Dragonsdawn: B-Plot Boogie

Last time, scientists and children went hunting for dragonets to study. Sean brought back corpses, Sorka brought back a dragonet egg that hatched and Impressed on one of the scientists.

Dragonsdawn: Part One: Content Notes: Colonialism, dubious consent

The action starts with Benden, Boll, and Ongola having a meeting about Telgar’s discoveries. Before settling into the description, though, we learn a little bit more about what the intended form of government for the Pern colony is.

Once the colonists took up their stake acres and Landing’s purpose had been accomplished, the ostensible leaders would turn consultants, with no more authority than other stakeholders. The council would convene regularly to discuss broad topics and redress problems that affected the entire colony. A yearly democratic meeting would vote on any issues that required the consent of all. Magistrate Cherry Duff [the historian and librarian] administered justice at Landing and would have a circuit for grievances and any litigation. By the terms of the Pern Charter, charterers and contractors alike would be autonomous on their stake acres. The plan was idealistic, perhaps, but as Benden repeatedly insisted, there were more than enough plans and resources to allow everyone plenty of latitude.

I’d almost say that sounds like Soviet-style organization, but really, it’s more a model of Athenian democracy than anything. Most interesting, though, is the presence of the magistrate to handle issues between the autonomous landowners. I can see at least one creative exception – anyone smart enough to lead the other party in to their land can do whatever they want to do to them, it seems, including lovely things like lies, cheats, and thievery. Or possibly even murder. There, dispute resolved. Presumably, the presence of the Council and the magistrate are supposed to be a signal that the sovereign autonomy of the plots of land is limited in some method and subservient to a higher power, but outside the context of Landing, there’s not any explicit acknowledgement of anyone being a higher power on someone’s private property, elected or no, once the actual charter kicks in. Which seems to be a great seeding point for the system of Lords that is in place later on.
In the interim, the colony council has set up an arbitration board to handle grievances, stake acres and contract issues, persuaded by Boll that disputes are best settled by impartial bodies and juries by recalling to their minds the amount of war they had suffered through and the reality that they are the only humans on Pern, so that’s more than enough space for everyone to thrive without the need for greed.
The next paragraph tells us that Boll is not such an idealist as to believe everyone agrees with her, but she hopes that people who would otherwise cause trouble will get too involved in building their own lives on the planet to cause trouble for others. Which is itself followed by two paragraphs about whether or not the colonies need a penal code – Benden favors immediate justice based on shaming people who act against the common good, and so far, it seems to be working. Both Benden and Boll keep office hours for six days a week (the week itself, along with the day of rest, having been established at one of the mass meetings where Boll suggests that the “old Judean Bible used by some of the old religious sects” has plenty of sensible suggestions for an agrarian society that can be taken without having to them take all the rest of the religious material that goes with it.

If you’re familiar with that work, there are also sections in our about not harvesting to the very edge of your fields, so that those less fortunate than you can find things to eat, that debts should be forgiven on a regular basis, and that every so often, one should let the land rest completely, and not harvest anything that should appear for that entire year, leaving it for the poor and nature. (Also, Judean Bible? What the blistering fuck is that?) There’s a lot in there about hospitality and how to treat other people. Looking at the future world of Pern, it seems those parts were not kept and passed forward.

While the two leaders understood that even that loose form of democratic government might be untenable once the settlers had spread out from Landing to their own acres, they did hope that the habits acquired would suffice. Early American pioneers on that western push had exhibited a keen sense of independence and mutual assistance. The late Australian and New Zealand communities had risen above tyrannical governors and isolation to build people of character, resource, and incredible adaptability. The first international Moonbase had refined the art of independence, cooperation, and resourcefulness. The original settlers on First had largely been the progeny of ingenious Moon and asteroid-belt miner parents, and the Pern colony included many descendants of those original pioneering groups.
Paul and Emily proposed to institute yearly congregations of many people from the isolated settlements as possible to reaffirm the basic tenets of the colony, acknowledge progress, and apply the minds of many to address any general problems. Such a gathering would also be the occasion for trading and social festivities.

