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American sci fi author (1942- )

Change happened and you thought it was forever, and immediately there were all the enemies of that change making common cause and meeting in the cloakrooms.

C. J. CHERRYH, Chanur's Legacy

Inevitably the party trying to resolve a matter had to contend with the party most willing to exploit it.

C. J. CHERRYH, Invader

Rattle a laywer's door and you get more lawyers.

C. J. CHERRYH, Chanur's Legacy

Men changed whatever they set hand to. They wrought their magic on beasts, to make them dull and patient. They brought fire and the reek of smoke to the dales. They brought lines and order to the curve of the hills. Most of all they brought the chill of iron, to sweep away the ancient shadows.

C. J. CHERRYH, The Dreamstone

As a writer and a historian I live in a several-thousand-year perspective, and it does give me a different outlook. I don’t get as wrought-up about minutiae, but I also probably miss some of the transient highs of people whose lifespan is limited to here and now. I prefer my way, however: lots of interesting characters inhabit that several thousand years.

C. J. CHERRYH, SF Signal interview, May 13, 2009

Poisoning rarely happens in a well-managed kitchen.

C. J. CHERRYH, Pretender

There are a number of writers who innovate, who attack the problems of human reaction to scientific advance, who talk about the human condition in a technological world, and who have the long view. These are the carriers of the torch. The ones who content themselves with a tiny bit of "sense of wonder" are within the fold, but they're the same sorts who were always writing the "gave a mighty whack and green ichor flowed..." sort of yarn. Now, unfortunately, they're touted to the skies and given slick covers, while the real books languish in the niches and don't get much promotion. That's where sf conventions ought to come in -- rather than spending their time and effort talking about the latest tv creation and trying to up their numbers.... The torch is still burning, but it's been passed with far less publicity than it deserves.

C. J. CHERRYH, SFRevu interview, Jun. 1, 2004

I just go to that same daydream-spot inside my head that I'm pretty sure all of us have. I don't know if people who don'twrite for a living actually meet strangers there, but I do, on a regular basis, and I absolutely insist they arrive with a good problem and tell me about it. There are particularly good spots for productive encounters: there's a beach I imagine and if I sit long enough and stare down the length of it, I'm sure someone will come walking down it, and most of them are interesting when they arrive. Sometimes I don't write all I meet, but most of the ones I meet do have interesting backgrounds. And sometimes I find I'm not on that beach at all, but in some space station corridor or in some castle hallway. Once these strangers tell me a little about their worlds I can make up the rest, out of smidges of geology, geography, history, archaeology, and snippets of whole cloth, and once I know their history and their quirks, I can most often figure out the rest of the story. Translation: thinking up new ideas and characters isn't hard. Writing day and night for months ... that's hard.

C. J. CHERRYH, SFF World interview, Jan. 1, 2000

Things there are in the world which have never loved Men, which have been in the world far longer than humankind, so that once when Men were newer on the earth and the woods were greater, there had been places a Man might walk where he might feel the age of the world on his shoulders. Forests grew in which the stillness was so great he could hear stirrings of a life no part of his own. There were brooks from which the magic had not gone, mountains which sang with voices, and sometimes a wind touched the back of his neck and lifted the hairs with the shiver of a presence at which a Man must never turn and stare.

C. J. CHERRYH, The Dreamstone

Writing is a profession you can practice while upside down and experiencing total blackout in a cave. You just use the mental recorder instead of pen and paper ... or portable ... and hope you find a use for the experience.

C. J. CHERRYH, SFF World interview, Jan. 1, 2000

If you're up against a smart opponent, make him think himself to death.

C. J. CHERRYH, Chanur's Legacy


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