Friday, December 26, 2014

The rank of writers

See if you can correctly identify the average socio-sexual rank of writers on the basis of this advice from Neil Gaiman:
Mister Gaiman, you’re kickass. I was just wondering, what do you think is the best way to seduce a writer? I figured your answer would be pretty spectacular.

In my experience, writers tend to be really good at the inside of their own heads and imaginary people, and a lot less good at the stuff going on outside, which means that quite often if you flirt with us we will completely fail to notice, leaving everybody involved slightly uncomfortable and more than slightly unlaid.

So I would suggest that any attempted seduction of a writer would probably go a great deal easier for all parties if you sent them a cheerful note saying “YOU ARE INVITED TO A SEDUCTION: Please come to dinner on Friday Night. Wear the kind of clothes you would like to be seduced in.”
If you said "Gamma" you are correct. The weird thing about Gamma males is that for all their obsession with romance - one reliable tell is that when they do have a wife or girlfriend, they refer to her as "milady" or some similarly ornate construction - they tend to be rather reluctant lovers. I suspect that they are always thinking that any expression of interest in them must be a joke, or perhaps they are reluctant to descend to the dirty, dirty sexual depths of the higher-ranking men they both envy and despise.

But I don't actually know. Perhaps some of the Gammas who read here could explain it. As far as I can tell, it seems to be a magnified version of the normal man's aversion to taking advantage of an excessively drunk girl, only minus the alcohol. I've heard Gammas say they don't want to "take advantage" of perfectly sober, perfectly unincapacitated women, and when, incredulous, I asked them what they were supposedly taking advantage of, the answers ranged from the young woman's emotional state to prospective changes in her geographic location. Incredible.

Of course, we already knew most writers were gamma males on the simple basis of reading their novels, in which no man except the villain ever pursues a woman with sex in mind. The typical protagonist goes about his business with no thought of romance in mind until a beautiful, large-breasted redhead jumps into his bed without any warning whatsoever. After which unanticipated event, they are a couple forever and ever.

Seriously, it's like a window into gamma psychosexuality, to see the same form of relationship described over and over and over again in literature. One could write vast quantities of literary criticism on the basis of socio-sexuality alone. In fact, I believe I will introduce that as a regular feature here.

Who are some of the writers, and what are some of the novels, you would like to see analyzed through a sociosexual perspective?

WARNING: Gaiman's advice should not be heeded if you find yourself attracted to a writer who is either a Sigma or an Omega. In either case, you may well find yourself greeting someone at the door in either a) an animal costume, or b) full leather bondage attire.

89 comments:

En-sigma said...

James Rigney - Robert Jordan

It is rife.

Krul said...

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott would be a good place to start. It's largely thanks to Ivanhoe that the proverbial "White Knight" is such a dominant figure in modern culture. Ivanhoe is a great read, besides.

Pillars of the Earth may be a fun one. Ken Follete's depiction of male/female interactions is rather awkward to say the least. The sequel, World Without End, would provide more fodder for discussion and derision, but it's just too awful to be worth it.

En-sigma mentioned Robert Jordan. That reminds me, RJ wrote a collection of Conan stories that I read a while back. RJ's most famous protagonist is Rand al' Thor, Lord of the Whines. You can imagine how uncomfortable is his depiction of the uber-masculine Conan.

Here's a great one: The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs. ERB has a theme in his stories where the ultra-manly hero (Tarzan, John Carter, the Mucker), wins the girl, then either gives her up or is tragically separated from her. He seemed to be inspired by a longing for unattainable, perfect love. I recommend the Mucker because that character goes through the most profound transformation of any of ERB's heroes (which isn't saying much, I know, but still, of ERB's protagonists, the Mucker should give your analysis the most material).

For the Alpha/Sigma side of things, how about Casino Royale by Ian Fleming? The mind of a natural Alpha, as depicted by a natural Alpha (or maybe Sigma; I'm a little fuzzy on the distinctions).

Why not add some Shakespeare to the list? Richard III is a ruthlessly Alpha character indeed. He kills a man, then seduces the man's grieving widow at the funeral. Then he has her killed. Metal.

Speaking of Conan, some of Robert E Howard's original Conan or Solomon Kane stories may have some good material.

The idealized characters and relationships in EE "Doc" Smith's Skylark of Space would be very useful as well. The contemptuous, brutal Sigma that is Marc "Blackie" Duquesne would provide some interesting lessons, especially in the way he interacts with other men.

Maybe a side-by-side comparison of the Alpha Beowulf, in Beowulf naturally, versus the Delta Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

This is a good idea. I'll post some more suggestions if I think of any.

cailcorishev said...

For an example of the Omega writer (and how women see Gammas and Omegas) see Harold Lauder in The Stand.

Earl Thomas said...

Stephen King...Carrie

Xmas said...

Welll....as far as your last comment goes... You do know who he is married to, don't you?

I don't think Miss Palmer would mind if Mr. Gaiman came to the door in a gimp outfit. And I think any milady's from his lips have a whole other level of meaning.

Dr. Φ said...

if you flirt with us we will completely fail to notice

Wait . . . girls are flirting with us?

Speaking for myself, on those occasions that I allow myself to entertain the possibility, it's less that I think it's a joke than I fear the take-away. Sure, you think you like me now. But what would happen were I to respond? Better to just let it go by . . .

