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Dear Gen,

Our son would like to be a Donor when he grows up, but is concerned that he will develop dense body hair like his father, and this will make it more difficult for any channel  he may work with to perform entran outfunctions and similar activities with him. His father has dense hair on his back and chest, too, so a shoulder contact won't help. While he is quite willing to shave as much as necessary, he is concerned that the stubble would be painful to his channel's laterals. Does he just have to count on the Tecton assigning him to channels with high ronaplin production, or is he going to have to settle for a career in the food service industry, bringing in customers by projecting hunger with a strong nager? I've asked my friend to ask the channel the next time she goes in for transfer, but she is understandably distracted at such times. Please reply soon. Signed, Mrs. Harry

Dear Mrs. Harry,

Assuming your child Establishes rather than changing over, and has the nageric potential to be a Donor, and demonstrates aptitude for the work, his body hair should not be a problem. Sime laterals are long and narrow, designed to snake in amongst any hair that may be in the way. Shaving is definitely a no-no. Not only will it irritate the laterals (imagine rubbing stubble on your eyes!) but most Simes find body hair attractive and anything that would add to a good transfer should be encouraged. Good luck in your son's career choice.

Dear Gen,

If a Sime and a Gen live together, who gets to control the thermostat? Signed, A Marriage May Depend On This.

Dear Married,

According to world-renowned selyn transfer physicist Natch Loco, the relative amount of control over the thermostat can be approximated using the following formula:

t = ((a + (b/c) + (d/e))(28/f)

a = Sensitivity of the Sime in metre-dynopters
b = Selyn productivity of the Gen in dynopters per second (in warm weather)
c = Selyn productivity of the Gen in dynopters per second (in cold weather)
d = Distance from the Gen's place of repose to the heater in metres
e = Distance from the Gen's place of repose to the Sime's place of repose in metres
f = Number of days until the Sime is due for transfer.

As you can see, in nearly every case the Gen will have more control over the thermostat than the Sime.

Note: This formula is not accurate for cases where e < .003.

Dear Gen,

I would like to submit some non-canonical fan fiction so people can read it online. I don't want to submit it to the Secret Pens because then the Powers that Be might make me suffer through a loss of their approval. Isn't there supposed to be a new "authorized unauthorized" fanzine where we can submit our non-canonical, universe-warping, and experimental work and still enjoy the kudos of the Original Authors? Signed, Wishful.

Dear Wishful,

That is an urban legend. Have some dignity, woman!

Dear Gen,

Are you familiar with the theory that there are really twelve planets in our solar system and every 6000 or 9000 years this planet number twelve swings by? According to this theory, we were all originally Gens, and the inhabitants of planet number twelve are Simes. The last time the planet passed close to earth the Simes intermingled with our species. Anyway, I recently heard that there were really two factions on the Sime planet. One side didn't want to corrupt our development and others who felt intermingling would help. They'll be passing by again pretty soon... only this time, the ones coming back are on the other side of the faction and are planning to wipe us out! What can we do? Signed, Alarmed.

Dear Alarmed,

I am indeed familiar with this theory and with its more recent extension. To anybody who strongly believes in this theory to the extent that they fear for their lives and feel compelled to discuss it with everyone around them, I recommend the following: First, find yourself a deep cave or underground shelter of some sort where you cannot be heard or zlinned. Secondly, do not come out until you are absolutely certain all danger is past. Third, don't ever speak of it again. The Simes from the Twelfth Planet can sense fear you know. Even from many, many thousands of miles away.

Dear Gen,

Is it true that the size of a Sime's tentacles says something about the size of his, er, equipment? Signed, Gotta Getta Handle On It.

Dear G.G.,


Dear Gen,

Is it possible there are still Ancients around that we just don't know about? I mean, look at history... we supposedly have these cave men running around during dinosaur times, and I swear if you read the books, those Neander-whatevers still existed in the twenty-first century though they say they'd died out by then. What is your take on this? Signed, Ancient in Gen Clothing

Dear AGC,

Neanderthal Gen and Sabre-Toothed SimeFew people know that the Neanderthals, those even-more-ancient cousins of Ancients, were in fact Gens. Yes! In addition to having brutish faces, long arms, big muscles, and a tendency to use a large club or rock when a little finesse would have done, they also produced selyn. Their main predator was the fearsome Sabre Toothed Sime, a hideous creature to be sure. Both larities of Neanderthals died out well before the Ancients reached ascendancy, though they may have existed for a time in parallel. Their remains can still be found, remarkably well preserved, trapped in the Riolite Tar Pits (think of them as an all-natural version of the Modern Tecton). As for Ancients existing in our time, this is a topic that has interested Simes and Gens for centuries and given rise to many popular myths and legends. Even our jokes reflect the possibilities. (A Gen with no nager walks into a bar. He's carrying a poodle under one arm and a 3 foot long pastrami under the other. The bartender says to him....) However, the existence of such a creature has never been documented. Perhaps deep in Gen Territory where there are no Simes to zlin, some Ancients live side by side with Gens, with little knowledge that they are different. Now, I'd just as soon they stay that way myself. Just think of the can of worms that'd be opened if Ancients were found alive today. Would an Ancient be forced to pay taxes in Sime Territory? How would everyday etiquette work with an Ancient in the room? Would ordinary Simes and Gens treat him as a child, to his great disgust? And would some people view larity-lessness as unnatural, or as similar to sexlessness? Perhaps if there are Ancients we should let their existence remain secret, wherever they might be.

Dear Gen,

Is it possible that Simes are aliens that introduced something into our blood stream that changed us all? Signed, Inquisitive.

Dear Inquisitive,

The story of the Gen who is kidnapped by Simes (or "Aliens" or "Demons" depending on what part of Gen Territory you hail from) and subjected to all sorts of bizarre experiments is a well-travelled urban legend and widely regarded as a hoax. One of the most famous versions of this hoax was promulgated by one Jacqueline Lichtenberg, who published a sensational account of the kidnapping of Hugh Valleroy by a Sime named Klyd Farris. This story, though denied as a fabrication by all those named therin, nevertheless gained great popularity and even spawned a number of sequels. Here is what Hajene Farris himself has to say about the incident in question:

"Gen, please tell your readers that, contrary to popular opinion, I did not swoop down on Hugh on a dark and stormy night and whisk him away, unconscious, to a high-tech laboratory where all sorts of tentacled creatures performed tests on him before finally letting him go. Hugh was quite willing, or at least he always proved capable of doing the unthinkable when presented with no other choice. Also, no drugs or other unusual blood-borne substances were involved in Hugh's spectacular increase in selyn production. He is a Natural Donor and this is something he can certainly be proud of. So can I for that matter, but not for the reasons the rumors suggest!" --KF


Dear Gen,

Archeological evidence suggests that Ancient civilization collapsed because of a massive war that happened around the time Simes first appeared. Many people seem to think that it was the Simes' appearance that started the war in the first place. But how can we be sure? Is it possible the Simes appeared because of the war, and not the other way around? Signed, Pondering.

Dear Pondering,

Nobody knows for sure, but there are many theories along the lines you're suggesting. Here are just a few of them:

Theory: Arguments in Favour: Arguments against:
Somebody thought that Humanity needed a common enemy to unite against, rendering racial and religious differences irrelevant. It worked, didn't it? Assumes that Ancients were Gens, something not everybody believes.
Somebody thought that humanity needed to be killed off completely, but that none of the existing predators were equipped to combat human numbers and technology. Many Ancients were concerned about the effects of human population and technology on the livability of the planet. War would have worsened those effects. Assumes that Ancients were Gens. Assumes that Simes were chosen in favor of other, more interesting artificial predators such as vampires and Godzilla.
Simes were developed to help search for and rescue victims trapped in bombing rubble. Ability to detect selyn fields through solid objects, superhuman strength. Difficulty in preventing a kill once victim is uncovered.
Simes were an accidental mutation resulting from bomb radiation. Other mutations also appeared at the same time, including mutated plants, suggesting a widespread effect. Very unlikely that such a uniform human mutation would occur all over the world under those circumstances. Does not explain the universal language, Simelan.
Simes and Gens were the result of biological warfare, the goal being for the other side to turn into Simes/Gens and kill each other off within a month. (The ZD-Bomb Theory) Quick, thorough, might have seemed like a good idea at the time. Obvious problem with contamination of human bloodstock elsewhere. Inconsistency with current setup: changeover/establishment happening only in the teen years.
Survival of the fittest. In the devastation following the war, psychics, energy feeders and clairvoyants had a marked advantage. Does not require that anybody have decided to make it happen on purpose.  See arguments against spontaneous mutation, above. Also, not enough human generations have had time to occur. 
Alternate universe mixup: Front half of one world's history tacked onto the back end of another world's history. Somewhere else, there is a world where Simes and Gens suddenly became Ancients and had to figure out how to deal with that.  Symmetrical; fair; somebody else is worse off than we are. Alternate universe? Rubbish! By the way, wouldn't this have been the cause of the Ancient collapse rather than vise versa? 
Simes created as super-soldiers. Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and can't be taken by surprise at close range. We saw how well that worked at the Battle of Shen!


