Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tastes Change

When I was a young teenager, I really enjoyed reading Anne McCaffrey's books.  (Though I never read the last ones; the quality deteriorated over the years, in my opinion.)

A few weeks ago I was reading an anthology of dragon stories.  Weyr Search (text version) was reprinted therein.  I read the first two pages and was completely horrified.  A hereditary servant-slave caste!  Which can be distinguished from the nobility because they are ugly!  Domestic violence!  Skin-color-based dragon hierarchy!  Murderous combat!

Amazing what twenty years will do to one's perspective.

1 comment:

  1. Anne McCaffrey was one of my favorites as well, though it has been a long time since I've read any of her stories. I honestly don't recall a servant caste, but I'll have to go back and read the short story.

    I always enjoyed science fiction and fantasy because they could explore social and political issues in alternate universes, and anything was possible through suspension of disbelief. H. G. Wells' Time Machine had the child-like Eloi and the hideous Morlocks, which essentially argued against class systems. Octavia Butler has Lillith's Brood (and other books) that explore sexuality, responses to invaders/saviors , and genetic engineering. Orson Scott Card has the whole Enders series, exploring the ramifications of war and genocide.

    Of course, you do get pure popcorn fiction too, that is just trying to be entertaining. Perhaps that's what McCaffrey was going for, and incorporated lots of offensive messages with no redeeming social commentary. I enjoy Piers Anthony's puns, but his women are usually ridiculously busty and overly objectified.

    I don't read much fiction now, I get too caught up in the stories and forget to do little things like clean the house and feed the children. Also, at one point I felt like I'd read every good series, and didn't like starting series that hadn't been finished. (Harry Potter was frustrating, I had to read the whole series every time a new book came out.) It's been a while though, perhaps I could wade into fiction again :)


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