Chronology of the Sime/Gen Universe


Leigh Kimmel

Webservant's note: This chronology gives an excellent overview of all of the events in the Sime~Gen novels and in a few of the short stories. Since it is such a good overview, it could also be a spoiler if you haven't read the stories. Caveat Lector :) -- Mike

This chronology is original material created for Companion in Zeor #12, by Leigh Kimmel. CZ's senior editor is Karen Litman. HTML conversion by Mike Giroux


The Sime~Gen universe was created by Jacqueline Lichtenberg. This chronology or its setting may not be reused without her explicit permission. This story copyright 1998 by Jacqueline Lichtenberg. All rights reserved.

The Transition Era

This is the period from the time of the first changeover through the collapse of the culture generated by the Ancients. This is the time of the transition from a population consisting entirely of Ancients (or at least people who aren't overtly Sime or Gen, although they may have mutant DNA in their genome) to one composed entirely of Simes and Gens trying to adapt the culture to their particular requirements. Because of the loss of records from this period, scholars from later periods (after the reconstruction of human civilization) cannot be certain how long it lasted or how it progressed from the first changeover to the beginning of conflict.

One theory popular among the historians of later eras, particularly among those sympathetic with the cause of Sime-Gen Unity, states that kills are rare and sporadic at first, regarded as aberrations. This would give the Simes a number of years to get together and form some sort of organization to provide a support network for them. Somewhere in this early period fear of Simes or the kill appears. Reports of kills cause the fear to increase, causing more kills, which in turn causes more fear. This cycle escalates until all Simes except a few small communities such as Rathor and the gypsies become junct (killers). The Gens turn to violence in self-defense and war breaks out.

A conflicting theory, popular among those trying to portray the junct lifestyle as normal and natural (in opposition to the Householding "perverts") states that the Simes must have been killers from the very start (except for the communities such as Rathor and the gypsies, which are assumed to be lucky exceptions, or aberrations, if the person supporting the view is staunchly junct) and the violence would have broken out within days after the first widespread changeovers. However many historians, particularly those who are trying to portray the kill as "unnatural," point out that if the first Simes were killers from the start, they would have either been wiped out in self-defense by the Gens if their numbers were small, or would have killed all the Gens in a month or two and then died of attrition if their numbers were large.

A subtheory of this general theory suggests that perhaps the first wave of changeovers come during or directly after another, unrelated disaster, perhaps one of the many Ancient wars or political upheavals. This upheaval would have destroyed the police and other forces that would have allowed the Gens to mount organized defenses to wipe out all the Simes, while ensuring that few Simes would have survived changeover, thus keeping their numbers down. Supporters of this idea point to the places here and there where there is evidence of destruction by nuclear weapons and suggest that there was a limited nuclear war going on at the time. Opponents claim that the nuclear bursts probably occurred after the first wave of changeovers, when desperate Gens were trying to purge "infestations" of Simes by bombing places where they were known to be. However no clear evidence to give any theory unarguable support remains by the time any historians are theorizing.

The Sime-Gen Wars

In this period, communities of Simes and Gens begin an all-out struggle, each seeing themselves as fighting for self-preservation and the other side as monsters determined to destroy them. The first round of the war is probably an integral part of the collapse that lasts only days and is fought with the great Ancient weapons of destruction thrown at the "monsters" by the desperate fragments of the crumbling Ancient governments. This destroys the technical infrastructure of Ancient society, causing the collapse of civilization as we know it. This causes a very rapid drop in world population from the Ancient figure of more than five billion to the range of several million. After that the desperate fighters turn to whatever weapons may be available, occasionally turning up caches of guns and ammunition hidden away by one or another Ancient group. This period ends when the last working Ancient weapons and tools wear out, reducing the conflict to one-on-one and small-band fights between Simes and Gens armed only with the crudest of weapons.