JAU said...

Charles Stross, Laundry Novels

daleaf47 said...

As a former Gamma; I had never learned female IOIs (looking back I missed some great sex). Finally lost my virginity when the woman I was dating told me to F* her or get out of her house.

automatthew said...

Larry Niven, Ringworld (or other Known Space stories)

P.G. Wodehouse

Jack London, Sea Wolf

JCclimber said...

Robert Jordan was a delta. His women are not that far off in his portrayals.

S1AL said...

I think some of you may not be giving Robert Jordan quite enough credit. He did write a passage wherein Perrin is advised to tell his wife to stop being jealous and the woman flirting with him to stop being childish... And it works exceptionally well. Jordan may have written Rand, but he also wrote Mattrim, Perrin, Lan, and Thom.

That, and his depiction of how men and women respond to the Power is downright offensive to equalitarian :D

Ghost said...

Ayn Rand, atlas shrugged. Dagny is all about that alpha D, but I'd be more interested to hear your take on Hank Reardon and James Taggart.

Cataline Sergius said...

Eleven comments and NOBODY has mentioned Lord high Gamma in Chief John Scalzi?!?!?

What the hell people!!

Corvinus said...

Here's a great one: The Mucker by Edgar Rice Burroughs. ERB has a theme in his stories where the ultra-manly hero (Tarzan, John Carter, the Mucker), wins the girl, then either gives her up or is tragically separated from her. He seemed to be inspired by a longing for unattainable, perfect love. I recommend the Mucker because that character goes through the most profound transformation of any of ERB's heroes (which isn't saying much, I know, but still, of ERB's protagonists, the Mucker should give your analysis the most material).

I don't know the Mucker, but yeah, I think we can rule Burroughs as most certainly not a Gamma. But he certainly had a romantic nature, so I'd say either Delta or Beta. I'm sure he was also taking advantage of his readership's romantic natures by having constant cliffhangers like that, so people couldn't not finish his books.

One of his stories, A Fighting Man of Mars, depicts the adventures of a Native Martian, Hadron of Hastor, with a nice twist that suggested he did in fact have a suitably realistic, even if a bit romanticized, view of the nature of women.

Michael Maier said...

Ugh... speaking as a former Gamma (current very lazy Delta)... sometimes we are just oblivious. I have had moments like having a woman stroking my foot with hers under a table at dinner and I distinctly remember being annoyed and thinking "Doesn't she know she's doing that?"

I would have times where my friends would say "She wants you, man!" but at least half the time they were intentionally messing with me so they could laugh. It's how we were. But I would have other times out by myself and an hour after leaving wherever realize "SHE WAS FLIRTING WITH ME!" and be annoyed with myself.

The very few times I have been hit on in a direct and undeniable manner, I was completely shocked and confused.

Hell, I was shocked to have a cute waitress recognize me from high school a few years later while on a date. It just never occurred to me someone would remember me. I didn't remember her, after all. Date was a bore, I should have gone back and asked the waitress out...


I did used to have a sense of feeling something was wrong with me. I wanted women, but I was totally clueless about going out and getting one.

I too felt like using my body (if it was hot, which it wasn't), looks, money, fame or alcohol to seduce women was "wrong". Many of my fantasies had me "stumbling" into love and sex somehow.

Eventually, a whore at work somehow became enamoured and threw herself at me. I knew it was a horrible idea but I was a sitting duck for that complete train wreck... that SHOULD have been enough to blow the Blue Pill to bits, but I am often a moron so I just got more and more bitter instead.

Luckily, I stumbled over Dave DiAngelo's "Double Your Dates" and started working some of the ideas in it and it just... worked. AND it was fun!

I could approach women? Huh.... who knew? That was my start of taking the Red Pill.

I used that stuff to immediately score a sweet GF that went on and off for 5 years or so. We both knew we weren't right for one another, but we had great personal and sexual chemistry and were very much at ease with one another. I actually hope any future wife is as easy-going as she was, though I will make sure to use a little Dread and be more sexually aggressive and forceful with her. I used to be convinced soft and tender lovemaking was the way to go. The fact that women lie about what they want and need still wasn't occurring to me.

More than a few of my friends and family think I "hate" women now. I really don't. I am just merciless in my assessment of them and in the eyes of most, blunt to the point of artlessness speaking of them.

I kind of wish I weren't a Christian yet. My observation on females is much improved so I could use that knowledge to good seductive effect to have fun and make women feel good. I could be a successful cad, I think. But trying to figure out how to seduce women and be a good Christian is not easy, especially when you're as horny as I am.

I know I am going to give in to temptation so I kind of feel obliged to not go driving to Temptation Avenue. "If thine penis offends thee..."

Just one ex-Gamma's POV.

Cataline Sergius said...

Looking at my library of science fiction and fantasy and I'm finding very few authors who don't fit the gamma bill.

(a) Boy meets Girl. (b) An alter reality spell is cast. (c) Boy is bed with girl.

There is Robert Howard but that's only because he was clearly an asexual Omega. None of his all conquering heroes showed much of an interest.



Maybe it would be easier to create a sliding scale?

On scale of 1 (Robert Howard) to 10 (Oh, John Ringo NO)

Cataline Sergius said...

