Sunday, 16 August 2015

Draka Schooling

(I have used this image but it is of a book by a different author!)

"Draka schooling was sex-segregated, on the theory that youth should not be distracted from learning and their premilitary training. Either that or sheer conservatism. Eight months of the year spent isolated in the countryside: from five to eighteen it had been her life, and the last few years had been growing harder to take."
-SM Stirling, Marching Through Georgia (New York, 1991), p. 6.

So what do we have here? -

sexual segregation;
apparently universal premilitary (then military?) training;
thirteen years of rural isolation in term-time.

No, thanks. The only things that I envy the Draka are their physical fitness and the self-discipline that can come from military discipline - but can also be acquired in other ways. My own schooling was in a (i) fee-paying, (ii) single-sex, (iii) denominational, (iv) boarding school with rural isolation. I have numbered the specific points that I disagree with and that are the precise opposite of what my daughter received.

Education is an interesting feature of biographies and of fictional societies. This first Draka novel makes a good start by outlining the Draka school system. In Poul Anderson's Technic History, we would have liked to have read an installment on Dominic Flandry's education and maybe also on Nicholas van Rijn's self-education.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Here you have tangentially touched on a point in Stirling's works I don't entirely agree with. That is, many of his books have women soldiers or warriors who seem to be as strong and active as male fighters. The fact remains, however, that most women by far are simply NOT the same as men in stamina and upper body strength (to say nothing of the average differences in size). That is one huge, practical reason why most warriors and military have been men.

Stirling, in his Draka books, could JUST make women soldiers of the kind we see in those works plausible by having them undergo the kind of rigorous training, practice, and study we see described. And, later, genetic modifications to increase strength and stamina made women Draka military more plausible.