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Old Jun 17 2008, 01:14 AM   #1
D. M. Domini
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Post Afra: Questionable attraction?

Ok. I've noticed that while most everyone has a lot of love for Afra (he has been, is, and will probably always be the most attractive man in the Nine Star League--according to our little poll!), the folks that don't typically state that his relationship with Damia comes off as a little...creepy.

In the thread Fun with numbers!, proserpine lays out some age-related numbers from the books. Personally, like I said in that thread, I've always suspected that 18 and 42 were the ages AMC intended to have Damia and Afra at respectively, and that some of the other numbers thrown around were approximations, and Larak's age of fatherhood quite possibly a right-out goof. But then I looked up the page where Afra mentions, while thinking to himself, that he was "stunned" by Damia's "ripening sexuality" (paperback US Ace edition, page 287) seven years before. If you take her to be 18, that means she was 11 when he first noticed. Goof, right?

Well...possibly not. For one, there's a different line in the book when Damia is around 11 or 12...and they ship her from Deneb back to Callisto because they were afraid she'd have her jealous little brother scaring off any potential boyfriends. That line jives with 18-7 = 11, the age when she came back home because she was "germinating". Unspoken? She came home, "geminating" body and all, and Afra was something like, "Damia's back! Yay! ::doubletake:: Holy crap, she has female bits--when did that happen?"

And then, take a look at the Pegasus books--Tirla is what, 12? And what's-his-name is going to "wait" for her? Once is...well, once. Twice is a bit of a trend here, and the ages and situations are very similar. And as I said in the other thread, I also note that both books this has happened in, telepaths are involved, so in theory, if playing by the rules AMC has set out for this world, any evil/perverse/unsavory thoughts would quickly be ferreted out by the other telepaths around the couples.

So. How questionable is Afra's attraction? Is he forgiven because he doesn't act on anything--per se*--until she is of age? Or is he instantly damned because he had some quiver of attraction for her before she was "legal"?

Personally, I forgive him, for two reasons...the telepathy get-out-of-jail-free card is consistent with the world. Jeff and the Rowan would KILL him if Damia showed any sign of being abused or used in any way. I accept that their love and attraction is genuine.

My other reason? Lust/love isn't something you can control. Society wants you to think sexuality only turns on once you hit 16, or 18, or 21, or whenever your age of majority is in your local area. But that's not the case. It's probably a bit Too Much Info...but I started getting hit with a sensual awareness at the age of ten. Granted, I didn't realize until years later that that's what it had been, but it was there. So, AMC isn't entirely out of line in noting that a 11, 12 year old girl would have her body start to develop, and that yes, it can come as a shock to an adult who knew that person both as a child and as a teenager or adult.

I got into Harry Potter in high school, and the movies had all these little kid actors and actresses in them then...this was 2001 or so. Much to my shock and dismay, they grew up and got all those little male and female parts as appropriate, over the course of the movies. I was very, WTF? when I noticed myself noticing...before then, 16 year olds had been generally in *my age group* so it wasn't an issue if I noticed them, and everyone else was older than me and legal. So it was very odd to be looking back the other direction as the years went by, realizing these people had grown up and matured, even though I quite vividly remembered the very first publicity shots of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone movie when they were just kids.

Now...I'd never act on anything. I just mention that I've been surprised and have *noticed* people go from children to adult, and I figure that's not something I can stop myself from doing, mostly in a (as I said above), "Holy crap, when did *they* grow up?" sort of way. But, if I was misfortunate enough to have an existing relationship that got messy on my end by realizing I had a much, much deeper attraction than I had thought at first, I would probably act somewhat like Afra...

So, despite my further aside below, I think Afra behaved honorably enough. He wasn't perfect, but none of us are. But he certainly wasn't the child-molesting monster he *could* have been.

-------

* per se: One should note that while Damia provoked Afra by getting him to rub suntan lotion all over her naked body when she was 16, and he had a very neutral, casual reaction to it that infuriated her, Afra's known as very good at controlling his emotions. Therefore, despite the favorable wording for him in regards to his outward reactions, you have to take a look at his actions, detached as they are from any outward sign of emotion. The first being...why didn't Afra draw his line a little firmer and say, "No, I'm not going to rub this oil over your shaved female bits, so don't ask"? It's not like she could go running back to mommy and daddy and complain that he wouldn't do that for her--they'd back HIM up, not her! Jeff's not going to say, "You know, Afra, I think Damia's request to oil her up was reasonable enough."

One can only conclude that Afra was playing some sort of subtextual game with her--where she was challenging him not to flinch, and he didn't, so he "won"--or some sort of game or challenge with himself, or who knows what. The end result is that he got to spread oil all over a pretty naked woman, even if he was Mr. Neutral the entire time in order to not provoke Damia and bring her messy emotions into it. I wonder, now, if he knew what he wanted, and got it, manipulating Damia quite neatly when opportunity arose (while she tried to manipulate him), and also manipulating the situation so he wouldn't get caught (she's a loose cannon, emotionally--best to keep from engaging her, which would have happened if he had acknowledged her). Quite a change from the Afra Gollee dragged to a brothel nearer the start of the book!

I hope I'm over-thinking this one, because if you take it this way, then yes, Afra starts to get creepier than I think he actually is.

(That being said...I just re-read that part and laughed my butt off as Afra convinces himself that it would only be polite to follow Gollee's lead. Riiiiiight. He does a head-trip on himself to rationalize going to a brothel. Poor, repressed Capellan!)

Second, after Damia burns out Amr during unshielded lovemaking, Afra ends up with a damsel-in-distress, naked under a towel, still relatively fresh from lovemaking with another man, on his lap. On his lap! As if it were a casual thing--but you want to bet he's never had Rowan on his lap like that? No matter how distressed she got? Again, we get to witness Extreme Emotional Control during that scene, while Damia conveniently and conspicuously flies off the handle to distract the reader. But I don't know about you--even if they were horribly upset after maiming someone by accident for life, if you were attracted to someone, would you pull them into your lap while they still smelled like that other man and were half naked, wearing only a towel?

I'd give my arm to read that scene from Afra's point of view.

