Ethics of Out-Species Sexual Relations ("The Harkness Test")

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Re: Ethics of Out-Species Sexual Relations ("The Harkness Te

Postby snowyowl » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:02 am

mendel wrote:For societal standards, any sex with what looks like animals is probably a bad idea bordering on bestiality, while "humans with weird ears" is probably acceptable. (Which ought to cover Captain Kirk.) Which kinda gets double-standard-y when you think about shapeshifters. :geek:

That holds for visual media; written word depends a lot more on characterization and less on appearances. I've read at least two books that make giant sentient amoebae into sympathetic characters.
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Re: Ethics of Out-Species Sexual Relations ("The Harkness Te

Postby Merle » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:18 am

snowyowl wrote:
mendel wrote:For societal standards, any sex with what looks like animals is probably a bad idea bordering on bestiality, while "humans with weird ears" is probably acceptable. (Which ought to cover Captain Kirk.) Which kinda gets double-standard-y when you think about shapeshifters. :geek:

That holds for visual media; written word depends a lot more on characterization and less on appearances. I've read at least two books that make giant sentient amoebae into sympathetic characters.


Was one of them "The Gods Themselves"?
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Re: Ethics of Out-Species Sexual Relations ("The Harkness Te

Postby snowyowl » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:57 am

Merle wrote:
snowyowl wrote:
mendel wrote:For societal standards, any sex with what looks like animals is probably a bad idea bordering on bestiality, while "humans with weird ears" is probably acceptable. (Which ought to cover Captain Kirk.) Which kinda gets double-standard-y when you think about shapeshifters. :geek:

That holds for visual media; written word depends a lot more on characterization and less on appearances. I've read at least two books that make giant sentient amoebae into sympathetic characters.


Was one of them "The Gods Themselves"?

Yes, and the other one was "The Clockwork Rocket".
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Re: Ethics of Out-Species Sexual Relations ("The Harkness Te

Postby Merle » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:01 am

snowyowl wrote:Yes, and the other one was "The Clockwork Rocket".


...which I have now reserved from the local library. :D
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Re: Ethics of Out-Species Sexual Relations ("The Harkness Te

Postby JustinReilly » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:31 pm

Try Bob Forward's "Dragon's Egg". Tiny amoeboids evolving on the surface of a neutron star getting it on.
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Eliezer Yudkowsky: Three Worlds Collide

Postby mendel » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:49 pm

Globus wrote:This is a great... erm... novella? by the AI-researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky, about first contact with aliens who actually are alien. I highly recommend it to everyone.
Three Worlds Collide

I'd call it a treatise. Yudkowski endeavours to expound on priciples of philosphy, biology, morals, and, above all, rationality, that is, his special brand of rationality. It's not particularly entertaining, and the people in it are symbolic figures that have necessary roles in the discourse.

I don't like Eliezer Yudkowski.
Big Edit: My wall of text has moved to its own thread. Find it here.
Last edited by mendel on Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eliezer Yudkowsky: Three Worlds Collide

Postby Globus » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:01 pm

mendel wrote:
Globus wrote:This is a great... erm... novella? by the AI-researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky, about first contact with aliens who actually are alien. I highly recommend it to everyone.
Three Worlds Collide

I'd call it a treatise. Yudkowski endeavours to expound on priciples of philosphy, biology, morals, and, above all, rationality, that is, his special brand of rationality. It's not particularly entertaining, and the people in it are symbolic figures that have necessary roles in the discourse.

I don't like Eliezer Yudkowski. [snip]


You should like EY, based on your post. "The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon." You certainly have given thought to what he writes and are more for it.


For the rest, don't expect me to jump to EY's defense, that was not the point of my posting TWC.
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Re: Ethics of Out-Species Sexual Relations ("The Harkness Te

Postby snowyowl » Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:43 am

I agree. I'd love to discuss TWC, but it would drive this thread way off-topic, being as fascinating as it is (not exclusively in a good way). Any more discussion about it we can fork into a new thread.
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Re: Ethics of Out-Species Sexual Relations ("The Harkness Te

Postby Merle » Tue May 07, 2013 8:46 am

mendel wrote:
snowyowl wrote:Maybe the Harkness Test only really serves to extend society's standards in a consistent way to cover more esoteric situations.
Well, to be realistic, the test probably really serves to write fanfic that people won't act too offended about. ;)

For societal standards, any sex with what looks like animals is probably a bad idea bordering on bestiality, while "humans with weird ears" is probably acceptable. (Which ought to cover Captain Kirk.) Which kinda gets double-standard-y when you think about shapeshifters. :geek:


This makes me wonder, come to think of it; we've seen romantic stories with humans and vampires, humans and werewolves (though I doubt there's been any mainstream work that implied the werewolves involved were in other-than-human-form at the time); just how far do you think a character in a romantic plot can diverge from baseline human before it gets too "other" for Western/American-ish societal standards to handle?
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Re: Ethics of Out-Species Sexual Relations ("The Harkness Te

Postby The Real Swamp Thang » Tue May 07, 2013 12:06 pm

Merle wrote:
mendel wrote:
snowyowl wrote:Maybe the Harkness Test only really serves to extend society's standards in a consistent way to cover more esoteric situations.
Well, to be realistic, the test probably really serves to write fanfic that people won't act too offended about. ;)

For societal standards, any sex with what looks like animals is probably a bad idea bordering on bestiality, while "humans with weird ears" is probably acceptable. (Which ought to cover Captain Kirk.) Which kinda gets double-standard-y when you think about shapeshifters. :geek:


This makes me wonder, come to think of it; we've seen romantic stories with humans and vampires, humans and werewolves (though I doubt there's been any mainstream work that implied the werewolves involved were in other-than-human-form at the time); just how far do you think a character in a romantic plot can diverge from baseline human before it gets too "other" for Western/American-ish societal standards to handle?
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