Katie Filipowicz Steinhoff hand-sketched for me a set of working maps for the action of House of Zeor that somehow survived the ravages of time. When Karen MacLeod thought to ask him, Ronnie Bob Whitaker retrieved these sketches from the moldering files and scanned them. While Graig Kreindler was working on the maps you see in this volume, we gave him Ronnie Bob's scans, and suddenly he knew exactly what readers would want to see. If it hadn't been for Katie's work so many years ago, you wouldn't see these lovely maps now.
House of Zeor is the first of 8 novels in the Sime~Gen Universe published prior to 2000. With the release of the Meisha Merlin hardcover and Trade Paperback New Sime~Gen Releases starting in 2003, there will be new novels added to the series.
Some of these novels are by "Jacqueline Lichtenberg, www.simegen.com/jl/ " some by "Jean Lorrah and Jacqueline Lichtenberg," or by "Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah" or by "Jean Lorrah" www.jeanlorrah.com alone. Confused enough?
Jean and I have been confusing ourselves since 1975 when House of Zeor brought us together. We had known of each other because we both had been contributors to the first Star Trek fanzine, Spockanalia, and one of Jean's stories from Spockanalia was discussed in Star Trek Lives! (Bantam paperback by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak and Joan Winston, 1975). Star Trek Lives! had been written between 1970 and 1974.
But shortly after the hardcover first edition of House of Zeor came out from Doubleday in May of 1974, followed by Star Trek Lives! from Bantam Paperbacks in July of 1975, someone sent me a review of HoZ by Jean Lorrah. At that time, there was already a fanzine devoted to the Sime~Gen Series called Ambrov Zeor, even though there were only two works in print in that Universe, a short story (Operation High Time in January 1969 issue of IF MAGAZINE OF SCIENCE FICTION) and the Doubleday hardcover edition of HoZ.
I wrote to Jean and asked if we could reprint her review in that Sime~Gen fanzine. She was bewildered because she had called the novel a "typical first novel" and then proceeded to raise all the questions that the book did not answer. She was clearly intrigued by the premise but not impressed by the writing skills. She didn't know it was the first novel in what was planned to be a very, very long series, and that I'd learned a lot about the craft since I'd written HoZ in 1970.
In the course of marketing HoZ, I had met Marion Zimmer Bradley and Hal Clement, both of whom taught me the craft and trade of writing and I was hard at work on my second Sime~Gen novel, Unto Zeor, Forever. I realized immediately that Jean had much to teach me about writing craftsmanship, and got her involved in the drafting stage of that second novel. Turned out to be a great move because the novel won my first Award for me, and drew Jean into creative participation in Sime~Gen.
Sime~Gen would be entirely different today without Jean. No Tigues, no Keon, no Gulf Territory, and who knows if I'd ever have written the prequel and sequel to HoZ, Ambrov Keon and Zelerod's Doom? There surely would have been no characters such as Abel Veritt, the shady skaliwag Oliver Tigue, nor the first world famous "rock musicians" Zhag and Tonyo - all of whom substantially changed the direction of Sime~Gen.
Jean told me recently: "Hugh and Klyd just grabbed me and dragged me kicking and screaming into your universe. I had to know the answers to so many questions--and the only way to get them was to write the stories."
So many others have felt the same way that in 1999, we gave up and incorporated Sime~Gen because, though I had created and launched the Sime~Gen Universe stories alone, Jean and her fans had contributed so much of what we regard today as canon that this fantasy universe is a joint construction.
Since the preface to the 1981 House of Zeor paperback edition was written, the Sime~Gen Universe has proliferated, making new fans, attracting new writers and artists, and creating 6 fanzines each with many issues.
In 1995 and 1996, printing prices went up, postage went up, story contributions went down, and the distribution base for the fanzines shrank. I assumed people weren't interested anymore, and told Kerry Lindemann-Schaefer aka Kerwin L. Schaefer http://www2.cconnect.net/kerry/Default.html and Karen Litman (now Karen MacLeod) to close down the fanzine publishing operations.
During the weeks after the announcement of the decision to close down, we heard (by snailmail) anguished protests from fans who were working on new stories for the 'zines. "Go to the Web!" they cried. "It's Free!"
Then we suddenly had an email Listserv created by Leigh Kimmel www.simegen.com/kimmel.html (editor of the Sime~Gen APA 'zine, Tecton Star which is now also posted online), and from the Listserv, people got to gether and generated websites which we called The Virtual Tecton. Ronnie Bob Whitaker scanned and OCR'd millions of words of fiction which we are still gradually posting to the web between posting the new stories, novellas and novels.
Each of the fanzine stories chosen for posting had been through the writing school process that Jean and I invented based on our own learning experiences with editors of Star Trek fanzines where the quality and craftsmanship standards were often higher than those of the Manhattan based publishers. Unlike many Trek writers, the Sime~Gen writers have created new characters, and explored times and situations not developed in the published novels. As a result, Jean and I had to keep inventing new background for them to write against. And now they are inventing it for themselves. Much of that material is now posted on the web with new fan material recently created for the web. See http://www.simegen.com/sgfandom/ to read it free.
