Anyway. It’s a fun read, but I was delighted to read about the planet Sylvania where men age so rapidly that the population is entirely female. This resonates with me – see this post: A World Without Men. So I invited Barbara over to talk about this, and I’m delighted that she has.
So! Welcome, Barbara…
The Starry Mind of Barbara G. Tarn
Thank you, Frank, for having me over! You wanted me to expand and explain about our galaxy as I see it in my science-fantasy series Star Minds, especially in relation to the ‘Y-chromosome toxic’ planet, Sylvania. I have already explained the genesis of this series, but I’ll be a little more specific here.
The very first version of Technological Angel (Book 1 of Star Minds) had some kind of self-fecundation for the Sylvanians.
Excerpt from Technological Angel version 3
‘No.’ Maela shrugged. ‘We don’t have males. Around our twentieth year our body reaches physical maturity and we get pregnant.’
‘Yes.’ Maela smiled. ‘Every ten years. And we always have girls with the same self-fecundation trait.’
Not very scientific, I know, might work in fantasy with magic, but not really in sci-fi, right? So I started researching and found out about self-fertilization and the sperm created from bone marrow which basically will give birth to a daughter who is almost a clone of the mother. Hence Sylvania got the Fertilization Centers where women can get pregnant on their own or with a partner – but it’s usually their bone marrow that is used to create the sperm.
Startled, Maela looked at her. ‘You think I should?’
‘Definitely.’ Juna nodded, determined. ‘Erika would love to have a little sister, and it will help you to get over this crazy pregnancy.’
Maela pondered. A normal pregnancy that would last nine months. Sperm created using cells from her bone marrow tissue – a form of self-fertilization perfected on Sylvania because the Y-chromosome was so short lived.
She stared at little Erika, now in her mother’s arms. Both brunettes and very alike. A little me, she thought, softening at the thought. A baby girl…
‘Do I need to make an appointment at the fertilization center?’ she asked, brightening.
‘Uh, no, but I think you need to apply for a maternity leave first. I’m extending mine for another year, so I can be by your side while you expect,’ Juna answered, sounding relieved at Maela’s decision.
‘Right, I will send my application now!’ Maela decided, jumping up from the couch and rushing to the computer by the wall.
Her melancholy was gone. She felt excited again. She’d have another baby – a daughter, the Sylvanian way. Life was beautiful.
Erika is a lot like Juna and Dadina is the child copy of Maela. They’re half-sisters only because their mothers lived together when they were born. Here’s Sylvania explained to a woman from another planet:
Excerpt from Slave Traders – Book 3
‘Really?’ Kelikana’s eyes widened in wonder. ‘How?’
‘We create sperm using cells from women’s bone marrow so we can fertilize ourselves. And the babies are all female, since we carry only X chromosomes.’
‘Oh!’ Kelikana pondered the information. ‘So that’s how you had Dadina?’
‘And how do you raise them? One parent? Community?’
‘Up to five years with the mother, who often – but not always – has a partner. Then it’s the Girls’ House. Not for my Dadina, though, as I took her away from Sylvania before they tore us apart.’
‘I know Sylvanian society doesn’t need men to help raise children, but the rest of the galaxy thinks two parents of the opposite sex are the best for healthy, well-adjusted children,’ Kelikana said, expressing her doubts.
‘I know, most Humanoid societies need both sexes to reproduce,’ Maela replied. ‘You come from a matriarchal planet where the role of man is fairly toned down compared to others.’
‘But your way would make men an endangered species!’
‘It’s already endangered on Sylvania, and women come from all over the galaxy to have babies without men,’ Maela assured. ‘Whether it’s parthenogenetic conception or sperm created from bone-marrow tissue, the woman can have a biologically related and healthy baby girl like my Dadina.’
As for the fast decaying Y chromosome, there are articles on that too:
to which I attached the time-lock theories, since this article on project Montauk speaks of a man who lost his time-lock and aged one year every hour and eventually died – which is something I had already thought about (the Y-chromosome living one year in one hour, or four days, sounded like a fun story to write).
Since I had introduced the idea of time-locks in this universe, the theory perfectly fit Sylvania, grounding its reality in metaphysical science. My offline writers group had comments on that (even contradictory comments, like one person saying ‘the teen should have reacted differently’ and another saying ‘since it’s experience that makes a person’s growth, how did they feed him, and how did he feel?’) and I could have probably expanded on it, but since it was Maela’s point of view, I simply made him very quiet – he’s probably not mature enough to speak even if his body is thirteen.I will show him again in The Next Generation and he might remember his first very fast thirteen hours/years, but I still have some research to do on that! That book is still brewing in my brain, but it will have Dadina and Erika in their twenties and will come out next year.
In the meantime you can read about it all in Star Minds – the complete series available on DriveThruFiction, Smashwords (all e-book formats), Barnes&Noble, Kobo (e-pub), Kindle (mobi) and POD (printed book) at Createspace.
This post was written after Frank read Women, out now on Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, Barnes&Noble and Apple (US i-bookstore), a prequel to the series – a novella and a short story that will be included in Star Minds Snippets, out next month.
Barbara G.Tarn is a writer, sometimes artist, mostly a world-creator and story-teller. She’s been building her world of Silvery Earth for a number of years – stories, comprise shorts, novels and graphic novels. Used to multiple projects (a graphic novel is always on the side of the prose), she writes, draws, ignores her day job and blogs at: