I am up to The Machine's Child now and Mendoza's childlike helplessness really sticks out. Most disgusting to me is the paedophelic/rape relationship between she and Alex-Nicolas-Edward. What drives Baker to depict, in a casual, normative way, grown men having sex with a brain damaged 14 year old virgin girl?
Upon rescue Mendoza has no body. After regeneration she has the body of a "fourteen" year old girl, the Captain explaining that "the nanobots reset her" to this age. Our girlie Mendoza has nice "skin...fine and soft as an infant's (93)." Cognitively damaged, she does not remember her past or who she is: she is the stereotypical female without an independent self-identiy. Further, she can barely speak, her vocalizations reduced to "Cando? Onde? That? I? (94)" and baby-talk mimicry of Alex-Nicholas-Edward. "You're my wife," he said..."and you were hurt (95)." "You were. Hurt," she repeated.
In her brain damaged state Mendoza has no ability to think, feel, communicate --and consent-- as an adult. Yet Edward rationalizes that as an immortal Mendoza is "older than Time (93)." Next he "clamped his mouth on the unresisting mouth and kissed desperately (94)." Here Edward's mouth is "his" own, but Mendoza's is "the," an object. Then Mendoza "shuddered to life in his arms" and was "terrified."
Over the course of the next twelve pages Alex-Nicholas-Edward lay on the charm, to which our developmentally disabled girlie Mendoza relents. After Alex suggests that their oyster breakfast is an aphrodisiac (105), virginal Mendoza lets out "a shaky giggle," by which Baker implies that she consents to sex.
Soon all three men give her a good first-time fuck in the stasis gas while time-traveling. "Wasn't that amusing, my dear?" they ask. "Yes," she moaned...We never did *that* before. I'd remember that."
When an adult has sex with a child it is child molestation, and if done with repeated obsession it is pedophilia. When an adult has sex with another adult who lacks the mental capacity to consent, it is statuatory rape. Baker gives us the former and a bit of the latter. Basically, Baker uses Mendoza's dismemberment, rescue, and regeneration as a conceit for a sex fantasy in which three adult men suavely cajole a terrified 14 year old developmentally disabled virgin girl into her first fuck, which of course she loves. This is every pedophiles sick fantasy. Why is it Baker's? Why is she writing this crap?
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