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LaPorte Caves

19 Feb 2017 21:29 - 19 Feb 2017 21:49 #52652 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic LaPorte Caves

Pepper wrote: The difference is that there doesn't seem to be any concept of male consent in that world.


I've been thinking the concept of men having any sort of vote or suffrage in whatever passes for countries in Ruth's world is right out. You just can't in good conscience let the ship of state be steered by beings who can be absolutely compelled to hold any opinion you like by the last woman to pass within sniff range. Not to mention males are goddamn morons. Every. Last. One. Of. Them. Functionally illiterate. Too slow to keep up with any sort of real news. Why would you ask their opinion about anything? Though I suppose there might be some sort of plutocracy where women's votes are weighted by the number of men in their household. Voting on their behalf as it were... A quaint holdover from pre-Nourishment days and another incentive to not just winnow the population of its... undesirables, perhaps.

Those helpless, pitiful morons must hardly seem like 'people' at all, I'd imagine. Dammed souls at best. Punished by Almighty Diana for their XY chromosomes. Sinners. We've proven humans display vast intolerance over differences not a thousandth as dramatic as the sexual dimorphism of this world. Do gaggles of gossipy superwomen (and their hand-knit "man-tethers") do better? I don't know. Maybe there's some kind of maternal pity reflex left. Because somebody has to be carrying ten doomed, useless runts to term for every beautiful daughter. I'm still trying to think of why male infanticide isn't horrendously widespread. Often in the womb, if the technology allows it. They may need lots of males, but who actually wants to be caught holding the bag providing them? Ask China how well that 'for the good of all' math works out. Raising retards who will never ever improve is torturous as a parent. Heart rending. How could a mother not think it might be better to spare their child such a demeaning life?

Ruth is almost unimaginably blessed in that regard. TWO Daughters?!? And only one (living) male spawn to support? That alone probably confers considerable status on her :). She's actually increased the number of "worthy" souls in the next generation. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her story. Because she's not normal, I think.

Dunno. Maybe Howard had the right idea after all? Gnawing on the fruit. Maybe if they can't figure out how to make Nourishment work for everyone, they're looking at absolutely catastrophic population collapse as far too few women are managing to have even one daughter... And when push comes to shove on that front the solution is both obvious and grim - you have to start barring women from being Nourished so they can be baby factories of the 1:1 gender ratio variety... Knowingly condemn WOMEN to live out that shitty life as helpless morons for the good of the few Real Women. Ugly.

When Amanda wants Howard she doesn't ask him, she asks Julia if she can borrow him. I don't know if the concept of rape even exists there, or if it does it's probably an offense against the man's claimant rather than against the man. I have to wonder if Julia will adopt their customs so much that she starts thinking that way herself.


Well, at least that joke writes itself: "Oh my God, Julia. You literally drank the Kool-Aid. Twice, now." :D

((Pepper, I think mangled your original post trying to quote it. I've attempted to restore it but if I've altered it I'm sorry, it was entirely by accident))
Last edit: 19 Feb 2017 21:49 by AuGoose.
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19 Feb 2017 22:54 #52653 by Pepper
Replied by Pepper on topic LaPorte Caves

AuGoose wrote: ((Pepper, I think mangled your original post trying to quote it. I've attempted to restore it but if I've altered it I'm sorry, it was entirely by accident))

Looks okay to me.

You paint an awfully bleak picture of how the men would be viewed in that world. I don't think it's as bad as you say. You kind of describe it as women having contempt for men; I'd describe it more as them being patronizing to men. I don't know that they'd prohibit men from voting, or abort them, but despite outnumbering the women I can't see a man ever getting elected to anything, either.
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19 Feb 2017 23:30 - 20 Feb 2017 13:06 #52654 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic LaPorte Caves

lowerbase wrote: I love speculative erotic scifi.

even if Circes doesn't address these things, it is already great for us readers to think about such possibilities[/quote

I think Circes has set great new boundaries in this genre. Time will tell

Last edit: 20 Feb 2017 13:06 by Monty.
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20 Feb 2017 00:29 #52655 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic LaPorte Caves

Pepper wrote: You paint an awfully bleak picture of how the men would be viewed in that world. I don't think it's as bad as you say. You kind of describe it as women having contempt for men; I'd describe it more as them being patronizing to men. I don't know that they'd prohibit men from voting, or abort them, but despite outnumbering the women I can't see a man ever getting elected to anything, either.


Men outnumber the women ten to one. You couldn't possibly allow them to vote. Unless you want your leaders chosen by who makes the most runt tongues hang out of their mouths panting. 91% percent of your populace is illiterate. That's worse than the Dark Ages. And its not for lack of desire - that 91% is biologically incapable of reading beyond the level of a child. Males are not just culturally but objectively incompetent to do anything with their pea brains except menial labor and they suck at that too. I mean they can't even work as house cleaners because they can't budge the furniture! Waiters? Maybe for the really light plates and flatware. I suppose you could put them to work on farms, picking crops. Tons of upward mobility there.

Outside of social workers and martyrs, most people just don't find the company of the retarded that fun. The women are thinking a dozen times faster and on six different levels. They can't share a book or watch six movies at once with a so called 'partner'. Think any joke a man tells is remotely funny? You've written an entire stand up act in your head and done the family budget for the month from memory while waiting for them to plod through the punchline you figured out 3 seconds in. It's patronizing all right - the way you patronize your house cat ;). "Whose a good snoogums?" complete with holding it up in your hands and shaking it gently. You may love your cat, and appreciate it's unique personality, but its an animal. And if it gets sick and you have eight of them under your roof, how much are you going to endanger the family funds for a sick pet? You're sure as hell not gonna cut into your daughter's prospects over a male's suffering. Maybe cat isn't right - horses? They're fun to ride but when one pulls up lame, you just resign yourself to putting it down...

