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BunnyMaz
03-06-2012, 01:19 AM
Edited for Clarity.

Below are ten short passages taken from a sci-fi anthology. In some extracts, I have swapped the sexes of all characters mentioned (so he becomes she, and so on). I have paid attention to pronouns, names where they are obviously gendered, and physical descriptions. Your challenge: Guess which of the ten extracts have been sex-swapped, and if you like, state how you came to that conclusion.

Also, of these ten passages, eight were written by men and two by women. See if you can guess which two were written by women for bonus points! But the main point is to guess which have been sex-swapped.

Once plenty of people have had a chance to guess, I'll post the name of the book, the story title and author name and sex for each passage, and which have been swapped around. Good luck!

Extract One
And he was no longer in zero-gee. If he fell out, he'd be in a separate orbit. It would still be close to the ship's, and they might be able to rescue him with the shuttle if he missed the atmosphere at perigree, but they might not. And it would cost time and reaction mass they didn't have.Extract Two
She started down the hallway, examining each of the life-sized statues in turn. The first ancestors were the most ancient, the pink wood gone pale and dusty dry. But at some point the statues darkened, every slice of the old awls still deep, each figure decorated with scraps of clothing and jewellery, spines and plates of armour that belonged to each of the men and women being portrayed. At that point, the hallway curled sharply to the right. More statues waited out of sight, but Washen stopped, kneeling down, pretending to examine the meeting mat between her feet.Extract Three
As she had expected, it ended in fire and light and glory. She saw space and time curve inward beyond the limit of the Planck dimensions; she felt the energy gradients climb toward infinity as the universe approached the zero-point from which it had spontaneously emerged. She felt the universal processors sown through eleven dimensions seize that energy before it faded, and put it to work. It was a surge, a spurt of power and passion, like the memory of orgasm buried deep in the chain of memory that was the days of Gursky.Extract Four
Konstantin didn't know what to make of the look on Pleshette's funny little face. Maybe that was all it was, a funny little face in a funny little open-all-night world. A funny little open-all-night artificial world at that. For all Konstantin knew, the night manager hadn't seen true daylight for years. Not her problem, she thought as she stuck her head through the doorway of the cubicle where Celestine and DiPietro were now busy jockeying for the stringer's attention while the stringer pretended she wasn't pumping them for information and they pretended they didn't know she was pretending not to pump them for information. No one had to pretend the dead kid had been temporarily forgotten.Extract Five
Mada waved the speaker off impatiently and scanned downwhen. She saw that the Utopians had planted an identity mine five minutes into the past that would boil her memory to vapor if she tried to go back in time to undo this trap. Upwhen, then. The future was clear, at least as far as she could see, which wasn't much beyond next week. Of course, that was the direction they wanted her to skip. They'd be happiest making her their great-great-great-grandchildren's problem.Extract Six
She stepped aside and stripped off her shorts, then sat down beside him while he scooted over to make room. She looked down the length of the colony, a mile-wide, ten-mile-long cylinder with three transparent windows running its entire length, trying to judge how much time they had before the afternoon rain reached them. The ring of misty fog that worked its way up the length of the cylinder each day looked at least an hour away; plenty of time for an unhurried meal, and maybe even time enough to use some of their recently acquired energy in a more private setting later.Extract Seven
If his marksmanship had not been the worst in his class, he would never have been assigned the task of overseeing proctors down in ship docks. He would not have had to stand for hours, alone except for his familiar, running a laser-stylus across the ore samples the proctors brought back to the swallow-ship, dreaming of finishing shift and meeting Verdin.Extract Eight
Death came as merely a hyphen. Life, and the balance of the statement followed instantly. For it was only when Mada died that she began to live. Yet she could never have called it "living". No one who had ever passed that way could have called it "living". It was something else. Something quite apart from "death" and something totally unlike "life". Stars passed, burning through her as she whirled outward. Blazing and burning, carrying with them their planetary systems, stars and more stars spun through her as though travelling down invisible wires into the dark behind and around her.Extract Nine
The Heart was always crowded, but it was larger than Pao had ever seen it - even though Herm had shrunk back to his original size, so as not to make a scene. The huge muscular chamber arched over them, pulsating wetly in time to the music, as they searched for the perfect location to soak up the atmosphere. Pao had visited public environments in other polises, back on Earth; many were designed to be nothing more than a perpetual framework for group emotion-sharing. He'd never understood the attraction of becoming intimate with large numbers of strangers.Extract Ten
But she was talking to the air. Taliaferro had run off. Apparently there was only so much an inhaler could do. There was only so much anything could do. Anything, or anyone. Even Occam's Razor. But then, the murder weapon hadn't been the same in the other seven murders anyway. No indeed. And Mank looked good for this one, she insisted to herself. He looked too good. The image of him in the Sitty was too identifiable not to be damning. The ego of the man, using his own face. Although that might be a more widespread practice than anyone realised.***

