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Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2003 08:20:02 -0600
Subject: Re: (urth) DOORS: The hive-like society
From: Adam Stephanides 

on 1/23/03 11:00 AM, Michael Andre-Driussi at mantis@siriusfiction.com

> Otherworld marriage is an institution whereby a man pledges his zygotes to
> a woman in exchange for her mercy and forbearance: it is for the man to
> avoid sudden random death (be it like the probably unlawful rape at the
> hospital or the socially-sanctioned lure of an ice-queen on a parade
> float), and for the woman to avoid being a maenad/lamia/stalker of
> unmarried men.
I may be forgetting something again, but I don't remember getting the
impression that unmarried men were in grave danger, Al Bailey's fate
notwithstanding.  In any case, marrying for the reason you suggest is
trading possible death for certain death, which seems to me like a bad

> This then is the social contract.  The man gives up the doll when he
> marries: his wife becomes his "goddess," the one that the doll was
> preparing him for.

I haven't yet reread TAD, but I was looking through it, and I came across a
couple of things which cause problems for your scenario.  The woman at the
haberdashery tells Green that her father had still owned a doll after he was
married. (125)  A bodyguard sees Tina and tells Green "You got one of those?
I used to have one myself." (303)  This seems to me an unlikely remark if
most boys own dolls: sort of like saying "You went to school as a kid?  So
did I."  Then there's the doll hospital.  Your theory would imply that most
of the people who leave their dolls there to be repaired get married soon
afterwards (since you say men keep their dolls until marriage).  And the
shopkeeper refers to the typical client as a "boy," not a man (9).

I admit, though, that I don't understand the doll hospital.  Why do so many
people bring their dolls in to be repaired, paying a "pretty big deposit,"
and then fail to pick them up, even though they'd get their deposit back and
not have to pay anything.  If I were one of the owners' mothers, I'd
remember the deposit, if nothing else.

> THE FAMILY MAINTENANCE--[volume turned down] bill that would have permitted
> involuntary sterilization of mothers of twenty-five or more children" (28).
> Now this could be a simple "Planet of the Apes"-style gag (words of the
> sermon: "He said he never met an ape he did not like").  But I take it as
> being more thought out than that.
> In the government (of the women, by the women, for the women) there has
> been a movement to restrict the number of children a mother can have.  To
> me this suggests that 1) mothers have power; 2) the mother's power is
> proportional to the size of her brood; 3) pre-mothers want to reduce the
> power of mothers (at the cost of more male lives lost to fertilize more
> low-output mothers); 4) the mothers are blocking the attempt at reducing
> their power/upping the male death quota.

I'd forgotten that quote.  But while it proves the existence of
"super-mothers," it seems to tell more against than in favor of your theory
as a whole.  Powerful groups are rarely targeted for involuntary
sterilization; note also that the bill has been vetoed, meaning that it had
passed Congress.  It's more likely that the motive for the bill is similar
to that of extreme right-wing proposals in this world to sterilize "welfare
mothers": that children in such large families are likely to be badly reared
and/or drains on the public purse.

And I don't think the bill, if passed, would have increased the number of
male deaths.  It's true that, to keep the rate of population growth fixed,
more men would have to become fathers.  But I don't recall any indication
that the society is aiming for such a fixed target; and men aren't coerced
to become fathers, though there is presumably social pressure to do so.



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