Monday, December 12, 2011

Age of Aphrodite

    Right now I am working on two novels. I'm not the fastest writer, so it is taking some time. You would think it would be faster for me to focus on just one, but whichever one I focus on makes that book feel like work, which makes the other feel fun. Thus, I end up working on the one that is the side project. Soon I make the side project the main project, which then makes the one that was just demoted seem more fun, so I work more on it. This leads to much flipping back and forth, but I'm actually making progress on the whole this way.

    The novel I'm going to be writing about today is my Sci-fi novel with the working title Age of Aphrodite. It's set in the Interstellar Union: a far future space-faring society that has the notable cultural feature that they have decided women are far superior to men. Males have a legal status somewhere between children and slaves. They have to have a woman of age as a legal guardian or they are considered wards of the state. Men are appraised and sold at auction to the highest bidder or given as gifts.

    Although the technology exists throughout most of human civilization, in this society the procedures to allow a woman to sire a child with another are truly embraced. There are still many women who enjoy the romantic company of men; but Plato's idea that true love can only exist between two equals (and that persons of different gender can 'obviously' not be equals) is prevalent among the societies conservatives. Thus, the idea of women being able to marry men, or even reproduce with them are under attack.

    The one universal right men have in this society is to fight in the arena. Men are seen as inherently and irrevocably violent. It is seen as imperative that men be trained to control and contain their violent tendencies, but it is seen as unbelievably cruel to stop men from having an outlet for their violent tendencies. Any man who wishes may fight in the arena if he wishes, despite whatever his Lady might think. However, despite a few laws against other acts seen as unbelievably cruel, men have no other rights. They can not own property. All men must be implanted with a lashchip, that when they hear certain trigger words punishes them with pain; varying anywhere from an unpleasant tingle to knocking them unconscious depending on the word used.

    One major idea I am playing with is the question of what gender traits are actually inborn, and which ones come from our roles in society. If men were seen as the lesser gender who were legally and economically dependent on women, how many traits defined as feminine in our society would they pick up? If a man's worth was determined by his appearance to women, how much time would he spend primping in front of a mirror?

    Another important theme to this is the idea that the men in this society are part of this society too. While he may not agree with the most extreme man haters in his society, the average male will see his lot in life as right and just. He may fear having a Lady as his guardian who will mistreat him, but he will believe that it is right that she have the power to do so. Far too many stories assume that no matter how different a society may be from ours, somehow the protagonist automatically views his world from our societies perspective. A man from this society faced with someone trying to 'free' all the men would fight to stop them. He believes as strongly as the women of his society that, even if there are some men who could be trusted to manage themselves, men as a whole are violent stupid creatures who must be contained for their own good.
Someone fighting to stop the extermination of men would be seen as good. Fighting to protect them from abuses would be seen as good. Fighting legislation protecting a woman's right to marry a man if she wishes would be seen as noble by some. Fighting to change the social order however, would be seen by those in this society as insane.

    This society is not the only one in this setting, humanity will have spread far throughout the stars. There will be other societies outside of this one who will have developed in different ways, but they will be far away. Anyways, that is a look into one of my projects.

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