Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Society in the Morgan Selwood Universe

One of the great things about writing science fiction is you can ask the most marvellous 'what if' questions and explore ideas that don't exist on planet Earth, but may well be extensions or exaggerations of something that is found here.

That's what I did with my Morgan Selwood series.

As a result of a spaceship malfunction, Morgan finds herself in a distant part of the galaxy where very human aliens have created their own society. The people there are closely related to humans but they have been genetically modified. The most important modification is that each of them belongs to a particular class, as follows:
  • Mirka - These people are the leaders. Military command officers, presidents and senior politicians will be found in their ranks, as well as police.
  • Vesha - Vesha form the business class. Merchants, traders, layers, accountants and the like. Some of them are very wealthy.
  • Hasta - These are the technical people. Engineers, technicians, chemists, scientists, doctors.
  • Shuba - The working class. Laborers, foot soldiers, farmers.
Genetic engineering has made it impossible for people from the four classes to create offspring with a member of another class. Manesai culture is heavily based on the Indian caste system. But even if it wasn’t, point a finger at any part of the world and you’ll find classes, castes, restrictions on marriage and the like. The daughters of merchants would marry the sons of other merchants. Princes married princesses. Common serving men didn’t bother lusting after the daughter of the house. Although, in male dominated societies, men in authority thought nothing of having a bit on the side with the serving wench. Marriages were (and still are) very often arranged by the families.

And folks, this is still, by and large, true. I have simply taken one small step further in my science fiction and had idealistic genetic scientists make matches between classes childless. A place for everyone and everyone in their place. That’s sure to make for a peaceful society. </sarcasm>
Since humans are essentially tribal and we love to belong to groups, each class has developed sub-classes. Shuba are the foot soldiers, but one group was deliberately modified to make them bigger, stronger, more fearless than the rest. They are the Fleet's elite troopers who also fill civilian roles as security police and body guards. Admiral Ravindra is a member of the Darya sub-class within the Mirka. It is an elite group which produces most Manesai admirals. And the children of admirals (of course) tend to marry the children of admirals.

My three Morgan's Misfits are

  •  Jirra is a Hasta ex-Fleet engineer who is in love with a Mirka officer. She refused to marry the man her parents had picked for her, so they hired an assassin to kill her.
  •  Chet is Mirka and was a detective who was framed for the murder of her partner, the man she loved. She's out of a job.
  • Toreni is an elite Shuba who did time in the Union Fleet as a marine. But she doesn't want to be a security guard, she wants to be a chef.

It’s space opera (of course). Three women from different backgrounds share adventures in space. These books are a spin-off from my Morgan Selwood novels, set in the same Universe. The women in this society are restricted in several respects. There’s a rigid, paternalistic class structure, which means they often can’t choose their own partners, and they often don’t have much choice when it comes to jobs, either. The three ladies who make up Morgan’s Misfits don’t fit the social mores.

While the books are action/adventure (with a little bit of romance), they’re also about the women interacting within their society, and with each other. I’m sure you’ll notice some parallels in 21st Century Earth.

The first book, Kuralon Rescue, tells the story of how the ladies save a couple of men sentenced to work to death on a prison planet called Kuralon. It’s how the ladies get together and how they acquired their name.

The second, Rescuing Romila, sees a little discord in our group of misfits as they become involved in drug smuggling and other nasty goings-on.

The third, just published, is Escape from Shar Burk. Jirra, Toreni, and Chet are at a restaurant on Shar Burk when Marisa drops in — literally. She'd been thrown from a hotel window, no longer required to report for duty as Shar Burk's governor's mistress. At first, they're just helping a fellow female escape a brute, but it doesn't end there. 

Of course it doesn't.

You’ll find all of the Morgan Selwood books listed here.

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