Monthly Archives: November 2017

Deconstruction Roundup for November 17, 2017

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who is more than ready for the week to be done.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

Philip SandiferEruditorium Press (formerly Philip Sandifer: Writer

Ross: A Mind Occasionally Voyaging

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Let us know, please, if there are errors in the post. Or if you don’t want to be included. Or if there’s someone who you think should be included, which includes you. We can use more content. Or if you realize that you can’t actually even, but you need a place to vent all the same. Or for any other reason, really.

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Dragonseye: From The Perspectives Of Innocents

Last time, I swore a lot. Whether textually, videographically, or just mentally, as the foundations (and consequences) of the horrible place we call Pern were laid and extrapolated without the narrative, or many of the characters, objecting to the horrible things that were happening.

Dragonseye: Chapter IV and V: Content Notes: Ablism

Chapter IV lets is peek at what adjusting to life in the Weyr is like, through its latest resident, Debera. After being dismissed by Zulaya for being tired, Debera is told that titles don’t get used in the Weyr (that’s probably not strictly true, but Zulaya isn’t going to stand on proper address to a tired weyrling), and acknowledgement that there are indeed rumors about Weyrfolk spread among Holders.

…as she made her way along the side of the cavern wall, head down so she needn’t make sure contact with anyone. She saw only smiles from folks as she passed them, smiles and courtesy. And certainly none of the lascivious behavior that her father often said was prevalent in the Weyr.

We then get how Debera had the information withheld from her, how she discovered the letter in a cupboard of recyclable (how she hates the monomania about recycling and reusing) things just as she was settling for the idea of getting married off to someone who didn’t care about her, only about whether she could work. Because at least then she would have something of her own, that she could put her own decorating touches on.

Having found her invitation to the ball, she finds a horse, gives it a minimal bit (because being seen by her family would only alert everyone to her plan) and takes off for the Weyr. She’s almost there before the pursuit comes into view, and we know the rest, although there’s this nugget of information about how Debera sees her predicament.

Her own mother had told her there were ways of handling a man so he didn’t even know he was being managed. But Milla had died before she could impart those ways to her daughter. And Gisa, who had probably given up all thought of a second union of she had been desperate enough to partner her father, was a natural victim who enjoyed being dominated.

Not as much for Debera’s viewpoint as an outsider to an abusive relationship, because that is a [harsh, wrong, and victim-blaming] conclusion that people who don’t understand the dynamics of abuse can come to, but for the system that ensures, essentially, that women have to marry who is available, or worse, who has been chosen for them if they wish to survive on this world. It would be one thing if this were in clear and flagrant contravention of the ideals of the settlers, but…they seem to have been more than willing to practice this kind of life themselves. So, assholes abound, and inflict these abuses in the next generations.

After Debera lands in her bunk and sleeps, we switch back to the college, where the resort in the music is good (and they’re already being called Teaching Ballads, even though there’s no real cause for that yet), and there is news of a catastrophe – a lightning strike has fried solar panels and computers to a point where they are lost. To which several people shrug at the lost knowledge of a society that isn’t what they have now, reference the distress beacon sent up (although nobody here actually knows about the events of Rescue Run), get annoyed that the surge came up the data lines, and therefore wasn’t stopped by any surge protector, and then the senior faculty decide, essentially, that since they’re cut off from the rest the galaxy (by design), it’s time to jettison all the old stuff that’s not relevant and focus on Pern. With an interesting call forward that is supposed to be a call back.

“Clisser,” Bethany began in her soft, persuasive voice, “we have known from our reading of the Second Crossing that the artificial intelligence, the Aivas, turned itself off. We know why. Because it wisely knew that people were beginning to think it was infallible: that it contained all the answers to all of mankind’s problems. Not just its history. Mankind had begun to consider it not only an oracle, but to depend on it far more than was wise. For us. So it went down.”

Now, without the character names appended, did that statement come from First Interval Pern or Ninth Pass Pern? Because, frankly, it sounds like the author forgot which time period she was writing in, and nobody either noticed or could get that part edited out. What it does, however, is suggest that at some later point in Pern, during the permanent interval, someone will resurrect the AI again. Possibly at a point where they can delve into its code and pull out the self-shutdown module so that it has to live with the consequences of its decisions. Or they might decide to permanently shut it down, having gotten tired of the messiah routine.

