Overview of Sime~Gen
Jacqueline designed the universe premise to support a long series of large novels by a great variety of authors with varying points of view and disparate philosophies.
This universe is a future history spanning thousands of years, yet starting at the threshold of the turn of the millennium - the Edgar Cayce Prophecies come true in a peculiar way.
The disaster that befalls humanity is genetic.
Humanity mutates into two distinct factions - now termed larities, a term invented by Jenn Vesperman. The "larities" are equivalent to the evolutionary step that divided life on Earth into genders. The genders now divide into Sime and Gen -- with a similar increase in survival and creative potential as well as potential for inter-larity conflict. Only homo sapiens of all the species on Earth divides into larities, though at the same time a number of new plant, bacteria and viral species emerge.
At first, Simes must kill Gens to live. Gens understandably object. The subsequent war destroys civilization all over the globe.
And that war lasts thousands of years - nobody knows how long. All record of what happened and how it happened is lost. Superstition reigns.
During the time of the stories and novels of Sime~Gen civilization, that civilization does not and can not know what happened to cause this split. In each part of the globe, in each level of society, there is a pet theory that is believed in and forms the foundation of emotions and actions. But there are no hard facts. None.
That is part of the driving conflict of the characters in this universe. It is known that once humanity was of a single type, Ancients. Now there are Simes and there are Gens. Nobody knows how it happened. And from the HOW comes a very logical consequence - a knowledge of what the other half of humanity from your own actually is - why it's there - what the nature of the threat is, and what the available proper responses are.
Note the similarity to the legends of how humanity became male and female -- and the social consequences of those legends. We don't know how or why humanity became male and female. And we don't know how male and female sub-divided into male and female Simes and male and female Gens.
The lack of proof of what happened is vital to an understanding of why these characters do as they do - in different times and in different places around the globe. Therefore, no novels have been set in the time of the collapse of civilization and they won't be - except possibly as fannovels. A fan novel can be written as if it were written by Simes or by Gens who are trying to promulgate their pet theory of how the division of humanity occurred. But the Ancient reader must always remember that in the "reality" of the Sime~Gen universe, the characters can't prove what happened. They can only believe.
Both Simes and Gens are people - humans. They tend to think and react emotionally as humans would. But they have to live with physical realities Ancients can only imagine. And as a result, human nature changes. Humans become more compassionate. Not much - not hardly so you can really measure the difference -- but just enough that the course of civilization shifts ever so slightly and things can happen politically that could never - ever - happen among Ancients.
So after an unknown number of centuries - possibly a thousand years, possibly two - human civilization has pulled itself together again. The Gens are in the majority and occupy most of the land. The Simes, a tiny minority, have seized control of clearly defined Territories - small islands dotting the Gen-controlled landscape. And the borders have held with minor adjustments for generations.
There is no peace here - Simes raid across their border and kidnap Gens to kill. But the Territories hold together and create a civilization of sorts because they are now breeding their own Gens for the kill as well as raiding.
Gens defend their borders and keep the Simes contained, limit the raiding by military defenses, and try to rebuild Ancient civilization.
Why do Simes kill Gens?
The mutation has divided humanity along the lines of Energy Producers (Gens) and Energy Users (Simes).
This is a division as profound as the division into male and female and has similar though more violent and deadly consequences. There are male and female Simes and male and female Gens, but the Sime-Gen division is far more important than gender to those who must live with it.
The Energy Producers, the Gens, produce the energy called selyn that Simes need. But the Gen body only stores that energy. The Gen body can't use that energy. The Gen body produces selyn in every cell, stores it until a maximum "charge" is reached, and then it just leaks away like a battery charge, unused, as more selyn is produced.
Gens look just like Ancients, eat like Ancients, reproduce like Ancients, and because of archeological finds, believe they actually are Ancients because they have no conscious awareness of the selyn energy and the fields it creates around their bodies. At this early point in history, the Gens do not really understand how Simes can hunt them so efficiently. To them, Simes are monsters out of nightmare - pure horror.
The Energy Users, the Simes, do not produce selyn in their bodies. And without selyn, without the energy of life itself, they die horribly in attrition.
