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In the In Her Name series by Michael Hicks, the Kreelans are cursed so that:

  • Males are only used for breeding and then die after they've been "used" once
  • Fertile females have to breed every few cycles (years) or they will die

This curse was inflicted approximately 100,000 years ago. At the time of the curse the Kreelans occupied their home world and a few small settlements on other planets.

In the subsequent 100,000 years the race grew to occupy a huge number of planets across the galaxy.

Given that of all the births mentioned in the series, there's no mention (as far as I remember) of multiple children (twins, triplets etc), but several mentions of single children, we can assume that multiple births are as common/rare as in humans.

How is it possible that the Kreelan race grew, given the curse?

Given that for every conception, a male of the species dies; surely it's impossible for the race to grow. Even if nearly all children were male (which they're not), they'd just stay at a level population, as for every birth there's a death...

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    So, if their biology doesn't have to be anything like humans, nothing would have to prevent them from having sex once and having multiple children, spaced by months or years, from that one event. Unfertilised ova last a very long time in humans, I suppose in a non-human species fertilized ova could too. There's a lot of license there. – Adamant Feb 11 at 14:03
  • But I haven't read the series so that's just an idea. – Adamant Feb 11 at 14:41
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    Interesting idea, but their biology is very similar to humans, so much so that a human actually fathers a Kreelan child. The whole thing of fertile females having to give birth regularly, and the males dying after sex is quite a big part of the story, so I think the fertilised ova thing would apply. – Erresen Feb 11 at 14:48
  • How long after sex do males die? Could it be that they have sex with multiple females before dying? – Adamant Feb 11 at 14:51
  • At the point of orgasm I believe – Erresen Feb 11 at 14:53

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