I'm afraid Larry Correia has to go on the list at a (4) on the Gamma meter (and I'm being generous here guys)..

Monster Hunter International. Hero meets Sally Love-Interest. Sally is already seeing a traditional alpha male but is won over by the hero blurting out his true feeling for her and the alpha is an unworthy jerk.

Odds of this working in the real world; absolute zero.

S1AL said...

Cataline Sergius - "There is Robert Howard but that's only because he was clearly an asexual Omega. None of his all conquering heroes showed much of an interest."

Ermm... Perhaps I'm missing something, but over half of the Conan stories I've read involve the hero with a woman, ranging from a common prostitute to a swashbuckling lady to princesses.

Cataline Sergius said...

S.M. Stirling also a (4)

The female always pursues the clueless male. Or just as often in his books the clueless female.

Tlu said...

Cataline Sergius said...

"Eleven comments and NOBODY has mentioned Lord high Gamma in Chief John Scalzi?!?!?"

He gets an honorary spot at the top.

Dolphin Holocaust said...

You have it right with gammas figuring any interest in them must be a joke. As a natural gamma I think this way. I remember the first time a hot girl I asked out said yes. I was fourteen, and I told her "yes? and you're not making fun of me?" lol she dumped me pretty soon after that.

cailcorishev said...

Michael, you pretty much wrote the story of my youth. DYD was a big eye-opener for me too. I'd say for me the problem was half honest obliviousness, and half the fear of misreading a signal and being shot down -- which for some reason seemed like the worst thing that could happen, ever.

So when a girl I took to the movies for a first date invited me back to her dorm room afterwards and then changed into a nightie "to be more comfortable," I really didn't realize she was waving a big flag reading "Jump Me Now." But even if someone had pointed it out, I still would have been sitting there thinking, "Well, yeah, it probably means that, but what if she really is just being comfortable and I try to kiss her and she screams...." Plus probably something stupid like, "She'll appreciate my gentlemanly restraint in the morning."

If I could teach my young self one thing, I think that would be it: rejection -- or even failure in the broader sense -- is not that bad, and no reason not to try. Public embarrassment passes, and trying and failing and cleaning the mud off your face makes you a better man, and makes you feel better about yourself afterwards. In the words of Jesse Stone, "I'd rather regret the things I've done than the things I haven't done." I wish I'd known that at 14.

Cataline Sergius said...

Ermm... Perhaps I'm missing something, but over half of the Conan stories I've read involve the hero with a woman, ranging from a common prostitute to a swashbuckling lady to princesses

Yes but how did he get the girl? How much understanding was there of basic sexual dynamics at all? I would have to say there is none. I am 95% percent certain that when Howard killed himself, he died a virgin.

John Rampton said...

"Perhaps some of the Gammas who read here could explain it."

From what I can recall as a gamma male, they tend suffer from a lack of self-esteem, because they tend to validate their existence through other people's responses. They lack the ability to adequately assess themselves, and therefore must rely upon other's assessments. Which usually are inadequate as well, since they tend to over-assert this approval-seeking attention, to which the only reasonable response would be disgust - especially by females, which they have a habit of putting the most weight upon. Their perception of what others think tends to cause them to think low of themselves, because they have the perception that everyone else does, so therefore the assessment is valid. This may cause them to create their illusions of self-importance, in response to the world's treatment of them, which falls somewhere between disdain and rejection.

Perhaps the inability to self-assess was only unique to me and my debilitating handicap of severe sleep apnea, but I'll assume for now that it applies. There are plenty of handicaps, both physiological and psychological, which causes a person to behave and perform so completely outside the norm, that they prevent a person from being able to adequately self-assess.

Like the imaginary friend, their illusions may serve a certain survival instinct. A man cannot go throughout life believing that he is worth less than the sole of the shoe in which everyone else places their feet, without some kind of psychological escape. Thus, when they write, they are practicing the illusions which they do tend to create for themselves, and attempt to sell them to everyone else. They tend to focus on things which are either visual, or very concrete, and attempt to mix that with the emotional. Because they are attempting to use something completely observable to describe, or instill something that cannot be observed outside the self.

I never made the connection between writer and gamma. Interestingly, since I have had my apnea treated, my ability to write hasn't disappeared; particularly romantic poetry and prose, only my propensity to do so. The writer's block has transpired.

S1AL said...

Re: Cataline - in one story, Conan kidnaps the princess of a country in order to trade her for some of his men, and after a few instances of violence, she is feeling pretty hit and ready... Howard phrases it as "naughty tingles," even.

In another, Conan is after a woman who threatens to stab him... He responds by threatening to take her sword and spank her with it.

I'll leave you to judge.

S1AL said...

That should say "hot and ready."

John Rampton said...

To clarify: The sleep apnea I have is probably a congenital defect. I don't have medical proof, but I remember many of the symptoms even at a very early age. I didn't actually have it properly treated until almost 40

Cataline Sergius said...

@S1AL

Sorry but no. Howard was an Omega. He lived with his mother all his life and committed suicide right before she died.

S1AL said...

@Cataline: in not debating that point, as it seems to me that Howard most likely suffered from a neurosis brought on by his troubled home. But, the point in contention is whether that is apparent in his writing, and I would say that it is not. My guess is that he was well aware of the nature of human sexuality but did not act upon that knowledge (for whatever reasons).

MycroftJones said...

