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Literature / Moreau Series

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Nohar Rajasthan
A 4 book Bio Punk series by S. Andrew Swann, consisting of Forests of the Night, Emperors of the Twilight, Specters of the Dawn, and Fearful Symmetries. The first three books have been reprinted as The Moreau Omnibus. This series is part of the Terran Confederacy Verse.

The series takes place in the mid-21st century, after the Third Gulf war, the Pan-Asian war, and various smaller conflicts led to the creation of 'Moreaus', genetically engineered anthropomorphic animals, as well as the altered human 'Frankensteins' created by a few outlaw states. After the wars, moreau refugees flood into the U.S., where they are treated as second-class citizens, but better off than the franks, who have no civil rights at all under the 29th amendment.

Forests of the Night centers on Nohar Rajasthan, a genetically engineered tiger who works as a PI in Cleveland. He is hired by a secretive group of frankensteins to investigate the murder of a conservative political operative which the police are blowing off. In the course of the investigation, bodies begin to pile up, strange links appear between a rodent street gang and anti-moreau politicians, and evidence piles up that there's far more going on than is visible on the surface. Nohar encounters frankenstein Federal agent Evi Isham and rabbit gang leader Angel Lopez.

Emperors of the Twilight opens six years later, when Evi Isham, long out of field operations, is attacked by snipers and canine mercenaries in her New York apartment. The conspiracy she helped to root out in Cleveland has far-reaching tentacles and is not nearly as dead as she supposed. Her boss is conspiring against her, the Agency thinks she's gone rogue, and Evi is forced to turn to the very people she used to hunt, the moreau underground, in her search for answers.

Specters of the Dawn follows Angel Lopez to San Francisco, fabled haven of tolerance for moreykind. But that tolerance runs thin when she's attacked in a bar by human supremacists, who two weeks later are implicated in the murder of her lover, a wealthy fox named Byron. Angel learns that the humans are being railroaded, and Byron was killed by a moreau. Investigating Byron's mysterious job, and more mysterious death, Angel finds a trail of destruction created by at least three factions, all of whom are seeking something Byron had and believe that she has now.

Fearful Symmetries returns to Nohar, retired and fled from human and moreau society alike. A human lawyer tracks him down and offers him one last job, which Nohar turns down flat. That would have been the end of it, except that someone firebombed Nohar's cabin that night, and he must learn who offered the job if he wants to survive.

Swann has also written the Choice of Games game Welcome to Moreytown, in which the protagonist is a Moreau trying to survive in a "Moreytown" slum amidst rising tensions and violence.

This series provides examples of:

  • Aliens In Cleveland: Literally!. The first story takes place in dystopian Cleveland.
  • Anachronic Order: The two collections collect Forests of the Night and Fearful Symmetries, which can cause a bit of confusion when Nohar references background events from Emperors and Specters, especially when Nohar mentions the Race and mentions having broken up with his human wife.
  • Artificial Animal People: The titular "Moreaus" are genetically engineered anthropomorphic animals created as Super Soldiers who are now treated as second-class citizens.
  • Bio Punk: Nohar Rajasthan is a half-tiger-half-human private investigator in a world where hybrid "Moreaus" (as in The Island of Doctor Moreau) are confined to ghettos as second-class citizens. The series also has genetically improved humans, called "Franks" as in Frankenstein, and aliens.
  • Corrupt Politician: The series is littered with them. Most notably, the Forests of the Night centers on Nohar's investigation of millions of dollars of suspicious campaign funds, and the deaths surrounding them.
  • Crapsack World: The Pan-Asian War left Tokyo and New Dehli radioactive craters, and the PRC conquered Japan and Taiwan. Tel Aviv was nuked by the Islamic Axis during the Third Gulf War, and sub-Saharan Africa and South America have been devastated by other, unnamed wars. Moreaus, created as soldiers, are second-class citizens at best throughout the world, and many are refugees from war or persecution. The Troubles continue unabated in Northern Ireland. The U.S. verges on a Police State, with rampant political corruption as a bonus, and verges on civil war with the Moreau population. The alien invaders who caused much of this conspire behind the scenes to make it worse.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: This tends to come with the territory when your species is built for warfare. Nohar and Angel both grew up on the streets and ran with gangs, while Evi was born in a Jordanian lab, raised by Mossad and fled her home country when Tel Aviv disappeared in nuclear fire.
  • Designer Babies: Making them is forbidden by the UN, but several countries did so anyway. The results are called frankensteins. They aren't popular.
  • Fantastic Racism: Prejudice against moreaus and frankensteins is common; moreaus are second-class citizens, and franks have no civil rights at all.
  • Hand Cannon: Nohar's Vindhaya 12mm automatic, built for 8' tiger Super Soldiers
  • Hardboiled Detective: Nohar deviates from the archetype primarily by being an 8' tiger who doesn't like wearing clothes.
  • Interspecies Romance: Nohar (tiger) and Maria (jaguar), Nohar and Stephie Weir (human). Angel(rabbit) and Byron(fox). Sarah (fox) and Manuel (hybrid). Many morey romances generally are this.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Forests of the Night and Fearful Symmetries both refer to William Blake's poem The Tyger.
  • Natural Weapon: Many flavors of moreau have them, mostly claws and teeth. Nohar particularly has both big claws and fangs the size of a human finger. Angel Lopez' legs may count; as an engineered rabbit the size of a small human, she has a kick that can shatter bones.
  • Noodle Incident: Just why did Weir and Nohar break up?
  • Private Detective: Nohar Rajasthan is a down-on-his-luck PI... who just happens to be an 8'-tall humanoid tiger Super-Soldier.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Race. They are basically giant sentient amoebas.
  • Super-Soldier: The series deals heavily with the aftermath of this trope, with the moreaus and franks who were intended to be this eventually becoming second-class citizens after the war they were built for ends.
  • The Nose Knows: Nohar, Evi and Angel all rely heavily on scent.
  • Time Skip: 4-6 years pass between books
  • Unstoppable Rage: Some moreaus (like Nohar) can tap into a mental state called "The Beast" which puts them under this trope, putting them in a state of animalistic rage and bloodlust that enhances their combat abilities while temporarily shutting off their sense of reason, which is why Nohar treats it as a Superpowered Evil Side since there's a risk of him harming friends or innocent bystanders if he's not careful. He'll willingly let "The Beast" take over only when he thinks he absolutely has to and he's certain he'll only harm anyone he wants to harm.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: This trope is in full play. The eponymous Moreaus were created as soldiers and workers in hazardous places and treated as expendable despite being fully sapient. This has long-term consequences, as moreaus tend to have short lifespans and are all prone to severe physical degeneration with age. Even after the wars that spawned them are ended, they're treated as second-class citizens at best and slaves at worst across the globe. The engineered humans called Frankensteins are treated no better, despite looking fully or almost fully human (Evi Isham has catlike pupils for enhanced night vision, while Mr. K's skull is slightly deformed to accommodate his altered brain).