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The Core of the Sun

3/5. Translation from the Finish. A weird (that's a genre designation, to be clear) specfic alternate history where women have been "domesticated" – i.e. genetically and socially altered to be stupid, docile, and of a specific blonde stacked phenotype. I assume it serves as sufficient content notes to say that this is a society where depriving a man of heterosexual sex is considered a violation of his human rights. Our protagonist was born with the right look, but the wrong mind. She can pass as an "eloi," but she's actually a morlock, or one of the women too smart to be allowed to reproduce (yes, that's an HG Wells reference). Anyway, all of that is backdrop to an exceedingly strange story about her addiction to capsaicin and the synesthetic, transcendental high she can get from it.

So let's talk about the omegaverse, since I spent most of this book thinking about it. The thing is. The thing is. I have always been dubious of the omegaverse, occasionally entertained by it, occasionally impressed by it. And this book made me think about it a lot because it's another universe where a gender's sociopolitical inferiority – and its status as sexual and reproductive slaves in all but name – is specifically rooted in biology. In actual biology, I mean, not in the largely illusory things that are supposed to define the difference between men and women in our world. Women in this book are genuinely unintelligent and genuinely unable to care for themselves; it's lack of schooling, yes, but it's also physiological. Omegas in a lot of "traditional" omegaverse are physiologically programmed for social and sexual submissiveness and passivity to the point where consent and autonomy no longer have any meaning.

And I just. I have come to be pretty certain that a universe in which rape culture is coded into biology isn't going to be telling me anything particularly new or interesting or insightful about our universe, in which rape culture is encoded into . . . culture.

This book didn't (though it was doing a number of other interesting things . . . did I mention the capsaicin addiction? And our protagonist's missing sister, and a last-minute turn to the . . . weirdly fantastical?). And very, very, very few omegaverse stories ever have, either, though many of them explicitly claim to be doing so. Which is not a huge surprise, but it was nice that this book worked me through my thought process on it.

Date: 2017-08-07 01:44 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: unicorn line drawing captioned "If by different you mean awesome" (different=awesome)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Thanks for the two-fer review.

Any omegaverse stories you know that fit the exception?

Date: 2017-08-07 09:53 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Knitted red heart pulses larger within green and blue square (Beating heart of love GIF)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Oooh! Thanks so much for these recs.

Date: 2017-08-10 03:03 am (UTC)
readerjane: Book Cat (Default)
From: [personal profile] readerjane
Thank you for rec'ing that MCU story! I'm 20% in and it's great.

Date: 2017-08-07 04:45 pm (UTC)
gnomad: Red Squid, Yellow Background (Default)
From: [personal profile] gnomad
I have a lot of sympathy for characters with capsaicin addictions who shouldn't have them. Humph.

And I just. I have come to be pretty certain that a universe in which rape culture is coded into biology isn't going to be telling me anything particularly new or interesting or insightful about our universe, in which rape culture is encoded into . . . culture.

This is where I grew bored of omegaverse, but coming from the other end of the spectrum. I was completely down with a convenient trope enabling kinky funtimes featuring giant knots and rape play, but then authors kept trying to make it meaningful and being terrible at it.

Date: 2017-08-08 02:04 am (UTC)
neotoma: Elrond (cool blue ocean) (Elrond (cool blue ocean))
From: [personal profile] neotoma
My problem with any world built on the premise that one gender is genetically programed to behave a certain way (submissive, incurious, etc.) is that in a two-gender reproductive system, *half* the time those genes are going to be in the other gender and they would still be having the programed effect.

Iow, if you genetically engineer all your women to be stupid, docile, and blonde, your men are going to be that too, in two generations or less.

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