YMMV / The Draka

  • Fan Nickname: S&M Stirling. Not undeserved.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The Draka are the descendants of American loyalists, French noblemen and Confederates who lost the war / Revolution. Leading to the aesop: The revenge of losers will be horrible.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Given the large amount of similarities between them (right down to everyone being bi), the trolls from Homestuck could easily be interpreted as a parody of the Draka, but this is almost certainly unintentional.
    • Looking at the Draka philosophy, it reads very much like the Anvilicious WW2-Allied propaganda version of what Nazi/Imperial Japanese ideology was supposedly like. Specifically, "Elvira Naldorssen" on the Quotes page copies lines the now-discredited "black propaganda" book The Voice of Destruction attributes to Hitler almost word for word. Combine this with the Draka fielding at least some of the sci-fi weaponry the real-life Nazis didn't have, but usually got in the pulp stories of the day. If this isn't just a coincidence, it's high-order Fridge Brilliance: Stirling is comparing and contrasting more-or-less realistic Nazis with the highly exaggerated propaganda image of Nazis in pop culture by having them fight against each other!
  • Moment of Awesome: When Humanity's fleet from Alpha Centauri warp in above Earth in Drakon and get a hair's width away from defeating them once and for all.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Draka refine this in large quantities. You know it's bad when they make you ROOT for the Nazis when they face off against the Draka.
    • In Marching Through Georgia Standartenfuhrer Felix Hoth, a fanatic Nazi war criminal who was canonically a rapist and mass murderer, still tempts the reader to root for him because at least he's not the Draka.
    • There's a line early in Marching Through Georgia that states that even the Draka high command were shaken by reports of the Nazi death camps. But from what we see of the Draka, that's hard to believe.
      • They weren't shocked by the moral dimension of it, they were shocked at the waste of valuable resources. It's so typically Draka that when confronted with the Holocaust, their emotional reaction is 'But you could have used them for something!'
      • To be the Devil's advocate, they don't like unnecessary torture to their serfs either. If they targeted a population for extermination, the Draka wouldn't bother with slow abuse, but simply go in and kill hand-to-hand. Or with machine guns. Or mortars. Or bombs. Or nerve gas... let's just say the Draka are very utilarian and leave it at that.
    • The middle book, Under the Yoke., which includes descriptions of how Draka treat slaves.
    • A Human Empire with an alien morality invades Europe and the rest of the world, reduces everyone into Roman style slaves, serf women can be raped anytime and are regularly raped, and every last La Résistance is prevented by massacres on spot, and after World War 3, the serfs are genetically modified to accept slavery meekly, and despise "ferals", humans who resist the Draka. Every effort of human resistance is forever forgotten on Earth.
    • With nothing more than strategic autarky, nuclear weapons and a global reach, and a tech advancement rate identical to our own, and the Draka would *never* fall. Unlike the Soviet Union, there was never any pretense of equality and for the masses it never mattered if the outside world had a better standard of living. Don't believe me? Look at North Korea. They do not have strategic autarky, their nuclear deterrent is laughable, possibly non-existent, and could be crushed and annihilated in a historical instant. Had OTL South Africa had a nuclear deterrent of the French scale by 1979, Apartheid might still be going on.
  • Uncanny Valley: Stirling went to great length into suggesting the alienness / otherness of the Draka in everything pertaining to their social life, until they could just as well be some extraterrestrial beings. In Under The Yoke, some contrasts between Draka and Frenchmen or Finns are obviously deliberate:
    • Language: Tanya von Shrakenberg talks (especially about sex) almost exactly like a young male from Real Life, although with no rough words. Funnily, males (even Draka) are more conservative in their language, more typical to a Real Life man from the 1940s.
      • Body Language: the Draka are not called 'snakes' in order to make a bad Pun. They practice extreme conservation of body movement, making no gesture or expression that is not completely intended and betraying nothing with their mannerisms. The effect on Alliance citizens who interact with the Draka is described as extremely unsettling.
    • Architecture: Draka buildings are so colorful and pimped-out they might just as well be from a fairy tale. European designs of the time were exactly the opposite, neat, clean, marble everywhere, or older gray masonry.
    • Clothing: also colorful and tacky for civilians, almost BDSM for troopers. Real Life fashions of the time (to fit the rather polluted European and American cities and muddy countryside) used strong fabrics, dull colors, rougher designs - unlike what a modern person may believe, Film Noir characters wore their coats and suits for practical reasons.
    • Staging: Draka use the parades and other public events in a disconcerting manner, like some 20th century Ancient Romans or Ancient Persians. By comparison, Third Reich public events were conceived to impress foreign observers and prove the strength of the regime. Draka public events were designed by Draka for Draka, nobody cared what someone else may understand (or if someone else understand them or not at all).
    • Attitude: the Nazis in Real Life looked and talked like a military aggressor was supposed to: they occupied land, settled themselves, captured supplies and production facilities, interrogated prisoners; there was a language in which people could relate to them. The Draka thought like a different species, they did not show any interest in European cities, edifices, art and other valuables, just molded the landscape immediately to fit them.
      • The Draka did appreciate fine art, especially Greco-Roman and Renaissance work. They systematically looted the Vatican specifically for its art collection.
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