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Introduction to the Fractal Cosmos Project


(João Luz) #1

What is the Fractal Cosmos Project?

The Fractal Cosmos Project, originally called “Fractal Future Project”, is a science fiction collective worldbuilding project started by the community of Fractal Future Forum, then known as Social Future Forum. Our main goal is to synthesize a great variety of mind-bending realistic ideas into a detailed and believable vision of the near to mid-term future.

The project deals with futuristic themes such as transhumanism, space colonization and the advancement of science and technology in general, aiming to portray them in an interesting and convincing manner.

The fictional universe portrayed in Fractal Cosmos is a mainly optimistic one, but it shall never be panglossian. The world will become a better place thanks to the advancement of science and technology, but we will never reach utopia and horrible things will always happen.

Why is the cosmos fractal?

Many science fiction writers, especially the optimistic ones, seem to assume that humanity will unite and converge in the future, uniting all nations and colonizing the stars as a species.

In Fractal Cosmos project, we set off the opposite premise. We assume that humanity will not converge but diverge. Political power will become more decentralized, ideologies and religions will diversify and, most importantly, technology will give birth to new and exotic offshots of our species.

There won’t be only one but many “humanities” and “being human” will acquire a whole new meaning.

A new fractal world is on the rise and we need your help to create it.

What are our objectives?

Each one of us as his personal reasons to be a part of this project, but, as a collective, we can state that our objectives are:

  • Promoting Fractal Future Forum and the discussion of future-related themes;
  • Promoting transhumanism and futurism without being exceedingly militant;
  • Providing escapism and entertainment to sci-fi fans and curious people all around the world.
  • Inspiring other works in the genre of speculative fiction;
  • Inspiring people to dedicate themselves to advancement of science, technology and society as a whole;
  • Having lots of fun :smile:

What can you do to help?

The best thing you can do to help the Fractal Cosmos Project is joining us. We have a huge project on our hands and we need all the help we can get.

So, what do you need to do? Firstly, you must join Fractal Future Forum. Introducing yourself right after would be really nice. Than, you can contribute in any one or several of the following ways:

  • You can give new ideas to be incorporated in our project;
  • You can comment on other people’s ideas and make them better;
  • You can help writing our wiki articles;
  • You can help us with our image and promotion;
  • You can write a story or make any other type of artistic work set in our universe.

Make sure you read our guidelines for developers before you start.

Guidelines for developers

  • When discussing ideas related to the project be always polite and respect other people’s opinions;
  • If you and your developer colleagues can’t agree on a certain issue, that issue must be resolved democratically. If you are not happy with outcome you can start an Associated Universe;
  • Do some research before you propose or discuss any speculative science fiction ideas. It’s important that you use all the imagination you’ve got, but this universe must be realistic;
  • Keep in mind that this universe can never be totally utopian or dystopian. Things will get better, but not perfect;
  • Remember that science and technology interact with society in mutually transformative ways. Nothing is without implications and you can’t analyze any issue separately;
  • Try to make Fractal Cosmos interesting and fun while still respecting all this guidelines.

Associated Universes: what are they?

When many different people work together on a single unitary project divergences always come out. No matter how much we will try to debate, each one of us will always want to do things a little differently on a certain point.

In order to prevent editorial wars from ruining our project, we decided to introduce the concept of Associated Universe.

Associated Universes are individual versions of the Fractal Cosmos universe created by single developers who want give their own personal touch to the ideas of all of us.

You are free to create as many AUs as you want at any time you like, but, if you really want our project to succeed, you should give priority to the development of our main shared universe.

What makes this project special

There are not many projects like Fractal Cosmos, most sci-fi artists prefer to develop their universes individually, so that make something that is entirely their own. Here, we take a different approach, we believe that by synthesizing ideas from many different people we can create a much more interesting, diverse, and detailed universe.

We are not the first project to take this approach, but we are certainly one of the very few.