I don't think the contempt is universal - I'm not a big believer in monocultures, but look at the set up. Outside of sperm donor and interactive fuck toy, men have nothing to offer women don't do a dozen if not hundreds of times better. Superwomen. ALL of them. At ten to one men are disposable. Couple that with everything else and 'bleak' is not even close to being a dark enough word ;).

In the long run I'm really interested to see what changes. I think -- as things stand now -- it's absurd to expect Julia will ever leave, and its pretty much a living hell by Howard's standards. Julia could make him stay, but all she'd get is a pliable doll - Howard as she knows him would be obliterated in the process. Does she love him enough to let him go? Or does the whole paradigm shift in some way? And does Howard have any say in this larger destiny?Because , while there may be hope for them personally, I still have a hard time of envisioning him as anything but an implacable enemy of the status quo. Maybe to save Julia's life directly and inescapably, but he's sure as hell not doing it for 'Them'. All 'them' has ever done for Howard is take his love away from him.

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20 Feb 2017 00:44 #52656 by circes_cup
Replied by circes_cup on topic LaPorte Caves
Great to see that this story has inspired a good deal of commentary and debate.

Lowerbase wrote: That's one thing I expect to happen at some point, that Julia would seat and read the entire history of that world in some post sex lazy afternoon. Maybe out of curiosity.

I mean, I think what we have here is this civilization at its most enlightened and advanced stage and still evolving, like where we are now in history.

What about its past? Was it dark?

Au Goose wrote: I thinking just finding a world map could tell you a lot about whether the caves are connecting different planets or maybe just alternate versions of Earth... The biological compatibility and shared language makes me think the later, but it could play out in many ways.


I’ll take it as a compliment that you guys assume I have all my shit figured out.  No, I am not currently in a position to lay out a timeline or draw a map or spell out multiple family trees or tell you whether their government is even less democratic than what’s going in the United States.  Since I am using a publish-as-I-go format, I have decided to leave myself as much flexibility as I can so that the plot does not get painted into a corner when I’m trying to bring the story to a conclusion.  How George RR Martin managed to draw a map in Book One that was still relevant in Book Six is completely beyond me and is evidence of why that dude occupies a different plane of human intellect than I do.

Au Goose wrote: And the mermaid joke suggested the caves maybe connect different times. Would be hilarious if Ruth lives in Julia's distant (potential) future and Julia basically returns home to plant the first Diana Tree, securing a key turning point in Ruth's distant past, changing possible to likely .   


I did not mean to imply time travel.  I did intend Ruth’s comment to be a bit mysterious, so if you don’t know what exactly she meant, that’s fine.

Woodclaw wrote: I remember a chat last year about the history of this world and I put forward the hypothesis that Noursihment (at least in the current superconcentrated form) had to be a rather recent development. My base logic is that many of the technological achievements we see around (from cars to computers) are the tools of a society not unlike our own, which means that the people of this world had to face challenges similar to our and came up with similar solutions. For example, from a Nourished perspective any form of transportation, save perhaps an airplane is more or less useless, which implies that cars and other similar tools were either created before the nourished came around or were built by the men first and later redesigned or improved by the nourished to fit their unique needs.   


This is definitely an area I need to address and I appreciate your mentioning it, Woodclaw.  And the solution might actually solve an unrelated problem I had, too!  Hang tight.

Finally, a general note: I keep my comments very limited in these conversations for two reasons.  First, I don't want to spoil any of the future plot, which would be a disservice to everybody.  Second, I don't want to forum to become a crutch for me. Good stories are self-explanatory, and whenever I use a forum to explain a story, it takes the pressure off of me to actually write a solid story. So, if I respond to some comments and no others, please do not think that I am ignoring you. I'm simply taking the time that I would have spent in a detailed forum conversation and applying it to the next chapter. :)
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20 Feb 2017 00:57 #52657 by circes_cup
Replied by circes_cup on topic LaPorte Caves
I think I can commit to roughly the following publication schedule:

Ch 15 - this week
Ch 16 - Fri Mar 3
Ch 17 - Fri Mar 10
Ch 18 - Fri Mar 17
Ch 19 - Fri Mar 24

After that, no material has been written so you can expect a long haitus.
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20 Feb 2017 01:19 #52658 by Pepper
Replied by Pepper on topic LaPorte Caves

AuGoose wrote: Men outnumber the women ten to one. You couldn't possibly allow them to vote. Unless you want your leaders chosen by who makes the most runt tongues hang out of their mouths panting. 91% percent of your populace is illiterate. That's worse than the Dark Ages. And its not for lack of desire - that 91% is biologically incapable of reading beyond the level of a child. Males are not just culturally but objectively incompetent to do anything with their pea brains except menial labor and they suck at that too. I mean they can't even work as house cleaners because they can't budge the furniture! Waiters? Maybe for the really light plates and flatware. I suppose you could put them to work on farms, picking crops. Tons of upward mobility there.

How many poor people make it to high elected office in our world? Poor people are allowed to vote, but the winnowing process of becoming a president or prime minister pretty much means that only the already successful have a shot. Could be the same for men in Ruth's world. They may be illiterate, but they're not completely uninformed (they can watch television and understand spoken language). Women are much more analytically gifted, but don't possess superior wisdom. Men aren't quite at the level of cats or horses in our world, since they can communicate. I'm not sure the pheromones can affect men's opinions other than to instill lust in them. And I get the impression women consider things like being a waitress to be beneath them. A restaurant could hire ten men for what one woman would cost. It would be expensive to have so many staff, but it sounds like their customers (women, of course) can afford it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not exactly defending the way things are there. It sounds like men have pretty meager hopes to have much of a life. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a place where I had so little control over my own destiny and such slim prospects to achieve anything.

{Are we sure that men in that world are illiterate? Howard doesn't know the written language, but do the other men? It's been a while since I read that far back. It was said that boys go to school; if they're not taught to read, what are they learning, and how? Maybe they have their own written language that we just haven't seen yet.)

