Thursday, 15 December 2016

Three Different Series

Marian Alston derides loyal slaves as "House niggers..." (On The Oceans Of Eternity, p. 548)

I find that I have twice quoted a black colleague who identified himself as a "field nigger." (See here) The first time was in connection with Sandra Miesel's humorous Afterword to Anderson's and Dickson's Hoka series, the second in connection with SM Stirling's Draka series, and now we are reading Stirling's Nantucket Trilogy. What different works! Yet serious points about real societies emerge even from fabulous or humorous fiction.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And Marian Alston immediately "chided" herself after thinking like that, reminding herself and us that things like this are generally more complicated than surface appearances might indicate. E.g., some slaves remained loyal for hardheaded practical reasons and others would be genuinely loyal. Esp. if they had kind and just masters.

I finally finished rereading Stirling's ON THE OCEANS OF ETERNITY and I have to say I have more mixed feelings about the book than I thought I would have. For one thing, Politically Incorrect or not, I simply did not find it CONVINCING that Nantucket would have so many women in its armed forces. I simply don't believe so many women would be ABLE to endure the hard physical labor of military life, training, and war. Of course there will be exceptions, like Marian Alston herself--but I don't believe there would be so MANY like her (at least physically).

I've seen complaints from real world military, army and navy, that many women recruits simply can't master, thru no fault of their own, the undiluted rigors of boot camp and training. Or being able to do such things as carrying really heavy tool boxes or manually dog the heavy hatches of navy ships (the doors and wheels used for closing and locking hatches have to be heavy to endure sudden, massive pressure from the sea).

Stirling could make me suspend this kind of disbelief when it came to his appalling Draka females (CAN they be called women?). But only because Draka females trained, studied, drilled, and practiced the martial arts, assisted by special diets, from about age seven on. Later, genetics were used to make Draka females stronger. But the Draka books were an exception!

Also, I did not find it PLAUSIBLE for Nantucket to win so of ten, and I'm aware of Stirling's explanation of how that was due to the deeper knowledge Nantucket had of war, politics, economics, organization, strategy, tactics, etc., from what her enemies had. Perhaps what really bothered me was how Peter Giernas implausibly managed to destroy the Tartessian Hidden Fort in what would have been our California. Too many things went right for him and wrong for the Tartessians for me to find convincing.

I would like to comment about the fate of William Walker but I'll refrain till I know you have gotten that far in the book!

I certainly agree serious ideas can be found even in humorous SF of the kind seen in Anderson/Dickson's Hoka stories.

Merry Christmas! Sean