Dear Gen,

My best friend and her brother both Established this year. Since they are technically adults and no longer require their parents' permission, they immediately went out and got brandings and nose rings. But my mother says those are for cattle, not people. Her prejudice makes me sick. What's the best way to tell her that I plan to go out and do the same thing just as soon as I change over? Signed, Too Ready.

Dear Ready,

Whoa! Let's stop and think about this for a moment. Solidarity with your Gen friends is a fine notion, but are you really sure you want to have a disfiguring scar for the rest of your life... or risk damage to your selyn pathways in obtaining it? Assuming you do change over (you can never be sure!) there are much more constructive things you can do to show the world you enjoy the company of thinking, working Gens. There's time enough to think about body modification later, when you can be sure that neither your friends' or your mother's wishes are pushing you into anything. 


Dear Gen,

I sent in my question to you eons ago and it's never been answered. What gives? Signed, Pouting in Lanta.

Dear Pouting,

Sometimes the same question is sent in by several different people, with slight differences in wording or flavour. Those are often posted here in a combined and re-written form. Be sure to check the archives to make sure your question wasn't answered without your knowledge!


Dear Gen,

I was wondering about the new World Controller. Believe me, I'm as leery to complain as the next person after that difficult election. But doesn't he seem a bit naive and innocent for a position of such power? In this day and age, should nations really have dynastic rulers? And can he really represent the values of a true majority of the population? Signed, O.T. Observer

Dear O.T.,

To the eyes of outsiders our new World Controller may indeed appear inadequate to the task, but rest assured -- he is capable of it! After all, he did fine as a District Controller and his father was of course World Controller before him. And while we might not like to think of our modern Tecton as the sort of place where dynasties rule, it's a very old practice and I don't think we can change human nature overnight. Oops... that may not have been politically correct. Anyway, don't worry. Everybody knows it's really his Donor who's going to be in charge.


Dear Gen,

Recently an organization I never heard of, Fandom Inc. ( sued another organization I never heard of because they reserved a domain name ( that was too similar to theirs. My friends are encouraging me to boycott Fandom, Inc. because they say that they are trying to make it so nobody can use the word "fandom" ever again. My friends tell me I should boycott Fandom, Inc's website and write letters to its sponsors encouraging them to withdraw their support. The problem is, I don't know anything about this organization. My friends are telling me I shouldn't go visit the website to check it out, because that would only give the website hits. I don't want to hurt people I don't know just on the basis of gossip, but now I feel like I'm disloyal to my friends if I don't. What should I do? Signed, Betwixt and Bewildered.

Dear Betwixt,

Your instincts are right on. Obeying these instructions blindly would be the moral equivalent to forwarding virus warnings without checking them out first - except in this case, there is a lot more at stake than how much junk mail your email buddies get. Your actions could help bring down a business that is somebody's livelihood. You'll want to make sure you're doing the right thing before you send that email.

First, a little background on trademarks. Trademarks are supposed to identify a company and its products unmistakably. This is supposed to prevent confusion in the marketplace. To deliberately infringe upon someone else's trademark for profit is sleazy. Of course, there are some cases where no harm was intended but a trademark gets infringed upon anyway. In either case, the trademark holder is obligated to confront the person doing the infringing and order them to stop. That is because there really isn't any such physical thing as a trademark, only an established pattern of behavior on the part of the trademark owner: a pattern of using it themselves and preventing others from doing so.

Now, some sorts of words and images can be trademarks and others just can't. The basic rule of thumb is that it has to be enforcably unique in the given field or industry that the trademark owner operates in.

Let's say that a company that manufactured computers decided to use the name Artichoke. Naturally they would want to trademark the name. They would not be able to prevent everybody from using the word "artichoke" because that is a common every day word. The only people they could legally prevent from using it are other computer manufacturers - and maybe a few other businesses that are very closely related. So, let us say that Artichoke registered the domain. Shortly thereafter a direct competitor of theirs in the computer industry registers another "artichoke" domain: They did this in the hopes that someone hunting for the Artichoke website will type in and get them instead. Then they might buy a computer from them instead. This is considered unethical behavior on the part of the second company, and the first company might try to sue them.

(This is what Fandom, Inc. says it is doing. By the way they haven't sued them, only served them cease-and-desist orders.)

Now, let us consider a second example. Let us say that the computer manufacturer decided to use the name Computers. The word "computers" is a perfectly common word in that industry. Therefore it would be extremely difficult to defend as a trademark. Computers R Us would be OK, Computers Manufacturers Inc. is OK, but not just plain Computers. It just isn't unique enough. That single word is everywhere in the computer industry. Unlike the other example given above, it wouldn't be sleazy at all for another computer company to own a domain like, any more than it would be sleazy for an artichoke farm to own If the company named Computers registered the name and then tried to sue all the other computer companies that had domains named computers.something they would have a tough time trying to prove their case.

(This is the situation Fandom, Inc. is in.)

Oh, my head hurts.

OK... everybody still with me? I hope so. That was the easy part. Now we come to the tricky bit: all of the hype surrounding this whole thing is not about that stuff up above. It's about something else which is not directly related. 

To understand all the hype, you have to make a big leap in logic. Start with the premise that a company probably can't successfully defend a trademark that was created of a generic word common to that industry. What would it take to magically make it so it can defend such a trademark? Why, to make it magically no longer a common word. To make it miraculously transformed into a unique representation of that company, which means nothing else. To, for example, make the word "fandom" mean only one thing in the world of Science Fiction: Fandom, inc.

Oh, my head hurts.

Horrors! The theft of a common word from the language! Why, if that happened, it would do more than destroy fandom as we know it. It would set the precedent for a total breakdown in English language communication in the United States. Once all the cool words were claimed by companies like Apple, Salon, and Sun, conversations would have to be carried on in grunts. We're talking total stone age reversion here.

Oh, my head hurts.

Uh... yeah, right. This is not about a word being stolen from the general public. This is about one company's misguided attempt to defend a claim that cannot be defended. They will fail , and that will be that.

The real question is, why has chosen to create such a ridiculous claim in their much-hyped defense? And why was singled out from among all the other domains with the word "fandom" in them in the first place? How much fan history goes back between these two organizations, and what are we not seeing on the public websites about this?

Don't just run off and write letters trying to cut the funding and audience for a business on the basis of a bunch of wild rumors. Think about it: who benefits the most if goes out of business because of your efforts? Could it possibly be Do you know them well enough to be sure either way?

Take my advice. Do check out all the information to the best of your ability. Don't write any letters unless you are sure you are prepared to hurt somebody and you are certain you are operating on facts and not assumptions or gossip. Don't be one of those people who forwards virus hoaxes to everybody in their email address book, either in email or in real life.


Dear Gen,

My Territory just held a presidential election and there was a tie. This is totally unheard of! What in the world are we going to do to resolve this problem? Signed, Sime and Gen Divided

Dear Divided,

I'm glad you asked!

The Gen of the Week's
Top Ten Ways to Break a Tie in a Presidential Election:

Method Pluses Minuses
#10: A Run-Off Logical, sensible Expensive; possible to get another tie
#9: Nude Jell-o Wrestling on National Television

Uncomplicated; gives candidates a chance to show what they're really made of

Possibility of injury and/or embarrassment; constituency would have to see candidates' aging bods in the nude.

#8: One candidate gets the presidency on weekdays, other one gets it on the weekends Fair Logistical nightmare, confusion in chain-of-command, jealousy over access to the prettier aides.
#7: Have a Farris zlin them both and decide Everyone will accept the decision without question Farris might come up a brilliant, complicated  solution to that and perhaps several other problems, that changes the face of the nation and incidentally requires everybody who lives there to totally change their beliefs and futures.
#6: Declare both winners and have them share the job full time Everybody gets the candidate they wanted Two words: ego clash
#5: Set a junct Sime loose on them. Whichever one gets killed wasn't cool-headed enough to handle the Presidency anyway. Quick, final Possible objections from humane societies.
#4: Force the incumbent president to remain for an extra four years instead (the Digen Farris maneuver) Convenient, unlikely to cause disaster Unnaturally long term, lack of precedent and supporting laws
#3: Give the position to a third uninvolved person instead (the Hillary Clinton maneuver) Guaranteed to keep news stations in money for a while; might get constituency off rear for #10 above Controversial; possibly redundant with #4 above
#2: Invent a new mutation of tentacled energy vampires to keep people's mind off the problem Could be entertaining Might have unforeseen, far-reaching consequences
And, the #1 Way to Break a Tie in a Presidential Election:

#1: Use one now, and keep the other for next time.

Intuitively obvious Requires a certain amount of self-discipline


Dear Gen,

I am planning to tour Russia and hobnob with the aristocracy. I have heard that the post-syndrome customs of that country are a bit risque by Tecton standards, but I am eager to experiment. Perhaps you could provide me with a comparison chart of the most attractive Russian gentlemen so that I can use my time abroad to best advantage. Signed, Lalique, World Famous Torch Singer and Shiltpron Player Extraordinaire, currently AWOL from the 53rd District in Capitol, where the aristocrats don't know how to have fun.

