INTERVIEW: C.J. Cherryh

Hi there everyone. Infrequent contributor Trent here with a short interview with multiple award winning author C.J. Cherryh about her latest novel Regenesis, the long awaited direct sequel to the Hugo Award winning novel Cyteen. Mrs. Cherryh continues her story about the surviving clone of Ariane Emory, one of the great scientists humanity has even known, continuing the search for the murderer of her progenitor, the real Ariane Emory.

Before we get to the questions I would like to give a personal thank you not only to Ms. Cherryh herself, but to all who submitted questions for her (especially my brother Rob). This was a really fun task to undertake and I enjoyed my brief brush with Mrs. Cherryh. I was originally kind of apprehensive in contacting an author for a Q&A session “out of the blue’ being that this is my first time out with this kind of thing. However Mrs. Cherryh was quite enthusiastic to participate and I appreciate that greatly. So enough with the fluff, let’s get to the questions!


SF Signal: Hi C.J.! Thanks for taking the time to visit with us. First of all, tell us about your latest novel, Regenesis.

C.J. Cherryh: Well, Betsy Wollheim has been patiently waiting for that one for a long while. I had to move north, de-stress my life, and get things organized before I could undertake it—and was amazed to realize how long it had been since Cyteen. Young readers have become parents while waiting for that book.

SFS: Now that Ari’s story has been revisited (in Regenesis), are there any plans to revisit the adventures of Signy Mallory, the protagonist of Downbelow Station, and her ship, Norway?

CJC: Hadn’t even thought of it…it IS a thought.

SFS: The heroine of you Cyteen novels, Ari Emory, builds worlds and societies. As a writer who sets her novels in fully fleshed-out universes, do you identify with Ari more than — or differently than — other characters you’ve created? Why or why not?

CJC: Ari is a bit autobiographical—though I hope I’m kinder to people around me. 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.

SFS: The new TV series Dollhouse incorporates quick personality imprinting, which has yet to be fully explained. What led you to envision the much more painstakingly described “tape” conditioning process?

CJC: I haven’t watched it (Dollhouse)—looks like Charlie’s Angels revisited? I invented the ‘tape’ thing when I was about, oh, 18…before I was published: I was headed into teaching, and I asked myself what more you could do as a teacher if you had about 15 minutes of real and receptive concentration from a student. The tape drug creates that state.

SFS: You have written many series of books. Why do you write series books rather than standalone novels?

CJC: My worlds are complex, and often suggest more than one story.

SFS: You have translated several books from French to English. What got you interested in doing translations?

CJC: I used to visit Don and Elsie Wollheim in NYC; Don was always proactive in bringing other languages to the US and vice versa, re sf. He knew I knew French, so he handed me a book of a personal friend of his and asked if I could read it.

SFS: Does the translation process involve collaboration with the original author?

CJC: No. What it did involve was occasional reference to a science text so I could pick a flower species American readers would know, something in the same general class.

SFS: How rewarding do you find that kind of work?

CJC: It’s fast, it’s as fun as the book is, and it pays, but not much.

SFS: Some say that the impact of science fiction is diminished because we are already living in a high tech future. Do you agree with that assessment? Where do you see the field of sf headed in light of that view?

CJC: It’s diminished because our young people are becoming very clever with gadgets, but not very clever in theoretical science. It’s the school systems, I fear.

SFS: What was the biggest obstacle you overcame in becoming a published writer?

CJC: Getting myself trained to produce smooth narrative. I was lucky. The market was wide open then, and liked new ideas. Now, even established writers have major problems, and the market is transiting between the Victorian system of trucks and paper books to, very likely, print-on-demand, and more e-books.

SFS: Which writers do you see as you successors?

CJC: I’d say Jane Fancher: she and I work very closely, and you’ll be seeing more from her.


Once again we’d like to thank Mrs. Cherryh for her time taken answering these questions. Regenesis looks to be a real page turner set to address an exciting continuing story so go grab a copy when you can!

2 thoughts on “INTERVIEW: C.J. Cherryh”

    1. I agree. Cherryh’s books are unequivocally the best sci fi I have ever read. Make the Alliance series into a show!!!

Comments are closed.