Question from Charles

Have been reading the Pern books for years and am a big fan of both your mothers and your work.

When are we gonna see a story about the ultra-rare MALE who can hear all dragons? Genetically and statistically speaking there has to be at least one!


Charles,

Hmm… well, you make two statements that might want to be looked at in some more depth:

“Genetically and statistically speaking”

Let’s consider the second one first.

The history of Pern with dragons has lasted roughly 2500 Turns. For the sake of simplicity, let’s pretend that Turns and Earth years are the same — because we’ve only accumulated data in years (so far).

Now the life-span of a dragon is unknown. That is to say that dragons live until their human partner dies — unless the dragon dies from some catastrophe.

If we made the bold assumption that the average human-dragon partnership lasted 50 Turns, then in the 2500 Turns of history we have no more than 50 dragon generations.

We know, between Lessa, Aramina, Moreta, Lorana, and Torene that we’ve got four women who could speak to all dragons. But that’s 5 in 2500 Turns or 0.25% of the known time on Pern.

In humans, the X chromosome has 155 million base pairs while the Y chromosome has about 58 million. This means that, simply on the numbers, there’s roughly a 3:1 relationship between X and Y chromosomes.

From that with a wild insertion of SWAG, it’d be pretty easy to conclude that genetics make it 3 times less likely for a all-hearing telepathic human male to be born than a female.

Which means that in all that time there might have been one male who had the ability. Given that we’re dealing with probability and a whole bunch of unknowns we could also say that Y chromosome mutations are such that this might is really a might not

It’s also possible that our hypothetical all-hearing telepathic male was born, lived, and died without ever thinking his ability anything out of the ordinary — we males, being somewhat less interested in networking and comparing, tend to be slow in noticing things of this nature.

So, bottom line: unlikely but not impossible. As for writing story about it — why? If you recall, with the exception of Aramina, the ability to hear all dragons was not the defining ability of the women who possessed it.

Also, you might want to read Dragon’s Time and consider the position of Tenniz.

Cheers,

Todd

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