In the long run I'm really interested to see what changes. I think -- as things stand now -- it's absurd to expect Julia will ever leave, and its pretty much a living hell by Howard's standards. Julia could make him stay, but all she'd get is a pliable doll - Howard as she knows him would be obliterated in the process. Does she love him enough to let him go? Or does the whole paradigm shift in some way? And does Howard have any say in this larger destiny?Because , while there may be hope for them personally, I still have a hard time of envisioning him as anything but an implacable enemy of the status quo. Maybe to save Julia's life directly and inescapably, but he's sure as hell not doing it for 'Them'. All 'them' has ever done for Howard is take his love away from him.

There are plenty of questions that this story just doesn't have time to ask. If the women of this world are so cognitively superior, why haven't they advanced further than us technologically? Where's the anti-gravity? Where's the teleportation? You'd think that with their massive brains such things would be child's play. Could they analyze the Nourishment and synthesize a version that will work on men; would it occur to them to try, are there taboos against it?

I don't know if this story has the scope to explore any big societal shifts. We're 14 chapters in and we've only seen a few people and a small part of the world. I can see it as an exploration for Julia and Howard to learn about each other, or for one of them (by virtue of being an outsider) to bring some new perspective to Ruth and her family.

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20 Feb 2017 02:27 #52659 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic LaPorte Caves

Pepper wrote: How many poor people make it to high elected office in our world? Poor people are allowed to vote, but the winnowing process of becoming a president or prime minister pretty much means that only the already successful have a shot. Could be the same for men in Ruth's world.

It could be, but in this case it might be unacceptably dangerous to have all the have-nots having a common gender to rally around.

They may be illiterate, but they're not completely uninformed (they can watch television and understand spoken language).

That's the our world's perspective talking. What men do in Ruth's world isn't 'watch television', its peer out at the world through a keyhole. Women watch television. Men listen to the clicking of morse code over a telegraph comparatively :).

Women are much more analytically gifted, but don't possess superior wisdom.

Or so says a man. The source might be a teensy bit biased in their clinging to self-esteem ;). In most cases wisdom can be thought of as the benefits of age and experience. Cognitively, by the time she's 25, a Nourished Woman has enjoyed the subjective experiences and the benefits of time to contemplate and process that input on par with a 70 year old male. Ruth has more than two centuries of 'wisdom' going by Earth and their male norms. Julia's years as an unnourished woman put her on par with a 19 to 20 year old for accumulated experience. Super intelligence is DEVASTATING to any notion of parity or even relevance between the genders.

I mean, it could be male life is MUCH more pleasant than I'm envisioning, because they're client/pets kept by incredibly gracious ALIENS with all the deprivation-eliminating technology and miracle silky-smoothly functioning society that implies. Even if the tech isn't there, could be that enough supersmart women simply resolved EVERYTHING in a just, fair, and moral society. Heaven on Earth for all, even the lowly fragile morons. It would be inhuman, but they kind of are inhuman. Sort of like that cheerful branch of sci-fi where in the end humans manage to get along with their AI betters. Might be the men in the camp avoiding them really are total nutters.

I'm not sure the pheromones can affect men's opinions other than to instill lust in them.

You think a politically minded Nourished Woman can't use that particular lever to get a man to vote how she chooses? Geeze, the women here do it all the time with a miniscule fraction of the sexual impact. :D

And I get the impression women consider things like being a waitress to be beneath them. A restaurant could hire ten men for what one woman would cost. It would be expensive to have so many staff, but it sounds like their customers (women, of course) can afford it.


Ha ha ha. Very true. Those lucky men - perfectly suited to do every menial task 'beneath' their betters. I guess four men could muscle a cast iron slab of a plate off the rolling cart onto the table without dumping food in the honored guest's lap most of the time :).

Honestly I'd expect an upwardly mobile man's primary pastime being honing their sexual/pleasuring skills. Male geisha might likely be THE highest regarded and highest paying profession available to the XYs. Years training towards the finesse to take a Nourished Woman to the 'hidden world' and open her body fully to 'the clouds and the rain'.

Role-reversal at its finest :).

I wouldn't want to be stuck in a place where I had so little control over my own destiny and such slim prospects to achieve anything.

Slim seems overly generous to me. Zero seems the more sober assessment for all but the most extraordinarily gifted.

Ok. I know what I'd like to see, if its more heaven than hell. A poet. Or song writer. A male artist that women wholeheartedly acknowledge as one of the greats of the craft. A painter who, while perhaps not as technically proficient as a Nourished woman, still captures a power and an essence that defies rational quantification.

{Are we sure that men in that world are illiterate? Howard doesn't know the written language, but do the other men? It's been a while since I read that far back. It was said that boys go to school; if they're not taught to read, what are they learning, and how? Maybe they have their own written language that we just haven't seen yet.)

Not certain. My impression was it's like Chinese on crack. And given Julia's cognitive man-handling of the cave network problem, it would almost have to be to even remotely keep up with the operating system the language is being run on. Large character systems are exceedingly efficient if you have the memory, and she clearly has the memory.

There are plenty of questions that this story just doesn't have time to ask. If the women of this world are so cognitively superior, why haven't they advanced further than us technologically? Where's the anti-gravity? Where's the teleportation? You'd think that with their massive brains such things would be child's play.

Could be they have no need. No ambition. No impulse to rock the boat. Gods are notoriously conservative :). Howard may have the single most relentless drive to bring about change on the entire planet at the moment. If 'necessity is the mother of invention', then invention is all but stillborn in Ruth's world. There is no necessity for the Nourished, beyond keeping the juice in stock..

(Its also possible those things are impossible, regardless of the processing power applied to the problem :). Physics tends to be a cold-hearted and uncompromising bitch.)