And also...nice misdirection, AMC, on both scenes. Very slick. I bow to you.
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Old Jun 17 2008, 05:08 AM   #2
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

I started a similarly themed thread over at AMCF a couple of weeks back. Personally, I think Anne chooses to walk this particular line because she knows the demographics of her major audience, and knows very well how to appeal to them. What do teenage girls like (and I'm adding to that group those of us who cling on to teenage escapism throughout our lives)? The telepathic flying pony archetype. A physically powerful creature bonded to your very mind, whose love and affection you win via being more special than your peers. On Pern, we have the dragons. In the Towerverse, it's an older telepathic man.

What Anne overlooks, and what rubs me up the wrong way about the Afra/Damia and Sascha/Tirla (and even the Sodan/Damia) relationships, is that people generally don't stop maturing at age 16. Of course, the audience she's appealing to with these relationships is usually 110% convinced that they're as grown up as they're ever going to get, so it passes them by completely - but I'd love to see some more examples of changes/increased maturity in some of these relationships, where the women in question are more than just a cardboard cut-out of their younger selves with a handful of kids running around their ankles. As it stands, the only changes Anne seems to be able (or willing) to make are increasing the shrewishness of some of her characters as they age, which may be all very well for motivating the next generation of special youngsters, but is really a pretty feeble plot device and rather a disservice to the characterisation of her aging characters.

I've kind of drifted off the point I was meaning to make though - it's all very well having these older men waiting until their love interests are 'legal', but if they had any respect for them at all they'd give them a bit more time to grow up than just that. A girl's body may be at it's prime at that age, but her personality most usually is not. Why would you want to risk stifling something that you want to love?


I'd be curious to know if Anne writes this way simply because she's a traditional romance writer at heart, or if it's done through a more cynical awareness of audience and marketing...
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Old Jun 17 2008, 10:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

The Damia getting back to Callisto bit is obviously a goof. The part where Afra realizes how attractive she is happens when she asks him to smother her all over with suntan oil (literally all over, since she's sunbathing in the nude - obviously Talents don't share American prudish attitudes to nudity!) is just before she goes out to seduce, and in the process unwittingly damage, Amr Tusel. I'd say she's 15 or 16 at that point.

While I'd consider a 40-something guy having the hots for a 15-16 year old to be a bit off to say the least, at least he had the sense to wait until she saw him for himself, after the Sodan incident. I'd wager that experience matured her quite a bit beyond her years. So the reason I love Afra is that he managed to rise above his lust and wait until she was ready to accept him for who and what he was. He certainly never stifled her in any way, Sodan and losing her brother did that for him.
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Old Jun 17 2008, 07:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kath View Post
I'd be curious to know if Anne writes this way simply because she's a traditional romance writer at heart, or if it's done through a more cynical awareness of audience and marketing...
Could be a bit of both. I mean, when you read the original short stories these are based on, they end in sex, which is typical of the average romance novel which connects sex with true love so that they can sell better because they've got naughty bits to titillate without being considered porn. The short stories also probably ended this way so that magazines would buy them. She flat out states that she wrote "Thorns of Barevi" (the first chapter of Freedom's Landing, except it ends with Kristen and Zainal doing it in the bushes rather than getting recaptured) as a bit of smut to sell to playboy or some similar mag. I mean, whatever you need to do to make a sale, I guess, but it still alerts the cautious reader to the fact that she is aware and capable of writing to market forces.

. . . I've also been mildly disgusted with that sex/true love connection, but then, I don't read romance novels for their comments on the human condition. I read them for the formulaic and predictable plots, characters and titillating sex scenes, of course. MMM, brain candy: it rots your neurons.
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Old Jun 18 2008, 11:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

Right... to avoid x-posting such a similar thread, I'm going to dump some of my other questions on this issue that I posted about over on AMCF right into this post - I'd particularly appreciate some thoughts on the varying treatment of psi-sexuality between different authors/series:



Sascha Roznine knew he was falling for Tirla when she was twelve. Afra Lyon had an unrequited thing for the Rowan which transferred to Damia almost from the start. Other Talents were often at risk from the attentions of mysterious mature strangers - Sodan, for instance, or Prince Phannibal.


So, whose attraction was the least appropriate?

How does this relate to Anne's apparent attitudes towards female sexuality in her fiction - that a 'good' woman should be safely married off (or the closest equivalent when it comes to pern or the Ship books) if she's to indulge in carnal relations without becoming an Evil Antagonist?

Does Damia's succession of sexual angst issues and relatively early partnering to Afra reflect Anne's more realistic portrayal of teen sexuality in later novels, which still had to be countered by a youthful safe marriage?

How much leeway should there be in the Talent books given the nature of mind-to-mind contact involving the characters? Contrast this with other books involving psi-powers, e.g. Julian May's Galactic Milieu trilogy (which has a wonderfully believable range of sexual relationships and characters) or Bradley's Darkover novels (where no-one can screw anyone without the prospect of future angst). What about other books I haven't mentioned?


Please share your thoughts!
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Old Jun 23 2008, 08:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

I just reread To Ride Pegasus and Pegasus in Flight. I noticed another questionable pairing in TRP - Sally Iselin and Daffyd op Owen. She is struggling to hide her own feelings for him because it would look so inappropriate, the much younger woman... Granted it's not the same as "waiting to grow up" but it's yet another example of the age disparity.


And in Pegasus in Flight, I found the spot that reveals Sascha's thoughts on the matter.

When Tirla is eager to go back into the Linears and help with the investigation, and is hurt by Sascha's vehement refusal:


"Give yourself a little break. We didn't catch Yassim, and if he spots you, he'd have you wasted so fast, none of us could help you."

Tirla noticeably paled.

Dorotea: Well, she's still afraid of Yassim!

Tirla seemed so afraid that Sascha gathered her up in his arms and rocked her. "Yassim can't get you here in the Center, Tirla. You're safe here."

...

"With the slender little body curled trustfully in his lap, Sascha permitted himself just a few moments to caress her hair and savor the feel of her in his arms. Why Tirla? Of all the women in the world, how could this little waif, streetwise and precocious, have become so entangled in his emotions and heart? She could not possibly understand how much she meant to him. She was far to young for that aspect of maturing to have touched her. And yet... she responded to him as she did to no one else. With a final little hug, he put her from him as gently as he could. One day, eight or nine years in the future...