Dear Lalique,

The Russian aristocracy is difficult to parse in table format (as are many of the finer things in life). However, for you, the reader, I have made the attempt. The data is from a survey sent to each of the gentlemen in question:

The Gen of the Week's
somewhat less than complete
Guide to the Males of the Russian Aristocracy

Larity: Gender: Sexual Preference: Best Feature: Hobby:
Sevrin: No comment Male Yes Data Unavailable Roses
Arkay: Gen Male Yes His ass Horse training and breeding
Nashen: Sime Male Yes Failed to Respond Bobbin lace
Avilan: Unknown Male Yes n/a Writing, sewing
Vayer: Difficult to tell Male Yes Not known Unclear
Tzer: Illegible ? Yes Nager Not Sure
Mikhail: Answer omitted Male Yes Nager Fishing
Diomid: Depends Male Yes No reply Hunting

Double Eagle


Dear Gen,

When did the Tigue mutation develop? Signed, School Project.

Dear S.P.,

Many believe that the Tigue mutation began with Risa Tigue's mother, or perhaps one or two generations before that. However, a study of Ancient literature makes the true answer abundantly clear:

The Dividend Rich Investor: Building Wealth With High-Quality, Dividend-Paying Stocks (by Joseph TIGUE)

Capital Improvement Programming: A Guide for Smaller Governments (by Patricia TIGUE)


Dear Gen,

I have some friends who are always talking big but never seem to put their money where their mouths are. But just recently they got all excited about a project and actually did something for a change. I thought that was really cool, but I am worried they're just going to go back to their old ways in another month. I don't feel right congratulating their accomplishment, because I'm afraid they'll just use that as an excuse to rest on their laurels for the next few years. On the other hand, it seems wrong to not say anything. What should I do? Signed, Tentative Applause.

Dear Tentative,

Of course you should praise them. Then, flog them into doing more! That is what being a friend is all about. 


Dear Gen,

I recently read somewhere that porstan isn't the only thing that will get a Sime drunk. I really want to get my Sime drunk so that I can have my way with him. What would you suggest for this purpose? Signed, Highfield and Desperate

Dear Highfield,

Whoa! Let's stop and take things one step at a time. First of all, your high field should be more than enough incentive for your Sime. If it's reached the point where you feel it's necessary to apply coercion, something is definitely amiss with your relationship! I would strongly suggest that the two of you get some counseling as soon as possible.


Dear Gen,

What does Sime Territory law say regarding Gen Territory citizens who are minors? Can they be deported if they try to enter Sime Territory? My girlfriend just Established and wants to go in for Donor training across the border. I don't want to lose her, but my parents say I'm going to Sime Territory over their dead bodies... and I don't want that either! Signed, All in a Knot

Dear Knot,

I know this isn't what you're going to want to hear, but crossing the border now would be a bad idea. Try getting involved with your local Sime Center instead -- you'll be at less risk of harming your parents in the event of a changeover. Write to your girlfriend regularly while you are separated, and in a few months or years when you are an adult you will be free to pursue the relationship if you are both still interested.


Dear Gen,

Please settle this argument I am having with my husband. He says that ronaplin inhibitor is a perfectly ordinary item of everyday use, and can be placed in public view in the bathroom. I feel it is too private to be displayed that way, and should be kept in a drawer or other discreet location, so guests won't be confronted by it when using the facilities. Which is correct? Signed, Embarrassed Hostess.

Dear Embarrassed,

"Ew, gag me! They left ronaplin inhibitor on the counter. It was so gross." Yes, this could be your friends. But do they think of you as a slob, or as vibrant, daring and original? If you think your friends can't handle the sight of it, put it away before they arrive. Uninvited guests who leave you no time to prepare deserve what they get, of course. As for your husband, as long as you don't make him do the work of putting it away, he probably won't make a big deal of your doing so yourself.


Dear Gen,

Why don't Simes use guns? Also, why don't Gens use whips? Signed, Purely Scholarly Interest

Dear Scholarly,

As it happens, there are multiple reasons:

Reasons: Simes: Gens:
Physical unsuitability Simes' primary sensory organs are located on their forearms. Most Simes find the shock and numbing effect of a gun's recoil rather unpleasant, and the idea of a misfire or explosion quite unacceptably dangerous. Whips: Coordination required. Enough said.
Technology Levels Technology? What's that? Unheard of outside of the Householdings. The Gen industrial base would support gun manufacture. Why would anybody want less than the most high tech protection?
Practicality Shooting the prey dead at a distance defeats the purpose. Simes want a close-in weapon that the Gen cannot use if it manages to steal it, that can be used effectively against other Simes, and doesn't interfere with what's really important: killing for selyn! Use of a whip would require allowing the Sime into close range, and could be used by the Sime if it was lost in combat. Guns can be used at a distance, dramatically reducing the personal risk of being killed.
Social Aspects Simes see Gens as cattle, and guns as the weapons of cattle, while the whip is a symbol of virility and boldness.   All Gens are expected to help defend the community. Gun ownership and shooting skill are proof of committment to that common goal. Screwing around with lesser weapons would be seen as not pulling one's share.
Psychological aspects Whips are like tentacles, flexible and organic. And melee weapons are intimate, while distance weapons dehumanize hunting. Guns are solid, dependable, and don't have any secrets. Because Simes don't use them, they are uniquely Gen and therefore reassuring.
Aesthetics A whip complements the Sime's natural sinuousness and grace. Artful use of the whip is like a ballet. Guns are noisy, stinky, and the Sime user is usually stunned and/or dizzy after firing. Nothing is quite as inspiring as a bold, muscular Gen vigilantly watching the horizon, trusty gun at the ready. A whip, on the other hand, tends to leave its Gen owner sweaty, dusty and covered with small cuts.
Post Unity/Post Transfer The whip, like rope and shackles, helps a Sime explore the often suppressed but entirely natural Sime instinct to capture and keep--and perhaps play with--its prey. The gun is like the Gen nager. It can be a threat or a promise, an alluring visual cue or an immediate physical force. When a gun is introduced, anything can happen--and the one holding the gun is in charge.


Dear Gen,

A friend of mine, a respected scientist, is obsessed with the idea that electricity and selyn must be closely related. I thought this was relatively harmless, but the other day I saw my friend (who is also my neighbor) out in the back yard sending up weather balloons and building what looks like a large, metal tower with a chair on top of it. Should I be doing something about this? Signed, Reluctant to Interfere. 

Dear Reluctant,

You are truly a friend in wishing to allow your neighbor his or her freedom in choice of hobby. However, there comes a time when tact must bow to realism. Ask if the tower is meant for what you think it is, and if so, alert the appropriate authorities.


Dear Gen,

In school they have us reading a book about life in the junct days. It sounds really exciting to me. I like the idea of never having to listen to bossy Gens like Miz Yutzman, my Social Studies teacher. Is there anywhere people still live that way? I want to move there when I change over. Signed, Antsy.

Dear Antsy,

Many children go through a short period of feeling the way you do, particularly late in childhood as changeover or Establishment approaches. The vast majority outgrow it quickly as just a phase. For the rest, there is indeed a special place they can go. It's called a Last Year Camp. Be sure to ask Miz Yutzman about Last Year Camps when you go to school tomorrow.


Dear Gen,

How do you remove ronaplin stains from naugahyde? Signed, Guilty.

Dear Guilty,

I checked my references and was unable to find any recommendations for the cleaning of that particular substance off of this very rare and beautiful Ancient material. Perhaps our readers will have some suggestions?


Dear Gen,

I'm trying to get a piece of fan fiction published. I heard that _______ is the only fanzine currently accepting submissions, but my work was accepted there several months ago and still hasn't been posted. I have some friends who are in the same boat. I could send it to the Secret Pens instead, but then people would think that I am a radical--or worse, that my work is "not good enough" for ______. Why, oh why, is ______ not posting my stuff? Signed, Dying to be Read.

Dear Dying,

Gen of the Week has never tried to get published in ______, but theories as to the holdup have often been bandied about the office. Here are some of the possibilities:

Theoretical Excuse: Argument for: Argument Against:
Not able to find enough materials You can never have too many materials. If the Pens can flourish, surely a fanzine of the official fandom, with 10 times the fan base to draw from, shouldn't have any problem gathering fan work.
Not able to find enough quality materials (too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash) The fanzine makes it clear that work must be OK'ed by the Powers that Be before it can be accepted. That still doesn't explain why the materials that are already acepted haven't been posted.
Fanzine has quietly shut down without saying anything. It certainly happens. Editor was observed soliciting manuscripts on an official mailing list this month.
Basic Editorial Laziness Human nature being what it is, laziness on the part of the editor(s) is the downfall of many a website. Some people lead very hard lives.*
Fear of HTML The fanzine was formerly HTMLed by someone else. Since the reins changed hands, no new materials have appeared. If this was really the only problem, another HTMLer could have been recruited.
Editor(s) are very busy doing much more important things for the official fandom. The official fandom is bursting with opportunity. What's more important in a fandom than fan creativity?
Only amateurs wonder when their work will be published. Professionals understand the rhythms of the industry. Speaks for itself. Balderdash!
Lack of Readership Since the fandom has diminished in size, the demand for fan fiction has been reduced. No way. They're starving for it. And ______'s audience is a captive audience.
The Secret Pens is brainwashing the authors. The volume of published materials speaks for itself. Ridiculous. It would be simple to counteract any such attempt by treating authors with respect and publishing their accepted work promptly.

