Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ringworld Reading Progress - 03.31.2013

Book: Ringworld by Larry Niven
Current Page: 85, 31% done
Last Lines(s) Read: "Suppose Nessus and the Hindmost were of the same sex? Why shouldn’t it take two males and a nonsentient female to produce a baby?"

This book and I are in an eternal struggle. I appreciate Niven's world and species building. I can see why he'd be praised for that along with his hard engineered science. However, the narrator of this story, Louis Wu, makes me sick. I'm hoping Louis was intentionally made to be so aggravating and unlikable because I can't imagine anyone writing this and thinking Louis is an awesome protagonist. I think I spend every other page muttering about how much of a creep he is.

He is so grossly arrogant from the way he treats Teela to his entitled, superior attitude toward aliens, even though he's supposed to be BFFs with all of them. It just seems like every step in the right direction this story takes, it takes three more in the wrong direction because of Louis. I wish we could just stick with the journey, the technology, and the exploration without having to hear about how dumb and childish Teela is until it's time for sex, how much of a coward Nessus and his whole species are, and all this posturing for the Kzin to show he's just as brave and strong as he is.

In regards to the lines I included with this post, Nessus has never mentioned what sexes exist on his homeworld or how mating works. He did mention they had a nonsentient sex (as do the Kzin, but we know them to be female) but never said if it was male, female, or otherwise. In fact, Nessus doesn't even say how they define sex. "He" just seems to be pronoun taken on so Louis can stop calling Nessus "it." What if there is no "female" sex at all, but some other definition of sex. What if they all could be considered more than one gender? Saying two or more "males" of an alien race couldn't make a baby is stupid and lacks imagination in a highly imaginative world.

I'm aware that this isn't necessarily what it says, but it's been alluded to that Louis is incapable of grasping two "male" aliens being mates. He insisted at one point that one has to be a "she." They're aliens FFS. There's nothing you can't do with their biology including the exclusion of a female in the process. I know this was written in the 70s, and probably would've offended people, but Niven had already gone as far as making one of Nessus' mates "male." So, there's no real excuse. I want to see what happens on Ringworld, but I'm almost at my limit with Louis.


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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.

Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
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Gardens of the Moon
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Tiara's bookshelf: read

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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