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Implausibly obtuse characters

April 25th, 2010 (09:11 pm)
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I'm rereading volumes 1-4 of Charles Stross's The Merchant Princes, preparatory to reading 5 and 6 (the last two) for the first time. I'm reading book 3, The Clan Corporate, and, as always, gnashing my teeth over one particular point of stupidity.

The Clan is a group of people who can walk between worlds. It's hereditary, a recessive trait. The protagonist knows this. Her grounding in genetics is quite good; she went to med school, although she never practiced. She encounters a letter describing a fertility clinic, run by the Clan, which is producing "W* heterozygotes".

And she can't figure out what this means.

Sigh. He's a good writer, really he is; but, on this point, he really dropped the ball. If she'd applied a little reasoning, she could've avoided the pain that hit her for the rest of that book.

(Edit: when I wrote this, I misremembered how the later story went. She does figure it out, but it takes her 70 pages.)