___________


Food for thought. I was always bothered far more by Afra/Damia than by Sascha/Tirla.
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Old Jun 24 2008, 11:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

One thing that never seems to get mentioned in threads like this is that Afra imposed a form of mental control on Damia when she was just a baby, supposedly to make coping with her easier for the Rowen, near as I remember. I think there is a possibility that Damia was so conditioned to respond to Afra that she would be unlikely to ever "give herself" to anyone else.
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Old Jun 24 2008, 06:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

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One thing that never seems to get mentioned in threads like this is that Afra imposed a form of mental control on Damia when she was just a baby, supposedly to make coping with her easier for the Rowen, near as I remember. I think there is a possibility that Damia was so conditioned to respond to Afra that she would be unlikely to ever "give herself" to anyone else.
Yes, Sandi, I think you are right about this. I have wondered why Damia was never really angrily mad at and resenting/hating Afra and her parents for having her mental control block tripping her time and again as young and also as older being conscious about it. Being a prime talent she must have become aware of it early I should think. Damia might have been conditioned and abandoned to Afra from early on - sort of the only person she could ever trust to be there for her. Maybe it was Anne's intention all along.

Also I am wondering why it is not also the other way around - I mean Anne describing older women with much younger men?
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Old Jun 24 2008, 09:02 PM   #9
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Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

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Originally Posted by Sandi View Post
One thing that never seems to get mentioned in threads like this is that Afra imposed a form of mental control on Damia when she was just a baby, supposedly to make coping with her easier for the Rowen, near as I remember. I think there is a possibility that Damia was so conditioned to respond to Afra that she would be unlikely to ever "give herself" to anyone else.
I've re-read Damia recently...the strongest form of mind control that was done was Afra's hypnotic suggestion that Damia fall asleep when the proper trigger song was sung...in this case, rock a bye baby. That re-appears in the story again when Afra's surprised it still works on Deneb, and I think it's the only thing that was done without Jeff's permission. Presumably, the other, milder suggestions placed with Jeff's consent had worn off. We're never told what they are, but there's no suggestion that they're Afra-specific, and it's specifically said the Rowan would go ballistic if she even found the "mild" stuff, so I doubt they would have a long-lasting effect.

I don't think Damia was conditioned to respond to Afra (beyond the...Author ex machina? It's a Romance, so of course the two AMC wanted to get together will get together. So there's obviously a certain setup of circumstances that the author puts into play.) I think that, even if Afra's contact with the baby-Damia had been downplayed or eliminated, as a teen she would have become fascinated by a handsome older man that always had time for her, whom she probably couldn't read very well due to his Methody ways...it would give him an air of mystery to her, I think, and she, being a cocky little thing, probably would have tried the same stunts on him just to see what the hell he would do.
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Old Jun 25 2008, 01:14 AM   #10
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

I think I agree with you about Damia, Magus. She never could resist a challenge.

To my knowledge, Anne's never described a successful romance between an older woman and a much younger man. The only exception would be Killashandra's dalliances off Ballybran, but with the spore making her sterile and long-lived, the rules that apply to other women in her stories can be largely discounted. Killa is the only female character Anne's written who's allowed to enjoy promiscuity without being made to pay for it.

I suppose some of the BB stories might have a similar situation, but then again, the brain is ensconced in the shell and a physical relationship in the conventional sense isn't possible.
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Old Jul 29 2008, 08:01 PM   #11
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What Anne overlooks, and what rubs me up the wrong way about the Afra/Damia and Sascha/Tirla (and even the Sodan/Damia) relationships, is that people generally don't stop maturing at age 16. Of course, the audience she's appealing to with these relationships is usually 110% convinced that they're as grown up as they're ever going to get, so it passes them by completely - but I'd love to see some more examples of changes/increased maturity in some of these relationships, where the women in question are more than just a cardboard cut-out of their younger selves with a handful of kids running around their ankles.
Actually, in Towerverse, sixteen seems to be the age of majority. So think of Damia and Tirla as eighteen-year-olds if it helps.

At the age of majority, you're legally considered an adult, and conditionally assumed to be responsible enough to make your own decisions. Of course, as the citizens of a "civilized" country, the popularized "opinion" on sex and sexuality -- that sex and sexuality are "unnatural" and "off limits." -- has been all but permanently burned into your brain by your parents before you acquired the reasoning capacity to question them.

Granted, you could've "resisted" that indoctrination -- I did, and where there's there could be others -- but.... The result of this indoctrination is the criminalization of what is primarily a biological process -- and thus entirely natural by definition.

Personally, I take the view that sex is only sex -- something to be shared and enjoyed instead of hidden behind closed doors and puritanical attitudes. But then again, I'm not much into repressive notions in general anyways. Of course, I fully realize -- and accept -- that this viewpoint of mine won't exactly win me any popularity awards.

...Anyways, both Afra and Schala restrained their emotions. There is a distinct difference between experiencing list and sating lust.

On the part of Damia, she's the one who made the first move, so she obviously was willing. As for Tirla, are you forgetting the fact that her harsh childhood (with plenty of allusions to Lessa) matured her to the point that Rhyssa observed at least once that Tirla was "sixteen going on two hundred", and she was worried that Schala might not be able to cope, not Tirla?
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Old Jul 30 2008, 08:44 AM   #12
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Actually, in Towerverse, sixteen seems to be the age of majority. So think of Damia and Tirla as eighteen-year-olds if it helps.
*snip the rest*

I'm a Brit - legal sex at sixteen is not an issue as far as I'm concerned, and as for the idea that sex and sexuality might be unnatural... well, that's just laughable. I don't even have a problem with teens having consensual sex with each other when they're underage, providing that it's not the result of peer pressure, mutually unrealistic expectations and ignorance of one's personal comfort zone and/or needs within a relationship... which, sadly, it so often is.

What you've done here is to TOTALLY miss my point. I don't have a problem with sex. I don't even have a problem with large age gaps. And I certainly don't think that any of the female characters was at all unwilling, at any point. I do have a problem with the portrayal of a large number of characters ending up in the exact same type of relationship, especially when said characters have demonstrably limited experience in certain aspects of life and their idealised older male partners ought to know well enough to back off for a while to give them room to grow up. Not only does it show a chronic lack of imagination and pre-disposition towards outdated romance-novel tropes on Anne's part, but it also cheapens the hard-won talents and independence won by these wonderfully strong women (who can only find fulfilment in the arms of an older man) and weakens the character of their menfolk.

