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Some of us experience a strange aching of the heart when we watch and read Shakespeare's comedies, for instance: feeling that the women in the plays always get trounced-- while being required to laugh and smile about it anyway. My short fiction, "The Fool's Tale," takes a good close look at the sexual politics of Twelfth Night and speculates on how women in the 17th century might have reacted to a performance of the play.
Note that I am using the word "comedic" rather than "comic." Comedy, with its de rigueur ending combining return to the status quo with marriage, prescribes a certain sort of plot scheme, which the "comic" (which includes "transideological" figures such as satire and irony) does not. Sylvia Kelso, in "Loud Achievements: Lois McMaster Bujold's Science Fiction," (first published, in two parts, in the New York Review of Science Fiction Oct and Nov 1998, and reprinted on-line at suggests that Bujold uses "comedy" throughout her series in a subversive way:

In this subversion of the SF heroic model, the comedy is critical, and although some is drawn by the cultures and other characters, much centres on Miles. Most notably, Bujold makes Miles both comic and able to laugh at himself. Apart from comedies of chaos like Apprentice, she often uses his point of view subversively, as in the novella "Labyrinth" (1989), when he is propositioned by the equivalent of an eight-foot virgin female Minotaur. Warned about the downside of lovemaking, she says, "I have a very high pain threshold," to which an appalled Miles' aside is, "But I don't" (166).

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