MacKinna: Today we’re fortunate to have Professor Linda Cavanaugh from Royal Holloway University in the studio! She has a Doctorate in Sociology from Oxfordshire University, and was a well-known scholar and author in pre-Change Scolia. She’s continued her research and lecture schedule at the University despite all that has happened, and has still managed to find time to continue to write. She’s recently published a new book, her second since the Change, investigating the sociological implications of the explosion in racial diversity. Welcome, Professor.
Cavanaugh: Thank you, I’m so pleased to be here today!
MacKinna: Please, tell us about the new book.
Cavanaugh: Yes, of course. Well, as is, of course, commonly known, the Change had implications far beyond the relatively simple loss of technology...
MacKinna: Wait, please. ‘Simple loss of technology’?
Cavanaugh: Well, yes. Is it not obvious?
MacKinna: For the sake of our readers, please elaborate.
Cavanaugh: Of course. As a technologically savvy culture, we had come to realize a certain dependency on that tech, you see.
Cavanaugh: But, most people were aware of what life was like without that technology easily at hand- children at summer camp, or those adventurous souls who enjoyed ‘roughing it’ in the wilderness- people understood life without the ever-present cell phones and internet access. Movies and such, as well; take any ‘western’ from the Federated States or samurai film from Fujian, and it’s easy to see that we have always had a collective awareness of what life would be like without technology.
MacKinna: Oh yes, very clear that is.
Cavanaugh: Ergo, the loss of technology was, in fact, rather simple for us to bridge… especially with magic there to replace it.
MacKinna: Ah, of course, but then…
Cavanaugh: Well, yes, exactly. That was what my first book, “The Sweeter Science” was all about, how magic became the newest scientific frontier to explore, with all of ‘The Gifted’s’ innate curiosity and zeitgeist to understand more of everything around us!
MacKinna: Pardon the interruption, but is it not true that you are among those credited with that term you've just used, ‘The Gifted’? Many of our readers may not yet be familiar with it.
Cavanaugh: Right, right! Well, we can’t exactly say ‘humanity’ anymore, not without excluding those who are not precisely human since the Change.
MacKinna: Most astute of you to point out so eloquently, Professor.
Cavanaugh: Why thank you, Ms. MacKinna, but while I am a champion of the terminology, I must say it’s more properly the brainchild of a coalition of linguists and historians from Falia who exhumed the term from ancient documents kept in the Royal Library of Konigsburg
MacKinna: Ah, I see. Thank you for that clarification.
Cavanaugh: Not at all.
MacKinna: That brief introduction to the term, ‘Gifted’... it touches directly upon your latest book, does it not?
Cavanaugh: Of a certain! I was supremely interested in the radical identity change which took place among the Gifted- can any of us who remain human possibly identify with those whose features, whose very natures, transformed instantaneously?
MacKinna: I assume not?
Cavanaugh: Oh, it is possible, to be sure, though had we not made such strides in ‘human’ rights in the half-century or so immediately prior to the Change, it would be even less likely! You see, the majority of the civilized world had come to not only tolerate, but to embrace diversity! Specialized training, and laws, and consideration of ‘that which was different’ became an established tradition. It made prophetic that one-time science fiction concept from ‘classic’ science fiction -”Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combination”. Suddenly there was even more diversification than there had been, and, as one of my colleagues in Theoretical Mathematics put it, “in a Factorial Proliferation”.
MacKinna: A what?
Cavanaugh: (Laughs) That’s what I said the first time he proposed it! Look at it this way, no longer were you just Molamian, but you might be an Elf-blooded Molamian, or a Dwarf- or Orc-blooded one, or any of the animal kingdom’s one! Similarly with every ethnic group around the globe- there was an abrupt explosion of species, such as seen in our own fossil record going back hundreds of millions of years.
MacKinna: But your Elf-blooded Molamian is still, at heart, Molamian, right?
Cavanaugh: Of course! But that identity underwent a radical shift among their original ethnic group- was a Molamian Elf-blooded actually a Molamian? You can’t argue that they were the same exact person before and after, not when their own self-perception had undergone such a shocking shift!
MacKinna: I see.
Cavanaugh: Of course! And, since the Change we’ve seen different nations handle their Changed population in radically different ways.
MacKinna: Like the cultural embrace of Amalkin in Fujian, and the rumored prejudice against them in Falia?
Cavanaugh: Exactly that way! It is, frankly, as one of my Human Sexuality (now Gifted Sexuality) colleagues said, ‘an academician’s wet dream’.
MacKinna: (Coughs) Yes, well, moving onward to your book...
Cavanaugh: Right, thank you Ms. MacKinna! I saw so much potential for research, and while I began arranging interviews with every Changed person I could, such were time-consuming; so much more effort to transcribe rather than tape them, you understand.
MacKinna: I take it, from the title of your latest book, that you concentrated on a particular group?
Cavanaugh: Yes- I wanted to begin with those least different from human stock, and in one of the most meta-human friendly societies in the world.
MacKinna: Hence the book…
Cavanaugh: … ‘Our Bodies, Our Elves’, yes.
MacKinna: Very clever, of course.
Cavanaugh: Why thank you! In it, I examine the greater sociological implications of meta-human- or, if you will, Gifted- subcultures, and the future directions- will these underlying cultures diverge from their parent cultures substantially, or remain tied in substantial ways? Time will tell, and will almost certainly be heavily influenced by how the parent nation deals with the new appearance, capabilities, and identity of their citizens.
MacKinna: It all sounds fascinating. Dear readers, if you want to open yourselves to Dr. Cavanaugh’s brilliant insights about our brave, new world, the book will be available through The Herald’s business office for purchase. Now, Professor, one would hypothesize that you are already working on your next book?
Cavanaugh: Indeed, Ms. MacKinna, indeed! I’m examining the expulsion of Elf- and Dwarf-blooded from Fujian, based on interviews of immigrants and those visitors who've chosen to settle down in Scolia, having been discouraged from prohibitive travel in the post-Change era.
MacKinna: Have you a working title yet?
Cavanaugh: (chuckles self-deprecatingly) Of course, but it’s likely to be more an impish nod to myself than the actual title by the time the work is compiled.
MacKinna: Would you share your working title for it with us?
Cavanaugh: Of course: ‘One Elfless Act’.
MacKinna: Ah, quite.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Man:
I wonder if the Soulless have tried comparing noted with the Argonites on the proper way to automate the nonliving.
Thanks for reminding me about all that. I gotta get Archer and whomever together to do some resource coordination for info on my village/Argonites.