Do they exist?
Not, apparently, in the world of ‘the glass bead game.’
There are no women of power or intellect. There are no mothers, sisters, daughters. There are no random women walking down a street. There are no instances of the word ‘she’ in the entire book so far. The only hint that the female sex even exists, is a brief mention that members of the order of Castalia do not take wives.
Yes, I know this was written in the 40’s, but it’s supposed to take place in the 23rd century. And you’d sort of expect an intellectual writer like this to be somewhat forward thinking…
These ‘monks’ or whatever they are, are supposed to be so educated and smart about art and music and mathematics and culture that they play abstract games with these concepts as pieces on the board. But how can you know anything about art or culture or the world when you have no idea about over half of the human population?