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Book Advocacy > Book 19

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message 1: by Adam (new)

Adam | 115 comments Mod
Anyone have ideas for book 19?

message 2: by Gina (new)

Gina Sirois (gina_sirois) | 63 comments Mod
I think we should do another book of the classic fiction variety, a'la "Deliverance". Something not super demanding (200-300 pages), and available for cheap at the local used book store.

Here's a thought:

message 3: by Williwaw (new)

Williwaw | 193 comments Mod
I'm pretty sure that I read this when it came out (yeah, I'm that old!), and that it was very good. Excellent suggestion, Gina!

The Wikipedia article looks like it's a spoiler, so I didn't read much of it. If you want to read something humorous, however, the section on "speculative fiction" versus "science fiction" is a gas!

message 4: by Ben (new)

Ben (benroberts) | 85 comments Mod
Sounds pretty good to me, though I'll have to admit I wouldn't have considered it a classic as I've never heard of it before.

message 5: by Williwaw (new)

Williwaw | 193 comments Mod
Margaret Atwood is definitely worth reading and the book is well known. "Classic" enough for me! I'm pursuing a second graduate degree and my extra-curricular reading time has been whittled down to nothing, so I'll be lucky if I can finish it before the end of August.

message 6: by Gina (new)

Gina Sirois (gina_sirois) | 63 comments Mod
How about a deadline of Sunday night to propose any books for book 19, and then we just go with what's got the most votes? I'll send a Facebook link to this thread to remind people to participate.

message 7: by Adam (new)

Adam | 115 comments Mod
Sounds good to me!

message 8: by Mark (new)

Mark (mark_krebs) | 168 comments Mod
I liked the speculative vs science fiction section Williwaw pointed out. She's got a bit of a chip on her shoulder, perhaps? Seems not to want to slum around in the rocket- squid-wormhole-chemical-spaceship boy-infested scifi fraternity, eh? Atwood is in need of a good commander. Fix her right up.

This one sounds like fun on lots of levels.

message 9: by Williwaw (new)

Williwaw | 193 comments Mod
It's not uncommon for "sf" writers to have chips on their shoulders. Vonnegut denied that he was a science fiction writer (and maybe it's true: he was more of a meta-sf writer/parodist); Philip K. Dick wanted to break into the mainstream. It wasn't until I saw "Star Wars" (I think I was about 16 then) that I realized the difference between what I considered "real" sf and space opera: "real" sf twists your mind and makes you think about how things could actually be different and what the consequences would be for individuals, societies, or humanity in general; space opera is just sword & sorcery or a Western plot dressed up with bigger and badder toys, antagonists, and weapons. There's often no clear line between the two, and I can stomach a fair amount of gizmos, BEM's, preposterous technology, etc. But I prefer sf that explores social and philosophical issues. And I think "The Handmaid's Tale" caters to my preferences.

message 10: by Williwaw (new)

Williwaw | 193 comments Mod
Last time, someone set up a "poll" to determine the next book. I don't see a poll for Book 19, and it seems like the only book that has been proposed is The Handmaid's Tale.

Now what? Maybe The Handmaid's Tale wins by default!

message 11: by Mark (new)

Mark (mark_krebs) | 168 comments Mod
That's my fear/anticipation.

I already got one! (It's-a very niiice...)

message 12: by Ben (new)

Ben (benroberts) | 85 comments Mod
Posted, because there was no other advocacy.

message 13: by Gina (new)

Gina Sirois (gina_sirois) | 63 comments Mod
The Handmaid's Tale is about freedom, and so is this:

Last year alone, 186 laws were passed in the states limiting access to abortion.

message 14: by Keysersoze (new)

Keysersoze | 13 comments Finished Handmaid's Tale last night - excellent book! Although I think everyone will be on the same side of the arguments... perhaps we should invite someone from CO Springs to the discussion?

message 15: by Mark (last edited Jul 27, 2011 05:09PM) (new)

Mark (mark_krebs) | 168 comments Mod
All your genital are belong to us.

Disclaimer: I have hardly scratched the surface of this book (but when has that ever stopped me?)

Ok, I'm diametrically opposed to the theme here, thinking there should be less breeding, not more. However, in an odd way, I think that forces me to espouse the premise of state ownership of your body. You see, I might take up the lance in support of demolition of breeding rights. The obvious parallel is that, just like The Handmaid's Tale, I think we should jointly agree to take away a privilege historically thought of as an individual prerogative. It's dystopia, sure, but we got ourselves into this mess: now the question is merely whether we're smart enough to extricate ourselves, or if we'll just die like rats trapped in a cage. At least I can dodge SOME of the backlash by pointing out that my totalitarianism is gender neutral.

message 16: by Williwaw (new)

Williwaw | 193 comments Mod
I can go along with that, theoretically, but the problem seems to be whether there is any conceivably humane method of enforcement. How can the government effectively mandate a maximum number of children per couple? (Not the mention the problem of polyamorous propagation.)

Forced abortion? Forced adoption of the excess children? Or maybe fines, or prison time for the parents (you made an extra human, so you forfeit part of your life)?

China has already experimented with regulating its birth rate (the method of enforcement is fines, so it doesn't constrain the wealthy).

Here's a link to a WikiP article, which explores some of the issues: One Child Policy

message 17: by Mark (new)

Mark (mark_krebs) | 168 comments Mod
snip snip! :)

message 18: by Williwaw (new)

Williwaw | 193 comments Mod
Didn't think of that one! The government would have to hire more paper-pushers, and physicians would be in heaven!

message 19: by Gina (new)

Gina Sirois (gina_sirois) | 63 comments Mod
You'd probably create a black market of "repairmen" who'd undo the vasectomy for a price.

