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Originally posted in December 2000
Edited slightly for the sake of clarity.

Spoiler Alert!  Do not read this if you have not finished Foreigner.

On the cover the Atevi have no pupils, but CK seems to think they have, I would say the have none, so this leads to the interesting question what do Atevi see.

*Standing in the shadows, thinking. Eyes shimmering gold in the reflected light*

That is a good question nadi. As far as I can remember nothing has ever been said. But there have been hints that the Atevi have the capability to see in near total darkness, as per Foriegner. It was when the power was lost at Malguri.

Hmmmm.... Could that mean they see colors beyound the Human capability? If so then what additional colors might be in the black of the Guild members. 


Definately food for thought nadi!

Good notion, I hadn´t thought about it.
Humans have to cast there eyes to the side to see what happens there sharply, what´s about atevi. 

Uh, I never really thought about it, actually. I just drew jago with pupils 'cause I figured, 'how else is light gonna hit her retinas?'....Of course, I'm just assuming that atevi have retinas.

*bows to nand' CK-ji*

A very good Picture nadi. Though one I would enjoy seeing someone draw is the bath scene from Precursor. (Jago sitting behind Bren, both thier reflections in the wall beside them and steam raising above the water) Something tastefully done though.

*admits to not being able to Draw what so ever*

Yes the bath scene is a good idea. (*meanigful lokks at the cat with Photoshop*)

I think Atevi have retinas, maybe there is just a reflecting layer covering the whole front of the eyes or maybe the gold layer is the retina and the cornea is invisible (just like the red eyes in photos)

Nand Chajo´, you had he interesting notion that Atevi se at another range and mentioned the clothes, have you thought about their skin and what patterns it may have. 


That is a very good question Nand' Sabina. It is possible that as humans have various shades of hair and skin, so do the Atevi. It's just that humans cannot see the diffrence due to the diffrence in eyesight.

Eupathic Impulse:
Hmm. Perhaps atevi can't see some human differences either. But Ilisidi is fascinated by Bren's hair. 

the mule:
* passing through between planets*


We are assuming here that Atevi use the optical spectrum. 

The pupilless eyes suggest that some other wavelength detection may be in use. What if the Atevi eye is more like a radiation detector? This would allow IR detection and possibly "seeing" UV emissions like flower petals and butterfly wings.

*bows and departs *

Eupathic Impulse:
I doubt that atevi use something that far off from the human optical spectrum. There is a very good reason that humans use the spectrum we do, and that has to do with the frequencies that Earth-at-ground-level receives from the sun. As the atevi planet is so congenial to human life, I'd imagine that the spectra would be very similar, as the atmospheric and environmental conditions are similar. As further evidence, the atevi artworks, though different from human ones and often very strange, are not aesthetically displeasing to humans, although they are not always conducive to a good human mood, leading me to think that atevi colour perception is similar to human colour perception, but there are differences in the psychological significance of the colours.

Contrast this to the kif, who do not see the same spectrum as all the other races, and were sold ridiculous clashing colours by the mahendo'sat as a practical joke. 

Hee hee! Those crazy mahendo'sat!

All this talk of whether or not atevi see on a human-like spectrum is interesting, no doubt. But I still think they do have pupils, dammit! LOL. And I'm gonna keep drawing them that way, don't try to stop me.... 

This post contains minor spoilers for Precursor.

It may be incrediably obvious nadiin-ji, but I would say that the Atevi eye sees in almost an identical spectrum spread to humans because they have television  and Bren seems to have no trouble viewing it. There may be a faint slop over up and down the spectrum, but I doubt it as it's never drawn to our attention in any of the books, after all if they could see into the infrared the Guild could track lingering body heat and the like.  In other words not likely...hehe

They may have an excess of rods or cones or similar eye structures in the retina which are magnitudes more sensitive to photons than the comparable cells in human eyes which could account for the night vision. As Bren says to the ship crew in the bar in Precursor, they can see in darkness as a human would in twilight (he then mentally corrects himself thinking that ship humans have no conception of what twilight is).

As for the whole pupil issue, I would say yes, they have pupils otherwise CJ would have made more a point of it in the books eg. bren not being able to notice where a particular ateva was looking. After all, the books make constant reference to eyes flicking to the side or down as signals to the's a bit hard to see where the eye is looking if it has no pupil and is all one colour 

I usually don't base my arguments on "well it hasn't shown up in the books therefore it doesn't exist" but I thought these particular examples were relevant.  :)

the mule:
Greetings Tamajini and welcome to the CherryhPit

I would in general agree with your thinking but I still personally feel that the Atevi spectrum may be broader than the human rather like the retina of cats which are intensely green or yellow due to the high reflection and run down into the infrared.

Hey, warm welcome to Shejidan, Tamajini! 

Yes! Pupils for all atevi. Besides, how are eyes supposed to glow without pupils? It's just the light reflecting off your retinas. 

If anyone disagrees with me, dammit, I'll start a war! (Just kidding. I'll probably just sit and cry.) 

*Ansikalden dares not disagree with CKTC, in fright of tears.*

If pupils are agreed upon, do they contract like human eyes or into vertical slits like cat eyes? 

Hmm I wish everyone would get over the whole cat issue  hehe. <insert good natured jibe here> Just because atevi eyes are lambent at night like a cats doesn't mean they have slitty pupils and whatnot...they're aliens  they're like nothing we've ever seen before 

I said I wasn't going to do it but I am...I'm sure if they're pupils were slitty when they contracted CJ would have made note of it in the books as yet another "difference" between the humans and the atevi 

Sorry to run around and prick yet another bubble gang hehe.  ;)


(But I just have to mention this: Atevi eyes could have horizontal slits, too.  >:D

That does it! Atevi have pupils. And they're shaped like little baji-naji symbols! Everyone happy? The matter's settled then.... LOL.

the mule:
Disputatious to the last...

OK, but do they blink vertically or horizontally?

Atevi have no pupils.

Remember, I´m the one telling you the don´t have pupils. Pupils are not necessary. But to answer this question I´ve emailed Miss Cherryh andasked her, she says Atevi do have pupils.

I think Atevi blink horizontally, blinking isn´t linked with the shape of the pupils. 

Sweet! From the Goddess herself, huh? They do have them then. 

I have to agree with Tamajini. I think that their pupils would constrict as circles, not slits. I think Ms. Cherryh would have mentioned slits if they were like that. 

Mwahahaha!  ;)  Vindicated at last hehe.

I've often noticed the similarities of the Atevi to, of course, cats. I't seems to me that they would also see movement in a highly enhanced way. take for instance, all the times Bren has been torpedoed to the floor because of the slightest movement and his guard is always on the money. Love those guys!