Hey everyone! I'm new to this forum.
I first picked up the Earth girl series several years ago. I think it was mid-2018? I got the first book out of used bookstore and then bought the others as ebooks since they are really hard to find. (Then I let my best friend borrow my copy of Earth Girl and he lost it, so, now I don't have that anymore either.)
Anywho, I have been lurking on this forum for a bit. I reread the main trilogy on and off through 2019 and 2020, and then in 2021 when I was on an international trip, I read the books again. I think I started them shortly before I left for the trip, because I remember doing some reading on the plane, and then also while I was in Europe. Right before flying back I was in the airport and I happened to check the Kindle store and discovered there were several short stories associated with the main trilogy. So here I was, in the airport trying frantically connect to the Wi-Fi as I was in the line for the gates to get on the plane, so that I could quickly download everything onto my Kindle.
Anyway, that background aside. I have read most of the books at least a few times by now and I am obsessed. I am quite excited that there is an entire forum here to talk about them, though it doesn't seem too busy. However, I would imagine that those of us who are really fond of the series will congregate here.
I've had so many thoughts about the series for so long. Just various questions and opinions and I figure I can share them here.
Just a warning, there will likely be spoilers in here and also I talk a lot. If you can use 20 words to describe something that can be described in five words, I will use all 20 words. It's bad. Anyways, here we go.
First off, I find it super interesting how in the series about Drago, the Tell clan spends so much time thinking about how they can basically defend their honour and defend themselves against the possibility of Jarra coming back to challenge them legally. It's interesting to me how they don't realize that someone on Earth really has no idea how the clans work. I think it is mentioned, though (it's been a while since I read them) that they are aware that most people outside of Beta sector don't understand their clan system. I guess they don't think about Earth at all, because they are really ignorant about how Earth works. From what I can understand, Earth has access to the different sector news, but most people on Earth don't bother to watch them because it's pointless to watch news about a place you'll never be able to go. Plus I get the impression that a lot of the people with immune syndrome just kind of stopped looking for information about other worlds long ago in an effort to not feel bitter or deprived. If I was in that situation, I think I would just kind of focus on what was happening on Earth, because there's no point thinking about all the worlds I can't go to and all the people who are prejudiced against me.
Anyways, back to the point, they seem to be under the impression that as soon as Jarra contacted her parents she would become aware that she's part of Beta sector and instantly come raining hell down upon them. I guess they never accounted for the possibility that she might not want to contact her parents. Also, with the anonymization process that they mentioned the babies go through, there is essentially no way she could have figured out she was part of Beta sector on her own. As a side note, is it ever mentioned why she kept her first name? Because I thought babies that were born with immune syndrome and accept it as wards of hospital earth were given new names completely. Yet she kept her first name. Is this because of the military tradition of the Honour Child? And if so, did hospital Earth know about that?
Speaking of the military, when she decides to look up information on her parents, she gets that mail from military support that is labeled version 2. She figures that the first version was created when she was 14, and updated when she turned 18. So, obviously it's told from her perspective and she doesn't know much about this process, but if she was really anonymous and theoretically the military could not possibly know who she was before she reached out to them. But from the way she describes the whole process, it happened so fast that it almost feels like the military did have a file on her, and if that's the case, why did they apparently have no idea who she was? Because the Tell clan is a military clan, so theoretically they should have been able to find that information much sooner than they actually did. I am also allowing for the possibility that in Sol 2781 they do figure out who she is, and they just wait to contact her for whatever reason.
This is silly, but I do wish in a way that she had contacted her parents. She would have had at least 4 years with them, if not longer, because I can't imagine they would have gone off to Kappa sector if they had finally located their long-lost daughter. I guess when she turned 14 on an 18 they accepted that she wasn't going to contact them and moved on. That's really sad. Obviously we wouldn't have a story if she had contacted her parents and if they had lived, but it still bittersweet in a way.
I also feel melancholy whenever I read Riak Torrek's chapter. His partner is died in a tragedy and then he never married anyone again. And he obviously still has PTSD from it, because he mentions that the base sirens are enough to send him into a panic. I mean, he does mention that's fairly normal for the military because apparently many military officers who have lost someone will feel the grief for a long time. And I guess that's pretty normal. It just makes me sad for him, is all. Although it does seem like the military does take care of their own because he says that it took him a few years after the death of his partners to actually be a functional human being again, and at least they didn't just ditch him. I do know that the military in the portal future is a lifelong commitment and they treat you like family, which is obviously not the same as military and real life, who probably would discharge someone if they basically couldn't function for 2+ years.
Also, I hope it's okay to compare some things to the hive future. In that series, there are characters who have unnamed but described down syndrome or autism or something similar. In the portal future, apparently they can solve all of these genetic differences, and it seems also like there's not many people with disabilities because, aside from brain injuries, you can regrow pretty much any other part of the body, so people missing arms and legs or having some other disability is not relevant. But, and this is a gigantic, gigantic but, Torrek does mention at one point that he finds the formal military uniforms really uncomfortable and distracting, which makes me think that he could have some sort of sensory difference or struggle. I also have several sensory sensitivities as part of neurodivergence, so I tend to pick them out in stories and I like seeing that kind of thing portrayed. I also understand that not everyone likes having that pointed out or likes diagnosing characters, so I will just mention right now that I'm not diagnosing anyone with anything, I just took notice of it and I thought it was kind of interesting.
Is it ever described how the portals actually work? Obviously Jarra is bad with science and she hates it, so you wouldn't see it much from her perspective, but I am curious if Janet ever came up with theories of how portals in this universe might function. The drop portal seems to just be literally like, you step through a wormhole or something, but brief mentions of portal interference and the vid that shows the first flight to Adonis indicates to me that regular portals are basically just what we would imagine, which is essentially deconstructing all your atoms and reconstructing them at the other end. Also, if that's the case, I'm not sure why somebody would have portal intolerance that manifests as headaches and dizziness, because I feel like if your body was being deconstructed and then reconstructed every time you stepped through a portal then that shouldn't necessarily be relevant? Or maybe I'm overthinking this and it doesn't matter. Probably that one. 😁
Also, a lot of sci-fi books set in the future tend to be dystopian in some matter. The portal future seems at least vaguely utopian in the sense that people don't seem to be starving, struggling, dying, caught up in wars, etc. There are political struggles like the problem at Hestia and the discrimination against people with immune syndrome and various other things like that, but it seems to be mostly absent of some of the issues we have today. Though, the way everything came about strikes me as somewhat dystopian in nature. Basically, the wallam crane family was able to take over the entire world and force them to stop all religion, and all speak in a common language.
Okay, I know I have more thoughts but I should wrap this up here. I have a note on my phone that has some of my thoughts so I'm sure I can grab something from there for later. Thanks for reading!