Friday, 22 January 2016

Introducing The Final Society II

SM Stirling, Drakon (New York, 2000), Chapter One.

Gwen has camped alone in the Rockies reserve for six winter months.

While there, she made ash spears, an obsidian knife and a hide bag.

She will leave this gear at her campsite; two or three local species have hands and enough intelligence to use it.

The species include tough, fast breeding, feral humans and wild ghouloon packs.

Most bears hibernate but she killed and ate one.

When she says, "now," to her internal transducer, a wedge-shaped flying machine approaches, lands and opens its door.

Entering, she controls the internal temperature by voice and dons clothes, including a belt carrying an obsolete plasma gun and layer knife.

Gwen had carried the gun on the last human-hunts in North America, when they had used biobombs and kill-sweeps.

She has periodic DNA updates and combat biomods.

By voice, she renders most of the vehicle transparent, makes it lift, points it toward Reichart Station, specifies both speed and height and calls legate Tamirindus Rohm of the Technical Directorate.

A square of space shows the two hundred year old legate in zero G on the Kenia beanstalk with Earth, habitats, fabricators, a shuttle, an interplanetary craft and an interstellar colony ship under construction visible through her office window.

Tamarindus is reproducing but through a Rohm family brooder, not through an orthowomb; Rohmplace is on Mars.

The New Race are immortal and their population is declining.

Information can be downloaded into a transducer from the Web or, for security reasons, by couriered infoplaque.

On the plains of sparsely populated North America, there are wild horses, antelope, a million strong herd of bison and male centaurs killing a mammoth with arrows and lances while the females erect tents.

Flying above the centaurs, Gwen hears transducer news about:

wingflying in the domed Lunar craters;
a comet redirected into the atmosphere of the nearly terraformed Venus;
sailboats in a Martian ocean;
an interstellar probe that has found a habitable planet with an intelligent species;
politics;
tournaments;
duels.

The Bronze Age extrasolar natives will be domesticated in preference to breeding from frozen ova.

Gwen sees manor houses, dependencies and estates separated by wilderness, also smoke from a mountain, possibly caused by goblins - which make good game.

There are some manors in the Hudson valley but Long Island and Manhattan had never been resettled and therefore are free for Technical Directorate use.

In the Solar System, there are a hundred million of the New Race and a thousand million servus.

Apart from the single troubling matter of a master-slave system, it all sounds very impressive.

4 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    My memory might be at fault here, but I don't think the New Race Draka are naturally immortal. Rather, from time to time they need life extending treatments. Perhaps from the periodic DNA updates?

    And the worse thing we see in the master/slave system of the so called "Final Society" was how Homos servus was bred to WANT to be slaves.

    Sean

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  2. Sean,
    The word "immortality" is used on p. 4. It means that they do not die from old age, illness or anything but the most extreme violence.
    Paul.

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    Replies
    1. Kaor, Paul!

      I'll be looking up page 4 of DRAKON myself. But the mere fact New Race Draka needed DNA updates still seems suggestive to me. And it IS stated that unmodified humans and Homo servus needed life extending treatments to live longer than about 80.

      Sean

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      I looked up page 4 of DRAKON, where the word "immortality" is used. The sentence goes: "One of the drawbacks of immortality was that promotion became positively glacial, even with the population decline." I'm still not convinced New Race Draka were naturally immortal. The mere mention of DNA updates and life extending treatments continues to make me think members of the New Race needed those things to live longer than about 80 or 90.

      This use of "immortality" could simply be an example of words being used loosely. That is, an indefinite prolongation of one's life might FEEL like immortality for all practical purposes. And, if you could be killed, either accidentally or intentionally, that shows you were not truly immortal.

      Needless to say, if you find evidence in DRAKON contradicting my skepticism, I will admit being wrong!

      Sean

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