Women and attack helicopters

There has been a bit of a kerfuffle about the short story “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter”. I don’t have the skin in the game to judge if the story is hurtful to trans people, but for a number of reasons I was intrigued enough to read the story and found it, at least from a literary perspective, to be quite good. The author is, I understand, suggested to be using a pseudonym. Quite possible; the quality of the writing suggests at least some prior experience with writing (science) fiction. In this case, perhaps twenty years ago this would have been characterised as a story of cyborgs, while today such close coupling between humans and machinery is taken for granted. The way this melding is described I associate with authors such as Charles Stross or Peter Watts (and yes, I realise those are male authors). I struggle to identify precisely what it is in the writing style that ties them together; perhaps something about wars fought remotely, but where the machines at the front have their own ideas about it.

Murray Leinster’s “The Wabbler” can be seen as an early predecessor, but reads, at least now, as more detached. It may have had a stronger impact in the 1940s when semi-autonomous fighting machines were just emerging.

But, to return to the original subject: when the modelling club used to participate at the Hobby Fair in Stockholm, we offered plastic models at cost for families to sit and build together at our table. An observation we made at the time was that the mothers tended to choose attack helicopter models. Perhaps it is indeed true that they have a very feminine combat style.

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