The Deathstalker universe
is the fictional setting for British author Simon R Green's series of Deathstalker
science fiction novels.
Green's universe is dominated by a vast and powerful human empire that has fallen from its ancient beginnings into cruelty, decadence and oppression. Alien species when encountered are subjugated or exterminated; internal dissent is ruthlessly put down, and power is concentrated in the hands of a psychotic empress (known as the "Iron Bitch") and a small number of aristocratic families, or clans
Under the justification of protecting the empire from external threats, the empress maintains the status quo by playing off different groups against one another, preventing any organisation from becoming powerful enough to challenge her rule. Cloning is commonplace, with clones being regarded as non-people for use as expendable slave labour. Some people, known generically as espers
, have various psychic powers including telekinesis, telepathy and teleportation - these, too, are carefully regulated and exploited by the empire.
The vast majority of imperial citizens, whilst denied many forms of political self-expression, appear to lead fairly normal lives under the fiefdoms of the different clans. The author draws a parallel to certain periods of the Roman Empire, with the citizenry being kept compliant through the use of public holidays and spectacles such as gladiatorial games. Although a parliament exists, its autonomy and influence are trivial - in large part due to the widespread corruption that permeates every facet of the empire's institutions. The empire's official religion, the Church of Christ the Warrior
, acts as an arm of the imperial throne and maintains its own military forces to counterbalance those of the clans.