* Aka the "you should be ashamed of yourself" argument.


Dear Gen,

While I cannot identify with the strident nature of Ms. WindFyre's letter regarding the ethical treatment of selyn powered vehicles, I do have to agree with her basic point. Selyn isn't just power, it's also spirit. Therefore, even though an automobile isn't sentient, by virtue of the fact that it lives on selyn it must have emotion and and spiritual identity. Signed, Chezz Reardon, Shen, Nivet.

Dear Tuib Reardon,

Let's be realistic, here. Dead selyn outside of the human body is not the same as living selyn within a Gen or Sime. Otherwise, people would enjoy taking transfer off batteries.


Dear Gen,

I'm seeing these reader responses to the "Top Ten Things a Third Order Donor Really Doesn't Want to Hear", but where is the column? I've never seen that one. When did it come out and why isn't it in the archives? Signed Confused, Somewhat Confused and Also Confused.

Dear Confused,

Here at the office, we made bets on whether posting reader responses without explicitly posting the actual column would be lauded as avant garde, dramatic and daring, or if it would simply bewilder the proletariat. Thanks to you, I'll still be getting free lunch when mankind rediscovers spaceflight.

The Gen of the Week's
Top Ten Things a Third Order Donor Really Doesn't Want to Hear:

#10: "Please help me. My name is _____ Farris and I'm 12 years old and I feel awfully sick."

#9: "I'd like you to meet _____. She's writing a book about a stubborn, resentful Third who finally goes too far, incurring the wrath of his Controller. She asked me if she could speak to an actual Donor and I thought of you right away."

#8: "What do you mean, 'what jiggling?' That jiggling, that you're doing right now. Stop it, you're making me positively dizzy. And bring me a fosebine. This is going to be a long day."

#7: "Excuse me, Sosu, but those are Farris-safe donuts. Please use the buffet in the general break room instead."

#6: "Really, dear, you were simply wonderful. Of course last month, I had Sosu _____, and his nager was so delightful I couldn't zlin for three days."

#5: "I'm afraid the idea that most channels and Donors are Thirds is just a myth. We're all Firsts, and you're the only one who isn't. I'm sorry."

#4: "Oops! Hmm. I guess this makes me the first Sime surgeon."

#3: "From now on, all Donors will be expected to do push-ups during their channel's recovery time."

#2: Zzzzziiiiiip "Aiiiiigghh!!!"

And the #1 thing a Third Order Donor Really Doesn't Want to Hear:

#1: "I'm unit B-387, ambulatory selyn battery. Say goodbye to your cushy paycheck, sonny boy."


Dear Gen,

Your statement that automobiles cannot know either need or attrition is a crock! I would have thought better of you, you don't usually mouth the sugar-coated lies society spews out in order to feel good about itself. Nobody wants to think of themselves as the owner of an enslaved being artificially created to serve man's whims but possessed of every feeling and care that we possess! Remember, before Unity juncts used to tell themselves Gens weren't people. Isn't this more of the same? Signed, Eartha WindFyre, Chairwoman, Society for the Ethical Treatment of Our Selyn Powered Friends.

Dear Eartha,

Damn, woman, can I have some of what you're on?

Dear Gen,

How come it's called the "Gen of the Week" when it doesn't come out every week? There were almost two months between a couple of them, and between the first two columns it was nearly a year! What gives? Signed, Impatient.

Dear Impatient,

Creative brilliance isn't plodding and cyclical, it's free-ranging and exuberant, like butterflies on a beautiful spring day. Also, it takes quite a while to recover from one of our holiday office-parties.


Dear Gen,

I was walking down the street the other day when I saw one of these new-fangled selyn-powered vehicles. I'm not so sure these things are a good idea. What happens if a Gen drives to a remote area not realizing his car is close to hard need? Signed, Horses for Me.

Dear Me,

Luckily for us, cars are inanimate machines and neither feel need or know attrition per se. If they run out of selyn, they simply stop and wait for more to be added. Also unlike Simes, selyn-powered vehicles come equipped with a needle gauge which allows a Gen driver to see how much selyn is left. However, certain precautions should be taken for complete safety around cars. Never grab the battery terminals one in each hand - cars are not fill-it-yourself, and this should be left to a professional. Also, as with Simes, repeatedly recharging the battery before it's really empty will lead to shortened battery life.


Dear Readers,

Often we receive mail in response to popular columns. In the case of the Top Ten Things a Third Order Donor Really Doesn't Want to Hear, the volume of mail has been simply staggering. Here are just a few of the letters we received:

Dear Gen,

I've been following all this flap about the rights of Third Order Donors. What I want to know is, who cares? I mean, if every low-ranking government bureaucrat started getting up in arms about their rights, pretty soon we'd have Clerk of Public Records Appreciation Day and Selyn Accountant Perq Fund Appropriations. I think they should all quit whining and get back to work. Signed, Taxpayer, General Order.

Dear Gen,

I must formally protest your piece entitled "The Top Ten Things a Third Order Donor Really Doesn't Want to Hear". It is completely inaccurate as a portrayal of current Third Order Donor thinking, and furthermore, it might give them ideas! Signed, Anonymous. [sent on official Tecton stationery]

Dear Gen,

Your column is degrading and insulting, and a slap in the face of all Thirds. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Also, I must take exception to item #7 specifically. In my forty years of service I have never known a fellow Third who "lusts after" the First Order staff's donut tray. The filled croissants, however, are another story. Signed, Third and Proud.

Dear Gen,

I read your column about Third Order Donor dissatisfaction with some interest. I wonder if part of the difficulty lies in the nomenclature used to describe the types of Donors. After all, one can hardly expect people not to pick up on, and internalize, the quality ranking implicit in "First Order", "Second Order" and "Third Order". What about "Jumbo", "Economy", and "Snack Size" instead? Signed, Helpful.


Dear Gen,

Why do Gens have such cold feet in bed in the morning? Signed, Shivering

Dear Shivering,

Gens have cold feet because the blood rushes to their arms when they are with an attractive Sime.


Dear Gen,

They say that Klyd Farris vanished without a trace. What exactly happened to him? Does anybody know? Signed, Fascinated.

Dear Fascinated,

The official story is that he was locked into an orhuen with Hugh Valleroy, and became so depressed after Hugh's suicide that he wandered off into the wilderness and died there. However, many think this is a little too pat and have come up with their own theories....

The Gen of the Week's
Top Ten Theories about the Disappearance of Klyd Farris
#10: While going through a midlife crisis he joined a group of junct raiders.

#9: Due to an unexpected interaction between orhuen and Endowment, he spontaneously combusted when Hugh set himself on fire.

#8: His House got sick of listening to him whine, and quietly bumped him off.

#7: He had a heart attack when he saw Keon's bottom line the first quarter after Unity.

#6: He was abducted by aliens, who performed a thorough month-long investigation and determined that Earthlings are brilliant but emotionally erratic superhumans who are too powerful and arrogant to subjugate as a vassal state but too shortlived to be worth anything as slaves.

#5: He decided to found a cult, but due to Farris precociousness ascended directly to godhood before he had a chance to tell anybody.

#4: While zlinning something 15 minutes' gallop away, he fell into a well.

#3: He was seduced by the Sectuib in Naros and spent the rest of his days in relative obscurity, working as a rutabaga taster.

#2: He faked his own death to dodge Farris-grade selyn taxes.

      And, the #1 theory about the disappearance of Klyd Farris:

#1: Yes, he's dead, but if you ask him he'll deny it!


Dear Gen,

Recently I was horrified to see an advertisement for a "Celebrity Auction". Is that like a Prime Kill Auction? Signed, Remembering the Old Days

Dear Remembering,

No and yes. No, because the actual celebrities aren't for sale--just their clothing and other memorabilia. Yes, because you still can't afford anything!


Dear Gen,

Is it possible for a Sime to become fixed on an inanimate object? I am enclosing a photo of the object I am experiencing difficulty with. Signed, Sick of Worrying   

Dear Sick,



Dear Gen,

In reading your column listing the Top Ten Most Popular Plans for Surviving a Sime Attack (Besides Training as a Donor) [see below], I noticed that one extremely effective technique was left out: standing next to another Gen who is higher field and can't run as fast! Signed, Been There, Done That

Dear Been There,

While the technique you used is, indeed, quite effective (particularly against single Simes) it is not one of the ten most popular. The reason for this is simple: Statistically speaking, 95% of Gens believe their nager is "Above Average" in size, regardless of the time of month. Here are some other interesting statistics:


Dear Gen,

Has there ever been a documented case of Divine Intervention in a Gen surviving an attack by a junct Sime? Signed, Gotta Know.

Dear Gotta,

Yes, as a matter of fact, Divine Intervention is one of the Top Ten Most Popular Plans for Surviving a Sime Attack, Besides Training as a Donor.

