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Genies!

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Genies!
Post by TheGlyphstone   » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:41 am

TheGlyphstone
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For a setting with an enduring distrust and prejudice against genetic engineering, there sure are a lot of modified characters among the frontline cast - the Wintons, the Harringtons, the Scrags/Amazons, Thandi, all of the Mesans, anyone in the Ballroom...I highly doubt RFC did not do this intentionally, but it's still interesting.

What other environments/situations could Manpower or Old Earth geneticists have grown people for? So far they seem to come in two varieties, 'normal' and 'heavy grav', but there are lots of other hostile environments that labor slaves could be used for other than heavy gravity worlds, from lighting conditions to air quality (imagining Grayson as the adopted homeworld of a Manpower line bred for handling toxic materials).

And how do they stack up against each other? How many Scrags could Kyrillos Taliadoros beat in a fight? If Thandi Palane and Honor went to the mat in a full-contact bout, who would win? And how much could we sell the tickets for? :D
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Re: Genies!
Post by MaxxQ   » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:46 am

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TheGlyphstone wrote: If Thandi Palane and Honor went to the mat in a full-contact bout, who would win? And how much could we sell the tickets for? :D


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Re: Genies!
Post by TheGlyphstone   » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:49 am

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MaxxQ wrote:
TheGlyphstone wrote: If Thandi Palane and Honor went to the mat in a full-contact bout, who would win? And how much could we sell the tickets for? :D


Cue namelessfly in 3...2...


I meant tickets to the fight, not HD camera recordings of the shower rooms afterwards. :D
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Re: Genies!
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:50 am

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Honor would clean Thandi's clock. Her empathy would give her enough of an edge to anticipate Thandi's moves. That should offset Thandi's greater strength and speed. Honor's experience would seal the deal in her favor. That would be fun to read about though.

TheGlyphstone wrote:For a setting with an enduring distrust and prejudice against genetic engineering, there sure are a lot of modified characters among the frontline cast - the Wintons, the Harringtons, the Scrags/Amazons, Thandi, all of the Mesans, anyone in the Ballroom...I highly doubt RFC did not do this intentionally, but it's still interesting.

What other environments/situations could Manpower or Old Earth geneticists have grown people for? So far they seem to come in two varieties, 'normal' and 'heavy grav', but there are lots of other hostile environments that labor slaves could be used for other than heavy gravity worlds, from lighting conditions to air quality (imagining Grayson as the adopted homeworld of a Manpower line bred for handling toxic materials).

And how do they stack up against each other? How many Scrags could Kyrillos Taliadoros beat in a fight? If Thandi Palane and Honor went to the mat in a full-contact bout, who would win? And how much could we sell the tickets for? :D
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Re: Genies!
Post by KNick   » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:12 am

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TheGlyphstone wrote:For a setting with an enduring distrust and prejudice against genetic engineering, there sure are a lot of modified characters among the frontline cast - the Wintons, the Harringtons, the Scrags/Amazons, Thandi, all of the Mesans, anyone in the Ballroom...I highly doubt RFC did not do this intentionally, but it's still interesting.
<<SNIP>>


Other than the Mesans and the Ballroom, all the Genies you mention pre-date Earth's Final War. It is that war and it's aftermath that generated that distrust and prejudice. Mesa and their genetic slaves post-date the war but they are a reaction to the restrictions placed on genetic research by Beowulf's medical establishment after they finished the clean-up of Earth after the war. I believe that the fact that there are so many Genies is deliberate on MWW's part.
_


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Re: Genies!
Post by runsforcelery   » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:42 am

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KNick wrote:
TheGlyphstone wrote:For a setting with an enduring distrust and prejudice against genetic engineering, there sure are a lot of modified characters among the frontline cast - the Wintons, the Harringtons, the Scrags/Amazons, Thandi, all of the Mesans, anyone in the Ballroom...I highly doubt RFC did not do this intentionally, but it's still interesting.
<<SNIP>>


Other than the Mesans and the Ballroom, all the Genies you mention pre-date Earth's Final War. It is that war and it's aftermath that generated that distrust and prejudice. Mesa and their genetic slaves post-date the war but they are a reaction to the restrictions placed on genetic research by Beowulf's medical establishment after they finished the clean-up of Earth after the war. I believe that the fact that there are so many Genies is deliberate on MWW's part.



There's actually a sort of fundamental question here. Is the Alignment wrong about its objectives while Beowulf is correct to fear those objectives? Or is the Alignment only wrong about it's tactics, while Beowulf is wrong to fear the MA's final objective but right about its own tactics and morality?