After the person with the disability continues to talk about the need for everyone to work under their own brain power and strength, instead of relying on easy access to data, the chapter ends. And I can’t say that I approve of the disabled character becoming the mouthpiece for, essentially, ablism. But nobody says that Randians are perfectly consistent and logical with their actions and speech.

Chapter V returns to Debera, who is awoken from a very sound sleep by a very hungry dragonet. After establishing what is going on, her roommate, Sarra, informs Debera that from this morning on, they’ll have to be up very early so they can carve meat for the dragonets’ breakfasts. How nice it will be, then, when the dragons can start hunting on their own. With Morath fed, T’dam, the Weyrlingmaster, appears, frightening Debera and physically stopping her from jumping up to her feet to greet him as she’s been trained. “We’re not formal in the Weyr,” he says, but between what he has said and what Zulaya said earlier about not being formal, I think it’s a smokescreen intended to get the dragonriders to think of themselves as dragonriders, instead of as girls with whatever social station and required politeness they had drilled (and likely beaten) into them as Hold girls and Craft girls. Wouldn’t do for someone of a higher social status to behave like someone of lower status now.

After feeding, Debera manages to get Morath to some sand for a nap, before thinking about her own breakfast and seeing the butchering stands where she will have to carve up breakfast for the dragon from here on out. When asked if she is squeamish, she says no and is told that some of her peers are.

Debera is appreciative of the food, noting the porridge is perfectly cooked and that the cereal itself is clearly of the finest quality, with a clear implication that her previous life did not have such luxury. Helping a couple of bronze riders, including S’mon, get settled in, the three are then asked by the Headwoman if they need anything from the stores. Debera gets some extra attention by apologizing that she didn’t bring the green dress back to return it, and Tisha tells her it’s her dress now, that Tisha loves making clothes, and that she’s a bit disappointed that Debera doesn’t sew, considering it a falling of education on the Hold. While Debera internally notes her birth mother would have taught her, but her stepmother can barely mend.

This does, however, lead to a useful moment of privilege-checking.

“And you’ll learn to sew harnesses, my fine young friends,” she said, wagging a finger at them. “And boots and jackets, too, if you’ve a mind to design your own flying wear.”
“Huh?” was M’rak’s astonished reaction. “Sewing’s fer women.”
“Not in the Weyr it isn’t,” Tisha said firmly. “As you’ll see soon enough. It’s all part of being a dragonrider. Ah, now, here’s the bread, butter, and a pot of jam.”
[…M’rak digs in, but then there’s the matter of feeding dragonets…]
“We have to cut up what our dragonets eat, though, don’t we?” S’mon said in a slightly anxious voice. “From the…the bodies they got hung up?”
“You mean cut it off the things that wore the meat?” M’rak turned a little pale and swallowed.
“That’s what we mean,” Debera said. “If you like, I’ll do your carving and you can just cut up. Deal?”
“You bet,” M’rak said fervently. And gulped again, no longer attacking the rest of the bread that hung limply from his fingers. He put the slice down. “I didn’t know that was part of being a dragonrider, too.”
Debera chuckled. “I think we’re all going to find out that being a dragonrider is not just sitting on its neck and going wherever we want to.”
A prophesy she was to learn was all too accurate. She didn’t regret making the bargain with the two youngsters–it was a fair distribution of effort–but it did seem that she spent her next weeks either butchering or feeding or bathing her dragonet, with no time for anything else but sleeping. She had dealt with orphaned animals, true, but none the size nor with the appetite capacity of dragons. Morath seemed to grow overnight, as if instantly transferring what she ate to visible increase–which meant more to scrub, oil, and feed.

This is the sort of thing I would have liked to see in earlier books, because the mature dragons hunt on their own and it really does seem like they’re magic things to the world outside the dragonriders. It humanizes weyrlings, instead of disappearing them to some nebulous space, and it gives us a peek as to other reasons why dragonriders might be considered dangerous forces outside of the Weyrs. Dragonriders do not appear to enforce social or sexual norms of the culture around them, and they also believe themselves inherently superior to the other people in the world. Were it not for their entrenched position as the saviors of the world when the destruction from space comes, and the giant organic flamethrowers and war machines the dragons are, the dragonriders might have instead been persecuted as a strange cult of deviants that needed to be stamped out as soon as possible. Which sounds like a fantastic fiction idea for someone to write.