Have at it! I'd especially love if people making their guesses could state briefly how or why they came to their choice, even if it's just "a feeling".

IMPORTANT NOTE
I really want people's honest thoughts on this. If someone thinks a certain passage was written by a woman because it's "flowery and romantic", or that one passage has been swapped because "a girl character wouldn't know maths" I want them to be able to say just that. So please, don't judge people's guesses!

Archerbird
03-06-2012, 01:41 AM
4 and 6 is a woman. I'm guessing, I really have no idea. I think I picked those because they're wordy and...feminine?



Can't wait to see if anyone gets it right.

BunnyMaz
03-06-2012, 01:54 AM
Cool, have noted your guess for the authors. And which do you think had the sexes of the characters swapped?

Sydneyd
03-06-2012, 08:39 AM
I'll give it a go. I think you swapped genders on

Extract one: Because it kind of sounds like me (female) when I am looking at a problem. I tend to list the many wrong things that can go wrong in order.



Extract Three and Five: I bunch these because they use the same name, Mada, and I am assuming they are from the same story. I think you are trying to be tricky with these. In the first the character states a lot of "she felt" statements which you want us to believe are from a female, but I call out your trick, and think the character is male :D

And finally, Extract 10: Cause it just sounds like a guy. (don't judge me)

I say, Extract 4 and 6 are female writers. I have no idea why. A gut thing.

BunnyMaz
03-06-2012, 08:47 AM
Interesting...








;)

Sydneyd
03-06-2012, 08:54 AM
I will say, it was hard giving my reasons without falling into stereotypes. I didn't want anyone calling me sexist names, so I may have held back my true feelings on some of the extracts. :D

BunnyMaz
03-06-2012, 08:57 AM
Ah, I should probably put a not up at the top about that. I don't want people getting judged for their choices; and I think it's healthy to examine why we make the choices we do, which is really only possible in a non-judgemental atmosphere.

I'll be interested to hear your thoughts when I post the answers, though!

Medievalist
03-06-2012, 09:20 AM
What about the authors?

Archerbird
03-06-2012, 02:56 PM
Cool, have noted your guess for the authors. And which do you think had the genders of the characters swapped?

Whoops, forgot.

The character in 9 is really a woman, and the character in extract 3 is a man.

BunnyMaz
03-06-2012, 09:46 PM
Medievalist, I don't know why you deleted your previous comment. You were RIGHT. And what's worse, I already know the stuff you said. I can, and should, do better.

*I'd be grateful if a mod could alter the title of the thread with that in mind. I've edited the content.*

BunnyMaz
03-07-2012, 07:12 AM
Okay guys, I'm going to give it until the end of the week, then I'll post the answers!

Sydneyd
03-07-2012, 07:34 AM
I'm interested to see, and hope more people guess.

no-man's-land
03-07-2012, 08:38 AM
I can't make a distinction among them. They are all women.

escritora
03-07-2012, 09:19 AM
Really I canít tell, but since I knew some were sex-swapped I made guesses.

