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Lobby 2. Welcome The Reading Room Reading Challenges, 2010 topic #4
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Subject: "12. The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle" Previous topic | Next topic
Mesg #508 "12. The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle"
Author Erin_M_H     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Nov 01st 2003
31746 posts
Date Tue Mar-23-10 09:43 AM
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Tue Mar-23-10 09:44 AMby Erin_M_H

I was rereading this excellent SF book to look at how they handled everything from moving around in a ship to scientific discovery. However, I almost threw the book against the wall when Sally Fowler talked with her Motie about reproduction. I'm sure that the authors thought they did a good job with her -- they'd explained the history of the Empire of Man, told why people were overprotective of suffocating towards the women, and had made the single human female character independent minded enough to go off to college and get a serious degree rather than just being married off to a man to bear him children.

However, the paternalism really set my teeth on edge, especially when Sally said that nice girls didn't use birth control, implied that children born outside of wedlock were a sign of moral lapses on their parents parts -- and said that such children were *always* raised by institutions, and said that if nice women didn't want children, they just didn't have sex. On the one hand, Sally is there precisely to provide a counterpoint to the Moties. On the other, having a wider range of acceptable behavior among humans -- none of which would be possible among the Moties -- including varying forms of birth control, marriage and lack of it, and single mothers raising their children (after all, presumably widows manage when their husbands die serving in the all-male Navy) would have made their point even stronger. Biologically and psychologically, humans and Moties are different. And writing in the mid-'70s, they really have no excuse for creating such a mind-bogglingly ugly '50s throwback.

The other place the '50s attitude was obvious was in the ethnic diversity -- or lack thereof. Everyone was white, primarily blue-eyed blond, with historical reasons for it. The major exception was the Levantine trader, Horace Bury, a Muslim, a Trader, and a traitor to the Empire.

The other problem I had was with the biology of the Moties themselves. They had genetic engineers who could tinker with the mental characteristics of the Mediator class to try to make them more stable. They could and did breed all sorts of offshoots and variants to their race. But they couldn't breed for (or do genetic engineering with) increased time between sex changes or the occasional mutant who didn't change sex at all? (A million years of history and a massively procreating race, and it never happened? Nope, not believable.)

Despite my problems with the story, I learned both from what they did well (the ships, the movements, the physical details) and what I feel they erred in. I am not sad I reread the book. I am wondering, however, whether I really want to try the sequel again (Gripping Hand).

