Wow, Megan is keen to get a look at those books! Either that or she's running to prevent our translator friend collapsing under their weight.
Rule110 wrote:Then there's the really important difference, which puts us in the realm of completely alternative world (whether far-future or entirely arbitrary Randallverse) and not just anachronism: the physical and cultural position Hypatia is apparently occupying. (Pardon me if I prefer to base her name on her status instead of her hair.) An academic state of some sort? Time may tell.
I for one definitely appreciate your philosophy on naming. Not that her hair isn't distinctive, but it's far from the only remarkable thing about her. I'm curious though why her physical/cultural position signifies a completely alternative world?
Well, her physical position is within a grand and yet well-protected room, past an even larger "great hall" of some sort, within a castle. Such rooms are scaled to house the daytime activities of the apparatus of a city or a larger state: a throne, functionaries, guards, courtiers and so forth. Our subject, though, instead uses this space as her private office. Being able to do so demonstrates a position of high authority and/or respect; a regional governor, queen, or high priestess, perhaps; and yet her solitude is uncharacteristic of such a position. A high priestess might spend time in seclusion if the practices of the religion so demand, and a potentate might do so out of personal preference (think Howard Hughes), but the three Beanies were obviously permitted to just walk in. Such accessible solitude would be more fitting someone working on an important but largely solitary task, such as an academic. I could perhaps make a comparison to Hogwarts, if the entire dining hall were instead used solely as the entryway to Dumbledore's office; but even that's fictional to begin with.
That's what suggested an unusual social order here that's not much like anything we know from history. (By the way, that has nothing to do with her gender -- which we don't even know for certain anyhow -- if that's what you were asking.)
Another possibility, though, that some people have mentioned since then, is that the castle is in some sort of temporary state of partial occupancy, and not actually being used for the purpose it was originally built and proportioned for. Our Hypatia could, perhaps, be the equivalent of the lead architect or project manager of the contractors doing the construction, and merely occupying the "throne room" for convenience. (In that case, one hopes that the exit toward the right leads directly to the construction zone, rather than the workers having to walk all the way along that hall every time they need a purchase order signed.) Or truly an academic auxiliary (comparable to the archaeologists sometimes assigned to construction sites, or the curator of a historical site), permitted to use otherwise unused space. That wouldn't tell us much about the Beanies' general culture, in those cases.
One other aside @everyone; some might not be aware that the name Hypatia (not Hypathia) is a historical reference; it's worth a quick Wikipedia check
if the name isn't familiar.