Saturday, 23 January 2016


SM Stirling contributed to Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series and it is unfortunate that Anderson did not likewise contribute to Stirling's Draka series. Both series share the premise that history might have diverged at an earlier stage with momentous consequences. Human sexual behavior varies enormously within a single timeline. How might it vary even more between timelines?

I am all for sexual freedom but between equals, not between masters and slaves. In Stirling's Drakon (New York, 2000), Chapter One, when the Draka Gwen visits a research station staffed entirely by homo servus, she is given flowers by an attractive adolescent boy and girl, the son and daughter of the Administrator and the head of research.

Later, Gwen's guardbeast scents and/or hears that someone is approaching her door. By sound and scent, she discerns who it is and answers the door naked. The boy and girl, naked except for flowers in their hair, present themselves with food and wine, apprehensive but excited. Gwen thinks that this is "'A charming gesture...'" (p. 13) The pleasure will be as intense as they can bear and enjoyable for her. As some of my countrymen would exclaim in disgust, "Charming!"

If drakensis and servus are on such trusting and intimate terms, can they not be equalized? After all, servus do scientific research with military applications:

"Back in the times of the Old Domination, when the Draka and their subjects had both been archaic-human, it had been impossible to entrust work like this to the underclasses. [Gwen] had seen the last of that herself, being the first generation of the New Race." (p. 16)

In a merely human society, there would certainly be a campaign to extend equal rights to subordinates who were both capable of and entrusted with advanced scientific research. However, the Draka have erected the barrier of species between themselves and their subordinates. The author is determined to pursue his dystopian premise all the way to its ghastly conclusion.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    The gratuitous, pointless, and needless lesbianism I see in some of S.M. Stirling's non Draka is the chief complaint I have with them. But not with the Draka series. Because sexual depravity, abuse, and perversion is a natural consequence of the Draka's drive to dominate and impose their will on non-Draka. So the lesbianism we see in the Draka books at least made sense.


    1. Kaor, Paul!

      I forgot to add I agree that it was unfortunate Poul Anderson contributed his own speculations about the Draka in a story. After all, it's not as tho he was against that kind of idea in principle: think of the contributions he made to Larry Niven's Known Space timeline in the Man/Kzin Wars series.

      But, we do have DRAKAS! which collects some stories Stirling authorized or consented to being written in his Domination timeline.


    2. There may be an echo of the Homines servi in Anderson's GENESIS, where we see genetic slaves, e.g., to quote from memory, "an anthropoid whose ancestors had been human, but who lived only to serve his master." On the other hand, Anderson had played with ideas like that decades before, so he need not have gotten the notion from Stirling.

      Best Regards,
      Nicholas D. Rosen

    3. Kaor, Nicholas!

      An excellent example from GENESIS. One I agree with! And you reminded me as well of the "draft animals" we see on page 120 of the hardcover version, when Kalava was driving his chariot to the Temple to consult Ilyandi the skythinker: "Four matched slaves drew the car. Their line had been bred for generations to be draft creatures--huge, long-legged, spirited, yet trustworthy after the males were gelded." Since GENESIS is set in the impoverished, dying Earth of a billion years from now, where suitable draft animals apparently no longer existed, it was at least understandable, if repulsive, why some in the future took and "remolded" humans to be draft beasts.

      And I agree Anderson most likely did not get such ideas from Stirling.