The Gen of the Week's

Top Ten Most Popular Plans for Surviving a Sime Attack,
(Besides Training as a Donor):

Method Pluses Minuses
#10: The "hope method" Can be used to prevent pregnancy also. Effectiveness difficult to prove.
#9: Hiding your face when you see the Sime coming

Cheap, quick.

The Sime can still zlin you even though you can't see him/her.

#8: Not realizing it's impossible to survive such an attack Less fear beforehand. Possible accidental success. Rarely works.
#7: Getting rescued by a hero Requires no actual skill or effort on your part Have to be in the right place at the right time.
#6: Impressing the Simes with your abilities as a breeder Adds many more years to your life. Not permanent. may require some ingenuity to pull off on short notice.
#5: Hanging out in crowds Safety in numbers. Not effective against large raiderbands. More chances to catch a plague.
#4: Praying for Divine Intervention Proof against just about any kind of calamity, not just Sime attack. Must start well in advance and work on it daily for best results.
#3:  Moving to a town where they keep all the kids locked up Many added side benefits. Hang on, I'm thinking.
#2: Being at peace in your soul. Very effective when it works. Difficult to maintain in the face of actual Sime attack. For this reason, best used in combination with #4.
And, the #1 most Popular Plan for Surviving a Sime Attack (Besides Training as a Donor):

#1: Keeping a Loaded Gun at your Side at All Times

Comfort value of its physical presence. Very effective at halting Sime attack if you have a good advance warning or can aim well while panicking. Messy, loud. Can by stolen by another Gen.


Dear Gen,

I just found out my Gen has 100,000 in a secret bank account. How do I confront her about it? Signed, Please Don't Print my Name

Dear Readers,

Many of you responded to this Sime's letter, relating your own similar stories. Unfortunately there is not enough space to print them all, but here are some of your replies:

Dear Gen,

I've never been what you would call a stable individual. When I found out my Gen had a secret bank account with over 100,000 in it, the first thing I did was tied her to a Bench, which required about 10 feet of duct tape and judicious use of a Hat. Then I waited in the Bathroom for 2 hours, until I figured she was good and Furious. During that time, the family Parakeet lay down on her face and fell asleep. 'Good morning,' she said, rather stoutly. By the end of the 2 hours she was looking pretty Elegant so I decided to get down to business. 'Where did all that money come from? Shen, don't bother trying to lie, I can zlin a person sneeze from a mile away.' For an instant it looked like she might not answer at all, but then she said, 'Whoopee!'  (letter arrived with no signature or return address)

Dear Gen,

I recently found out my Gen had 100,000 in a secret bank account. I decided to confront her about it. Here's how it went: 'Whazzzzuuppppp!' I said. She looked up from the Bondage Apparatus and there was an awkward silence. Maybe I was staring with too much expectoration or something. Anyway, after about 2 minutes, she finally said 'Gosh! What is your problem?' I said, 'I don't know yet, maybe you should enlighten me.' I'm sure she could tell I was mellow. She began to grin from ear to ear. It was then that I noticed that I wasn't wearing a feather boa. I slowly counted to 8 and was about to speak again when I noticed that the family Pomeranian was about to make a mess on the floor of the Porta-Potty. 'Whoa!' So that is how I never got around to asking my Gen about the 100,000 and the secret bank account. (this letter also with no signature or return address)

Dear Gen,

When I found out my Gen had 100,000 in a secret bank account, I was very alarmed, but I kept it to myself for 9 days until our transfer was due. Then, right afterward, I made my move. She was in the Kitchen getting ready to give the family Ferret a bath. She was wearing only a Sun Hat and man, did she look tall! It was nearly enough to make me grin, but I wasn't about to let myself be distracted. Very quietly I said, 'Hi, Genifer, say, I was cleaning under the Fainting Couch the other day and I found one of your checkbooks. It showed 100,000 balance. What's up with that?' She turned around very Merrily and looked me dead in the eye. 'Wow, Simon, do I have to explain everything to you? I'm my own person, you know.' To which I said, 'Gadzooks!'. I never asked her about that again. Does that make me a wimp? Signed, Please Don't Print My Name, at 6563 Canyon Drive, Canyon Falls, Nivet.


Dear Gen,

My Gen partner is Post all month around. I can't cope! What should I do? Signed, Exhausted.

Dear Exhausted,

My poor dear! That will never do. I highly recommend a new product that has come onto the market recently: the Scratching Post.

Pame Janesin has written a book entitled "Gen Love". The following is quoted from her book:

"There are those Gens who don't require any education in what the Scratching Post is for, but to avoid any confusion, I prefer proper training. The first lesson is for the Gen owner: get a Post when you first bring your Gen home. That's the best way to reduce any chance of behavioral problems. The Post should be considered standard equipment, the same way you'd consider the transfer lounge and food bowl. And naturally, training from young adulthood will ensure that your Gen has the lesson firmly planted in his or her head.

"Now that you've bought the perfect Post, you want to make sure your Gen will use it. I've found the best way to introduce the Post is to use the Post yourself. Yes, you read correctly. I don't know about your Gen, but my Gens never fail to get into the act when they see me doing anything new. Just run your fingernails down the Post and pretend you're having a grand old time. Usually, the scratching sound alone will bring your Gen running over to investigate. In most cases, he or she will begin to scratch on it right along with you. Praise and pet your Gen when he or she uses it successfully.

For Gens who require a little extra guidance, turn the Post on its side. Place your Gen near it and with a tentacle or other extremely appealing object, create a game by running it all around the Post. As your Gen digs in to play, he or she will realized they've just discovered something great. Don't feel bad if your Gen then ignores your game and begins to scratch on the Post. When he or she has gotten the idea, you can turn the Post right-side up again. Scratch the Post with your own fingernails again or use a tentacle to entice your Gen to use the Post in its upright position. Chocolate can be a great aid to entice your Gen to use the Post."

[click here for more information]


Dear Gen,

Transfer is coming up soon and my channel said "You are mine, every dynopter of selyn". I said "Hey, leave me some!" and she replied, "Oh, all right. Two or three dynopters". Which leaves me to ask, just how much selyn does a Gen need to live? Signed, Worried.

Dear Worried,

To answer your question, we must first break it down into parts:

1) What is selyn?

2) How much is a dynopter of selyn? And finally,

3) How many dynopters of selyn does a Gen need?

In answer to the first question, selyn has been officially defined as "the biological energy of life". We are told it has a physical component and a spiritual component. It has not been specified whether the physical energy is potential, kinetic, heat, etc. It appears to manifest itself much as electricity does, except that it is present only around living things. There is no such thing as selyn lightning, for example - which is probably just as well! Just as the movement of electricity generates magnetic fields, the movement of selyn generates selyn fields. Again, selyn fields and magnetic fields have nothing to do with each other - a pity, really, as it would have been so much easier to hit a Sime in need with a metal projectile. As for the spiritual component of selyn, that has not been very well defined either. It is not known whether it consists of soul, karma, emotion, all of the above, or something else. However, it is known that in order to be nourishing, this spiritual energy must be of a positive nature as well as abundant in quantity.

What, exactly, is a dynopter? To begin with, let us look at the etymology of the word. There are several theories as to the word's origins, and whether it has classical roots or whether it is part of a completely unrelated and unique Sime language.

Classical: Dyn from the Greek dynamikos powerful, from dynamis power, from dynasthai to be able, and opter from the Latin option-, optio free choice; akin to Latin optare to choose.

Simelan: A small quantity of "the good stuff".

Unfortunately, the evidence points to the latter definition being the correct one. Early Simes probably invented it as a way to sort livestock by nageric size, and to loosely match renSimes to Pen Gens. Its definition didn't have to be precise, only universally understood. Later, pesky mathematical types created an exact definition, which generations of Farrises upheld to the 12th decimal place. What is this definition? Sadly, we have not been told, although all known references to the word 'dynopter' seem to describe simply the physical quantity rather than the spiritual aspects. As a descriptor of physical energy alone, the dynopter could probably be defined as some number of joules or Calories. As for the measurement of spiritual energy, this is considerably more difficult. Spiritual experiences, like orgasms, defy description and indeed seem to get better and better each time in an unlikely Escheresque progression. An examination of the available literature seems to suggest that the Tecton, that champion of paperwork, has found the dynopter an inadequate descriptor of the spiritual component of a transfer and instead resorts to asking many questions as to "satisfaction" and such.

How many dynopters of selyn does a Gen need to live? Here is where the exact definition of a dynopter would come in handy. (Come to think of it, this is probably why channels ended up standardizing the unit.) Gens do not need selyn for day to day energy, but a certain amount is required to keep the pump primed as it were. Used in this way, selyn is probably most analogous to the soul, that ineffible spark which when gone is truly gone forever. Perhaps it will be simplest to trust your channel to know when to stop, but have your affairs in order just in case. 


Dear Gen,

Recently I was offered some minority, nonvoting stock in a private company... for free! I don't know that much about the stock market, and I was hoping you could give me some advice. Should I, or shouldn't I, obtain this stock? The company is, a startup internet and multimedia venture. Signed, Nothing to Lose but my Pride

Dear Nothing,

How much is your pride worth to you? But seriously....

