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FACILITY PROFILE:  Research Building-2, the Super-Earth Biology Center (SEB)


Length: 100 meters
Height: 50 meters (12 floors)
Labs: 240 (24 in use)
Personnel: 300

Building layout: Nearly identical to Research Building-1.
-Levels 1 and 2: Supply warehouse
-Levels 3 and 4: High Gravity Containment Zone - Flora
-Levels 5 and 6: High Gravity Containment Zone - Fauna
-Level 7: Data warehouse
-Level 8: Genomic sequencing area (general use thermocyclers)
-Levels 9 and 10: Modified Life Support Complex - originally manufactured to support human life at colonies on uninhabitable/suboptimal worlds, this life support system has been altered significantly in order to support life forms in the High Gravity Containment Zones.
-Levels 11 and 12: Surplus water and gas storage.

Miscellaneous: The SEB building is devoted almost entirely to studying organisms from Meios, a Super-Earth in a nearby star system. One goal is to breed genetically modified autotrophs that can be seeded on Super-Earths with <1.5G in order to enhance machine-based terraforming efforts. Due to the potential danger that these GMOs pose to organisms that require non terrestrial conditions, much of this facility uses Biosafety level 4 precautions.
FACILITY PROFILE:  Research Building-1, the Botanical Research Center (BRC)


Length: 100 meters (square area)
Height: 50 meters (12 floors)
Labs: 240 (130 in use)
Personnel: 600

Building layout: Ten laboratories per side, including corners, line the North and South sides of the facility. The Eastern side consists of cubicles and general office areas, and the Western side consists of private offices and conference rooms. The central square area of the building, segregated from the labs and office areas by the main corridor, plays a different role, depending the floor:
-Basement: consists of a backup power plant, hydrogen-based propulsion, and anti-gravity reactors, which are useful during deployment. Note: facilities such as this one are not equipped to travel large distances; transport craft are required to deploy them. These facilities have enough fuel to move short distances over a planet’s surface, but not enough to reach orbit. Their anti-gravity capabilities make it possible to drop from orbit, but carrier craft are still ideal.
-Levels 1 and 2: Long-term storage area – this 2-floor room is basically a large warehouse consisting of about 200 liquid nitrogen tanks and -80*C freezers. Two-dozen stasis chambers (based on exotic matter/energy) are also available for large samples that would otherwise be harmed by cryopreservation.
-Level 3: Genomic sequencing – this area consists of roughly 1,000 general use thermocyclers that are shared by surrounding labs in order to sequence the genomes of the various plant life on Kanangar Prime.
-Levels 4: Data warehouse – basically a bunch of computers crammed together for the purpose of storing research data.
-Level 5:  Native plant nursery – larger automated greenhouse areas exist in two separate facilities near Research Building-1.
-Level 6:  Off-world plant nursery
-Level 7:  Hybrid plant nursery
-Level 8:  Automated cloning – various genes are “printed” and combined with the genomes of host organisms such as E coli and then either sent to other research centers or frozen for long term storage at Level 1.
-Levels 9 and 10: Life Support Complex – basically a useless component that has not yet been dismantled in order to make room for other uses. Research Building-1 was constructed prior to being sent to Research Colony-35. A building without life support systems built in would have been possible, but because this particular type of building is mass-produced, the cost would have been roughly the same even without life support.  
-Levels 11 and 12: Water Tower.
Facility Profile: Botanical Research Center (BRC)
One of ten research buildings that are nearly identical in appearance.
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Psychohistory: An Octahedral Approach by space-commander
Psychohistory: An Octahedral Approach
“Let no one enter who is ignorant of geometry.”

-Plato’s Academy

 

“There is nothing new under the sun.”

-Ecclesiastes

 

“Never talk about politics and religion.”

