12 May 2006: from Jacqueline Lichtenberg to Greer Watson
Oh, I nearly forgot about this amidst today's welter of to-do's!
Let's see what I can get read before I must go.
As a writer, I feel that it's counter-productive to generalize. “Kids on
the big Gen Farms” are all treated the same, for example—I can't go with
If someone wants to do a story about a place where the situation is very
different, that's fine—you just have to include explanations of how this
locale got that way. And around the world, you will find at least one
example of every variation you can possibly imagine and even more. People
are creative. Don't sell them short by over-generalizing.
All big Genfarms are not the same. All Territories are not the same.
However, I did establish that Simes who changed over after being born and
raised on a Genfarm or in some Pen never come quite “right”—intelligence
takes a hit, early education, language skills—they just can't “hack” Sime
society. So they end up sweeping floors, or as Licensed Raider muscle and
such jobs. (Body guards maybe.) But again, you can't generalize.
Individuals break the mold.
Other than the tendency toward sweeping generalizations though, you are
nailing the major trends that surge through the population causing various
individuals to leap forth to solve the problems.
And don't forget aesepsis as a contributing factor to Sime population and
Gen population, too.
And don't forget the Starred Cross Shrines, and the covert action of the
gypsies who maintain them.
And don't forget trade—food is being imported, varying the diet,
And don't forget genetics. Even at the time of ZD, we're still in a
fast-furious mutation rate—gradually this is settling down and more and
more Simes are more and more similar to one another (and Gens too are
mutating). In figuring your birth rates, don't forget aborted fetuses and
early deaths from non-viable mutations still appearing. That is an effect
that may well be very localized in certain populations—more here than
Gradually over centuries, the sub-mutations are selecting for longer
lifespan potential (transfer and Sime/Gen contact allowing).
There are lots and lots of factors sloshing things around so that it turns
out that the North American population (already very mongrel in genetics)
ends up producing this revolution first—but that doesn't mean it isn't
happening independently elsewhere, too.
As you point out, the demographic forces under the surface are irresistible.
Have a great weekend, and I'm sorry I nearly forgot to answer this in the
helter-skelter of “life”.
Greer's last e-mail
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