The Gen of the Week's
Top Ten Reasons to buy Stock:

#10: It's just so thrillingly big-business and official sounding!

#9: Everybody else is doing it.

#8: Want to cash in on the big bucks when the feature film shatters box office records.

#7: Need a cheap birthday present for somebody else who is already a stockholder.

#6: Ran out of toilet paper.

#5: Feelings of proprietary warmth and a sense of belonging whenever business talk crops up on simegen-l.

#4: It's considered bad luck to ignore insider information from the Creator of the Universe.

#3: I'm a nonvoting minority in real life, why not in business as well?

#2: Don't want  to miss out on the "bull" market.

And the number one reason to buy stock:

#1: You never know; a couple of thousand years from now, stock in Keon might be worth quite a bundle.


Dear Gen,

Will there still be copyright law in the time of Simes and Gens? Signed, Just Asking

Dear Asking,

Well, there's good news and there's bad news. The bad news is, copyright law will be around forever. The good news is that although all creative works are copyright by the author as soon as they are expressed in tangible form, they pass into the public domain 70-120 years after the author's death. This means that Simes and Gens living post-Unity cannot be considered in personal, existential infringement of a copyright established in 1969 by an author who isn't immortal.


[in response to the letter from Concerned]

Dear Gen,

I've been reading yer [sic] article and find that I quite disagree with this. What's so bad about paniky [sic] or staring at this here Sime? And I have to quite disagree with you about getting near musicians and music. I must say, I'm disappointed that your articles are so non politically correct, making these Gens think they should avoid a gentle kind loving Sime who only wants a good time. So, from me, let me say to all those Gens out there, come on over, shake that ambient, enjoy that ronaplin. It'll be good for us. Signed, Junct Raider and Loving It

Dear JR,

Get with the ambient! There are private clubs for folks who dig the whips and pursuit thing, but in public places -- including bars -- you'll have to stay on your best behavior like the rest of us.


Dear Gen,

I go to the local bar on a regular basis. Lately, this Sime keeps looking at me in an odd way. Should I be worried? What should I do? Signed, Concerned

Dear Concerned,

No, and you shouldn't be scared, panicky or frightened either. Also, try not to feel open, friendly or inviting toward the strange Sime, and likewise do not appear rejecting or withholding. Don't stand too close, or move quickly away. Don't focus your attention on the Sime. Don't get drunk. Don't listen to music or get too near the musicians if there is a live band. If you lack the coordination and/or willpower to do all of this at once, consider finding another bar.


Dear Gen,

How do I stop my Sime from taking bananas and forks into the bath, it's scaring me! Signed, Anonymous Gen

Dear A.G.,

You forgot to specify what your Sime actually does with the bananas and forks in the bath. However, I will do my best to provide an answer for all the more common causes for this behavior, in the hopes of covering your particular situation.

Activity Relevance of the Banana, Fork and Bathroom Combination What can you do about it?
Banana Sticker Collecting The fork is for removing stubborn stickers. Stickers adhere well to bathroom tile and the grid effect of the tiles makes for convenient organization. Show great enthusiasm and pride for her collection, then buy her a blank book and gently steer her toward using that as a new storage area.
Food Preparation There are many, many recipes which call for bananas, and the bathtub may present itself as the ideal container for whipping up an extremely large batch of something. Explain to your Sime that the bathroom is not an appropriate venue for activities involving food that hasn't been eaten yet. Then tell her she'd better not be feeding another Gen!
Sight Seeing By embedding the fork in the banana, and then wedging the fork's handle between the bathtub and the wall, she can crouch down in the tub with her eyes really close to it and pretend the banana is huge. Oh, take her to the Big Banana already, you meanie!
Banana Farming The bathroom is a steamy place and the banana tree matures faster in a tropical environment. Forks can be helpful in keeping seedlings from falling over.   Give the bathroom a thorough cleaning, removing all banana trees. Do not allow excess dirt to accumulate in the bath tub at any time. When taking your Sime for a ride, do not drive past banana plantations. Buy her a Chia Pet and gently but firmly assist her in housing it in an appropriate location. 


Dear Gen,

Is there life on other planets? Is it divided into Sime and Gen too? Signed, Starry-Eyed

Dear Starry-Eyed,

Nobody knows for sure. However, an examination of our popular media exposes these suspicious tidbits:

Vulcans and Romulans: According to Star Trek lore, they originated as a single species, but split apart many centuries ago and now live in two different Territories. One half (the Vulcans) are constrained to control their emotions at all times, while the other half (the Romulans) get to be as arrogant and childish as they please.

The Gran: Part of the Star Wars mythos, these creatures can detect the emotions of others. They mate for life, and when one dies the other invariably follows soon thereafter. A Gran that is insane dresses all in black.

Alien, Aliens, and Alien3: The creatures seen in these movies kill humans but also require them to reproduce. The young have a dual-stage, metamorphic life-cycle. After maturing, they gain superhuman speed and strength.

Species: In this movie, a 12 year old alien sprouts tentacles, grabs a human in them and emerges from the experience adult and ready to mate.

Pak'ma'ra: These tentacled creatures from the Babylon 5 series exist in symbiotically bonded pairs.


Dear Gen,

Can a Sime have two Gens in transfer? Is it true that it's the Gen who finishes up the transfer that will get pregnant? Signed, Awakening Curious

Dear Awakening,

Standard Transfer Position Unfortunately, it is not possible for a single renSime to take on two Gens sequentially in ordinary transfer. This is because ending the first transfer before the Sime is satisfied will result in a shen (a guaranteed turn off, if not actually fatal) and while letting it go on long enough that the renSime has enough control to end it willingly will leave him or her uninterested in a second go-around. Incidentally, it is possible for one high-powered Gen to serve two Simes sequentially. But that's a different topic entirely!

Two females: Tecton-style For the reasons given above, if two Gens want to serve the same Sime they will have to do so simultaneously. This is possible, given some creativity in positioning. As you have no doubt suspected for some time, the so-called "Tecton-style" or "traditional" transfer position (one Sime, one Gen, forearm-to-forearm and mouth-to-mouth) is but one of many possible positions in which transfer can be taken. While it's certainly efficient in getting the selyn transferred and can be quite pleasurable for most Simes, some Gens find it restricts movement and/or fails to provide sufficient stimulation for a truly enjoyable transfer. And it's not exactly conducive to a third joining in!

The Tecton-style transfer can be very intimate. One fairly commonly-chosen alternative to the traditional position for two-person transfers is for the Sime to come from the rear and take the shoulder and nape contact points. This frees up the Gen's hands and mouth for other activities. The same position can work for Sime/Gen/Gen transfers as well: the Sime takes one Gen in that position, while that Gen takes the second Gen in the same way. (Be sure to use lots of ronaplin.) Little to no selyn from the second Gen will actually make it to the Sime, but all three will share and be shared emotionally during the transfer, lending a special feeling of closeness to the threesome's everyday lives in the coming month. Because no real selyn flow occurs between the Gens, it is not necessary to stay strictly with the same contact points either... be creative!

Alternative Contact Points If it is important to the three of you that the Sime actually partake selyn from both Gens, there are other options. For example the Sime can take the one Gen Tecton-style while another stands behind, taking a nape contact on the Sime and reaching around him or her to make lateral contact using the fingers. Needless to say, it is very important that a strong trust relationship already be in place for something like this! Perhaps a safer alternative, if an awkward one, is the placement of the two Gens side by side or one on top of the other. They then grip hands, left-to-left and right-to-right, keeping their forearms pressed together, and touch lips. This allows the Sime to take them both as one Gen. It also can sometimes lead to the two Gens becoming so absorbed with each other afterward that they forget about the poor Sime....

Alternative Contact Points #2These are just a small sampling of the many, many possibilities inherent in the Sime/Gen/Gen transfer combination. The more experience the three of you gain in transfer, the more adventurous you are bound to become. Luckily, there are many excellent books on the topic if you are interested in finding out more. In the meantime, the important things to remember are to play it safe (you don't want your Sime getting injured or worse!) and make sure you are all having a good time. Three way relationships are bound to be more complicated than two way, and it's important to stay in communication to make sure nobody is uncomfortable, feels left out or isn't getting enough privacy.

Three way transfer Oh yes, as to your other question: because of the simultaneous nature of the transfer, it is unlikely that either of the Gens (assuming they are both female) would be more likely to get pregnant. Even if it were possible for them to serve in transfer one after the other, it is difficult to say... the second Gen has a better chance at the Sime for post transfer activities, but while she was occupied in transfer the first Gen will have already had several moments with which to get "jiggy" with a different male. Also, nothing says that they can't both become pregnant, as long as they are fertile and are able to obtain the services of a fertile male soon afterward. I do hope that if you are thinking of having children with your two friends, you will first wait and see if the transfer relationship works out long term.

Thank you to the Gulf Museum of Transfer Fetish Art for the images used in the illustration of this week's column.


Dear Gen,

My peers (who are mostly Gens for some reason) are always picking on me. But I'm afraid that if I try to defend myself, my actions will be seen as aggressive. What can I do? Signed, Zoe Farris.