-Dale Carnegie

 

A while ago I had a chance to play the free version of Magic 2014 on my iPad. People who grew up playing the game may find this version to be somewhat tedious and linear, but if you are like me and you never got a chance to experience the game, I would definitely recommend checking it out. One thing that really intrigued me about Magic the Gathering (MTG) is the fact that a math professor created it and the game has very interesting mechanics as well as the incorporation of multiple forms of morality. One motivation behind playing the game was to get a better understanding of the mechanics in order to gain a better abstract understanding of plot devices. After all, each Magic game is set up in way that allows for a concise, unique story to play out, and as an aspiring writer I saw this as an attractive model. Anyway, my quest to understand MTG as well as integrate the mechanics and moralities in a way that goes beyond the MTG universe ultimately led to the model that you now see diagramed here. Needless to say, there were also a number of other inspirations including a cursory interest in philosophy and world history, Platonian Solids as tools for dialectical reasoning, Asimov’s “Psychohistory” as described in Foundation, and the brilliant social engineering paradigm of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (SMAC).

 

One thing that the Octahedral model helped me to realize was that my previous understanding of the SMAC social engineering paradigm was somewhat flawed. That is, originally I thought that all societies existed as combinations of the three main choices for each category (if you are lost by what I am saying, then Google a SMAC wiki) as opposed to one of the four choices. In other words, I saw the choice between Democracy/Police State/Fundamentalism as an equilateral triangle with Frontier in the middle, as opposed to a perfect square consisting of all four on each corner. The Octahedral model incorporates each facet of the SMAC social engineering paradigm perfectly:

 

-The government choices make a square along the xy plane with Democracy correlating with Reason, Fundamentalism correlating with Faith, Police State correlating with Causality, and Frontier correlating with Deontology.

-Economy: ‘Free Market’ correlates with Individuality, Green correlates with Reason, Planned correlates with Collectivism, and ‘Simple’ correlates with Faith.

-Values: Knowledge correlating with Reason, Wealth correlating with Individuality, Power correlating with Faith, and Survival correlating with Collectivism.

-Future Society: ‘None’ correlates with Faith, Eudamonia correlates with Reason, Cybernetics correlates with Individuality, and Thought Control correlates with Collectivism. 

-Leadership Styles: ‘Explore’ corresponds with Collectivism; Build corresponds with Individualism; Discover corresponds with Reason; and Conquer corresponds with Faith.

 

Likewise, the Octahedral model also revealed to me that my previous Religious Engineering Paradigm was insufficient. Instead of three components for each category, it appears that religions are driven by four components, each of which corresponds to Octahedral geometry:

 

-Emphasis: Ritual/Mysticism corresponds with Faith; Philosophy/Humanism corresponds with Reason; Meditation corresponds with Deontology; and Sensation corresponds with Causality.

-Agenda: Promised Land corresponds with Faith; Inner Peace corresponds with Collectivism; Immortality corresponds with Individuality; and Social Justice corresponds with Reason.

-Organization: Hierarchical corresponds with Faith; Consensus corresponds with Reason; Subordinate corresponds with Causality; and Independent corresponds with Deontology.

-Propogation: Holy War corresponds with Faith; Infrastructure corresponds with Reason; Pacifism corresponds with Deontology; and Syncretism corresponds with Causality.

-Metaphysics: Predestination corresponds with Collectivism; Free Will corresponds with Individualism; Pantheism corresponds with Causality; and Theism corresponds with Deontology.

 

For a more in depth explanation of each of these components, here is a link to my Sci-fi Religious Engineering document fav.me/d7p51oy

 

Each color corresponds to strategies similar to the mechanics of MTG:

 

-White: this strategy makes use of rag-tag militias and partisans similar to what was seen in the American Revolution as well as the Confederate forces of the American Civil War. Inferior forces fight using hit and run tactics in order to wear the enemy down long enough to gain the upper hand. White atrocity is usually limited to biological warfare.

-Red: this strategy places emphasis on striking first and falls short on defensive strategy. Unlike White strategy, Red non-conventional warfare involves ruthless acts of terrorism. Red economic policy is highly protectionist and places low emphasis on infrastructure. Unlike Black repression, Red genocide usually focuses on external populations.

-Black: this strategy makes use of scorched earth tactics, attrition-based swarm tactics, and enormous amounts of political repression. Black economic policy is usually highly corrupt and unsustainable. Unlike Red genocides, Black repression often involves man-made famines that affect internal populations.

