Voyager in Night by C.J. Cherryh 1984
Thoughts Going InI like C.J. Cherryh... or at least, I like her name. I've only read one or two other books by her. Death's Master, perhaps? But even in that, I may be wrong.
I bought the book at a library book sale for $1. There are four sales a year. And at the one last summer, I said I'd buy this book if it was still available come fall. It was, so I did. Ironically enough, today is the final day of the winter book sale, so time's a'wasting to read this thing. Of course, the real reason I am reading this book today is because yesterday I decided to go through all my books and threw out (wholesale) almost all of them, all of the ones I knew I would never read. Out of fifty-odd books, ten or so made the cut. And not wishing to stand anymore (as I do when I write), this is the book I am going to read, while I sit.
I believe there are two 'overlapping' stories in this book. The one I care about uses syntax like < * > and < / > as a sort of stylized thought-language. It is the custom punctuation that caught my eye and why I am reading the book. I do not expect much otherwise. But I would be happy to be proved wrong.
Upset is itself a vulnerability.
No one can ask myself of me.
Places that have names are so rare in the universe.
- A common dream...
- They have a dream in common.
- Less is more.
- Moving slowly.
- I fear I'll grow bored.
- I don't know that I want a mystery.
- I want an answer unfolding.
- Not a riddle stuck in time.
- It knew.
- I'm thinking about ditching this book, as well.
- You know, along with the rest.
- Yep. I just confirmed, the writer is a woman.
- Because a man would never think like that.
- Men are breeders, too, you know.
- It's gaining some traction.
- It's really picking up, now.
- I'm falling in.
- We have contact.
- Real contact.
- At this juncture, it is a very good book.
- Or won't?
- I hardly ever know who's talking.
- Got a laugh.
- But I am half bored again.
- It is a small problem stretched out longer (and thinner) than it needs to be.
- Long enough to make a short story into a book.
- I guess I don't care about the filler.
- It's a study in AI.
- There is keen insight, here, in how the God Mind might play out.
- It's been rather boring to get to this point.
- But it is very compelling, now.
- But are you a licensed psychotherapist?
- It's still hard to understand.
- But I think I have found its worth.
- To me.
- When the mind revolts...
- Sometimes the only peace is in death.
- A system in failure mode.
- I could not tell you why our heroes are key.
- Of course, the real reason is for story.
- Without them, there is no story.
- Quite the mystery.
- Has the author written what the author desired to write?
- To me, the vision is murky...
- Which implies a half formed thought...
- An un-coalesced dream.
- Let's do this.
- One chapter to go.
- I don't see how there can be a Big Finish.
- I'm too confused.
- So much is just thrown up against the wall...
- Floating away into The Void.
- It is strange who or what one roots for.
- And if that is the case, it is totally (totally, dude) unexpected.
- Have you tried doing that?
- Well, have you?
- It's too insubstantial.
- The stakes are high...
- Highly insubstantial.
- It's not a good sign when the need to reiterate is real.
- And now, I wonder what to do with the blank pages at the end of the book.
The DebriefingThe book did not take me as long to read as I would have guessed: only two months versus the six I was thinking.
The ending was fine enough. But I would not call it inspired. As interesting as anything else is the presumption that this is somebody's Happily Ever After. I mean, I can see the appeal... but in truth, life is dragging a bit on for me. And without a doubt, this novel did not fill the hole. Let us say, the extreme duplicity of the characters (and I am being vague and misleading, here) was not charming to me. And that is really what the book was all about.
I am slowly accumulating a pile of read books. I should dispose of them... take them back to the free stack at the library, if nothing else.
And then, there were four blank pages at the end (to make up the sheaf in the book... or whatever those sections of pages are called). Perhaps I will do something with them.