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50. Foreigner–C.J.Cherryh

How difficult would it be to actually meet aliens and understand them?  Foreigner explores the difficulties in understanding aliens with different biological imperatives, different mental wiring and a different understanding of society and how it’s structured.

Bren is the interpreter for his human colleagues. They’ve been stranded on an alien planet and after a short and difficult war have been granted an island on which to live.

Bren is the only human living with the atevi (the natives). He’s the conduit from the human enclave to the atevi. The humans, more technologically advanced, have been feeding the atevi tech advances a bit at a time, naturally with their own agenda.

Things have been going well for a hundred or so years, when suddenly someone attempts to assassinate Bren, and he finds himself scooped up and taken away from the capitol and denied his mail and any access to any outside communication. What is going on? Is he in danger? Can he trust the atevi who say they are trying to protecting him? Or has he been attributing human emotions and motives to a species he just realizes he completely doesn’t understand?

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