-Green: this is the strategy of self-preservation. Green strategy mainly focuses on building up conventional forces in order to overwhelm opponents. Green civilizations are usually either economically isolated, or they invest heavily in state capitalism in order to ensure economic stability. Green atrocity usually gravitates toward nerve gas and a “take no prisoners” approach.

-Blue: this is the strategy of diplomacy, espionage, superior technology, and Special Forces. Blue civilizations prefer economic globalization and their main weakness is their reluctance to use conventional forces in order to deal with problems early on. Blue atrocity usually gravitates toward high tech weapons such as atomic bombs, continental EMPs, and satellite-based shockwave bombardment.

 

 

It is possible to classify various forms of morality based on coordinates such as (1,0,0) in the case of Purity or (0,1/2, 1/2) in the case of Liberatarian Technocracy; however, for the sake of simplicity I have given examples based on grid labels:

 

A5Z3: The univeralist’s utopia - economically diversified democratic confederation made possible by a commitment to freedom, justice, and separation of powers, at the expense of Shock and Awe style military expenditures. Because A5Z3 is essentially a marriage of Democracy and Frontier governments, power is likely to be highly decentralized. Examples: the Old Republic of prior to the Clone Wars (Star Wars), the Parable of the Lost Sheep (as presented by the New Testament), Susan B Anthony, and 2014 New Zealand.

 

“There hasn’t been a full-scale war since the beginning of the Republic.”

-Sio Bibble

 

B4Z3: Balanced Liberalism: an economically diversified liberal democracy in which moderate gaps in rich and poor persist due to a large military budget. Examples: the Justice League, Marvel’s Avengers, the Xmen, Daenerys Targaryen (ASOIAF), Paul (as presented by the New Testament), British Colonialism, post-WWII USA, and 2014 USA.

 

“Truth, justice, and the American Way.”

-Superman

 

B4Z4: Liberal Technocracy: a libertarian technocracy in which human rights play an important role in society. Examples: Ayn Rand’s vision of utopia (Atlas Shrugged), Morgan Industries (SMAC), Cloud City (Star Wars), the Praxis transnat (Mars Trilogy), the Union during the American Civil War and subsequent Reconstruction Period, and 2014 Ireland.

 

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”

-Ayn Rand

 

B4Z2: Liberal Socialism: a planned economy administered with an emphasis on human rights. One geometry-based conclusion that surprised me was to find that the Cathar belong at B4Z2. This is because they place a greater emphasis on Reciprocity than Hierarchy while also embracing a strong emphasis on asceticism, which correlates with Collectivism. Further investigation revealed that the Cathar power structure was actually quite similar to later consensus-based congregational organizations that emerged during Protestantism. Another finding that surprised me even more was to learn that Calvinism belongs at B4Z2 as well because of its correlation with Democracy, as opposed to Lutheranism’s affinity for the ethic of Hierarchy. Further investigation revealed that Calvinism was instrumental in the development of Democracy in England and the Netherlands as well as New England. Examples: the Jedi (Episodes IV-VI), House Atreides (Dune), AI-based Mondragon (Mars Trilogy), the Peacekeepers (SMAC), the Night’s Watch (ASOIAF), the Church of the Pentacost (as presented by the New Testament), Jesus’s three-year ministry (as presented by the New Testament), Catharism, Calvinism, FDR Era USA, the Republic of India during the later quarter of the twentieth century, and 2014 Scotland.

 

“The New Deal is plainly an attempt to achieve a working socialism and avert a social collapse in America; it is extraordinarily parallel to the successive ‘policies’ and ‘Plans’ of the Russian experiment. Americans shirk the word ‘socialism,’ but what else can one call it?”

-H.G. Wells

 

E1Z3: The warrior’s utopia – an honor obsessed culture in which vicious brutality is partially redeemed by combat-based social mobility and tolerance of multiculturalism. E1Z3 is a marriage of Police State and Fundamentalism, which basically means Police State without a strong bureaucracy and a Fundamentalism in which military leaders hold all the power. Examples: the Sardaukar (Dune), the Klingons (Star Trek), the Mandalorians (Star Wars), the Krogan (Mass Effect), the Easterlings (LOTR), the Dothraki (ASOIAF), House Greyjoy (ASOIAF), the Spartan Federation (SMAC), the Nautilus Pirates (SMAX), the Philistines (as presented by the Old Testament), the actual Spartans, the Vikings, the Mongols (inspiration for Easterlings), the Samurai, and 2014 Somalia.

