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The Commonwealth and the Culture

It's easy to identify similarities between the Hatelese Commonwealth and Iain Banks's Culture. In a way, I intended for the Commonwealth to be a small echo of the Culture, an excuse to write Culture fan-fiction in the Thessian context. But the Hatel are not quite the same as their Banksian forerunners; they have very few alien members, looser moral standards, and a stronger legal system, rather than the taboos of the Culture. The following is an analysis of the differences and the similarities.  […]
Samantics comment   read more (6911 bytes) · 8455.105 tgc / 2017.696 ce

Tabletop Wanisin

Presenting history in a unique and engaging way is sometimes the most taxing of challenges an archivist can be faced with. In the course of such intricate decision-making about how to plan exhibits and sifting through millions of historical documents to discern what came to be relevant to the greater narrative and what can be relegated safely to obscurity, it often comes to pass that there is a period of silence on the part of the Museum which seems to drown out all else. Indeed all may seem quiet—but it is not exactly so. […]
News comment   read more (1249 bytes) · 8454.985 tgc / 2017.469 ce

Some Roman advice on preserving exceptions

With a recent effort to re-planetize Pluto by reclassifying dwarf planets as planets, I'm reminded of the most frequently stated preferred outcome of those opposed to Pluto's demotion: keep it a planet, for old times' sake (even though those 'old times' lasted all of about a century and are the same sort of blatant nostalgia that keeps Christmas music frozen in time), and leave the rest as dwarves. Let's run with that for a moment—make an exception. What's the worst that could happen? Friends, consider the pre-Julian Calendar. […]
Samantics comment   read more (4319 bytes) · 8454.855 tgc / 2017.222 ce

The simulation argument

Futurology has a few recurring ideas that are persistently popular. The most important of these is undoubtedly the technological singularity, the notion that it is inevitable that sufficient advances in intelligence will eventually create a process of infinite growth. This idea is not easily falsified: we don't know the nature of intelligence yet, so we can't make a coherent argument, in either direction, as to whether or not infinite intelligence (or effectively infinite intelligence) is possible.

Another topic explored by futurists in recent years is the question of whether or not we are living in a simulation. This notion has broad appeal, as, if it so happens that we are in a simulated universe, it would allow us to put to rest questions about the nature of the universe by making arguments from intent, and succinctly eliminate many lines of intellectual endeavour that seek to discover the purpose and origins of life and the universe as we know it. […]
Syngenesis comment   read more (2813 bytes) · 8454.781 tgc / 2017.082 ce

Literary styles of key early Lilitu authors

From preparations for a more complete collection of Lilitic authors' journal notes; an eclectic heap of various musings, observations, and thoughts generated by these important figures without reserve.

Reséa's writing is generally florid, patient, and positivist. She made a decision in the wake of the extinction that she would be a rallying voice for her people, so as a general rule she has not strayed from that. This sharply contrasts her pre-catastrophe writing, which was (if professional) strict and compliant, or (if not) nihilistic and pondering. The Vendashro is chiefly the story of the coming of age of Reséa, Gleméa, Haplenía, and other key figures of the early Lilitai, and their transformation from critical children into adults. This is reflected in her writing; the beginning of the document shows her antisocial considerations, but it quickly evolves into an optimistic, populist rhetoric. […]
Samantics comment   read more (2583 bytes) · 8454.606 tgc / 2016.749 ce

Broadening Scope

In keeping with our mission of documenting life in Thet, we have undergone a recent expansion in the aim of our presented documentation to better represent other regions in the Expanse and of historical and cultural significance to groups with significant presence in the archipelago. These will be filled out more thoroughly over the following months.
News comment   8454.414 tgc / 2016.384 ce

Warmth and Respect

Íora Chúkotía was never really a happy person, excepting perhaps when she was drunk and had nowhere to be the next day. In every major literary canon, there are stripes of authors, of either sex, who suffer from the terrible affliction of self-destructive alcoholism. There were few other Lilitai who coped so poorly and yet maintained careers of such significance, largely due to the availability of ready and superior therapies that became available after contact with humans.

Well-known are the surface details of Íora's late, lonely days and her reputedly awful fortunes at the game of love, Dzhemesselía. Less has been said about Íora's deep and protracted struggles with regret, anxiety, and at times, neurosis. […]
Samantics comment   read more (2229 bytes) · 8454.348 tgc / 2016.258 ce

The Sparkling Road


For all its unbearableness during the torturous heat of day, Tévopío was beautiful by night. It had been the capital city for most of the twenty-two millennia since the great prophet Oksresko had died, giving the Ksreskézaian Empire his equally great name, and every few generations it would become fashionable in the eyes of the noblefolk to decorate the city yet further with new public works and spectacles, as if to dangle their power in front of rival Wemno, on the Eastern continent. The Wemnians, for their part, were a mighty folk, and what I have been told of their city suggests it was little less heavily-beautified; elsewise, I doubt wemnekía would be our word for audacity.

It was sundown now; we had spent most of the late afternoon helping Dzetzo resolve a paper jam that transpired almost the moment he agreed to assist us. I was unsure at first of why he was so willing to drop his work and go with us, but the presence of both his sons suggested it might have been a matter of ancestral respect. A number of poorer but respectable families kept small reliquaries in tribute to their heritage in alcoves inside the Archive; the wealthier tended to keep such things on their own property if they could afford the necessary rites to consecrate a chamber or garden. In a way, many of them respected the timeless grip of their gardens almost as much as we do.

Samantics comment   8454.313 tgc / 2016.193 ce

An outsider's callous dismissal of automated narrative generation

So I was poring over some of the output from NaNoGenMo 2015 and came across the frustrating realization that none of the stories presented (or at least those I read) had much of anything to do with stories of actual substance: the most ambitious aimed to mimic the narrative structure of an adventure without anything in the way of an underlying theme or message being developed. So that sucks. […]
Samantics comment   read more (1 comment, 3170 bytes) · 8454.196 tgc / 2015.97 ce

Ship intelligence and personalities

Iain Banks's Culture series has been a persistent influence in many respects, and as one of its defining characteristics is how machine sentience is manifested and explored, it is hard to avoid these topics in the context of Thet, a setting already laden with rebellious exoskeleton suits and various transhumanist notions. So, without ado, a comparison of ship psyches from different civilizations. […]
Samantics comment   read more (2857 bytes) · 8454.153 tgc / 2015.888 ce

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