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Erin's 2010 reading [View all] , Erin_M_H, Tue Dec-15-09 08:55 PM
  1. The Career Novelist, by Donald Maass, Erin_M_H, Jan 03rd 2010, #1
2. Destroyer of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward Lerner, Erin_M_H, Jan 13th 2010, #2
RE: 2. Destroyer of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward Lern..., chanpheng, Feb 12th 2010, #6
      RE: 2. Destroyer of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward Lern..., Erin_M_H, Feb 12th 2010, #7
           RE: 2. Destroyer of Worlds, Larry Niven and Edward Lern..., chanpheng, Feb 15th 2010, #8
3. The Burning Bridge, by John Flanagan, Erin_M_H, Jan 17th 2010, #3
4. Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days by Alastair Reynolds, Erin_M_H, Jan 21st 2010, #4
5. Pushing Ice, by Alastair Reynolds, Erin_M_H, Jan 28th 2010, #5
6. Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld, Erin_M_H, Feb 15th 2010, #9
7. Metatropolis, by all my favorite newish SF authors, Erin_M_H, Feb 15th 2010, #10
8. Norse Code, by Greg van Eekhout, Erin_M_H, Feb 16th 2010, #11
9. Solomon Kane, by Robert E. Howard, Erin_M_H, Feb 28th 2010, #12
10. Mean Streets, urban fantasy anthology, Erin_M_H, Mar 04th 2010, #13
11. The Icebound Land, by John Flanagan, Erin_M_H, Mar 09th 2010, #14
12. The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pou..., Erin_M_H, Mar 23rd 2010 #15
13. The Unnatural Inquirer, by Simon R. Green, Erin_M_H, Mar 26th 2010, #16
14. Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians, by Brandon San..., Erin_M_H, Mar 27th 2010, #17
15. Just Another Judgement Day, by Simon R. Green, Erin_M_H, Mar 28th 2010, #18
16. The Nimble Man, by Christopher Golden and Thomas Sn..., Erin_M_H, Apr 04th 2010, #19
17. Small Favors, by Jim Butcher, Erin_M_H, Apr 07th 2010, #20
RE: 17. Small Favors, by Jim Butcher, tianne, Apr 19th 2010, #23
      RE: 17. Small Favors, by Jim Butcher, Erin_M_H, Apr 20th 2010, #24
18. The Quilter's Legacy, by Jennifer Chiaverini, Erin_M_H, Apr 09th 2010, #21
19. Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones, by Brandon S..., Erin_M_H, Apr 17th 2010, #22
20. On Writing, by Stephen King, Erin_M_H, Apr 20th 2010, #25
21. Hunting Ground, by Patricia Briggs, Erin_M_H, Apr 21st 2010, #26
RE: 21. Hunting Ground, by Patricia Briggs, bonnieann, May 02nd 2010, #29
      RE: 21. Hunting Ground, by Patricia Briggs, Erin_M_H, May 02nd 2010, #30
           RE: 21. Hunting Ground, by Patricia Briggs, summersami, May 12th 2010, #35
22. The Life-Eaters, by David Brin and Scott Hampton, Erin_M_H, Apr 26th 2010, #27
23. Something from the Nightside, by Simon R. Green, Erin_M_H, Apr 30th 2010, #28
24. Vanished, by Kat Richardson, Erin_M_H, May 09th 2010, #31
25. Bone Crossed, by Patricia Briggs, Erin_M_H, May 12th 2010, #32
26. Vane Pursuit, by Charlotte MacLeod, Erin_M_H, May 12th 2010, #33
27. The New Year's Quilt, by Jennifer Chiaverini, Erin_M_H, May 12th 2010, #34
28. Battle for Skandia, by John Flanagan, Erin_M_H, May 15th 2010, #36
29. Alcatraz vs. the Knights of Crystallia, by Brandon ..., Erin_M_H, May 17th 2010, #37
30. The Lover's Knot, by Clare O'Donohue, Erin_M_H, May 18th 2010, #38
31. How to Write a Damn Good Mystery, by James N. Frey, Erin_M_H, May 19th 2010, #39
32. Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, Erin_M_H, May 31st 2010, #40
33. The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like ..., Erin_M_H, Jun 04th 2010, #41
34. The Sorcerer of the North, by John Flanagan, Erin_M_H, Jun 04th 2010, #42
35. Changes, by Jim Butcher, Erin_M_H, Jun 10th 2010, #43
36. Silver Borne, by Patricia Briggs, Erin_M_H, Jun 12th 2010, #44
37. From Hell With Love, by Simon R. Green, Erin_M_H, Jun 17th 2010, #45
38. The God Engines, by John Scalzi, Erin_M_H, Jun 26th 2010, #46
39. Hard Magic, by Laura Anne Gilman, Erin_M_H, Jul 08th 2010, #47
40. The Siege of Macindaw, by John Flanagan, Erin_M_H, Jul 08th 2010, #48
41. Beauty and the Bastard, by David Bridger, Erin_M_H, Aug 23rd 2010, #49
42. The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan, Erin_M_H, Aug 23rd 2010, #50
43. Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, by Mark Coker, Erin_M_H, Sep 01st 2010, #51
44. The Genie King, by Tony Abbott, Erin_M_H, Sep 01st 2010, #52
45. The Fuller Memorandum, by Charles Stross, Erin_M_H, Sep 04th 2010, #53
46. Blood Rites, by Jim Butcher, Erin_M_H, Sep 20th 2010, #54
47. Labyrinth, by Kat Richardson, Erin_M_H, Oct 12th 2010, #55
48. The War of Art, by Stephen Pressfield, Erin_M_H, Oct 31st 2010, #56
49. Kraken, by China Mieville, Erin_M_H, Nov 14th 2010, #57
RE: Erin's 2010 reading, bpratt, Nov 18th 2010, #58
RE: Erin's 2010 reading, Erin_M_H, Nov 18th 2010, #59
50. Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury, Erin_M_H, Nov 19th 2010, #60
RE: 50. Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury, bpratt, Dec 05th 2010, #63
51. Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold, Erin_M_H, Nov 27th 2010, #61
RE: 51. Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold, tianne, Dec 09th 2010, #64
      RE: 51. Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold, Erin_M_H, Dec 09th 2010, #65
           RE: 51. Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold, tianne, Dec 09th 2010, #66
                RE: 51. Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold, Erin_M_H, Dec 09th 2010, #67
52. Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal, Erin_M_H, Dec 05th 2010, #62
53. Side Jobs, by Jim Butcher, Erin_M_H, Dec 26th 2010, #68

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