 

“We do not sow.”

-House Greyjoy

 

D2Z3: Balanced Nationalism: People who do not like nationalism refer to it as fascism. Examples: Terran Federation (Starship Troopers, movie version), King David (as presented by the Old Testament), Henry VIII, Franco’s Spain, and 2014 China.

 

“All right, let’s sum up. This year in history, we talked about the failure of democracy. How the social scientists of the 21st century brought our world to the brink of chaos. We talked about the veterans, how they took control and imposed the stability that has lasted for generations since. We talked about the rights and privileges between those who served in the armed forces and those who haven’t, therefore called citizens and civilians.”

-Jean Rasczak

 

D2Z4: National Technocracy: corporations are bailed out by the government but not directly controlled and there is no welfare state. Examples: Cerberus (Mass Effect), Umbrella Corporation (Resident Evil), the Corporate Congress (Continuum), the Caldari State (EVE), Qarath (ASOIAF), Agent Smith (Matrix), King Jeroboam (as presented by the Old Testament), Mussolini’s Italy, 1994 Rwanda, and 2014 Burma.

 

“20 years ago when the corporations bailed out our failed governments, they sold it to us as salvation. Now, we see, we have paid for this rescue with our freedom. We have awakened to the truth. We have become slaves to the corporate congress.”

-Edouard Kagame

 

D2Z2: National Socialism: state directly intervenes with corporations and provides a welfare state for loyal citizens. Examples: Oceana (1984), the Usurpers (SMAX), the Empire (Star Wars), Agents Jones and Brown (Matrix), Ramses II (as presented by the Old Testament), Nazi Germany, WW2 Japan, and 2014 North Korea.

 

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

-Darth Vader

 

C3Z5: Transhuman Narcissism – the elitist’s utopia: a speculative situation characterized by extreme individualism. Examples: the Q (Star Trek), the Merovingian (Matrix), Krell (Forbidden Planet), the Talosians (Star Trek), the Greek Pantheon, and Satan (as presented by the book of Job).

 

“But I do know everything!”

-Q

 

C3Z4: Tribal Technocracy: strong family values combined with a strong sense of individualism. Examples: Hutt Space (Star Wars), the Tion Hegemony (Star Wars), the Kel-Morian Combine (StarCraft), Slaver’s Bay (ASOIAF), Neo (Matrix), Church of Laodicea (as presented by the New Testament), the Papal States during the Renaissance, and 2014 Indonesia.

 

“Jee no hagwa bonta goo!”

-Jabba the Hutt

 

C3Z3: Balance Tribalism: the family’s utopia. Examples: Kharak (Homeworld), the Minmatar Republic (EVE), House Tully (ASOIAF), the elves (LOTR), Abraham (as presented by the Old Testament), Thomas Aquinas, Catholic “Third Way” Corporatism, and 2014 Italy.

 

“Family, duty, honor.”

-House Tully

 

C3Z2: Tribal Socialism: a socialist state characterized by strong family ties and a planned economy. Examples: Caretakers Rama-Kandra (Matrix), Caretakers (SMAX), the Clans (Battletech), the Formics (Ender’s Game), the Bugs (Starship Troopers), Exodus (prior to the Ten Commandments), the Iroquois Confederacy, and 2014 Zimbabwe.

 

“Karma’s a word. Like ‘love.’ A way of saying ‘what I am here to do.’ I do not resent my karma – I’m grateful for it. Grateful for my wonderful wife, for my beautiful daughter. They are gifts. And so I do what I must do to honor them.”

-Rama-Kandra

 

C3Z1: Transhuman Abnegation – the ascetic’s utopia: a speculative situation characterized by a society that is completely collectivized and also determined to spread this form of collectivization. Examples: the Borg (Star Trek), the Machines (Matrix), the Zerg (Star Craft), Skynet (Terminator), Zombies (Resident Evil, etc), and the Crucifixion (as presented by the New Testament).

