IN DEFENSE OF NEXT TUESDAY
Sitting around, trying to figure out a reason for Gens to need Simes, I began to think about the Age of Chaos--and the more I thought, the more reasons I came up with that the world pictured in House of Zeor could never come into existence.
Let's start at the beginning. We are the Ancients, so we know that the first Sime came into existence in 1976 or later; if there are presently Gens among us, none of us is capable of telling it.
Pollution, biological warfare, UFOs--whatever the reason, one day some high school kid goes into changeover. Chances are he is rushed to the hospital with what is thought to be flu or food poisoning. Doctors watch in horrified fascination as he develops tentacles. As everyone around him is very likely of an older, unmutated generation, there are no Gens to attract an instinctive attack. The doctors do everything they can, but in a few days he is dead of attrition. More cases follow, all over the world. Scientists try everything they can think of to save these children; about all they learn is that amputating the tentacles hastens death. All they can do is sedate the victims and watch them die. The lucky ones die in changeover itself.
It isn't long, however, before a Sime completes changeover in the presence of a Gen. I doubt that Betty and Elisabeth in "Notes on the Simelan Language" in Ambrov Zeor #1, intended to imply that Simes took time to "discover" that "their continued existence depended on a substance they called 'selyn,' " for the attack had to be instinctive or the Sime wouldn't live long enough to discover anything! The first killing takes place. If he doesn't get out of there very quickly, that Sime is restrained. Simes are still a very tiny minority of the population; it is rather easy to hunt them down, especially as people are starting to panic about them. It's not too long before augmentation-proof restraints are developed. As Simes cannot be allowed to kill, they continue to die of attrition.
All this, of course, assumes a rather humane(!) society, like our own. Even in the present-day U.S., undoubtedly once people learned that Simes killed "normal" people (no one but Simes can tell Gens from Ancients), a lot of Simes would be executed by fear-stricken "saviors of humanity" during changeover--and so would a lot of kids who really were stricken with the flu or food poisoning! In a more simplistic society, or in a war-torn world where the mutation had developed from radiation or germ warfare, it would undoubtedly become a law of survival to kill a Sime the moment he began changeover. Any Sime who escaped would be hunted down, and as he must venture among Gens once a month--and it wouldn't be long before the Gens discovered that and would know the date when the occasional Sime who escaped would have to turn up in some "normal" community again--it would be relatively easy to track him down and kill him. He would be forced to leave a new trail every month.
Ah, you say, but there began to be so many Simes, all with exceptional strength and perceptions, that eventually some of the escapees began to band together, and mapped out an area which they took over, and which later developed into Sime Territory. Sounds plausible, doesn't it? Unfortunately, there just can't be that many Simes, or Zelerod's Doom would have occurred many generations before the emergence of the first channel.
House of Zeor gives the impression that the Sime/Gen ratio is about 50/50, doesn't it? Of course, we all know immediately that that won't work, because back in the Age of Chaos, once everyone was either Sime or Gen, one feeding for the Simes and there would be no Gens left! The few children left to go through establishment will be equalled by the number who go through changeover, so that won't work.
Let's bring it way down, and say that 10% of the population is Sime. Before channels, nine months of feeding for the Simes and all the Gens are dead. 1%? 99 months, or a little over eight years to Zelerod's Doom. At this ratio, of course, just how difficult would it be for 99% of the population to wipe out the deviant 1%, especially as it is so easy to kill a helpless Sime going through changeover?
Obviously, it now becomes necessary to change history. Perhaps early Simes didn't kill, but that fact has been wiped out of both Sime and Gen history texts? Let's posit that a Sime does not by nature kill to obtain selyn. The victims of the first Simes would be friends and relatives--picture a pretty little candystriper visiting the poor boy who's been brought in with a terminal case of tentacles. She's the first Gen to come near him since changeover was completed during the night. Instinctively, he holds out his hands to her. Curious, she takes his hands, and is slightly startled when the tentacles wrap around her forearms. But she feels very sorry for him, as she knows he's dying, as all these strange cases have for the past few weeks. Pity, not panic. Transfer occurs. She doesn't know it, but she's saved his life.
Similar cases occur around the world. "Normal" people agree that while the tentacles are pretty yucky, the kids who are developing them seem to gain some useful abilities. If keeping them alive means someone has to hold hands with them once a month--what the hell? Why not?
Perhaps for several generations Simes and Gens live in harmony. Simes are a small percent of the population, but they seem to be acquiring an inordinate amount of the world's goods. They think funny too--very hard to understand them. They seem to be gaining too much political power. Some Gens begin agitating against Sime power. Simes are accused of being parasites, literally living on the life force of the rest of society.
Here and there, parents begin to make the Sime the boogeyman. Children fear them. Eventually the inevitable happens: a Sime in deep need loses control and attacks a fearful Gen, who panics. Result: death to the Gen, egobliss to the Sime. What Gen is going to trust that Sime again? At his next transfer (undoubtedly taking place in jail as he awaits trial for murder), the donor is frightened. The Sime finds, to his horror, that egobliss is addictive. He kills again.
Panic spreads; other Simes find fear in their victims triggering egobliss. Once they have experienced it, they must have it again--now they can't help killing! The Gens start a Wipe-Out-the-Simes campaign; the Simes, a powerful minority who by this time have a good communications network, work together to retreat into a single area, and set up Sime Territory. The Age of Chaos occurs. Both sides rewrite the history books to wipe out all memory of the time when Simes and Gens lived together in harmony. Simes were a small minority to begin with, and a good many were wiped out in the Age of Chaos. Despite the fact that now any Gen who comes in contact with a Sime panics and dies in transfer, the number of Simes is so small that the birth rate of Gens can postpone Zelerod's Doom indefinitely. By the time of the channels and Householdings, however, Sime science has surpassed Gen science; Sime population is growing faster than Gen population. Zelerod's Doom is looming on the horizon.
As you can see, this theory of Sime/Gen history overcomes the problem of statistics in the implied world of HoZ, and provides a better explanation of how the Simes would have preserved more of the science of the Ancients that the Gens. As a mutation causing immediate chaos in the world, they would not have survived at all; as mutation which gradually led to a time of chaos, they would have time to organize, and a chance to take records with them in their retreat into Sime Territory.
I'm sure other readers will be interested in filling the gaps in this history--but we've got to fill the gaps in Sime history as it stands, or for the Simes there won't be a next month . . . and for the Gens there won't be a next Tuesday!
Go to Rimon's library top page , Alphabetical Fiction list , Author's List , featured Authors Page, Ambrov Zeor Page