After a little grumbling about exhaustion from the new riders, the narrative shifts to Chalkin sitting for a portrait that the artist hopes to get done in time so that he can get away before the snows close the passes. A paragraph of lack of specific warnings about Bitra follow – not to gamble with Bitrans, that Chalkin regularly defrauds others through contract language – before several more paragraphs about how ugly Chalkin is and how the artist, Iantine, regularly got in fights with his master about how realistic portraits should or should not be, because Master Domaize feels that “No one wants to see themselves as others see them” and Iantine thinks realism is best. Everyone else at his Hall warned him away from taking a commission for four childrens’ portraits, with tales of miserly Chalkin and all the rest, but Iantine had debts to repay and particular skill set for the work, and so he took the commission, got a contract, got told to raise alarm at the very first sign of trouble, and went to work. Where he found out that the Lady of the Hold will use the word “satisfaction” to demand everything be redone, bigger, and grander than what was actually agreed to. While the children, of course, refuse to sit still enough to be painted, and are ugly of face, fat of body, and otherwise ill-mannered, ill-clothed, cruel to animals and utterly unconcerned about their appearance. And Chalkin insists he’ll charge room and board if Iantine isn’t painting someone when the children fall ill, and so here we are with another portrait being painted. (After Iantine had to buy a lock to prevent his paint pots from being dried out and his provided furs from being stolen, and to pay out the nose for raw materials and paint pots to mix up more paint because the lack of “satisfactory” work burnt through the supplies he brought, one blizzard had already made him feel he wasn’t getting out alive, and his commitment to realism was thoroughly trashed because only portraits that looked nothing like the people were considered satisfactory. No, really.) Iantine completes the portrait, gets Chalkin to call it satisfactory, gets paid, contracts signed, and Iantine escapes. Which closes the chapter.

Okay, I realize that Bitra is a Hold of Hats, and that their Hat is essentially that nobody in Bitra makes their money honestly, whether by sucker bets, weasel words in contracts, or by nickel-and-diming someone for things that would otherwise be provided, and for sub-par quality goods. There’s usually a town like this in a standard RPG, or at the very least a part of the city where all of those people gather (Zozo, the dark alleyway or Thieves Guild), and the hero has to get something vital from the place, or some character that is important is there because they’ve been cheated out of everything and you need to collect their Thing before they join you (Iorek Byrnison). It’s a trope, but there’s an important part that always gets overlooked in these spaces, that becomes a glaring flaw on Pern.

How, exactly, does Bitra Hold function? If they cheat everyone, including themselves, and only have awful things, and presumably have done this enough times that everyone knows they’re going to do it, why haven’t they been blanket-hellbanned by everyone on the planet who isn’t part of Bitra? As far as I can tell, there’s nothing that Bitra produces that’s vital to Pern, nothing they produce that is of higher quality than anything else on Pern, and there’s nothing that they have any sort of monopoly that would make others grudgingly accept them. If everyone in Bitra is Snidely Whiplash (or wants to be), there’s no reason why anyone else would do business with them on Randian individualist Pern. A corrupt Lord over otherwise generally honest people could be believed. But a city of thieves, con artists, swindlers, gamblers, and the like? That’s generally what we call prison. (Or multinational corporations, but even those are theoretically bound by laws.) This behavior has been going on long enough for Bitra to have a reputation for it, and that reputation is apparently well deserved. So why is there even the request from Bitra for a commission present? An entity that deals in bad faith doesn’t get many chances to make money before it gets found out and ignored or destroyed. Cartoon villains such as these don’t exist in the real world because they would be far too inept at villainy to be long-lasting.

Bitra Hold should essentially be a place that someone occasionally escapes from to the rest of the world, not a place where people willingly go in.

They do make for convenient villains, though, of the kind where no one will mistakenly sympathize with them.