Dear Zoe,

Gens can be cruel, as they are unable to zlin when they are genuinely hurting somebody's feelings. Then again, Farrises can be hypersensitive, neurotic and self-pitying. What to do when conflicts arise? I asked around:

"People who try to make fun of me? I just look vague and act like I'm zlinning or thinking about something entirely different. Most of the time that's what I'm really doing anyway. Later, I act surprised and ask if they were talking to me." (Klyd Farris)
"When people started to pick on me I went as far away as possible and founded my own society. It's made up entirely of people who want to live as outlandishly as I do. One day we'll rule the world." (Rimon Farris)
"People don't make fun of me. Not more than once." (Wise Snake Farris)
"Oh please. Just because you've got a black rope tied around your neck doesn't mean you have to hang yourself with it. Think of this as an opportunity to learn a few people skills." (Risa Tigue)


Dear Gen,

Do smart Gens taste better? Signed, Saucy

Dear Saucy,

Based upon historical evidence, I would have to say no. Pre-Unity, when Simes were not assigned transfers but instead could pick any Gen they wanted subject to availability and personal budget, Gens were priced based upon their desirability. The term 'Prime Kill' was used to describe the best Gens, which few could afford. What were 'Prime Kills', exactly? They were either Wild Gens dumb enough to let themselves get caught by raiders, or In-Territory kids who assumed they'd change over and never bothered with an escape plan. Not exactly a bright bunch, you have to admit. Now look at the smartest Gens around: in Gen Territory, those would have to be the big-city politicians, lawyers, and surgeons. It was very rare to see those on the auction block at any price. One might argue that they were too smart to come near enough the border to be captured -- but in any case, the example of the Householding Companions is the clinching factor. While inarguably the smartest Gens in Sime Territory, they were never sold at auction as Choice Kills, and in fact were generally slaughtered rather than killed if they fell into the hands of juncts. So, there you have it... smart Gens definitely do NOT taste better. Now, in this day and age Simes of an intellectual persuasion sometimes do prefer intelligent Gens because good conversation matters more to them than good transfer. If you really are interested in finding out if a smart Gen is the one for you, I suggest you do some experimenting on your own.


Dear Gen,

Thank you for your help with the menu for my first dinner with my new Sime boyfriend. [see it in the archives] I have another problem! When he came over, he was allergic to my cat. Now what should I do? We really like each other and are considering becoming more serious, and are even going to try something more physical after his next transfer (I learned something else about Simes the other day!) but Sooty-Paws Esq. gives my new friend hives in the most unusual places. Signed, Puzzled.

Dear Puzzled,

The problem of people one wants to get to know better being allergic to one's pets is as old as the human domestication of animals. Various techniques exist to deal with this problem. You could try thoroughly cleaning the house before hand, and then putting the cat out while he is over. There are also drugs available which help some people with the allergy symptoms. Or, if the two of you become serious enough to consider marriage, you might have to decide to give your pet away in order to keep your man. These time-honored approaches are the usual thing to do in your situation, but you might also wish to consider some of these other options: 1) Become hysterical and claim that if he really loved you, his own comfort wouldn't matter. 2) Use your nager to convince him that being allergic to cats is actually pleasurable. 3) Give the cat to your mother. That way he'll never meet his future in-laws, heading another problem off at the pass. 4) The Gen is always right. Tell him to learn to live with the cat or go Genless. Or, 5) Shave the cat. 


Dear Gen,

Looking at the portraits of different Sectuibs, I noticed one of a man named Riyyh. I was wondering if you might know how I could go about contacting this Sime about post duty work -- I'd gladly volunteer. Signed, Eagerly Awaiting.

Dear Eager,

I passed your letter (and many others like it!) on to Naros and this is the response I received:

"Gen, I hope your readers will be understanding when I admit that I am not able to accommodate all such requests. However, I am flattered by their interest and would be pleased to correspond with them by mail.

Riyyh, Sectuib in Naros
Householding Naros
R.R. 26
53rd District, NWT"

Dear Readers,

Often when a column containing a controversial topic is printed, I receive some feedback in the mail. Some of you may remember the "Sergi vs. Sergei" reader poll we did recently. [see the poll results] The results of that survey have generated quite a bit of feedback! Here are some quotes:

"The 'Beauty Pageant' surprised the daylights out of me! ...IMONSHO Sergi ambrov Keon is far, far better looking than Diomid." (Ann Marie Olson)

"Sergi ambrov Keon has no idea what the fuss is about. Beauty Contest? Smacks too much of Choice Auction for his comfort level, thank-you-very-much! Besides... who cares about a Gen's looks? A Gen should cultivate a beautiful nager. Also, don't forget that once he manages to get Risa to see him as human, Sergi is in a committed relationship. He has no interest in anyone else lusting after him. It would only be an embarrassment." (Jean Lorrah)

As you can see, both authors professed to care not a whit about their characters' appearance. However, it is interesting to note that the bulk of their responses had to do with the beauty contest, while some of the more manly contests went completely unmentioned. To continue:

"I had forgotten about the effect of men with long hair on some people." (Ann Marie Olson)

"Long hair? Sergi is a working man. He is First Companion in Keon in the days when Keon is struggling to survive. In addition to his duties as Companion, he puts his hand to anything that must be done: gardening, carpentry, plumbing, teaching changeover class. He is also as much a scientist as it's possible to be in Gulf Territory at that time. Klyd Farris might scoff at at his knowledge of transfer mechanics, but he is tops in the territory. OTOH, Sergi's knowledge of metallurgy is tops in North America. And incidentally, he is an artist, a sculptor. This is not a man who has time to think about his hair! He happens to have gorgeous thick blond hair, but he keeps it typical Gulf collar length, just as male Simes do. The only time it gets long is in  Zelerod's Doom, on the trek across the continent, when all the men let their hair and beards grow for warmth. Not very glamorous." (Jean Lorrah)

In this columnist's view, that response is beginning to stray into "methinks she doth protest too much" territory.

"If you want a Gulf Territory male who is vain about his hair, take a look at Tonyo Logan a couple of years into his performance career. Long blond curls that he has learned to toss in visual analog to his nageric performance -- and he has also learned just how much women love to touch it. And to think, he let it grow long to prevent it from curling into ringlets when Zhag wouldn't let him cut it short because, 'You'll look like a Pen Gen!'" (Jean Lorrah)

"Uh-huh. What I wonder is, what it is about women and long hair on men? Albeit it is easier for men to grow their hair out, but still. I, personally, as authorial intrusion would have it, was thinking about Han dynasty kimonos when I did the whole thing with the hair in Russian Sime~Gen." (Ann Marie Olson)

Uh-huh. In an unrelated comment, Ann Marie echoed the thoughts of quite a few of our readers:

"I do wonder which way the Sime is running in the foot race."


Dear Gen,

I have this new boyfriend, who is a Sime. He is coming over for dinner for the first time and I don't know what to feed him! Should I go for the beef with red wine sauce, or the duck and orange? Signed, Gourmet

Dear Gourmet,



Dear Gen,

What color is selyn? Signed, Color me Curious

Dear Curious,

To find the answer to your question, I turned to Dr. Elvid Jennins, Dean of Metaphysics at the West Rialite Suburban College for Successful People's Failed Children and author of several best selling books including "1001 Titles for Unwritten Bestsellers" and "I am Not Psychic: One Man's Story of Rebirth and Self-Discovery". Here's what he had to say:

"Gen, one may as well ask 'what color is Karma?' or 'what color is the soul'? I suppose I could cop out and claim it's the same color as other invisible forms of energy, such as kinetic or potential energy, or even visible ones such as stars or lightning. But that doesn't really address the fact that selyn is LIFE energy, and made up as much of a person's self, emotion and past and future fates as it is of actual physical energy. You know, a great man once said that if you can satisfy everyone as to the answer of a very profound question in only one sentence, you have excellent earning potential." 


Dear Gen,

Who do you think would win between Sergi ambrov Keon and Sharm Lord Diomid Azovich Sergei? Signed, Sergei Forever

Dear Forever,

I asked our readers what they thought. Here is what they said:

 The Gen of the Week's
Reader Survey Results

Who do you think would win between Sergi ambrov Keon and Sharm Lord Diomid Azovich Sergei?

ambrov Keon:
Sharm Lord
Diomid Azovich
Fist Fight
Pencil Fight
Girlie Slap Fight
Nageric Tug of War
Beauty Pageant
Gossip One-Upmanship
Dirty Joke Contest
Firewood Chopping
Marathon Foot Race

As can be immediately seen, Sharm Lord Diomid Azovich Sergei (purple) is the clear winner over Sergi ambrov Keon (blue), collecting 56% of the possible votes to his opponent's 39% and falling behind in our readers' opinions only in the area of Firewood Chopping.