Though I'd certainly like to see the properties of womens' skin researched and adapted to armor/safety gear for the men. Their muscles are also the blueprints for outstanding machines.

Could they analyze the Nourishment and synthesize a version that will work on men; would it occur to them to try, are there taboos against it?

Now there's the trillion quatloo question! :)

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20 Feb 2017 14:02 #52663 by lowerbase
Replied by lowerbase on topic LaPorte Caves

Circes wrote: I am not currently in a position to lay out a timeline or draw a map or spell out multiple family trees or tell you whether their government is even less democratic than what’s going in the United States. Since I am using a publish-as-I-go format, I have decided to leave myself as much flexibility as I can so that the plot does not get painted into a corner


Yeah, but no writer can't stop readers to fill the gaps and speculate upon. It is entertaining. Relax

Here's what George RR Martin said about this:

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they're going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there's going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don't know how many branches it's going to have, they find out as it grows. And I'm much more a gardener than an architect.”
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20 Feb 2017 14:43 - 20 Feb 2017 15:03 #52664 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic LaPorte Caves
I'm actually steadily warming to the upper end being genuine utopia (with Ruth's world able to fall anywhere on the spectrum, as the Circe's Cup finds useful to his narrative). Not an egalitarian utopia - that's silly. But still enlightened beyond anything our Earth could support. All the grim products of such a disparity are rooted in human nature.

But are the Nourished 'human'?

I'm reminded of 'The Mote in God's Eye" a Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle novel, exploring an encounter with an alien race that is just flat out -smarter- than humans. One of the most interesting ways the narrative presented that difference was during a visit to an alien city, the flying traffic patterns were terrifyingly fast, dense, and chaotic. Thousands of wizzing near-misses every second had the human passengers ranging from white knuckle to outright screaming.

Because the aliens were smart. Not only were they cognitively better at gauging speeds and forecasting position and intersections, but because they had a complex and incredibly detailed driving code of right-of-ways that everyone knew perfectly and everyone OBEYED. Which was of course totally unlike how competitive, self-serving humans navigate even the most casual of social encounters like driving. On our Earth there's ALWAYS an asshole who wants to endanger everyone with a reckless maneuver that nets them less than a half second of improved travel time at the risk of killing themselves or dozens of others. So every second of every day people have to drive less than the optimum to have the safety net to deal with that random asshole. The mere existence of stupid punishes every driver in our world.

What if you could TRUST everyone?

Enlightened self-interest is a brilliant system of morality, and it works better and better the more people conform to it. In a society were everyone with power and authority is Too Smart to push their personal agenda over a system that serve everyone superbly, you can have complex, efficient, and FAIR systems that would never survive exposure to the angry monkey bullshit of homo sapiens. No wars. No privation. No exploitation. You put the men to work doing what little chores they can do, and never ask them to do something a woman can manage as a trifle if she doesn't let "male ego" get in her way. Maybe they're too smart for the idea of "it's beneath me" to take root at all. They might LIKE being waitresses and the pleasure that comes from serving others. They might see it as virtuous they're saving men from looking like fools trying to manage plates and platters that weigh hundreds of pounds so the woman eating doesn't accidently launch it into the neighboring county with an errant flick of her hand. House keeping may be a team effort with a single woman and her 5 helpers meshing the benefits of incalculable strength with extra eyes and hands, the men multiplying the woman's efficiency by focusing on the aspects of the task were numbers beat capacity. And don't tell me her hand-picked crew's not happy to be in her company all day. After all, they're all armed with feather dusters that they don't have to put down during the scheduled 'male rest' breaks... ;)

Hell, men are so fragile and so necessary, you might not expect them to work in any physical capacity at all, beyond their role as attendants and mates to the Rulers of the World. Keep them in a eternal theme park were they can hone their male skills, practice the arts and play their male sports, and most of all stay fit and emotionally vibrant to serve their one unique role beautifully and masterfully. Nature has decreed that they are unequal, so let them also be sufficiently separate to keep their dignity and contribute as they are able. In a world all but free from war and crime... and traffic accidents :).

A superhuman world.

Or if -- like me -- you're not into monocultures, BOTH kinds of societies exist. Ends of the spectrum and a few variations far enough off the line to make triangles and parallelograms. The tension between these corners of the social spectrum might really be THE most pressing thing on Nourished Minds that have solved every other problem in their environment. The debates and possibly even duels to the death between brilliant, unstoppable warrior-philosopher Goddesses over the fate of Menkind: to be enslaved or cherished, punished for their manifest sins or treasured as a beautiful gift offering contrast and perspective to the Nourished.

It's kind of epic :).
Last edit: 20 Feb 2017 15:03 by AuGoose.

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20 Feb 2017 16:33 #52665 by Pepper
Replied by Pepper on topic LaPorte Caves

AuGoose wrote:

Women are much more analytically gifted, but don't possess superior wisdom.

Or so says a man. The source might be a teensy bit biased in their clinging to self-esteem ;).

True, but it's the deepest male perspective we have on this world so far, and I get the feeling Sallan isn't exactly a typical man there. And who's to say Ruth isn't just as biased? When she tells Julia how happy the men are, is it true, or is it what she needs to believe in order to keep her place in the world?

I think the story hits a really interesting sweet spot; I can absolutely understand why Howard is unhappy there, but it's not so self-evidently cruel and dehumanizing that Julia would have been instantly aware of it.

I guess four men could muscle a cast iron slab of a plate off the rolling cart onto the table without dumping food in the honored guest's lap most of the time :).

I don't think the story says that women are eating meals that would take four men to carry. They eat more than men, but Ruth's husband is able to cook and serve breakfast to Ruth and their two daughters, and now Julia as well.

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20 Feb 2017 17:07 - 20 Feb 2017 17:32 #52666 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic LaPorte Caves
I love the imagery of Mindy working in the construction industry during Summer semester.and earning far more than her father possibly could.

