The Domination

From Academic Kids

The Domination is a dystopian alternate history series of four novels written by S. M. Stirling. The world of The Domination diverges from our world at the time of the American Revolutionary War, when the Netherlands declares war on the UK, resulting in the loss of its Cape Colony to the British. After defeat in Revolutionary War, the Loyalists who historically went to Canada are instead moved to the new Crown Colony of Drakia (named after Sir Francis Drake) in South Africa. The Crown Colony of Drakia (later, the Dominion of Draka) is an aggressive militaristic slave-owning society reinforced over the course of the 19th century by Icelanders, French royalists, defeated American Confederates and other reactionary refugees.

Over 90% of the population are slaves (officially referred to as 'serfs', as the Draka maintain the fiction that they are part of the British Empire, which outlaws slavery). In fact the entire Drakan society, from sex to the economy, is based on slavery. Almost all Draka citizens own at least a few slaves.

The Dominion draws substantially from the ideology of Friedrich Nietzsche and similar philosophers and can be viewed as an "Anti-America" — in the sense that like the United States, the Draka nation started off as a British settler colony, but evolved along diametrically opposite lines. While the United States had slavery, even slave-holders had to pay lip-service to the American values of liberty and equality, and the contradiction was eventually resolved by the American Civil War. The Draka, on the other hand view themselves as a master race and unlike the Nazis, actually try their utmost to be such — in the manner of ancient Sparta, all Draka citizen children attend sex-segregated boarding schools with an extreme emphasis on military prowess.

Politically, the Draka state is described as 'aristocratic republic' with a parliamentary system of government. The Archon, the head of state appointed by parliament (elected in free and fair elections), serves for a 20-year term. Draka citizens have a considerable degree of free speech, but fundamental criticism of the slave system is forbidden. The Draka economy is heavily dominated by cartels known as Combines, with ownership split between the state and the Landholders' League (Citizens can only own the right to use land, not the land itself, which can be confiscated in the event of neglect or misuse). There is also a considerable small-business private sector. The Draka economy is on the gold standard, with the basic unit of currency being the auric.

Because the Draka are so heavily outnumbered, meaning that a general slave rebellion could well mean their extermination, the Draka are utterly ruthless. Impalement is the favoured Draka method of executing rebellious slaves.

By 1900 the Draka have conquered and enslaved all of Africa. The last areas to be conquered were the jungles of the Congo, due to the danger of tropical diseases. Meanwhile, the United States has annexed Canada after the War of 1812 and Mexico after the Mexican–American War. William Walker's Southern adventurers conquer Central America. During the American Civil War the Draka supply massive amounts of aid to the Confederacy, including steam-powered armored cars. However, the Union still wins the Civil War, and annexes Walker's central American empire, along with Hawaii, the Caribbean islands and the Philippines. All these territories eventually give the United States a total of 62 states.

In World War I the Dominion of the Draka loyally joins the Allied side, and conquers the Ottoman Empire, before declaring independence from Britain, renaming itself the Domination of the Draka. It then takes advantage of the Russian Civil War to take over the remainder of the Middle East, much of Central Asia, and partitions China with the Japanese Empire.

At this stage, under the influence of Draka philosophers such as Elvira Naldorssen, the traditional Draka white-supremacism is replaced by Draka-supremacism, with the Draka viewing all of non-Drakan humanity as their cattle. Elvira explains the ideology of the Domination, the utter amorality of which will lead enemies of the Draka to refer to them as 'Snakes':

" the Draka are not different from other peoples because they violate the Golden Rule or Bentham's derivative idolatry 'the greatest good for the greatest number'. Everyone does. We do not violate them, we reject them.
"Others have conquered and ruled; we alone conquer for conquest's sake and Dominate for no other purpose than Domination itself; the name we half-consciously chose for our state is no accident. We, and we alone have spoken aloud the Great Secret; that the root function of all human society is the production and reproduction of power — and that power is the ability to compel others to do your will against theirs. It is end, not means. The purpose of Power is Power.
"The Draka will conquer the world for two reasons; because we must and because we can. And yet of the two forces the second is the greater; we do this because we choose to do it. By the sovereign Will and force of arms the Draka will rule the Earth, and in so doing remake themselves. We shall conquer and beat the Nations of the Earth into the dust and reforge them in our self wrought Image; the Final Society without weakness or mercy, hard and pure. Our descendants will walk the hillside of that future, innocent beneath the stars, with no more between them and their naked will than a wolf has. THEN there will be Gods in the Earth."

The first book of the series Marching Through Georgia is a war story set during the Eurasian War, the Domination timeline's equivalent of World War II. Due to the additional danger of invasion on its southern border by the Domination, the Soviet Union was completely crushed by the Nazis, with only a Siberian rump state surviving under a junta led by Marshal Timoshenko. The Domination entered the war just before the Nazi invasion of Russia, conquering Italy with the tacit consent of the Nazis. Now the Draka have attacked the Third Reich itself, in the Caucasus region, attempting to cut off a large part of their army. Much of the story is told from the point of view of the Draka centurion Eric von Shrakenberg and the American journalist Bill Dreiser.

The Draka citizen soldiers, female as well as male, are honed killing machines, each equal to several of their enemy on the battlefield. They are equipped with superb weaponry — while the German army is equipped with Panther and Tiger tanks, the Draka have 14,000 Hond III tanks — equivalent in armor, engine size and gun caliber to the M1 Abrams and other real-world tanks of the present day.

For attritional warfare the Domination uses it Janissary slave soldiers, who make up 60% of the Draka army. Draka soldiers neither ask nor give quarter — all captured enemies are killed or permanently enslaved.

