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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) robot slavery in NYRSF #170
Date: Sun, 6 Oct 2002 15:35:58 -0500

mantis wrote:

>More notes on the chems of the Whorl: they may be in a reproductive
>thralldom to the bios, in as much as they require high-tech parts which
>bios are no longer producing, which means that "chem reproduction"
>a scavenger hunt for parts -- with other bios competing, since they can
>the parts as prosthetics!  The chems are wearing down in the face of this
>biological onslaught.  The chems and their parts are all wearing down,
>no replacements except for hidden caches . . . hmm, well wait a second:
>there are two forms of chem production.  There is bio-directed, like
>Swallow's low-tech factory, and then there is chem-directed

I know that the subject of how chems reproduce was touched upon recently,
but having just reread the series I can give a little more specific
information. Some of the parts must be searched for--where, the text
doesn't say; perhaps there is a 'graveyard' for dead soldiers, a junkyard
where used but serviceable parts may be found. The army has to do
_something_ with soldiers KIA who did not explode; people aren't exactly
stumbling over dead chems. There may be a similar cache for dead servant
chems. But other parts have to be made by the parent chems. A sibyl from
Brick Street asked, in connection with how "Molybdenum" and Hammerstone
were going to build a chem child: " . . . where are they going to buy
these coprocessor things?" Incus answered: "They must _make_ them,
Maytera, and _I_ shall assist them." (EXODUS, 241)

Hammerstone said, somewhere, that the job of making a chem child could be
done in a year, if the parents were lucky, maybe twenty years if they
weren't. I don't think the bios on the _Whorl_ were ever in a position to
make high-tech parts. The chems had all been built on Urth, after all, and
Typhon had no interest in perpetuating their existence beyond the duration
of the voyage; if he had, he would have made sure there were ample parts
available from the start. Chems were being built and stockpiled on Urth fo
r twenty years before the _Whorl_ sailed. For some raw numbers: there were
at least two-hundred cities in the _Whorl_; each city had 12,000 soldiers.
That comes to 2,400,000 male soldier chems, plus however many male servant
chems there had been to start with. Hammerstone complained that there were
7 or 8 soldiers competing for each femchem. That comes, using the higher
number, to at least 300,000 females, total, or just 1,500 per city.
Assuming equal numbers of male and female servant chems, that means that
at least 3 million total chems had been put aboard. And all those
mass-produced femchems looked just alike, which is how a Molybdenum could
ever have been confused for a Magnesia.

I don't know where Tarsier got the parts (or the know-how) to build chem
bodies for the councillors but, according to Lemur, their original bio
bodies were maintained by "devoted chems". And "We promise them
immortality, and we will deliver it: a never-ending supply of replacement
parts." (LS2, 12) I don't know if he was lying or not, but the implication
is that someone would be able to build chem parts as needed, presumably

>But to back up a bit: it seems to me that the gray area is such that if
>wants to say the chems are "clever tools" then they cannot really be
>slaves; that in order to be slaves they have to be human equivalent
>(intellectually, reproductively, and volitionally, at least; perhaps
>spiritually and other aspects as well).

And that is the point I've been trying to make since my first chem post, a
month ago. However chems may have come to be regarded by some in Viron--as
people--that is not the way they started out.



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