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on 22 February 2016
The book that helped me learn to read, because it was the first story that ever made as much sense or was packed with as many interesting things as a textbook on dinosaurs (I was 12), and none of sexist rubbish that puts me off so many other stories I'd come across before that (gender-stereotyping in casts of characters and events that happen to them). Finally I found a character - a female character - that I could identify with.

To be honest with you, this book authorised me being who I am naturally born to be, in the gendered body was born to have, more than any kind word or encouraging role-model (very few of *them* to look at) ever did. Before this book, I identified with Batman, but he was male. I identified with Kirk and Spock, but they were male. I identified with frankly an awful lot of male characters, and I was starting to feel very lost, not least because at school I was being told daily my looks, my attitude, my behaviour, my way of speaking, my choice of dress, all meant I couldn't "qualify" as female.

LoL - I would likely have likely wanted to become transexual if it weren't for something - this book - saying "Oh here's a character that has extremely god interconnective reasoning and problem-solving skills and is very practically minded [and isn't male] and a story where she isn't subjected to sexual assault, or control by a man, and she also isn't lesbian either. She's just an experienced, strong-minded, smart and exceptionally capable leader... Yes women can be like that too."

Apologies, I know this isn't a review about the story, or this edition of the book, or anything else. This is just a review that says: This book is *great* to help get an otherwise incredibly smart and talented young woman into reading, and to help her feel like she doesn't have to become male to get acknowledged for her skillsets or personality type. It gives courage. It gives you a world where a woman being like that is never even questioned. It also shows you examples of what one might just do with those skills and mindsets... That you *could* make a good leader, a good entrepreneur, a good problem-solver and that yeah, people might actually look up to *you* for these things (and stop overlooking you) when you're the only person who can get the job done right.

A brilliant sci-fi adventure from the perspective of an alien. Understanding balances of power, where a character thrown in at the deep and and completely over her head, uses her brain and her reasoning (and a very smart, hand-picked crew) to rise to the level of responsibility required to not only save her own skin, but save her family's reputation *and* the life of a random thing with mostly hairless white skin that turns out not to be just an animal but a member of another sentient, space-faring race.

Even better: no breasts. Yes that's right, you read that correctly. The author did not look at Earth and decide that even though only *one* group of animal life has mammary glands, and even though of those there is only one species amongst them - one in fact on the *entire planet* that keeps those mammary glands swollen from puberty until death, they would *not* use that as a stable definition of *all* female life that exists in the known universe. That alone is enough to make you do a double take. You don't even know what gender some of the characters in the book are. Gender isn't a big deal. There *is* a white male... but he spends most of the book in a traumatised state. :D And what makes *him* remarkable are the physiological weaknesses of his species that are common to all of us, but in the end his meekness, loyalty, and bravery in the face of fear from an oppressor that saw him as a mere object - a tool...

I love this book too much.
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on 8 January 2013
This is going to be an unpopular view, but I actually found this book difficult to read. It's not long at all, at 200 pages it's really quite short, but by about page 150 I had had enough. I was forcing myself to read it, partly because I hate not finishing books, and partly because I desperately wanted to like it. But, whilst the ideas were brilliant - a lone human survivor stumbling across a thriving galactic community thus far ignorant of humanity - and the difficulties in translating different cultures and languages - the execution was poor. It was well written, but the pacing is off. To me, 150 pages of it could have easily fitted inside 70 or 80. There simply wasn't enough to keep me interested; the last 50 pages I read were a real effort.

I am a huge sci-fi fan and have read all the 'classics', but for me this just wasn't in the same league.
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on 16 August 2010
I mentioned to friends that I often like my SF to be somehow Traveller-esque, that is in the style of the Traveller role-playing game setting, and this was the recommendation that followed.

And my friends were right - 'The Pride of Chanur' is _very_ Traveller-esque. The setup is a family-owned merchant ship (the 'Pride' of the title) and that of course is the basic setup for many a Traveller campaign. Even more Traveller-esque is the alien race who own the Pride. The hani are lion-oids, and pretty damn close to being direct copies of Traveller's Aslan.

Or vice versa.

The Aslan first appeared (as far as I'm aware) in issue 7 of the Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society in 1981 and 'The Pride of Chanur' was apparently first published in an issue of 'Science Fiction Digest', also in 1981. And the Aslan and the Hani really are very similar in appearance and very similar in culture. It could be a coincidence - both creators essentially thinking along the same lines when imagining a lion-oid spacefaring race perhaps.

It's a pretty good setting. The twist is that it's a setting where humans are the weird aliens, and this twist is presented well. The hani are also fleshed out well. However, the other alien races don't come into this first (of seven, although there are other books set in a different part of the same universe) book enough to make much of an impact.

Ultimately I was somewhat disappointed by The Pride of Chanur. I really wanted to like it because it is so Traveller-esque. At 200+ pages, it's not a long novel, but neither is it a very short one and I just didn't feel that much happened. It was originally published in a shorter format and subsequently lengthened to novel length. I don't know if this is the reason, but the book feels 'padded', like an old Doctor Who serial where the writer was asked at a late stage to make it a six-parter not a four-parter.

So, conclusion: Interesting setting, well-developed main race let down by poor pacing. I will read the next one, just not imminently.
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on 1 July 2008
'Pride', while a great story on its own, is really an introduction to the glorious Chanur series (for all the titles, see below).

The Hani are a feline alien species, living in an area known as Compact Space - not because it is small, but because it is governed by a seven-way multispecies agreement known as 'The Compact'. Hani are also the junior race among the seven very different species. Then they acquire a fugitive human stowaway, and the trouble starts....

This is great space opera, but it is so much more as well. The depth of the characters, the alien races, the relationships, the impact of actions and events, all make for excellent literature, which happens to be SF!

An absolute must-have: if any of my set went missing, I would do anything, including steal, to replace it.

The whole series consists of:
The Pride of Chanur
Chanur's Venture
The Kif Strike Back
Chanur's Homecoming
Chanur's Legacy
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on 16 October 2006
An excellent book.

I think if you like Cherryh you won't be disappointed.

If you have yet to read Cherryh then this is a good one to start with. It is space opera at its best. The hani, an all female crew are an unlikely yet convincing species. They are faced with moral dilemmas that result in tense and difficult times for this crew. My only reservation for those sci-fi fans is that it isn't really an action packed novel and not for those techno-geeks who love space gadgetry, however, I think it is a great read and very different from many other sci-fi books that are around.
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on 7 December 2010
Another excellent book in this series: introduces a human (previously unknown species) escaped from the unpleasant kif, rescued rather unwillingly by Pyanfar the Hani ship captain.
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