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Life on Carriers



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Religion and Beliefs in C.J. Cherryh's Compact and Union/Alliance books

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>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin@maths.tcd.ie>
>Subject: CherryhList // Religion
>Date: Fri, 7 May 93 9:36:35 BST
(...)

Certainly as The Fleet is run down they take on the social detrius of society, strip them of their past and indoctrinate them in new ways, they create an environment where ignorance propigates. Only the technical class know how to make things work but not necessarily how things work. The troops in the belly live in a world where things just happen and they only have to ponder orders. Cherryh portrays thems "dicing with the deep", i.e. playing games of chance as they hit jump space. It seems an echo of Samhain here in Ireland. Samhain (Halloween) comes at a time between seasons, where the normal rules of How Things Work break down. In folklore it is when the Otherworld is close to this world and all sorts of "divination games" are played. You know like suspending a wedding ring over a womb to determine the gender of a child, weather one gets the pea or the ring or whatever in the barm brak, etc, etc. Would not going through jump be an analogous time when the normal rules break down? Remember the Troopers seem to take a different sort of jump drug that doesn't leave them totally incapicated during jump. [Maybe that's why they are all a bit mad :-]
If not amongst the fleet, then the fleet itself. It comes from nowhere, swoops in in ships very much more powerful than normal merchants (remember in Merchanter's Luck when the Norway jumps in, and passes out what the Lucy had taken days to cross), and leaves having stuck. Technology may have eliminated cholera and other desieases but The Fleet is still there to suddenly cull family members.
Not only that but The Fleet stands largely outside of time. Being almost constantly on the move the time dilation of jump means they live a very long time. Has anyone actually read Rimrunners and counted the number of days that pass for Bet Yeager compared to a year going by on Thule? For Stationers The War is a long, drawn out, and sparodic thing. (A bit like Northern Ireland in our papers here) Yet for The Fleet it is much more compressed. With this higher level of intensity it would not be difficult for The Stationers to personify them as archetypes.
(...)
				Jo


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>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant@maths.tcd.ie>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Mon, 10 May 93 9:48:23 BST
> (...) The troops in the belly live in a world where things
> just happen and they only have to ponder orders. Cherryh portrays thems
> "dicing with the deep", i.e. playing games of chance as they hit
> jump space. It seems an echo of Samhain here in Ireland. Samhain
> (Halloween) comes at a time between seasons, where the normal rules
> of How Things Work break down. In folklore it is when the Otherworld
> is close to this world and all sorts of "divination games" are played.
> You know like suspending a wedding ring over a womb to determine the
> gender of a child, weather one gets the pea or the ring or whatever
> in the barm brak, etc, etc. Would not going through jump be an analogous
> time when the normal rules break down? Remember the Troopers seem to
> take a different sort of jump drug that doesn't leave them totally
> incapicated during jump. [Maybe that's why they are all a bit mad :-]
First off, I don't really think that the aspect of Samhain as breaking the borders is applicable here. However, the troops' playing dice games as the ship jumps is certainly presented as a quasi-religious act. I believe it (and the troops' generally appallig behaviour) is an attempt by them to try and gain a measure of control that is usually completely lacking in their lives. They must sit out ship battles, are completely helpless most of the time on board, and are on the bottom of the chain of command. In any situation they can, they try to reassert control over the course of events: control the new recruits by beating/raping them; control stationers' contempt by intimidating them; control their fear of jumping by playing symbolic dice games. It's probably as religious as the troops get, because more established religious traditions would require them to submit themselves in yet another area of life.
	
> 	Not only that but The Fleet stands largely outside of time.
> Being almost constantly on the move the time dilation of jump means
> they live a very long time. Has anyone actually read Rimrunners and
> counted the number of days that pass for Bet Yeager compared to a
> year going by on Thule? For Stationers The War is a long, drawn out,
> and sparodic thing. (A bit like Northern Ireland in our papers here)
> Yet for The Fleet it is much more compressed. With this higher level of
> intensity it would not be difficult for The Stationers to personify
> them as archetypes.
For people in the midst of the War, the Fleet may be demonized, but it's certainly not demonic. Everyone's quite aware that the Fleet is made up of humans. The thing that merchanters and stationers would try to forget is that the Fleet is made up of their own children, that 'ordinary' folk could be turned relatively easily into killers. The only 'archetypes' that others have of the Fleet is 'murderers', 'theives', etc. This is just common denial of the sort that leads people nowadays to think of a mass-murderer next door as always having been a nice quiet person. People are either seen as completely good or completely bad. Perhaps later on the Fleet might figure as doomed heroes, a ghost fleet or whatever, but during/just after the war they are just seen as criminals whose time is past.
			Lesley


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>From: Onno Meyer <Onno.Meyer@arbi.informatik.uni-oldenburg.de>
>Subject: Re: C. J. Cherryh List
>Date: Mon, 10 May 1993 18:49:45 +0200 (MET DST)
[...]
> 	Certainly as The Fleet is run down they take on the social
> detrius of society, strip them of their past and indoctrinate them
> in new ways, they create an environment where ignorance propigates.
> Only the technical class know how to make things work but not necessarily
> how things work. The troops in the belly live in a world where things
> just happen and they only have to ponder orders. Cherryh portrays thems
> "dicing with the deep", i.e. playing games of chance as they hit
> jump space. It seems an echo of Samhain here in Ireland. Samhain
[...]
> in the barm brak, etc, etc. Would not going through jump be an analogous
> time when the normal rules break down? Remember the Troopers seem to
> take a different sort of jump drug that doesn't leave them totally
> incapicated during jump. [Maybe that's why they are all a bit mad :-]
Where did you get that? Have I missed a book? I know that _Rimrunner_(?) and _DS_ contain descriptions of a carriers life, are there any other books you refer to?, If so, could someone mail the title and ISBN to Onno.Meyer@informatik.uni-oldenburg.de (the reply doesn't belong onto the mailing list).
Thanks in advance, Onno Meyer
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