Monday, March 28, 2016

Living in Another World

Spend time in District 12? Nope.
I've been thinking about the books I'd want to live in for a while. My first thought was I would definitely never, ever live in The Hunger Games or in Game of Thrones. How funny that I quickly came up with the places I'd stay away from. In contrast, I had to give quite a bit of thought to those places where I'd want to live.

People who know me and my reading habits also know that I'm a huge fan of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series. I love the characters, and I also love the world. It depicts a fascinating future. Years ago I mentioned to a non-sf fan how I would love it if uterine replicators were a real thing, and she thought I was nuts. But imagine a perfect environment for one's developing baby, with the right balance of nutrients, located in a safe place. A woman could go on working in any kind of job, she could drink or eat whatever she wanted, and most importantly, she wouldn't have to go through the stresses on her body that carrying a baby can bring. When I was pregnant with my son, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. It would have been nice to have never experienced that or the uncertainty and fear that goes along with it. My blood pressure was so high before, during, and after delivery that I could feel my heartbeat in my face. My lips throbbed in time with my heart. I nearly wept with joy when I filled my prescription for blood pressure medication and took that first pill. With a uterine replicator, though, my son could have developed in a healthy environment, and I could have stayed healthy myself.

That detail aside, the books also have space travel, other worlds, and fantastic characters. People have better health, and so have longer life spans. One of the main characters, Cordelia, has a life expectancy of somewhere in the neighborhood of 130 years old. How much could a person learn in that lifetime? How many careers could a person have? How much wisdom could a person gain? You could see your grandchildren grow up and have grandchildren of their own.

There's conflict in the Vorkosigan series, and war, but the overall themes are hopeful. There's an underlying current of joy in the stories. While I enjoy novels like The Hunger Games or the Game of Thrones series, they don't make the same impression or give me the same sense of happiness as the Vorkosigan series does. And I certainly wouldn't want to spend any time there.

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