Extract two because I visualized a man when I read it.

Extract three because of the use of fire and light and glory.

Extract six because of the use of shorts and scooted.

Here are my guesses for the extracts written by women.

Extract one because the passage isnít overwritten.

Extract eight for the use of too many quoted words.

Cliff Face
03-07-2012, 01:56 PM
#3 has been gender-swapped, I think. The idea of a memory of orgasm being described with the word "spurt" didn't correlate with a female character. (Well, it could have done, but not generally.)

#4 too, because I have the hunch that with that many characters mentioned, you wouldn't resist the temptation to change it. :tongue

#6 maybe, partly in agreeance with the mention of shorts and scooting. Stereotypically, women are supposed to be passive (which I so don't agree with, but I digress) which scooting over would seem to be. The rest of the passage indicates that these 2 are romantically involved, and in my mind, a stereotypical man wouldn't have scooted to make room - he would've been driven to be close as much as possible. Just a hunch, and one based on stereotypes being prevalent in people's subconsciouses.

#9 maybe, though I don't know why.

I'm going to guess #5 and #8 were written by women - or rather, the same woman, as the recurrence of Mada would indicate these both came from the same author. Again, I'm using my powers of pretend psychology to think you're trying to pull a trick on us.

I honestly couldn't think of any way to judge whether something was written by a man or a woman. Yes, I used stereotypes to deduce character genders, but that's because it's a created fiction. The real life authors would undoubtedly not fit stereotypes well enough to make a judgement on it.

BunnyMaz
03-09-2012, 10:39 PM
Answer Time!

First, some info about the book for all of you. I took all paragraphs from The Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction, New Generation Far-Future SF.

I sex-swapped 5 of the 10 entries.

Entry One:
Taken from page 230
Title: Waterworld
Author: Two men- Stephen Gillett and Jerry Oltion
Was this entry sex-swapped? Yes. The original POV was a female-coded character, swapped to be male.

Entry Two:
Taken from page 249
Title: Hoop-of-Benzene
Author: One man- Robert Reed
Was this entry sex-swapped? No. The POV character was written as female-coded and remained female in the extract provided.

Entry Three:
Taken from page 446
Title: The Days of Solomon Gursky
Author: One man- Ian Macdonald
Was the entry sex-swapped? Yes. The original POV was a male-coded character, swapped to be female.

Entry Four:
Taken from page 129
Title: Death in the Promised Land
Author: One woman- Pat Cadigan
Was the entry sex-swapped? No. The POV character was female and remained female in the extract provided.

Entry Five:
Taken from page 486
Title: Undone
Author: One man- James Patrick Kelly
Was the entry sex-swapped? No. The POV character was female and remained female in the extract provided.

Entry Six:
Taken from page 552
Title: Stuffing
Author: One man- Jerry Olton
Was the entry sex-swapped? Yes. The POV character was originally coded male and was changed to female in the extract provided.

Entry Seven:
Taken from page 89
Title: Merlin's Gun
Author: One man- Alastair Reynolds
Was the entry sex-swapped? Yes. The POV character was originally coded female and was changed to male in the extract provided.

Entry Eight:
Taken from page 348
Title: The Region Between
Author: One man- Harlan Ellison
Was the entry sex-swapped? Yes. The POV character was originally coded male and was changed to female in the extract provided.

Entry Nine:
Taken from page 469
Title: Wang's Carpets
Author: One man- Greg Egan
Was the entry sex-swapped? No. The POV character was coded male and remained male in the extract provided.

Entry Ten:
Taken from page 182
Title: Death in the Promised Land
Author: One woman- Pat Cadigan
Was the entry sex-swapped? No. The POV character was coded female and remained female in the extract provided.

