A warm welcome to author Z.Allora joining us today to talk about new release “The Craving”.
Check out the post on Sexism, Racism & Ableism and the giveaway you can enter!
Welcome Z. 🙂
Sexism, Racism and Ableism in The Craving
Greetings! I want to thank Love Bytes for hosting me. I wanted to share a bit about my latest release The Craving (and you can enter a giveaway by sharing).
One of the draws of sci-fi/fantasy is worlds can be created beyond the problems of today. In The Craving I chose to explore what some of the aliments of our society: sexism, racism, and ableism, looked like from the distance of the Xantha star system. I don’t go very deep into any of these issues because I focus mainly on the romance, but these problems are there for the thoughtful reader to find and ponder if they choose.
Ableism: can be defined as “discrimination in favor of able-bodied people.” (Oxford Dictionaries)
In the Xantha star system all creatures, with a few exceptions, developed as bipeds.
In terms of evolution the planets in this system developed in similar ways due to environmental factors. However, we get some sense that the rulers of Xantha may have genetically assisted bipeds (with similar parts) to reinforce the “one people of Xantha” concept. Did they alter out the differences to form a more cohesive star system?
For example, take holo doctors. On the surface they are miracles. They diagnosis an ailment or injury and heal the person instantly. Sounds awesome.
But if the holo doc can’t cure or heal what’s wrong with the person, they simply don’t wake the patient up. Not tolerating someone who falls outside of able-bodiness sends a grim message. SCARY!
Racism: “Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior” (Oxford Living Dictionary).
When I lived in Singapore the government was encouraging its multi-cultural society to find interracial marriages. I remember seeing posters in the subway tunnels about “One Singapore” and pictures of children from interracial marriages. Their hope was to blur the lines between the Malay, Chinese, and Indian people for the greater good of Singapore.
I have no issue with anyone marrying whoever they love, but I’m not comfortable with a government’s active involvement in encouraging/pushing certain types of marriage because for me it’s only a small step from forcing people.
I wanted to explore a little of the solution Singapore had tried.
In The Craving a ruler eons ago standardized the skin tone of the star system’s inhabitants under the misguided assumption that being the same shade would eliminate prejudice. Each planet of the star system was supposed to have a nutrient, which made the melanin in the skin alter to bronze.
Here’s an excerpt between two characters from two different planets talking about someone from a third:
He touched Riva’s hand so that through their mind link Riva could ask, “Why is his skin a different color?”
Eros responded, “He’s from Seaglory. That planet was the first to refuse the nutrient, which forces everyone in the Xantha star system to have the same skin color. The citizens of Seaglory cited their need for their distinct color because they spend much of their time in water. Song Di-Wang II used the same quality-of-life issue so we could maintain our golden complexion.”
Several planets of Xantha didn’t comply with the bronze tone like Song Di-Wang II and Seaglory. Earlier in the story we see how Riva from the planet Feri is treated based on his ghostly pale skin. His government failed to give their people the nutrient because visitors to the radiated rock were rare, and everyone remained underground, so they didn’t bother.
Here’s an excerpt between our other two main characters. Zadra is a star chasers. Its common for star chasers on deep space missions to have perma leech occur. Perma leech lightens and fades the skin pigment. Zadra worries about this… but Phoenix is concerned about something more practical. They are both from K’Dane.
“Your skin is a much lighter tone than mine.” Phoenix ran his hand over Zadra’s arms and shoulders.
“Outside of the Xantha system, no one believes skin tone is the key to uniting people.”
“It must be amazing to see how other galaxies allow natural tones to prevail.”
“Xantha’s the only galaxy I know of that uses the nutrient to adjust skin color. With space travel, over time, some of my color will leech out.” Zadra shrugged. “Does that bother you?”
“What? Oh no.” Phoenix’s study intensified. “I’m just trying to figure out the colors I’d need to replicate your skin tone on canvas…. Probably Bronze Maze 9, Burnt Amber 2, Chestnut Tan 77, and a hint of Sage 14… maybe.”
Sexism: “Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex” (Oxford Living Dictionary).
The Ambrosial monastery is filled primarily with males.
