Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Light In The Darkness

Because of the pessimism of SM Stirling's Draka series, I could not be confident that the fourth novel, Drakon, would have a conventional happy ending. It does, although the Epilogue reveals that the Draka's clone has escaped - potential sequel territory or just a reminder that history continues. Current experience is only the latest installment.

Stirling's premise:

"What...if a fragment of [the South Atlantic system of slaves and plantations] had fallen on fertile ground, and grown?" (Drakas!, p. 3)

- obliged him to show us the Draka conquering the whole Earth and building their Final Society. However, they can be defeated. First, they are prevented from annexing Earth/2. Secondly, the Archon informs Gwen that:

"'The Samothracians attacked, with moleholes in place. We stopped them, but only just." (Drakon, p. 358)

Only just! But the Draka intend to continue conquering indefinitely. That means that it is only a matter of time before they "' into more than [they] can handle...'" (p. 276) They have no unrealistic belief in their own undefeatability and their computers must be able to calculate how soon they are likely to experience defeat. Anyone else would ask: how can we start to avoid conflicts in order to increase the probability of our long term survival? But mere survival is of no interest to the Draka.

They will be cautious in paratemporal explorations because they know that there are post-industrial civilizations in nearby timelines. Nevertheless, such civilizations might explore cross-time and find the Draka.

They are fairly sure that there are no technological species nearby in the galaxy but:

they intend to conquer the entire galaxy;
it is possible that there are nearby civilizations whose electromagnetic signals have not yet reached the Solar System.


no guarantee of success in any given conflict;
increasing probability of defeat over time;
no possibility that the Draka will reform themselves or pull back.

The Defeat of the Domination seems to be a long term probability and thus a possible sequel. But, in any case, this series could continue indefinitely in both space and time.


Anonymous said...

Kaor, Paul!

From Stirling's posts on Usenet, he was planning a sequel, UNTO US A CHILD, it he did not, in the event, write it.

Best Regards,
Nicholas D. Rosen

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Nicholas!

I too have heard of Stirling's proposed sequel to DRAKON. I think legal difficulties with a former publisher prevented UNTO US A CHILD from being written or published. A pity, of course!

And I think the title is taken from the Bible, the book of Isaiah.


Paul Shackley said...

Nicholas and Sean,
Isaiah 9. 6-7. It is regarded as a Messianic prophecy and set to music by Handel.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Exactly what I thought, having read the Bible myself. I simply didn't recall the exact location. I looked up Isaiah 9.6-7. And I noticed how the Catholic Douai/Reims/Challoner worded it somewhat differently. Stirling probably used the Anglican Authorized Version.