But that’s not why you should join us. The strengh of a sci-fi project is not in the way it operates, but in the ideas that lie behind it. So, shortly speaking, you should join us if you want to help creating a universe where:

  • A second cold war emerges between a capitalist/centralist bolc, lead by the USA, Russia and China, and a decentralized progressive bloc lead by Brazil and the Nordic countries.
  • Cyberwarfare leads to the creation of powerful Artificial Intelligences who soon become unemployed and discriminated for being different from humans but, nevertheless, still flousrish.
  • Designer babies and cybernetic augmentation become commonplace, radically transforming the human race.
  • DIY biology is embraced by a significant part of the population, bringing some really bright and some really dark possibilities to humanity.
  • Space is colonized by both, humans and AI’s in robot bodies, and new extraterrestrial nations and cultures soon emerge.
  • Venus becomes divided between two divergent cultures: an utopian civilization of augmented organic humans who inhabit the cloud-tops in large flying habitats, and a loose group of hive minds with highly resistant robot bodies who inhabit the hell-like surface of the planet.
  • Anything else you want can happen.

That’s what makes us special and that’s why you should join us.

We are counting on your help :wink:


About the Fractal Cosmos category
Let's colonize the solar system
(João Luz) #2

I finished the introduction to the Fractal Future Project. Is there anything you guys would like to change?

Radivis, could you please pin this topic globally?


(Michael Hrenka) #3

(Michael Hrenka) #4

It’s a pretty good text. Quite inviting and engaging. But I wouldn’t set the score to short to middle term future, but rather medium to long term future. Or better just state the time span in years explicitly, because different people have different ideas what “short” or “long” mean. So, what’s the scope here? 2020-2100 or something? Or do we want to focus more on a certain time period?

Oh, and I’ve fixed more than a dozen typos in your text. You’ll probably find the use of a good spell checker advantageous. Anyway, if this text is to all our contentment, we can publish it on the Social Future Blog (yes, we actually have one, but it’s almost never used). And then share that blog post on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and wherever else you like.


(Maximo Ramallo) #5

We can invite on places like reddit.com/r/worldbuilding. And would a wiki be a more appropriate place to write? The forum could get gloriously flooded with continuous publications.
Also I would now add the license too, I think we all agree to make it CC-0, and saying how much we dedicate for this project to be FREE and able to be remixed is going to attract a lot of attention.


(João Luz) #6

I think that stating a fixed time span in years might be a little restrictive. I agree that near and mid-term future are quite ambiguous concepts, but flexibility is also very important.

Anyway, if I had to choose a scope I would say something like 2020-2150, because I would like to explore the colonization of the whole solar system and that would take time.

Yes should do that. Anyone knows any popular sci-fi forums?

I think the forum is a pretty good platform for discussion, but not for the presentation of a “final” work. People may find a wiki more appealing.

CC-0 is fine for me. We don’t have anything to keep from the world


(João Luz) #7

So, we’re gonna share this or what?


(Michael Hrenka) #8

It’s probably best to share this again and again. Every time we make some significant progress we start another round of reaching out. In any case, we can start sharing this thread on Facebook and Twitter and stuff.

Edit: I’ve just shared this in a few transhumanist groups on Facebook and on Twitter.


(João Luz) #9

Nice. I’ve shared it a few sci-fi fan communities. I hope someone notices it.


(João Luz) #10

I’ve just edited this topic.

I changed the name from “Introduction to Fractal Future Project” to “Introduction to the Fractal Cosmos Project” and added a summary of the ideas ideas we’ve already come up with


(Michael Hrenka) #11

Well done! I think, it would be awesome if you registered on the Fractal Future Blog at http://fractalfuture.net (left bottom) and wrote an introduction post to the Fractal Cosmos project on the blog. You could take the description in the opening post here and add a nice picture or logo (nowadays that really seems to be a requirement for serious blog posts).


(João Luz) #12

I’ve just registered.

I know nothing about creating logos and stuff, but it can’t hurt to learn. Do you know off any good software that is avaiable for free in the internet?


(Michael Hrenka) #13

Great! I’ve just granted you “author” rights on the blog. You can now write posts, but I will then “publish” them officially.