The Ages of Chaos

In this period humanity has been reduced to the lowest state imaginable. Civilization has collapsed and people have little beyond the bare necessities of life. Most Simes live as roving bands of predators, chasing down whatever Gens they catch and killing them. Most of these bands number only ten or twenty individuals, with few individuals surviving more than a year and their numbers kept up only by the constant influx of new changeovers. They have no society to speak of, no art, no literature, nothing beyond killing as often as they can and finding new and more degrading ways to do so. Because they kill as often as they can stir up need in themselves, their fertility is virtually nil. And even if a woman in one of these bands manages to carry to term, she often doesn't survive long enough to raise her child. The child then becomes a ward of the band, cared for by whomever happens to take an interest in it at the time. And with all the adults thinking primarily of how they will get their next kill, very few such children survive through the helpless period and change over. But there are always a few individuals of extraordinary strength who do survive this brutal tempering and become the first Simes to have grown up expecting to become Sime, and thus are not filled with self-hatred for being Sime.

The Gens who survive the famines and don't become some Sime's kill for the most part manage to hang onto agricultural techniques and form small farming villages. Some of them are the descendants of peoples who for various reasons didn't use mechanical methods of farming, and thus already had the necessary skills, tools and beasts of burden. Others are the descendants of the various kinds of survivalists who had hidden weapons and supplies in hidden retreats against the collapse of Ancient civilization. Whatever their origins, these small farming communities must be constantly on guard for raiding Simes.

Somewhere among these terrified communities of Gens the Church of the Purity begins to form its doctrine, and its holy book is codified and interpreted. It apparently comes from some form of the various Fundamentalist Christian denominations which existed among the Ancients. Some scholars of later eras connect certain turns of phrase in the Book of the Purity to the Christian Identity movement, an Ancient splinter organization which preached hatred toward certain groups in Ancient society. If this theory is true, then the Church of the Purity may have transferred previously existing images of hatred and the Enemy onto the new threat of the Simes. It would also explain why the Church of the Purity is such a small organization. However there are no surviving records of the origin of the Church of the Purity or who may have written its holy book. It is suggested that the practitioners of the Church prefer it that way, since it strengthens their claim that their organization and book are directly inspired by God.

Against the threat of the Sime raiders, neighboring farming communities begin to bond together for mutual defense. At about this time some Gen communities rediscover the formulation of black powder (the most primitive kind of gunpowder) and begin to make crude guns to better hold off raiding bands. Trying to drive the Simes out of as much area as they can, they wind up concentrating the bands in small areas. The Gens then defend the areas they have cleared against the raider bands' return. In places where they are particularly strong, they launch pogroms and jihads to purge all Simes.

Meanwhile things are changing among the Simes with the emergence of a number of great charismatic leaders who weld the tiny raider bands into larger and more powerful organizations. These leaders such as the legendary Nivet who founded the territory named after him and the other men and women who founded territories live in a time when most Simes are illiterate. Thus no written records of their activities survive to civilized times and the oral accounts produced by the roving bards of that period and passed down through their descendants contain the accretions of the stories of these leaders' lieutenants and their descendants, making them into superhumans. But at least some idea of their lives can be reconstructed.

Many of these leaders are individuals who grew up in a raider band, and thus see Simes as the real people and Gens as their rightful prey. Because they are a little saner than earlier generations of Simes who grew up among Gens and loath themselves as monsters, they are better able to use their Sime abilities and thus can oust the incumbent leaders of the bands. These new leaders recognize that they can live longer if they don't have to raid as frequently and thus don't expose themselves to the danger of Gen defenses so frequently. Thus they begin to demand that their followers conserve selyn, keeping consumption low except when they are hunting, and go a full month between kills. This is a difficult process, almost as hard as disjunction, since the nervous system of a Sime who follows the dissipated raider lifestyle undergoes changes to accommodate it. Thus it takes a strong leader to enforce these selyn conservation rules and force those who cannot or will not comply to leave the band. But for those who can, the payoff in increased band strength and longevity makes them many times more powerful than neighboring bands who continue to burn themselves out in a madness of constant augmentation and frequent kills.