This excerpt involves Yoshio and Phoenix. Yoshio is Phoenix’s roommate, confidante and friend. She’s being dragged to the diner to meet Phoenix’s other friends.
She stopped on the stone path to glare at him. “Have you noticed there’re only a few females in the monastery? They’re all Chosen, so no one can say they shouldn’t be here. I wasn’t Chosen, and no one believes I belong.”
Phoenix chuckled. “That’s ridiculous. You earned your place with skill and can paint circles around most initiates.”
“I’m telling you females aren’t welcome here. The only females here are Chosen and, well, me.” She gestured to the windows, which gave sweeping views of the manicured grounds of the monastery. True there were only males scurrying around. Maybe the ratio was off.
“But you’re doing good work. Your voice can assist the causes.”
Yoshio exhaled hard. “I’m glad you think so. But you’re naïve if you believe my gender doesn’t affect how my paintings are received.”
“The curator to the ruler is a female.” Phoenix was pleased to win the discussion.
“Let’s go.” Her scowl suggested he’d won nothing.
Phoenix had never heard of something so ridiculous: art being affected by gender. There were trigenders, several people from planets that didn’t have set genders, though most did present male. Viking Haven, the capital of the system, was segregated by gender. He never understood why because separate never seemed equal….
He glanced at the heads in the dining room and…. Stardust! Was she right? The small number of females present were Chosen.
Yoshio didn’t say anything but gave him a smug smile.
There’s hints throughout The Craving how males are more valued. On Viking Haven, the capital planet and the seat of power, females are segregated to Valhalla while the lords rule.
This excerpt shows how different this ruler is compared to the past.
One of the older lords stood and shouted, “But what of the talk of amending the gender divide?”
“What of it?” His Greatness proceeded like the question wouldn’t drag a major policy into turmoil.
Key policies of Viking Haven were about to be called into question. His Greatness gave no indication how grave this situation could become.
“Your great-great-great-grandfather saw fit—”
“Yes, he saw fit to gather all the females, nonbinary people, and all nonlord families to transplant them to the Valhalla. The next session of the lords will be addressing this issue.”
The old man sputtered. “There is no issue….”
Commander Midaley directed him to the side door. “If you please.”
“It’s bad enough the women now have a gallery to view assembly proceedings. But in the royal guard, this is highly irregular,” the lord groused as he stamped through the door. Several guards marched out after him.
A decidedly female-led cheer echoed through the building. Zadra made sure to note the lords angered by the display.
His Greatness waited until all focus had returned to him. “As I was about to say, at the next session of the lords, the topic of gender inclusion will be addressed.”
The Craving is a sci-fi space opera romance. Love first, but social injustices plague the Xantha star system. In some cases, the fixes make the situation worse or create other issues. Though just like our own planet, equality is a war that must be waged. The citizens of the Xantha star system aren’t giving up and neither are we.
Much love and many hugs,
The Craving Blurb:
The craving is an undeniable urge that drives K’Dane citizens to find their life mates—if only to sate their uncontrollable physical longings.
Thrilled at being named a Chosen, Phoenix Dotir leaves K’Dane to become an artist-monk who will create dimensional art capable of changing worlds. Living by the monastery’s Principles of Purity will surely help him overcome the craving. But he never accounted for star chaser Zadra Solav.
Zadra doesn’t believe in rules and makes his own future. Fate separates him from the man he loves, but one touch renders him helpless to his own desires. Bonding with a monk is forbidden, and Zadra’s family sends him to deep space to avoid disgrace. Unable to give up, Zadra must find a way reunite with his Chosen.
Tormented by enforced separation, Initiate Riva Quinton struggles with his vow of chastity and risks all to rescue his lover. Together with his Eros, he stows away on board a star craft to follow his heart.
Four men defy destiny and tradition for love… but their love is a crime punishable by death.
Giveaway: Leave a comment about your favorite sci-fi series (TV or book). There’s two ways to win: You’ll be entered into win a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate (which goes across all the blog sites on The Craving tour) and I’ll also pick a winner from each individual site for an e-book from my backlist.
Z.Allora believes in happily ever afters for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her words to open hearts and change minds.
To contact Z. Allora:
FACEBOOK: Z Allora Allora