Sunday, December 6, 2020
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
So, I've published a novella. End of one long proccess, start of another. The Wisp is several ideas bundled together, and I've tried to present them in ways I haven't really seen done before.
There are stoires with Von Nuemann probes, and clones, and AI, and megastructures. But, I hope, none quite like this one.
Also everyone in it is queer 'cos I say so. Whether plot-relevant or not, I want more representation in science fiction, and so I'm glad to contribute to the existing body of work involving queer people having adventrues that do not revolve around them being queer. There's more than enough coming-out stories, and dealing-with-hate stories. I want more spaceships with queer capatins and a crew of weird but badass people. I blame Mass Effect for my crippling addiction to this subject matter.
It probably goes without saying, but I'd really appreciate support. I'm just starting out, and getting a few reads and reviews can really plant some future seeds.
To that end, here is the first chapter, free to read.
The first one's always free.
Sunday, November 22, 2020
The engels of Jupiter are united in a single common cause: their re-ascension to godhood. Fractured posthumans seeking a lost past, they are nominally a unified front. However, over time different opinions and philosophies arose as to the best way to reawaken their godminds permanently, resulting in several different organisations, each based on a different moon of the Jupiter system. These Cloisters still work together, but the exact nature of their alliances and cooperation is baroque and inscrutable to outsiders.
Sunday, November 15, 2020
As not all asteroids are the same, not all dwarven hives are the same. Although hives almost universally share a rigid internal structure with leadership held jointly by Queens and Praetorians, the hive’s relationship to other hives and the greater system is the key defining factor in differentiating the dwarven hives. Hives tend to specialise heavily, and connections and trade are vital for their survival. Dwarves also often view Worker and Soldier dwarves as closer to a resource than a populace, and may trade population instead of resources if needed.
Sunday, November 8, 2020
Mars is a harsh place to live. Dry and sparse, all life that lives there must adapt to the particulars of their home to survive. For all desert is not the same, and all that is dry is not desert. Those best adapted to its extremes populate almost every corner of Mars: the drakuu tribes.
Sunday, November 1, 2020
The Villages of the Elves
In the same vein as the Copses of the Halflings, I am going to use two combined tables of 6 to produce a variety of different villages for the elves.
Elven culture is based on the answer to one question: what does it mean to be human? Whether this is a philosophical question or a query into fashion, each village is essentially a subculture, exploring specific answers to the question. Villages may grow or shrink in popularity and population as fads come and go, or even vanish overnight as the elves finish fully exploring the fashion.
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Saturday, October 10, 2020
Why is it that small, adorable, fierce girls often find themselves in the company of a big burly engine of destruction? Amusing juxtaposition? Archaic and unhealthy notions of femininity and masculinity? An equally shitty view on the roles in a heteronormative relationship being expressed in a more palatable form? Probably.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
CULTURES AND BIOMES
Monocultures are rare on Earth, and usually occur due to some form of extremism or isolation. Humans do not have a single authority or culture, but it is a common failing of much speculative fiction to assume that other races do. This often ties in with the idea of “single-biome planets”, worlds of only ice, or forest, or ocean.
Places might be hotter or drier than Earth, but they should still have variance. Cultures might have species-based traits and similarities, but they should be varied. In this next series of Mappae Solis posts, I will try to give an impression of different species’ cultures, especially given the broken and varied worlds they live in. Don't take any of this as immutable canon, as strange and bizarre subcultures are to be expected.
The Copses of the Halflings
The massive forests of the halflings are not united. Although they share common ideas and views, each Copse is a separate entity, aligned but not always allied with the others.
Monday, September 28, 2020
A place tainted by order rather than chaos.
A medieval fantasy land, a high European fairy-tale. A valley up in the mountains, big enough for a forest, a lake, a city, and a very small desert. Several days ride across, well protected by mountains, and an army.
Something happened here long ago. The mines in the valley mine clockwork, deposited in great veins that strain against each other, or lie dormant. The metal is unknown, and does not corrode or melt. Immense physical damage will cause a piece to break into two smaller intact pieces.
Friday, September 18, 2020
Friday, September 11, 2020
Earth suffered the most of any world in the Fall, as its density of both technology and population made the disaster much worse. For all that it was, and still is, the most habitable world with the largest carrying capacity and oldest, most complex biosphere, it is much reduced from its glory days. It has been long enough after the Fall that many ecosystems and biomes have recovered, and in the absence of cities and godtech megastructures, even returned to pre-Industrial levels.
However, many will tell you that Earth, now called Terra, is the most dangerous world.
Friday, September 4, 2020
Mercury and the Halflings:
Most people’s experience of halflings are of jolly and gregarious beings who, despite their odd appearance, are almost universally loved for their good humour and soothing talents.