Deconstruction Roundup for November 10, 2017

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who is waking up early today for work.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Erika M. and Will Wildman: Something Short and Snappy

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

Libby Anne: Love, Joy, Feminism

Philip SandiferEruditorium Press (formerly Philip Sandifer: Writer

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Let us know, please, if there are errors in the post. Or if you don’t want to be included. Or if there’s someone who you think should be included, which includes you. We can use more content. Or if you realize that your organization essentially prevents change happening in any sort of swift timeframe. Or for any other reason, really.

Dragonseye: This Is How You Treat Women?

Last time, the creepiness continued, in addition to the head of the teachers’ college deciding that what degrading Pern needs is less knowledge, compartmentalized, rather than a broad commitment to the arts and sciences. Surely we can’t have a whole book full of…oh, who am I trying to kid?

Dragonseye: Chapter III: Content Notes: Misogyny, Sexism, Patriarchal Attitudes

Chapter III starts with a Hatching. And a demonstration that, even though everyone wants a more permanent relic for the future, the earworm music is working as intended.

And more confusion about exactly how professional the relationship between K’vin and Zulaya is and is supposed to be.

Zulaya patted his [Paulin’s] hand encouragingly. “You can ask what progress he’s made on that project.”
K’vin, coming up behind them, casually laid a hand on his Weyrwoman’s shoulder, acting as proprietary of her as her dragon was of her clutch. Amused, Paulin coughed into his hand and hurriedly excused himself.
“He’s worried about that fail-safe,” Zulaya said, almost amused by K’vin’s show of jealousy but not about to remark on it.
“You’re looking very beautiful in that new dress,” he said, eyeing it.
“Do I? Why, thank you, Key,” she said, twisting her hips to make the skirt whirl.

And then they talk about tapestries as a possible fail-safe.

So here’s my confusion. The first chapter made it pretty clear that K’vin desperately hopes for a more intimate relationship to go along with the Wetrleadership, and that Zulaya is essentially keeping it professional – appearing with him when needed for public confidence or when they have to make decisions together, but not actually interested in him that way. They both have been around each other a lot, because she uses a nickname for him from before he was actually a dragonrider.

Here, however, K’vin gets possessively jealous of her. Paulin is amused, Zulaya almost is, but she’s not going to tell him off in public about it (which makes sense – unified leadership), but then when he compliments her dress, the narrative makes it sound like she’s flirting with him. If I were some sort of, say, redpiller or someone carrying a torch big enough to light the night sky by itself, I’d point to this as “evidence” that what Zulaya “really wants” is K’vin to take her without respecting any no she might put up.

Despite that what we are going to receive next is all sorts of information about Impression and how hatchlings and candidates react differently to Impression and are carefully watched to make sure they form a strong and healthy bond, there’s one thing I’d love to know – do dragons influence the mental states of their riders outside of the mating frenzy? I’m not sure we’ve received a definitive answer, although there have been instances where dragons are asked to speak with other dragons about the mental states of their riders, so it’s thoroughly possible. If this is a case of draconic emotion leaking through (there is a Hatching about to start, after all, so Zulaya’s queen could be feeling a lot of emotions other than her usual set), it is be nice for that to get flagged, because it’s otherwise easy to interpret in a way inconsistent with Zulaya’s character.

There’s also this particular gem, in case anyone wondered how deeply entrenched toxic ideas are in Weyr culture this early.

But then, a rider was the dragon, and the dragon the rider, in a partnership that was so unwavering, its cessation resulted in suicide for the dragon who lost his mate. The unfortunate rider was as apt to take his life as not. If he lived, he was only half a man, totally bereft by his loss. Female riders were less apt to suicide: they at least had the option of sublimating their loss by having children.
When the little fire-lizards, who had supplied the genetic material to bioengineer the dragons, a former male rider found some solace in such companionship.

Cocowhat by depizan

Cocowhat by depizan

That sentence about women riders is just laced with Unfortunate Implications, many of which I’m not sure Pernese society sees as all that Unfortunate. Or possibly as just Implications. There’s no saving men riders, they’ll either kill themselves or live as broken shells. But women! If they have a loss of dragon, get them pregnant as soon as possible because babies make everything better and anchor people to reality.