I'll give you the point that on rare occasions people's personalities don't alter substantially once they hit their teens, but the maturity, wisdom and experience that allows one to make cogent decisions alongside a partner of any age isn't something that gets handed to us on a plate the moment we hit [insert birthday of choice]. Yes, Tirla knew the mechanics of sex and the typical failings of the human species, but what did she know of relationships in the context of sexual and mental equality? Nothing. Nada. Zip. And what does she get out of it? A relationship with an in-built imbalance of power and a life spent dutifully popping out kids that bears more resemblance to Mama Bobchik's than it does Rhyssa Owen's.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly understand the appeal of a submissive relationship and/or a strong partner - I fit the mould far too well myself. If you're both strong and submissive, often you can't let your walls down with anyone weaker than yourself, and age/experience is often a good substitute for genuine strength of character in a partner. In Damia's case, it was probably the only solution available to her given her Prime capabilities, and at least Afra waited until after the Sodan episode before their relationship kicked off. it did, of course, have an incredibly maturing effect on Damia, and gave her a huge boost in her understanding of herself as well as of the rest of the universe, removing many of her illusions.

But.

The issue isn't just Damia's attraction to Afra, or the fact of their relationship after the Sodan incident, but the attraction Afra felt towards her before that point - when Damia WAS mentally immature. This is also reflected in Sascha's attraction towards Tirla, who while mentally mature was chronologically and socially (outside the context of Linear Society) HUGELY inexperienced, and in Sodan's abuse of Damia's youthful weaknesses.

Physical attraction is one thing, but conscious attraction towards an incomplete personality without the compensating awareness of and refusal to abuse one's power to take advantage of them (and I don't mean in the physical sense, note) is quite another, and IM(NS)HO deeply, deeply flawed. A stronger character would hopefully, as I suggested early, back off and let them grow up on their own terms, without stifling them in the hothouse of a rushed relationship. Lack of maturity (be it physical, mental, social, educational or whatever) on the behalf of one partner in a relationship can affect the well-being of both of them - stifling growth on one side, and trammeling the other with rose-tinted lack of realism.


Oh, and it's Sascha, not Scharla
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Old Jul 30 2008, 03:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

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I do have a problem with the portrayal of a large number of characters ending up in the exact same type of relationship, especially when said characters have demonstrably limited experience in certain aspects of life and their idealized older male partners ought to know well enough to back off for a while to give them room to grow up.
You've obviously missed or aren't giving enough weight to some general information points pervading the series as a whole:
-->First: as Damia pointed out in The Tower and the Hive (in an internal reflection), most of those relationships were the as much the product of sheer desperate necessity as they were of shared danger and random (well, pseudorandom actually... these characters are creations of Anne's mind -- she's essentially God, at least in the context of one of her creations) force of circumstance bringing together compatible personalities (actually, it's deus ex machina).
-->Second: "Idealized" probably isn't the best word in any case; with some (Kincaid / Laria, for example) you can't honestly claim lack of experience on either side, just sheer desperate necessity, shared danger and "random" force of circumstance; with others (Sascha / Tirla comes to mind, as does Afra / Damia) you might have a disparity of experience in the beginning, but the more experienced of the two is mature enough to hold back until the less experienced of the pair has enough experience to decide exactly what they want for themselves. Hardly "idealized."
-->Third: Just how many "types of relationships" are there to choose from? And how many people are there to do the choosing?


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Not only does it show a chronic lack of imagination and pre-disposition towards outdated romance-novel tropes on Anne's part, but it also cheapens the hard-won talents and independence won by these wonderfully strong women (who can only find fulfillment in the arms of an older man) and weakens the character of their menfolk.
A (young?) woman claiming to reject the whole 'Napoleonic objectification of women' concept that's the "modern" standard-of-measure, but automatically judging "nonstandard" relationships by the same standard she claims to reject. That's an odd hypocrisy, and one that I've considered annoying for years now.

-->If one person is too much stronger than the other, the stronger one can either hold him- or herself back back or take refuge in petty tyranny.
-->If both people are the relatively the same strength, both of them can grow and act as strong as they are.
I prefer to view Anne's so-called "unbalanced" relationships as examples of the latter 'option'.

A little known consequence of evolutionary theory: It may be a fact of life that all else equal men have greater upper body strength than women, however 'brute force' isn't all that useful unless you're looking to remain/become a beast -- the human mind can come up with so many faster, easier, and more efficient ways of accomplishing most tasks than 'brute force'. Or failing that, simply breaking up the task into smaller subtasks often works rather well -- even if it means sacrificing speed and efficiency.




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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
Yes, Tirla knew the mechanics of sex and the typical failings of the human species, but what did she know of relationships in the context of sexual and mental equality? Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Are you sure about that? Sexual equality, I'll grant you -- she hadn't hit puberty yet, so no libido. No libido, no desire -- so the whole discussion of the equality/inequality dichotomy becomes rather pointless.

It's the mental equality assessment that I'm objecting to here. Even before she gets carted off to the Center, I seem to remember a few internal deliberations that left me with the impression she knew enough on equality to put herself on an equal footing with Sascha.
Pity I don't have any quotes handy and can only rely on a general impression.

Also... as equality and inequality are opposites: understand either one, and you understand it's opposite. Tirla clearly understands inequality, which means she also must have at least a basic understanding of it's opposite -- that is, equality.
You cannot, no matter how hard you try, explain inequality to someone who doesn't have at least a basic understanding of what equality means.


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And what does she get out of it? A relationship with an in-built imbalance of power and a life spent dutifully popping out kids that bears more resemblance to Mama Bobchik's than it does Rhyssa Owen's.
You can actually back this assertion up, I presume?

And even if that's the case, you're forgetting that intent is a variable in it's own right, and that changing it's "value" can often alter the entire equation, resulting in an entirely different 'solution'. Mama Bobchik thinks of her brood as little more than objects to invest in for a time, then cash in for credits. Can you say the same about either Sascha or Tirla?


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
In Damia's case, it was probably the only solution available to her given her Prime capabilities, and at least Afra waited until after the Sodan episode before their relationship kicked off. It did, of course, have an incredibly maturing effect on Damia, and gave her a huge boost in her understanding of herself as well as of the rest of the universe, removing many of her illusions.
...And you're demonizing Afra for being all mature and responsible?
I fail to see how that makes much sense whatsoever. Faulting someone for doing the right thing....


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The issue isn't just Damia's attraction to Afra, or the fact of their relationship after the Sodan incident, but the attraction Afra felt towards her before that point - when Damia WAS mentally immature. This is also reflected in Sascha's attraction towards Tirla, who while mentally mature was chronologically and socially (outside the context of Linear Society) HUGELY inexperienced, and in Sodan's abuse of Damia's youthful weaknesses.
That puritanical mentality contradicts your previous statement a mere four paragraphs back: "I don't have a problem with sex. I don't even have a problem with large age gaps."

