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The Draka series is right up there with Brave New World and 1984 when it comes to real scary futures. What makes the Draka so insidious is that - like our own elites - they're actually quite pleasant from their own point of view, even admirable.
And so we get to the concept of the 'affably evil':
"Gwendolyn Ingolffsen, the eponymous villainess of S. M. Stirling's Drakon, is quite nice and friendly for a member of a genetically-engineered master race who is attempting to reduce the whole human race of the parallel Earth she find herself stranded on to eternal slavery and degradation. She sees it as merely a necessary "taming" of "ferals".Should we be scared that in thirty years time all newborns will have already been genetically-tweaked for pro-sociality: a little more pleasant, a little less aggressive; a little more conscientious, a little less impulsive? Perhaps dial down the intelligence slightly for the masses - they're
"There are hints in the story (and others in the series) that she's actually quite mellow for a member of her species. In fact, all Draka are like this. As long as you accept that they're superior to you in every way and do what you're ordered to do, they'll treat you like a favourite pet.
"Cross them, though, and you'll end up with a four foot spike up you, as they point out to you how it didn't have to be like this, if only you'd obeyed without question. The ones who aren't like this end up in the Security Directorate. They'll stake a few of you at random just to show what you can expect."
I'm already there: I'm glad I'm a Beta*.
"Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able …"
You know the reference.