Welcome to another installment of EATING AUTHORS. I’ll tell you now that this is going to be one of those days where the introduction is longer than the author’s recou nting of her most memorable meal. The reason for that is simple enough; our guest this week is C. J. Cherryh.
To say I am fan of her work is too huge an error to be called mere understatement. Her work combines those elements that, in my opinion, make for the very best that science fiction has to offer: a compelling story, breath-taking aliens, an exploration of language and culture that serve the plot, characters with depth and breadth and flaws and wonder. My first exposure was with her Faded Sun trilogy (Kesrith, Shon’jir, and Kutath), which in an instant of serendipity I picked up in hardcover at a used bookstore in Sacramento. I was hooked.
This could have been a problem, but fortunately for me C.J. has always been a prolific writer, and I quickly found dozens of other titles by her. I devoured her popular Chanur series (The Pride of Chanur, Chanur’s Venture, The Kif Strike Back, Chanur’s Homecoming, and Chanur’s Legacy), only to discover that both of these series were part of a larger set of series of books set in her Alliance-Union universe, including the seven books that make up her Company Wars series (including Hugo Award winner Downbelow Station), the five volumes of her Era of Reproachment (including Hugo and Locus Award winner Cyteen), the three books in The Age of Exploration series, the four books of The Morgaine Cycle, and the two books of The Hanan Rebellion.
And that’s before we get to her more fantasy-styled works, including the five volumes of The Fortress series series, the three books that make up The Russian Stories, or the novelettes and novel that comprise her Ealdwood stories, or the many other one-shot books she’d done, the books she’s co-authored, or the Merovingen Nights shared universe series she edited (and kicked off with stand alone novel Angel with the Sword).
What, you thought I was kidding when I said “dozens”? Then relax, because I haven’t yet mentioned her Foreigner books, which so far consists of five sets of trilogies (book 15 is due out next year), with more planned!
If that’s not enough, I’ll just add that C.J. has taught both Latin and Greek, and sits on the board of the Foundation for Endangered Languages. So, yeah, I’m smitten! The take-home message here my friends is, if by some insane injustice of the universe you have not become acquainted with C. J. Cherryh’s work, I cannot encourage your strongly enough to right this wrong, and do so today.
But enough about what I think, let’s hear from the author herself:
LMS: Welcome, C.J. As you’ll discover when you read the intro to this piece, I’ve been a huge fan for a long while. Which makes it an even greater pleasure to be able to ask you: what can you tell me about your most memorable meal?
NAM: Hmmm. I remember two of the best, but perhaps of the more memorable was at a sushi palace in Perth, Australia. I was GoH at the 1986 Swancon, the Natcon for Australia, along with Jack Herman, and in the care of two excellent hosts who really took care to have us see Australia and have a great time. I went to a zoo where people mingle with the animals, and to a little roadside cafe where my innocent order for coffee with cream (an American means black coffee with any old whitener) turned out to take 20 minutes and produced the most scrumptious Devon Cream coffee you ever say, stacked up as high as the cup. They ensconced me in a hotel with Scandinavian breakfasts, and you could die daily of the quantity and variety available—and then—then, one evening, they, we, and others descended on a sushi house with the traditional low tables, and ordered immense platters of sushi, sashimi, things I never in my life had tried, and every item fresh from the Western Pacific Ocean, which is right there available—no shipping, no delays, a huge selection for the chef, and no bad notes in the presentation or the evening. We ate and ate, with wasabi, without, with delicate sashimi and really creative little rolls, sake and just the best time. My hosts had never had sushi before, but they dived right in—how could you not like that meal? I don’t know how many platters we accounted for, but they were huge, and there was just nothing left when we departed.
That was my most glorious meal in a very magical trip to a very wonderful country.
Thank you, C.J. And let me just say, you’re the single best endorsement for the Spokane in 2015 Worldcon bid.
Next Monday: Another author and another meal!
Tags: Eating Authors