With Afra, again you're demonizing him for mature restraint and ignoring the fact that if anyone is at fault, it would be Damia for seducing him. She was the one to make the first move -- Afra followed her lead. She was also the one (IIRC) who proposed, not Afra.

As for Sascha, he also exercised the whole 'mature restraint' thing, as Brenda already mentioned. Sascha was also at a disadvantage -- on multiple levels.

-->Telepathically, Tirla would've had gobs of experience influencing other people's minds... well, certainly more than Sascha did: her circumstances focused her more on survival than ethics.
She often couldn't afford to take the moral high road, especially when forced into dealings with particularly dangerous types, such as Yassim (spelling?) -- if she pisses Yassim off too much, he can easily have her killed -- although she's technically a telekinetic, it's weak enough that her kinesis doesn't even factor into the equation.
Yassim has the house advantage here -- just like someone in an Atlantic City or Las Vegas casino, Tirla pretty much has to cheat in order to win.
Sascha on the other hand, has (as far as we know) been constrained by Talent ethics pretty much from Day One.
-->Tirla is observant to the nth power, understandably so due to the intensive survivalist training she was forced into. She even eluded "standard" Talent -- even particularly adept finders such as Carmen -- until What's-his-face showed up (that RIG slime working for Prince Phannibal) and she was observed as the focus of an Incident. Sascha (to my knowledge at least) hasn't shown himself all that much more observant than your "standard" Talent. Sascha also can't get past her shields, while Tirla probably can.
Knowledge translates rather directly into power, as any tactician worth his weight in salt knows.
-->Further, I've always thought of Tirla as having the higher T-rating in the pair, anyways. Anyone know what their T-ratings are? I think I remember Sascha's being specified (but not the actual rating), but I don't remember a simmilar statement concerning Tirla.

As for Sodan, his abuse got him scattered across deep space in little tiny Sodan pieces. Is that not severe enough a consequence for you?

What would you have preferred Anne do to him? Torture? Come to mention it, Sodan's actions got himself some of that, too. Sodan himself rather firmly establishes the fact that he had genuine feelings for Damia, they just weren't strong enough to deter him from his duty.

In terms of sanctions, it is a bit hard to trump torture and death....


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Physical attraction is one thing, but conscious attraction towards an incomplete personality without the compensating awareness of and refusal to abuse one's power to take advantage of them (and I don't mean in the physical sense, note) is quite another, and IM(NS)HO deeply, deeply flawed.
Since neither Afra or Sascha took advantage of their love interests or abused them by any standard definition, this applies how exactly?


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
A stronger character would hopefully, as I suggested early, back off and let them grow up on their own terms, without stifling them in the hothouse of a rushed relationship. Lack of maturity (be it physical, mental, social, educational or whatever) on the behalf of one partner in a relationship can affect the well-being of both of them - stifling growth on one side, and trammeling the other with rose-tinted lack of realism.
Again, since Afra and Sascha both did exactly what you claim to wish they did, this applies how exactly?

You're holding Afra responsible for the actions of Sodan, and Sascha responsible for the collective actions of pretty much the entirety of Linear G... not to mention Prince Phannibal the Pervert and his waste-of-volume RIG sidekick.

Yet again, I fail to see how that makes much sense whatsoever.


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
Oh, and it's Sascha, not Scharla
Duly noted, and thanks for the correction.

For some bizarre reason I was partially confusing Sascha with Schala, the Princess of Zeal in Chrono Trigger/Cross.

And yes, I'm about as shocked at that as you probably are.

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Old Jul 31 2008, 03:40 PM   #14
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A large age gap doesn't necessarily imply inequality. Damia was the far stronger Talent, even though her whammy of boosting other Talents helped Afra develop into a T-2 and brought his level as close to Prime as he was comfortable with.

Afra certainly never acted on his attraction to the barely pubescent Damia. You can't help your feelings, after all, only how you decide to act on them, or not. Afra certainly held back, even in situations where far lesser men might not have.

Sascha hadn't thought twice about Tirla as other than the child she physically was, until he precogged marrying her. However, by the time those two met, Tirla had been making a fairly decent living in Linear G and surviving more or less on her own. That would mature anyone, so a 12 year old Tirla can't be compared mentally to a modern 12 year old who's barely let out of her parents' sight except when she's at school. And even there she's supervised most of the time by other adults.
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Old Aug 1 2008, 04:19 AM   #15
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When I say you've missed my point, my whole purpose in rephrasing myself is to give you another chance of seeing where I'm coming from, not to merely re-apply what you've already said to a different set of sentences.


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Originally Posted by draconichybrid View Post
these characters are creations of Anne's mind -- she's essentially God, at least in the context of one of her creations) force of circumstance bringing together compatible personalities (actually, it's deus ex machina).
I think you're stretching the concept of deus ex to breaking point here - it's a tad more specific than sweeping authorial fiat, don't you think? But hey, that's beside the point. Let's just look at the bit I've bolded.

This. One of my primary complaints on this issue is that Anne, like many other popular authors, has a tendency to recycle the same old relationship tropes again and again and again, ad nauseum.


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A (young?) woman claiming to reject the whole 'Napoleonic objectification of women' concept that's the "modern" standard-of-measure, but automatically judging "nonstandard" relationships by the same standard she claims to reject. That's an odd hypocrisy, and one that I've considered annoying for years now.
I'm not actually doing this, if you read what I've written a little more carefully. Feel free to be annoyed if you want to be, but please desist from swinging labels around?

Quote:
-->If both people are the relatively the same strength, both of them can grow and act as strong as they are.
I prefer to view Anne's so-called "unbalanced" relationships as examples of the latter 'option'.
Yes, that's the intention, but short of the authorial fiat that leads inevitably to the foregone conclusion of a happy ending, it falls far short of realism. We do, of course, have the privilege of knowing the author's style, and can happily hand-wave all that possible alternative unpleasantness of the first option aside knowing full-well that she'd never put one of her characters through it... and that's what makes Anne a romance-wolf wearing sci-fi cable-knit, if you'll excuse the atrocious analogy. She chooses character tropes over characterisation, realistic consequences bedamned. I don't even think you can call these relationships non-standard either, because they've pretty much been the status quo throughout recent history... but is maintaining that trend in future-fiction really a positive addition to a work of science fiction?