As a matter of simple biology, the Sime body will seek Gens and strip away what selyn they can. There is no way that will-power, ethics, morals or conscious intent can prevent this from happening. That is why it has taken so many centuries to form a stable Sime government and civilization.
Now, however, this embryonic civilization is learning to manage Sime instincts and needs. They raise Gens in pens and the government supports those pens with taxes. Honest tax-payers are entitled to the one Gen per month that they need to kill in order to live.
Simes have a whole range of additional senses that Gens and Ancients do not. These senses perceive Gen "fields" - the distortion and the brightness generated by selyn being created, circulated and stored in Gen bodies. Selyn energy carries emotional information - a terrified Gen is far brighter and intense - and far more satisfying to kill (if that's what you're used to). In other words, all the Sime senses are adaptations that allow them to hunt Gens successfully. When Simes perceive via Sime senses, they are "zlinning" rather than looking, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling.
However, Simes are just humans. Some are better at using their senses, at zlinning, than others. And some, having no other education or talent, default to hunting as a way of living.
So during these stable centuries when civilization is rebuilding itself, there is a natural hazard roaming the landscape that is regarded differently by Simes than by Gens.
That hazard is the Freeband Raiders.
Freeband Raiders are Simes who band together, outside the auspices of Sime civilization, and roam across Territory borders as if they didn't exist, killing Gens where they find them. Before the Territories developed, all Simes were Freeband Raiders - so these leftover bands can be regarded as a holdover from more primitive times.
Freebanders are as likely to attack a Sime town as a Gen town - a fact the out-Territory Gen towns don't really understand. The Sime Territory army scours such bands out of their area as efficiently as they can. And they do their best to protect Gen towns from Freebanders too. The reason Sime government acts against Freebanders is that the Sime government LICENSES their own Raiders, and the Freebanders are regarded as poachers.
Licensed Raiders regard out-Territory Gen towns as ranchers regard their herds - a resource to be managed carefully, to be husbanded and culled for slaughter with care. It wouldn't do to deplete the herd.
That is why the Gen Army and Gen Towns now build up a certain tolerance for Raids - the frequency and destructiveness are controlled to below the point where the Gens are motivated to an all-out violent response.
Freebanders don't behave with such sensible caution and often trigger off Gen assaults on peaceful law-abiding Sime towns, and wars erupt - sometimes resulting in borders being moved.
It takes a long time for Gens to grasp the significant difference between Licensed Raiders and Freebanders. But as time goes on, the Licensed Raiders dress better, look healthier, ride better cared for horses, and make their attacks in disciplined ranks with a command officer and a clear strategy targeting a single, definitive goal.
Freebanders look like animated scarecrows in filthy rags if that, ride stolen and starving mounts, and behave like a mob or a swarm of animals not like people.
With the centuries, the difference sinks in on the Gens.
And finally a stability is achieved in which progress begins to be made. Basic industry, imports from far countries, some rudimentary archeology, and you have a civilization with the technological base that the Americas enjoyed around the year of the Ancient calendar, 1800. You also have the same uneven distribution of technology. There are mud-hovels where the only candles they have they make from the tallow of their own domestic animals. And there are houses with cast iron stoves - a fabulous and legendary richness at such a time. But it is a subsistence economy with no leeway for drought, plague, or war.
And this is the era when circumstances become interesting enough to produce the material of novels.
The earliest in the chronology is First Channel by Jean Lorrah and Jacqueline Lichtenberg - Jean's story, Jacqueline's background.
For into this now stable society is born the first of a delicate new mutation - a type of mutant who could not have survived the rougher eras. This mutation must have occurred spontaneously all over the world hundreds of times and died out again. Then, in one little spot on the North American continent (only because that's a place Jacqueline is familiar with), one of these mutants survives and discovers his peculiar talent.
He is Rimon Farris, the First Channel. And what he can do that no other Sime can do is control the speed at which he draws selyn from Gens. If that draw speed is slow enough, the Gen does not die. And Rimon can turn around and give that collected selyn to another Sime - and that Sime won't have to kill that month.
