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Old Mar 21 2013, 12:13 AM   #41
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I think a lot of the kids under 12 would have survived the first Threadfall due to being in school. And they'd have been kept under shelter from then on.
The 60 candidates at the first-ever Hatching were aged from 18 to 30.

I'm guessing there was a relatively huge population increase between landing and the first Fall (like 3 or 4 kids per couple), with the greatest losses in the first 2 or 3 Falls. Once they moved to Fort, they'd have to restrict births to the numbers that could be accommodated within the Hold and Weyr, due to the risk of disease.

In Skies of Pern, kids who Impressed at or near the minimum age were kept out of the wings until they turned 16, to make sure they were strong enough and mature enough for the job.
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Old Mar 21 2013, 12:26 AM   #42
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* Dragonsdawn notes that there's enough kids of Sorka's age to make a school, but not so many that Sorka isn't seeking Sean out because they're among the few colonists of the same age. Hence, we can assume the population at the ideal age to Impress eight years later is actually pretty thin. Especially when discussing twenty reproductive queens.
The kids under 12 were in school as we know it. Sorka and the older kids were sent out to explore the neighbourhood and bring back biological samples, and set to work helping the grown-ups on the farms, etc. Despite her portrayal as a 'little girl' while on board the Yokohama, Sorka was about 12 and part of the older group, but the older girls tended to exclude her as too young.

DLtP says there were 939 children on the ships, but doesn't specify ages.

I think they would have brought along some kind of contraception, if only to space out the births, and occasionally for medical reasons.
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Old Mar 21 2013, 05:59 AM   #43
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Contraception doesn't make sense for the colonists to bring, frankly, aside from the civil rights issues.
I will respectfully disagree with you there. Human history proves that the desire to have it has always been present, regardless of whether the local populace needs a baby boom or not. You don't do your population ANY favours by putting women in the position where they have to pop out baby after baby after baby without any choice in the matter; you CAN encourage large families alongside contraception and considered family planning choices. And then there're the women who NEED to use contraception, because they've already had umpteen c-sections, or pre-eclampsia or an abruption or uncontrollable GD or anything else, or who can provide a better service to the population as a skilled worker rather than a nurse/incubator, or who Just Don't Want Kids, thankyouverymuch.

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On the other hand, a substantial portion of Pern's population in 9 AL would have been under the age of eight. There was probably a move to shove some of those kids in front of eggs as soon as they were considered able, simply to fill the age stopgap* and to get them doing something useful for colonial survival. (In particular, don't we hear mention of how Search overrides previous obligations simply because they were losing so many dragonets at Hatching for lack of choice? Available bodies of the right ages makes for a grim probability statistic.)

* Dragonsdawn notes that there's enough kids of Sorka's age to make a school, but not so many that Sorka isn't seeking Sean out because they're among the few colonists of the same age. Hence, we can assume the population at the ideal age to Impress eight years later is actually pretty thin. Especially when discussing twenty reproductive queens.
Agreed. They had a few years to catch up before the first REAL bulge in eggs appeared, mind. Sorka's how old when she Impresses Faranth, 20? And doesn't she note that her younger brother has more potential friends than she did right after landing? The first dragon-bred clutches would hits the sands round about 10/11 AL. Ten queens initially, perhaps five hundred eggs in the first turn of breeding if they all rose twice, spread out among the colonists between 15-25...you need 50 bodies of each year of age. The population bulge will catch up before the second generation queens start breeding, but they'll have a rough few years at the start.

6000 colonists... assuming the majority (5000, perhaps) of them are 15-35 year olds (colonising is a young person's game; war vets aside, you don't retire to a brand new colony world!) and make up a linear first-world population pyramid, that's a raw set of 250 people with the same year of birth. Wow, yeah. I'm being generous, giving the dragons a choice of 1-in-5. I imagine it was a lot, lot worse.

(FWIW, I covered the pressures of Search and Skilled Workers in Dragondays)
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Old Mar 21 2013, 06:06 AM   #44
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DLtP says there were 939 children on the ships, but doesn't specify ages.
.
Assume it's flat, 0-16, and you get 50-60 people sharing a given birth year. The problems with uprooting entire families and teens with minds of their own may push it more towards the younger end of the spectrum, I'd imagine. It does push off my earlier estimate.

Say, 1000 <15, and 1000 >35 coming in on the ships. Then there'll be up to about 200 over-25's per year of birth at 10AL, maybe up to 100 Impressable people per birth year aged 15-25, and a vastly inflated number of younger kids.

