One of my core interests is in looking at ways to perceive our own culture by comparing it to others within thought experiments. xenoglyph is full of them, but here are three favorites.
It’s Hard to Find Someone
It’s Hard to Find Someone is a story about the challenges of building sincere interpersonal relationships through, and in spite of, a social construction of gender. This story uses the common science fiction conceit of three genders to address what is a basic human concern.
Proof of Concept
Proof of Concept is a simple, little story about the kind of odd, often obsessive, and perhaps autistic person who helps us understand that the parameters of our personhood are different than we find obvious — or even comfortable. Like It’s Hard to Find Someone, it takes place in the Human Contact universe, but within the Academy. The Academic society recognizes the protagonist as “Esoteric”, which means that the society supports them despite their idiosyncratic behavior in the recognition that some number of Esoterics will generate breakthrough modes of thought for them.
Lover of Jet & Gold
Lover of Jet & Gold started with a basic philosophical question: if, as antirationalist forces in our current society profess, Reason is no more than sophistry and cunning tricks used to deceive those who have faith with supernatural entities, what would the world have to look like? My answer is Carl Sagan’s: it’s a demon haunted world formed by will and whim; no laws can be discerned because there are no laws, but through negotiating, pleading, cajoling, or coercing the names of the world, one can come to an understanding with them.