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Author Topic: EP248: Spar  (Read 76435 times)

Obleo21

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Reply #125 on: July 21, 2010, 11:49:05 PM
I never got  the sense that the alien ever considered what they were doing to be sex as it is perceived by humans.  I also thought that the MC also thought this, but didn't know how else to express it.  Perhaps this is why the MC refers to it's malleable body parts as ins and outs rather than by more anatomical terms.  It's impossible however to ignore the sum of individual experience, so the MC could still have the visceral reaction of the interaction being rape.

At a fundamental level, it is still interpersonal interaction.  If the MC didn't return to the alien after eating/pooping, than she'd be truly alone.  Which would be worse?

What if the alien wasn't one creature but a community like coral, and each time she was penetrated it was with a completely unique individual...


I didn't think there was a way to make the MC's experience worse, in the story.

I didn't think of a gang rape, though.  Guess I'm just not... evil enough.

Yes, very very evil (should have included the  :P emoticon)

But really, we know nothing at all about the alien.  It could be anything.  It could have been surviving by ingesting the salt from her bodily secretions.  It could have been looking for the off switch.  What if it was an infant alien.  Maybe it thought it was playing a musical instrument. 



knigget

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Reply #126 on: July 22, 2010, 02:26:17 AM
I never got  the sense that the alien ever considered what they were doing to be sex as it is perceived by humans.  I also thought that the MC also thought this, but didn't know how else to express it.  Perhaps this is why the MC refers to it's malleable body parts as ins and outs rather than by more anatomical terms.  It's impossible however to ignore the sum of individual experience, so the MC could still have the visceral reaction of the interaction being rape.

At a fundamental level, it is still interpersonal interaction.  If the MC didn't return to the alien after eating/pooping, than she'd be truly alone.  Which would be worse?

What if the alien wasn't one creature but a community like coral, and each time she was penetrated it was with a completely unique individual...



I didn't think there was a way to make the MC's experience worse, in the story.

I didn't think of a gang rape, though.  Guess I'm just not... evil enough.

Yes, very very evil (should have included the  :P emoticon)

But really, we know nothing at all about the alien.  It could be anything.  It could have been surviving by ingesting the salt from her bodily secretions.  It could have been looking for the off switch.  What if it was an infant alien.  Maybe it thought it was playing a musical instrument. 

GO WRITE THAT STORY!  NOW!  :D

http://www.apoGrypha.blogspot.com

What would have been written. 

Spoiler (click to show/hide)


Talia

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Reply #127 on: July 22, 2010, 02:33:09 AM
I wonder if writing a "human having sex with a baby alien" story would get the police called on you.



gateaux

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Reply #128 on: July 22, 2010, 04:36:40 AM
No comment on the story this week as I decided to skip this one and just listen to the meta - Only comment to add about the meta is that I would not accept the word of Orson Scott Card without backing from somewhere else when it comes to matters of sex as the man is an extremely active homophobe.

Card is a homophobe? I did not know! That surprises me since Ender's Game is chock full of male nudity and slippery soaped up nude boys grappling each other. That actually makes me laugh a lot.



gateaux

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Reply #129 on: July 22, 2010, 04:59:36 AM
I've got to say I was disappointed with "Spar". I was expecting more, given some comments I saw on "Bridesicle". Not too much I can say that others haven't already; cop out ending, not too much plot. However, the piece was gripping, memorable and made me feel a bit icky so it did its job. I thought it was really good writing with a crazy concept, though may have been relying on shock value a bit.

There was so much penetration in "Spar" that I felt like I should be pregnant at the end of it. No alien babies yet, though, guys. Just a heads up.

Can't really conclude if I liked it or not yet... But I can say that "Bridesicle" still stands as my favourite from this Hugo round.



CryptoMe

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Reply #130 on: July 22, 2010, 07:28:07 AM
Quote
and she does get some gratification from it (I don't think she would be releasing secretions otherwise),

That is not how the female body works.  It does not work like the male body.  The vagina actually lubricates itself pretty much at the drop of a hat, even during horrific rapes etc.  Best theory right now is that this is a defensive measure, evolved to prevent internal injuries in the event of sexual assault (most animals don't do a lot of asking permission first.)

LOL!! I would love to know who you have been sleeping with, because this has NOT been my experience!!
Vaginal tearing most definitely does occur with rape, and even sometimes in consentual sex, because this "drop of a hat" lubricating vagina just doesn't exist for most women. 

