- Why would the Baby Eaters regard consuming their excess offspring as a "noble sacrifice", hence moral? Their very large broods suggest an r-selected evolutionary history, which would make parental commitment to individual offspring a liability right from the start. While it's plausible that they'd value their collective broods, culling excess or flawed juveniles is simply part of the package for r-selected species, assuming they'd bother to practice parental care at all. There's no "noble sacrifice" involved in eliminating juveniles to which they'd never develop a specific devotion, in the first place, so no reason for them to equate culling with "ethics", any more than a mouse which neglects the runt so the rest of her litter can have enough milk to live is being "ethical".
- Blue-and-Orange Morality, plain and simple.
- But even Blue-and-Orange Morality has to arise from somewhere.
- They're not just animals, they're sentient, intelligent brings. You don't need an emotional connection to a thing to be able to understand that the thing is both intelligent and is being sacrificed for some gain.
- But you do need to place some measure of value on the thing being sacrificed. If the Baby Eaters' ancestors were r-selected, then individual young would have had little value to them, and inferior young - i.e. the kind of clumsy slowpokes that'd get themselves eaten - would have no value at all. You wouldn't consider it a "sacrifice" to throw out a moldy strawberry from a whole bushel full of them, would you? Even if you like strawberries, throwing out a worthless one to preserve the others isn't going to break your heart, or offer much proof that you're a "noble" person for doing so. Granted, strawberries don't think, but even if they did, chucking out the bad ones would at most rate as a Mercy Kill, not a rigorous test of your own honorableness.
- How come the Baby Eaters' life cycle didn't turn them into the ultimate backstabbers? The story claims that "cheaters" which tried to spare their own babies would be found out and ruthlessly eliminated, thus selecting for compliance with social dictates at one's own expense. But that sort of selection happens at the very end of the life cycle, among breeding adults. Selection pressure is always much, much stronger when it's applied to the early stages of life: if you don't survive your infancy, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference what survival-strategy you might've pursued as an adult. And the Baby Eaters' method of preying upon their own offspring - chasing groups of them down in pens, where only the fastest and most elusive escape their parents' maws - would tend to encourage betrayal as a way of life, i.e. babies tripping up other babies so their siblings will get eaten in their stead. If anything, the Baby Eaters that survive should be the ones who are quickest to shove their fellows into the path of danger; by rights, they should all be "cheaters", and should be pouncing on and killing each other, not their own young, when resources are limited.
- The need to perpetuate their species taking precedence over their Blue-and-Orange Morality.
- Evolution does not work that way. The "good of the species" doesn't exist, only the "good of the genetic lineage". If ensuring one's own offspring prevail sets the whole species up for extinction fifty generations later, tough luck: species evolve to deal with now, not with the future.
- How does a hentai game become 'a great historical work of literature'?
- What can I say? The same way rape became legal and accepted. The New Human society we are shown is close enough to us to be relatable, but it's still, at its core, very weird and off-putting; the story just doesn't focus on that so much because the aliens' weirdness is orders of magnitude larger and thus makes the New Humans' own oddities less conspicuous.
- Implying that something's unworthy of attention due to its status as an erotic game is simply poisoning the well. Also, how do you think the revered "historical works" were regarded by their contemporaries? A good portion of them started off as lowly, cheap, and less-than-decent time-killer.
- Why do all three interstellar civilizations, with completely different moral codes, all hold the same basic value regarding dealing with different civilizations: others must adopt our way of life, whether it makes sense or not. Baby Eaters want to eat babies, Superhappies want to feel pleasure and no pain, Humans want to feel some pleasure and pain, and eat no babies. It seems like a dilemma, but only if you start with idea that everyone has to be the same. So. Why not a *single* side advocates simplest possible solution: Baby Eaters will eat their babies, Superhappies will to feel pleasure and no pain, Humans will to feel some pleasure and pain, and eat no babies. What others do within their own borders is their own business. Of course, for interstellar war to happen, just one side has to disagree with the very simple notion of respecting sovereignty of other civilizations. But that's no reason for other two to not make an offer of peace.
- All three species of aliens view the other two as unspeakably and irredeemably evil, and find peace completely unacceptable.
- Fridge Brilliance: For all we know, it's possible there are aliens out there that take a purely "live and let live" attitude towards other interstellar civilizations. But having that attitude, in itself, means they'd very likely avoid making contact with races that don't share that same impartial attitude. Which means that if they encountered any of the three species featured in the story, they would probably take the "scorched earth" option to ensure that none of those busybodies ever found out the fourth race existed.
- So the superhappies rape their children right? Does that mean the future humans are okay with child rapist as well as normal rapists already or is this just an oversight?
- They certainly breed with them. In the "bad" ending, the merged humans probably would be too.
- If this culture doesn't consider rape to be wrong, then how does groping a woman's breast qualify Lord Pilot as a "pervert", much less enough of a pervert for said woman to kick him in the groin?
- A twisted form of foreplay?
Headscratchers / Three Worlds Collide