House of Zeor (Sime~Gen, Book 1)by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
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The first published novel in this bestselling series asks the question: "What if the basic human nature suddenly changed?" Hugh Valleroy of the Gen Police undertakes a covert mission into Sime Territory to rescue the woman he loves from the Sime kidnappers who would use her to destroy his government. His protector and guide?--a Sime who carefully and deliberately plans to kill him!
The New York Times Book Review says of the Sime~Gen Series that "It calls to mind the Frank Herbert of 'Dune' and the Walter M. Miller, Jr. of 'A Canticle for Leibowitz'."
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I read this entire series as a teenager and I recently discovered they were available on ebook, so I purchase them for a second read. The basic premise is distopian science fiction where the human race has evolved into two parts. First, Simes, who consume life energy every month in order to live. Second, Gen "Generators" who produce the vital life force the Simes must have. When a Gen resists a Sime's attempt to take the life force, the Gen suffers pain and dies. Thus, humanity is split into two adversarial factions, constantly at war. They possess primitive technology and appear to live an agrarian lifestyle. Out of the chaos, Householdings emerge, the only places where Simes and Gens live in unity without Simes killing the Gens. House of Zeor revolves around the adventures of Hugh, a Gen policeman who is attempting to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend. Helping him, Klyd Farris is a channel, one of the rare Simes who takes life force from Gens and gives it to Simes to keep them from the kill. The first book lacks the mysticism apparent in later books which moves it into the realm of fantasy. I appreciate its solid roots in reality, because some of the later books get way out there and become difficult to digest. The descriptive scenes are great, pulling the reader into the world, creating a mental picture. Excellent world-building. House of Zeor is not quite as fantastic as my memories of it. However, it is very obviously a first novel, riddled with errors such as head hopping and congruency issues, which I did not perceive as a teenager, but see now. Also, as a grown woman, I have come to perceive Hugh as rather whiny and lacking in self-control, qualities unbecoming in a grown man. Despite its flaws, the author tells a compelling tale of people struggling to overcome their differences. The heroes endure hardships and personal sacrifices in order to make the world a better place. It is a story of hope and belief in a brighter future, and I found myself swept up in the plot right to the end.
I love the sime-gen concept, where we live together for the mutual good, or we perish ( as told in a later novel). I am delighted to get a chance to read them all again! This one ia a beautiful love story filled with intrigue and excitement. The communities and cultures are realistic and co peeling. A true joy to read.