Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Snippet

A section from early in Scylla and Charybdis, where Anaea goes to an elder on the space station about her encounter with a refugee - the first time she's ever met a male. The following is part of the dialogue:

“Is that part of why men aren’t allowed out of isolation? The language barrier?” The question hadn’t seemed so foolish in her head. To take her eyes elsewhere, Anaea focused on the pointillism painting behind Thalestris’ head. She had done a three-month rotation as an artist apprentice, but she hadn’t felt creative enough to stay, though she enjoyed the act of making something with her hands.

Thalestris chuckled. “A trifle, perhaps. A larger part of the reason is how durable Y-Poisoning is: it can stay dormant on surfaces for a long time. Bring it in with a salvage, expose a male who happens to be wandering the station, and you have a madman on the loose.”

Anaea bit her lip and said nothing.

“You’re thinking that seems tenuous. Remember this disease shattered everything we know.” Thalestris closed her eyes, added mildly, “There is, of course, the social element: reintroducing men would be disruptive. Technological advances recently have made it possible to consider the idea, but it will be a long debate.”

Anaea tried to imagine living side by side with someone like Gwydion, wondered why it was so hard to picture. Was he so different from her, apart from the physical element? And she had seen women – not many, but a few – who were larger and more muscular than he was.

“You’re saying that men are disruptive?” she asked.

“No more or less than we would be, in the reverse situation,” Thalestris said. “Men and women are strangely designed. They do not fit together with ease.”

Yet people had lived as such for far longer than they had not. Anaea recoiled from her doubt, swallowing. Thinking these questions made her uncomfortable.

No comments: