Friday, August 15, 2008

Research

*Just a warning to everyone* Some of what I may be discussing or forwarding you to might be somewhat disturbing. My general thirst for knowledge means that I feel I must research every detail that might be applicable to my story, even if it is somewhat gory. Now that I've warned you, go ahead and read on.

Whoa, why the big brouhaha? Well, today I am going to talk about what it means to be a eunuch. See, Malik-Tor (new change to his name), is facing the prospect of becoming one of this club, and he's not too excited about it. Find a definition of what a eunuch is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunuch (one day I will figure out how to make a hotlink...)

Anywho, it's one thing to say he's facing losing his manhood, and one to wonder exactly what that might entail. So I was curious and went web-browsing. I won't list all my links here because I was at it for quite awhile.

Castration was pretty popular in a number of cultures, especially in China, India, and even amongst the Early European Church. (See Castrati in Wikipedia) Eunuchs were often quite revered or placed in positions where it was an absolute must to have someone trustworthy. Government positions, harems, that sort of thing. Anywhere the possibility of someone seeking more power and passing it on to their offspring was likely. Political overthrows were entirely possible in many places, and being a eunuch meant you couldn't have children yourself, therefore less likely to have personal aims to strive for.

There are a number of methods one might choose to castrate a human, and I was thinking... Just what would the people of Lunatia think was appropriate? Castration generally falls into two categories: medical and chemical. I won't discuss chemical because its a more recent development, and when I think of Lunatia, they are somewhere pre-Industrial Revolution, and they've been doing this for centuries, so chemical is not likely where they would have gone with this.

Medical castration as well comes in different forms as well, but let's discuss the two main ones, surgical and burdizzo.

Surgical castration means exactly that; you can cut off everything completely, you can completely remove the testicles, or you can just cut the vas deferens, which is what happens during a vasectomy. (However, after a vasectomy, because the testicles are intact, sex drive is unimpaired. For Lunatians' purpose, we want to get rid of this as well, so vasectomy is not the way to go here.) The primary method chosen by ancient cultures seems to be complete removal, and yes I do mean complete, the WHOLE package is gone. Surgery can be quite risky, what with all the blood vessels involved, plus the chance of infection. Plus, the mental pictures here are quite gory, and I don't think it lends itself to a good chance at explaining delicately.

Burdizzo castration is similar to the methods chosen when castrating animals, which is done ALL the time, for any number of reasons. Basically, there is a giant clamp (called a burdizzo) applied to the testicles (everything else is left intact), which cuts off the supply of blood to those organs. This kills the organs, they shrivel up and are re-absorbed by the body. There is a chance this method might fail; perhaps the clamp is placed incorrectly, or the body might recover. However, if you were going to be "nice" about it, this is probably the best method.

I read testimonials online from men who desired castration, for whatever reason, including horror stories about people who chose to do it to themselves. It seems to me that they agree that the burdizzo method is the most "gentle". I don't care what anyone says.... OUCH and OMG are what comes to mind. But I have to with where the story takes me....

Ok, so there's the gory details. I chose burdizzo, simply because it seems the method most likely to have been chosen by my people. If you equate it to castrating animals, its also the easiest, most efficient, and least likely to kill somebody in the process, which they would want to avoid at all costs as well.

My dilemma now is how much of this information do I include in my story. I've read lots of romance novels where the author does everything possible to disguise the facts of life with fancy prose or pretty imagery, but I don't want to have to decipher what an author means, I want them to give it to me straight, and doesn't sacrifice my tender sensibilities. I will admit, even I have been shocked by some of what I've read when an author has obliged, so I want to be somewhat delicate or too many people will just stop reading right then and there. It also makes it harder to fit into a genre and get published. After all, the idea is to keep people reading, buy your stories, and make money. Publishers can't do this if you are making people sick to their stomachs.

What I am thinking of doing is making my characters have a discussion about these details, get it out there to let people know exactly why Malik-Tor is in such a panic... I mean, wouldn't you be????? Keep it short, simple, and to the point, and then not dwell on it. This suits Syndra-Kai's personality quite well, she's like me in that way, don't beat around the bush, just tell me how it is already. Being a Princess, this is not likely how she would be treated, but she is tutored by her mother's Companion, Xan-Rul, who has undergone this procedure, and he won't lie to her.

So there you have it. Do you think it wise to include a discussion like this into the story? I think it's important to give a sense of urgency early on that this is really not a good situation Malik-Tor finds himself in, and he will do anything, agree to anything, to get out of it. Syndra-Kai has literally got him "by the balls". OMG, bad pun, but I'm sorry, THAT is funny...

2 comments:

ENNYMAN said...

Ouch

Kestrel said...

LOL, Yeah, that's what I was thinking too...

My hubby said I must have been really mad at someone when the idea for this story hit me...

But I can't remember that being the case, so I dunno, the muse is crazy like that sometimes!