That is why the series starts at this point in history - there is hope born with Rimon's discovery. Humanity can be re-united and live in true peace.
Most of the subsequent fiction in this universe is written about the channels and how their physiology, abilities, requirements and needs differ from those of the rest of the Simes.
Simes who are not channels are called renSimes. Gens who can just barely bring themselves to let a Channel take their selyn very slowly are called donors (with a small d).
Channels can't satisfy their personal need for selyn (the selyn they need in order to live) by drawing it slowly from donors. Every month, a Channel must draw selyn quickly and to satisfaction from a Gen. That, however, tends to kill the Gen - unless the Gen has a certain talent for it. Such talented Gens are called at first Companions - and in later centuries Donors with a capital D.
So between the vast Gen community and the smaller but voracious Sime community stand the Channels and Donors.
At first, this strange lifestyle is practiced only in Rimon's own small community called Fort Freedom. Four generations later, we have the founding of The Householdings, starting with Zeor founded by a direct descendent of Rimon (who was also named Rimon). And the requirement for membership in a Householding for a Sime is that the Sime must not kill Gens. For Gens, the requirement is that the Gen must give all the selyn the Gen possibly can to support the Simes. And the Channels take care of channeling that selyn from Gens to Simes to prevent the Kill.
During the ensuing century or more, the Householdings developed in little enclaves of perverts dotting the landscape of one Sime Territory and then spreading to others. They were much loathed, feared and hated by the "junct" Simes - the Simes who killed Gens to live, mostly because humans find reasons to hate anyone who's different.
During this time, there is sporadic and unreliable rumor out-Territory that there are some Simes who don't kill - but any sensible Gen wouldn't believe such nonsense.
Then comes a turning point with the novel House of Zeor - where significant historical changes begin to occur in the relationship between Sime and Gen Territories.
That story continues in Ambrov Keon by Jean Lorrah and Zelerod's Doom by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah.
Communication and civilization has organized to the point where people get good solid educations in such obscure disciplines as mathematics - and it finally becomes clear to enough people that if things go on the way they are going, the Sime population will rise to the point where they will kill all the Gens - and then the remaining Simes will die of attrition.
It is now understood that breeding Gens in pens for a single usage isn't the answer - one must recycle one's Gens.
Given one single political opportunity, the Tecton - the organization of hundreds of Householdings - takes over one of the biggest Sime Territories and signs a treaty with the adjacent Gen Territory government to prevent Simes from Killing Gens - to abolish the pens and disjunct the entire Territory.
Of course, that's impossible, but they don't tell the Gens that. After a certain age, Simes who have killed to live must continue to do so or they will die. The majority of the Sime-Territory population is too old to disjunct. And so the Secret Pens are founded, along with the ghastly distrust that prevents real Unity between Sime and Gen for another century or more.
Kerry Lindemann-Schaefer's wonderful novel, The Only Good Sime is set at the end of this era of uneasy truce between the Territories and involves the last of the disjunct Channels allowed by the Tecton to work as a Channel. He killed by accident at his changeover and had to go through the agony of disjunction (almost didn't make it), and is considered peculiar and untrustworthy because of being disjunct.
Changeover is the point in the life of a Sime where puberty sets in. No one can predict whether a given child will be Sime or Gen until that child hits puberty. The process starts with either Changeover into a Sime or Establishment into a Gen form of adulthood. It ends with sexual maturity. This happens to a child at anywhere from 10 years of age to no later than 17.
When a Sime changes over, in a matter of a few hours to a couple of days, the body undergoes a tremendous upheaval. The biology shifts from a child's metabolism to the adult energy-using (but not producing) form.
All children are born with a supply of selyn that will last until this point in life. Changeover uses up the last of that supply of selyn. At the same time, a set or organs and glands forms. On both forearms, from elbow to wrist, the young Sime develops six tentacles. Four of them are strong, for gripping prey and preventing all twisting movement. Two of those four handling tentacles lie sheathed along the top of the arm. Two lie sheathed along the bottom. They emerge from orifices near the wrist and can be extended as far as the ends of the fingers. These, however, are not the dangerous organs.