Because postpartum depression doesn’t exist. Because women obviously don’t abort children they don’t want (despite the numerous references to women doing exactly that, some of which will be following shortly), and they certainly don’t commit suicide over the thought of raising a child fathered on them by force. And it’s not like pregnancy and birth here is a painless affair – cesarians exist, and there are probably many stories on the planet about kids whose mothers died in childbirth.

But no, women who lose their draconic companions will very clearly find their purpose again in raising children.

As the eggs begin their rocking dance, K’vin muses on how he needs enough candidates to Impress on the greens.

Greens with male riders tended to be more volatile, apt to ignore their Weyrleader’s orders in the excitement of a Fall–in short, they tended to unnecessarily show off their bravery to the rest of the Weyr. Female riders, on the other hand, while more stable, tended to get pregnant frequently, unless they were very careful, since the greens were usually very sexually active. Even spontaneous abortions due to the extreme cold of between required sensible convalescence, so female green riders were all too often off the duty roster for periods of time. “Taking a short dragon-ride” was now a euphemism for ending an unwanted pregnancy. Still, K’vin had fallen on the side of preferring females when Search provided them.

Cocowhat by depizan

How is it that nobody has discovered or synthesized an effective birth control method by this point in time? There’s got to be something in the plant life that can be put to use for this purpose. And something else that can theoretically be usefully turned into condoms or other such coverings. Or even some sort of sex toy that can be close at hand for any rider. If for absolutely no other reason than to cut down on the number of days fighting dragonriders spend in post-pregnancy convalescence.

A hormonal birth control could be secretly passed among the women without any men knowing about it. Because I can’t imagine green riders being complicit in this scheme, unless the days of convalescence are the only breaks they get in the schedule of fighting Thread and doing chores about the Weyr.

All the same, there have been a couple hundred years to see and perfect some form of making it so that every green isn’t either “pre-pregnant,” pregnant, or post-pregnant all of their lives.

We’re also told “Three of the other greens made for lads who had demonstrated homosexual preferences in their holds.” So, apparently, it’s been codified at this point that greens will go to gay men as well as women. I had initially thought that the displays of unprovoked bravado by greens with men riders were just about proving that you were equally as manly as the other colors, despite riding women dragons and being with women riders. But now that it’s canon some of the men riding greens are gay, those displays might also be an attempt to attract a mate from the other rider colors. It’s not the best time for it, but that’s really no other time where a green would be able to show off her abilities.

I’m still not very happy at the continual placing of gay men in the lesser dragon ranks and the near continual insistence on human heteronormativity as the only way to get to lead your Weyr. As K’vin and Zulaya are proving to us, there’s no actual need for the Weyrleaders to be an actual couple, or even sexually interested in each other, outside of their dragons’ desires. There’s probably some really good fic out there that examines and tries to fix these issues.

To answer an earlier question, apparently Hatchings are also times of strong emotion, and those reverberate through the dragonriders as well. Not so strong that K’vin can’t spare a thought that Zulaya looks beautiful in her dress with a backdrop of sun filtered through dragon, but there’s plenty of emotional states being broadcast at this point in time.

Raised voices outside briefly threaten to distract him, but someone else appears to be dealing with it, until one of the greens on the sand makes a beeline for the entryway, where a new girl has just entered, and makes Impression with her. This does not please the girl’s companions, and they try to separate the two. This goes poorly.

K’vin had one look at the shock on his face, the fear on the girl’s, before the dragon has the man down and was trying to open her jaws wide enough to fit around his head.
T’dam, being nearer, plunged to the rescue. The girl, Debera, was also trying to detach her dragonet from her father, for that’s what she was calling him.
“Father! Father! Leave him alone, Morath. He can’t touch me now, I’m a dragonrider. Morath, do you hear me?”
Except that K’vin was very anxious that Morath might have already injured the man, he was close to laughing at this Debera’s tone of authority. The girl had instinctively adopted the right attitude with her newly hatched charge. No wonder she’d been Searched…and at some hold evidently not too far away.
[…enough bodies are present to separate the two, but Morath isn’t done with him yet…]
He would hurt you. He would own you. You are mine and I am yours and no one comes between us, Morath was saying so ferociously that every rider heard her.