[As an aside, this is one of the reasons why Anne causes people who like to categorise books into either SF or fantasy to fail so spectacularly. No matter how much forward-looking science she includes in her novels (as shoddy as her science often is, the intent alone gives it a true SF-nal weight), how many quantum leaps of progress or unexpected renaissances, she drags them kicking and screaming back to earlier centuries in other aspects of her writing. Not many authors manage this, and it's one of the things that makes her writing so uniquely open to discussion and reader empathy.]

So where was I?

Ah yes. Yes, these characters do have the safety net of a guaranteed happy ending, and of course the good guys never do anything questionable or morally over the line... but as a reader, are you truly satisfied by that? Is the knowledge that in this case, it'll all work out fine, enough to slide over the consequences of the characters as written, at that specific moment in the prose, rather than as they appear as full-fledged people in your mind?

For some (probably most) people, the answer will be yes, but for me I'm afraid I can't not see the inherent flaws in these characters, and the disservice that's being done to readers by idolising the same-old same-old. We do seem to agree that the happy ending isn't the only possible outcome for relationships like these. 'Show, don't tell' is one of the first rules of good writing, and I'd FAR rather see the struggles of working through to the happy ending than just having it neatly dished up on a plate as the author ties up all the loose-ends at the end of a novel.

I'm going to take a step closer to your perspective at this point, and admit that yes, there was scope for these things to happen off-screen. We don't see Sascha's immediate reaction, or how he works it through in his head (if he does), or if he trusts that Tirla will mature into the fullness of her personality and potential despite their preordained future. So yes, there's plenty of room in the parts of the story we don't see for the happy ending to not only be justified, but earned.

But the thing is, we don't see it. And THAT is my point. Anne misses a chance to deepen Sascha's and Tirla's characterisation, and she misses her chance to make that perfect happy ending worthwhile - something that isn't a foregone conclusion simply because Anne is Anne. Sure, one can argue that all romance authors are just as bad, but that's the insidiousness of Anne's portrayal of strong women in a sci-fi setting. Socially, her female characters are in many ways about as far from the utopian ideal as you can get, unless your idea of a utopia is rooted in the glory days of some fictional 1950s.

Quote:
Are you sure about that? Sexual equality, I'll grant you -- she hadn't hit puberty yet, so no libido. No libido, no desire -- so the whole discussion of the equality/inequality dichotomy becomes rather pointless.

It's the mental equality assessment that I'm objecting to here. Even before she gets carted off to the Center, I seem to remember a few internal deliberations that left me with the impression she knew enough on equality to put herself on an equal footing with Sascha.
Pity I don't have any quotes handy and can only rely on a general impression.

Also... as equality and inequality are opposites: understand either one, and you understand it's opposite. Tirla clearly understands inequality, which means she also must have at least a basic understanding of it's opposite -- that is, equality.
You cannot, no matter how hard you try, explain inequality to someone who doesn't have at least a basic understanding of what equality means.
Very true, but there's still a massive cultural gulf. I have, perhaps, been unfair to the future-Tirla in past posts. The Tirla of PIF was so clearly a knowledge-sponge that she'd certainly be capable of bridging that divide within a few short years, and applying her hard-won maturity in some aspects of her personality to her inexperience in other areas.


Quote:
You can actually back this assertion up, I presume?
I'll leave that to the throw-away remarks about her in subsequent books. But again, I'm being a little unfair to her. No McCaffrey heroine gets to escape the destiny of excessive fecundity (and before anyone says 'Lessa', Ramoth was a more than adequate proxy in those terms...)

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...And you're demonizing Afra for being all mature and responsible?
I fail to see how that makes much sense whatsoever. Faulting someone for doing the right thing....
I'm not demonising him for waiting.
I'm not demonising him at all.
What I am doing is being critical of the fact that his unrequited love for Rowan was transferred into feelings for her daughter right from a VERY young age, and while his puritanical upbringing certainly helped ensure that his affection for her always remained within acceptable bounds, we can't get away from the fact that he waited for her to grow up and mature for a very large part of her life. There was no other woman he was interested in, at all.

So yeah, he waited not only until she was legal, but also until she was mature. That's a good thing.

The questionable aspect of this to me is the fact that he spent all those years waiting for an idealised adult woman that he himself played a role in moulding.

Puts me in mind of Pygmalion, actually!

Quote:
Further, I've always thought of Tirla as having the higher T-rating in the pair, anyways. Anyone know what their T-ratings are? I think I remember Sascha's being specified (but not the actual rating), but I don't remember a simmilar statement concerning Tirla.
I don't think it was ever specified, but given the uniqueness of her Talent I think you can put it at the top of the pile in that specific area with no questions asked.

Quote:
As for Sodan, his abuse got him scattered across deep space in little tiny Sodan pieces. Is that not severe enough a consequence for you?

What would you have preferred Anne do to him? Torture? Come to mention it, Sodan's actions got himself some of that, too. Sodan himself rather firmly establishes the fact that he had genuine feelings for Damia, they just weren't strong enough to deter him from his duty.

In terms of sanctions, it is a bit hard to trump torture and death....
Huh? This is all a bit out of left-field, isn't it? I don't think I ever suggested anything like NASTY CHARACTERS SHOULD FEEL MY WRATH! or anything... Nevermind. I'm not sure where you're going with this, so I'll leave it as it is.
Quote:
Since neither Afra or Sascha took advantage of their love interests or abused them by any standard definition, this applies how exactly?


Again, since Afra and Sascha both did exactly what you claim to wish they did, this applies how exactly?
Because I'm not talking about abuse.

Quote:
You're holding Afra responsible for the actions of Sodan, and Sascha responsible for the collective actions of pretty much the entirety of Linear G... not to mention Prince Phannibal the Pervert and his waste-of-volume RIG sidekick.
Nor am I doing any of this.

Quote:
Yet again, I fail to see how that makes much sense whatsoever.
Quite. But hopefully I've addressed this point further up - there is certainly scope for a healthy relationship in all of these cases, but there's also as much scope, if not more, for the opposite. You appear to place your trust in the author that things will work out in the end, while I wince at the fact that the knowledge of an inevitable fait accompli has not only highlighted the weak characterisation of many of Anne's characters, but also her chronic failure to bring any depth or variety to the relationships she portrays.

