Sime~Gen Novels From Meisha Merlin Publishing

Comment on Sime~Gen & Catherine Asaro's Skolian Empire Series


Jana Paniccia


To me, the Sime~Gen books resonate with a trueness that I find lacking in a lot of other books - the emotions are real, evocative, and compelling. Moreover, the books do more than tell single stories - they detail a cultural evolution that spans thousands of many other books do that? I think that's one of the reasons I've found it so easy to get tied into the world: not only are the stories fascinating, but they are also embedded in real, distinct, cultures. I've studied cultures academically, so when I saw the complex - realistic - interaction of societies and cultures in Sime~Gen, I was hooked.

The series that comes closest, in my opinion, to Sime~Gen is Catherine Asaro's Skolian Empire series. Asaro weaves a complex universe of societal and cultural dependencies and conflicts - full of adventure and romance. 

Yet, while Asaro's novels are grand adventures and romantic stories in their own right, they are not quite as satisfying to me as the Sime~Gen books. This is because while the Skolian novels often involve romances that cross cultural divides, they barely touch on the internal culture-clashes taking place. I kept waiting for Asaro to delve further into the more controversial aspects of the two cultures inherently at odds, but those were often left in the background. In a sense, the journeys of the individuals within the novels seemed just a tad too easy, not in the physical sense, but in the emotional - the internal sense.

I can't think of any Sime~Gen reader ever thinking that the emotional/cultural journeys of Hugh and Klyd, Risa and Sergi, Digen and Ilyana, were ever just a bit too easy.

The Sime~Gen universe stands alone because it takes interdependent cultures and shows the real struggle for integration and trust, and the fact that much of it comes *after* the fact. In my opinion, it is the best take on cultural interdependancy fiction I've ever seen. And the books open the doors to so many other questions that are fascinating to contemplate - not just cultural ones, but scientific ones, and life ones. There's a depth to the world that leaves so much to explore and be curious about, whereas so many books are snapshots of life in a world without the full collective legacy needed to make the world truly live.