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Sex Cams: the High Cost of Slavery, Part 1
Sex Cams: the High Cost of Slavery, Part 1
Ok, now that the title has hooked you in, I warn you that it's going to be a while before I get started on the subject. I have some ground to cover first. If you just can't wait to get to the "good stuff" you get two choices-- be patient or leave. I certainly don't have the capability of fast-forwarding through me life to get to the good stuff, and I don't seem to have the option of leaving, no matter how much I may want to.
Bill Cosby once introduced us to the character of Fat Albert by telling a five minute story, then, while the audience was still laughing, he announced "I told you that story so I can tell you this next one". This is kind of going to be structured like that... filling in some background about myself so there's more context to surround the meat of the matter when we finally get there...
As the four of you who follow me regularly may remember, I have been active in science fiction fandom for 37+ years, in which time, I've gotten to meet an awful lot of the fans and professional writers in the field. I also have met a fair number of "outsiders" who've asked what this group is all about.
35 years ago, Larry Niven wrote a series refered to as "Known Space". The most well known book in this series was called Ringworld. The concept behind Ringworld has resurfaced in the last couple of years in a video game called "Halo". Larry's descriptions of Ringworld have clearly been used by the people who designed the visual look of Halo. A scientist theorized a number of years ago that the most efficient way to use the energy a star puts out would be to surround that star with sphere with the radius the size of a planet's orbit, so that all of the star's energy could be absorbed by the surrounding sphere. Larry came up with a compromise--surround the sun with a flat ring that encircles it completely, thereby aborbing a lot more energy than would be available to a relatively small spinning sphere, but less than could be absorbed by an entire sphere, thus, Ringworld.
Those of you familiar with science fiction as defined by the Star Trek universe are aware that just about all sentient aliens are approximately
humanoid, with the differences being defined by whatever tricks the technology of makeup is able to devise. This is part of why "literary" science fiction fans tend to look down their noses at "media" sf fans. Limiting sentience to humanoids just doesn't follow reasonable logic. Sentient life can take any number of forms, both phyically and psychologically. I'm sure that there are many others, but I think that there are two sf writers who broke the mold in creating aliens that are, well, alien. They don't look at all like humans, well not most of them anyway, and many of them have psychologies, and basic cultural differences than we. These two writers are Larry Niven and David Brin, both of whom write in a sub-genre referred to as "hard science fiction", science fiction which is directly extrapolated by data available to us now, forecast within a certain range of improvement.
Larry's expedition to Ringworld consists of a couple of humans, a Puppeteer, and a Kzin. Puppeteers are the most cowardly race in the galaxy. There entire psychology is predicated on an extreme wish to avoid all danger, mostly by running away from it (this actually has an offensive use, because as a Puppeteer turns to run, it's third leg delivers a blow like being kicked by an ornery mule). Any Puppeteer who is willing to deal with the unknown is considered by the rest of his race as "insane", but someone has to serve as liasion to the other sentient races, so this race's ambassadors consist of a small collection of insane Puppeteers. Puppeteers are described as having three legs, a brain in a thick bony shell atop the three legs, with two "Cecil-the-Seasick-Sea-Serpent" heads that double as hands and vocal mechanisms. Each head/hand has an eye emerging from it, thus providing the alien with visibility in all directions simultaneously (or at least as much as you can achieve with two lenses that can independently focus in any direction).
The Kzin are a somewhat catlike warrior race about 7 feet tall, with very aggressive personalities. When mankind first ventured into space they soon found themselves at war with the Kzin, but Kzin aggressiveness prevents them from being able to win these wars. The wars have so depleted the Kzin population that survival instinct has set in, and an uneasy truce exists between the races. Kzin must achieve certain status within their kind in order to earn names. Until they earn their names, they are known only by their professions. The Kzin ambassador in the expedition is known by his job title, as defined by his own culture. He is Speaker-to-Animals.
SF fans have seperated themselves from "normal" culture, and have designated those people who are not fannish as "mundanes".
I have always considered myself to be a "Speaker-to-Mundanes", capable to explaining who we are to curious onlookers without making us sound like the insane bunch of lunatics that most of are really are. This "Speaker-to-Mundanes" capacity is useful in any number of ways. After all, somebody needs to deal with Hotel Reps and other normal professional people. It's also served me in good stead through other aspects of my life...