What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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Query abandoned by poster > ABANDONED. SF story/book: setting involves wide gender imbalance, set in space

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message 1: by Laridian (last edited Jun 02, 2013 05:07PM) (new)

Laridian | 5 comments I read this sometime in the early 1990s (probably no later than 1992). However, it may have been originally published in the 1980s. I may have read it in an issue of Analog magazine (science fiction/fact) or an anthology.

It was a science fiction story, but I remember it felt like it was part of a series or maybe a larger work, because it didn't feel like it had a real ending. I don't remember it being labeled "part 1 of 3" or "part of the X series" but it could have been.

The plot and setting that I can remember: it was a military spacecraft and it was stranded in space or otherwise couldn't return home for some reason. (Maybe a coup back home?) They decided they were going to visit unexplored space because they couldn't go home.

It was an all male crew, and this stuck with me because the story specified that women were in short supply. The reason there were so few women was because once the ability to choose your offspring's gender was available, the population of male babies rose astronomically because very few people chose female babies. As a result, by these characters' adulthoods, most men would never get the chance to marry or even have a relationship with a woman; therefore many men developed homosexual relationships.

Does any of this ring a bell for anyone? I'd love to find it again and see if the author wrote anything else.

ETA: It was not Godspeed by Charles Sheffield or Houston Houston Do You Read by Tiptree. There were no female characters at all in the story I read.


message 2: by Andy (new)

Andy Love | 2000 comments This sounds a bit like Godspeed by Charles Sheffield, but I don't think that was serialized (and the misbalance in sexes was due to a nutritional problem on colony worlds isolated from Earth). Here's the issue grid for Analog with tables of contents for every issue, so you might be able to find it that way http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/seriesgr... (I wish there was a list of Analog serials, but I haven't found one)


message 3: by Laridian (new)

Laridian | 5 comments Yes, I've seen the Analog grid - unfortunately it only lists the items by author and title, and if I knew either of those, it would be much easier to look for this story! :) Thanks for the link!


message 4: by Laridian (new)

Laridian | 5 comments Oh, and I should have mentioned - it doesn't sound like Godspeed. The story I read had no female characters in it at all (I will edit my post).


message 5: by Andy (new)

Andy Love | 2000 comments Laridian wrote: "Oh, and I should have mentioned - it doesn't sound like Godspeed. The story I read had no female characters in it at all (I will edit my post)."

No female characters at all means definitely not "Godspeed." I'll keep thinking...


message 6: by Andy (new)

Andy Love | 2000 comments This is probably way too old a suuggestion, but "The Voyage of the Space Beagle" has an all male crew http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Voya...


message 7: by Laridian (new)

Laridian | 5 comments Andy wrote: "This is probably way too old a suuggestion, but "The Voyage of the Space Beagle" has an all male crew http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Voya..."

Yeah, it doesn't quite sound the same, but I've never read Space Beagle, so I'll take a look at it. Thanks!


Justanotherbiblophile | 1680 comments I'm curious, how were they reproducing? Or, was this the end-game for the ship-board society?


message 9: by Andy (new)

Andy Love | 2000 comments Justanotherbiblophile wrote: "I'm curious, how were they reproducing? Or, was this the end-game for the ship-board society?"

The ship is on a lengthy mission, but not a lifelong one, so no reproduction is desired.


message 10: by Justanotherbiblophile (last edited Jun 30, 2013 09:09AM) (new)

Justanotherbiblophile | 1680 comments I got that, but I was wondering where this:

'once the ability to choose your offspring's gender was available, the population of male babies rose astronomically'

was occurring. On the ship? Planet-wide (see China for an example of this; ie: one of the primary reasons our world-wide economy is fubard)?

If you were writing pre-1978-10-24, US Navy ships weren't co-ed. You didn't need a sci-fi explanation for why it was an all-male crew. And, in fact you don't. Pregnancies of females on ship, are quite high - and an easy justification to remove them, if you want a more efficient longer-range navy (not such an issue on this pale blue dot of ours).


message 11: by Laridian (new)

Laridian | 5 comments Justanotherbiblophile wrote: "I got that, but I was wondering where this:

'once the ability to choose your offspring's gender was available, the population of male babies rose astronomically'

was occurring. On the ship? Pla..."


Andy's response is related to his comment, not to my original post. :)

In my original post, the offspring-gender-choosing was done on Earth.


message 12: by Justanotherbiblophile (last edited Jun 30, 2013 09:20AM) (new)

Justanotherbiblophile | 1680 comments So, the whole of Earth was male? (or vastly so?) How were they producing new humans? Or was there an incipient population crash coming?

This would make a nice companion book for the all-female world that I've recently re-acquired :)


message 13: by Andy (new)

Andy Love | 2000 comments Justanotherbiblophile wrote: "I got that, but I was wondering where this:

'once the ability to choose your offspring's gender was available, the population of male babies rose astronomically'

was occurring. On the ship? Pla..."



Sorry - I missed the context for your question.


message 14: by Ann aka Iftcan (new)

Ann aka Iftcan (iftcan) | 6990 comments Mod
On the China comment--they are already seeing the problems from the preference for male babies there. I saw a documentary on it, and they said that while statistically the number looks small, in actuality over 10 MILLION men in China have no chance at all of finding a wife. And kidnappings of women have already begun, with men who have the money hiring others to bring them one of the women that ARE there. They interviewed a woman who'd been one of the kidnappees and she said that the man that kidnapped her was MUCH older than she was--and he kept her chained up for fear that someone else would steal her away. She did have a baby (male) with this man before she was able to get word out and be rescued. But she wasn't able to take her baby with her.