[And now I'm going to drift off-topic into one of my favourite Anne-rants. ]

'And they all lived happily ever after' is fine for fairy tales, but it's one reason why Anne's books so very, very rarely lift themselves above the level of escapist fantasy. Anne's books are very popular with young teens - heck, I got into them at age eleven, and have been reading ever since - but as role models, the heroines and their relationships are lacking. It's all wish-fulfilment, and there's very little to separate the role played by a giant telepathic dragon who was born for you and will love and protect you forever from that of the strong and handsome menfolk who've been destined to be yours from day one, who'll sweep you off your feet and love and protect you forever. In the Pern novels, this comes across pretty blatantly. In the Talent-verse, it's still there, and I can't say I don't see the popularity of such escapism... but I'd far rather read about characters whose growth doesn't stop the day they tie the knot. Perhaps it's my own experience in life colouring my needs as a reader these days, but I get far more out of reading an author like Bujold (whose motto is 'what's the worst thing I can do to these characters that they can learn from' - she's clearly been through her own forging fires in the past, and when you've been there, damn, but you recognise it in others) than I do with Anne (who I basically read because I love the worlds she's created, and I just adore exploring them in more depth and grittiness).

Wow, that turned into another essay. Hopefully, I've made my opinion a little clearer and less distasteful to you?

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Old Aug 1 2008, 12:18 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
I think you're stretching the concept of deus ex to breaking point here - it's a tad more specific than sweeping authorial fiat, don't you think?
I suppose, but.... Not that this really has anything to do with anything, if you really want to see deus ex machina stretched to the breaking point (trust me, I haven't even come close to the breaking point), I'd again recommend Keri Arthur's Riley Jenson Guardian series.
Keri heaps so much crap on poor Riley that it's easy to wonder why she isn't suicidal about halfway through book two.


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
This. One of my primary complaints on this issue is that Anne, like many other popular authors, has a tendency to recycle the same old relationship tropes again and again and again, ad nauseum.
No insult intended, but were talking about fantasy here. Granted some connection to 'true reality' is needed for believability purposes, but it's a fine line to walk....



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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
Yes, that's the intention, but short of the authorial fiat that leads inevitably to the foregone conclusion of a happy ending, it falls far short of realism. We do, of course, have the privilege of knowing the author's style, and can happily hand-wave all that possible alternative unpleasantness of the first option aside knowing full-well that she'd never put one of her characters through it... and that's what makes Anne a romance-wolf wearing sci-fi cable-knit, if you'll excuse the atrocious analogy. She chooses character tropes over characterization, realistic consequences be damned. I don't even think you can call these relationships non-standard either, because they've pretty much been the status quo throughout recent history... but is maintaining that trend in future-fiction really a positive addition to a work of science fiction?
Personally, I think you're reading too much into things, but... I do see some of your points.

How about we agree to disagree?


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
'Show, don't tell' is one of the first rules of good writing, and I'd FAR rather see the struggles of working through to the happy ending than just having it neatly dished up on a plate as the author ties up all the loose-ends at the end of a novel.
I sometimes think along those lines myself. When I'm in 'truth and consequences' mode, I'll reach for Keri, or Iris Johanson, or Catherine Coulter, or... well, ther are a quite a few authors and authoresses that I like to pick from.

When I'm having a particularly rough time of things, I want to escape that. So Anne or some other authors/authoresses are what I pick up.


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
I'm going to take a step closer to your perspective at this point, and admit that yes, there was scope for these things to happen off-screen. We don't see Sascha's immediate reaction, or how he works it through in his head (if he does), or if he trusts that Tirla will mature into the fullness of her personality and potential despite their preordained future. So yes, there's plenty of room in the parts of the story we don't see for the happy ending to not only be justified, but earned.

But the thing is, we don't see it. And THAT is my point. Anne misses a chance to deepen Sascha's and Tirla's characterisation, and she misses her chance to make that perfect happy ending worthwhile - something that isn't a foregone conclusion simply because Anne is Anne.
Very good points, and I agree. But I'd rather give Anne a chance to write something on the 'further adventures of Tirla' (heh) and blame her if she doesn't than start blaming her now....


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
Sure, one can argue that all romance authors are just as bad, but that's the insidiousness of Anne's portrayal of strong women in a sci-fi setting. Socially, her female characters are in many ways about as far from the utopian ideal as you can get, unless your idea of a utopia is rooted in the glory days of some fictional 1950s.
Again, when I'm reading her books I'm usually looking for an emotional pick-me-up as well as something to stave off boredom... so I'm not really disposed to care.


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
Very true, but there's still a massive cultural gulf. I have, perhaps, been unfair to the future-Tirla in past posts. The Tirla of PIF was so clearly a knowledge-sponge that she'd certainly be capable of bridging that divide within a few short years, and applying her hard-won maturity in some aspects of her personality to her inexperience in other areas.
Again, give her a chance to write up something on all of that... or if you are that unhappy, write it up yourself or find someone else who has.


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
I'll leave that to the throw-away remarks about her in subsequent books. But again, I'm being a little unfair to her. No McCaffrey heroine gets to escape the destiny of excessive fecundity (and before anyone says 'Lessa', Ramoth was a more than adequate proxy in those terms...)
At least Anne always gives them the excuse of necessity....


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
What I am doing is being critical of the fact that his unrequited love for Rowan was transferred into feelings for her daughter right from a VERY young age, and while his puritanical upbringing certainly helped ensure that his affection for her always remained within acceptable bounds, we can't get away from the fact that he waited for her to grow up and mature for a very large part of her life. There was no other woman he was interested in, at all.
You meant to say 'completely hidden' there, right? Just checking.


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
So yeah, he waited not only until she was legal, but also until she was mature. That's a good thing.

The questionable aspect of this to me is the fact that he spent all those years waiting for an idealized adult woman that he himself played a role in molding.
But not in the way you're thinking, obviously -- Damia herself established she never even had a clue he had any special attraction for her before the Sodan incident.


