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Drakon - bioweapon/superwoman

14 Mar 2018 17:52 #58844 by AuGoose
Drakon - bioweapon/superwoman was created by AuGoose
Having just re-read it, I have to share Drakon by S.M. Stirling. Staring a genetically engineered superwoman from an alternate timeline (the end product of three other books in the series), the homo drakensis is in her own words, "designed as a predator, and you humans are my prey species." She sets out to contact her own timeline with the intention of starting a swift global takeover of this fresh world filled with feral humans (in her own timeline, humans have long since been domesticated to serve her own breed). But if Plan A fails, she's perfectly willing to conquer the world herself - considering 1 draka vs 6 billion ferals to be the most invigorating odds she's faced in over 400 years.

Sex, violence, machinations. Folks might enjoy it. A lot.

www.amazon.com/Drakon-S-M-Stirling/dp/0671877119
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14 Mar 2018 22:47 #58845 by TwiceOnThursdays
Replied by TwiceOnThursdays on topic Drakon - bioweapon/superwoman
I'll second the recommendation.

It's an interesting plot of two forces from the future -- one that followed a more tech based path and another biology.

She's from the biology side, the result of centuries of focused breeding and genetic tinkering who was accidentally thrown into our time and world. (It's an alternative history time-line in the books)

It's been years since I read it, but I remember it being awesome. I should re-read it again.

THere are others in the series but I think they're mostly alternative history military sci fi. I've not actually read them, so if anyone knows if there is more great swm content in them, that would be awesome.

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15 Mar 2018 19:23 #58847 by Jabbrwock
Replied by Jabbrwock on topic Drakon - bioweapon/superwoman
Drakon is a pretty cool book, but the alternate history books are pretty rubbish. They take an alternate history that requires multiple, incredibly unlikely divergences from our own and try to run with it. The stories are OK if you like stories where super-Nazis win, but the world building just doesn't stand up. And they're not even "super" in the sense we'd like it here, just super in being more Nazi than the actual Nazis were.
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15 Mar 2018 19:56 #58848 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic Drakon - bioweapon/superwoman
Stirling has a history of nasty alternate history, going back to the Draka series (1988-2000). The first book in that series made me want to NOT read anything else of his.

--Brantley

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15 Mar 2018 20:28 #58849 by TwiceOnThursdays
Replied by TwiceOnThursdays on topic Drakon - bioweapon/superwoman
It's great to hear from people who have read the other books. It sounds like I shouldn't bother. Since there already aren't enough hours in the day, that's good to know.

Drakon is worthwhile, or at least I remember enjoying it. I do remember having enough ?! moments that gave me pause to read any of the other books in the series. It mostly carries through with the focus on how capable she is and that she's evil. Though IIRC, I remember having some moments where I wasn't quite sure if the author thought she was or was merely trying to do a good job in explaining her moral framework (She does have one) ... It has been awhile, but that's how I remember parts of it.

I will say more positive books in this vein would be Friday by Heinlein and The Last Dancer by Daniel Keys Moran. (That is Genetically enhanced female main lead.). And maybe a shoutout to female Frankenstein (term in the book for a modded human) in the Moreau series by S. Andrew Swain (she stars in Emperors of the Twilight, but is also in the first book Forests of the Night).

I'm sure most here have heard of Friday, but the Last Dancer and Emperors of the Twilight are probably less known.

I love the Last Dancer. It's Moran's best book, and if it has a fault, it's that we don't get enough of the main her (still get plenty but there are a LOT of characters in the book). (Well also he's got this super-long cylical timeline that spans books, and he refers back to it, but it all comes together in this book and explains what you need to know.)

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15 Mar 2018 20:31 #58850 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic Drakon - bioweapon/superwoman
((looks out window)) You're suggesting its highly unlikely the world could be overrun by Nazis or similar racial supremacists?

Lets just say we have VERY different impressions of S.M. Stirling's world-building skills.
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16 Mar 2018 02:05 - 16 Mar 2018 02:07 #58851 by Jabbrwock
Replied by Jabbrwock on topic Drakon - bioweapon/superwoman

brantley wrote: Stirling has a history of nasty alternate history, going back to the Draka series (1988-2000). The first book in that series made me want to NOT read anything else of his.

--Brantley

It's not that it's disturbing, it's bad. The world building just fails on pretty much every level. There is no way the Draka would have been allowed to survive, much less conquer the world, given their provocative behavior toward enemies who had the power to crush them at various times.

Optimistically, they would have been nuked to oblivion in the 1950's. Very likely, their power structure would have been disassembled after the Wilberforce reforms in the British Empire, of which they were still a part at the time.

I won't go into the implausible technological progress after WW2 - or the Eurasian war as it was called in the universe. But that's a plausibility issue too.
Last edit: 16 Mar 2018 02:07 by Jabbrwock.

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16 Mar 2018 02:20 - 16 Mar 2018 02:51 #58852 by Jabbrwock
Replied by Jabbrwock on topic Drakon - bioweapon/superwoman

AuGoose wrote: ((looks out window)) You're suggesting its highly unlikely the world could be overrun by Nazis or similar racial supremacists?

Lets just say we have VERY different impressions of S.M. Stirling's world-building skills.


He may have been trying for Nazis, but what he build was the Confederate States of America, only based in South Africa. A society based on slave labor will have no ability to compete in even a semi-modern world, which is why the CSA lost in the real world. Had they been Nazis, wiping out the native African population to raise their own people as both warriors *AND* industrialists, it would have been much more believable, and even more horrible. But the power of the slave economy was completely played out by the 1900's.

Edit: poorly conceived argument about the way Europe at the time would have perceived Draka "morality" removed.