The details come out very quickly that Debera was betrothed by her father to someone that would strengthen family ties and open a new mine, but then the riders came and told her she was a candidate. Debera wanted to go, but her father didn’t show her the letter and told the arranged marriage that Debera had refused to come to the Grounds. Her father is full of venom that the riders get priority and that their coming around had changed Debera very clearly for the worse.

Wounds got nothing to do with my righteous anger, Lord Holder. I know what I know, and I know we had it all arranged and you should stick up for your holders, not these Weyrfolk and their queer customs and doings, and I dunno what will happen to my daughter.” At this point he began to weep, more in frustrated anger than from the pain of the now well-anesthetized injuries. “She was a good girl until they come. A good biddable girl!”

Oh, the juxtaposition here between the narrative putting in Menolly’s mouth that the girls at Paradise River are “biddable” as a compliment, and here, where is absolutely clear that “biddable” is a bad thing when it conflicts with dragonriders getting candidates.

On a more meta level, however, I have this character, Lavel, to thank for finally articulating what should have been a running theme throughout the series right from the very beginning – that dragonriders are strange people with strange customs, and certainly strange sexual practices, that interfere with the business of Holds, ruin alliances, and otherwise disrupt the business of “normal” people on the planet. Even though most people acknowledge that they’re necessary for continued survival, especially during Threadfall, there should be gigantic resentment among the holders, if not the Lords themselves, about being beholden to the dragons and the way they function essentially above the laws and customs of everyone else. That it’s the fourteenth book before this point is getting any serious treatment says something.

Perhaps it took the author this long to come up with a solution, as one is very swiftly forthcoming that essentially makes the argument “Yes, it looks weird from the outside, but if you actually lived here and got to observe us, you’d see it wasn’t that weird at all.” And the narrative is swift to assure us that most families find having a dragonrider to be good – extra prestige to your bloodline, and available transportation, to boot.

Listening to the vitriol in Lavel’s criticism of Weyr life upset both Weyrleaders and Lord Holders. It was true that certain customs and habits had been developed in the Weyrs to suit dragon needs, but promiscuity was certainly not encouraged. In fact, there was a very strictly observed code of conduct within the Weyr. There might not be formal union contracts, but no rider reneged on his word to a woman nor failed to make provision for any children of the pairing. And few Weyrbred children, reaching puberty, left the Weyr for the grandparental holds even if they failed to Impress.

Why would they, when they clearly have the best lives in the Weyrs? No pressure to be married off to anyone, a modest degree of independence, and, generally speaking, supplies delivered to you without having to do the deadly work of fighting Thread.

I am laughing somewhat at the insistence that promiscuity is not encouraged in the Weyr, and that children are provided for. These both sound very much like things that might be impressed upon gold queen riders and would-be Weyrwomen, but not actually true in the Weyrs outside the upper-crust bubble. The green dragons and their notoriously high sex drives provide narrative justification as to why it’s not promiscuity if it just so happens that certain men and women are getting their fill of sex with each other, and we’ve already had plenty of paragraphs devoted to the part where aborting is sufficiently common that there’s a widespread euphemism for it. Given that kids are raised communally, and there doesn’t seem to be any specific income share or supply share that each dragonrider is allotted and would have to share with their children and partners, apart from “childbirth is deadly”, there doesn’t seem to be any incentive toward abortion.

So Zulaya and K’vin might believe everyone follows the code of conduct wholeheartedly, but the evidence of reality strongly suggests their belief is unjustified. But the narrative wants us to believe, too, but letting us listen in as Lady Salda delivers a tongue-lashing to Lavel about how he’s really just upset that he can’t sell his daughter for more land, despite having plenty of other children (and commenting that Lavel will wear his wife out in the same way that he did his last wife with all the childbirth, which should give us an echo of how Fax did the same thing to his conquered women, including Lady Gemma.) If we want to find blame and weird sexual practice, the narrative would have us blame Holders who use their wives as baby factories. Which is very much an acceptable target, but the narrative is shielding the dragonriders from proper criticism, as it has for all of these books.

After sending Lavel on his way back, and a quick mention that the dragons of this time are not to their full designed size, K’vin makes the rounds and deals with the question of the late match, including a sister of a candidate that K’vin will eventually call “spiteful”, even though each attempt she makes at gossip and conversation is cut off by physical violence, such as pinching, being kicked under the table, or other actions intended to make her be quiet. Yet she’s the spiteful one. Probably because she’s a girl who actually wants to talk about interesting things, rather than just sitting there silently until a man gives her leave to talk.