Then there's the issue of wanton ( :)) women who might go around having babies by a number of men early in life (which would deprive other women of viable male candidates), and consider the fact that a man could easily lie about whether or not he was potent.

I was thinking earlier that some sort of fitness test could be a requirement for parenthood, but the problem (as Will points out) is that it's difficult to police and there's no punishment for accidental reproduction that doesn't also harm the kiddies.

Anywhoo I read that upwards of 10% of the population of America seeks fertility treatments because they're unable to reproduce naturally. These treatments are effective only 30% of the time. My guess is that growing infertility is in part due to all of the birth control hormones in our water, and in part because we wait until we're in our mid-thirties to start. And supposedly the omnipresent BPA is bad for male sperm counts, too.

So the issue might fix itself, so to speak.

message 20: by Gina (new)

Gina Sirois (gina_sirois) | 63 comments Mod
Actually, thinking about it, fixing men really does a number on evolution by fitness, of which sexual selection is a huge driver. An attractive but sterile male is no good to a woman who hasn't reproduced yet.

message 21: by Mark (new)

Mark (mark_krebs) | 168 comments Mod
As I know you know, there are easy answers to these challenges. If we are in a lifeboat situation, we may need to behave like it. I guess I'll drop the point for fear of giving offense, but I think you are living a fantasy, and I ask you to reconsider these thoughts with the perspective of another decade of watching the suffering of countries stretched beyond their carrying capacity.

message 22: by Gina (new)

Gina Sirois (gina_sirois) | 63 comments Mod
Solve the poverty crisis and you'll solve the population explosion crisis. It's been shown that people in poverty reproduce more often and earlier.

message 23: by Keysersoze (new)

Keysersoze | 13 comments Mark wrote: "watching the suffering of countries stretched beyond their carrying capacity

Which countries are you talking about? Currently, the countries that consume the most resources are not the ones with high levels of suffering. It can be argued that the world population isn't sustainable, but I'd be curious to see an argument that tries to relate suffering in 3rd world countries to an actual global lack of resources (rather than poor distribution).

message 24: by Mark (last edited Jul 29, 2011 06:34PM) (new)

Mark (mark_krebs) | 168 comments Mod
After discussion / explanation, I thought Gina's point about evolution was really interesting. The implicit point was that sterilizing the women would amplify the evolutionary tendency for women to be picky. From a limited number of "bullets" to spend, they'd now be restricted to only two, increasing the value of the natural selection prize. Women would have more power. With the men left fertile, women would have an unconstrained field from which to select. A con, with no vasectomy looming, the Genghis Khan effect of super powerful men getting more than their share of ancestors remains in play.

Looking at it the other way, if men got vasectomies & not women, the long precedent of women being sought after for their limited reproductive potential would be reversed! What chaos would ensue? Pampered boys in jewelry being pursued and fawned over!

Anyway, we're messing with evolution for sure. Love it; there's a sci fi book in there somewhere.

message 25: by Williwaw (new)

Williwaw | 193 comments Mod
I don't see how women could be more picky than they already are. (I thought Gina had a good point about how in the wealthy countries, women wait to long to breed. Between that and menopause, their "shots" are already pretty limited!)

From an evolutionary standpoint, in terms of diversity and adaptation, our flexibility as a species gets better the more we diversify. Picky-ness and fidelity contracts the gene pool, but it sure helps protect the young and increases their chances to thrive and survive. So which is more important: phylogeny (development of species) or ontogeny (development of individual - and I don't mean embryos)? The eternal dilemma! Maybe we have the right mix after all, however, with the men tending toward phylogeny (fostered by promiscuity), and the women tending toward ontogeny (fostered by fidelity).

Sorry if I'm rambling, or "living a fantasy." I still need to get a copy of the damned book!

message 26: by Mark (new)

Mark (mark_krebs) | 168 comments Mod
Back on the other (population) thread, this AM on NPR a story of immigration to Norway, and social pressures being created there, despite a rich booming oil-conomy.

An ebbing tide grounds all boats, and population is implacable cause. It's not irresistable though & maybe we should resist. Interestingly China's growth still has not stopped, though it's very low. I think we need to think about earth as a finite resource and figure out fair ways to share, and that there is no God given "right" to reproduce. A suggestion: immigration policies could be adjusted to match countries' reproductive proclivity: if your fecundity is equal or lower than ours, you can come here.

message 27: by Williwaw (new)

Williwaw | 193 comments Mod
I'm all for trying to work things out, but there is not always a rational, workable, or deliberate solution to every human problem. The population bomb is one of those areas where humans are at their most irrational. I once heard a talk by the poet Galway Kinell. It was mostly about Moby Dick, but at the end he revealed his theory that "nature abhors consciousness." The implication was that homo sapiens would invariably destroy itself. I believed it then, and I still believe it. We have invented so many ways to terminate our species (or at the very least, large segments of the population) that it seems inevitable that at least one of them will eventually succeed. So maybe we already have a population control "plan." It's just not completely intentional, and it will involve great suffering. Oh yeah, and there's always the possibility of some horrible viral epidemic. The Black Death, Spanish flu, AIDS . . . what's next? Something like that could thin us out pretty effectively.
I guess I'm really a pessimist at heart.

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