1. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gender and Sexuality in Science-Fiction

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by spklvr, Sep 10, 2012.

    I'm taking a class called Science-Fiction, The Future as History. I'm supposed to write a paper on Gender Roles and Sexuality in Sci-Fi, but the book my teacher suggested, "The Left Hand of Darkness" by Ursula Le Guin, is incredibly boring. I just can't work with it. I'm also working with "A Handmaid's tale", which seems better, but I'm only a few pages in. Anyway, our minimum requirements are two novels, one short story and a movie. I'm also hoping I can pull in Torchwood somehow, but I'm still waiting for my teacher to accept that as Sci-Fi and not fantasy.

    So any suggestion about novels, movies, short-stories, anime, TV-series and whatever would be really helpful. Also any thoughts on the subject would be great. To be honest, I’m also a bit unsure of what he wants me to do about sexuality. This was one of many topics I could choose from, and while I get gender roles, sexuality has me a bit stomped. I talked to my teacher about it, but he thought I should interpret it myself… Maybe the lack of realistic female sexuality and homosexuality, as the genre is predominately written by straight males.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Robert Heinlein's novel _I Will Fear No Evil_ comes to mind.
     
  3. J♥Star
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    J♥Star Member

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    I haven't read this book yet, but i think its definitely along the lines of what your looking for, and it appears to be pretty unique. The Sex Gates.
     
  4. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't see how anyone could deny that Torchwood is science fiction. I would agree that there are elements of Fantasy in it, but it seems more science fiction than anything else to me.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As soon as I saw the thread title I was thinking of this Heinlein novel. It's one of his later novels, and therefore a bit of a chore to wade through the word flood. But it is thought provoking, and a worthwhile read.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, a lot of Heinlein's later work deals with sexuality, not just I Will Fear No Evil. Heinlein seems to have become obsessed with the subject in his later years.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, many of his fans (and his detractors) refer to his later writing as his "dirty old man" years. Still, I Will Fear No Evil is one of his more memorable novels.
     
  8. MikeJoeShmoe
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    MikeJoeShmoe New Member

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    The Forever War by Joe Haldeman is a great book that has some strong themes of sexuality throughout. (Mainly who, where, and why.) It may not be quite what you are looking for, but I wouldn't disregard it. Good luck!
     
  9. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Geeeeezzzzz, science fiction can be so #$%*ing weird.

    There is a short story in this one about a guy having sex with a robot girl.

    Erotic Fantasy: Tales Of The Paranormal
    By Justus Roux
     
  10. remiojones
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    remiojones Member

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    Every Day by David Levithan specifically deals with gender in a Science Fiction setting, although it is not set in the future. It's a beautiful book.
     
  11. njslater
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    njslater Member

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    I have not read much purely sci-fi but I have found little character development present in those I have read. There seems to be a pall of suppressed desire and misery in most popular sci-fi in such films as Aliens, 2001 etc. Most human space exploration stories are a bunch of sociopathic miseries drifting through space.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "The Handmaid's Tale" is excellent, you should consider reading it regardless.


    "1984" also comes to mind.
     
  13. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Set for yourself a matrix of different ways gender/sexuality are used. For instance, is there gender inversion? By that I mean, is there a place where a female character takes a dominant sexual role against a male, such as penetrating him with a sword or knife. In that same idea, is there inversion in where roles are presented one way, and then later on in the story, a female takes a male role? That can then be compared to other literature to see general inversions of roles.

    Keep an eye out for space (not, outerspace, just, space). Are there spaces that are specific to men and women? If so, is that space violated and how does it affect the character both in general, but also in any kind of sexual aggression or redefining of sexuality for her. Is she treated more like a male now because she has entered a "male" space? Also look for the same in males. Do they violate feminine space? Is there space that men can go that women can't, or women can go that men can't? What does that say about gender ideas and concepts?

    Then there is specifically issues of penetration. Often times in gender studies penetration, whether by army, by weapon, or physically/sexually, is interpreted through phallic connotations. Think about how many stories have the head of an army killed, and the army falls apart? Gender studies look at that, and some will say that the destruction of the leader is actually emasculation, rendering the entire penetrating organ useless (in this case, the army). Penetration is often used to invert issues of space and gender.