The Draka world in
The Draka world in 1942

The United States is forced into the war when the entire Pacific Fleet is wiped out at Pearl Harbor. Japanese forces occupy the US States of Hawaii and the Philippines and the Panama Canal Zone. In addition, California is raided and the Imperial Japanese Navy shells Acapulco. The United States is therefore totally unable to open a second front in Europe. Alliance with the Nazis against the Draka on the other hand is also impossible, due to the influence of the Jewish lobby and a Draka threat to supply Japan with nuclear weapons-related materials in the event of US-German peace.

As a result, once the United States eventually defeats Japan, the Draka have conquered all of mainland Europe and most of Asia. One of the most powerful and horrific aspects of "Marching Through Georgia" is most non-Jewish readers will find themselves rooting for the Nazis, who try in vain to defend Europe against an enemy whose atrocities dwarf those of Hitler and Stalin. In total, the Eurasian War claims some 200 million lives, over three times the death toll of our own World War II.

In 1943, the United States set up the "Alliance for Democracy", an economic and military union of the free countries of the world. It initially consisted of North and South America, the British Isles, India and unoccupied Australia. After the defeat of Imperial Japan, the liberated South-East Asian Federation and Indochinese Republic became members, as does a reconstructed Japan. The Domination and the Alliance thus control the entire world between them.

The second book Under the Yoke is a horrific vision of Europe under Draka rule. Tanya von Shrakenberg is establishing a plantation in formerly-French Touraine Province. Her slaves include Marya Sokolowska and Chantal Lefarge, formerly a Polish nun and a French Communist respectively. (Note that Skłodowska is the maiden name of Marie Curie; it is not clear whether the fictional character is intended to be an alternate-history version of the chemist, but from the description of her intelligence, it seems likely).

Fred Kustaa, agent for the Alliance secret service, the OSS, is attempting to keep a resistance movement alive in Europe. He smuggles weapons to guerillas in Finland, and latter attempts to smuggle the German professor Ernst Oerbach, who has vital knowledge on nuclear fusion. Marya Sokolowska is Fred's contact in this second mission.

Eventually Draka ruthlessness crushes all resistance in Europe. Finland is eventually almost totally depopulated and, in 1952, when a rebellion takes over the city of Barcelona, the Draka respond with a thermonuclear bomb. Under the Yoke contains a deliberately horrific description of the impalement of several guerrilla soldiers, disgusting even the Draka who ordered it - who nevertheless considers it necessary, as impressing upon the slaves who watch that resistance is futile. Thus, they will obey more willingly, making it possible for the Draka to be less harsh - giving rise to even further willingness to obey. The Draka have been slavemasters for two hundred years, and have applied modern science to the problem of breaking human wills; they are extremely good at it. Indeed, this feeds further into their ideology of the Draka as a master race, capable of enforcing their will with no other tool than raw willpower.

The third book, The Stone Dogs, tells the story of the Protracted Struggle — the ultra-nasty Cold War between the Domination of the Draka and the Alliance for Democracy. There is a far more intense space race in this world, with pulse-drive interplanetary spaceships and colonies and military bases established on the Moon, on Mars and in the asteroid belt. Over a period of several decades, the Alliance secretly constructs an antimatter-driven starship for transporting 100,000 people to Alpha Centauri.

Missing image
The Draka world in 1948

In the 1970s, just as in our world, there is a major setback for the Free World. An OSS covert operation, designed to discredit a Hindu nationalist party and keep India in the Alliance, backfires as the Draka assassinate the Indian president and plant a suicide note implicating the OSS in the scandal. As a result India secedes from the Alliance — and is conquered and enslaved by the Draka within weeks (except Burma, which counter-seceded back to the Alliance). After the 'Indian Incident' the Alliance for Democracy is formally converted into a single superstate.

The much larger free population of the Alliance give it an edge in physics and computer technology, while the Domination gains the upper hand in the biological sciences and perfect their genetic engineering techniques by using its slave population as test subjects. They finish the Human Genome Project and are performing significant genetic alteration on mammalian organisms, including humans, by the mid-1970's. Both sides develop super-weapons with which to launch the first strike of the inevitable final war.

The war finally breaks out in 1998 when the Draka, about to lose the secrecy of their superweapon, decide to use it preemptively instead. Their advantages in bioscience allowed them to create a bio-psychological virus (implied is that it is derived from HIV) that lies dormant but, when activated by precisely modulated radio waves, causes the host to go insane. The Alliance counterpart, a virus designed to disable Draka computer systems, works well but is not as effective at disabling whole military heirarchies.

The war itself proves to be devastating in the extreme. Despite the near exclusive use of 'clean' fusion weapons, Earth's ecosystems were pushed nearly to the breaking point, with a nuclear winter lasting for several years (there are references to ice forming in the Adriatic Sea). Draka forces succeed in wiping out all significant Alliance populations and military forces in the Earth-Luna sphere, suffering ~15% total casualties in the process. Alliance forces prove victorious in the asteroid belt and are able to launch their starship, but ultimately the Solar System belongs to the Draka.

"Drakon" takes place in the distant future, where the Domination is pitted against the Centauri world of Samothrace, which is populated by the descendants of the Alliance's peoples. A failed experiment intended to research wormholes for FTL travel causes a single genetically-engineered Draka, Gwendolyn Ingolffson to be sent into an alternate universe (namely, ours), and the Samothracians rush to counter the impending invasion by sending once of their own agents, cyborg soldier Kenneth Lafarge, to our own Earth. The showdown between the Draka and the Samothracian agents culminates in an epic clash in New York City.

There is also a collection of short stories called "Drakas".

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