The Draka repeatedly provoked every major power and got no response. They violated the colonial territories of every imperialist country, and nobody noticed. By 1900 at the very least, they should have been number 1 with a bullet on a list of global threats, and nobody took any serious action to prepare themselves, much less actually stop them. They were an obvious threat, and yet WW2 started pretty much the same way it did in the real world - with German aggression. Not gonna happen in a world with the Draka, sorry - at that point they already had conquered the whole of Africa and the Middle East. *NOBODY* would be making military plans that looked even remotely like what we had in our own WW2. Nor would anybody have any delusions by then that the Draka absolutely and forthrightly intended to conquer the entire world, and enslave everybody in it who was not them.

Somehow they were able to do this while maintaining a degree of police state surveillance and militarized police presence that would be impossible to maintain even in Stalinist Russia. Their society as presented cost enormous amounts of resources just to sustain without collapsing, and yet they somehow were able to spend those resources *AND* build the world's best military force by a huge margin, conquer and pacify two entire continents, and achieve technological progression in the 1960's that we still can't figure out in 2017, while using inferior computers.

It's a well conceived and hauntingly horrifying but absurdly implausible alternate history. And it's worse because it could have been much more believable without being any less horrible.
Last edit: 16 Mar 2018 02:51 by Jabbrwock.

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16 Mar 2018 12:54 #58854 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Drakon - bioweapon/superwoman

Jabbrwock wrote:

brantley wrote: Stirling has a history of nasty alternate history, going back to the Draka series (1988-2000). The first book in that series made me want to NOT read anything else of his.

--Brantley

It's not that it's disturbing, it's bad. The world building just fails on pretty much every level. There is no way the Draka would have been allowed to survive, much less conquer the world, given their provocative behavior toward enemies who had the power to crush them at various times.

Optimistically, they would have been nuked to oblivion in the 1950's. Very likely, their power structure would have been disassembled after the Wilberforce reforms in the British Empire, of which they were still a part at the time.

I won't go into the implausible technological progress after WW2 - or the Eurasian war as it was called in the universe. But that's a plausibility issue too.

Jabbrwock wrote:

AuGoose wrote: ((looks out window)) You're suggesting its highly unlikely the world could be overrun by Nazis or similar racial supremacists?

Lets just say we have VERY different impressions of S.M. Stirling's world-building skills.


He may have been trying for Nazis, but what he build was the Confederate States of America, only based in South Africa. A society based on slave labor will have no ability to compete in even a semi-modern world, which is why the CSA lost in the real world. Had they been Nazis, wiping out the native African population to raise their own people as both warriors *AND* industrialists, it would have been much more believable, and even more horrible. But the power of the slave economy was completely played out by the 1900's.

Edit: poorly conceived argument about the way Europe at the time would have perceived Draka "morality" removed.

The Draka repeatedly provoked every major power and got no response. They violated the colonial territories of every imperialist country, and nobody noticed. By 1900 at the very least, they should have been number 1 with a bullet on a list of global threats, and nobody took any serious action to prepare themselves, much less actually stop them. They were an obvious threat, and yet WW2 started pretty much the same way it did in the real world - with German aggression. Not gonna happen in a world with the Draka, sorry - at that point they already had conquered the whole of Africa and the Middle East. *NOBODY* would be making military plans that looked even remotely like what we had in our own WW2. Nor would anybody have any delusions by then that the Draka absolutely and forthrightly intended to conquer the entire world, and enslave everybody in it who was not them.

Somehow they were able to do this while maintaining a degree of police state surveillance and militarized police presence that would be impossible to maintain even in Stalinist Russia. Their society as presented cost enormous amounts of resources just to sustain without collapsing, and yet they somehow were able to spend those resources *AND* build the world's best military force by a huge margin, conquer and pacify two entire continents, and achieve technological progression in the 1960's that we still can't figure out in 2017, while using inferior computers.

It's a well conceived and hauntingly horrifying but absurdly implausible alternate history. And it's worse because it could have been much more believable without being any less horrible.


I think that Stirling himself explained in several interviews that the entire point of the Draka series was to show the potential extent of Edmund Burke's quote "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". In this particular case both good and bad men did nothing as worst men conquered the world. Still, given that I believe that ti can be made a compelling argument about the fact that he really pushed it somehow.
I've not read any of those books myself, but a friend of mine who is a sci-fi nuts summed up his doubts this way: "It's like there's an invisible wall that separate the Draka from the rest of the world, so that their existance isn't just an anomaly, but an anomaly that doesn't induce any significant change in anything else. For all the intent and purposes the Draka could be aliens that appeared out of the blue during WW2."

Still, I'd like to point out that there are plenty of good sci-fi and fantasy stories that are based on premises that are just as shacky, if not more. For the sake of example, the wntire world of George Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" has medieval level technology, but seasons here last for years or even decades. This in and of itself is even shakier than the Draka in my book because it would condemn any scoiety that hasn't learned how to preserve ungodly amounts of food to starvation within a few generations. Yet, "A Song of Ice and Fire" is considered by many to be a good (if overhyped) series, because this extremely shaky premise serve the same purpose as the great An'Tuin in Discworld or the positronic brains of Asimov's robots: it's the clear signal that here is were your suspension of dibelief must engage. It's entirely possible that these premises would come in play later, but it's not required.
The issue with Draka is that, being an laternate history and not a purely and deliberate fantasy, our bar (as readers) for suspension of disbelief is artificially high. I've seen people slagging at Turtledove's Worldwar series for this reason, because they couldn't accept the idea of an alternate history involving something as massive as a full scale alien invasion in 1942.

(formerly Anon, still Librarian)

"What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?" ("Gentleman" John Marcone)

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