In some of the competition types the votes do not total 100%, for various reasons. In the case of the Pencil Fight, 12% did not answer the question at all, while another 8% said that neither would win. Reasons given included the unlikelihood of the pair of them getting into a pencil fight in the first place, and the likelihood of somebody getting hurt. Diomid would have made a clean sweep in the Gossip One-Upmanship category, if it hadn't been for a write-in vote for Riyyh ambrov Naros. One person declined to vote for a winner of the Dirty Joke Contest, declaring that neither had any sense of humor whatsoever. And as for the Marathon Foot Race, 8% did not vote at all and 8% voted for the write-in candidate of "any Sime within zlinning distance of them".

On a side note, one person who voted for Diomid to win the Beauty Pageant wanted to make sure everybody understood that it was Diomid's hair that made the difference. OK. For those of you who will no longer be able to concentrate now that long hair on men has been mentioned, you may be excused.


Dear Gen,

I've been wondering this for a while but I've only now gotten up the nerve to write. What exactly does "Gen of the Week" mean? Signed, Nosy

Dear Nosy,

The office here has four junct staff members all 7 days out of phase with each other, and five staff positions.  Now, aren't you glad you asked?


Dear Gen,

If Simes are stronger, why is it that the Gen ends up doing all the heavy work when it comes to moving house? Signed, Sweating the Big Stuff

Dear Sweating,

As a predator, the Sime is set up for short bursts of speed and power followed by several hours of napping. The Sime can be very, very patient in waiting motionless for the right time to arrive to put on that burst of speed and power... for example, if you arrive home with the groceries and try to put the honey away without opening it first. Without this deeply ingrained, selyn-saving characteristic, they never would have survived as a species prior to domestication. We Gens, on the other hand, are optimized for constant hard labor. This was required for our survival back when each of us had to gather, farm or herd our own sustenance. That having been said, it is possible to train a Sime to do any physical labor you may require around the home, given persistence and good nageric technique.


Dear Gen,

They say there are no gay channels. How could this be? Signed, Flummoxed

Dear Flummoxed,

I did some research and have compiled this list of possible explanations:

The Gen of the Week's
Top Ten Reasons there are No Gay Channels:

#10. Klyd hadn't gotten to know Hugh well enough by the time the auction scene was written.

#9. Channels were designed with all the characteristics somebody thought sounded glamorous and heroic, and somebody didn't think gayness sounded glamorous and heroic.

#8. Because their heads explode. (really!)

#7. There are plenty of gay channels. It's only heterosexuality that's vigorous-but-intermittent.

#6. "Gay" means happy, and most of the channels in the books are morose and depressed.

#5. There are no gay channels because the Queen didn't believe in them.

#4. Why do you think Ercy's dorm burned down while she and her friend were "experimenting"?

#3. There are no gay channels because the only channels who ever got far enough in transfer mathematics to be able to understand the energy flow characteristics are too busy for sex.

#2. There are no gay channels because there are no straight Donors.

And the #1 reason there are No Gay Channels:

#1. Gen women stopped responding to the "I'm a Gay Channel" pickup line.


Dear Gen,

I just found out that the Ancients used to have a breed of cat called the "Simese". Were these some sort of predecessor to Simes? Are we evolved from cats? Signed, Cat Lover.  

Dear Lover,

I spoke to our resident cat expert, Dr. Stripeskin, who had this to say about cats:

 "Gen, it's a little known fact that all cats are Simes. Their tentacles -- or if you prefer, claws -- are rather small, and usually kept sheathed except when required for transfer or while handling objects. When extended, they prick into the victim's skin rhythmically, drawing small puffs of selyn, which is absorbed through their pads. While most Gens are capable of sensing the slight pain resulting from this minute selyn flow, the average Sime cannot zlin the transfer occurring. In fact, only Farrises can zlin the difference in selyn levels in a cat following transfer, and even they have difficulty in doing it without getting close enough to trigger an explosive sneezing fit, startling the cat into augmenting and using up the evidence."


Dear Gen,

My cousin wants to donate to the Tecton. He has gotten rather insistent on it, he says it's his "duty" and that everyone should do it, and he is pressuring me to do it too, which is odd, because I'm Sime. What should I do? Signed, Puzzled

Dear Puzzled,

The kindest thing you can do in this case is reveal to your cousin that you already "go to the Sime Center every month" and ask if he'd like to come along. Hopefully he either won't notice you're doing something different than he is, or somebody will sit him down and explain everything. Good luck!


Dear Gen,

I read your advice to "All Confused" last week (10/6/99) and was shocked, just shocked! You should have taught her a lesson instead of encouraging her. These young Gens these days think they can boss Simes around and control who and what they zlin, and it's just appalling. What is the world coming to! Signed, Sime and Proud

Dear Sime,

It sounds like you have a real issue with Gen dominance. Perhaps you should seek therapy. Make an appointment with a psychiatrist. With any luck they'll tell you that living out some of your fantasies will help you with your real-life hang ups. For example, have you ever thought about what it'd be like to be tied up and helpless while a big, fat Gen with a big, luscious nager comes and slowly caresses your fields, sending sparks out along your every nerve, tantalizingly out of reach, teasing and yet yearning for release as surely as you are? Or what a long, hard, supple raider whip could do in the hands of a high field Gen, dancing on a table in the hot dark steaming basement of a backstreet dive, shiltpron playing smoky sultry jazz, couples entwined in the nageric haze.... Or what about a jungle, a raw wild jungle with drums beating from all around, and wild Gens wearing animal skins and little else surround you, sweat and greasepaint glittering, spears aiming undecided, their eyes and nagers fascinated.... or not. Hey, all I'm saying is, you sound like you could use a hobby.


Dear Gen,

Why is the Tecton so damn immovable on the subject of Sime-Gen transfer? I've been giving my Sime lover transfer for months now, with no ill effects. Last week, who should turn up at the door but the Tecton wanting to know why he hadn't been coming in for transfer! What can they do to us? Signed, Worried

Dear Worried,

Contrary to the old wives' tale, direct Gen-Sime transfer doesn't cause hairy palms, or even blindness. Now for the bad news: the Tecton is after your tax money! Less tax revenue means less pork in the high level channel's salaries, and you know as well as I who's running the Tecton. Not only that, but less work for channels means no need for the really high level channels, and egomaniacal superheroism would go out of style. Heavens! What were you thinking? Turn yourselves in at once, and feel lucky that we aren't living in complete anarchy! Er, in answer to your other question, all they can do is throw you in jail and prevent you from transferring any more. The rumor about them chopping you up into eensy weensy bits and feeding you to Pen Gens in a secret dungeon system under the World Controller's Office is a complete falsehood, or at least somewhat of an exaggeration. I have this on authority of the World Controller himself. I hope your worries have been eased.


Dear Gen,

Is it true that if you conceive before the full moon you will have a Sime child, unless it's premature? And that if you only drink Trin tea with mint you will have a boy child who will be Gen? Signed, Expecting

Dear Expecting,

I asked the experts, and here is what they said:

"Fiend! You'll be burned for witchcraft!" -- Rellow Farris

"Errr... well, any time you've conceived before the boy is Gen, it's definitely premature. In fact, it would be a miracle!" -- Grandfather

"Oh shen! The Kerduvon tea turned out to be a contraceptive!" -- Laneff Farris


Dear Gen, I am a Gen woman from Gen Territory. Recently I moved to Sime Territory and I am now dating a Sime boyfriend. Last week we attended a party and my boyfriend kept zlinning this male Gen who is a mutual acquaintance. Should I be jealous? Signed, All Confused

Dear Confused,



Dear Gen, is it possible for a Gen to "suck" the selyn back out of a Sime? Signed, Bet $50 in 'Cago

Dear Bet $50,

Yes, but it's also possible for a Sime to blow up a building by having a temper tantrum, for a Gen to turn his nager "invisible", and for a Sime to drop dead from being looked at the wrong way... given the right Sime or Gen, and sufficient cause! By the way, don't try this at home.


Dear Gen, were the Ancients Simes or Gens? Signed, Egberf in Nivet

Dear Egberf,

Your confusion is understandable. Historians, scientists, and religious leaders have long been divided on this subject. The truth is that the Ancient was an early model of Human, neither Sime or Gen but combining the worst aspects of both larities. They ate like Gens but produced no selyn; they squabbled as much as Simes but had the herd instincts of Gens; they were fertile 100% of the time but produced nothing but more Ancients; and perhaps most disturbing from the perspective of the modern citizen of Sime Territory, they didn't drink Trin! Fortunately, they died out thousands of years ago.


Dear Gen, Is ronaplin good sexual lubricant? Signed, Becchi from Capital

Dear Becchi,

I asked one of our local experts, Ron A. Plinth, proprietor of the infamous Hitching Post. Here is what he had to say:

"Gen, tell your readers that not only does ronaplin make an excellent sexual lubricant, it is also a surprisingly good cooking oil. Surprise your post honey with breakfast in bed. Oo la la!"


Dear Gen, I think Klyd is to die for. But, why do Farrises have such crazy hair? Signed, Farris Fetish in Achambo City

Dear F.F.,

This is not actually a result of the Farris mutation, but of their many allergies. It seems there is not one compound known to humanity which is both Farris-safe and makes a decent shampoo. Breaks your heart, doesn't it?

Questions about manners? Your love life? Tecton politics, or the birds and the bees? Write me!

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