"Hey Mindy! Can you carry that JCB crane over there for that male?"

'Which one?"

'The one the male is sitting in over there, and where is your hard hat?"

"What the hell do I need a hard hat for? They're designed for men. Do you want those steel girders tossed up to the fifteenth floor? It'll be easier than lifting the crane for him" ☺
Last edit: 20 Feb 2017 17:32 by Monty.

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20 Feb 2017 17:09 - 20 Feb 2017 17:29 #52667 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic LaPorte Caves

Pepper wrote: I don't think the story says that women are eating meals that would take four men to carry. They eat more than men, but Ruth's husband is able to cook and serve breakfast to Ruth and their two daughters, and now Julia as well.


True. I was just thinking of the plates rather than the food, and the tendency of the women to make even the most mundane tools in their world super-heavy and dense from a male perspective. You're right about meal time in Ruth's household, but the plates in a fancy Womans' Restaurant? Proably require woman waitresses. Which might even add to the sense of poshness. Fancy enough to have women serving women? Definitely five star! And so nice to be able to eat off of real plates and not those flimsy cracker-plates men can manage.

I'm reminded of a scene in Grrrl power, where the almighty-strong protagonist Maxima is giving a new day one recruit a tour of the shooting range. The ditzy and enthusiastic recruit wants to play with a portable minigun on display. Maxima think's its a terrible idea for good reason, but the range instructors whispers, "Go ahead. let her." Yielding to the authority of the person in charge of the area over her own judgement, she lets the recruit have go... Who promptly discovers she can't even lift the mini-gun out of its stand.

Maxima realizes WHY the range instructor was unconcerned... "Oh yeah. I forgot stuff has weight to the rest of you."

:)
Last edit: 20 Feb 2017 17:29 by AuGoose.

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20 Feb 2017 17:27 - 20 Feb 2017 17:59 #52668 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic LaPorte Caves
Hopefully Circe's Cup will indulge me as I try to convert theorizing to narrative. :)

- - -
Howard meets a utopia-style Nourished Housekeeper, her crew hanging back deferentially.

"Don't you find being a cleaning lady demeaning? You could just order these men to take care of it all and go sip drinks on the beach." Adding silently to himself 'like my lazy layabout girlfriend...'

The housekeeper looks at him puzzled. "What? Demeaning? Do you like living in filth? Do you like the idea of other people having to live in filth? Ruth told me you were from elsewhere... If sanitation and keeping our homes beautiful is demeaning where you're from, I don't think I'd want to go back..."

She pauses, then looks at him closely. "You seem a little adrift. Why don't you spend the day with us? You seem like a man who needs to do something with his hands. To create, or make things better. Good qualities. You might find a day of honest work soothing. And I promise, our rest periods are very entertaining." She looks at her crew fondly. "This is a good team. Evan will get you up to speed."

The men nod agreeably. Quite unthreatened by this strange foreigner their Lady has taken an interest in.

"Do I have a say in getting 'borrowed' again?"

She winces, clearly having heard about Amanda. "Absolutely. You're unclaimed. I'm asking you if you'd like to join us for the day. Because I think it will help you understand us better. And I'm asking you to work. Anything beyond that is up to you. There's a world of difference being borrowed by a woman and being snatched up by a child still pink from being Nourished for the first time. Julia should have known better, but she's as lost and confused as you, behind her smiles."

"I... Ok. To work. Just to work. And you're right. I do need to do something productive. I feel like some kind of rare bird in a cage. Valued only for the odd color of my plumage."
Last edit: 20 Feb 2017 17:59 by AuGoose.
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20 Feb 2017 22:41 - 21 Feb 2017 01:59 #52674 by Dru1076
Replied by Dru1076 on topic LaPorte Caves
Personally, I think you guys are getting too hung up on the men in this story. It wasn't that long ago women were officially considered too air headed and ditzy to vote, so I dont mind reading a story with the tables turned so completely.

What I am curious about is if Julia (or Howard) will meet a bad girl. Most of the ladies we met in the alternative world have been pretty decent souls. What would a real selfish woman be like in this world? What would a lady criminal be like? And are those involved in law enforcement given special nourishment to make them just a little bit more super? I cant see waving a pistol in front of nourished woman being much of a deterrent...

"Stupid Reality!" - Homer J. Simpson
Last edit: 21 Feb 2017 01:59 by Dru1076.
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21 Feb 2017 02:06 - 21 Feb 2017 02:07 #52676 by circes_cup
Replied by circes_cup on topic LaPorte Caves

Monty wrote: I love the imagery of Mindy working in the construction industry during Summer semester.and earning far more than her father possibly could.

"Hey Mindy! Can you carry that JCB crane over there for that male?"

'Which one?"

'The one the male is sitting in over there, and where is your hard hat?"

"What the hell do I need a hard hat for? They're designed for men. Do you want those steel girders tossed up to the fifteenth floor? It'll be easier than lifting the crane for him" ☺



Monty, I got a laugh out of the fact that you suggested this. In the earlier stages of the story, I wrote exactly such a scene. But it didn't fit with the rest of the story, so I wound up scrapping it. I may use it yet -- just not sure. In any case, in case you are curious, here is what I had on file....

"Mindy, where the heck are we going?"

But the answer came only from Mindy's feet, which continued to walk toward the construction site.   The sign was still illuminated at the site: 'Female Work Available -- Immediate Need'.  Mindy approached the foreman and poked her thumb towards the sign.   "I saw your sign.  You still need some help?"

The foreman nodded.  "We just got an acceleration order.  Building needs to be framed up, and fast."

Julia glanced over his shoulder at the site.  Thirty or so I-beams, each fifty long, lay in a neat pile next to the foundation.  Cranes were slowly moving one of the I-beams into place.

"We thought we had two weeks to do the framing," he explained.