Howard was an Omega, but you can be Omega and still be very aware of the nature of women. Look at Omega Virgin Revolt. The term Madonna/Whore complex was invented to describe such men, although it isn't limited to Omegas; it affects Gammas and Deltas too.

Cataline Sergius said...

More interesting discussion is George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire

Khal Drogo: An Alpha's Alpha. He wins over his reluctant princess bride pretty much solely by the power of his dick. Problem is, he falls hard for her, turns gamma. This eventually cost him his life.

Rob Stark: An Alpha's Alpha. He falls hard for Jeyne Westerling. In a complete gamma move her marries her, instead of just keeping her on the side. This eventually costs him his life.

Robert Baratheon: An Alpha's Alpha. Spent pretty much his whole adult life Gamma Mooning over, Lyanna Stark. Who never had any time for him and ran off with the Black Prince the moment she had a moment. This eventually cost him his life.

Rhaegar Targaryen: An Alpha's Alpha. He falls hard for Lyanna Stark, despite having already wife and children. He runs off with another man's intended bride. This eventually cost's him his life.

Can anyone see a pattern emerging?

S1AL said...

Martin doesn't like marriage?

Cheekiness aside, many men who are brilliant in other areas are fools with women. But Martin has any number of hangups that come through in his writing; this is just one of them.

Jack Amok said...

I second P.G. Wodehouse. Interesting one to consider. Lots of female's pursuing, but the males are not clueless about it (or if they are, the author is clear that's a problem).

NATHANIEL MANELLA said...

To be fair, Robert Baratheon was killed by the scheming of his wife, that hated the fact that he was unwaveringly Alpha and refused to give her the power she felt so strongly that she deserved.

Rhaegar was described as being introverted by nature but by necessity learned Warcraft realizing he had to. Lyanna wanted him for his Alphaness, he was hardly the only instagator there.

Rob Srark made the decision of personal desire over collective need of the House and ended up dead.

Basically in GRRMs world, being alpha leads to you dying, being a schemer, you live. He just hates alphas. So what does that tell you about his sociosexual rank?

Jack Amok said...

Cheekiness aside, many men who are brilliant in other areas are fools with women.

Yes, though I think it's also true that many men are so successful in other areas that they feel no particular need to be careful with women. They can afford the indulgence.

cailcorishev said...

Cheekiness aside, many men who are brilliant in other areas are fools with women.

Also, sometimes a guy is perceptive enough about other people to write well about them, yet is terrible at applying the same ability to himself.

S1AL said...

"Also, sometimes a guy is perceptive enough about other people to write well about them, yet is terrible at applying the same ability to himself."

Or unwilling. I have a friend who made the comment once that he's fully aware of red pill, but not particularly interested in applying it beyond the fundamentals (i.e. has no interest in being more than Vox's definition of beta). This seems to be a trend with many of the more melancholy/introspective types.

Anthony Gillis said...

Although there was no specific name for it at the time, the gamma pattern in fantasy got on my nerves as far back as my adolescence in the early-mid 1980s. I remember thinking... really, yet again the clueless unassuming, thus far asexual guy stumbles into true love with the hottest woman in the known world? It matched neither my own experiences, which in retrospect fit into Vox's sigma category, nor those of my then-mostly gamma and omega friends. Yes fantasy is fantasy, but at least some plausibility helps.

It rang false enough that even many, many years later I went out of my way to avoid it in my own novels.

Let's see, purely from memory... Most of the main male protagonists in the works of David Eddings and Terry Brooks are thoroughly gamma. Stephen R. Donaldson's loathsome Thomas Covenant is the more misanthropic version. I'm inclined to agree with the idea of Robert Jordan's world as more delta, almost as if his male heroes (Waah al'Thor aside) are the hardworking loyal guys who are about to get divorce raped. REH himself may well have died a virgin, but while Kull and Solomon Kane are asexual, Conan is classically alpha.

As for Ayn Rand - it is not just Dagny, most of her female protagonists are carousel riders. Hank Rearden might best be described as a blue-pill beta, waiting to wake up. Francisco d'Anconia is massively sigma - he plays deep games and wreaks assorted havoc for his own amusement. I haven't read Gamma Underlord Scalzi's work, as he lost me at the "owe you a handjob/blowjob" thing.

Ghost said...

Cataline,
Re: monster hunter
If you have two competing alphas, one who is more like Heartiste, and one who is more like Athol Kay, I can very easily see this strategy of Athol stealing Heartiste's girl by sprinkling just a touch of beta (that "I'll commit to you so hard" part) into his attitude.

I haven't read monster hunter yet, so I could be WAY off. But it could happen.

Cataline Sergius said...

@Ghost

this was definitely more along the lines of, 'why oh why is such a great girl with such an unworthy bastard. He doesn't treat her like she deserves to be treated. Not like I would treat her.'

76a86186-641e-11e3-a4c7-000bcdcb5194 said...

Gone With the Wind, of course! That book (and the film) is a classic study of Red Pill behavior. Ashley Wilkes is Alpha. Respected leader of men, beloved of the women, cashed his Alpha Male chips in on a beautiful and adoring wife. Rhett Butler is Sigma. He goes his own way, but isn't nearly as cynical as he pretends to be. A hero only by necessity. Unfortunately, he suffers from a debilitating case of oneitis. Scarlett? She's the villianess - a Typhoid Mary of human misery. Rhett should have left her to the DamnYankee horde in Atlanta.