    Those are just a few concepts. If you need some more direction, I can give you a few authors that have written gender based critiques of stories (Greek and Roman, in this case), so you can see how they address the issues. Hope that helps.
     
  14. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Well...if it's about sexual roles then I think Stranger in a Strange Land, or, Friday, might be as good, maybe even better.
     
  15. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    As far as movies:

    Solaris.

    Adjustment Bureau.

    And even Inception, touch upon the whole sex role thing.

    But if your thinking strong female leads:

    Sara Conner, in the Termanator II.

    Leeloo, in The Fifth Element.

    And of course, Ripley from the Alien movies.
     
  16. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    ***Crap. Another thread from a long time ago. WTF...?
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's njslater's fault. ;)
     
  18. sylvertech
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    sylvertech Active Member

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    I'd forgive him for bumping the dead, as I really did benefit from the titles mentioned.

    I wish the OP would tell us what happened with his project in the end, though.
     
  19. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    When it comes to movies my brother says try Star Trek. You have so many shows to work with as well as the movies.
     
  20. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    I see several people mentioned Heinlein. He has a short story called "All You Zombies". That's an interesting one to look into. Deals with sex change operations, as Heinlein would have imagined those.
     
  21. NewAgeFiction
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    NewAgeFiction Member

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    I'm personally a bit touched by this very subject and I'm happy it's been brought up. By the way, I'm Tim...and just signed up today! (nerves, keep at bay!). Someone briefly mentioned the 'Ripley' character from the Alien film series. I've been a fan of this particular plotline since I was a pre-teen, and was absolutely immersed in the struggle and torment (and power) of this timeless woman. I happen to be a fan of "victorious underdog" themes, and I think that women taking on heroic roles is something that is *still* undervalued in western culture, though token appearences do rear their heads from time to time. In my view though, not often enough. While gender plays a huge part, for me it's mostly about the downtrodden, or the weaker, finding their own inner vitality, persevering through toil all the way to ultimate triumph. For me, Ripley personifies this archetype to a "T". Sadly (and unfairly IMO), the writers of the story decided to "kill her off", replacing her with a hybrid character no longer reflecting the righteous survivor of the first 2 and 3/4 of the series. But such is the trend displayed in today's successful movies. Still, I miss seeing films where the good guy (or girl) wins. Films like "The Descent" are very typical now, where no matter how hard the underdog tries, the bad guy wins. I think it reflects where we are now as a culture.
     
  22. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I have a question that kind of fits in this thread. If you clone a female version of yourself so you can have sex with that clone, would the clone be like your sister since you both have the same genes?

    I did some research about strange stories about sex; like books about robots getting preganent, beastility, and machines giving men orgasms. It's like people are going to do some werid !@#$ in the future.
     
  23. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Isaac Asimov wrote a little song he called "The Clone Song" to be sung to the tune of "Home on the Range." It's Isaac Asimov's, not mine, and I hope the mods don't mind if I post it here:

    Oh, give me a clone
    Of my own flesh and bone
    With its Y chromosome changed to X
    And after it's grown
    Then my own little clone
    Will be of the opposite sex.

    (Chorus)
    Clone, clone of my own
    With its Y chromosome changed to X
    And when I'm alone
    With my own little clone
    We will both think of nothing but sex.

    Oh, give me a clone
    Is my sorrowful moan,
    A clone that is wholly my own.
    And if she's X-X
    And the feminine sex
    Oh, what fun we will have when we're prone.

    My heart's not of stone,
    As I've frequently shown
    When alone with my own little X
    And after we've dined,
    I am sure we will find
    Better incest than Oedipus Rex.

    Why should such sex vex
    Or disturb or perplex
    Or induce a disparaging tone?
    After all, don't you see
    Since we're both of us me
    When we're having sex, I'm alone.

    And after I'm done
    She will still have her fun
    For I'll clone myself twice ere I die.
    And this time without fail
    They'll be both of them male
    And they'll each ravage her by and by.
     
  24. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    ^ Haha, funnieh!

    Wait... why would one rather have sex with their own clone than some other person who's also non-relative? hc masturbation?
    I'd feel exactly like having sex with a brother. It's extra gross cos I actually have a real brother too.
     
  25. Mauthos
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    Mauthos Member

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    My suggestion would be Brave New World great book with a lot of interesting themes tackled within.
     

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