Quote
The woman's motivation is never addressed... but for the life of me, I can't figure out why. In this respect, it's very much like porn.
Motivations can be complicated.  She can both enjoy it and loathe it.  Again, it speaks a lot to abusive relationships, where there are complex and conflicting desires at work.  Porn is sex without any motivations at all.
Not arguing about the complexity of motivations. Just saying the author never addressed them.


Quote
The author may have enjoyed themselves, but I did not.
I am getting REALLY tired of people insinuating that Kij Johnson wrote this to get her jollies off.  I linked to an interview with her about the piece and its genesis.  You can read it for yourself.
Sorry. Didn't mean to imply the author got sexual gratification in writing this. What I was trying to say is that whatever enjoyment the author did get in writing this (pride, catharsis, what-ever), they failed to take me with them.



CryptoMe

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Reply #131 on: July 22, 2010, 09:00:17 AM
CryptoMe: With respect, the comment about her being aroused because the character lubricated is ignorant.  It is an autonomic process, your statement reminds me of a senator who speculated that pregnancy from rape was impossible because 'the juices just don't flow'.  Adding the bit about the author using the story as a sexual release is repugnant, I hope I misunderstood your insinuation.
Wow, somebody actually said that? 
Henry Aldridge: ""The facts show that people who are raped, who are truly raped—the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work, and they don’t get pregnant.""
CryptoMe's comment suggests to me that this type of thinking still exists.  Embarrassing.

Wow. Thunderscreech, I don't even know where to begin...Yes, you definitely misunderstood me.

I did not say she was aroused because she was lubricated. What I said was:
She herself initiates it at times and she does get some gratification from it (I don't think she would be releasing secretions otherwise).
1) This was all in the context of trying to understand the character's motivations. The main point being that she *does* initiate the sex at times. Why? Her motivations are not explored in the story and that is a big weakness for me.
2) The story talks about both of their "ejeculations"; I interpret this to mean female ejactulation in her case. This is the "released secretions" I was referring to, not normal vaginal lubrication. Sorry if I was unclear.
3) Female ejaculation does require some kind of climax, and therefore provides physiological gratification. Whether this is consentual in this case, I don't know. I wish the story addressed that better, so that I could understand the character's motivations.   

I said nothing about the author using the story as a sexual release. What I said was:
This was the literary analog of watching someone masturbate. The author may have enjoyed themselves, but I did not.
I was using a metaphor, to say that the author made me feel abandoned. They may have enjoyed the process of writing this story (felt pride, accomplishment, whatever), but they failed to take me along with them. Maybe I should have just said "It's like watching someone else play a video game".... but then I'm sure someone could have interpreted that sexually too.

In regards to your senator quote, this is a strawman. It is a well established fact that enjoyment or even consent is not required for conception. And, it is completely unrelated to what I actually said. Please be a bit more careful about putting words in my mouth and then judging me harshly on them.



CryptoMe

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Reply #132 on: July 22, 2010, 09:02:03 AM
Interview with Kij Johnson about "Spar."

Just read that.  Summed up in one brilliant line:

And a story about sex with an alien because it's that or die of boredom.

LOL!! What a horrible reason to have sex   :D



davedoty

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Reply #133 on: July 22, 2010, 10:21:36 AM
Card is a homophobe? I did not know! That surprises me since Ender's Game is chock full of male nudity and slippery soaped up nude boys grappling each other. That actually makes me laugh a lot.

Not to derail the thread, but one quick piece of evidence, in a quote directly from Card:

Quote
How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.



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Reply #134 on: July 22, 2010, 01:39:02 PM
LOL!! I would love to know who you have been sleeping with, because this has NOT been my experience!!
Vaginal tearing most definitely does occur with rape, and even sometimes in consentual sex, because this "drop of a hat" lubricating vagina just doesn't exist for most women.

I'm referring to studies done about arousal.  They checked penile tumescence and vaginal lubrication via blood flow monitors and showed people pictures of a variety of things while asking them to rate how turned on they were.  Men in general reacted physically to the images they said aroused them, but women reacted physically to *anything* even vaguely sexual, from monkeys mating to an aerobics class to suggestively shapes cakes, and completely without regard to their reported feelings of arousal.  Were all of these women actually just perverts who secretly got off on monkeys?  The study concluded (much more reasonably, to my mind) that a woman's physical response is nowhere near as strongly tied as a male's physical response to mental attraction and arousal, and is likely an automatic response to sexual images or situations in which the body tries to protect itself from forced invasion.

