[DWJ] Personal Plumbing was Splatchers and Ransome was branding books was What are you reading?

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri Nov 6 05:26:03 EST 2009

Kathleen wrote:

>I'm not actually that keen on knowing too much about physical
>processes unless they relate to the story/world - I just assume
>they're going on as per (roughly) normal. It does really bother me
>when there is no way that they could happen off the page and yet
>they're ignored - eg when someone is tied up for a day or two, or
>trapped in a cave, or we get 24 style action and there is literally no
>time for anyone to stop and relieve themselves and yet they don't feel
>any particular discomfort.

Yes, that grated on me as a child -- until I encountered books in which sex
got thrown in all the time for no particular reason, at which point I
decided I was glad, on the whole, that it was that tabu that had been
smashed and the one about defecation was still being respected by authors
as a rule (though wasn't it the reason *Ulysses* got banned, really?)
because I might have had to stop reading new books altogether if people
having a crap got pages of detailed description when I wasn't expecting it.

>Otter Perry <ottertee at silverwinggraphics.com> wrote:
>> Meanwhile, can anybody think of an adult heroine who menstruates?
>It's often specifically brought up so it can be done away with - eg in
>Alison Goodman's The Two Pearls of Wisdom, the heroine is taking a
>drugged & poisonous tea to stop it.

There are quite a few fantasies in which there is a useful "herbal tea"
that girls get taught to use to "stop their courses" and not get pregnant.
I have a feeling it may have started in the Pern books, though McCaffrey
also plays safe by having her second-book villainous female discover that
the way to abort unwanted children is to stay "between" for an extra couple
of seconds, so presumably either no-one told that one about the herb tea
when she was thirteen (or being her she didn't listen) or I have got
McCaffrey mixed up with Lackey.  It's certainly in one of the Arrows books
whatever their proper series-title is.

Speaking of which, a lot of McCaffrey's books irritated me after a while,
and so did some of Lackey's, because these dragons or the Powers who select
people for "brawn training" in *The Ship Who Sang* or the Companions are
supposed to be so all-wise and so forth, and yet seem so ready to Choose or
select riders or companions who are frankly unsuitable: stupid or venial or
cruel or in some way someone for the heroine to have to combat against as
well as the Villains.  It exasperated me when a Companion had chosen an
idiot, or a brawn after years of training and teaching about them still
thought that a brain-ship was just a machine, or a dragon selected a
sex-crazed egotist.


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