Sci-Fi Month 2015 is a month-long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.I’m reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and participating in this Read Along for Sci-Fi Month. The Read Along is hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow.
This week we’re taking a look at “Port Coriol” to “Cricket.” And Chris over at Galleywampus is asking the questions.
There has been significant conversation about AI, what it means to be alive, whether or not AI should have rights, whether or not a person can fall in love with a specific instance of AI, etc. This is a bit of a sticky situation. After the discussion between Pepper and Jenks, how do you feel about Lovey’s and Jenks’ relationship? Should they move forward with their plan?
I think this will be a problem for Lovey and Jenks. Lovey has never had a body so that is going to be very strange plus it’s illegal so they will have to hide her. Another problem could be the mechanics of the body, the tech. It may not work as it’s supposed to. It could fail and Lovey could die. Also the tech selling the body may blackmail them. All sorts of things can go wrong.
There is also the idea which has been written about in science fiction for years: what happens when an Artificial Intelligence is smarter than humans and thinks they can make better decisions than humans. Especially if they’re tired of being treated as slaves or second-class citizens.
In the chapter “Intro to Harmagian Colonial History,” we see Dr. Chef’s perspective of having been a mother, though he is currently male, and Sissix’s perspective that children aren’t people yet. Ohan is referred to as they/them. The Akarak are referred to as xyr/xe. These perspectives and preferences are perspectives actually held by different groups of humans in our own world. Do you think assigning these perspectives to aliens rather than humans make them easier or harder to sympathize with?
I think it’s easier to sympathize with alien perspectives. We expect aliens to be different and maybe strange, but we usually expect humans to follow our rules and morality.
How might the ship robbery have been different if the Wayfarer were armed?
People would probably have died. If Wayfarer had weapons she would have fired on the other ship when it first appeared. If the crew of Wayfarer had weapons with them ready to fire there might have been a shoot-out with people from both sides getting injured or killed. Considering the crew had never encountered pirates before they would probably have hesitated to fire their weapons, but the pirates wouldn’t have hesitated.
If Rosemary hadn’t been able to speak to the pirates some of the crew probably would have died and would have starved or run out of fuel if the pirates had stolen everything.
As I finished the fourth chapter in my section, “Cricket,” I thought it might be a good place to stop and talk about some of our favorite humorous moments so far. What scenes really tickled your funny bone? Who makes you laugh the most and why?
These are two of the scenes I thought were funny. I think most of the funny moments for me are when the different species try to understand each other.
The different species trying to understand the food of others:
I thought it was some sort of spicy potato.”
“I have never understood potatoes,” Sissix said. “The whole point of a potato is to cover it with salt so you don’t notice how bland it is. Why not just get a salt lick and skip the potato?’
“Don’t ask me,” Ashby said, standing up. “Potatoes are a grounder thing.”
When Sissix is moulting and irritated and angry about everything:
“Do you ever get tired of Humans?”
“On occasion. . . .”
“I’m definitely tired of them today.” Sissix said, laying her head back. I’m tired of their inability to smell anything. I’m tired of how clingy they get around kids that don’t even belong to them. I’m tired of how neurotic they are about being naked. I want to smack every single one of them around until they realize how needlessly complicated they make their families and their social lives and their—their everything.”
Dr Chef nodded. “You love them and you understand them, but sometimes you wish they—and me and Ohan, too, I’m sure—could be more like ordinary people.”
“Exactly.” She sighed. . . . But today . . . I don’t know. It feels like having a mess of younger hatchmates who won’t stop playing with your toys. They’re not breaking anything and you know they’re only trying to please you, but they’re so little and annoying, and you want them all to fall down a well. Temporarily.”
I’m looking forward to what everyone else thought about these questions!