There are, of course, a host of other questions. I simply submit these two for your consideration. ;)


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Re: Genies!
Post by KNick   » Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:11 am

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Two direct answers from RFC on the same day. Plus a Safehold snippet and a Cauldron snippet. A great start to the new year.
_


Try to take a fisherman's fish and you will be tomorrows bait!!!
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Re: Genies!
Post by Fireflair   » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:12 am

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There's a lot more genetic tinkering going on then what was mentioned earlier. And as RFC just pointed out, it's a question of what your goals are, and your allowable methods.

The majority of Graysons, for example, are genetically modified. Their own ancestors did so in reaction to the atmosphere of their planet, as we all know. Technically that makes them all genies. A lot of people, from all over, in the series are genetically modified.

If you really want to nit pick, you could consider any of the genetic modifications done in the womb to be genetic engineering. There's any number of references to removing things such as resistance to quick heal, propensity for different diseases and other problems prior to birth.

My read on the series, over all, is that in the civilized parts of the galaxy you will find most people have at least a tiny amount of modifications done. And that beyond them you will see plenty of people modified for specific planets as a locked trait. Heavy gravity worlds being the easy example.

To answer RFC comments, I would submit the following:

The MAlign's objectives are both too far reaching and far too selfish. If their goal was the incremental improvement of the overall human genome, without their landing on top of the pile as our lords and overseers, then I might find their goals laudable.

I don't believe we have seen enough of Beowulf's feelings about genetic modifications to have a clear idea of how society is on the matter. We know there is a stigma against genies, in general. Yet given the number of people with modified genetics (from lesser to greater degrees), we see little examples of them being treated poorly outside the slave societies.

If everyone could have genetically superior musculature, cardie-vascular systems, enhanced intelligence and improved reflexes, wouldn't that be better? If this was both the goal of the MAlign, and without their desire to rule, I feel they would be in the right.
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Re: Genies!
Post by biochem   » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:55 am

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If everyone could have genetically superior musculature, cardie-vascular systems, enhanced intelligence and improved reflexes, wouldn't that be better? If this was both the goal of the MAlign, and without their desire to rule, I feel they would be in the right.


The problem with that is during Earth's final war attempts to create individuals with superior musculature, cardio-vascular systems, enhanced intelligence and improved reflexes wound up suffering from the law of unintended consequences and creating monsters instead. So I can well understand the feeling in Honorverse that they don't want to chance that again.

However, the heavy grav modifications such as Honor's have been around forever and have proven to be very useful in settling the galaxy with the sole negative consequence being increased caloric requirements. And even that is situational, being a negative only when food is in short supply. So since these mods are widespread throughout the galaxy and proven safe, there should be much less prejudice towards them.

So I can see a logical progression being that if necessary it is OK to modify people with proven safe modifications but not OK to create any new modifications.
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Re: Genies!
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:37 am

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runsforcelery wrote:There's actually a sort of fundamental question here. Is the Alignment wrong about its objectives while Beowulf is correct to fear those objectives? Or is the Alignment only wrong about it's tactics, while Beowulf is wrong to fear the MA's final objective but right about its own tactics and morality?

There are, of course, a host of other questions. I simply submit these two for your consideration. ;)


To answer the first part of the question, we would have to state the final objective of the MAlign. If that objective is the optimal improvement of the human race, then it would be fair to say they share that objective with Beowulfers. Now, there might be intermediate goals (like ruling the galaxy) that are incompatible with those of Beowulfers, but the final one are likely the same.

The second part of the question is where the differences are most likely to arise. How do the experimenters treat the fluvial residue of their continuing stream of experimental failures? I believe that the Beowulf code tries to address the fundamental humanity of the subjects of experimentation. So, to move too quickly risks getting results that are incompatible with the fundamental human structure. Frankie Simoez(sp?) is the perfect example. To the MAlign she was a failed experiment and needed to be discarded. Her father rebelled at her being discarded like the residue found at the bottom of a petri dish. She was his cherished daughter, not a failed experiment.

The Skrags are another more subtle failure. They were not a failure in that their modifications were successful in their primary intent. The problem arose in the secondary mods. Those overly aggressive characteristics were initially exaggerated to antisocial levels by treating them as separate from humanity. The way these people's following generations were raised exaggerated those very antisocial characteristics. They continued to believe they were separated from humanity by those very characteristics. Honor might well have that same aggressiveness, but was able to incorporate it well primarily because she was treated as a treasured child, not some biology experiment or amoral inhuman predator that simply looks human.

All in all, the second part of the question is more likely to ruffle Beowulfian feathers. Sure, experimenting with the human genome is ok, so long as you treat the subject of those experiments as though they are the human beings they truly are. Limit the risks to reduce the potential cost to the subject of experimentation by limiting the degree of change to the genome. The Beowulf Code of Bioethics is merely Beowulf's best reasoned guideline to avoid ignoring the humanity of experimenting with the human genome.
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