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All the Rest One-offs, romances, fantasy novellas, short stories... If it's not in any of the above series - or it crosses the realms of multiple series - come discuss it here!

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Old Aug 27 2005, 07:18 PM   #1
ghyle
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Default Truth, morality and ethics

To what extent is truth versus falsehood a theme in Anne's books? To what extent is it subsumed to a wider patterning of right, ethical or moral, thinking and behaviour?

Can we construct a systematic morality, or ethical position, that Anne's protagonists adhere to, and is this universal or contextually specific? If we can, what are its features?
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Old Aug 28 2005, 03:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Truth, morality and ethics

You aren't asking for much, are you?
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Old Aug 28 2005, 04:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: Truth, morality and ethics

These are big questions, yes, but essential if we are to look at the works philosophically.

Books, remember, are our rehearsal for life, and Anne is no different.
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Old May 21 2007, 11:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Truth, morality and ethics

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghyle View Post
To what extent is truth versus falsehood a theme in Anne's books? To what extent is it subsumed to a wider patterning of right, ethical or moral, thinking and behaviour?

Can we construct a systematic morality, or ethical position, that Anne's protagonists adhere to, and is this universal or contextually specific? If we can, what are its features?
I know this is an old thread but with so many new members I think it deserves a "bump"

The questions are broad and require a lot more thought than I have time for tonight but I have noticed that Truth is sometimes considered less important than Greater Good. For instance, the fact that Moreta was riding someone else's dragon was represed. Jaxom's Secret of the Egg was eventually revealed but his leading All the Weyrs through time was not.

I've often thought it interesting that some of Anne's characters consider eating meat to be both immoral and unethical while others thoroughly enjoy hunting and killing animals.
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Old May 22 2007, 12:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Truth, morality and ethics

Wasnt something in the Question Song also a slight misrepresentation?
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Old Aug 15 2007, 11:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Truth, morality and ethics

Truth being manipulated for the greater good is indeed a common theme throughout her books. Typically it's done by people in positions of power as well--Robinton, Reidinger, Jeff Raven, Lanzeki...

Nepotism comes up heavily in the Talent books, but I don't see a corresponding trend in the Dragonriders of Pern books, so I think like the eat meat/don't eat meat thing it's just exploring different ideas in general and not a trend.

Sexual mores tend to be leftish; homosexuality is mentioned in the DRoP books, and the Talent books that I can remember offhand, and none of the characters its clear we're supposed to root for stigmatize it. Characters have sex at younger ages (although in general young characters get a lot of responsibility in Anne's books), and there's several cross-generational relationships, although the only one to truly "flower" is the Afra/Damia one. (There's subtextual Robinton/Menolly, and also that one Helva story where the Maestro merged with his young assistant who idolized him)

Alcohol is never stigmatized.

Cigarettes were wiped out if you compare the original story the book The Rowan emerged from, and then the same scene in The Rowan itself. Afra's eyes watered from taking a drag on someone's cig in the original scene; the scene was included in The Rowan substituted cake instead (lol). Seems like a case of political correctness as cigs were going out of style when the book The Rowan was published, but were very much in style when the original story was written.

Those are the ones I can think of at the moment...
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Old Aug 19 2007, 03:49 PM   #7
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Anne is celebrated as a feminist author, although her characters are anything but. There are quite a few women who enjoy being dominated by a strong man, or who seem to be shrews waiting for someone to tame them. This is especially true of Lessa and the Rowan, to a lesser extent Killa. Indeed, Killashandra is one of the very few female characters Anne's written who can enjoy promiscuity and get away with it. Kylara is the promiscuous woman who pays for it. Obviously if you're sterile and your lifespan is counted in centuries rather than decades, the rules will be different.
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Old Aug 20 2007, 12:41 AM   #8
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I think you're right about most of Anne's females, Granath.

As far as moral/ethical principles go, I think the Freedom series proposes some interesting choices. For all that they had their "Town Hall" sort of meetings from time to time the reality was that what Mitford wanted was what happened most of the time. If Mitford liked you, your standard of living was likely to be better than that of those he held in disfavor. He was a skilled manipulator and threatened to quit whenever anyone dared question his judgments.

There was a lot of high handed "rough justice" on Botany. For instance, dragging Arens up the side of that building amounted to torture. Even thogh I couldn't stand the creep, that was a little over the top (pun intended). And the use of chemical warfare was something that often gives me pause for thought. It goes strongly against the principles most of us claim to adhere to but, considering what they were facing, there was absolutely no chance whatever that they could defeat that enemy any other way. Can ends ever justify means? Would it have made a difference if the Eosi hadn't been quite so alien? Anne presents the story in an "it is what it is" fashion and leaves her readers to struggle with the right or wrong aspects of what took place. I think that was taking a huge chance in this age of PC.
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Old Aug 20 2007, 07:39 AM   #9
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True, but PC wasn't quite so prevalent in the early 90s. It was getting there, but not quite as bad as it is now. Mitford's way worked because the colonists were demoralized from living as slaves for so long. They had to be reoriented to the business of living, and to do that they needed to work together. The other colony groups were a lot less successful, because Mitford got things done.
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Old Aug 20 2007, 09:42 AM   #10
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Oh, I didn't mean to be disparaging to Mitford, he's one of my favorite characters!
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Old Aug 20 2007, 04:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: Truth, morality and ethics

In the Brain/Brown books mind wipe is brought up very often as a form of punishment. A person who was convicted of violent crimes would be mind wiped & made to do grunt labor. For that matter it was mentioned in The Powers That Be books also.
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Old Aug 24 2007, 05:20 AM   #12
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Which BB books? Certainly not in the Ship Who Sang or SWSearched. However, that punishment was, sort of, used by the Talents who would mind-burn people who misused their Talent. Usually that wouldn't kill them, but it would certainly deprive them of what made them different from the rest of the human race.
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Old Sep 6 2007, 02:19 PM   #13
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It was mentioned in Partnership.
In one of the Powers That Be books the punishment for kidnapping was to be put in a escape pod with very little air and sent into space to die from lack of O2. They never put in the same amout of air in a pod, so the covicted would never know how long they had to live once shipped into a desserted part of space.
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Old Jun 14 2008, 08:27 PM   #14
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Default Re: Truth, morality and ethics

That reminds me of one of the Mrdinis in the Talent series that ended up rotting in a pod in the hot sun. I don't recall if is was dead already, or died from the pod heating up while it was in there. And it also reminds me of people being staked out for thread on Pern (although granted, I don't think we've actually seen that happen in all its gruesomeness before.)

So capitol (-al?) punishment is mentioned several times as suitable punishments for severe crimes. That being said, the reader is not really exposed to it directly; it's always brought up by characters talking about it later on.
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Old Jun 14 2008, 08:40 PM   #15
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Default Re: Truth, morality and ethics

I think he was presumed dead upon impact, as it was a forceful one, but I think that the story left it ambiguous. Also, the humans were clearly a bit disgusted by it; it seemed that while the Mrdinis practiced capital punishment that the future humans did not.

But an interesting case to bring up, nevertheless.
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Old Jun 17 2008, 12:06 PM   #16
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Indeed, and the Mrdini punishment thing also brought the interesting idea to bear that you can't judge other sentient beings by your own standards. Something similar is touched upon in the Pern books, where the dragons impose looser sexual mores on the Weyrs than what is acceptable on the rest of the planet.
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