Continuing the discussion from Idea for a Fractal Cosmos story: Vena's Tale:
It’s been around 6 months since I first came up with the idea for the story called Vena’s Tale, which would be the very first story to be set in the Fractal Cosmos universe.
I conceived it as a coming-of-age adventure story about a solitary young girl who grew up in the clouds of Venus and unexpectedly found her destiny connected to that of all transhumanity.
I was excited to get this on paper from day one, but I ended up postponing the actual writing for several months, nevertheless. I wanted to have a clear and detailed idea of the story in my head before I started, mostly because I was afraid to do shit and be forced to start everything again. And then I started college and basically stopped doing anything at all except for pretending to study.
I did have a unexpected surge of inspiration in mid-november, which resulted in me writing the first few pages of the story, but that ended once I saw the exams were approaching.
Despite not having written for a while, I’ve been thinking about the story a lot, and I think that I’m now ready to resume the writing process.
Fractal Cosmos has been a colaborative project of this community since the beggining, so I think it makes sense for me to talk about the story with you guys while I’m writing it. I’ll post frequent updates in this topic and you are wellcome to give your opinion and help me with any advice you are willing to offer.
Since the story will be set on Fractal Cosmos’ Venus, we’ll have to enrich our worldbuilding in order to make this place feel a real one. We don’t have enough detail yet.
So, with no more delays, let’s get started!
A few changes
I had originally intended for the story to be set in the late 2090’s but now I feel like I should set it a little bit later, like the 2110’s. I changed my mind because I realized that the story would work better if the tensions between the cloud-lords and the hell-creeper had been going on for a little more time. I think that would make everything more meaningfull. Of course this means that system V will emerge a little later than we had thought, but I think this will actually make things more plausible and interesting, since this way we would be giving system D more time to enter in a stated of decay.
I had originally thought that Vena would transfer a conscioussness to some kind of super resistant robot body in oder to survive on the surface of Venus, but now I’m more inclined to have her go in a sort of mech-suit. I think this will help to keep the character more relatable and appealing to the general audience, and we can blame it on the cloud-lord’s fear of uploading (if Vena renounced her organic body she would never be accepted again in her floating city). The life.support system for the suit will be a tricky thing to devise but I think it can be pulled off.
I had originally intended for Vena’s Tale to be a relatively short story, but now I feel like it deserves to be explored in a novel-lenght story, so i think I’m gonna try it, even thought it may take me a lot longer to finnish it that way.
As I said, we need some deeper worldbuilding, so here it goes:
Venus was colonized by nations from all parts of the world with very different kinds of cultures and political ideologies, but the biggest share went to Brazil, which means that brazillian culture and system D are dominant in the cloud-tops. Portuguese is the lingua franca in most of the planet and the dominant religion is roman catholicism (the catholic church has underwent signifficant changes in the second half of the 21st century which reduced it’s hostility to progress, thus allowing it to survive the change of times and mentalities).
The colonies are still formally part of the Brazillian republic but they now mostly rule themselves as The Commonwealth of Nós-nos-Céus (We in the skies). The still powerfull but stagnating economy of the Commonwealth is facing serious challenges due to the crisis of system D.
Due to the fact of living in the most earth-like environment of the solar system (apart from earth, of course) the venusians want to make their floating cities look as much like earth cities as possible. Once the economic conditions allowed it, they started importing a large variety of terrestrial plants and animals as possible and now most cities have extensive parks and green spaces. Zoos and animal reserves are major attractions and the cloud-lords even maneged to use genetic engineering to bring a few extinct species back to life. The construction style of the buildings is also remarkably terrestrial and even a bit old-fashioned, the cloud-lords are generally ashamed of their more “space-looking” buildings which remain from the early colonial era.
The cloud-lords have been performing extensive genetic engineering on their children for several generations and they have developed a form of biological immortality through regenerative medicine. As a result, althought the older generations are still mostly baseline humans, the younger ones are heavily augmented, exhibiting remarkable intelectual and physical skills from a very early age. Eidetic memories, heightened senses and the capacity to perform complex mathematical calculations in a matter of seconds are among the most popular augmentations. A form of telpathy through biological radio-like devices is emerging.
The cloud-lords are biological chauvinists and feel revulse when confronted with the idea of cybernetic augmentation. This attitude is parcially motivated by the Catholic Church’s fears of “excessive dehumanization”, by the earth-like pride of the venusian colonies and by hostility towards the fully mechanical hell-creepers.
The only major geopolitical player in Venus which doesn’t fall under the Brazillian sphere of influence is the Empire of New Nihon. The empire, formally a continuation of the now-deposed Japanese monarchy on Earth, achieved prominence for it’s technological expertise and expansionist policies (they assumed control of most of the former chinese colonies after the downfall of system C). They have a very different culture from the Commonwealth, not being so hostile towards the non-biological. In fact, a large portion of the nihonese population is cybernetically enhanced and happened to be ruled by the Tokugawa AI, which was invited by the Emperor to assume the role of Shogun. The nihonese are known for their extensive telepathic net and for their ubiqutuous use of virtual and augmented reality. The most popular videogames (mostly VR videogames) in the solar system are develped in Nihon, and they can be generally played either through head-gears either through neural implants.
Being among the most politically, socially and culturally diverse peoples in the solar system the hell-creepers often enter in conflict with each other. Being used to function as a single mind in their everyday lives, the solid collectives are terrible team players and have difficulty finding understandings with entities which are not part of them. Despite this, some collectives are quite peacefull and make a serious effort to live in harmony with every one.
Wars between different collectives frequently occur. Since Venus’s extremely thick atmosphere and highly unreliable metereological conditions make ballistics quite tricky, melee combat has reemerged as the primary way of war (I have to research this better, but sounds plausible). Most wars are merely intended to drive the enemy out of a certain territory, since destroying a whole collective is extremely difficult. However, some of the most powerfull and genocidal collectives have managed to perform hive-kills, which means that they managed to completely wipe other collectives from the face of the planet.
There are 3 main types of collectives: the imperialist-militarists (IM-cols), the nihilistic-hedonists (NH-cols) and the philosophical-rationalists (PR-cols). The IM-cols consider dominance over land and people to be their primary goal, the NH-cols reject the idea that they need to have in life and dedicate themselves to the quest for new and intense pleasing sensations and the PR-cols are interested in the deep truths about the universe through the ways of science, philosophy and rationality. The K’phlor collective, to which our deuteragonist belongs is a PR-collective.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about is the process through which Vena aquired her posthuman abilities. I thought I might add some detail to make the story more interesting.
I thought that she could have been injected with a solution containing nanomachines and pluripotent stem cells. The nanomachines would scan the brain and the rest of the nervous sytem and then place markers in the adequate places for the pluripotent cells to install themselves and grow new neurons. Another type of nanomachines would also build several different types of para-neurons (made of non-organic new materials) which are faster and more effective than normal neurons. Finally, there would be a third type of nanomachines which would installs small computer (with traditional von-neuman architecture) in speciffic parts of the brain so that Vena could instantly perform calculations and other processes which would be extremely slow and unreliable when done a brain or some kind of “neural machine”
Other things I’ve been thinking about:
Vena’s characterization and her posthuman mind-set. This will be a challenge because I want to make her simulataneously relatable and superhuman.
Lor’s personality and posthuman mind-set. How does the K’phlor collective think and how does a part of it develop when separated from the rest?
A few plot details.
I’ll write more tommorow. Let me know what you think