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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
I don't think it was ever specified, but given the uniqueness of her Talent I think you can put it at the top of the pile in that specific area with no questions asked.
Adjusted T-rating would be Commercial T-4, so yah.
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Old Aug 1 2008, 03:40 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by draconichybrid View Post
No insult intended, but were talking about fantasy here. Granted some connection to 'true reality' is needed for believability purposes, but it's a fine line to walk....
Perhaps. But when we're dealing with books featuring human characters, I do appreciate a full range of human characteristics. But then, I'm pretty anal at times about these things.
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How about we agree to disagree?
Suits me fine! I don't expect people to agree with me, but we can both see where the other is coming from and that's more than good enough in my book.
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Again, give her a chance to write up something on all of that... or if you are that unhappy, write it up yourself or find someone else who has.
Ah, I've got enough on my plate with all my Pern fanfic... I'm happy leaving the gritty realism of the Talentverse to Portalvast Magus!
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Old Aug 1 2008, 04:51 PM   #18
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Afra did have someone else. Kama, the prostitute/companion he met while on Earth. His relationship with Damia is a far more equal one than that! Even if she liked him a lot and would have been willing to be more than his companion when the pressures got too much and he had to get some physical relief.
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Old Aug 1 2008, 05:00 PM   #19
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D'oh!

Obviously, I've left my re-read far too long...
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Old Aug 2 2008, 10:09 AM   #20
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Afra did have someone else. Kama, the prostitute/companion he met while on Earth. His relationship with Damia is a far more equal one than that! Even if she liked him a lot and would have been willing to be more than his companion when the pressures got too much and he had to get some physical relief.
Actually, it was mentioned that Kama was interested in having a real relationship with Afra. But Afra seemed to take a look at the Rowan and Jeff's relationship, and feel anything he'd have with Kama would be a candle compared to the blazing supernova Jeff and Rowan had. He was basically jealous and/or unwilling to set himself up to leave Kama abruptly if he ever did find that super-special someone. Afra was also briefly intested in the daycare woman who became Gollee Gren's wife. But agan, not interested enough to do anything about it once Gollee made his own interest evident.
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Old Aug 2 2008, 04:13 PM   #21
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Exactly. But he wasn't completely celibate and uninvolved while waiting for Damia to grow up either, as seemed to be implied in an earlier post.
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Old Aug 3 2008, 03:08 PM   #22
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Ah, true.
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Old Aug 3 2008, 04:29 PM   #23
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

The whole topic was brought back to me while reading another, non SF series, in this other series (Campion by Margery Allingham) the character meets the girl he eventually marries when she is 17 and he's in his mid-thirties in a book set and written in the 1930s. The plot of the book revolves around her being the overt hero- doing the rescuing and "borrowing" things, while he has to go under cover.
Interestingly, he thinks he's too old and it is she who comes up with the "plans".

She's not in the stories between (there are a LOT of books and she turns up right until the end) but the next time she turns up it's a good few years later (forgotten how many but it's WW2 and near the beginning) and she's broken off the engagement. Campion has lost his memory- it's a weird but brilliant book- wonderfully detached at times, and he doesn't know this to start with. By the end of the book, she's broken off the new relationship- can't remember why but there's a reason other than "he's back and I remember that I love him really"- ah, I remember- he's the villain! and marries him.
Now the interesting thing is that the relationship is (and remember this is the 30s/40s when things weren't always so) definitely an equal one and she's often the one in charge- she also has a career and carries it on even into the last book, despite a small family.

It would be intersting to compare the two types Afra/Damia and this one.
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Old May 4 2009, 04:57 AM   #24
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

Oh you just had to bring up Afra. jk. I'll forgive that man for anything. And I have to say I agree with Kath and Sandi's additions at the moment.

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Originally Posted by Kath View Post
I think Anne chooses to walk this particular line because she knows the demographics of her major audience, and knows very well how to appeal to them. What do teenage girls like (and I'm adding to that group those of us who cling on to teenage escapism throughout our lives)? The telepathic flying pony archetype...
It's just not an exact science. The attraction of an older man for most young ladies, not all but most, is undefiable. Not too mention love triangles are a standard scene. But it's more than your standard triangle here of course. I thought most recently of a few of my favorite stories...for example the Twilight series, while the age issue is thrown out here the imprinting of Jacob Black with Bella's child is hauntingly familiar of the Damia and Afra bond.

And Sandi:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandi View Post
One thing that never seems to get mentioned in threads like this is that Afra imposed a form of mental control on Damia when she was just a baby, supposedly to make coping with her easier for the Rowen, near as I remember. I think there is a possibility that Damia was so conditioned to respond to Afra that she would be unlikely to ever "give herself" to anyone else.
I feel the same. It's those unconscious ties that bring us back to our roots, so to speak. But free will is always our own.
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Old Mar 26 2014, 12:05 AM   #25
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

It is not whether any "age-gap" relationship she has written that is suspect, which can always be debated, but how many large age gaps she features throughout her books in her main characters.

Along with Molly, Sally, Damia and Tirla in the talent novels, we have
Carlyle in Mark of Merlin
Serina in The Lady
Menolly (who "settled" for Sebell but seriously loved the Masterharper first)
Nialla in Ring of Fear
Theo in First Fall
Note she killed off Moreta who was a direct exception to the relationship power differential and married Alessan to needy young Nerilka

and I'm sure there are more. There's a real trend here, and whatever the reason, McCaffrey is very comfortable with this sort of relationship where any conflict due to age is ignored or denied as biased.

Whereas in reality, there is usually a story behind any two people who establish a relationship with an age gap larger than XX (you choose) instead of with a relative peer with an even power and responsibility balance. That backstory does not have to be creepy, but it usually is highly relevant to the progress of the relationship.
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Old Jun 11 2014, 06:41 PM   #26
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

JParsons - I agree, it's definitely a habit of AMC's.

You can throw Sebell and Menolly onto that list too, and not just because Menolly wanted Rob. In MHoP Sebell was retroactively aged up to be somewhere around F'lar or Lessa's age.

You can even throw Killashandra in. Sure, she's effectively immortal, but as an active Crystal Singer, her memory loss as compared to that of her significant other (be it Lanzecki or Lars, who minimize theirs as guild leaders) basically steals her years of experience.
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Old Jun 11 2014, 11:19 PM   #27
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

That's one of a number of places where MHoP simply is not compatible with previous canon. Sebell cannot be Robinton's right-hand-man well before the Pass when in Dragonsinger he has only just walked the tables!
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Old Jun 18 2014, 06:22 PM   #28
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Default Re: Afra: Questionable attraction?

I'm half tempted to do a story in which Sebell loses his memory at some point and has to start over as an apprentice, thus how he managed to just be walking the tables in Dragonsinger.
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Old Jul 16 2016, 03:51 AM   #29
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