Derk makes me uneasy

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Thu May 29 06:32:08 EDT 2003

I re-read Dark Lord and Griffin not too long ago.  And I'm feeling rather uneasy
about Derk.

Derk has been experimenting with genetically modified creatures.  Fine.  But he
lets carnivorous sheep and intelligent, magic using geese out into the world.
Not so fine, although it wasn't his fault.

On the other hand, what was he trying to produce when he did the sheep?

He has also been doing a lot of experiments in creating intelligent, speaking

Some of them include Human genetic material - griffins, winged humans - and
these he treats as his children, and as people.

Others don't: flying horses, geese, pigeons.  These creatures have the power of
speech, and even the power of reason (as witness Filbert's comments on why the
standards of teaching have fallen so low).  But these seem to be completely
slaves to the humans.  Derk treats the horses and his pigeons very well, but
there is no question of their being anything other than his slaves.  The geese
are free, but only because they can escape.  Flying horses he is happy to give
away to Elves...

For the short term, all seems well.  For the medium term, one may hope that Derk
follows a popular Roman custom, and leaves his slaves their freedom in his will.
But for the long term, what is the future of the race of intelligent carrier
pigeons, for example?  They have intelligence and speech, but little or no
manipulation.  How will they care for themselves when Derk is gone?  Will they
survive in the wild?  How useful will their brains be then?  Will they feel the
need or obligation to carry messages for humans?  For other creatures?  There
are a lot of difficult questions here.

Has anyone else had this feeling?  I seem to remember someone being uneasy about
the griffins, for a start...


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