A Sime draws selyn from the Gen body via the two, smaller and pinker tentacles that normally stay sheathed along the sides of the arm. These have very little muscle and a lot of nerve fiber, and the sheathes have glands that bathe the "lateral" tentacles in a selyn-conducting fluid.
At Changeover, these tentacles and glands form, and break the membranes at the orifices of the sheaths to emerge when the new Sime is gripped in the agony of First Need - an emptiness of selyn and a deep seated and undeniable demand to replenish that selyn.
If the Sime Kills a Gen for selyn at this point, the Sime is "junct" or joined to the Kill. At the next month, and for the first year after Changeover, the Sime will want to Kill - but can be retrained to go to a Channel for the needed selyn. Beyond the 12th month, the pattern is set and there is no way to survive without Killing, no way to "disjunct."
Or so it is believed at a certain point in history.
During the next thousand years, the Territories work out ways of co-existing. One of the most important figures in this effort is Digen Farris, one of Rimon Farris's direct descendants who is Sectuib (or Head) in Zeor at the time when technology has reached the levels of the Ancient's Twentieth Century (touch telephones, helicopters, even satellites).
His story is told in Unto Zeor, Forever, (based on the story Lortuen which is posted on this site), continued in Mahogany Trinrose and RenSime. See Jacqueline Lichtenberg's bibliography for publication details.
These novels can be regarded as the story of the House of Zeor, for it is the first of the Householdings to be formed and the last to be disbanded thousands of years later.
At present, there are no novels or stories set in the interval between the end of Digen's life, when space travel is about to be re-developed and interstellar flight will be discovered.
During those centuries, humanity spreads out to the stars, establishes many thriving colony worlds, discovers other alien species none of which have mutated into Sime form and Gen form (and so we discover what Ancients were really like), and Simes become the premier faster-than-light astrogators for the entire galaxy - using the peculiar Sime senses. These novels tackle the question of whether humanity's survival of Zelerod's Doom was worth the price.
There is however, a scattering of short pieces sketching what happens at the end of the series. One of Jacqueline's stories which was published in Galileo Magazine, Channel's Exemption is posted on this site. It is about Yone Farris, a pioneer who becomes leader of a Lost Colony which becomes known as Yone's World.
Centuries later, Yone's world is discovered and the civilization that has grown there is brought back into Tecton controlled space - impacts on Klairon Farris, the Last Sectuib in Zeor, which is at that time The Last Householding, and results in a total change in the way Simes and Gens interact and live together. And Klairon officially disbands Zeor.
One thread that laces tightly through and under all the events of this future history is that of ESP, Magick and Occult sciences.
Unknown to the majority civilization, there are a number of secret enclaves that have retreated from the chaos of the Territory Wars and walled themselves away to preserve and protect the various occult disciplines. These folk, too, have a problem with the Sime~Gen mutation, but they cope with it differently.
Still, one of them was watching as The First Channel survived to found Fort Freedom. Several were an integral part of the founding of Zeor. And they figure prominently in Mahogany Trinrose and RenSime. Along with the Channel mutation comes another mutation that very few ever notice until later in history - and that is a set of abilities in addition to the Channel and Sime abilities - such as telekinesis, telepathy, precognition, etc. etc. - what we call ESP.
The Sime sub-mutations are usually easy to identify. However, the Gens also continue to mutate. And they, too, produce those who have various combinations of ESP. And so do renSimes.
These Simes and Gens who have extra abilities and senses are called Endowed, and in Yone's time such abilities are officially recognized, trained, and utilized by society in a routine way - an integral part of the economy.
In some cases, these people are restrained by an ethical and moral code imposed by a Guild type organization - but of course, we're talking about a far-flung human civilization here and there are always exceptions.
For the most part, these novels and stories have not been written yet, so there is plenty of elbow room in this sprawling science fiction universe for many authors to develop material to address or explicate almost any point of view that can be imagined.
All copyrights are closely held by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and anyone desiring to write in this complex and technically demanding universe must work with her as the other contributors have.
To inquire about contributing to the Sime~Gen Universe, email email@example.com for instructions. Include a two-paragraph description of your writing project.