Not much choice for those 500 new hatched dragons!
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Old Mar 21 2013, 07:41 PM   #45
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I will respectfully disagree with you there. Human history proves that the desire to have it has always been present, regardless of whether the local populace needs a baby boom or not. You don't do your population ANY favours by putting women in the position where they have to pop out baby after baby after baby without any choice in the matter; you CAN encourage large families alongside contraception and considered family planning choices. And then there're the women who NEED to use contraception, because they've already had umpteen c-sections, or pre-eclampsia or an abruption or uncontrollable GD or anything else, or who can provide a better service to the population as a skilled worker rather than a nurse/incubator, or who Just Don't Want Kids, thankyouverymuch.
Yep, we're going to have to agree to disagree. People who Just Don't Want Kids don't sign up for a one-way trip to a colonial backwater. Especially not when that contract stipulates that they HAVE to contribute genetic material. 6000 is a terribly small founding population to start with; the future Pernese didn't have room to waste on people who didn't want to do their duty. It's also clear that choosing not to have children is considered at least suspect by the other characters - people remark on the fact that Bay, Avril and Wind Blossom are childless.

And it's clear that by the Second Pass, the colonists don't have a reliable method of birth control. We see one College teacher who chooses to remain a virgin for fear of passing on her club foot, and Zuliana is bragging that to her knowledge, none of the girls in the weyr caverns are choosing to avail themselves of between. Pern started out a baby-making factory from the beginning and it almost certainly didn't get better post-Thread.

Don't get me wrong, I think all your reasons are valid. I think it's stunning that the colonists apparently didn't bring donor sperm, and aren't using genetic manipulation and artificial wombs to get around all of these issues, but it's clear that the 6000 who went were a little touched in the head in for a lot of reasons.

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Agreed. They had a few years to catch up before the first REAL bulge in eggs appeared, mind. Sorka's how old when she Impresses Faranth, 20? And doesn't she note that her younger brother has more potential friends than she did right after landing? The first dragon-bred clutches would hits the sands round about 10/11 AL. Ten queens initially, perhaps five hundred eggs in the first turn of breeding if they all rose twice, spread out among the colonists between 15-25...you need 50 bodies of each year of age. The population bulge will catch up before the second generation queens start breeding, but they'll have a rough few years at the start.

6000 colonists... assuming the majority (5000, perhaps) of them are 15-35 year olds (colonising is a young person's game; war vets aside, you don't retire to a brand new colony world!) and make up a linear first-world population pyramid, that's a raw set of 250 people with the same year of birth. Wow, yeah. I'm being generous, giving the dragons a choice of 1-in-5. I imagine it was a lot, lot worse.

(FWIW, I covered the pressures of Search and Skilled Workers in Dragondays)
Dragonsdawn only portrays the minds of the colonists (quite rightly) but 6000 is an incredibly small population out of the billions and billions of humans who are likely FSP citizens. It seems a reasonable assumption to me that quite a few of the older folk left young adult children behind them who wanted to finish College and not go on Ma and Pa's wild adventure in the boonies. Which means depending on when the FSP considered their 'age of majority' there's also going to be a gap where the 16-20somethings declined to go to Pern. Which eight years on, is probably the upper range of Kitty's assumed age range. (It probably picks up again sharply when we get into the age range of 'old enough to have fought in the war' - but a lot of those folks, like Telgar, will be too old to Impress by 9 AL.)

ETA: I think it's reasonable to assume most of the war vets are actually Sallah's age, which is given as 24. Wars are fought by the young, even though most of what we hear about the war is from Benden and Boll's perspective as commanders. I suppose a large military contingent between 22 - 30s at Landing also explains a lot of my issues with how the government (or lack thereof) is depicted. If the majority population is military, maybe they really DON'T give a shit about democratic governance of their colony. Hm.

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Old Mar 22 2013, 12:48 AM   #46
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As for "don't want kids"....Yeah, I agree with Skywaterblue, that was explicitly not an option. Even for homosexual individuals, though we're not told how they do it (initially artificial insemination would be an option)--you come to Pern, you have to be a SPECTACULARLY special case to be allowed not to reproduce (Kitti Ping is clearly past the age of reproduction, but her skills outweigh that lack of contribution. Not sure about Emily Boll, but that's two people with unique, non-duplicated skill sets.)

And while one would think having some kind of birth control (barrier method if nothing else, as eventually they would probably not want to deal with the numerous dangers and side effects of hormones) would be something they'd try to keep, someone would multiple c-sections or who managed to survive preeclampsia would probably, if for some reason surgical options were no longer available (even though to survive those examples a tubal or hysterectomy should still also be feasible) they'd probably be advised to use the only foolproof method to avoid pregnancy: do not have heterosexual vaginal sex. The only people who might have trouble with that would be female dragonriders (conveniently the only ones with a means to prevent conception.)
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Old Mar 22 2013, 12:51 AM   #47
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Emily Boll had adult children that didn't want to come on a one way trip
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Old Mar 22 2013, 02:58 AM   #48
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Don't get me wrong, I think all your reasons are valid. I think it's stunning that the colonists apparently didn't bring donor sperm, and aren't using genetic manipulation and artificial wombs to get around all of these issues, but it's clear that the 6000 who went were a little touched in the head in for a lot of reasons.



