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Chanur book covers/Physical appearance of the Compact races



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>Date: Mon, 8 Feb 93 06:40:30 -0800
>From: seth@cie.uoregon.edu (Seth Scott)
>Subject:  C. J. Cherryh List
(...)

While I'm on the subject (pictures), I was looking through the sf shelves of a local used book store, and as I scanned the "C" shelf, I found several old editions of the _Chanur_ series, with rather interesting covers. The artist wasn't Michal Whelan, and the hani and kif looked... Hm, well, both races looked more human, to me, and less convincing.

What particularly caught my eye was the way this artist interpreted the build of the average hani and kif. I first read _The Pride of Chanur_ in an edition that has a blue cover, with a picture of Tully surrounded and flanked by several threatening female hani (Pyanfar, Haral, Chur, Geran, Hilfy, right?) This older edition didn't draw the hani as nearly so physically powerful a race, and the mahendo'sat looked like attenuated monkeys ;)

Just to discuss something rather trivial, what images do people have of the races in Compact space? From the edition that I read (and the text, of course!), I have an idea that hani are significantly stronger (on the average) than humans are. Pyanfar, for example, is shorter than Tully by about a head (she has to look up to look him in the face), but she breaks a kif's back with an open-handed blow. (note that I'm discussing _female_ hani-- Khym Mahn is clearly stronger than most anything except another male hani!)

Of the mahendo'sat, we learn that Pyanfar doesn't trust Jik alone in her presence, unarmed, presumably because of his strength and his blunt, control- reaching claws.

Of the stsho... heh heh....
		Seth


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>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin@maths.tcd.ie>
>Subject: CherryhList: Norway gifs
>Date: Tue, 9 Feb 93 17:14:59 GMT
(...)

> >From: seth@cie.uoregon.edu (Seth Scott)
> I first read _The Pride of Chanur_ in
> an edition that has a blue cover, with a picture of Tully surrounded and
> flanked by several threatening female hani (Pyanfar, Haral, Chur, Geran,
> Hilfy, right?)
For me that is the canonical picture of Hani. Any others I have seen have not been (from my viewpoint) as representitive. Maybe that is because it is the first version I read, too.
					Jo Grant
					jaymin@salmon.maths.tcd.ie
(...)


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>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Wed, 10 Feb 93 8:43:36 GMT
> >From: seth@cie.uoregon.edu (Seth Scott)
> Just to discuss something rather trivial, what images do people have of the
> races in Compact space?  (...)
Well, I think the hani (female) are the smallest of the Compact races -- they have to look up at humans, kif and mahendo'sat. Shsto I think of as tall and gangly, although they may just seem tall due to their general skinniness (is Dlimas in _Legacy_ supposed to be about hani-sized as a young/still growing specimen?). T'ca are big, Knnn are big enough to easily haul round a full hani-sized eva-pod. Humans, Kif and Mahendo'sat are all about the same size in height, although I think Mahendo'sat are bulkier. The Kif may seem slightly taller, again due to a lithe build, and the fashionable floor length robes :-) Within races, of course, there's a wide range -- Chur is a small, delicate Hani, Pyanfar's about average, Haral and Tirun are well muscled, etc. I always got the impression that Jik was tall for a mahe, as he's described as lanky, and Haisi is either very tall indeed, or Hilfy is a titch! As far as strength goes, I'd say the oxy-breather scale is something like male Hani, Mahendo'sat, female Hani, Kif, Human, Shsto.
			Lesley


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>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin@maths.tcd.ie>
>Subject: CherryhList: More pictures
>Date: Wed, 10 Feb 93 9:09:31 GMT
(...)

> >From: seth@cie.uoregon.edu (Seth Scott)
> I first read _The Pride of Chanur_ in
> an edition that has a blue cover, with a picture of Tully surrounded and
> flanked by several threatening female hani (Pyanfar, Haral, Chur, Geran,
> Hilfy, right?)
I've always considerd this the best picture of Hani that I have ever seen. Maybe that is because it is the first book I read, too.
					Jo Grant
					jaymin@salmon.maths.tcd.ie
(...)


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>From: nancy ott <ott@ansoft.com>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Wed, 10 Feb 93 10:45:45 EST
(...)
I see the hani as being very feline in body. A little smaller than the Michael Whelan covers depict (except for the males), a little more rounded, with more cat-like musculature ... allowing them to move with the unconscious arrogance and grace of tigers.

The t'ca I see as smooth, psychedelic snakes with mole-like snouts; the chi I see as spastic, fluorescent Gumby-like critters; the knnn I see as quick moving spider-things covered in long, coarse, matted black hair.

For some reason, I always visualize the stsho as looking like elongated, well-dressed, mother-of-pearl versions of E.T. (Although that's not *quite* how they're described!)

Funny how the covers of these novels influence how I view the different Compact species. Most of the time, I quickly discard the images on a book cover as I'm reading since they usually don't match up with the author's descriptions -- making me wonder if cover artists ever look at the books they are supposed to illustrate. (For instance, the cover of one of Octavia Butler's novels showed the main character to be a young white woman. In the text, it was specifically stated that the main character was black. Go figure.) However, both Michael Whelan's and David Cherry's Chanur covers are pretty true to Cherryh's descriptions of what the Compact species look like. My favorite image of the kif is from the cover of "The Kif Strike Back", where a kif (presumably Sikkukkut) stands in a lighted accessway surrounded by the heads of his fallen foes.

Speaking of the kif, a friend who's into military miniatures recently showed me a catalog from Stone Mountain Miniatures. In it are 25 mm figurines of an alien race called "the fanatical K'hiff" (!!) that look just like the pictures of the Kif on the Chanur covers. (Except that the figurines are carrying little rocket launchers and so forth.) Wonder where the designer got that concept from?? ;-) ;-)

- nancy ott (...)
ott@ansoft.com (...)


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>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin@maths.tcd.ie>
>Subject: Cherryhlist: Book Covers
>Date: Thu, 11 Feb 93 13:35:01 GMT
The cover to, I think, one of the Brittish editions of one of the Chanur books has a figure with, literally, a pussycat head. I though blech, but was told later that it was, in fact, one of Cherryh's pussycats!
			Jo

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