I LOVE this description, and feel like I ought to check out the Steerswoman books! The idea of putting a token on the doom track every time you use violence is very appealing to me -- and also gets at the heart of dealing with violence in RPGs, where PCs may feel that there are no repercussions, and in fact plenty of rewards, for choosing violence every time. Because yes, if you throw a fireball, you can often make the immediate problem go away, and even not end up going to jail for it. But I wish for a system that makes creates long-term moral repercussions for your violent in-game actions, not to eliminate them, but to make you think seriously before drawing your sword.

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I read the first Steerswoman books a few months after <i>A Door into Ocean</i>. I hadn't thought of them as a pair, exactly, but looking back, Slonczewski thematizes (brilliantly) some of what Kirstein's storytelling does more elliptically.

(If you haven't read Slonczewski, you'll still see why I appreciate this central point.

Native: Why do you share death?

Colonizing soldier, wryly: Death pays a wage.

And the native spends the rest of the book asking all the colonists, "What is the wage of death?")

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