So, here we see the seeds of what will eventually become the Gather festival, and the inclusion of the Conclave of Lord Holders on those days – although I suspect the Gathers of later Passes happen more than just once a year.

Beyond that, though, there is this genealogy of the Pernese settlement, tracing its history back to the American West, a heavily romanticized period. I’m not as familiar with the history of Australia and New Zealand, but I suspect there’s a similar thread of narrative involving Intrepid White People finding a land full of indigenous peoples and “civilizing” it through systematic occupation, oppression, and disenfranchisement, and then creating their own narrative that the place was “wild and untamed” that needed Strong, Rugged Frontiersmen. The Moonbase is the odd entity out and the closest to the actual Pern settlement, since we know that Luna has no indigenous humanoids. (First Centauri, I would guess, did, and there was a lot of war involved in that encounter.) When combined with the racism in the colony and the willingness to overlook that racism, the colony is likely to get some rude reminders of the past they have not yet overcome. Instead of admitting they are there to get away from a lifestyle and worlds they no longer believe in, they want to recast themselves as explorers and the people looking to discover the unknown. It’s a bit surreal to be watching this kind of colonialism play out in an actual colony that is supposed to be beyond those kinds of ideas, being a future society and all that.

As for the actual plot, there’s some recalcitrance among the executive committee about their secret observations of people who might turn out to be troublemakers for the colony. Benden is okay with it as part of necessary intelligence-gathering. Boll thinks of it as too close to the secret police and other tactics of other worlds and times. Ongola stalls out the argument before it goes too far by indicating that the only craft that could go has already been sabotaged and there’s always things in the way of a clear takeoff for the craft anyway. Feeling like any potential mischief has been managed, the executive team talks a little about Kenjo’s fuel efficiency, but they have no idea why he did it or how he plans to move it to his own property. Then they talk about volcanoes and tremors, the death of a dolphin, and the general state of the colony and the nomads, as Boll hopes for a quick conclusion so that she can get to a nice dinner with Pierre, the head chef for the colony, muses on the nature of calligraphy and analog memory aids, and Benden enjoys brandy.

We do get a nice peek at how one institution has changed from Terra.

In order to widen the gene pool in the next generation, the charter permitted unions of varying lengths, first insuring the support of a gravid woman and the early years of the resultant child. Prospective partners could choose which conditions suited their requirements, but there were severe penalties, up to the loss of all stake acres, for failing to fulfill whatever contract had been agreed and signed before the requisite number of witnesses.

Which makes me wonder what gets put into contracts, if the penalties are that severe. And whether anyone has yet created caskets of silver, gold, and lead.

Ongola boasts about his marriage and the resultant pregnancy, which makes Benden relieved that Ongola is not holding on to his grief of lost wife and family in the Nathi war. Ongola then asks whether Boll has managed to snag Pierre yet, which flusters her and she deflects on to Benden and asks if he’s going to do this, too. He provides no answer, and then the narrative shifts over to Sallah, who is still courting Tarvi, and has finally managed to go out on a mission with him alone.

Sallah was playing it cautiously, concentrating on making herself so professionally indispensable to Tarvi that an opportunity to project her femininity would not force him to retreat into his usual utterly courteous, utterly impersonal shell. She had seen other women who made a determined play for the handsome, charming geologist rebuffed by his demeanor; they were surprised, puzzled, and sometimes hurt by the way he eluded their ploys. For a while, Sallah had wondered if Tarvi liked women at all, but he had shown no preference for the acknowledged male lovers in Landing. He treated everyone, man, woman, and child, with the same charming affability and understanding. And whatever his sexual preference, he was nonetheless expected to add to the next generation. Sallah was already determined to be the medium and would find the moment.

Cocowhat by depizan

Yes, I realize that we’re several decades in front of the popular culture coming to realize that asexuality is a thing, but surely it’s possible that if Tarvi’s not interested in women, and not interested in men, and presumably not interested in anyone who doesn’t fit either of those identities, then maybe Tarvi isn’t fucking interested in fucking. So this bit about expectations of the next generation and Sallah’s determination to fulfill them…it makes me worry that the author decided that the new! exciting! thing for this story is that the rape of the unwilling will be a woman committing it on a man. Please, please, let me be wrong.