By expanding the canon, we have provided a coherent but growing and varied background for the fan writers -- resulting in a body of work which can be regarded as a cohesive whole. Many of the "fan" written stories are now on the master chronology, posted online for ready reference. New and seasoned fans will find links to the chronology, audio-files of music and Simelan pronunciation, and much more on http://www.simegen.com/sgfandom/welcommittee/
And with each new story a writer would present to the fanzines, we would teach that writer one or two new Worldbuilding Craftsmanship techniques that we had learned from other writers or editors such as Marion Zimmer Bradley or Sharon Jarvis. Very quickly, we realized that not only were we fleshing out the skeleton of the Sime~Gen Universe, establishing canon not in the published novels, but we were also running a writing school that was turning out new professional writers.
Karen Litman (now returned to her maiden name, MacLeod), editor of Companion In Zeor,the third Sime~Gen Universe fanzine, volunteered to run CZ as a web-based publication. At that time, her computer was barely web-capable, and she wasn't sure if html was a typo or a brand of hot-dogs. Now she is a professional book editor for the e-publishing trade, and part of the upper management team that runs the Sime~Gen domain http://www.simegen.com working in both the Webmaster department and the Sysadmin's department.
One of the first things we did on the Virtual Selyn Listserv was to take a vote and alter our designation from Sime/Gen to our web-based identity, Sime~Gen.
Robyn King-Nitschke linked our many scattered websites in a webring. Anne Phyllis Pinzow, a media professional, wrote a Sime~Gen feature film script which was remarkably well received in Hollywood circles but hasn't sold yet. Jean Lorrah leapt forth and with Jenn and Dancer Vesperman assisting, created simegen.com. A group of fans began a nightly S~G role-playing game on AOL and moved to IRC.
We lost access to the University Listserv - an event viewed as a major emergency by a number of fans.
Meanwhile, Jenn and Dancer Vesperman, professional programmers specializing in the Internet, created us our own server upon which simegen.com could run and the Listserv migrated onto that machine -- which then migrated across Australia when the Vespermans moved to a new job. Five months later, after Hercules (uh - Dancer Vesperman) performed at least seven Herculanean hardware and software Labors that would put any seven episodes of The New Adventures of Hercules to shame, Jenn and Dancer had the Listserv running on simegen.com and us launched onto the web on a commercial server where Sime~Gen is just a small part of the whole. Three years later, we had outgrown our first home, and had to move the domain to a larger server and faster connection with a new Webmaster and System Administrator, Patric Michael.
Jenn made us a java based chatroom and then made it IRC capable. With Bek Oberin - another professional programmer, Jenn has created a number of customized Tech Tools for us. Jenn is also one of the architects of the professional Sime~Gen game http://unity.simegen.com/gamers/rpg/ .
At the same time, the IRC gamers ( three or maybe four separate scenarios were running concurrently) and other talkative groups have had meetings on simegen.com as well as the Undernet.
Marge Robbins, another writer who started with Ambrov Zeor many years ago, then created a Sime~Gen 'zine of her own, and many years later made me my very first "home page" on the web, became our first Webmaster and also Assistant Sysadmin. She constructed our very special Greeting Card section for simegen.com which contains Book Cards -- you can send an e-card to your friends that will include a Sime~Gen book cover, plus a message from the authors and a quote from the novel. And you can add your own comments. http://www.simegen.com/marketplace/ecards/authors/ and you'll also find other authors bookcards there.
WorldCrafters' Guild(tm) http://www.simegen.com/school/index.html is the writing school that grew out of our work with Sime~Gen fan writers, and has become much more. You will find free text material posted in http://www.simegen.com/writers/ where you will also find more material about the Meisha Merlin editions of the Sime~Gen novels.
We have a thriving and growing Reviews Department, where Marge works with Shari Brennan, and a bookstore in our Marketplace.
And if you are intrigued by the underlying Star Trek connection, www.simegen.com/out-t/reviews/rereadablebooks/trekcon.html check out the New York Times Book Reviews under our names or book titles, and pay particular attention to the article "Spock Among The Women" by Camille Bacon-Smith in the November 16, 1986 New York Times Book Review (front page, too). The article features my Star Trek fanzine series, Kraith, and Jean Lorrah's Star Trek fanzine series, Night of the Twin Moons -- which eventually led her to writing a number of New York Times Best Selling Star Trek Novels.
"Spock Among The Women" explains the kind of participatory fiction "story-tree" that Sime~Gen has become in less academic language than Bacon-Smith's widely acclaimed book, Enterprising Women, Television Fandom and the Creation of Popular Myth. This article might help dispel your confusion about a series that isn't a series written by so many people, yet forming a coherent whole.