 

“We are the Borg. Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”

-Borg

 

A1Z3: the hedonist’s utopia: culturally vibrant welfare state made possible by an emphasis on utilitarian social programs at the expense of Shock and Awe military expenditures. Examples: the Federation (Star Trek), the Old Republic after Palpatine’s ascent to power and before the Clone Wars (Star Wars), the Culture Series, the five Ones prior to Neo (Matrix), House Dorne (ASOIAF), the Babylon Enigma (Left Behind), the Parable of the Vineyard (New Testament), and 2014 Norway.

 

“The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.”

-Jean-Luc Picard

 

B2Z3: Balanced Egalitarianism: a “carrot and stick” style approach that culminates in broad prosperity. Examples: the Old Republic during the Clone Wars, Vulcans (Star Trek), Varys (ASOIAF), Rome, Stoic philosophy, the Centurion (New Testament), and 2014 France.

 

“What you do not yet understand is that Vulcans do not lack emotion. This is an all too common misconception. It is merely that our emotions are controlled, kept in check. This adherence to principles of logic offers a serenity that humans rarely experience in full. We have emotion. But we deal firmly with them and do not let them control us.”

-Elder Spock to young Spock (TOS-animated)

 

B2Z2: Egalitarian Technocracy: a technocracy in which there is an emphasis on Utilitarianism. Examples: the University faction (SMAC), Cybernetic Consciousness (SMAX), Saruman (LOTR), Metropolis, the society of Blade Runner, Mega-City One (Judge Dredd), New Vega (Dominion), King Solomon (as presented by the Old Testament), Confucian philosophy, and 2014 Singapore.

 

“The Academician’s private residences shall remain off-limits to the Genetic Inspectors. We possess no retroviral capability, we are not researching retroviral engineering, and we shall not allow this Council to violate faction privileges in the name of this ridiculous witch hunt!”

-Fedor Petrov, Vice Provost for University Affairs

 

B2Z4: Egalitarian Socialism: a planned economy rooted in utilitarian ideals, and often a “carrot and stick” style execution of said ideals (mostly stick). Examples: the Jedi (Episodes I-III), the Oracle (Matrix), Human Hive (SMAC), Cult of Planet (SMAX), the Free Drones (SMAX), New Vega (Dominion), Melisandre (ASOIAF), early Greek Gnosticism (as presented by the New Testament), Manichaeism, Plato’s Republic, Neo-Platonism, the French Reign of Terror, Marxism, the Soviet Union, and 2014 Cuba.

 

“Learn to overcome the crass demands of flesh and bone, for they warp the matrix through which we perceive the world. Extend your awareness outward, beyond the self of body, to embrace the self of group and the self of humanity. The goals of the group and the greater race are transcendent, and to embrace them is to achieve enlightenment.”

-Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, “Essays on Mind and Matter”

 

E5Z3: the fundamentalist’s utopia – an insular society characterized by strict adherence to tradition, as well as annihilation, forced assimilation, or exclusion (mainly exclusion) of anyone who does not conform to the standards of the dominant culture. Examples: the Lord’s Believers (SMAC), the Ba’ku (Star Trek), the Judges (as presented by the Old Testament), the Pharisees (as presented by the New Testament), and 2014 Amish communities. 

 

“We came here from a solar system on the verge of self-annihilation… where technology had created weapons that threatened to destroy all life. A small group of us set off to find a new home… a home that would be isolated from the threats of other worlds. That was three hundred and nine years ago.”

-Sojef

 

D4Z2: Theocratic Socialism: a society with a planned economy in which a purity-based religion plays a major role. Examples: the Minbari (Babylon 5), the Protoss (Star Craft), Saint Augustine, Feudal France and 2014 Iran.

 

“Doom to all who threaten the homeworld!”

-Protoss Zealot

 

D4Z3: Balanced Theocracy: a purity-oriented divine right autocracy characterized by a balanced economy as well as varying degrees of tolerance and persecution towards minority religions. Examples: the Dominion (Star Trek), Gondor (LOTR), ancient Persia, the Byzantine Empire (inspiration for Gondor), the Ottoman Empire, and 2014 Saudi Arabia.

