Pattern: Oankhali constantly withholding things (information, materials, etc.) and only telling half-truths

Example 1: “’I cannot give you such things. Not to write or read… It is not allowed.’” (pg 62)

Example 2: “Bury anything you like in Kaal. When you leave Kaal, and you want to throw something away, give it to an ooloi” (pg 69)

Context: Lilith has just been poisoned part of the ship accidentally because she was only give a half truth about how to expose waste.

Example 3: “You don’t understand us at all. You never will, really, though you’ll be given much more information about us.” (pg. 112)

Example 4: “’You invited me to ask,’ she said. ‘No. That isn’t what I was doing.’” (pg 50)

Example 5: “And, within reason, we want you to know us.” (pg 50)


Hypothesis 1: The Oankhali deliberately manipulate the information flow to humans to keep them tame and under control, while remaining “peaceful”. This manipulation would allow them to abuse human ignorance of certain technologies/sciences for their own benefits. This would be a manipulation method that was probably used during the colonial era.

Hypothesis 2: The Oankhali use the slow information flow as a way to slowly bring their own culture into human culture. As humans forget their own culture over the years and breed the human-Oankhali hybrids (that will be more knowledgeable about Oankhali culture due to genes), the Oankhali civilization will have taken over due to cultural control.