"How long do you have now?"  Amanda asked.

"One day."

"You ARE in a bind," Mindy observed.  "We can help, but our time doesn't come cheap.  Seventy five thousand dollars ((CONFIRM))."

"A hundred if you get it done on time," the foreman countered.  "It's worth it to us.  Labor for two weeks, heavy equipment for two weeks, a client that wants it done yesterday."

Before Julia knew what was happening she standing in the construction trailer, a reflective vest fastened over her torso and a construction hat on her head.  Amanda flipped through the construction plans quickly, as the three women used their superhuman mental capacity to commit the project blueprints to perfect memory.  It was a ten-story project, and only the first story had been framed.  I-beams were to be connected by bolts initially, and then welded.

Julia followed her two companions out onto the construction site.  The crane that had been moving the I-beams was massive: a _______ the size of a small house, and a _____ that was at least one hundred feet long.  It would attach to the beams with a chain: even the chain was huge, thicker than Julia's large arm.  And the hired us to do that work that it would normally do, Julia marveled, and ten times as fast.  "Have either you done this before?"

"No," Amanda said simply.  "I'm sure we'll figure it out.  It's not as if we are men."

Mindy appraised the single story of framing that had already been completed.  "Julia, you stay down here.  Amanda and I will go up there to grab the beams and attach them."

"OK!" Amanda replied.  She flexed her legs and leapt twenty feet into the air, easily landing on the top of the framed structure.

Mindy did the same, leaving Julia alone with the pile of I-beams.

Now what, Julia wondered.  

"Ready!" Mindy announced.  "Toss one up!"

Toss it, Julia thought?  A fifty-foot I-beam?  She reached down and ran her hands over the steel.  I lifted half a house yesterday, Julia reminded herself.  I can do this.  I have to.

She rocked an I-beam back and forth a bit.  Line 8 of Footnote 23 of page 148 of the construction plans had indicated that these beams were 4,000 pounds each -- about two tons.  Julia slid her hands underneath the beam and thought, here goes nothing.

Standing, the felt her enhanced muscles swell only slightly as the two-ton object came clean off the ground.  Her biceps swelled a bit, but not to their maximum girth -- a reminder of how little this absurd weight meant to her superhuman muscles.  She adjusted her handgrips and looked up at her companions, perched twenty feet above her and waiting for her.

"What if I miss?" Julia asked.

"She's so cute," Amanda said to her friend.  "She's completely clueless."

Embarrassed, Julia swallowed her hesitation and tossed the the fifty-foot-long beam into the air.  It sailed on a perfect arc to her companions, who easily plucked it out of the air.  They fastened it in place with the temporary bolts and then moved to the next gap in the structure.

"Ready!"  Mindy announced.

Julia tossed the second I-beam skyward.  Another perfectly placed throw, followed by a quick fastening job, and that beam, too, was in place.  The job went much faster from there.  Julia heaved two-ton beams off the ground like they were no heavier than broomsticks, tossing them up to her companions with complacent ease and flawless accuracy.   Within thirty minutes, it was starting to look like the skeleton of a real building.  A large team of male welders had to scramble to keep up with the speed of the assembly process.

Like any job, the activity quickly became routine.   Amanda suggested shaking things up.  "I'll go down there for a while and you come up here," she suggested from four stories in the air.

Julia's breath caught in her throat as she watched Amanda step off the building into the open air.  She impacted the ground with a THUD that sent up a waist-high cloud of dirt around her.  "What are you waiting for?" she asked as she stepped out of the two small holes her feet had created.

Julia looked up at the four-story-high steel frame.  "I might fall off.  My balance isn't that good."

"Your balance WASN'T that good, you mean.  Here, step on."  Amanda offered a single upturned hand.

The older woman gingerly placed a foot in Amanda's palm and felt herself slowly rise of the ground.  

Amanda held Julia's entire mass in the palm of her hand, her elbow at her hip and her forearm parallel with the ground.  "See?  You're already balancing!"

Julia was.  She didn't know how.

Amanda shifted her forearm right and left, forcing Julia's considerable mass to compensate in order to stay upright.  The older women did this with no effort, or even thought.  "The I-beams are much thicker than my palm," Amanda observed.  "You'll be fine up there.  And when you do jump off, it doesn't hurt."

"I don't know.  Perhaps it's an old instinct, but I'm still nervous."

"I'm not," Amanda replied.

Without warning, Julia felt herself launched skyward, as if she'd been fired out of a cannon.  She screamed.  She saw the steel structure pass by her, until it was below her feet, and then coming up quickly to meet her.  Without thinking about how, she managed to land on the I-beam.  The sound of the rushing wind was mixed with the laughter of girls.

Julia looked at the ground, far below her feet.  She felt uncertain.  

Mindy's massive form was perhaps twenty feet away from her on the same beam.  "Dude, you are so wound up!  Relax!"  Mindy seemed to watch Julia for a response.  Whatever Julia's facial expression offered in the way of a reply, it wasn't enough.  "Fine, I'm going to push your ass off this thing."

The younger girl began running toward Julia, the beam vibrating with each of her heavy footfalls.

"No!" Julia shouted, desperate.  She ran away at breakneck speed.  Coming to a corner, she rounded it at breakneck speed onto the intersecting beam.  When that beam ran out, she jumped down a level to the story below, running along that beam until it too ran out.  She could see a third beam across a twenty foot chasm, and went for it, leaping the chasm in a single bound.  After landing perfectly on the other side, she turned to see Mindy immobile on the other side, arms crossed under her perfect bosom, brown eyes bright with their flecks of mischief.

Mindy said nothing -- just cocked an eyebrow.

Julia looked at the steel skeleton she had just traversed.  "I just did a bunch of supernatural shit without thinking about it," she announced.

The light danced of Mindy's lustrous hair and she flicked it behind her shoulders and nodded her head.