But that's okay.  Keep telling women that if they get wet, they're turned on and getting gratification.  It doesn't have any implications for rape victims dealing with their trauma or anything.

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MCWagner

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Reply #135 on: July 22, 2010, 02:54:58 PM
Card is a homophobe? I did not know! That surprises me since Ender's Game is chock full of male nudity and slippery soaped up nude boys grappling each other. That actually makes me laugh a lot.
 

Card is a rather outspoken Mormon.  He takes a lot of heat for unabashedly supporting Mormon values, particularly his being against gay marriage.  While the stuff he writes on the topic is... well... impassioned to the point of crazy... I think there's also an echo-chamber effect because the realm of speculative fiction is generally more accepting on this topic than in the general public.

For a lot of people, Card is their first experience with the inner turmoil that is "I love his work... but he personally seems like a terrible person."   (I, a fan of HPL and Cerebus, fought through that long ago.)  The webcomic "Something Positive" did a series obviously inspired by this conflict: http://www.somethingpositive.net/sp03132005.shtml  (NSFW, language).



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Reply #136 on: July 22, 2010, 04:27:22 PM
I didn't think there was a way to make the MC's experience worse, in the story.

I didn't think of a gang rape, though.  Guess I'm just not... evil enough.

If the alien is this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_king_%28folklore%29), then maybe it was.

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Thunderscreech

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Reply #137 on: July 22, 2010, 05:36:38 PM
I didn't think there was a way to make the MC's experience worse, in the story.

I didn't think of a gang rape, though.  Guess I'm just not... evil enough.

If the alien is this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_king_%28folklore%29), then maybe it was.
Yeeargh!  Bleach, I need bleach for my brain.



CleverScreenName

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Reply #138 on: July 22, 2010, 06:22:36 PM
I didn't think there was a way to make the MC's experience worse, in the story.

I didn't think of a gang rape, though.  Guess I'm just not... evil enough.

If the alien is this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_king_%28folklore%29), then maybe it was.
That is fascinating. What do they do when one of the rats dies? Drag it around as literal dead weight? Must suck to be the last rat standing.



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #139 on: July 22, 2010, 06:30:18 PM
I didn't think there was a way to make the MC's experience worse, in the story.

I didn't think of a gang rape, though.  Guess I'm just not... evil enough.

If the alien is this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_king_%28folklore%29), then maybe it was.
Yeeargh!  Bleach, I need bleach for my brain.

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CryptoMe

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Reply #140 on: July 22, 2010, 06:40:24 PM
LOL!! I would love to know who you have been sleeping with, because this has NOT been my experience!!
Vaginal tearing most definitely does occur with rape, and even sometimes in consentual sex, because this "drop of a hat" lubricating vagina just doesn't exist for most women.

I'm referring to studies done about arousal.  They checked penile tumescence and vaginal lubrication via blood flow monitors and showed people pictures of a variety of things while asking them to rate how turned on they were.  Men in general reacted physically to the images they said aroused them, but women reacted physically to *anything* even vaguely sexual, from monkeys mating to an aerobics class to suggestively shapes cakes, and completely without regard to their reported feelings of arousal.  Were all of these women actually just perverts who secretly got off on monkeys?  The study concluded (much more reasonably, to my mind) that a woman's physical response is nowhere near as strongly tied as a male's physical response to mental attraction and arousal, and is likely an automatic response to sexual images or situations in which the body tries to protect itself from forced invasion.

But that's okay.  Keep telling women that if they get wet, they're turned on and getting gratification.  It doesn't have any implications for rape victims dealing with their trauma or anything.

I see a few places where I seem to be having a very different discussion than other people. Let me see if I can address those.

1) Physiological vs. Mental arousal
I think it's pretty common knowledge that physiological arousal does not equal mental arousal. So, we need to be very clear which one we are talking about in any particular point.

2) Lubrication vs. Arousal
I checked on GoogleScholar but couldn't track down the study Scattercat refers to, so I can't comment on that specifically. But, *by definition*, lubrication is a component of physiological arousal. Now, that doesn't mean that physiological arousal is a necessary and sufficient condition for lubrication. Many women don't lubricate even upon full physical arousal (that's where K-Y jelly comes in). Conversely, lubrication can be completely unrelated to arousal (of any kind), due to factors such as ovulation, disease, etc. So, its actually even more complex than an autonomic response. 