A few of these extraordinary leaders also cut deals with Gen villages, promising the Gens immunity from their own raids and protection from rival bands in return for a certain number of Gens per month. Every Gen that they gain in this way is one more Sime's month of life won without risking their own lives. Many such Gen villages decide that this "percentage" is a fair price to pay for the protection of one of these charismatic leaders and a powerful band of organized Simes. They never realize until it is too late that they are paving the way for the "domestication" of their descendants, who will become the breeding stock for the Genfarms that turn out the Pen Gens.

The greatest leaders also build strongholds as bases from which to raid so they can better defend themselves between raids. Thus more members survive for longer periods, increasing the strength of these bands. Soon the leaders have some members stay in the stronghold to guard it while other members go out raiding. Soon some of the members specialize as raiders, becoming the prototype of the Licensed Raider system. Some of these raiders specialize in interdicting the raiding activities of other bands encroaching on their territory and attacking "their" Gen villages. These raiders become the prototype of the Sime armies and border patrol. And because their fertility is going up now that they go a full month between kills, these bands of semi-settled Simes start having more babies. Because this means more children to feed, they begin to demand food as well from their Gen vassals, creating the prototype of the Genfarm. The children who grow up in a stronghold instead of wandering are more likely to survive long enough to change over, producing a whole generation of Simes growing up in a Sime culture, under the influence of a great leader. They are a little saner than their parents and build the stronghold-culture into the predecessor of settled Sime culture. They teach their children to expect to become Sime and consolidate their hold on their Gen vassals, taking direct control of their activities instead of just demanding that their immediate wishes be fulfilled. People are able to specialize and the first glimmers of a civilized society emerges among the Simes over the next several generations.

The Reconstruction

This is the period in which Simes and Gens independently seek to rebuild civilization in their respective societies. Some technology is rediscovered as Ancient books are found and deciphered. Territory borders become relatively stable and conflict is reduced to small confrontations along these borders, so that people living away from the frontier zones are in less immediate danger and can devote themselves to things other than immediate survival.

Settled Simes pay taxes to support the Pen system, which provides them a Gen to kill each month. But these Gens are drugged into a perpetual stupor, so that the kills they provide are about as satisfying to the Sime as a bowl of flavorless gruel would be to a civilized Gen. Thus those Simes who can afford the luxury prefer Choice Kills, self-aware Gens captured from Gen Territory by the Licensed Raiders. By controlling access to Licenses, the Territory government keeps the activities of its Licensed Raiders down to a level that doesn't provoke counter-raids from Gen Territory. Therefore these Choice Kills are very expensive, although there is some domestic production of self-aware Gens at a few special Genfarms, such as that run by Syrus Farris. But almost every junct Sime longs to have a Choice Kill as often as possible. Thus many Simes living near the border will often risk raiding on their own, capturing a Gen or two and risking not only the guns of the "Wild Gens" but the punishments of the Sime border patrol who doesn't want the Gens provoked. Every Sime that raids this way means one less Pen Gen that has to be provided, and thus allows the Pen system to avoid collapse. Also most Simes don't live more than ten or twenty years after changeover, limiting the number of kills each Sime will take in a lifetime during this early phase. But this settled lifestyle causes life expectancies to increase, putting a greater strain on the Pen system with each successive generation.

Those Simes who change over in Gen Territory and survive to escape usually fail to integrate with settled Sime culture. Instead they form small desperate bands of raiders much like the earliest Sime raider bands. These become the Freeband Raiders, staying on the edge of "respectable" Sime society and sometimes preying upon its Pens as well as villages on the Gen side of the border. The settled Simes send their armies to interdict the Freeband Raiders whenever possible because the activities of the Freebanders bring Gen retaliation down upon settled Simes. Fortunately most Freebanders don't live more than a year or two, with five years being the maximum for the rare tough Freebander. Unfortunately a constant influx of new recruits from Gen Territory replaces them, so the Freebanders remain a constant menace to those dwelling near the border.