 

“The Dominion has endured for over two thousand years, and will continue to endure long after the Federation has crumbled into dust.”

-Weyoun 4

 

D4Z4: Theocratic Technocracy: Is it a socially stratified market-driven technocracy? Yes. Is policy based on egalitarian principles (utilitarianism)? No. Is policy driven in large part by human rights (universalism)? No. Is policy based on nationalism? No. Is policy driven by nepotism? No. Therefore, the society in question must be a purity-oriented technocracy. Examples: The Ferengi (Star Trek), the Shinari (Imperium Galactica II), the Dwarves (LOTR), the rich young man (New Testament), and 2014 UAE.

 

“A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.”

-18th Rule of Acquisition

 

A3Z3: Philosophical Anarchism: a mindset that embraces Reason while simultaneously rejecting the authoritarian components of Paternalism and Perspectivism.

Examples: Guians (SMAC), Data Angels (SMAX), Tyrion Lannister (ASOIAF), the Gallente Federation (EVE), Boston bishop prior to the Babylon Enigma (Left Behind), the Blue Pills (Matrix), the Parable of the Good Samaritan (New Testament), Thomas Jefferson, and 2014 Germany.

 

“Books like the Bible are mostly allegorical: there is Truth with a capital T and truth with a lower case t.”

-Anonymous

 

C1Z3: Perspectivism: a mindset that embraces context-specific decision making while simultaneously rejecting the deontological components of Philosophical Anarchism and Medievalism. Individuals who embrace Perspectivism, also referred to as Postmodernism, are frequently described as ruthless and/or amoral; however, they often redeem themselves by intervening for people that they care about and/or performing “cynic with a heart of gold” style acts of kindness. Examples: Han Solo, the Romulans (Star Trek), the Smugglers (Dune), Zion (Matrix), Brave New World, Robin Hood, Rhett Butler, the Hound (ASOIAF), the Cult of the Damned (Warcraft), the Global Community (Left Behind), the Darkfriends (Wheel of Time series), Rahab the prostitute (as presented by the Old Testament), Machiavelli, Fight Club, and 2014 Russia.

 

“I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

-Neo

 

C5Z3: Paternalism: a mindset that embraces concepts such as altruism and the conflict of Good versus Evil while simultaneously rejecting the open brutality of Medievalism and the utilitarian component of Philosophical Anarchism. Examples: the Bajorans (Star Trek), the Asari (Mass Effect), the Space Trilogy (c.s. Lewis), Rohan (LOTR), the Shire (LOTR), Ned Stark (ASOIAF), Tribulation Force (Left Behind), Chronicles of Narnia, pre-Norman Anglo-Saxons (inspiration for Rohan), the Confederation during the American Civil War, the prophets (as presented by the Old Testament), and 2014 Conservative “Fundamentalist” Christianity.

 

“Ding-dong!”
-Broadway’s “The Book of Mormon”

 

E3Z3: Medievalism: a mindset that embraces both the brutality of honor-obsessed cultures and the tradition of purity-obsessed cultures, while simultaneously rejecting the utilitarian aspect of Perspectivism and the univeralistic aspect of Paternalism. Examples: the Arakeen Jihad (Dune), the Red Pills (Matrix), Necromongers (Chronicles of Riddick), the Brotherhood of Nod (Command & Conquer), the Haradrim (LOTR), Brienne the Beauty (ASOIAF), King Saul (as presented by the Old Testament), Chivalry, the Crusades, and the 2014 insurgency in Iraq.

 

“Uh, so why are we pillaging Constantanople again?”
-a paraphrase of the Fourth Crusade

 

 

Words: 3325

 

As always, comments, suggestions, and dispassionate criticism are welcome.