In short:

One- swapped from female to male, male author
Two- not swapped, male, male author
Three- swapped from male to female, male author
Four- not swapped, female, female author
Five- not swapped, female, male author
Six- swapped from male to female, male author
Seven- swapped from female to male, male author
Eight- swapped from male to female, male author
Nine- not swapped, male, male author
Ten- not swapped, female, female author

Entries ten and four, the two extracts written by a woman, were from the same story and written from the POV of the same character. One was swapped, the other was not. These were the only two extracts taken from the same story. I had originally hoped to have more woman writers in the mix, but Pat was the only woman in the whole book. In some cases I changed the names of characters, and the duplicate Mada was a result of this. My oversight - the name was in the back of my mind obviously because I'd read it in the other entry, but I didn't realise at the time.

escritora
03-09-2012, 10:47 PM
My guessing skills need work!

Interesting experiment. I wonder if there are people out there that think they can tell the gender of the author based on writing.

BunnyMaz
03-09-2012, 10:59 PM
And now for your personal results!

First, the swap guesses.

Archerbird guessed
1- not swapped incorrect
2- not swapped correct
3- swapped correct
4- not swapped correct
5- not swapped correct
6- not swapped incorrect
7- not swapped incorrect
8- not swapped incorrect
9- swapped incorrect
10- not swapped incorrect

Sydneyd guessed
1- swapped correct
2- not swapped correct
3- swapped correct
4- not swapped correct
5- swapped incorrect
6- not swapped correct
7- not swapped incorrect
8- not swapped incorrect
9- not swapped correct
10- swapped incorrect

Escritora guessed
1- not swapped incorrect
2- swapped incorrect
3- swapped correct
4- not swapped correct
5- not swapped correct
6- swapped incorrect
7- not swapped incorrect
8- not swapped incorrect
9- not swapped correct
10- not swapped correct

Cliff Face guessed
1- not swapped incorrect
2- not swapped correct
3- swapped correct
4- swapped incorrect
5- not swapped correct
6- swapped correct
7- not swapped incorrect
8- not swapped incorrect
9- swapped incorrect
10- not swapped correct



Author Identities:

Archerbird
4 female correct
6 female incorrect

Sydneyd
4 female correct
6 female incorrect

Escritora
1 female incorrect
8 female incorrect

Cliff Face
5 female incorrect
8 female incorrect

I find it really interesting that a couple of you guessed 4 as a female author correctly, but didn't interpret 10 - also female, by the same author and from the same story - the same way.


I'd really love to hear the thoughts of everyone who took part. What do you think of the results?

Sydneyd
03-09-2012, 11:37 PM
I have failed the quiz. I went with a female author on four because of the use of "funny little," kind of a silly reason, but then, it was difficult to look at the passages and try to assign gender. I think hindsight is 20/20 when it comes to this.

backslashbaby
03-10-2012, 12:42 AM
Interesting! I didn't have a clue for most of them, but 'spurt' with orgasm did give that one away as a man, I thought.

I thought 4 was written by a woman, and perhaps 10, too, but it sounds fairly sexist why I thought so. It could have been a man writing it, I suppose, but the voice itself sounded more female than male because of the way the thoughts jumped. A guy with jumpy thoughts has different jumpy thoughts than those, although that is a huge generalization, of course!

I only asked my dad the gender of the author of each, and he had: 1-m, 2-F maybe, 3-F, 4-F, 5-F, 6-F, 7-F, 8-F, 9-F maybe, 10-m. I changed the repeated name, so he couldn't use that clue.

BeatrixKiddo
03-10-2012, 01:26 AM
That was just hot. :e2brows:

BeThatAsItMay
03-10-2012, 04:04 AM
Conclusion: You cant tell

Cliff Face
03-10-2012, 06:04 AM
Looks like sydneyd won the challenge, with 6 right for swaps and 1 right for female authors.

It was actually a pretty even thing in the end...

And it seems my pretend psychology tricks are worthless. Worthless I say! :tongue