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March 15, 2003

Slowly but surely...

Rob Farquhar ( writes:

I'm curious as to why there are only two female human characters in the entire game; the lieutenant who pilots the lifeboat down to Halo's surface, and Foe Hammer. Even if one assumes there are other females in other positions, they're rare enough that a character as mobile as the Chief is in Halo never meets them. A lot of popular science fiction these days presents women at all levels of the military, including as grunts, so it seemed odd that Halo would be an exception.

My first thought was a comparison with Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers, which included women in military service but only as (space) Naval crew (and even then, probably restricted to officers). It was written in 1959, but (and correct me if I'm wrong here) Heinlein's works generally featured the idea that women shouldn't serve in a front-line, foot-trooper capacity in the military (Captain Deladrier of the Rodger Young was female, and protagonist Johnny Rico's crush, Carmen Ibanez, was in training to become a pilot). It's an especially interesting contrast with the 1997 movie (well-known amongst science fiction fans in the liberties it took with Heinlein's novel), which changes many of the book's male troopers into female characters.

So is Halo taking a Heinlein-esque path? Considering that Humanity is being inexorably exterminated planet-by-planet by the Covenant, it begins to seem less odd.

I remember picking up somewhere that the reason for having fewer women in the military was for reproductive reasons. This didn't make sense to me at first; after all, it takes two to make a baby. My folks then pointed out the obvious; a single woman can only reproduce effectively once per year, whereas a single man can (ahem) fertilize many women. Therefore, more women than men would be needed to ensure the species can repopulate after a protracted conflict, especially so if the race is actively trying to avoid extinction (as one would imagine they are in Halo).

Anyway, those are just my thoughts so far. What do you cats make of the seeming scarcity of chicks aboard the Pillar of Autumn? Humanity's response to the threat of annihilation, or just a general feminine objection to being on a ship with such a Freudian name?

Fortune Favour You,

Rob Farquhar

There's something I have to tell you. Something I think you're all old enough to hear now. You see, there are the birds, and the bees...

...and the birds eat the bees, end of story :P

Hmmm, propagation or programming efficiency? (Though for the record, there are concept sketches of human female crew... now where did they go off to?)

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