Sallah is hoping to entice Tarvi with the prospect of caves to explore. Officially, it’s confirming the presence of metals and ores, as well as photographing interesting sites for people to choose as their locations, where a short digression indicates that the wine-growers are looking for specific lands to put their grapes on. Tarvi bites on the exploration part, and apparently is unaware as he steamrolls her plans for romance by being far more interested in climbing cliffs and exploring the great giant cave system that looks like it would make a great Great Hall and supporting structures. And then drawing accurate maps and dimensions of the system as well. When they stop for the evening meal, Sallah spikes Tarvi’s food with something the pharmacists say is an aphrodisiac, which… seems to do nothing at all, as Tarvi continues to talk about how the cave system itself would make a great fortress. Tarvi appears to be stiff, so Sallah gives him a massage to work out the kinks of the climbing, which she eventually stops as a massage and just turns into caresses. Eventually, he catches her hands, but it’s not a passionate embrace or a declaration of love.

“Perhaps this is the time,” he mused as if alone. “There will never be a better. And it must be done.”
With the suppleness that was as much a trademark of Tarvi Andiyar as his ineffable charm, he gathered her in his arms, pulling her across his lap. His expression, oddly detached as if examining her for the first time, was not quite the tender, loving expression she had so wished to evoke. His expressive and large brown eyes were almost sad, though his perfectly shaped lips curved in an infinitely gentle smile – as if, the thought intruded on Sallah’s delight in her progress, he did not wish to frighten her.
“So, Sallah,” he said in his rich low and sensual voice, “it is you.”
She knew she should interpret that cryptic remark, but then he began to kiss her, his hands suddenly displaying an exceedingly erotic mind of their own, and she no longer wished to interpret anything.

Cocowhat by depizan

Cocowhat by depizan

That doesn’t look like any sort of consent, or even really lust or desire, on Tarvi’s part. If the aphrodisiac is really responsible for this behavior, then Sallah, you took advantage of him. Using basically the same idea that someone might use in trying to get a woman too drunk to be able to fight back or spiking her drink with a date rape drug. Which should receive all the condemnation possible, but Tarvi doesn’t necessarily know and there aren’t any other witnesses.

And the narrative is going to spiral away from this back somewhere else, rather than deal with the morning after.

I dislike being right about this. Strongly.

22 thoughts on “Dragonsdawn: B-Plot Boogie

  1. Firedrake June 30, 2016 at 4:49 am

    It’s all a bit reminiscent of the end of Nerilka, really.

    From a Doylist perspective this social stuff feels very forced – because, I think, of the book’s being a prequel. It seems like making excuses: “yeah, that system is weird, but they started like this and so it could have changed in that way”. The Significant Names certainly don’t help here.

  2. Wingsrising June 30, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Random aside: I’ve never really been quite sure what sort of schedule Gathers happen on. In Dragonsinger Piemer says they have Gathers whenever there’s decent weather and no Thread on a Restday (presumably the Perneese equivalent of Sunday) and no one seems to know for sure whether it’s happening until the morning of, when the Gather flag goes up. There are really big festivals that required lots of planning like the Spring Festival, that happen only a few times a year, but that’s different from Gathers.

    But in Moreta and Nerilka, it seems like Gathers are a much bigger deal. requiring a lot of planning, and happen much less frequently, maybe a few times a year at any given hold.

    (The former seems more reasonable to me — I mean, at least that people in the Hold and surrounding area would have a market day and get together for some singing and dancing fairly frequently.)

  3. genesistrine June 30, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I can see at least one creative exception–anyone smart enough to lead the other party in to their land can do whatever they want to do to them, it seems, including lovely things like lies, cheats, and thievery. Or possibly even murder.

    I can see another. It goes, “Oh yeah? What are you going to do about it, then?” And quite possibly, “You and whose army?”

    McCaffrey evidently has far greater faith in human nature than I have.

