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Sime~Gen Inc. Presents

Recommended Books

September 2002

"The Magician's Imperatives"


Jacqueline Lichtenberg

 To send books for review in this column email Jacqueline Lichtenberg, jl@simegen.com for snailing instructions or send an attached RTF file.  
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Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda episode "Immaculate Perception"

Code of Conflict by Kristine Smith, EOS SF, Nov. 1999

Law of Survival by Kristine Smith EOS SF, Oct. 2001

Sime~Gen Universe Novels by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah, Meisha Merlin Publications, Inc. 2003 & on.


The Magician's Imperatives are Can and Should. Power and Responsibility - Pluto and Saturn.

A lot of Martial Arts training is about gaining the power to handle an adversary without having to kill. A lot of a Magician's training is about gaining Power - but the primary lesson before embarking on the search for Power is that you must never set your Will to overpower another person's Free Will for personal gain.

In other words, once you can do something, you usually "shouldn't." Having Power is no fun.

This is of course a mystery to the immature. When you're 5 years old and you see your parents up late, or even all night, you feel that once you "grow up" you'll have the power to stay up all night too. Being "grown up" means you can do anything you want.

Then in college you discover that you can stay up all night - but sometimes you shouldn't -- not because someone says "no" -- but because you will suffer consequences you would rather avoid. But sometimes you do stay up all night with wondrously lovely consequences. But those great consequences come at a price.

"Should" takes on the dimension of maturity - of responsibility, of judgment.

With Saturn opposing Pluto we're seeing assassination in India, governments toppling in the Middle East, and the disciplined companies who went through automation and cost-control disciplines emerging strong enough to lead a world economy onwards. And we're hearing more early-warnings of planned terrorist attacks.

Hollywood has been churning out stories that center on the Use and Abuse of Power, the results of child-abuse (Star Wars), the use and abuse of Truth, Honesty, and Responsibility. Buffy The Vampire Slayer's season ending is a good case in point.

But one salient example is Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda episode titled "Immaculate Perception" - the episode before the season-finale.

The opening credits include the slogan, "On the Starship Andromeda, Hope Lives Again."

That message stands in opposition to so much of what Hollywood is producing lately that it deserves some meditation.

The show as a whole portrays Captain Dylan Hunt as a person with the staunch moral convictions and attitudes toward the defenseless that you often see in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germain character - Nobles Oblige. Only Dylan is dedicated to democracy and government by alliances and mutual defense pacts.

In this episode, Tyr challenges Dylan's idealism. If he really believes what he preaches, Dylan will respond to a plea for help - even though it comes from a Nietzschean outpost.

Dylan suspects Tyr has an agenda of his own, but he's right - the Andromeda must respond or betray their ideals.

And it turns out Tyr does have a private agenda. He's manipulating the Andromeda into saving his wife. At the time he tricks Dylan into racing to the rescue, Tyr doesn't know his wife has borne him a son. And he doesn't know the son is the long-awaited genetic duplicate of the founder of his movement.

Dylan sees through Tyr's Power-play. And in the end, Tyr lies about his son's death to Dylan, and Dylan doesn't exactly believe him. Tyr has lied to Dylan before.

We know that Tyr knows that Dylan isn't totally fooled. And we're left with the question about integrity, that Saturn trait which leads to Jupiter's brand of Honesty. Tyr and Dylan have shown us that they each have stronger integrity than is considered reasonable by our own modern standards. But Dylan considers himself a friend of Tyr. Is Tyr a secret enemy? Or a friend? Or neither?

The transits of Pluto tend to reveal that which has been hidden -- to bring out secret enemies into the light of day. Transits of Saturn tend to crystallize the consequences of misdeeds, of violations of integrity from the far past.

Together they exercise a powerful cleansing action, sometimes an explosive cleansing action.

And that is the nexus of drama - that kind of explosive action is where you find story, and the essence of story - conflict -- Can vs. Shouldn't.

In June of last year I reviewed Rules of Conflict by Kristine Smith. In that same series, we now have Code of Conduct and Law of Survival, both also from EOS Science Fiction.

These novels detail the slow unfolding of the consequences (Saturn keyword, consequences) of an act of Power Abuse (Pluto), and the philosophical questioning of whether or not the act actually was an abuse of power or a proper act of Responsibility.

Jani Kilian was genetically altered by a human scientist using the results of his studies of an advanced alien science - on the alien's homeworld.

Dramatically, she is "The Six Million Dollar Man" - the person who was near death, unconscious, and without anyone to speak against an experimental procedure.

Jani's alteration though is genetic, and the genetic alteration takes effect slowly, over a period of decades with a realistic progression toward an alien physiology.

Jani is the main POV character, and the story sticks to her point of view with only a few digressions into the enemy camp -- we live and learn her adjustments to her position - her desperate efforts to stay alive and above all free - to regain mastery of her own destiny. We know, from the inside out, that she's not consumed by hatred for those who did this to her, not after revenge. She feels just as strongly as you or I would - but is much saner than I would be in the same circumstance.

Just like Dylan Hunt, she's in a Situation not of her choosing, a Situation no one could have imagined before she fell into it. And she clings stubbornly (Saturn keyword) to her Ideals (Neptune keyword). Both Jani and Dylan strive to apply what Power they have to solve the problem without compromising their personal Integrity.

Jani wants her choices to count in determining her destiny. She is boxed into a corner and has to make a decision about taking a responsibility she never wanted.

The psychology underlying this novel series is perfectly executed. The drama is tight, cleanly articulated. The plot is paced just right. And I believe all the characters, even the aliens.

Reading this column, by now you've figured out that I like stories about Heroes with high Integrity, Impossible Ideals, Deep Commitment, Blythe Honesty, and a larger than life impact on World History.

To me, these are not exaggerations. I know many human beings who really are just like these heroes, though from the incarnated perspective it's hard to see how their lives impact Human Destiny or the Universe.

I see no reason we all can't strive to excel at Integrity, Idealism, Commitment, Honesty - and the other traits that make a powerful magician experience no strain or internal conflict in adhering to the Light Side of the Force, the path of the White Magician.

And I think it's "fascinating" to watch the re-emergence of a trend in fiction discussing those themes. But the most "fascinating" thing of all has been watching the cycle of events that is bringing my own Sime~Gen Universe novels back into paper-print. The first Sime~Gen story published was in the Jan 1969 issue of WORLDS OF IF MAGAZINE. In May of 1974, the first Sime~Gen novel, House of Zeor, was published in hardcover. In 2003 - 29 years later, one whole Saturn cycle - Meisha Merlin Publications Inc. (http://www.meishamerlin.com) plans to re-issue House of Zeor in an Omnibus with Jean Lorrah's Ambrov Keon, and our collaboration, Zelerod's Doom.

These 3 novels form a trilogy about Responsibility, Idealism, and Integrity coming together in an improbable way to save Humanity from extinction.

The Sime~Gen novels tell the story of a handful of souls reincarnating repeatedly to deal with each other while slowly, slowly learning the lessons of Power, Responsibility, and of Can doesn't mean Should, lessons of Maturity.

All 8 of the original novels will be reprinted, and there will be new ones. For details and updates see

Completely by 'accident' - the announcement went out under the Saturn/Pluto opposition. I honesty did NOT plan that to happen. At the time of the announcement, almost all my natal planets had a transit in progress.

To send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg, email jl@simegen.com  for instructions.




To send books for review in this column email Jacqueline Lichtenberg, jl@simegen.com for snailing instructions or send an attached RTF file.  







Send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg,


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