Tuesday, 29 October 2013
"Barbara knew what all the 500 families looked like..." (Starship, New York, 1982, p. 86)
"...she knew what all the five hundred families looked like..." (Virgin Planet, London, 1966, p. 14)
Each "family" comprises a caste of identical twins born by parthenogenesis. Thus, the crew of the colonial spaceship that was displaced and shipwrecked by a trepidation vortex comprised exactly five hundred women. Therefore, I was wrong to suggest a thousand in an earlier post.
We are told only a few of the surnames, usually with some indication as to their social role: the Udalls are hereditary rulers, the Whitleys hereditary huntresses etc. A Cohen is mentioned without such an indication on p. 91 of Starship but this mention has been deleted from the corresponding passage on p. 24 of Virgin Planet.
A woman is a "Maiden" and a "...novice in the Mysteries..." (Virgin Planet, p. 9) until she has been to the ancestral Ship and returned pregnant but, of course, they are all maidens in the usual sense of the word.
The next post will focus on an interesting difference between the two texts.