Dragonsdawn only portrays the minds of the colonists (quite rightly) but 6000 is an incredibly small population out of the billions and billions of humans who are likely FSP citizens. It seems a reasonable assumption to me that quite a few of the older folk left young adult children behind them who wanted to finish College and not go on Ma and Pa's wild adventure in the boonies. Which means depending on when the FSP considered their 'age of majority' there's also going to be a gap where the 16-20somethings declined to go to Pern. Which eight years on, is probably the upper range of Kitty's assumed age range. (It probably picks up again sharply

ETA: I think it's reasonable to assume most of the war vets are actually Sallah's age, which is given as 24. Wars are fought by the young, even though most of what we hear about the war is from Benden and Boll's perspective as commanders. I suppose a large military contingent between 22 - 30s at Landing also explains a lot of my issues with how the government (or lack thereof) is depicted. If the majority population is military, maybe they really DON'T give a shit about democratic governance of their colony. Hm.
I think we're all on the same page here. I've never really thought all that much about the downstream implications of a one-way, isolated colony, but yeah... If the plan from the outset is to be out of touch with modern society, I wouldn't touch it with a ****ing bargepole. Even without thread and with the age of religions in the past, your granddaughters would be living under an unpleasant regime of one kind or another.

They're still crazy about contraception.
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Old Mar 27 2013, 06:15 PM   #49
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Emily Boll had adult children that didn't want to come on a one way trip
Thanks, Ginny. I knew I wasn't making that thought up out of whole cloth but I couldn't remember where it came to me. This is why I still enjoy re-reading these books, because Anne does have some great subtle points snuck in amongst the things I find awkward.

Kath, I feel you. Once you think about the Downstream implications, the Pern colony set-up is fairly disturbing for reasons way beyond lack of contraception. But yeah, I wouldn't sign up for a one-way trip to a backwoods colony planet that planned to cut off communication, where half of the colonists had some form of PTSD and were planning on living on anarchist communes.

No thanks, I'll stay in my cramped, polluted studio on Earth and continue to enjoy the benefits of civilization.
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Old Mar 28 2013, 12:19 AM   #50
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Don't forget they were moving as far away from a recovering war zone as possible. Wanting to fly under the radar if war returned might have been a factor.
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Old Mar 28 2013, 06:23 PM   #51
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You are welcome skywaterblue

Yes, they were tired of war, they had eight good years, then Thread came, and a volcano erupted and they had to move North, the cave system at Fort had more room then the ships that brought them to Pern.
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Old Mar 29 2013, 01:41 AM   #52
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Ginny, we're currently discussing the decision to come to Pern in the first place and drop all contact with the rest of the civilized galaxy.
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Old Mar 30 2013, 12:54 AM   #53
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I would be less concerned with fairly first-world issues of sexual liberty and contraception than just "What are the odds, REALLY, that we've bred out ALL possible bad things that could crop up from a teeny-tiny breeding population, and what if we get hit by a disease we aren't equipped to deal with?" "What if two or three or ten generations down the line we have a natural disaster and we don't have the technology to do anything about it?" How about things like being able to create highly technical biomechanical limbs or organs? If they were going even relatively low-tech, things that people in a society with advanced spacefaring probably took for granted medically would eventually be beyond the colony's capabilities...so forget just worrying about women having a lot of kids, how about when you're working your low-tech farm and you cut your leg off in a haying accident? As even the colonists set about immediately making alcohol, how about when someone gets cirrohsis? No sunscreen = melanoma (no modern super-duper gene selection is going to remove the ability of cells to mutate.)
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Old Mar 30 2013, 11:11 AM   #54
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No sunscreen = melanoma (no modern super-duper gene selection is going to remove the ability of cells to mutate.)
You've overlooked humanity's very obvious UV protection mechanism there, which does offer some protection.

(Your general point still holds true, of course!)
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Old Mar 31 2013, 12:47 PM   #55
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Pern's colonial makeup seems to have been heavily biased towards Northern Hemisphere Caucasians and Asians, alas, otherwise yes, Kath. Some of the Indian and Pakistani characters might be darker, but most characters are otherwise described as white. (The sole exception seems to be Zi Ongola.) So in a couple of generations, melanoma would have been a real concern - although, even when 'down South', the colonists tended to settle in temperate climates rather than the more Northern tropics.

(Fandom pet peeve: people who treat the Southern continent as one big dark jungle. Actually, it's a huge continent and will have a large amount of climatic range... just as Asia does.)

