like detective stories and once I understood the habitat I enjoyed the story quite a bit. Interesting that the part beneath was not really important to the story. I kept thinking that part of making the upperstory so difficult was to hide what was going on below. But that did not seem to be the case.
Setting up dates in advance sounds like a good idea. I do try to make the effort to notify people as to what is happening here on the "Science Fiction Fans" forum, because I understand checking this group to find nothing has happend can be frustrating.
The AISource was studying artificially-developed sentient races, and found that they had experiences, thoughts and beliefs beyond the intentions behind their creation.
The AISource was comprised of many races of sentient AI, at odds with eachother as to how to deal with biological races.
Sounds like as good a theory as any. I never really felt this was fully explained. Then again, the AIsource was described as playing god, so no explanations necessary, I suppose. It still doesn't explain why the humans, who brought their own habitat with them, would choose to bring something so uncomfortable. I'm ok with the idea that the AISourse told them what kind of habitat they had to bring, but that isn't stated in the novel.
The most I gleaned for as an explanation of the whole set-up by the AISouce was that the main part of the AISource was trying to find a way to commit suicide, while the other faction was trying to find a way to live. Interesting idea, although it hardly seems to explain all the behaviors of the AISource. I did find it very provocative to have a single entity have parts that wanted to live and parts that wanted to die. How often are we ourselves "of two minds" about something, and then have to work through it to a resolution.
See, I don't really buy that as the real reason. THey could easily have created a sentient race on any planet and done the same thing. So why create an entire biosphere and especially why did they hide so much from the humans staying there. Much was made of how secretive the lower depths were.
Very interesting habitat, exploration of the Brachiators as a culture. I get tired of the "wounded warrior" trope, but so much of literature uses it as a basis of a story that I can't complain too much. I do have less tolerance when a male writer does it to a female character, though. I did think the resolution of her "complex" by the AIsource was rather facile.
Overall, though, it was an enjoyable read.
Or was the AI just trying to lure Andrea in (setting up a stressful situation, with humans who should have been rotated out, knowing something bad would happen, and then asking for her to be assigned) and then work on her to detach her from her handlers so she could represent them (those that didn't want to die and/or kill her) down the road (future books)?
I thought it was stated at some point that everything from the smallest to the largest items had to be Okayed by the AI before it could be brought into the habitat. Perhaps the humans brought floors, but the AI didn't allow them in ?
I didn't dislike the characters, and I don't have to like them to enjoy a book, but there has to be something that makes them interesting, some connection to them, and for me that was missing for most of the book.
Granted, the world is something new and different, as are the people, but still, I felt the psychological alterations were far too smooth and quick and not very realistic about the difficult and duration required for such a massive mental growth spurt.