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STL comments on The Hero With A Thousand Chances - Less Wrong

63 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2009 04:25AM

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Comment author: [deleted] 02 August 2009 05:13:55AM 0 points [-]

I'm surprised - I hadn't expected that you consulted, then disregarded, the Random Number God.

It's your story, of course - but I note that Charles Stross got away with having multiple female characters and virtually no male characters (other than love interests and cardboard authority figures) in the first few Merchant Princes novels, and inversely for innumerable other authors. Of course, Stross could distinguish his characters by referring to this one or that one as an assassin princess (there are several of those, but the main character is not).

Also, I'm surprised that there have been so many other comments about Aerhien's gender, but not about the hero's - the "perfect eyelashes" line jumped out at me, but not as much as the fact that the "smart guy who figures out what's going on" was a guy.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 August 2009 06:38:17AM 6 points [-]

I hadn't expected that you consulted, then disregarded, the Random Number God.

It's also worth noting that the nameless hero started out male, and Aerhien as female, on account of those having been the applicable genders in the dream - this is a dream-inspired story, my first. I consulted the RNG to try and reassign the hero's gender but discovered almost immediately that it would have been awkward.

The dream originally occurred from the hero's perspective, btw, but from a writer's standpoint it was obvious that the main character couldn't be the hero.

Comment author: [deleted] 02 August 2009 02:07:23PM 0 points [-]

from a writer's standpoint it was obvious that the main character couldn't be the hero.

At least, not without changing the tone of the story to something resembling StarkRavingMad's Boatmurdered updates.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 06 August 2009 05:42:38PM 3 points [-]

My girlfriend also says the "perfect eyelashes" line gave her an ick reaction, which made me realize that the phrase is a cliche - associated from textual memory, not visualized. I've edited that line.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 August 2009 05:38:00AM *  2 points [-]

I've written fiction with highly intelligent female characters, thank you. Not published, but written, yes.

(And while we're on the topic, I've written, though not finished, fiction in which the main character is female, the hyperintelligent characters are female, and female characters talk, to each other, about something other than a man, with no lesbian overtones whatsoever between any pair of them. Thank you.)

Comment author: brian_jaress 02 August 2009 09:34:45AM 2 points [-]

Does that make it harder to have them share your ideas? I suspect that irrelevant (to the story) similarities and differences between the characters and the author affect the process, even more than the relevant ones.

It could explain why you rejected the results of random selection. Her purpose was to see your ideas from the outside, and the relevant difference that she didn't share them needed some irrelevant differences to prop it up.

Comment author: [deleted] 02 August 2009 02:03:27PM 0 points [-]

My apologies if my comments seemed accusatory; it's hard to bring up this kind of issue - which I think is fairly important - without sounding confrontational. I should mention that I found this story to be excellent, and I learned a new way of looking at things, that rarest of treats. I just noticed that Jeffreyssai, the ultra-badass Confessor, and the nameless hero were all male, and considered it sufficiently interesting to ask about.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 August 2009 04:51:12PM *  1 point [-]

Jeffreyssai and the Confessor are obtrusive, explicit rationalists - I've already written about that writing problem of mine, which is my own problem as a writer.