The documentary also showed some of the schools--where there might be only one or two girls in the entire class, with everyone else being male. And yet--they are STILL adopting out their baby girls to other countries. (Shaking head in bafflement.)


message 15: by Justanotherbiblophile (last edited Jul 06, 2013 02:32PM) (new)

Justanotherbiblophile | 1680 comments OFF-TOPIC:
Yeah, it's a lot more than 10M. I think it's more like several hundred M (out of a B, but...).

But one of the bigger issues, isthat it's like at least a 2-1 marriage market. And for a Chinese guy to have a chance at marrying a wife, he's got to show he's a success. Which is why there are all those ghost cities in China. Got to show that you own nice property (even if you don't live in it, nor are located near it) to even get a date. So, they're investing like 30yrs worth of their income, and pulling it out of family in order to prop up these marriage-market fictions (unlike us, where it's between 5-10yrs for our property).

This drives a lot of the Chinese economy, and is why they have the export-import imbalances/etc. All due to disproportionate rates of savings (makes sense from their needs on the marriage market, but makes them an outlier in the global averages). Drives a lot of construction and raw materials acquisition too. All of these impact global markets, and cause distortions in other countries (Hi, USA).

As an aside, they're also importing a helluva lot of Asian women. So much so that the Chinese government has written foreign-wife advisories in their appropriate foreign languages, to distribute to mail-order brides. Which is going to have huge effects in about 20 years - because the Chinese, like the Japanese and other Asian cultures, are terribly racist - if it ain't their country, then it's despised (think Korean and Japanese/Chinese half-breeds from WWII).

That vast sucking sound you hear in the eligible woman population? Yeah, it's being pulled in that direction. Either directly to China, or to the places that China is sucking women from...

More ominously, we should hope that this just stays on the economic warfare level. Because the typical historical way to get rid of surplus male populations is to start yourself a war (you can always find a cause). And, as single men without the opportunity to start a family (or even get laid), what specifically is there for those guys to live for? Why not rape, pillage and plunder? Society has effectively screwed them, so why should they participate?

One would think that the women should be calling the shots, since they're the rare commodity. But, turns out that capitalist ideas of supply and demand have some issues when it comes to real world applications. The social, legal, political/power contexts matters more than the 'economics'.


message 16: by Ann aka Iftcan (new)

Ann aka Iftcan (iftcan) | 6990 comments Mod
Just--the documentary I was watching said it was 10 million NOW. That when the current crop of kids reaches marriage age, the discrepancy is going to be a LOT bigger. But still, the parents are opting for those boys. . .


message 17: by LauraW (new)

LauraW (lauralynnwalsh) | 374 comments I suppose you know that the cultural reason for many Asian people to prefer boys is that traditionally boys/men are obligated to take care of parents in their old age, whereas girls/women are thought to belong to their husbands and their obligation is to their in-laws. I wonder what would change if care in old age was assured.


Justanotherbiblophile | 1680 comments OFF-TOPIC:
Actually, Ann, "The ratio of men of marriageable/dating age (15-30 years old) to every woman is 1.15" which in a population of ~1B is as much as 75M more men. (Yeah, sloppy math, I just took 1/2 pop and did 15%, not divide out by cohorts and figure total, and then proportion it out...)

"48% or ($8 trillion worth) of the rise in property values across 35 major cities is linked to the country's gender imbalance."

Yeah Laura, am aware of that. Of course in Japan it was eldest child - and used to be offset by eldest child inheriting all of the familial wealth. But (in the 80s?) they did a siblings-need-to-split-equally and then left the eldest with the elder-care. I've not kept up with out that worked itself out.

But you'd think with a socialist enough system, that this wouldn't be an issue. :)


message 19: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) Don't worry, Laridian, we're still trying to find your story, too. Just keep bumping this thread every month or two and someone will know it eventually.


message 20: by Fullfaun (new)

Fullfaun Faun I haven't read Heinlein, but my friend told me about a story that the family groups had to have at least 2 moms and 2 dads because they were flying to colony to make it a home.
Dark side of the moon, or the moon is a harsh mistress. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

My point is that he might have written other stuff that might be your book. But I don't know his work.

Anyone know Heinlein various books?


message 21: by Justanotherbiblophile (last edited Jul 14, 2013 10:26AM) (new)

Justanotherbiblophile | 1680 comments MiaHM - had line families, amongst others - which are interesting social concepts.

Heinlein did put some of those ideas out in other books, the one with the Gay Deceiver, for example ;)

I've read a bunch of Heinlein, but I don't think I've read everything, nor close to everything (don't shame me now), however I'm going to guess that it's not Heinlein based on what I've seen of his work.

(and Fullfaun, I don't recall the story you described in his oeuvre)

Some people like to bash him as anti-feminist, however I can't recall any novels which didn't have at least one (or more) female characters (of some importance) in them.


message 22: by Brian (new)

Brian (furicle) I think I've pretty much read all his fiction, and I can't recall any without at least one string female character either. There is a large gender imbalance in TMIAHM but the moon isn't going anywhere :-)


message 23: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 36865 comments Mod
Laridian, are you still looking for this?


message 24: by Fullfaun (new)

Fullfaun Faun Justanotherbiblophile wrote: "MiaHM - had line families, amongst others - which are interesting social concepts.

Heinlein did put some of those ideas out in other books, the one with the Gay Deceiver, for example ;)

I've read..."


My Friend read "The Cat who walked through walls" The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (The World As Myth) by Robert A. Heinlein
and really liked it.


message 25: by Andy (new)

Andy Love | 2000 comments Could the OP's book be "After Doomsday" by Poul Anderson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_D... ?


message 26: by Andy (new)

Andy Love | 2000 comments Bump


message 27: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 36865 comments Mod
Lobstergirl wrote: "Laridian, are you still looking for this?"

Moved to Abandoned.


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