Upon first reading, some of this text seems to have a sort of colonial narrative to it. A women goes to a world of strange not-human people, becomes their ruler, and everyone obeys the Emperor so there isn’t any conflict? And he marries her, and gives her an ‘absolute power to rule and govern all that World as she pleased’? I can’t be the only one with such thoughts. However, this place is then portrayed as a land of knowledge and answers, which I wouldn’t expect from such a thing, so I may be looking too much into this.
I do like the questioning that takes a feminist turn when the Empress questions why women are not included in religious ceremonies or positions of office. Though, if they worry about such a thing, why make her the empress? Then again, that was the action of the Emperor, who I’m sure the creatures all listen to.
This is unrelated, but I like the line about the bear-men asking for the telescopes to not be broken. “said they, we take more delight in Artificial delusions, then in Natural truths.” I think this says a lot about humanity. It’s a lot easier to find joy in pretend things than in reality, oftentimes.
Overall, the framing of scientific discussion via an empress and a bunch of animal people is… Interesting? It gets you thinking, though, especially from our future perspective where so many of these scientific questions have been answered.