The Sime~Gen Universe
by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
and Jean Lorrah

Book review by Jaye
Copyright © 2005 by Jaye

Currently in print:
Out of print but available used -- hope to reprint soon:
Coming Soon

          In March, 1985, on college break, I walked into Gemco and found a strange book picturing people with tentacles on their arms in some kind of ceremony. The title was Ambrov Keon. Unknown author, Jean Lorrah. I ended up reading it all night, and thinking, "Wasn't there another book with someone with tentacles there at the store? I need to go see when it opens tomorrow..." I did. It was Unto Zeor, Forever, by Jacqueline Lichtenberg. What was going on? Two books about these Sime people, by two different writers? Within the next week, I had bought everything they had written, and by the time college started back in April, I was into my second reading of the series and was hunting the used bookstores for the unrelated and out of print other books by both women. (More about them in Empire, Lifewave, and Those Of My Blood.)

          Sime~Gen is a vast universe with eight books so far and dozens of fan stories, novellas and even several novels available at It grew organically from a concept originated by Jacqueline Lichtenberg decades ago and pollinated by a network of fan writers from the very beginning -- fandom was a way of life to Ms. Lichtenberg, co- author of Star Trek Lives! Fellow-writer Jean Lorrah got involved in the enterprise early on with First Channel and Channel's Destiny, and Zelerod's Doom co-written with Ms. Lichtenberg, and with a solo book, Ambrov Keon. Her take on the Sime~Gen experience adds a very different element that is completely compatible with Ms. Lichtenbergs, and fills out the universe in a very satisfying way.

          Jacqueline has coined the term "Intimate Adventure" to describe a super-genre that crosses genres -- it can be found in science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, action-adventure, and even horror. Sime~Gen is Intimate Adventure at its very best. In it, people solve their problems by communicating, rather than by blowing each other to bits, or hopping into bed. There may be hopping into bed or fighting, but there is a main problem that is resolved by communication.

          In the Sime~Gen universe, mankind has split into two branches. Children are like us Ancients -- undifferentiated. At puberty each person becomes Gen, and begins generating a life-force called selyn, which the other kind of person, the Sime, must have monthly to survive. If the Gen becomes frightened, though, the Gen dies and leaves the Sime addicted to the Kill. And so Earth has split into Sime Territories and Gen Territories with laws and customs matching the larity in local power. In Sime territory, Gens are cattle. In Gen territory, new Simes are hunted and killed.

          Enter a new development: the Channel -- a type of Sime able to collect selyn without killing and give it to Simes in need. Where Channels are recognized, Householdings grow up around them, small enclaves living in harmony -- still afraid of killing by accident, and developing rules of behavior to keep from doing so, but living without killing. Companion -- Gens specially trained to serve the Channels' need for selyn without fear -- become more and more crucial to the survival of the Households. The mirror relationship of Sime and Gen comes to be more and more appreciated by the Simes and Gens at the highest levels of sensitivity.

          First Channel focuses on Rimon, the first Sime to discover how to take selyn -- and Kadi, the very special first Companion. They find a community of Simes who had escaped from Gen territory after changeover, who would give anything they had to stop killing -- because unlike the Simes from Sime territory, they know Gens are people, not cattle.

          Channel's Destiny follows Zeth, the son of Rimon and Kadi, as he faces his fear of killing, knowing that his Need could drive him to it despite his commitment not to kill.

          House of Zeor, by Jacqueline, was the first book written in the series. Hugh's lady love has been kidnapped by Simes, and Hugh must strike an alliance with channel Klyd to track her down through Sime territory. The only way is to pose as Klyd's Companion. Hugh is completely inadequate to the task -- he is terrified of Simes!
This is a story of how he comes to respect, and ultimately love and trust, Klyd.

          Ambrov Keon. Set at the same time as House of Zeor, but in a different part of the country, Risa Tigue barely survives the hurricane that kills her father, and stumbles into a remote shrine where she encounters a Companion who recognises her as a powerful unidentified Channel. He convinces her to come to his Householding, but giving up her independence for cooperation doesn't come easily to her. She sees the advantages, but... She loves him, but...

          Zelerod's Doom, by Jacqueline and Jean. Hugh and Klyd must band together with Risa and Sergi from Ambrov Keon to avert Zelerod's Doom, the point where the number of Simes equals the number of Gens and the Simes kill off all the Gens and have no selyn left to live on the next month. This book has a horrendous cover --don't be put off by it! It is a thought-provoking study of relationships and trust-building, a very, very effective work that can tell you a lot about yourself. How do you structure your relationships? Read Zelerod's Doom -- and think about it. Study the differences in communication between Klyd and Hugh and Risa and Sergi. Be SURE you read Ambrov Keon and House of Zeor first, though.

          Unto Zeor, Forever, by Jacqueline, focuses on Klyd's several-times great grandson, Digen, the first Sime to study Gen surgery. Shorted good transfers month after months due to bureaucratic mismanagement of the system of Donors of selyn, Digen eventually succumbs to the temptation of a forbidden transfer partner and flees to a remote community and an idyllic marriage. But a plague hits and he faces the fight of his life -- for his life itself.

          Mahogany Trinrose by Jacqueline,focuses on Digen's daughter, Ercy. Digen's plague has left him debilitated, and her dream is to grow a mahogany trinrose and distill the precious stuff of legend, kerduvon, to restore him to health. Her cousin gets wind of it and leaks it to the press that she is practicing Magick!

          Rensime! by Jacqueline, is the last in the Sime~Gen published chronology of novels. Laneff is a biochemist working on a test to identify future Simes in the womb. It's personal to her: the Channels had predicted she would be Gen, and when she became Sime unexpectedly on a visit to Gen territory, she Killed in First Need, and subsequently had to break her addiction to the kill - the hardest thing she has ever done. And now, enemies of Sime~Gen Unity maneuver her into killing again.

          To Kiss or to Kill by Jean. Coming soon. I'll add a description as soon as I get a copy to read.

          If you want to read about application of error-recovery techniques, if you want to read about transformation of karmic bonds, read the Sime~Gen books. Re-read them. You'll see things the fifth reading you missed the first. You'll see how Zeth ties in with Digen. How Risa ties in with Jord -- a major character in First Channel.

          How Digen ties in with you.

          You'll have to look on the used section of Amazon or on for a lot of these. But you won't regret it!

          Blessings on you, and on your house.


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