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Comparison between Kif (Chanur books) and Iduve (Hunter of Worlds)



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>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Mon, 14 Dec 92 9:11:49 GMT
Having just re-read _Hunter of Worlds_ over the weekend, an idea struck me. Are the iduve Cherryh's 'first draft' of the Kif? Unlike the Kif they're humanoid, but they do seem to be very Kifish in their behaviour (and perhaps their society, although we're not told much about Kif society). The iduve are predators, they do not feel emotions like other races, they are dependent on logic alone while dealing with others. They are also very fast over short distances, like the Kif who can run so fast the Hani eye can't track them properly (and given the hani are also hunters, that must be pretty fast).
Their cultural values (and indeed language are Kif-like in the extreme). Consider these examples, drawn from the glossary in the back of _HoW_:

arastiethe: honour; the power and burden of being iduve, of being of a particular nasul (clan), or simply of being oneself. Honour is the obligation to use power, even against personal preference, to maintain moral and physical integrity.

chanokhia: the practice of virtue, the studied avoidance of crudity, and a searching after elegance and originality.

vaikka: a demonstartion of arastiethe; could be roughly translated as 'revenge' if not that vaikka is often taken in advance of actual injury, to offset disadvantage. Vaikka need not involve damage, for arastiethe can be demonstarted by help as well as harm.

vaikka-chanokhia: an art form peculiarly iduve. True vaikka-chanokhia is such that the recipient cannot possibly reciprocate.

All of the above are part of the Kif mindset, and are easily translated by one Kifish word: sfik.
In manner too, the iduve seem Kif in disguise; they 'hiss' when annoyed - the glossary indicates that a 'soft kh' is to be taken as a 'hiss'. Presumably the iduve then say 'kkkh' rather like the Kif. They study up on other races ("'Friend': I understand this idea. I have learned it"), but have the tendency to see all actions in their own terms alone.
What do others think? A lot of the iduve seems to be in the later Kif. The language is very similar, the values seem similar, the physical capabilities are similar. Do others think that Cherryh took this alien race and re-worked it into the (more successful, I think) Kif?
				Lesley


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>From: nancy ott <ott@ansoft.com>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Mon, 14 Dec 92 11:54:00 EST
> >From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
> 
>       Having just re-read _Hunter of Worlds_ over the weekend, an idea
> struck me. Are the iduve Cherryh's 'first draft' of the Kif? 
Wouldn't Daniel then be the "first draft" of Tully? Both are humans plopped into alien societies and forced to adjust (a popular Cherryh theme). Both are presented as easygoing, decent men who were basically "nothings" in human society. Both use an enabling device -- Tully's translator and Daniel's chiabres (a brain implant that allows mind-to-mind communication) -- to communicate with aliens. Tully also is developed more fully than Daniel -- but then, we see him over the course of the entire Chanur series, while Daniel only appears in Hunter of Worlds.

[Lesley's comparison deleted]
>       What do others think? A lot of the iduve seems to be in the later
> Kif. The language is very similar, the values seem similar, the physical
> capabilities are similar. Do others think that Cherryh took this alien
> race and re-worked it into the (more successful, I think) Kif?
(...)
You make a plausible argument for the similarity of the two races. I also think it's likely that Cherryh gave many of the iduve's characteristics to the kif -- and was able to do a better job at presenting the kif. Perhaps she first had the idea for a predatory, aggressive spacefaring species at the time she wrote Hunter of Worlds, but lacked the skills to truly bring them to life.

The difference between the iduve and the kif is that individual iduve are oriented toward their nasul (clan), while individual kif are oriented toward themselves. The kif seem to be loyal to a leader (or faction?) only as long as they gain sfik and ensure their own survival and advancement; if their leader is defeated, they desert in droves. An iduve, on the other hand, would be loyal to the nasul until death.

(...)

Cherryh also directly tells us about the iduve, while she presents the kif by showing the hani's reaction to them. The latter tactic is more sophisticated, and develops a more unique identity for the kif -- the iduve come off sounding like Star Trek Vulcans (only much more violent and sexual), while the kif are something entirely different. (Government functionaries, perhaps? I can just imagine the office politics in a kif organization! :-)
- nancy


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>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
>Subject: Re: C. J. Cherryh List
>Date: Wed, 16 Dec 92 9:54:43 GMT
nancy says:

(...)
 
> Cherryh also directly tells us about the iduve, while she presents the
> kif by showing the hani's reaction to them.  The latter tactic is more
> sophisticated, and develops a more unique identity for the kif -- the
> iduve come off sounding like Star Trek Vulcans (only much more violent
> and sexual), while the kif are something entirely different.
> (Government functionaries, perhaps? I can just imagine the office
> politics in a kif organization!  :-)
_Hunter of Worlds_ might have kept the iduve more alien if we were only shown them through Aiela's eyes. When the narrator shifted to Tejef or Chaike, the reader was shown too much. As it was, neither Aiela nor the iduve were distanced enough -- aiela certainly just seemed like a human. Perhaps Cherryh herself realised the problem, as the theme of crossing racial boundaries suddenly appears halfway through, with Aiela worrying he's turning half-human, Tejef feeling he's no longer an iduve, etc.
			Lesley 

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