Sime~Gen Perspectives Newsletter for August 1999 Issue #9

In this issue:


2. Feature Article Origin of the Farris name

3. Editorial Are You Enjoying

4. Future Plans

1. NEWS From COMPANION IN ZEOR Karen Litman reports:

"I have a number of stories I am reading through for consideration for A COMPANION IN ZEOR. I've contacted the authors privately to tell them I've received their pieces. As soon as I can finish reading each one, I will get back to them, with comments for further development. I am looking forward to giving fans new Sime~Gen fiction online."

2. FEATURE ARTICLE Jacqueline: on the origin of the Farris Name.

This was prompted from the following question from: Gry Heidi Nordhagen

"By the way, one thing I have been wondering about ever since the first time I read one of the Sime~Gen books: where did your subconscious dredge up the Farris name??? No, I don't know - or know of - anybody with that name. On the other hand, I know about the Farris Lake and the Farris River just outside the town of Larvik, in southern Norway."

The actual answer is lost in the mists of time. I don't remember EVER not-knowing the name of this genetically challenged family.

I must have been about 15 at the time I named the Farrises, and I'm 57 now. The first to be named was Digen Farris.

Farris was to me at that time a fairly ordinary, common family name -- which I felt was just a variant of Ferris as in Ferris Wheel.

At that time (1955 or 1956 or there about -- to around 1960) the THEORY of DNA/RNA as a genetic code was making newspaper front page stories, and Nobel prizes. It was the considered opinion of these science writers that it was theoretically impossible for scientists ever to "read" the genetic code. SF writers, however, were already proceding upon the assumption that it would be no problem at all to read the code, and then to engineer variations. All this thinking was way, way beyond the ability of ordinary people to comprehend, and I was the only living person I knew who could pronounce the words in which one discussed such matters!

The most prevalent theme in SF at that time was the "after the bomb" story -- peopled with characters who were mutants because of radiation poisoning. My favorite was _Star Man's Son_ by Andre Norton.

All the "after the bomb" stories with mutants as characters were predicated on the assumption that mutation was inherently BAD, that the character of people would not be changed by it except for the worse, (destroying civilization would make everyone into survivalists with no thought for any stranger except to murder them on sight), and that only by sheer accident would anything good come of mutation.

The "good" would be "powers" such as telepathy or telekinesis -- and only the very rare "hero" would ever respond to possessing power like that by considering the morality and ethics involved in the use of power. In other words, the underlying themes were always "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

But I had grabbed hold of the theory of sf-story-generating. I realized that all these authors were missing a bet, buying into an assumption set prevalent in our society rather than thinking for themselves as sf/f was suppposed to train the mind to do.

So, seeing all these stories all with the same theme, -- written as if there were no other possible thematic statement to make on the subject of mutation and power -- I decided to launch my writing career (yes I'd decided to be a professional fiction writer when I was 16 years old) with a series of "after the bomb" stories about a mutation that a)was engineered by divine force to be to humanity's benefit even though humanity had just destroyed the world because of greed and fear, and b)would bestow true POWER (the Endowment) to which the dominant response would NOT BE to become corrupted, absolutely or otherwise.

That is not to say that SOME humans wouldn't abuse power -- there are always some. But that the civilization and society that are reborn from the ashes would be dominated by those who shun the abuse of power (who don't Kill -- who don't take what they Need (selyn) without asking, but who ask politely and offer recompense.)

To make this sf premise "work" -- I had to invent a theory of how it could be that humans would go from the way the really are now to how they had to be then in order to create such a civilization.

So I thought about it from an sf writer's point of view, and I invented REINCARNATION (without knowing that word for it) without ever having heard of that theory. (yes, I led a sheltered life)

I thought I had a brilliant original theory. *sigh*

I invented a world where every time you act on greed or fear, you die. Ugly, bad nasty deaths, too. Even the dimmest witted among us would realize after a few deaths that greed and fear are not useful responses to the world and change. As billions of souls went through this process, eventually the majority of humans alive in the world (who lived long enough to mature, that is) would have a little tiny bit more compassion in their characters than your ordinary Ancient like you and me.