Corvinus said...

@MycroftJones

Yeah, Omega seems to be mainly defined as a social outcast who can't get a woman to save his life. He may understand women; most Omegas don't, but those that do still don't know how to behave around them. And even then, many, perhaps even most, red-pill Omegas won't actually transition to Sigma for any number of reasons (laziness, contentment with their routine, apathy, despair, cynicism, etc.). Perhaps the biggest one, however, is a lack of high-SMV male role models teaching the Omegas. I myself only really "got it" after assiduously reading all of Roissy's columns and letting his attitude sink into my own over the course of a couple of years.

Corvinus said...

@Cataline

Sure. It seems George R. R. Martin is a huge fan of the story of Samson and Delilah.

Cataline Sergius said...

Oh God, I'd forgotten about Thomas Covenant. Yes, definitely. Terry Brooks, certainly as well as Eddings.

Oh lets not forget the most gamma of fantasy gamma authors; Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman!

cailcorishev said...

As for Ayn Rand - it is not just Dagny, most of her female protagonists are carousel riders.

Dagny's hypergamy, and the way she justifies it, is very well portrayed. The only false note is the way the men she dumps along the way cheer her on happily. But even that is instructive on a meta level, since it shows how women think they should be treated when their feelings change.

A lot of stories convey red-pill truths, even if the author was firmly blue-pill, simply because the red pill is how the world actually works. So the better an author is at revealing human nature, the more the red pill will sneak into his stories, whether he likes (or understands) it or not. For instance, in many of those "nice guy finally wins the homecoming queen away from the jerk" stories, you have to ask: why was the wonderful girl with the jerk in the first place?

I know we're all book nerds here, but one of the worst gamma fantasies I've seen in a long time was in the Fantastic Four movie (hey, I watched it for the Rifftrax). There's this nerdy scientist, and this incredibly hot nerd girl who wants him, but he's oblivious. That's bad enough. She's also immune to the charms of the jerk alpha billionaire, so the nerd boy's lack of action isn't costing him anything. But it gets worse. At one point, the nerd is having dinner with the hot chick, and she flat-out tells him she's been waiting for him to make a move for years, and pretty much begs him to be more assertive and go for it. (Even there, there's a tiny bit of red-pill. When he asks why she never said so before, she points out that that would kinda ruin the whole point: it's not assertiveness if someone's leading you by the hand.)

It's the perfect gamma fantasy: his dream girl not only wants him and no one else, but will make all the moves so he doesn't have to risk rejection.

Anthony Gillis said...

@Cataline

Heh! Forgot about Dragonlance. Abso-effin-lutely!

Corvinus said...

I'd be more interested in hearing about decidedly non-Gamma authors and characters, myself.

Anthony Gillis said...

@cailcorishev

Agreed about Dagny, and Rand's work in general. Rand herself was never able to reconcile her hypergamy and desire for ultra alpha males with her own dominant, masculinized personality. Hence the massive difference between theory and practice in her relationships. Even she, in one of her non-fiction works recognized the evils of matriarchy, though she wasn't able to articulate it effectively much beyond a specific aversion to a female president.

For me, personally, her work was influential in my shift toward libertarianism in youth, and to a lesser degree the red pill later. I still value many of her insights, even if with a more critical eye today.

Continuing the rank tour... Anyone have thoughts on Michael Moorcock and Elric?

cailcorishev said...

Corvinus,

Jonathan Gash, the Lovejoy mystery novels. (If you've seen the TV show, it's very different.) Lovejoy is an antique dealer with a sixth sense for antiques, but he's always broke because he doesn't care about anything else, including money. He routinely sleeps with and sponges off most of the women in town, especially the married ones. They flock to them because he treats them badly, lying to them shamelessly and breaking promises seconds after making them, and because they love his passion for antiques. He's a total natural and has no idea how he does it; he just thinks women are beautiful and annoying and pays no attention to anything they say, and they won't leave him alone.

Here's a typical passage, where he's invited a woman over to inspect one of her antiques, and she's getting romantic:

My hopes of examining the true worth of Farmer Bob's black opal engagement ring were dashed when Jo found her hand on a pair of Ellen's stockings. They'd treacherously crept out from behind a cushion. She was up and vehement in a flash.

"Lovejoy! And to think that I was about to ... oh!"

"Honestly, Jo. They're my sister's ..." Tra-la, tra-la. Good night, nurse, with Jo storming out in a ferocious temper and me shouting invented explanations after her.

Women really get me down sometimes. They're so unreasonable. You'd think they'd learn sense, having nothing else to do all day.

Cataline Sergius said...

@Corvinus

Well there does seem to be far few of those then there are gamma writers within the genre. Lets start with the only grandmaster who was comfortable with the topic. Robert A. Heinlein.

Pretty much all of his male characters, post Starship Troopers are quite comfortable with the sexual pursuit of women.

The Puppet Masters in particular is a good example. Sam is about as archetypical an Alpha as you can get.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress; Manny kicks things off with a very active sexual pursuit of Wyoming Knott. She is clearly responsive to his advances in her polite refusal of them. In fact his rescue of her creates something of a stumbling block for them for most of the book.