    Which makes me wonder what gets put into contracts, if the penalties are that severe.

    And how are they enforced? “Oi, delinquent dad, I’m here to tell you you’ve lost all your stake acres!” “Oh right, what are you planning to do about it? I’m staying here. Get stuffed.”

    Not to mention that that doesn’t cover women who get pregnant before the contract’s signed.

    As for the whole Tarvi thing, as well as the epic creepiness you’ve already pointed out it’s bizarre that no-one seems to go for the, “hey, I think you’re cute and since we’re all supposed to be having babies how would you feel about having some with me?” approach. It has to be all fluttering-eyelashes and make-yourself-useful and spiking someone’s dinner with herbal viagra WTF is WRONG with you McCaffrey?

    Oh yes. Of course. NICE women can’t go around expressing an interest in sex, so it all has to be indirect and underhand and holy god I can NOT get over the spiking. Of all the creepy crappy things in Pern so far….

    @Firedrake: but it’s not like there’s a real need for all the foreshadowing. The original given reason works fine – panicky people in cramped quarters with low resources led to ruthless leaders who became hereditary leaders; any societies with a more co-operative system instead got wiped out once the monarchs got armies together. Like you say, making excuses.

    @Wingsrising: yeah, the Dragonsinger model is obviously silly. The baker for example – are we supposed to believe that he waits for the Gather flag before starting to make his hundreds of bubbly pies for sale that day? Those Gathers must be the equivalent of the local weekly market (Threadfall permitting) so, eg, tanners know to turn up with their covetable belts, traders arrive to buy instruments off apprentices etc.

  4. emmy June 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Tarvi definitely seems like MAYBE ASK HIM would have been a reasonable plan.

    If you really wanted her to play a devious mating dance you could have her see him rebuff some other woman who asked him up front, with a cryptic statement about how he’s waiting for the right moment, and that could make her both afraid to ask and hopeful that she can somehow be the Right One if she manipulates events. It still wouldn’t make her motives great, but you’d understand how she got there more.

    But that doesn’t seem to be what happened – instead, she says she saw him rebuff the “ploys” of other women, implying manipulative behavior, so she… does exactly the same thing? It doesn’t add up.

  5. WanderingUndine June 30, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    And the Suck Fairy strikes. If I disliked the “seduction” scene when I read it at age 14, it was only because *all* depictions of sexy sex scenes made (and make) me irritably envious. The methods seemed reasonable and romantic, especially since I had no idea (and still have little idea) how people can effectively and appropriately express their desires. Like too many people, I didn’t recognize rape as rape unless it was violently forced on a clearly-unwilling victim.

  6. Silver Adept July 1, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    @ Firedrake – Sure, but Nerilka offers an explicit contract that can be refused – have a kid and I’ll let you die. And Alessan offers one back – have my kid, then, so I can die. Even though they’re all basically negotiating in bad mental states, there’s the possibility of refusal. Sallah drugging Tarvi and then doing nothing to tell him about it gives no possibility of refusing.

    Avril, who is supposed to be the antithesis of a good colonist, gets more consent than Sallah does. It’s the same pattern of “heroes know and do, villains actually ask” that surrounds the whole planet. This series is seriously consent-negative.

    On the matter of Gathers, it’s possible that they have minor and major variations, where there’s a weekly version that can be canceled on Threadfall without problems, and then the big ones that are regional kinds of meetings that are supposed to be scheduled around Thread patterns, and the major festivals that rotate around the planet so as to be opposite the Threadfall pattern. They all get called Gather, of course, because Pern language is plusgood, but they’re not all the same.

  7. WanderingUndine July 2, 2016 at 5:17 am

    Before the scene ended in my first read, I related more to Sallah (wants it but apparently doesn’t know how to ask or seek it on her own merits) than Avril (wants it, requests it, gets it). I stopped relating after they “had sex,” especially as I’m too afraid of drugs and rape to ever consider inflicting them on someone, but I thought I understood her frustration.

  8. depizan July 2, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    This colony is a nightmare. I’m not sure there are enough cocowhats on the planet for everything here.