Slowly, Julia forced herself to do a cartwheel.  It went perfectly.  

She then launched herself into a handstand, allowing the frightening strength of her arms to bring perfect balance to her significant, inverted mass.  

She took one hand away, balancing only on the remaining hand.  It was effortless.

Then, he found herself arching the palm of her hand, balance only on the tips of those five fingers.  Her hand did not tire, did not waver.  She didn't even have to think: perfect balance felt entirely natural.

Julia looked at the ground through the vertical tunnel of her ______ hair.   The four-story drop didn't scare her any more.

Julia finished brining her fingers together, and then took all but the index and middle fingers away.  Balanced on only those two digits, she turned to face Mindy, blowing a separation in her wall of hair to see the girl.  "I think I'm finally getting used to this."

"Good."   The fact that Mindy was upside down from Julia's perspective did nothing to hide her boredom.  "I'm ready to go shopping."

Righting herself, Julia followed Mindy back up to the top of the structure, where the next beam needed to be placed.  There were no rails or handholds here -- just a 12-inch-wide beam on which her two feet stood, and the open air.  Julia resisted a temptation to yelp when Amanda hurled the next two-ton beam up at them.  And it was good that she resisted: Amanda's throw sent the object in a perfect arc, cresting just before it reached Julia and Mindy.  The two girls were able to catch the massive object and maintain their balance on the thin beam with ease.

Next. Amanda tossed up a bag of fasteners, which Julia caught in one hand while supporting the two-ton beam with the other.  The bag was about four feet long and lined with foil to maintain the temperature of its contents.

Julia dropped her end of the beam into place and then extracted a bolt, thick as a soda can, from her foil bag.  It was heated to _____ degrees, glowing a deep red.  If a man had been foolish enough to hold it in his palm, the head would have incinerated his hand clean off his body.  But to her, it felt only a bit warm.  

She inserted the bolt through the pre-cast hole and then fitted a super-heated nut over the open end.  Unlike Earth hardware, this nut was not hexagonal, as no wrench would be used.   Instead, it had indentations designed for human fingers.  She spun the nut until it stopped.  Then, she twisted it tight, thoughtlessly applying several thousand pounds of torque with  her fingers.  Thick steel strong enough to support a building was pitifully weak compared to Julia's enhanced muscles.  It groaned in misery as she rotated it steadily into place.  

No piece of construction equipment could imitate the combination of precision and force that Julia was using.  With only men and their equipment, hoisting a beam into place could take ten minutes, and securing it there would have required welding, which would be 30 minutes per joint -- all told, perhaps an hour for a three-person team ((CONFIRM)).  But this method, made possible only through the enhancements of Nourishment, took the three girls forty five seconds.




"Thirty-three thousand dollars?  For each of us?  For two hours of work?"  Julia waited until they were off the construction site before expressing her shock.

"Like I told him, we don't come cheap," Mindy replied.  "What do you want to shop for first?"
Last edit: 21 Feb 2017 02:07 by circes_cup.
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21 Feb 2017 04:45 #52677 by Pepper
Replied by Pepper on topic LaPorte Caves

Dru1076 wrote: Personally, I think you guys are getting too hung up on the men in this story. It wasn't that long ago women were officially considered too air headed and ditzy to vote, so I dont mind reading a story with the tables turned so completely.

Well, most of the readers here probably are men, so we identify with them more. And women do now have the vote; to the extent that history has been about granting greater rights and freedoms to more and more people, it's the men in LaPorteWorld who need attention. Do they want to have more opportunities than they currently do? Have they been so limited by their society that they can't even envision a world where they could be more than what they are? It's hard to have much sympathy for the women (and there isn't much of a story) who have everything they could ever want and people lining up to tell them they're wonderful.

What I am curious about is if Julia (or Howard) will meet a bad girl. Most of the ladies we met in the alternative world have been pretty decent souls. What would a real selfish woman be like in this world? What would a lady criminal be like? And are those involved in law enforcement given special nourishment to make them just a little bit more super? I cant see waving a pistol in front of nourished woman being much of a deterrent...

Well, Mindy says that her favorite part of being nourished is crushing the wills of men; not a terribly decent soul as I would define it. But I'm not sure we've really established what would qualify someone to be a 'bad girl' in that world. Is it someone who does something to another person that that person doesn't like? The women there have rigged the system so much that they just say (and probably believe) that the men like everything they do to them.

circes_cup wrote: Monty, I got a laugh out of the fact that you suggested this. In the earlier stages of the story, I wrote exactly such a scene. But it didn't fit with the rest of the story, so I wound up scrapping it. I may use it yet -- just not sure. In any case, in case you are curious, here is what I had on file....

Thanks for sharing a bit of the process, what didn't make the cut, and why. I know you want the story to stand on its own, but it would be interesting to get a bit more of this sort of thing when it's all done.

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21 Feb 2017 05:56 #52678 by Dru1076
Replied by Dru1076 on topic LaPorte Caves

Pepper wrote:

Dru1076 wrote: Personally, I think you guys are getting too hung up on the men in this story. It wasn't that long ago women were officially considered too air headed and ditzy to vote, so I dont mind reading a story with the tables turned so completely.

Well, most of the readers here probably are men, so we identify with them more. And women do now have the vote; to the extent that history has been about granting greater rights and freedoms to more and more people, it's the men in LaPorteWorld who need attention. Do they want to have more opportunities than they currently do? Have they been so limited by their society that they can't even envision a world where they could be more than what they are? It's hard to have much sympathy for the women (and there isn't much of a story) who have everything they could ever want and people lining up to tell them they're wonderful.

What I am curious about is if Julia (or Howard) will meet a bad girl. Most of the ladies we met in the alternative world have been pretty decent souls. What would a real selfish woman be like in this world? What would a lady criminal be like? And are those involved in law enforcement given special nourishment to make them just a little bit more super? I cant see waving a pistol in front of nourished woman being much of a deterrent...

