Monday, April 10, 2017

What is Wrong With These People? Part 2: Sex in Science Fiction

“She was as destitute of clothes as the green Martians who accompanied her; indeed, save for her highly wrought ornaments she was entirely naked, nor could any apparel have enhanced the beauty of her perfect and symmetrical figure.” -- John Carter

From Heinlein to Hentai SF is riddled with the stuff.  In the golden age you could get away with hinting at it but there is no need to do so now.

Cataline shall begin by quoting Cataline:

Chapter Two

Kiva Lagos was busily fucking the brains out of the assistant purser she’d been after for the last six weeks of the Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby’s trip from Lankaran to End when Second Officer Waylov Brennir entered her stateroom, unannounced. “You’re needed,” he said.

Editors are supposed to stop stuff like this from happening. And credit where it's due, PNH is a half way decent editor. This means one of two things. Either there was so much garbage that it was just too much work to throw all of it out or (and this is so much worse) Scalzi actually fought to keep this scene in.

This Kiva Lagos is supposed to be one of Scalzi's favorite creations of all time.   And she is clearly by any measure a truly horrible little person. 

“I’m a little busy at the moment,” Kiva said. She’d just finally gotten herself into a groove, so fuck Waylov (not literally, he was awful)
(*Were you behind on your word count when you wrote this John?*) if she was going to get out of the groove just because he walked into it. Grooves were hard to come by. (*Yep, behind on his word count*) People have sex, and he was unannounced. If this was what he walked into, it was his fault, not hers. (*Waaay behind.  This is three in the morning crap that most writers would be hideously embarrassed about having written the next day.*)  The assistant purser seemed a little concerned, but Kiva applied a little pressure to make it clear festivities were to continue.
Seventy percent of the current bricks and mortar bookstore market is female.  Scalzi like any traditionally published author is aware of this and tries to write stuff that will appeal to that segment of market.   Which means he honestly thought women would like this.

For a typical woman this is a, put down the book and walk away, "Dude, I can't even," moment.  This paragraph is deeply and profoundly unaware of what women want from sex .  

Now weird ideas (fantasies really) about sex are one of the unfortunate hallmarks of science fiction. But this paragraph speaks to a view point of a straight man who  sexually idealizes himself as a woman.   Except normal women don't have sex like this and they never will.

I'm not joking about this fetish either.  This whole passage is about projection. Women do not pursue men for six weeks.  They just don't. For that matter most normal men can't be bothered after getting shot down a time or two.  They just move on after that.  But Gamma  and Omega Males will stalk one woman for months.  

The fact that this Kiva Lagos is rich and can ruin this lowly assistant purser with a word, seems to be give Scalzi the giggles.   If the sexes had been reversed Scalzi would have been the first one to scream, rape!

“It’s important.”

“Trust me, so is this.”

This is typical of Scalzi's attempts at locker room banter. As you can tell it is a passing strange and unnatural thing for him. 

This is John Scalzi with his brakes starting to slip.   Even in Old Man's War we first saw the weirdness of his ideas about sex creeping into his work.  The orgy that broke out among the rejuvenated soldiers was weird but expected.  The reason it was expected was because Forever War had had one.  And while Scalzi was claiming that this book was a paint by numbers tribute band to Heinlein, if you have ever read Haldeman and Heinlein you would have little doubt as to where the source of this pastiche was. 

Joe Haldeman's Forever War was a pastiche of Starship Troopers that the proto-SJWs of the 1970s were absolutely giddy about because of the Anti-Vietnam flavor of the book which was being provided by an actual Vietnam veteran.  They were goofy about this tripe for years.  It also had numerous orgies between the boy and girl soldiers.

What it didn't feature was a coherent or believable explanation for the pile of writhing bodies that would suddenly turn up for no reason.  These porn triggers were about as believable as the house wife who throws herself at the Pizza Delivery Boy with Extra Italian Sausage because he walked in the door.  Something vaguely related to sex got mentioned and that was enough.

It's hardly a secret that Science Fiction fans lean heavily to Gamma socio-sexual status.  The same can often be said for the writers themselves.  Although this isn't always the case.  Robert Heinlein's earlier works clearly indicated that he had a functioning knowledge of Game.  Yet he was also one of the worst offenders.  His later works frequently featured borderline pedophilia and a grotesque fascination with incest.

Gene Roddenberry was also a player.  Which is unsurprising, he was bomber pilot, turned airline pilot, turned cop, turned producer (he was the Police advisor on Dragnet).  Fine the personality archetype of player was clearly and obviously present. And in the best of aviator and Hollywood traditions he fucked around on his wife constantly.  He was given to keeping long term mistresses on call and providing them with whatever employment he could send their way.