    Which is itself followed by two paragraphs about whether or not the colonies need a penal code – Benden favors immediate justice based on shaming people who act against the common good, and so far, it seems to be working.


    Without a penal code, you have no criminal law. You really think that shaming people is going to prevent rape, murder, theft, assault, abuse, sabotage, arson, and everything else societies tend to sensibly outlaw? Especially when without a penal code, you not only don’t have punishments, you don’t have laws. Guess it’s anything goes here! SPIFFY! That won’t go horribly, horribly wrong ever. Nope!

    (It does explain a whole hell of a lot about the other Pern books though.)

    “first insuring the support of a gravid woman and the early years of the resultant child. Prospective partners could choose which conditions suited their requirements, but there were severe penalties, up to the loss of all stake acres, for failing to fulfill whatever contract had been agreed and signed before the requisite number of witnesses.”

    Is there anything in the charter about making sure that everyone entering into the contract is doing so willingly and not under any sort of duress? Because this, too, could go horribly wrong really damn fast. And…um…how is this very vague government going to enforce these contracts? Do they have any sort of police (despite not having criminal laws)? You can scratch someone’s name off the books, but if you can’t kick them off the land they’re occupying, that’s pretty well meaningless.

    “And whatever his sexual preference, he was nonetheless expected to add to the next generation.”

    Dear fucking god, please tell me that everyone knew that forced procreation was part of the colony before they got on the ship. Oh, wait, according to other materials some people were there not of their free will. That’s rape, people. Built right into your damned colony.

    *breaks out the Team Thread T-shirts*

    Sallah spikes Tarvi’s food with something the pharmacists say is an aphrodisiac


    I’d say this is why you need laws, but given the founding principles of the colony…


  9. WanderingUndine July 3, 2016 at 5:35 am

    And this only reinforced my dangerous mindset that asking for sex is “disgustingly blatant” but heroines can righteously score by being persistently attractive and manipulative, perhaps with magical intervention. Thanks, AMC.

  10. genesistrine July 3, 2016 at 6:54 am

    I actually only just noticed that it’s a pharmacist who gives Sallah the alleged aphrodisiac. Um – has Pern chucked out ethical codes along with penal codes and criminal law?

    I like the pregnancy contract idea, but we’re not seeing it in action – it’s another thing like poly Lords and gay riders that we’re told exists so the author can seem broadminded, but that get ignored by the story. Ongola’s stated to have married his wife when she was already pregnant – was the marriage the contract, or was the contract previous? Sallah drugged Tarvi into sex, which given Pern narrative rules means Ever After Unless You’re A Depraved Villain (Or Doomed Heroine With Boring Hysterical Partner Who Cracks Under Pressure) but there was no discussion about rights of and responsibilities to any resulting kids. So – and this sounds ridiculously stupid, but THIIIS. IIIS. PERRRN!!! – do they wait until the pregnancy to sort out the legalities?

    And on top of everything that’s already been said, what’s going to happen the first time someone claims the mother’s been sleeping around and the kid’s not his? This generation can probably jury-rig a DNA/blood test, but that’s not going to be feasible in the agrarian society they want.

    It’s a pity, because the contract system seems as though it’d allow for all kinds of interesting flexibility – gay couples contracting with a surrogate mother or donor father, with clauses about who looks after the child in case of death or impairment, multiple marriages nominating a single carer-parent for all children born in that marriage and no doubt all kinds of things I haven’t thought of. It would be interesting to see people negotiating it out, but since AMC believes all sexual relationships have to be based on Swept Away By Passion, even if it’s dubious consent (e.g. dragon matings) or quite possibly rape* (Sallah and Tarvi) we’re not going to see that here.

    *We don’t know if the aphrodisiac actually worked/overrode consent; it’s possible that Tarvi just decided what the hell, had to have babies with someone, might as well be with this woman who was making it perfectly obvious that she was into him but not going to actually say anything about it**. Though since I can’t stand to read this book in any more than short bursts I may have missed a clarification.

