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Old 03-26-2009, 04:18 PM   #54
King Of Wishful Thinking
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Philadelphia Suburbs
Posts: 6,652
I think you should read C.J. Cherryh's "Foreigner" series. The premise is that human refugees from a mutinied lost starship fall on a foreign planet. The aliens, who are tall humanoids, have a feudal system (similar to ancient Japan) and, while having human appearance, are 'wired' differently towards association groups requiring 'man-chi', which goes beyond 'love' or 'loyalty'.

After the humans anthropomorphise themselves into a war with the natives, a treaty is reached where the humans resettle to a big island/continent and only one human paidhi (ambassador) is allowed on the mainland in the emperors court. Bren is only the latest in a series of paidhi, but he is the one who will make history.

While there are similarities to James Clavell's 'Shogun', Cherryh really works in the concept of aliens whose mentality is not just shaped by societal differences, like those between fuedal Japan and England, but actually hard-wired.

Personally, I think anyone going into the diplomatic service should read these books.
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