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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old December 17 2013, 02:02 PM   #1
Noddy
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Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

In the context of Greg Cox's otherwise brilliant Eugenics Wars series of novels, how can these lines from ENT "Borderland" and "Cold Station 12" be made to fit in? Any suggestions?
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Old December 17 2013, 02:25 PM   #2
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

There are lots of ways that the death toll in a war can be calculated. The conceit of Greg's books was that a lot of real-world events were secretly caused by the conflict among the Augments (although that term wasn't in use yet), so that a lot of deaths we thought of as having other causes were retroactively attributed to the EW.

Although as I've said before, the "secret war" angle of the EW books only makes sense from an American perspective; we're so insular in our awareness that we could plausibly overlook a massive global conflict, but there's no way the people of India and Southeast Asia could've been unaware that they were ruled by Khan Noonien Singh. And while the books do recontextualize real events as part of the EW, they don't really play up the secrecy angle all that intensely. So I think it's possible, with a little flexibility, to interpret the novels as depicting key parts of an alternate history that overlaps ours in a lot of ways but also entails a larger, more overt conflict.
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Old December 17 2013, 05:53 PM   #3
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

It's worth noting that those books were written before those Enterprise episodes. And, yes, I admit I winced a bit when I watched those eps for the first time.

"Oh, well . . . ."
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Old December 17 2013, 08:39 PM   #4
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

Since I like those books more than most of Enterprise I just explain that line away by thinking to myself "guess that person got it wrong".
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Old December 18 2013, 03:43 PM   #5
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

Would Indians and Southeast Asians have been generally aware of Khan's rule? The rulers, certainly, but would they admit their fatal weaknesses to the general public or even other governments if they could avoid it?

As for casualties, perhaps the figures include the prematurely dead, the people who would have lived if not for the disruption of their lives by the conflicts in question.

::shrugs::

I quite enjoyed Cox's trilogy, and I don't see any pressing need to reconcile anything here.
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Old December 18 2013, 04:48 PM   #6
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

I admit I wist the term "Augment" had been established prior to me writing those books. Would've saved me from typing "genetically-engineered superhuman" over and over again.
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Old December 18 2013, 04:56 PM   #7
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Would Indians and Southeast Asians have been generally aware of Khan's rule? The rulers, certainly, but would they admit their fatal weaknesses to the general public or even other governments if they could avoid it?
As I recall, Khan had his own palace in the book. It's not like he was hidden in some underground lair the whole time. There was a community he ruled over directly.

I think the best way to reconcile the books with the canon is to assume the wars were not an absolute secret, that they were at least somewhat open even if the full underlying story of the genetic augmentations of these disruptive and powerful figures was not discovered until much later. And I think the books allow for that interpretation, because the "secret history" angle is not aggressively asserted, more just implied. As I recall it, Gary and Roberta are more concerned with containing the damage than with creating cover stories and hiding the truth. If you want to read it as a secret history, the duology allows for that interpretation, of course; but I think it also allows for the interpretation that the wars were somewhat more overt than that, and that's what the canon evidence tends to support. I'd rather finesse the details of the book here and there to keep it reasonably consistent with canon than insist on a slavish reading that would make it incompatible with canon. After all, lots of canon itself requires glossing over details in order to pretend that stories fit together.


Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I admit I wist the term "Augment" had been established prior to me writing those books. Would've saved me from typing "genetically-engineered superhuman" over and over again.
There was a time many years ago when I briefly considered the possibility of "Augmen" as a term for enhanced humans (as in "augmented men") -- I'm not sure whether it was for the Only Superhuman universe or one of the hypothetical comic-book universes I came up with back then. Either way, I ultimately decided it was too inelegant. But "Augments" works pretty well.
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Old December 18 2013, 08:26 PM   #8
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I admit I wist the term "Augment" had been established prior to me writing those books. Would've saved me from typing "genetically-engineered superhuman" over and over again.
I kind of like the term "tinker-toy" better. It's kind of has that tinkered feel to it which is what they were. Kahn and company were tinkered with.
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Old December 18 2013, 09:52 PM   #9
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

I never thought the Eugenics Wars in the books were "secret/covert" conflicts. What about when the Palaise De Nations is gassed, resulting in the deaths of several hundred ambassadors, staff and civilians? There's no way that could be covered up. And, of course, the populace of India is fully aware of who Khan is and how much power he has over them.
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Old December 19 2013, 02:59 AM   #10
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

Noddy wrote: View Post
I never thought the Eugenics Wars in the books were "secret/covert" conflicts. What about when the Palaise De Nations is gassed, resulting in the deaths of several hundred ambassadors, staff and civilians? There's no way that could be covered up. And, of course, the populace of India is fully aware of who Khan is and how much power he has over them.
It's not so much that it's "secret" per se as it's based on the idea that the West -- and mostly Americans -- is too ethnocentric and self-involved to recognize the conflicts going on around them, or to piece together the clues to realize that the Augments exist and what role they're all playing.
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Old January 2 2014, 08:05 PM   #11
Noddy
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

I have an idea: In the books, doesn't Khan's Morning Star satellite weapon increase damage to the ozone layer? In the long run, could that be what leads to millions of deaths due to freak weather, radiation poisoning, cancer, etc?
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Old January 4 2014, 01:57 AM   #12
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

JWolf wrote: View Post
Kahn and company were tinkered with.
emphasis added

I guess I will never understand why some people insist Khan is spelled that way, especially with examples earlier in the thread, and all of us owning a copy of the movie that we can refer to if we're uncertain.
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Old January 4 2014, 02:33 AM   #13
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

It's because a Germanic spelling like "Kahn" is more familiar to most Americans, especially those who buy hot dogs and luncheon meats or who watch Mel Brooks movies with a leading lady named Madeleine, than a more South/Central Asian spelling like "Khan." We're more used to words with "ah" in them than words with "kh" in them. And our expectations about words often keep us from seeing the actual order of the letters. The brain tends to take in words as aggregates.

On the other hand, I often see people overcorrecting in the other direction by misspelling "Gandhi" as "Ghandi."
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Old January 4 2014, 12:13 PM   #14
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

So could the damage to the ozone layer exacerbated by Khan's weapon account for the large death toll?
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Old January 6 2014, 04:02 PM   #15
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Re: Between thirty and thirty-five million dead in the Eugenics Wars

What about the scientist mentioned in The Augments as having made the "Superior ability" speech before being killed by an Augment? How could that fit?

And in one of Christopher's books, aren't the augment embryos from Cold Station 12 explained as having been rescued from Project Chrysalis by Gary 7 before its destruction?

Last edited by Noddy; January 6 2014 at 04:12 PM.
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