Just the tiniest change in a large number of individuals would shift the paradigm underlying the entire civilization.

All this I invented when I was 15 to 16 years old. I began writing these stories down when I was about 27. In the interim, I had learned a lot about writing, about people, and about reincarnation and karma, not to mention RNA/DNA theory and science in general (I had taken a degree in Chemistry with minors in Physics and Math, and very little biology).

So by then I knew enough to include conflict in my story -- but it took Jean Lorrah to create the best CONFLICT of all -- Keon vs. Zeor.

Oh, and the name Digen -- that I made up whole cloth out of nothing at all. Just exactly like Reincarnation. I'm still waiting to find out where it is a common name!

Klyd is named for Clyde Beatty -- of circus fame. There used to be a radio show about his adventures trapping animals in "deepest, darkest Africa" for his circus. I loved that show but had never, ever, heard of anyone else named Clyde, so I wanted one of my characters to have that name. I just remembered that now because my daughter gave me some tapes of Superman meets Batman radio shows from the mid-1940's for my birthday. (the shows that first introduced Kryptonite) She knew I'd have preferred LONE RANGER shows, or "Straight Arrow" -- I don't think I ever mentioned Clyde Beatty to her -- but they didn't have any of those. These are tapes remastered from a Smithsonian collection.

3. Editorial

Are You Enjoying

We certainly hope you are. We are adding new features regularly, keeping up with chats and reviews, providing boards and listservs for you to be able to communicate, so you will feel at home with us

If you like what we're doing, would you like to help us out? We can always use volunteers to review books (contact

Are you willing to do a bit of tedious but non-technical work? Before we can get the paid ads that will allow us to meet expenses and continue to give you free writing workshops, games, fiction, the upcoming postcard project, and all the rest, we have to make certain that every single link on every single page actually takes people who click on it to the place that is intended. And they must continue to work.

We have a program that tells us which internal links (to other pages on are broken, and with its help we are at this very moment reconnecting all of those. But at the moment the only way we know if links to websites NOT on no longer work is if somebody discovers and reports them. This is an ongoing consideration, not something that can be done once and forgotten.

So--if you know a program that can check external links, please let us know about it. I suspect that if none of our tech people has been able to find one it either doesn't exist or its price is beyond our budget. So that means finding _people_ to check external links--and somebody to organize those people so the same pages are not checked five times while others are never checked at all.

If you would like to help with this ongoing project by adopting a small handful of pages on which you check all the links every couple of weeks (like an organization that adopts a stretch of highway to keep free of litter, without the road kill or sunburn), please contact

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Have you read HOUSE OF ZEOR, the first Sime~Gen novel, by Jacqueline Lichtenberg? Want to re-read it, free of charge? Just go to ****************************************************************************** **

Want more fiction to read?

Have you explored Rimon's Library or the COMPANION IN ZEOR website? The web addresses are for the library site, and for the COMPANION IN ZEOR website. ****************************************************************************** **

4. Future Plans

We are very excited about our Postcard Project, "Flights of Fancy." This is our webmaster Marge's baby--a free site from which you can send electronic postcards to your friends and family. We are very proud to sponsor the very first such site on the Internet devoted exclusively to themes of Science Fiction and Fantasy! Watch for the announcement of the Grand Opening of Flights of Fancy--COMING SOON!

While Patric and Marge are planning a reworking of our look this Fall, as well as making it easier to find your way around the website, Jacqueline and Jean are plotting to make it possible for students to enter the fiction course at any time and work at their own pace--but that, too, is going to take some major reorganization. We hope to have it ready to go by Year's Turning.

Contributors this month include Jean Lorrah Jacqueline Lichtenberg Karen Litman

*Please Note all material posted on Official Virtual Tecton is copyright by Sime~Gen Inc. and ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED. TO GET YOUR SIME~GEN(tm) MATERIAL SANCTIONED FOR WEB POSTING or TO GET PERMISSION TO REPOST FROM OFFICIAL MATERIALS EMAIL AMBROVZEOR@AOL.COM, contact Sime~Gen (tm) is the trademark of a fictional universe ) copyright by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, 1969, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986 and Sime~Gen Inc. 1999

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