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Norna (and CJ Cherrhy's Down Below Station)

 
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:13 pm    Post subject: Norna (and CJ Cherrhy's Down Below Station) Reply with quote

Before I actually embark on a (compared to this) lengthy discussion on some comparisons between The Gap and another work of science fiction, I need to ask something. As far as Norna's (Fasner's mother) situation goes, I am sure she was forcibly hooked up on life support, but was she also given a series of screens to observe so she could take in information?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is correct.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it is. Laughing

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, it's been a while since I've read the Gap series, and I am just now reading Down Below Station. There's also apparently something like 1-3 books which precede DBS which I have not read. It's not like me to start midway through, but I didn't know about the other books at the time I got this one and it seems to stand alone pretty well.

In terms of chronology, DBS was published about 10 years before The Real Story. That's about all I can provide suggesting that if there is a connection, it's DBS influencing The Gap. It's also quite possible that there's a prior influence. Certainly Norna is based in part on Norse mythology, given her name, but I think it's possible she was also influenced by Alicia. Or perhaps another book which both The Gap and DBS were influenced by already had a character in a similar situation.

Anyway, to get to the point...I just thought I'd mention a possible thread of influence from Cherryh to Donaldson that I picked up on while reading DBS. In DBS, most of the action takes place on a space station named Pell, located in orbit above a somewhat colonized planet. On said station, Angelo Konstantin heads the most influential family. His wife, Alicia, is bedridden. Tended by a downer* and hooked up to life support systems, Alicia chiefly derives comfort from screens lining the walls of her room. I'm almost completely sure that these do not give her live footage. I'm going to go ahead and provide a couple passages now. Because she has only appeared for 2 pages in the book so far, these passages are a pretty significant portion of what I know about her right now.
Quote:
The walls were screens. About the bed the view was of stars, as if they hung in mid-space; stars, and sometimes the sun, the docks, the corridors of Pell; or pictures of Downbelow woods, the base, of the family, of all such things as gave her pleasure. Lily changed the sequences for her.

Lily is the name of the downer. Pell is the station. Downbelow refers to the planet.
Quote:
[Alicia] moved her eyes about, a gesture at the walls. "You make all my world beautiful. Is it beautiful...out there?"
No harm has come to Pell there's nothing imminent. You know I can't lie to you." He sat down on the edge of the bed, the clean, smooth sheets, took her hand. We've seen the war get hot before and we're still here."
"How bad is it?"
"I talked to a merchanter a few moments ago, who talked about merchanter attitudes; spoke about places out in the deep, good for sitting and waiting. Thought comes to me, do you know, that there are other stations of a kind, more than Pell left; chunks of rock in unlikely places...things merchanters know about. Maybe Mazian; surely Mazian. Just places where ships know to go. So if there are storms...there are havens, aren't there? If it comes down to any bad situation, we do have some choices."
"You'd leave?"
He shook his head. "Never. Never. But there's still a chance of talking the boys into it, isn't there? We persuaded one to Downbelow; work on your youngest; work on Elene ...she's your best hope. She has friends out there; she knows, and she could persuade Damon." He pressed her hand. Alicia Lukas-Konstantin needed Pell, needed the machinery, equipment a ship could not easily maintain. She was wedded to Pell and the machines. Any transfer of her entourage of metal and experts would be public, doomsday headlined on a vid. She had reminded him of that. I am Pell, she had laughed, not laughing. She had been, once, beside him. He was not leaving. In no wise did he consider that, without her, abandoning what his family had built over the years, what they had built, together. "It's not close," he said again. But he feared it was

Elene is the wife of one of their sons. Damon is her husband.

Because I believe that her screens are not live footage, I believe the "doomsday headlined on a vid" may refer to expending so many resources on keeping her alive, which could be a sign of nepotism to do so much for her when so many on the station are in dire straights (read the book for more on that, I guess).

Anyway, I'm far too lazy to outline the similarities, but I wonder if Donaldson may have read DBS (apparently a very well received sci-fi novel) and put a cruel twist on Alicia's situation by having Norna live in similar material circumstances, but be in agony rather than at peace.

BTW I am not accusing SRD of plagiarism, it should be clear that there's substantial difference between the two and all that.

*Native Pell organisms, known as Hisa amongst themselves, which AFAIK lived a mostly...undeveloped? lifestyle prior to contact with humanity (and in many cases still do). That being said, they can learn to speak the language(s?) of humanity and join in human labors both on their planet and on Pell Station. Hisa off-planet play an important role in maintenance of the station, where they work in tunnels and live in a separate habitat with conditions more suited to their biology. I haven't really gotten a strong feeling for why the Hisa are interested in going off planet to work, since they don't seem to be forced into it, but some seem to be interested in seeing views from space, especially of the sun.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have nothing to say, other than good find if true, if there IS a connection, it would likely be SRD's classic line "not consciously, but..."
and...I keep meaning to track down this series and read it.
I recall quite liking "Hellburner"...I don't recall why I read it without the rest, cuz usually I won't.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C. J. Cherryh is on that list of authors I've always meant to try, but never gotten around to.

...and completely off-topic because my mind wanders like that, I am now wondering if Babylon 5's 'down below' was a homage.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't think I've ever read any of hers either.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like most of DBS, but there are one or two subplots that I think are mostly kind of boring/pointless thus far.
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