The first half of Number of the Beast starts off with a strong pursuit of DT Burroughs by Carter. This is not a recommendation that you read Number of the Beast.

Cataline Sergius said...

An overlooked example of Heinlein's Alphas would be The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathon Hoag. Really more the example of an Alpha in a stable happy marriage. Cynthia Randall is easily the most under rated female character Heinlein ever wrote.

sbutterfields said...

(Brainstorming)
Phillip K. Dick -- Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said -- The Simulacra -- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Raymond Chandler -- The Big Sleep
James Cain -- Postman Always Rings Twice
Nabokov -- Lolita
William S. Burroughs -- The Place of Dead Roads
Neal Stephenson -- A Diamond Age
Cormac McCarthy -- Blood Meridian
Melville -- Moby Dick -- Bartleby, The Scrivener
Thomas Pynchon -- Vineland
Chuck Palahniuk -- Survivor
Kurt Vonnegut -- Breakfast of Champions

lots more where that came from....

Corvinus said...

@Calico @Cataline

Thanks... it's rather annoying that there aren't more, especially in more recent works. A main character who turns out to be a Gamma is enough to make you abandon the book, unless said Gamma meets his demise in some morbid, hilarious, or otherwise interesting fashion.

Corvinus said...

unless said Gamma meets his demise in some morbid, hilarious, or otherwise interesting fashion.

Just occurred to me that this is one reason that Game of Thrones has been a hit, even if most people aren't quite aware of it.

Cataline Sergius said...

@Corvinus

Thanks... it's rather annoying that there aren't more, especially in more recent works. A main character who turns out to be a Gamma is enough to make you abandon the book, unless said Gamma meets his demise in some morbid, hilarious, or otherwise interesting fashion.

Then may I direct your attention to John Ringo's Paladin of Shadows series.

heh...heh-heh (*snicker*) heh-heh-heh...

JCclimber said...

Piers Anthony. Gamma deluxe. Even as a child, it rapidly became annoying.

Retrenched said...

Apparently Howard did have one on again, off again girlfriend in his life. According to wikipedia she was the one who called on him, calling his home several times before he responded. There's a good chance that he went to his grave without ever hitting on a girl or asking her out. Sad way to live.

LP 999/Eliza said...

C) a diaper

Yikes!

Michael Maier said...

Dragonlance is Gamma? Am I forgetting something? (It has been a long time since I've read those, though. I thoroughly loathed the one in the future where they kill everyone.)

Cataline Sergius said...

@Michael Maier

"Tanis cried...Tanis wept...Tanis sobbed...Tanis bawled...Tanis blubbered...Tanis lamented...Tanis keened..."And lets not forget that old chesnut, "Tears flowed from Tanis' eyes..."

So maybe just a little bit gamma. Maybe. Just a bit.

Dexter said...

Jack Vance. Every protagonist is a gamma. In the Demon Princes series, the hero is an assassin who is the richest man in the galaxy, and he's still a hopeless gamma.

JCclimber said...

Opinions on Jack Chalker?

Jack Amok said...

I'd be more interested in hearing about decidedly non-Gamma authors and characters, myself.

Yeah, me too, though I seconded P.G. Wodehouse because... I just cant be sure. Was he an early version of a Bitter Pill Gamma, or a Sigma with a wicked sense of humor?

Corvinus said...

@Jack Amok

My guess for P.G. Wodehouse is Delta. He understood women to an extent, but seemed overly pessimistic about them. For example, he never married off Bertie Wooster, making every single woman too weird / psycho for him. This, along with his sense of humor, is exactly why I think he was Delta rather than Gamma.

In his personal life, he did end up marrying a young single mom (widow?) with a daughter, but had no children of his own with her. Unless she was smoking hot, that would peg him as Delta right there.

Hank Brown said...

Several of Wilbur Smith's novels would be great fodder for socio-sexual analysis. Especially Empire of the Sun. I suspect Smith's red pill knowledge is either intuitive or learned the hard way over time (like mine, then confirmed and completed after discovering the manosphere--me, not him). His works shower fairly realistic examples of HyperCard, classic alpha, beta and sigma behavior.

Hank Brown said...

I hate spell check. That was show, not shower. And hypergamy, not HyperCard.

Adrian said...

As a rule writers are not alphas because the art of alphas is the art of living, and writers live in their own minds and imaginations. Their art involves minimal physicality and interaction. Contrast this with musicians, actors, even painters (thinking of Picasso and of Frida's husband).

A couple examples. Zan Perrion spoke of writing a book as long ago as 10 years. He finally released 'The Alabaster Girl' recently. He was too busy building a business and cuckolding other men. Petrarch's sonnets, which defined that poetic form and influenced the development of the Italian language, were monuments to platonic love of a transcendental beauty named Laura. Instead of seducing her, he put her on the highest pedestal ever throughout 400 poems.

Johnny Caustic said...

Former gamma, pretty sure I'm a delta now. The bit about "always thinking that any expression of interest in them must be a joke" is right on target. Most female expressions of interest are ambiguous. Since gammas (and even deltas) don't get many of them, we don't have much opportunity to learn how to read them, and we get very confused.