There are indeed, a lot of biomechanical arms and legs running around attached to bodies on a planet where everyone wants to give these things up.
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Old Mar 31 2013, 08:59 PM   #56
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DragonsDawn only mentions a very small proportion of the 6000 colonists by name and ethnicity, so I don't think we can draw any conclusions about their predisposition to melanoma. And they would surely have instructions for making sun-screen and other essential products, not to mention that wearing sun-hats and long-sleeved garments would be an obvious precaution.
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Old Apr 1 2013, 04:58 AM   #57
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[QUOTE=skywaterblue;186695]. (The sole exception seems to be Zi Ongola.)
And Alianne, and likely Svenda, and my brain says Jim Tillek but I don't trust that one. Probably confusing him with Ongola.
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Old Apr 1 2013, 12:18 PM   #58
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The DLG mentions Maasai as one of the tribal groups, too. So there's hope that there are more than a handful of darker people.

And yeah, I personally think Alianne and her line are dark-skinned of-Muslim-descent. (The name Zulieyana is a common enough surname in the -stans, and her mother's name of Yashma is a pretty obvious variant of Yasmina. This is where knowing the exact spelling would help, as Zulieta is an equally common enough surname... in the Spanish speaking world!) Her descendant, Weyrwoman Zulaya, is certainly described as a light-skinnned woman of color, though I know not everyone agrees with me on this.
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Old Apr 1 2013, 01:34 PM   #59
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[QUOTE=Kath;186704]
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. (The sole exception seems to be Zi Ongola.)
And Alianne, and likely Svenda, and my brain says Jim Tillek but I don't trust that one. Probably confusing him with Ongola.
I'd assumed Olubushtu (Svenda's surname) was African, but in the first chapter where she's mentioned, Svenda is described as 'the blond girl', and 'Svenda' also sounds like a Scandinavian name.
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Old Apr 1 2013, 04:11 PM   #60
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[QUOTE=Eriflor;186706]
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I'd assumed Olubushtu (Svenda's surname) was African, but in the first chapter where she's mentioned, Svenda is described as 'the blond girl', and 'Svenda' also sounds like a Scandinavian name.
Scandinavian mother, Africa/African of mixed parentage (carrying the blonde gene) father? It's unlikely humans in the FSP lived mostly where distant ancestors did, except the 'problem' nomad types mentioned, and one would think it might reach a point where the phenotype no longer matches the name, especially if whose last name (matrilinial or patrilinial) got passed on to offspring varies. Given the most extreme phenotypes would tend to get eliminated/only crop up with an accidental recessive combination, the Pernese default would likely be more-or-less Caucasoid bone structure with medium tan skin and dark hair/eyes (the dominant genes and if there's a large percentage of Asian and Central Asian/Indian people dark hair's going to be REALLY dominant), with extremely African or very Nordic types not as common (IIRC the fact Moreta and Kylara are blonde is considered somewhat notable.)
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Old Apr 1 2013, 06:30 PM   #61
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ETA: I think it's reasonable to assume most of the war vets are actually Sallah's age, which is given as 24. Wars are fought by the young, even though most of what we hear about the war is from Benden and Boll's perspective as commanders. I suppose a large military contingent between 22 - 30s at Landing also explains a lot of my issues with how the government (or lack thereof) is depicted. If the majority population is military, maybe they really DON'T give a shit about democratic governance of their colony. Hm.
Was just thinking about this, and don't forget to add the five-year watches the contractors had to stand during the journey to Pern. So, if Sallah was 24 when she left Earth, and if she stood only one watch (as opposed to Benden who, I believe, stood the first and last watches), she'd be 29 by Landing.

So doesn't this mean the age sample for veterans on Landing would be skewed five years higher? I.e., 22-30 when they left Earth ... 27-35 on Landing. That could explain part of the pressure (and willingness?) to begin having babies immediately to capitalize on the remaining fertile years.
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Old Apr 6 2013, 11:52 PM   #62
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That's an excellent point, Xenolith. I can't recall if Sallah's supposed to be 24 at Landing, or if that was her age when the war ended! Which puts a very different spin on it.
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Old Aug 14 2014, 02:21 AM   #63
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You've overlooked humanity's very obvious UV protection mechanism there, which does offer some protection.

(Your general point still holds true, of course!)
At least some of them were naturally darker skinned, too. Zulaya is almost certainly part black from her description...beige skin, tightly curled black hair, dark eyes, and that's after over 200 years of intermarriage between different ethnicities.
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Old Aug 16 2014, 08:10 PM   #64
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Thank Goodness I'm not the only one who reads Zulaya's description as being a Woman of Color.
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Old Aug 18 2014, 08:57 PM   #65
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I can think of one more Greta coffee skin and freckles, Dragonsdawn midwife
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