Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rape Lizards

When I wrote my first few short stories in the FOSsil Corps series, I created the Khajal as a major foil to the Terran Empire.  The Khajal are a race of crocodillian humanoid warriors, armed and armored in thrombium alloy and incredibly skilled at arms. Their culture is one of pillaging and warfare with a strong sense of personal  honor.  Uniquely, they possess a series of pheromones that allow them to 'infect' the females of any race to transform them into uitable mates for the Khajal.

That last sentence made a few readers uncomfortable, since the only acceptable role for females in Sci-Fi is 'tuff grrrrrrrl butt kicker' and rape analogies are only allowed when its Ridley Scott doing it in Alien.  I was honestly amazed at the level of vitriol the Khajal got, with the dismissive term 'rape lizard' being coined by a former friend of mine. Vox Day has had several posts about the liberalization of Sci-Fi/fantasy, and how more and more its becoming less of a space for exploring ideas and instead an ideological straightjacket based off of the bullshit idea of 'inclusiveness'.  So that's why the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section is stagnating with Twilight for Grownups and Harlequin Romance in Space.

The state of Sci-Fi aside, the Khajal are interesting for anothe reason.  I had the Khajal splinter as a race after being introduced to the concept of monogamy, with a sizeable minority leaving the Khajal and the Peace Federation to join the Terran Empire. I've enjoyed writing the Khajali Schismatics, because they provide a contrast to the other aliens, coming from an even more 'out there' culture.  Personally, I enjoy this exhange between the Schismatic Pairna and a Peace Federation Khajal.  For some context: A rai'lith is a kind of spear/cannon combination.  This takes place after Paris, a rillik (human male exposed to Khajal pheromones during adolescence) is defeated by the Peacer Khajal:


The rai’lith glanced off something and shot back into the air with enough force to cause the enemy Khajali to step back. Paris leaned his head back, and saw familiar black scales come into view, sparks dancing over Pairna’s body as he stepped over Paris to defend his fallen student.

                “So, the false Khajal attacks the Unblooded now? “ mocked Pairna, who stood a head taller than his enemy.

                “The only lie is that which you live, heretic! You have no right to interfere in a duel. Rillik or Khajali, he drew the Second Breath so he lives the Code!” snarled the Peacer.

                “He is Unblooded,” repeated Pairna, shifting his stance and using one claw to push Paris behind him.

                “He bears the sacred metal, and he fights like one of the Pure,” spat the Khajali, sending a glob of something viscous against a crate where it hissed.  “I refuse to believe it.”

                “You said it yourself; he is a child of the Weeper and Rhulo.  We did not think he would bear the blade against a Khajali his first time out.  Regardless, he is not released,” stated Pairna.

                “Inconsequential!” the Khajali shot back, chopping its claw for emphasis.

                Pairna nodded, and his response belied the animosity that hung in the air after he stated it. “Indeed,” he said simply, and raised his rai’lith.

                “You…  You cannot,” the enemy said, raising his own rai’lith to parry as he took several steps back.
                                “I do. Prepare yourself,” Pairna told him, and then blasted forward in a blur, sending the Khajali flying.

  I hate providing small excerpts out of the blue, because I feel a lot of the weight is lost without the appropriate build up, but there you go.  Thinking about it, the two sides of the Khajal have inadvertently become a parable for masculine impulses and drives.  The 'true' Khajal are rapacious and warlike to the point of frenzy and hedonistic in their pursuit of battle and sport.  The schismatics are more thoughtful, providers, protective, and paternal, but no less fierce for all that.  Either way, the Khajal give me a good contrast to play with - either against themselves, the other aliens, or the FOSsils.

  As an aside, I feel like the posts about writing aren't my strongest (because on some level I am uncomfortable talking about it all and it shows), so thank you for bearing with me through them.

2 comments:

  1. Its somewhat ironic that Sci-Fi has liberalized/given in to egalitarianism.
    I grew up reading Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke. Their stories are almost always parables with a take-away lesson about the universe not caring what our puny will and reason think.

    Allmost all my great writers were borderline Facist. Heinlein, Pournelle, they dared to write about societies/mentalties that truley did not give a fuck about the western egalitarian lifestyle.

    So what im trying to say is, It is refreshing to see an author construct an alien race that isnt Star Children or Space Samurai.

    IIRC The prototype Kilrathi from Wing Commander had non-sentient females, acting larlgey like a Harem of lioness, totally irrelevant to Kirath Society. Imagine that in 2013.
    This appeared in a Larry Niven book shortly before Wing Commander's debut in the late 80's, im totally sure they ripped his concept of fuzzy tiger space samurai and sanitized it just a bit.

    Creative writing is a huge ivestment of time and ego, and then when it comes time to show people/be critiqued, I know how nervous It can make one feel. Keep it up, you just might get that book deal, but will there be time left to spend it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its funny you mention Space Samurai (good term btw). In the novel, Paris mentions how the Network (think the future media conglomerate) pushes the idea of Khajal as honorable warriors while the reality is a lot more tricky, but they dumb it down because the truth is a lot more complex.

      My own experience in publishing is that female agents want to send female stories to female authors. Originally Cry Havoc was going to be a quartet of boys, but that would have been nigh unpublishable, so I added in two females while keeping the militant culture + high standards, and it worked out well. I enjoy Jane and Salem as characters and think they bring quite a lot to the story, and their personal arcs were a joy to write. Jane's line about "When the girl she had been was slapped out of her eyes by the realities of war and her hands were scarred from the planets burned in her wake, she would remember this moment" is tied with Sand's realisation that "His destiny was not the puny revenge against one person that had wronged him, but the destruction of armies that dared to stand against him" as my favorite bit of prose.

      However, my experience has been that its still too much a 'boy story', and I got a lot of form rejects (one of the few actual rejects I've gotten critique about said that it was a solid story but 3rd person omnipotent didn't 'click' with her). My experience with Strange Chemistry was a let down - after sitting on my manuscript for a year, I got a form reject and fired off a one liner about the editor's professionalism. This resulted in her running to twitter for validation in between posting about 'sizeism' and her depression. This is not unique among these people.

      I don't think a lot of the authors of yesteryear could be published today. The example you gave of Nivens would have resulted in tumblr going into a frothing rage with a lot of 'pithy' one liners and backslapping. Fuck's sake, Starship Troopers would have had feminists in fits of apoplexy over the fact there are no female Mobile Infantry (fuck the movie and cartoons). Right now the big drive among editors and agents is, I shit you not, gay and transsexual protagonists. Has the fucking world gone insane? No wonder traditionaly publishing is stagnating.

      If I can get that book deal that'll be great, but its going to be even better that I didn't have to be a whore to do so. Plenty of those in this industry who will do anything for a cover with their name on it.

      Delete