Yet he too was very weird about sex.  (H)e made a deal with Sir John Whitmore, an eccentric former race-car driver who wanted him to write a screenplay about a group of extraterrestrials, the “Council of Nine,” who Whitmore believed were bound to return to Earth any day now. Roddenberry set to work. He shared his draft with friends. “I read this script and the hair began to rise on the back of my neck,” says writer Harold Livingston, “because that’s his, Gene’s, story. He was totally unaware of what he was writing. He was also writing his various sexual perversions, which I certainly don’t hold a grudge against, because I’ve got my own problems. But there’s something very, very amiss there.”

Harold Livingston wrote the first draft. As usual, Roddenberry rewrote it. “Then he brought it in,” Livingston says, “gave it to us in a bright orange cover, and there it is: In Thy Image, screenplay by Gene Roddenberry and Harold Livingston. 

He took first position. We all read it and I was appalled, and so was everyone else. We sat around looking at each other and somebody said, ‘Who’s going to tell him it’s a piece of s—t?’” 

The draft was marked November 7, 1977. Roddenberry’s opening scene: Kirk and a lady friend skinny-dipping. Starfleet hails. But Kirk is distracted when his girlfriend pulls him underwater. After a beat he surfaces, responds to the hail, and says, “I was attacked by an underwater creature.” There is more. The crew of the Enterprise is sent to investigate a mysterious probe heading towards Earth. In one scene, “shapely female yeomans check out the young and inexperienced Xon, straight out of the Academy and the new science officer, and ask him about pon farr,”. 

Admiral Kirk tells another new member of the crew, the empathic Ilia from the planet Delta, “I know that Deltan females are not wanton, hairless whores.” At this Ilia laughs and says, “On my world, existence is loving, pleasuring, sharing, caring.” Kirk asks, “Have you ever sexed with a human?”

One theme that become clear throughout any of these works is a driving desire to have twenty year old women behave like middle aged gay men. That sex should be as uncomplicated as a girl walking up to you and saying, "lets fuck, now."

Part of this was pure projection on the part of men who couldn't fathom what women wanted so they just assumed it was the same thing they did and would thus go about getting it in the same way that they would.  Hence Scalzi's heroine taking six weeks to seduce a boy.

Part of this was liberal men adopting a tenant of Second Wave Feminism that they really, really liked. That sex should be uncomplicated and freely available to women. They were super cool with this idea for the rather selfish reason that if there was tons and tons of hot Playboy sex going on everywhere they were bound to get some.

And as we all know it didn't even come close to working out that way.

The top fifteen percent of men who had been getting laid in Don Draper's day were now getting flooded as women began throwing themselves at them without the slightest loss of social status from being a slut.  As for the rest a great sexual starvation moved in as women found that thanks to government programs they no longer really needed (and I mean life and death needed) a husband.

Yet even in the face of this horrifying reality this cruelest of illusions lives on.  

If women could just become a little bit looser, then I wouldn't be lonely anymore.

It doesn't work like that Sad One. 

 It doesn't work like that at all. It's time to learn the Game.


bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) said...

One theme that become clear throughout any of these works is a driving desire to have twenty year old women behave like middle aged gay men. That sex should be as uncomplicated as a girl walking up to you and saying, "lets fuck, now."

that's the problem though.

that ACTUALLY WAS the life that Roddenberry was living.

he had money. he had social power. he had corporate power on the set. he had the bad boy attitude. he had a pre-selected pool of 20 somethings who were in Hollywood explicitly to bounce on the casting couch and hopefully become some honcho's kept woman.

Robert Pinkerton said...

I am surprised that you id not mention Gor.

Cataline Sergius said...

@Robert Pinkerton

There wasn't room for everything. This would have been a 20,000 word post if I'd tried.

Although in truth I tend to think of John Norman as more of a B&D semi-porn writer than a Science Fiction author.

The fetish isn't incidental in his books, they pretty much drive the plot.

Kentucky Headhunter said...

Is that supposed to be Deja Thoris in the illustration? Unflattering to say the least, but a good representation of the sex-doll fetish that most gamma authors (cough, Scalzi, cough) have in mind when writing females.

The John Carter movie had its problems, but I still enjoyed more than Rogue One, and its 10 times the movie Force Awakens turned out to be.

bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) said...

here, from 1979, the Gene Roddenberry theme song:

the only caveat being, ol uncle Gene was probably a great deal LESS repulsive than a lot of the sociopaths in Hollywood.

bob kek mando ( i'd like to be John Scalzi, sir Procrustes. can you de-nut me? or, you know, you could just cut me off at the waist and then i'd also be a half-man, just like my an hero ) said...