When it comes to logos and stuff, Photoshop is a really great software, but it’s expensive. If you want freeware, then Gimp is probably the best option (it’s the software that I use). It’s really worth learning to use such a graphics program even if you don’t want to make really professional looking graphics.

When it comes to graphics for WordPress blog posts I don’t have any high demands. If it looks fitting and is legal, then it’s fine. I often use Google Images and then filter for licenses that allow reuse of the image in question. Of course, there are also lots of sites with stock photos, but finding and navigating them is a bit more demanding than just googling good pictures :smiley:


#14

Hi, I just found this forum, and I’m still trying to figure out exactly what this is. It’s hard science fiction mixed with futurism? Science fiction as a way to plan humanity’s real future?


(João Luz) #15

Hi orangepeel. Welcome to Fractal Future Forum.

Yeah, I guess you can say that.

When the forum was created our founder (Michael Hrenka) intended it to be kind of an incubator for several kinds of futurist projects. I don’t think science fiction was supposed to play such an important role at the time, but then, afew months later, I had the idea of starting a colective worldbuilding project with this community. The idea was basically what you said, using science fiction to create a blueprint for a better future. This project (now called Fractal Cosmos) was Fractal Future Forum’s most successful to the date, despite now being somewhat dormant, and it persuaded some people to give more importance to science-fiction writing and worldbuilding.

So yeah, nowdays the forum is pretty much what you said, despite the fact that it still harbours futurist projects of very different types.

Anyway, I hope you stay with us. We could use another contributer to help us develop Fractal Cosmos and the other universes.


The Effectiveness of Narratives
(Michael Hrenka) #16

Welcome to the Fractal Future Forum, @orangepeel :smiley:

The Fractal Cosmos Project is one of the projects that are supported by the Fractal Future Network. The FFN mainly consists of this Fractal Future Forum (F3), as well as a blog and a wiki, which are free to use by community members, but this offer hasn’t really been taken up much. As Joao said, the intention of Fractal Future was to help futurist projects to get started and support them with some basic online infrastructure and a common platform for communication and collaboration. I created this platform out of a discontent with the pre-existing futurist / technoprogressive / transhumanist platforms, which were less focused on open collaboration and intelligent mind-expanding discussions.

The futurist projects which gained most traction here are the Transhuman Party Germany (which has a hidden category in the F3), as well as the Fractal Cosmos Project, which is a world building project, which as you’ve rightly found out, is hard science fiction mixed with futurism. It’s supposed to be at the same time realistic, as well as optimistic about our future.

We were trying to get more active contributors for the Fractal Cosmos Project, but it turned out that finding them is pretty hard. The apparent hiatus of the project could easily be lifted, when even a single person decided to add their ideas and visions to the project. :relieved:


(TR Amat) #17

I’d suggest you look at:

That was the first thing I thought of when reading the intro to this. The cross-over between science fiction and table-top RPGs is a bit… tense on occasion, but, I’d have thought any input could be useful.

Yes, I am a science fiction author (amateur), and a table-top RPG player and ref. :slight_smile:


(Michael Hrenka) #18

Thanks for your feedback about Fractal Cosmos resembling Transhuman Space quite a lot. I haven’t looked very deeply into Transhuman Space, yet. What do you like most about that sci-fi world?


(TR Amat) #19

I’ve not played in that world, so my knowledge of it is from reading the rules and reports from players and play testers (for scenarios). I think I know the author, who is quite an impressive writer. Quite a few transhumanist concepts are well handled, such as issues of identity, and what (legally) constitutes a person.

I don’t particularly like GURPS Transhuman Space, but it looks like somewhere you could use to create quite a usable story. Talking about the nature of ‘story’, science fiction as a genre tends to produce open-ended stories, ones with ‘possibilities’. Compare with most horror, for example, which produces ‘closed’ stories, where the only ‘possibilities’ are for more future horror.

World building in science fiction is a particularly tricky art. Typically, you want characters that the reader can identify with, and circumstances that while strange still seem on some level reasonable. Asking questions like: What will China and India do about their gender imbalance, for example. Will the Internet Of Things be the Internet of Disasters? Are nanobots actually possible? :slight_smile:

So many possibilities…