3) Arousal vs. Consent
The legal community seems pretty clear on the concept that arousal (of any kind) does NOT equal consent. So, even if someone were to consider lubrication = arousal, it doesn't follow that they immediately jump to lubrication = consent. We need to be very careful in attributing such a jump to others.

4) Ejaculation vs. Lubrication
My original post was actually about female ejaculation, not lubrication. Ejaculation does involve release, and so physiological gratification. Again, gratification does not legally equal consent. So, here too, we need to be very careful in attributing such assumptions to others.   

5) Lubrication: Rape vs. Bad Lover
I understand that those who took offense at my post are approaching the whole lubrication thing from the point of "We don't want society telling a woman that because she ejeculated, moaned, was lubricated, what-ever, it wasn't rape". That's a vary noble and valid goal. I am approaching the lubrication discussion from the point of "We don't want a lazy lover thinking he doesn't need to worry about foreplay, because the woman will "juice up" as soon as he penetrates her". In my opinion, stamping out that kind of thinking will benefit many more women on a daily basis, and so is an equally noble and valid goal.   

I hope that this clarifies my position, and that everyone will now understand that I never said any of the things people keep assuming I did. 

On a side note, I have been completely blown over, and thereby intrigued, by how people bring their own biases to the discussion and impose those on other people's statements. I think we all need to be more careful about that.



CryptoMe

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Reply #141 on: July 22, 2010, 07:04:32 PM
For a lot of people, Card is their first experience with the inner turmoil that is "I love his work... but he personally seems like a terrible person." 

I would actually go one further and say that OSC is an "idiot savant" in this respect. Here's one example of why I say this:

I read his Mormon opus Saints once. I liked the book, but felt it showed the Mormon religion in a *very* unflattering light. Then I read an interview by him where he gushed about how Saints is this great work of Mormon fiction, promoting the religion to the unconverted. My conclusion, he's a genius, but doesn't consciously understand what he does or how....



Scattercat

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Reply #142 on: July 22, 2010, 09:36:59 PM
On a side note, I have been completely blown over, and thereby intrigued, by how people bring their own biases to the discussion and impose those on other people's statements. I think we all need to be more careful about that.

I must point out that your initial comment occurred as part of a statement about how her own lubrication meant the female protagonist "must have gotten some gratification out of the situation," and implied that this somehow muddied the water of her motivation in fucking the alien.  The chain of logic that goes lubrication->gratification->"she wanted it on some level" is a deeply troubling one to me, and your initial comment appeared to be endorsing that point of view, particularly with the dismissive reference to the author "enjoying" writing the story (which you've already explained what you meant by that.)

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CryptoMe

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Reply #143 on: July 22, 2010, 09:53:51 PM
The chain of logic that goes lubrication->gratification->"she wanted it on some level" is a deeply troubling one to me
Just so long as we're clear, this is *your* chain of logic, not mine.

... and your initial comment appeared to be endorsing that point of view
And appearances can be deceiving. We all need to be more careful about that. 



Thunderscreech

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Reply #144 on: July 22, 2010, 10:38:13 PM
With the utmost in respect, CryptoMe, a BUNCH of us came to the same conclusion based on what you wrote, so while it's important that we read carefully, you would agree that it's reasonable to suggest that you may have a certain amount of responsibility for how your text was interpreted.  Your followup responses all seem to place the entire onus on us 'misunderstanding' you without apparent recognition that your words might have contributed to that interpretation.

Just some feedback...



CryptoMe

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Reply #145 on: July 22, 2010, 10:57:15 PM
With the utmost in respect, CryptoMe, a BUNCH of us came to the same conclusion based on what you wrote, so while it's important that we read carefully, you would agree that it's reasonable to suggest that you may have a certain amount of responsibility for how your text was interpreted.  Your followup responses all seem to place the entire onus on us 'misunderstanding' you without apparent recognition that your words might have contributed to that interpretation.

Just some feedback...
Oh, I fully acknowledge that I was obviously not clear in my original post. I've apologized several times for not spelling out female ejaculation explicitly. And I continue to maintain that "we all" needed to be more cautious.

