So, it's Friday, and I'm late posting, but I've a great excuse. I ran away to the coffee shop today and wrote 1300 words without blinking. It was wonderful. I'm so very excited about this Waterborne story, and I'm having a great time writing it. The background/history for the Waterborne Nations is forming up in interesting ways. One of the things that happened was that I came upon an article today about menopause in Killer Whales. You know, I've always admired Julie Czerneda's ability to take details from actual biology and use them in her science fiction. (If you haven't read her work, you should.) I've always wanted to be able to do that. So, today was especially cool.
I've been wondering for some time why more isn't discussed or known about menopause in nature. (Beyond the usual misogynist medical science shit.) Apparently, there are only two other mammals that share this state with humans and Orcas are one of them. There's a group of international biologists studying the whales. It's a fascinating piece and I recommend listening to the whole thing. Basically, they've discovered that 1) just like humans, the males have a shorter lifespan than the females do--only in Orcas it's even more pronounced. (Females have reached ages in the 100s and males tend to die in their 30s.) and 2) The males live longer if their mothers survive into old age. Why? Because they're the keepers of the pods' long term memory for one thing.
This made me think of a number of things. (Some of which will end up in the Waterborne Nations' political system. Hey, I'm trying to do what Ursula K. LeGuin asked.) One of them was...well...the obvious. That perhaps we shouldn't as a society devalue the input, skills, experience, and knowledge of older women the way we do. Women do continue to have a significant amount of value beyond their childbearing years, and it's long past time we acknowledged this. Men may live longer for it. ;)
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.