    **Not that that absolves Sallah, whether she’s drugged him or just thinks she has, but I prefer the thought that she ran into a Weatherwaxian headology specialist who gave her a bottle of coloured water in the hope that it’d encourage her to proposition her target. Unfortunately since AMC obviously has a dubcon fetish (the whole swept-away-with-passion by-any-means then-it’s-TRUE-LOVE! thing) this probably isn’t true….

  11. WanderingUndine July 3, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Yeah. I can see an ethical pharmacist dispensing the kind of “aphrodisiac” that treats importance or increases libido and can be used by a consenting person, but not one that messes with the mind or body to inhibit decision-making or self-defense.

  12. emmy July 3, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    The Sallah/Tarvi relationship is WEIRD and is only going to get weirder, as I recall. Ickier in some places. Just plain baffling in others. I can look forward to long discussions of “what were either of them thinking???”…

  13. WanderingUndine July 3, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    *looks up “dubcon”* Ah. I’ve learned a new word.

  14. genesistrine July 4, 2016 at 4:02 am

    @WanderingUndine: my dangerous mindset that asking for sex is “disgustingly blatant” but heroines can righteously score by being persistently attractive and manipulative, perhaps with magical intervention.

    Well, it’s not an unusual mindset, sadly. Though AMC usually seems to go for “heroine wants it but can’t ask for it and therefore has to be forced into it”, which is even creepier. Small dubious yay to Sallah for not just hanging around hoping to be raped I guess?

    Re the pharmacist, I guess – I hope – they’re dealing with pre-Viagra aphrodisiacs here anyway; ie ones that either have only a psychological effect or give you itchy genitalia and hope you mistake that for arousal. Even Viagra-type “aphrodisiacs” rely on the man in question thinking that his boner’s because he’s he’s attracted to whoever he’s with (any guys here feel free to comment on the likelihood of this); it doesn’t override his consent. If Pernese herbs/colonist pharmacopoeia has the ability to actually override consent… a galaxy full of cocowhats wouldn’t be enough.

    Ah. I’ve learned a new word.

    It’s a very useful one when it comes to AMC’s oeuvre!

  15. WanderingUndine July 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Whoops, I see my autocorrect turned “impotence” to “importance.” Hah. Reducing the importance of some Pernese “heroes” would be nice.

  16. depizan July 4, 2016 at 12:47 pm


    do they wait until the pregnancy to sort out the legalities?

    This is what makes the contracts seem terrifying rather than helpful to me. Well, one of the things. Medical care is probably going to get iffier and iffier as they run out of the supplies they brought with them. (Unless they have some sort of Star Trek replicator thingy to make medications, but I’m pretty sure they don’t.) Having antibiotics and the ability to sterilize medical instruments and…well…everything that is modern medicine takes civilization. That thing they’re trying to get away from. Pregnancy will become more and more risky – and is probably already riskier on Pern than it was on the worlds they left behind.

    People, even with modern medicine can have bad pregnancies and end up requiring bed rest – for months – never mind more minor things like IV fluids because of bad morning sickness. In a world where everyone is expected to Make It On Their Own ™, being pregnant is no small inconvenience. Women are going to feel pressure – on a survival level alone – to make contracts with people once they’re pregnant. With no laws and no other protection, they’re kind of at the mercy of the men of the colony.

    (This is one of many reasons why it seems like a colony that is mostly made up of already paired (or whatever numbered) off people would make more sense and be more stable than a colony of single people who are, none the less, expected to get with the baby making.)

    Also… this is a colony that is it. There won’t be another ship worth of people in a few years. I can’t remember how many people there are (several hundred?), but it seems like it’s a really small number to make a long term viable colony. Especially when they’re doing NOTHING to ensure that they don’t start losing people. (In fact, by not having laws, they seem to be trying to ensure that they WILL lose people – to internal conflict.)

    Maybe I’m just super cynical, but this all seems like a freaking horrible idea. (Though it does a marvelous job of explaining how Pern came out so completely fucked up. … Well, except you’d expect there still to have been forces trying to un-fuck it. The strange static nature of Pernese society still isn’t explained. Unless it does turn out that they genetically engineered the lower classes to lack ambition and such. At the rate things are going, this would not surprise me.)