The culture created by these forces is a very brutalized society, but it is a start. Most importantly the Pen system and Genfarms that supply them create places where Simes and Gens live together, even if under Sime mastery instead of as equals. Thus in time a Sime discovers that he doesn't have to kill -- that Gens can give their selyn without dying and even love it. This Sime is Rimon Farris, who makes his discovery when his childhood beloved, Kadi Morcott, establishes as a Gen. When he is near death she offers herself as his kill and instead gives him transfer. Delighted at this discovery, Rimon tries to teach it to his father, but is instead cast out of the family Genfarm.

Rimon and Kadi then go to the border to homestead and discover Fort Freedom, a community of Simes who grew up in Gen Territory. These Simes are led by Abel Verrit, who left behind the Freeband Raider lifestyle after discovering that Pen Gens aren't self-aware. Verrit offers hope to these Simes who were raised to believe they have become monsters. He teaches that they can discipline their "demonic" Sime nature and put it to God's purposes, and that their children can be "normal humans" (Gens) if the parents live a good life and restrain their Sime appetites.

After Rimon wins their trust they prove receptive to his idea of life without killing. Sadly his fumbling attempts to teach more Gens not to fear produce more disasters than successes. Then he discovers his ability to channel selyn to other Simes in need, and founds a new way of life. When he dies in a Freeband Raider attack, his son Zeth is thrust into the position of leadership of the small community.

The Early Householding Era

From the embattled community of Fort Freedom Zeth founds the House of Rimon. Other channels found their own householdings. However all these householdings lack some vital element, and they all fail. Zeth's son, Del Rimon, takes the splintered fragments of the House of Rimon and has to weld them into a new organization. He leads them from the old site of Fort Freedom to a new site to the south and east. But he still cannot find the vital spark that will weld this collection of confused individuals into a viable householding.

Into their number comes a "gypsy" who is actually a member of the Company, Rathor's agency in the world. (Rathor is of course the powerful esoteric "college" dedicated to the spiritual growth and reunification of humanity). This agent oversteps authority and gives Del Rimon the secret of the Reception, a sort of spiritual initiation which creates a binding force around the Sectuib, who can thus hold together the Householding. In a transcendental experience Del Rimon thus Receives Zeor and with it the obligation to grow, however painful that may be. This enables him to found the House of Zeor, the first true Householding. This event is so profound that its impact is at least on the level of the original Rimon's discovery that a Sime doesn't have to kill. Because of this and the similarity in the two names. Del Rimon and his grandfather become conflated into a single superhuman figure by later Householding historians.

The First Tecton

The first Tecton begins when Zeor founds a second House, thus necessitating some formal link between them. Other Householdings are created as each generation raises new leaders and new ideals to follow. Through the Tecton they keep in contact with one another and form a support network against the hostility of the junct society around them. Over hundreds of years the Tecton grows until it spreads across Nivet Territory, which has absorbed many satellite Sime Territories to form a vast territory stretching across much of the central continent. However the Householdings are scorned until the junct mathematician Zelerod rediscovers calculus and predicts that within a hundred years the Simes will kill all the Gens and then die of attrition, resulting in the extinction of humanity. Zelerod then dies attempting to disjunct because he is too old to retain the flexibility that permits a Sime to give up the kill. His conviction in the truth of his calculations and the actions he is willing to take as a result shakes the confidence of many juncts that they can continue their lifestyle indefinitely. However the prejudice against Householder "perversion" keeps many from trying to disjunct.

Not long afterward Klyd Farris becomes Sectuib in Zeor and takes as his First Companion Hugh Vallory, a Gen from out-Territory. Hugh Vallory then founds his own House of Rior, which becomes the center of the Distect philosophy. Meanwhile, in nearby Gulf Territory, the struggling House of Keon goes through massive changes with the arrival of Risa Tigue, a female channel of consummate business acumen and leadership potential, who becomes its Sectuib only after making Keon the source of the nearby junct town's prosperity. She then proceeds to use the same techniques in her plans to disjunct the entire territory. She gets most of the people in Gulf Territory to accept the Householdings as an alternate lifestyle instead of a perversion, and many of them even adopt a semi-junct lifestyle with occasional channel's transfers for themselves. But crisis approaches as drought and crop failures push the population toward Zelerod's Doom prematurely. Finally Klyd Farris, Hugh Valleroy and Risa Tigue must unite to take desperate actions and avert the disaster by transforming the Tecton from a loose organization of householdings into the Sime government and selyn-distribution system.