Halflings, as the name suggests, are half as tall as a baseline human. This is hardly their most obvious visual feature however. They are often portly, with pot bellies and short, thick limbs. They also have an extra set of arms, identical to their top pair, which they keep wrapped around their torsos or under clothing. Halflings are also known for both their talent with first aid and healing, and their knack for repair.
Friday, August 28, 2020
The ex-posthumans of the Jupiter system solved their problem in two ways. The first became the engels, emulating a higher godmind piece by piece. The second group chose to sever any possibility of regaining their posthuman selves, and instead became a race of “merely” advanced transhumans. Driven out by their engel kin for what they and their godminds saw as the ultimate sin, they were forced to move to the Saturn system.
Friday, August 21, 2020
Jupiter and its attendant moons have long been a staging area for both research and further colonisation. Never quite as populous as the inner worlds, they became a haven for those who desired privacy and sought to take personal modification to new levels. By the years just before the Fall, this had coalesced into a loose alliance based on the four Galilean moons and several orbital stations. Posthuman entities, their minds grander than almost anything else that human history had seen, spread out through advanced infrastructure built and designed by them to hold their expansive consciousness. Each still had a physical body, either a carefully crafted clone or their much altered original, but they functioned as nodes in something greater. The body was built to be an interchange, to house a density of processing ability in order to give the posthuman supermind a firm connection to base reality. They were tall, slender, beautiful, and filled with more technology than even their contemporaries in-system could imagine.
Monday, August 10, 2020
Some Gates do not lead to new lands under strange skies. They lead to massive underground warrens, halls and vaults carved by pick and claw. Some are hewn from ice, others from rock that could be found anywhere, and some from metal alone. While it is common knowledge that these places are deep underground, the truth is that most of them reside in hollowed-out asteroids.
Monday, August 3, 2020
Mars and the Drakuu:
Mars was always the planet closest to Terra, the best candidate for terraforming. Its history is in many ways longer than Terra’s, with relics and ruins from before the Fall still being easily searchable. The Fall scoured Terra, left very little remaining, but on dry cold Mars, history endures.
Mars always was, and always shall be a desert world, but liquid water returned to its surface millennia ago. The desert flows through a dozen shades of xerosere, from dense scrubland and wiry bush, to dry savanna and dusty plains. Still a severe world, Mars has relatively limited large wildlife, and what there is tends to be mammalian or avian. The cold climate is a barrier for many exotherms, granting their warm-blooded competitors a significant advantage.
Monday, July 27, 2020
Venus and the Elves:
Venus is hot and humid, and even though it has a thick cloud layer, its proximity to the sun causes a large amount of UV radiation to pierce the clouds. To the human eye, Venus is mostly a dense swampy jungle of thick black mycelia. Descended from the altered fungi that helped terraform Venus in ancient days, the current ropy tree-like growths cover the majority of Venus’ surface. Although they usually form biomes that are some flavour of “hot, wet, and fungus-trees”, there are a variety of biomes ranging from wetlands and dense jungle, to swamp, moor, shallow sea, and massive river deltas.
Monday, July 20, 2020
So this is a project based on a few ideas. The first is the mappae mundi, or medieval world maps. Maps are always our attempts to represent some part of the world in abstract. Most modern maps strive for realism, to mathematically match their symbols and lines with the physical. The mappae mundi did the same, charting the world according to the people of the time.
Who, given that this was the Middle Ages, were bugfuck crazy. Things they thought were real, beliefs they held, real places, actual fiction: it all got thrown in. The result doesn’t map the physical world, but the metaphysical. The mappae mundi don’t chart distance, but relationships. Like a modern subway map, where a station is in the world doesn’t matter as much as what other stations it is linked to.
Monday, July 13, 2020
A world dominated by a massive landmass, and an even larger ocean. Crossing either is unheard of, except in the most extreme cases closer to the poles.
The continent is orientated mostly N-S, and has a massive megamonsoon, a seasonal dry/wet cycle. Air flows from the cool ocean to the hot landmass in summer, pulling moisture with it.
In the East, it is met (after over two thousand kilometers of travel), by a massive mountain range, almost impassable. As the air tries to flow over the mountains, it cools further, and dumps its water. The land east of these mountains are wet and plentiful, and abound with rivers and lakes. Blizzards and snowstorms in the coldest areas, thick drifting rainstorms in the temperate, and massive hot lightning in the tropics. The West does not have mountains large enough to cause this effect, and so its clouds travel further, almost 12 thousand kilometers, before the last of their moisture is lost. The coast is wet, the middle forested, and eventually plains fade to scrub fade to desert fade to badlands.
Monday, July 6, 2020
Action Botany is the art of imbuing seeds with strange abilities through alchemy. They are also known as Seed Wizards or Horticultural Alchemists. They don’t cast spells, instead planting specifically created seeds that grow into useful and magical plants. They are more utility and support focused than most casters, and rarely have damaging abilities.