Well, Mindy says that her favorite part of being nourished is crushing the wills of men; not a terribly decent soul as I would define it. But I'm not sure we've really established what would qualify someone to be a 'bad girl' in that world. Is it someone who does something to another person that that person doesn't like? The women there have rigged the system so much that they just say (and probably believe) that the men like everything they do to them.

circes_cup wrote: Monty, I got a laugh out of the fact that you suggested this. In the earlier stages of the story, I wrote exactly such a scene. But it didn't fit with the rest of the story, so I wound up scrapping it. I may use it yet -- just not sure. In any case, in case you are curious, here is what I had on file....

Thanks for sharing a bit of the process, what didn't make the cut, and why. I know you want the story to stand on its own, but it would be interesting to get a bit more of this sort of thing when it's all done.


I am aware that most of the site's membership are men. But this is a site that promotes and enjoys the empowerment of women to what some would say is an extreme. What I mean to say is I'm reading a story about the extreme empowerment of women and what entering such a world as a normal couple would be like, whereas others seem to be reading a story entirely about the disenfranchisement of the male population. I guess it is just a glass half full/ half empty type thing. And there are places in this modern world that wont let women drive cars, or vote, or go outside without wearing tent right now in 2017. Maybe there are countries in Ruth's world that ARE run by men and keep their ladies unourished?

As for Mindy...she is a far cry from the bad girl I'm talking about. Methinks thou judgeth her most harshly. Maybe it is best Circes steers clear of a bad girl the likes of which I would enjoy.

"Stupid Reality!" - Homer J. Simpson

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21 Feb 2017 06:10 - 21 Feb 2017 06:54 #52679 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic LaPorte Caves
Or it could just be characters faced with exactly zero challenges whatsoever aren't as interesting as the ones who have to strive, regardless of which gender is attached to which.

Its kind of hard to be worried about Julia, even if you like her. She can't even get hangnail anymore it would seem. Her struggles amount to "what amazing new present of godlike power do I pull out from under the Christmas/Diana tree and unwrap next?" I mean, what's her absolute worst case outcome here? Lingering regret for an Earth-man she loved once decades ago as she fucks seven different guys a day, never repeating a tryst for the rest of her very extended long life of being a pampered, invulnerable goddess? Sounds rough ;).

It's hard not to be worried about Howard, even if he's no shining knight. Man's up to his ass in alligators. Literally. He's staring down the barrel of being attacked by man eating wild animals, being shackled like a criminal for wanting to go home, rape of the body and spirit, and bouts of hormonally enforced zombiehood for good measure. Oh, and being nearly crushed to death by a stray twitch. These aren't even theoretical threats -- that's just the list of shit that has already actually happened to him. Now he's back to being confined to a house with at least one Nourished woman who thinks breaking the wills of Men is just delightful sport (and who has already deliberately stripped his other half of her choice in the matter of becoming Nourished). Yeah, dude garners a little sympathy :).

That said, I've certainly mulled over the variant forms of true deviance that might express themselves in this world. Consider a woman pathologically convinced she was never blessed enough by Nourishment who uses men as catspaws to murder young girls on her behalf. Men who are arrested and executed without ever giving up their muse who set them on the path of what little male power remains. Fun, fun, fun.
Last edit: 21 Feb 2017 06:54 by AuGoose.

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21 Feb 2017 06:44 - 21 Feb 2017 06:47 #52680 by Pepper
Replied by Pepper on topic LaPorte Caves

Dru1076 wrote: I am aware that most of the site's membership are men. But this is a site that promotes and enjoys the empowerment of women to what some would say is an extreme. What I mean to say is I'm reading a story about the extreme empowerment of women and what entering such a world as a normal couple would be like, whereas others seem to be reading a story entirely about the disenfranchisement of the male population. I guess it is just a glass half full/ half empty type thing. And there are places in this modern world that wont let women drive cars, or vote, or go outside without wearing tent right now in 2017. Maybe there are countries in Ruth's world that ARE run by men and keep their ladies unourished?

Yeah, but power is really only as good as what you do with it. Julia is someone who didn't seem to have many choices in her life. Now she can choose anything (almost literally anything) she wants; that's got to be a heady feeling, but she also needs to learn that she'll have to live with those choices. I assume both Julia and Howard would condemn the sort of treatment of women you describe (not driving, etc.). Now Julia is in a position where she can exercise a similar degree of control over men. In fact, this world expects her to. For a speculative story, I think it's interesting to discuss what the limits and consequences of that control would be. And I think a big part of the story is whether Julia will give in to the temptation to do what she would have previously been appalled by.

As for Mindy...she is a far cry from the bad girl I'm talking about. Methinks thou judgeth her most harshly. Maybe it is best Circes steers clear of a bad girl the likes of which I would enjoy.

I only said that she was not a terribly decent soul. It's another example of this story finding a sweet spot; not something that most of us would consider morally acceptable, but not wanton cruelty, either.

AuGoose wrote: Or it could just be characters faced with exactly zero challenges whatsoever aren't as interesting as the ones who have to strive, regardless of which gender is attached to which :). Its kind of hard to be worried about Julia, even if you like her. Seriously, she can't even get hangnail anymore it would seem. It's hard not to be worried about Howard, even if he's no shining knight. Man's up to his ass in alligators. Literally.

Well said. (I see you've edited your post since I quoted it.)

I suppose the problem I have with Howard being up to his ass in alligators is that he's making things so much harder on himself than he has to. I don't know why he ran into the swamp rather than staying close to roads and trails. All his acts of rebellion only seem to justify Julia's harsh treatment of him. I'd like to see him put some thought into how best to survive his situation.
Last edit: 21 Feb 2017 06:47 by Pepper. Reason: A post I quoted has been changed.
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