The Modern Tecton

The coup engineered by Klyd Farris results in a total change in the structure of Sime society. While all previous Sime societies were outgrowths of the structure of a raider-band, this society is based upon the role of the channels who had run the Householdings. But because the householders are a thin skin of decency on the top of a mass of people steeped in junct culture, stern rules are necessary to maintain order. But in time these rules harden into a faceless bureaucracy. This process is heightened as a result of the early death of Klyd Farris because of personal disputes with Hugh Valleroy over the Distect question. His successor, Muryin, destroys Zeor's physical plant and insists that Zeor must become a purely spiritual concept. The Distect then rebels and captures her in the Battle of Leander Field. In this debacle the Tecton crushes the Distect and executes all Simes who had been juncted by Distect transfers. The survivors of Rior flee up to the hills and hide, making a secret village in a valley.

Many years later Digen Farris becomes Sectuib in Zeor when his father and elder brothers die combating an outbreak of shaking plague. He then receives an injury that makes him unable to function as a Tecton channel, thus allowing him to pursue his dream of becoming a surgeon and taking surgical techniques into Sime Territory. But in doing so he becomes entangled with Rior and the Distect, ultimately leading to the destruction of Rior. He finally returns to the Tecton hoping to reform it, but is rebuffed because he is "technically junct," no longer able to confine himself to Tecton-standard transfers. He winds up running Rialite, the Tecton's main facility for training channels. There his daughter Ercy changes over and becomes the first Fully Endowed channel. She then flees to Rathor to save her sanity, only to come back to her father and die in childbirth, bearing an heir to Zeor.

However, Digen ultimately passes the position of Sectuib in Zeor to Ercy's grandchild, Mairus, the first channel to grow up expecting Endowment. Mairus is also the inventor of attenuators as a comfortable alternative to retainers and then lobbies the Gen governments to give them legal sanction. He then lends his support to the work of Laneff, a disjunct Farris ren-Sime trying to discover a way to distinguish Sime from Gen before birth and thus eliminate forever the horror of the Berserker. But the Diet, a terrorist Gen group who wanted to destroy all Simes, lures Laneff into a kill. She is rescued by Yuan, Sosectu of a reconstituted Rior that touts a philosophy known as "neo-Distect." Through her researches she is able to develop a drug that enables a Sime to disjunct long after First Year and at the same time avoid aborting her unborn daughter. However this drug proves to be quite dangerous and can never be useful as a routine means of disjunction. Laneff's successes enable Mairus to win his bid for election as World Controller. He then sets in motion actions that lead ultimately to the dissolution of Territory borders and thus true Unity between Sime and Gen. This enables humanity to focus its efforts upon space exploration.

The Space Age

Once Simes and Gens begin working together in harmony as one world state instead of wasting their energy in fighting one another, they began to make progress towards rediscovering space travel. Even as early as Mairus' time there were orbiting satellites, but very little in the way of humans in space. Now bases are established on the moon and Mars, and finally the first interstellar drive is developed. Using Simes as astrogators because of their psychospatial awareness, humanity is able to go to the stars once again. The Tecton spreads with it, although adherents of Distect philosophy remain in spite of all attempts to root it out. Humanity meets other species, all of them like the Ancients in being without the Sime/Gen metabolic polarity. On one world Yone Farris founds a new way of life, neither Tecton nor Distect. After many centuries Klairon Farris, last Sectuib in Zeor, discovers Yone's world and brings it into the Tecton. When Yone's way of life is adopted, Klairon dissolves Zeor, as its spiritual force is no longer necessary to humanity's survival.

From Companion in Zeor #12

Last modified on 31 January 1998 at 1700