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I'm trying to listen to an audio version of Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer. And some parts are really good, but other parts make me want to scream. Here's one of the parts that makes me want to scream.

Protagonist, Thomas Jericho, a human scientist in his 50s, is talking to Hollus, an alien called a Forhilnor. They've been working together daily for several weeks or months and have become friends.

[Thomas Jericho says] "And how long will you live?"
"Perhaps another 80 years assuming an accident does not befall me."
"So a typical Forhilnor lifespan is 130 years?"
"For females yes. Males live about 10 years longer."
"So, uh, my god, so, you're female?"
"Yes."
I was stunned. "I hadn't been aware of that, your voice -- it's -- rather deep."
"That is just the way Forhilnor voices are, male or female."
"I think I'll go on calling you 'he', if that's OK."
"I am no longer offended by it," said Hollus. "You may continue to do so."
"Anyway," I said...

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
clawbug
May. 15th, 2009 10:17 am (UTC)
Hehehe :-D

That's the kind of "let's talk in a manner so that the dimmest of readers understand that we are really commenting on the contemporary human social and power structures" writing that makes me laugh rather than scream :-P

A bit like a soap character having to say "I'm so mad at her" into the empty room, because 1) he's such a bad actor he can't express it with his face alone, and 2) the audience is supposed to be incapable of reading even the slightest between the lines
firecat
May. 15th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
"let's talk in a manner so that the dimmest of readers understand that we are really commenting on the contemporary human social and power structures"

That analysis attributes more political savvy to the author than I am willing to attribute.
treacle_well
May. 15th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)
"uh, my god"?

*rolls eyes*

elainegrey
May. 15th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
"I'm no longer offended by it. I've been blogging about you for the past few months and people just can't believe how uncouth your species is. My 'Human savage' posts get a huge hit rate and i've managed to raise enough credit to put my children through advanced training. No way are they ever going to have to work with humans."
johnpalmer
May. 15th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
Herm. If blogging is so lucrative there, does it mean they have a culture more advanced than ours?

Or less?

Damn imponderables....

(Yes, I know, lucrative blogging is probably not a worthwhile measure at all, but that just ruins the entire joke.)

(Oh, sure, go ahead, crush my feelings! Tell me the joke was ruined from the getgo! And then I'll go out and become an evil genius and try to destroy the world and it'll be all your fault!)

(Edited to add - okay, being an evil genius isn't as much fun as it looks in the movies. Do you have *any* idea how many hero wannabes want to pound on evil-geniuses *before* they come up with their secret weapons? So forget it; I'll just sit here and sulk instead!)
elainegrey
May. 15th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Actually, since -- immediately after posting -- i was certain that it was absolutely inane logorrhea and not at all as amusing as i thought it was, your post has now confirmed my sense of humor, and in doing so, you have created a monster. A grand first step as an evil genius.
firecat
May. 15th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
BWAHAHAHAHA

If I had world enough and time, I would so create the Forhilnor's "Human savage" blog posts.
vito_excalibur
May. 15th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
The "I am no longer offended by it" almost rescues it.

But not quite.
firecat
May. 15th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
Exactly.
beaq
May. 15th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
Handy out, that.
mjlayman
May. 15th, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
There's a reason I don't read Sawyer.
firecat
May. 16th, 2009 12:16 am (UTC)
You mentioned a different specific reason for a different book, but I see that there is a reason underlying your objection and mine. [sigh]
shryve
May. 16th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
Hi

I like the parts where he describes how the ecology and natural science work and life is possible. As a Atheist this book makes a better pitch for God than any religious text that I have ever read.

William
pir_anha
May. 16th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
uh, my god
yeah, there are reasons why i no longer read sawyer. *gah*. he has some brilliant ideas (and usually stuffs a lot of them into each book), but his characters and his gender relations make me want to pull out an axe and SLAY.

i wish he'dcollaborate with a writer who can do decent characterizations.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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