  17. genesistrine July 4, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    @depizan: no mention of replicator tech or any manufacturing. The cunning plan seems to be find everything that’s pharmaceutically useful on the planet before they run out of what they came with. They’re obviously a group with the belief that childbirth is ~*NATURAL*~ and nothing ~*NATURAL*~ could ever go horribly wrong. I would like to headcanon that the FSP’s reluctance to let them go was on grounds along the lines of “you twits can do what you want to yourselves but we don’t think you should be allowed to condemn your descendants to it”, but then of course we run across the “take these nomads please” issue.

    There are several thousand colonists by the way, can’t remember if we get a more exact figure, 700-odd of whom are the forcibly-transported nomads.

    Well, except you’d expect there still to have been forces trying to un-fuck it.

    Maybe they were crunchy and tasted good with ketchup.

  18. depizan July 5, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Several thousand colonists is better than several hundred – I’d forgotten just how many forcibly-transported nomads there were. Still, I have my doubts about the viability of a completely unsupported colony even of several thousand. Especially one with no laws, no sense, rapidly vanishing medical supplies, weirdly done governance (including a lack of ability to actually enforce what rules there are), and at least 700-ish people who have every reason to be less than happy with their situation.

    This has clusterfuck of the century written all over it. And that’s before we get to Threadfall.

    Maybe they were crunchy and tasted good with ketchup.

    If only the dragons hadn’t stopped with the people trying to improve things. :\

  19. Firedrake July 5, 2016 at 2:23 am

    I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that most of these colonists are another “B” ark.

  20. genesistrine July 5, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    @depizan: it’s a worryingly small genepool too, even if they are all allegedly starting off with no nasty recessives. (Even the nomad families? Were their genomes forcibly cleaned out when they were loaded on board?)

    Weirdly, all that does come over as kind of realistic to me. I can see a gang of fuckwits thinking it’s an absolutely brilliant idea – no government oversight! Living like human beings “should”! Planet of our own, pioneer spirit, we all want the same thing so no need for repressive laws! There’s been no shortage of similar communities on Earth, but at least they were usually where people were in with a chance of walking to civilization when it all fell apart….

    And now I want to read the story of that colony and how it all fell horribly apart with no Thread necessary. Clusterfuck of the century? The millennium at least!

    @Firedrake: I’ll drink to that! Jynnan tonnyx all round?

  21. depizan July 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm


    Oh, yes, it’s horribly plausible. Except for the fact that it supposedly works out. I guess that’s what makes it a fantasy!

    The funny thing is, it’s possible that the Thread actually helped them survive – common enemy and all that. (And I still suspect that the dragons weren’t the only species that got genetically engineered.)

  22. genesistrine July 6, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Yeah, it also seems horribly plausible that as soon as some of the colonists realized what breakback work farming really was they started planning to kidnap some people from the next stake over and use their Gene-Manipulation-4-Dummies kit to do a bit of creative hereditary brain damage. “Why should my kids have to slave for a living when I can make those arseholes do it instead?”

    Though my theory about Dragonsdawn is that a lot of it’s a lie anyway. I reckon vg’f gur fgbel Nvinf gryyf vgf svaqref nobhg gur sbhaqvat, naq jurer vg qvssref sebz gur bzavcbgrag aneengvba bs gur bevtvany bcravatf vf jurer vg’f bhgevtug ylvat, naq gur erfg vf perngvir vagrecergngvba. Bayl vg xrrcf trggvat ovgf jebat orpnhfr vg qbrfa’g dhvgr haqrefgnaq uhzna zbgvingvba, juvpu vf jul jr trg guvatf yvxr Nievy’f Haqrecnagf Tabzr rivy cyna. (Vg pbhyq nyfb or znxvat fghss hc bhg bs jubyr pybgu, ohg gung’f ab sha orpnhfr vg tvirf ab onfvf sbe gelvat gb svther bhg jung ernyyl unccrarq….)

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