Gammas who say they "don't want to take advantage" are just rationalizing; the real cause is simple fear. I think it's built right into the male organism that when your social rank is low, you Just Know you can't be hitting on the women. You don't need to get rejected, or have some jealous male punch you, to simply know it from inborn instinct (though a few rejections of awkward advances can certainly reinforce it). I think it's built into every primate, but it's entirely latent in those who have always had high SMV.

I don't think the "reluctant to descend to the dirty, dirty sexual depths of the higher-ranking men" theory is correct, but the closely related "reluctant to descend to the dirty, dirty sexual depths that no woman would ever tolerate" myth is very powerful for those of us who imbibed blue pill lies with our mothers' milk. Sure, some guys use their reticence to feel morally superior to the higher-ranking men, but that's just a rationalization, and not the true motivation. It would be discarded in an instant if the other barriers disappeared; just look at the conduct of gay men.

"The typical protagonist goes about his business with no thought of romance in mind until a beautiful, large-breasted redhead jumps into his bed." I literally had no clue how sexual relationships start until my mid-20's, and didn't know more than a handful of examples until alt.seduction.fast came along in my early 30's. Except for the depictions in movies/TV, which constitute sabotage ("tell her how you feel", ha ha ha!). When you are in total ignorance of how any real-life human sexual relationship started--of how you go from friend to lover--filling in the blanks is harder than you can imagine. Does it involve anti-gravity? A secret handshake? I'm not joking here; there was a decade of pain and confusion because I didn't know how to find out the answer to this question. Thank God someone finally invented the internet.

daleaf47 said...

Actually, as a Gamma, I cheered several exgirlfriends on with their new boyfriends (irriatated the H* out of them since they were trying to make me jealous, but I was clueless). I've even had one tell me that (years later).

L. Beau said...

Manny from The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress strikes me as more go-along to get-along Delta than Alpha: His "seduction" of Wyoh results, ultimately, with her joining the line marriage, and that had to be approved by committee. And letting Mike take the leadership role in the revolt doesn't seem very Alpha.

I second the nomination of Jack Vance: mostly Gamma protagonists, but where does that leave Cugel the Clever?

Not mentioned before: JRRT's The Lord of the Rings. My best guesses:

Samwise Gamgee: follows the rules, pursues Rose Cotton but doesn't close the deal until that ring business is done. Classic Delta.

Bilbo /Frodo Baggins: Omega - sexual nullities, the pair of them.

Aragorn (Strider) - interesting case: natural leader of men suggests Alpha, as does Eowyn's direct pursuit of him, followed by her brief "alpha widowhood" period. But what kind of Alpha spends much of his long life pedastalizing his mentor's daughter, Arwen? And would an Alpha pass up a fling with a hot blonde (Eowyn)? Was he afraid that such an affair might ruin his chances of miscegenating with the elf-girl? Maybe Aragorn is just a tough, intelligent Gamma who learned enough leadership technique to make his bid for the throne work, but Gamma nevertheless.

Faramir: get poisoned in battle, fall hard for fellow patient in recovery, pursue her until she says yes: low Delta.

Gimli / Legolas: no comment

Sanne said...

Corwin from the Chronicles of Amber was an alpha. Also D'Artagnan from the Three Musketeers.

ManiaC Provost said...

I think it's clear that the Aristotelian categories of "Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Omega, Lambda" can be improved to a multi-factor model. We're not in ancient Greece any more. You have essentially 3 correlated parameters:
SMV (numerical scale of 1 to 10)
Self Actuation (ranging from Alpha to Gamma)
Introvert / Extrovert (binary value... it's really a spectrum but how to measure?)

You can also score various personality traits like Narcissism and Empathy. Ideally, you would be able to predict SMV as a function of the other values.

Dexter said...

I second the nomination of Jack Vance: mostly Gamma protagonists, but where does that leave Cugel the Clever?

Well, he doesn't get the girls through alpha charm. He gets them through coercion and trickery. Is that really alpha?

Dexter said...

D'Artagnan from the Three Musketeers.

Aramis is the alpha lover of women.

D'Artagnan had a case of one-itis for the dingbat Constance.

rycamor said...

Walker Percy strikes me as a writer who understands both sides of the ALPHA/BETA divide. His characters tend to be Gammas, Deltas, Alphas, and even occasionally a Sigma (Sutter Vaught in "The Last Gentleman"). In fact his novels would be an interesting to analyze in terms of sociosexuality and American culture as it was undergoing its gigantic tectonic shifts in the mid-60s.

But even he often fails to show just how the interactions of a man and woman lead to attraction. He tends to just narrate that the interactions happen and skips on to get to the more interesting parts of the story.

It's a thing I've noticed throughout my adult life in most fiction: male writers seem to bluff their way past those first few conversations and interchanges that set the stage for a woman's attraction to a man. They hurry to either the romance scene or the sex scene without quite making it clear why the woman chooses the man. I think it's obvious that even many higher-rank men don't quite know how to put into words what happens, even if they do it naturally. That, or perhaps historically they have demurred on presenting it since it doesn't quite square with the nobility of women or the equality of men which they think they are expected to portray (E.g. why is teasing a woman so vital to attraction?).

Interestingly, I have seen these interactions very well portrayed by a few no-name writers, even in a couple Christian novels I have read. Perhaps The Gatekeepers in publishing over the past couple centuries have been hard at work preventing mainstream novels from giving us the full picture...? That in itself might make for an interesting study.

Corvinus said...

