Dreamed 1995/7/4 by Chris Wayan
I'm a teenage girl in a strictly hierarchical society obsessed with genetics and bloodlines. I have a sister--a twin, which is important. If she were older, I'd have to defer to her; if younger, talk down to her. That's the rule.
But a twin's my equal--in my society, ONLY twins and clones can be completely relaxed together. They share all genes and are raised together, so theoretically they're considered the same person: they can predict every thought. And predictability is all our people trust.
Fraternal twins are sort of ignored; the assumption is all twins are identicals. Most can pass, since we're so damn inbred. All that cloning...
But our situation is unique: we're twins, but we're not even full fraternals: only half-sisters! Our mother slept with two men, and each fertilized one egg. It's supposed to be impossible. We have fewer shared genes than ordinary sisters, but because we were born together, we're allowed to be close--and DO trust each other as much as true identicals.
Our society's obsession with sameness is wrong. You CAN trust people different from you. We know.
The dream parodies two societies, one fictional (the clone-based matriarchy of GLORY SEASON, by David Brin) and one unfortunately all too real (the conservative patriarchy of 20th Century China, as recounted in the heartbreaking memoir WILD SWANS, by Jung Chang). Not so different! Hierarchy pits even people of good will against each other. Cultures and languages that define you by your status leads to sniping and jealousy as well as conformity.
Our different fathers = Jung Chang's mom was raised by a gentle Manchu doctor, though her genetic father was a warlord she hardly met.
Who is my own half-twin? A very different nature, but I grew up treating her as just like me, trusting her, and disover that trust is what matters, not similarity.
And that's the lesson. Quit looking for friends and lovers sharing my interests... and just seek people I trust.
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