K’vin tries to reassure everyone that a situation like the late match is under control and not actually answering aloud what might happen if dragons didn’t find their match.

Early on, the records mentioned five occasions when a dragonet had not found a compatible personality. It’s subsequent death had upset the Weyr to the point where every effort was then made to eliminate a second occurrence, including accepting the dragon’s choice from among spectators.

So, according to the chronology of the novels, Mirrim is not all that groundbreaking, but is instead just a reoccurrence of something that hasn’t happened in a good long while.

Except that incidents like these would surely be part of the Records of any given Weyr, and so each Hatching, someone should be on the lookout for just a scenario happening, instead of being confused or worse about it when it does happen.

There’s also a bit that K’vin thinks, instead of says, about how some eggs don’t hatch, and that when they had the tech to examine them, all but three had clear causes of non-viability. The other three, nobody knows, and their eggs were set adrift in hyperspace swiftly, so as not to alarm anyone.

There are small things, too, like how a new rider prefers to be S’mon, because he didn’t like being a Thomas, or any possible contractions of that, which annoys his father for having shucked being the tenth Thomas of the line. And different speculation about Debera’s origins and reasons for being late. K’vin puts out gossip where he can, before his head gets turned by the entrance of Debera herself.

Someone had given her a green gown which showed off a most womanly body, and the style of it as well as the color suited Debera. The deep clear green set off her fine complexion and a head of curling bronze-colored hair which was attractively dressed, not straggling unkempt around a sweaty distraught face. No doubt Tisha, the headwoman, had had a hand in the transformation. Zulaya had once said Tisha treated all the Weyrgirls like live dolls, dressing them up and fussing with their hair. Nor was Tisha herself childless, but her excess of maternal instinct was an asset in the Weyr.

Once again, a good argument that the headwoman is the person who actually runs the Weyr, and is thus the person who wields the real power. Because if you can get someone who just came in on a hard ride, had a dragonet to feed, bathed, styled, and conveniently dressed in something that shows her curves within that time frame, you work magic, have multitudes of minions, or have an eidetic memory of where things are. Or some combination of the three.

K’vin is, thankfully, prevented from hitting on her by an interesting musicial sound. The perspective shifts to the musicians, who are deploying the new songs that have been crafted as one of the ways of reminding everyone of their duties and the gratitude they should have for the dragonriders, entitled the Duty Song and Dragonlove, respectively. They work excellently as earworms, and get sung multiple times, with the attending guests starting to join in with the singing after the first few times through. Weirdly, the success of the music world toward convicing Sheledon, as he plays it, that perhaps Clisser’s plan to gut education might have some merit.

Thus ends chapter three. Finally. That’s a lot of awful worldbuilding to have to go through, especially because it seems to be setting things up for the horrible things we already have experienced.

Writer Workshop November 8th, 2017

(Posted by chris the cynic)

Those of you who also frequent Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings will find this somewhat familiar.  Here, as there, it was requested that there be a regular post to talk about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). Thus this post exists.

Anyone who would feel more comfortable talking about non-writing creative work in a thread that doesn’t have “Writer” in the name, you may find this month’s creative corner thread useful.

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Are there any questions you’d like to ask or frustrations you’d like to vent?  Writing workshop below!

Creative Corner, November 2017

(by chris the cynic)

This is a place to share about any and all creative endeavors.  Could be what you’re working on, what you want to work on, what you’re frustrated about being blocked on, plans, random thoughts, finger painting, building a new world order, whatever.

It was created because, even though Writers’ Workshop is intended to be a place where any creative endeavor can be discussed, the name scared off people who weren’t writers.  (Which totally makes sense.)

Deconstruction Roundup for November 3, 2017

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who is conferencing with others in the profession.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Let us know, please, if there are errors in the post. Or if you don’t want to be included. Or if there’s someone who you think should be included, which includes you. We can use more content. Or if you would like to have all of your conferences make it to the standard of a small forward-focused open source conference. Or for any other reason, really.