@L. Beau
Your take on LotR was quite funny. I agree with you on everyone except Aragorn, whom I would peg as a Beta. You have to remember that as a staunch Catholic, Tolkien would find it distasteful for Aragorn to indulge himself with Éowyn and instead just have him marry the hottest woman who was attracted to him.

@ManiaC Provost
It's the socio-sexual hierarchy, which means it has two factors: a Social axis and a Sexual (SMV) axis. A man can improve his SMV, but how Social he is seems to be more or less innate.

From lowest to highest, the Social axis goes Gamma, Delta, Beta, Alpha, whereas the Asocial axis goes Omega, Delta, Sigma. (Deltas can be Social or Asocial.)

@Dexter
Yes. Heck, in the original book, Constance was even married. Gamma.

cailcorishev said...

Gammas who say they "don't want to take advantage" are just rationalizing; the real cause is simple fear.

Mostly. I think another aspect of it, especially for the logic/math nerds among us, is wanting to improve the odds as much as possible. I was willing to ask a girl out in my younger days, but I was always looking for the perfect time and method. I thought (and all the movies said) that she would be much more likely to say yes in some circumstances than in others. So I'd try to watch and wait for the perfect opportunity: when she wasn't seeing anyone, when she wasn't busy, when there was something special to invite her to, etc. Sometimes the wait for a perfect chance would last until she'd moved on, like the time I finally asked out a girl I'd worked with for a couple years, and she said she'd like to but she was moving in with her boyfriend that weekend.

While it's true that a girl's somewhat more likely to accept a date offer when she's on the rebound than when she just got engaged, thinking that timing is critical shows a fundamental misunderstanding: that I had to get a girl to go out with me (for whatever mysterious reason she might say yes), and then get her to like me. In the real world, she's already going to like you or not, and asking her out won't change that. If she's interested, then she'll still be interested, even if she has to say no because she has a serious boyfriend, and she'll find a way to invite you again if that changes (as long as you take it in stride and move on, and don't orbit). If she's not interested, you certainly have nothing to lose. So worrying about the timing is mostly a good way to look indecisive and miss opportunities.

Sanne said...

Well, I don't know Dexter. D'Artagnan's intentions towards Constance were hardly platonic:) And while he was suffering from oneitis for her, he was receiving sexual favours from both Milady Winter and her maid who he practically raped.

Sanne said...

The mistresses of Aramis were married, too.

Daniel said...

Gaiman's request for clear seduction guidelines are no joke: he coyly married a fair and chaste maiden named Fucking.

No, literally.

Dexter said...

D'Artagnan's intentions towards Constance were hardly platonic

Betas (gammas, whatever you want to call them) never have platonic intentions. They just lack the courage to act on them.

A beta who is fixated on one woman is usually in that situation because he thinks he has no hope of getting any other woman, and lacks the courage to seek a new woman actively.

Corvinus said...

@Sanne @Dexter

The mistresses of Aramis were married, too.

Sounds more like a manwhore to me, defined as one who boinks a large number of low-SMV women (but gets nowhere with high-SMV women). Unsatisfied married women tend to be older and easier, hence, lower SMV. But at least Aramis wasn't fixated on one married woman like D'Artagnan was.

So I rule Aramis a Delta, and D'Artagnan a Gamma.

Caveat: The D'Artagnan played by Gene Kelly in that one movie version was a Delta, since Constance was unmarried and therefore available in that rendition.

Sanne said...

I haven't watched the movie you mention, Corvinus. I base my opinion on the book itself. D'Artagnan was going to act upon his intentions but the very same night Constance got kidnapped. He kinda wanted to get her back but at the same time was sleeping with Milady and her maid servant at the same time. Actually, he forced himself upon the maid who he then persuaded to help him get into bed with her mistress. Is it alpha or what?

Sanne said...

The book also mentions him going after every pretty servant girl since he was about fourteen.

Corvinus said...

Actually, he forced himself upon the maid who he then persuaded to help him get into bed with her mistress. Is it alpha or what?

Interesting question... that behavior was indeed indicative of being alpha, but it's not uncommon for low-SMV men to come off as alpha to women other than their one-itis. And I consider a man's having one-itis, especially for an unreciprocating or taken woman, as the crucial metric for low SMV.

Now, if D'Artagnan had been spinning plates with Kitty and Milady DeWinter with Constance not even seriously entering into his mind, that would have been completely different. To put it plainly, Constance was a serious buzzkill.

Sanne said...

I'm sorry Corvinus. I can see your point about unreciprocating women all right, but as for married women being off limits/lower status, we are talking here 17th century France. Most girls of his own rank were married off right out of the convent at the age of 16, to the man of their father's choice. There was no "singles market". Had Dart tried going after one of them, he would have been most probably killed by her family, as he was also penniless. That left him with servants, widows and yes, married women.

aeolipera said...

Tolkien and Lewis, please.

Stan Hai said...

When Gammas flirt, it comes out stilted and awkward, because it's unnatural for them, and women are creeped out by it. So they tend to stop doing it-none of them wants to be thought of as a clueless loser who thinks he's attractive when he's not. They pride themselves in being smarter and more civilized than that. Other factors can come into play, like low testosterone, domineering mothers, etc. Poor Robert Howard-at last I understand that Conan was a Mary Sue for him.

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