I guess what surprised me most was how difficult it was to set the record straight. Especially when assumptions and connections that I would never think to make were being attributed to me. :-\  I was away from the forums for a few days and in that time my words took on a weird and twisted life all their own. Very scary experience. I will definitely be more cautious next time.




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Reply #146 on: July 23, 2010, 05:58:54 AM
For a lot of people, Card is their first experience with the inner turmoil that is "I love his work... but he personally seems like a terrible person." 

I would actually go one further and say that OSC is an "idiot savant" in this respect. Here's one example of why I say this:

I read his Mormon opus Saints once. I liked the book, but felt it showed the Mormon religion in a *very* unflattering light. Then I read an interview by him where he gushed about how Saints is this great work of Mormon fiction, promoting the religion to the unconverted. My conclusion, he's a genius, but doesn't consciously understand what he does or how....

I've read Card's fiction.  It's beautiful and intelligent.  I've read Card's opinions on culture and politics.  He seems to be writing for people with no critical thinking skills whatsoever.

Now, I bet someone out there wants to say, "But, Boggled!  He's writing commentary for an audience of Mormons and other conservative religious people.  You're not a member of his target audience!"

And I'm thinking about how I've met plenty of religious Mormons who seem to be intelligent, astute people.  And I don't know what they think of homosexuality, because we never had that conversation, but I would imagine that if they held the view that homosexuality is a sin, then they'd defend it with the same intelligence they brought to bear in other aspects of their lives.  And they'd respect my intelligence.

Card just insults mine.

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Reply #147 on: July 23, 2010, 06:43:07 AM
Okay, I'm a bit embarrassed that that was my only contribution to this thread, so...

I liked "Spar".  I don't think it would be my choice for Hugo winner ("Bridesicle" hit me in a much more visceral way) but it more than kept my interest.  Stories that delve deeply into the psyche of a character, if done right, have a knack for gripping my brain and not letting go, and for whatever reason the grip is even tighter if I'm listening to it narrated rather than reading it off the page.  This was excellent psychological horror.

The sex alone didn't shock me, though.  It didn't need to.  The body horror did the trick, and the sex was a part of it, and in no way detracted from it.  I didn't see this as a story about sex.

"The meteor formed a crater, vampires crawling out of the crater." -  The Lyttle Lytton contest


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Reply #148 on: July 23, 2010, 05:32:53 PM
For a lot of people, Card is their first experience with the inner turmoil that is "I love his work... but he personally seems like a terrible person." 

I would actually go one further and say that OSC is an "idiot savant" in this respect. Here's one example of why I say this:

I read his Mormon opus Saints once. I liked the book, but felt it showed the Mormon religion in a *very* unflattering light. Then I read an interview by him where he gushed about how Saints is this great work of Mormon fiction, promoting the religion to the unconverted. My conclusion, he's a genius, but doesn't consciously understand what he does or how....

I hadn't heard of his views on gay marriage until after I'd interviewed him for my site(http://www.diabolicalplots.com/?p=1042).  (Not that I would have chosen not to interview him, but I just didn't know).  Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the commenters posted links to articles directly quoting his views if anyone's interested.



gateaux

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Reply #149 on: July 27, 2010, 12:36:47 AM
For a lot of people, Card is their first experience with the inner turmoil that is "I love his work... but he personally seems like a terrible person." 

I would actually go one further and say that OSC is an "idiot savant" in this respect. Here's one example of why I say this:

I read his Mormon opus Saints once. I liked the book, but felt it showed the Mormon religion in a *very* unflattering light. Then I read an interview by him where he gushed about how Saints is this great work of Mormon fiction, promoting the religion to the unconverted. My conclusion, he's a genius, but doesn't consciously understand what he does or how....

I've read Card's fiction.  It's beautiful and intelligent.  I've read Card's opinions on culture and politics.  He seems to be writing for people with no critical thinking skills whatsoever.

Now, I bet someone out there wants to say, "But, Boggled!  He's writing commentary for an audience of Mormons and other conservative religious people.  You're not a member of his target audience!"

And I'm thinking about how I've met plenty of religious Mormons who seem to be intelligent, astute people.  And I don't know what they think of homosexuality, because we never had that conversation, but I would imagine that if they held the view that homosexuality is a sin, then they'd defend it with the same intelligence they brought to bear in other aspects of their lives.  And they'd respect my intelligence.

Card just insults mine.

I agree, I like his work! Although I haven't read his "Mormon opus". But now I feel so disappointed and confused... Damn it, Card!