15 May 2006: from Greer Watson to Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Something else. You say that a mild drug is used on Genfarms on the whole
population. I should think some form of mild tranquillizer. After all, it
would be really helpful for the people working on Genfarms not to be
stimulated by the breeders' emotions: you don't want to kill the breeding
stock just because someone bangs their foot on a hoe.
What other drugs would be needed? I know there are suggestions
sometimes about fertility drugs; but I suspect that selective breeding would
be more efficient. How does Gen fertility compare with that of the
Ancients? (I know Sime fertility is low.) My mother recently told me about
a student of hers from the West Indies: he is the youngest of thirty-six
children. Same mother: thirty six children. Starting at fifteen, ending
in her fifties. It was considered an unusually large family, because most
women “only” had ten or fifteen kids.
Mmmm...that would be a prize breeder for any Genfarm, methinks. I bet,
if decent breeding records were kept, not one of her children would be
culled, not even the sons.
Anyway, I reckon heavier drugs would be used on kids of establishment age on
the Genfarms. What sort of drugs would vary from Genfarm to Genfarm, and
from Territory to Territory. Some would kill young Simes in changeover;
some would cause retardation and other problems; and not everyone would use
You know it's quite possible that Sime chemists had already discovered
a drug to induce Noreen's Syndrome (Unto Zeor Forever), which is usually
fatal. Of course, post-Unity no one would ever dream of using it; and the
formula would be buried deep in the archives of the lab that developed it, or
destroyed and forgotten altogether.
The young Gens not taken to the Pens would be taken off the heavier drugs,
and—maybe after a period of withdrawal—would be kept only on the drugs
used on the breeders. After all, you don't want to risk side effects that
might affect fertility. You talk about the drugs not affecting selyn
production: remember: the selyn produced by the breeders is irrelevant
until they are culled. Their value lies in their fertility.
As you say, very heavy drugs would be used on anyone culled to be taken
for the Pens. The fear drugs were probably originally developed to counter
individual reaction to over-drugging, so that numbing lingering effects
would not affect the satisfaction of the kill. Then it would be used by
perverts to spice the kill, even with Choice Gens. But for Pen owners it
would actually have a practical use. (Is this is canon? I vaguely remember
reading this in House of Zeor.)
However, as you say, no drug of this sort would affect selyn production.
On the farms themselves: remember, the farm work is primarily done by the
Gens. And, on a day to day basis, the organization of life pretty well has
to be done by the Gens, too. The Genfarmers comprise maybe a dozen people
of both sexes, half of whom at any time are past turnover, at which time of
the month they can't go too near the Gens. They have to patrol the area
against Raider bands. I should think that that would be their principal
job, plus administrative work related to the Sime Territory government and
Pen deliveries. They can't be in the villages organizing the daily farm
And don't tell me they zlin any Raiders from a distance. They do, of
course; but they have to be near enough. A good sized Genfarm probably has
20,000 villagers in a fair number of moderate-sized villages. A dozen Simes
spreads pretty thin patrolling over an area that size.
Did you read the e-mail where I suggested that the maximum Sime
population was in the region of 15,000? That's the population of regular
citizens of the Sime Territories—not including the children of Simes, nor
Householders, nor Freeband Raiders. That's against some 7.5 million Gens
(and pre-Gens) in Sime Territory, most of whom would be on Genfarms.
You can massage the figures a bit; but it's still going to be an
enormous difference in numbers. Sime Territory is mostly Gens. There's no
way that such a tiny number of Simes, scattered in little Genfarming
administration centres, or living in a mere handful of little towns they
call “cities”, can ever be hands-on in the day-to-day running of the lives
of all those Gens.
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