Sunday, 30 October 2016
"And then his mind rocked. He stumbled back and sat down on the bed. Chee jumped clear and watched with round yellow eyes. The silence grew huge.
"Until Falkayn smashed fist into palm and said, 'Judas on Mercury! Yes!'" (p. 191)
By now, the alert reader recognizes what is happening. First Chee, then Falkayn, suddenly realize how they might escape from their current imprisonment. More moments of realization. But they have to escape from more than physical imprisonment. What they need on Ikrananka is a stable empire that they can trade with. What they have got is an unstable empire trying to annex Ikranankans who would be more amenable contacts for interstellar trade but who are too few to form an empire and also local human beings rebelling against the current empire. How can Falkayn reconcile all the factions and unite the planet sufficiently to please van Rijn in particular or the League in general?
If Falkayn fails on Inkrananka, then he will be given a safe, undemanding routine job and, at the appropriate age, compulsorily retired. That would suit many people but not the few like Falkayn. If I were a citizen of the Solar Commonwealth, then I would not aspire to work or seek promotion in Solar Spice & Liquor! I would welcome a career in some kind of public service with enough leisure time for reading fiction and studying philosophy.