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2014 FALL FEATURE: Caelum Lex


Caelum Lex is a self-published open access space opera that is reminiscent of “Firefly.” The story is the product of collaboration between two dedicated individuals, a technical writer and a visual artist, and a new chapter is released each Friday. Like “Firefly,” Caelum Lex focuses on a group of ordinary people just trying to get by and does a good job of presenting likeable characters that viewers/readers can get attached to. However, unlike “Firefly,” the universe of Caelum Lex is built to last beyond a mere handful of episodes and the experience does not include analogs of annoying characters such as River and Shepherd Derrial Book. Chapters are available on dA fav.me/d5gro6q but Caelum Lex also has an excellent website www.caelum-lex.com/ complete with an interactive table of contents www.caelum-lex.com/category/pa… a wiki-style encyclopedia lexicon.caelum-lex.com/doku.ph… and illustrations. There is also a fan group here on dA caelumlexfans.deviantart.com/

Breathless Breathless by khronosabre fav.me/d6kb59k
Year One Year One by khronosabre fav.me/d6n9lyw
Spoilers? Spoilers? by khronosabre fav.me/d6xs1an

The first thing that impresses me about Caelum Lex is the shear “going for it” passion of the creators. Chapters keep coming through each week, and the art complements it in a way that is quite effective. Basically it’s a great example of an indie sci-fi project that actually works. Both creators have successful full time careers but they make the most of the time they have in order to produce the best reading experience possible. But as Geordi La Forge—I mean—LeVar Burton—used to say on “Reading Rainbow,” you don’t have to take my word for it: fav.me/d5noop1 www.universeeventual.com/2013/…

Below is an interview that I conducted with khronosabre and jennerally:


1. In your Literary Compass interview you said that your goal was to write the most epic space story ever. Before you two began writing Caelum Lex, what what were some things that you felt were lacking in TV and book-based science fiction stories?

Hayley: I wouldn’t necessarily say there was anything missing in the grand scheme of science fiction. Sci-fi, in fact, has always been a genre well-suited to hit so many story elements, it’s difficult to point to something and say ‘yeah we don’t have enough of that’. Caelum Lex, rather, was meant to just be everything that we personally wanted out of a sci-fi, a lot of which was drawn from pre-existing media we liked. The spaceship action of Battlestar, the character development of Firefly, the core fantasy epic of Star Wars, the romantic chemistry of the X-Files, the list goes on. Caelum Lex isn’t looking to fill any void in sci-fi, it’s just looking to be an ultimate hybrid of love.

Jenn: A writing teacher told me once that you should "write things that you personally would want to read." I'm always looking for sci fi stories with a wide cast of diverse, interesting characters with a complex smart female protagonist in the heart of it. So that's what we went for! We drew inspiration from all of our favorite classics, like Star Wars, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica ...

2. When you plan out chapters do you go in with the intention to make something that would work well as a one-to-one text-to-motion picture conversion, or do you prefer to exploit advantages inherent to text-only formats?

H: I for one am a primarily visual person. When I write, I definitely see everything in full cinema which I think comes across most in our scene changes and POV shifts. In my head it’s less a literary page break and more a hard film cut. But there are definitely text-only advantages that we utilize as well. It’s a lot harder to get details about someone’s feelings or pasts or what have you from an image than a paragraph.

J: In the beginning, I wrote like I was writing a book. And my writing suffered for it. It was overwritten and crappy. Now that we are 100 chapters into Caelum Lex, I have a better understanding of writing concise description & dialogue, and capturing images in my head. So I write it more like a webcomic / movie now, I think.

3. dA versus Tumblr: Which one has been the most useful as far as bringing in new fans?

J: Definitely DA. Moreso than Tumblr, DA's format lends itself to understanding what Caelum Lex is: a story with words and drawings. It's not a webcomic and it's not a story, it's something in between. Explaining that on Tumblr is hard.

H: Probably dA simply because our Tumblr isn’t exactly...maintained. Both, however, are a little problematic in terms of really drawing in audience though as dA and Tumblr (especially Tumblr) are catered to a very fast consumption of information. People on either aren’t necessarily looking to read hundreds of thousands of words of text as they are browsing around for cool imagery. Frankly, we get most of our audience through webfictionguide.com If you like reading free online serials, check it out, there’s a ton of great work there.

4. As with Firefly and Battle Star Galactica, I did not come across any aliens or strange ecology. As a general rule, do you feel that artifacts, lost civilizations, and talking squids just get in the way when it comes to writing compelling character-based fiction?

H: Eh no, not really. Not as a general rule. I love aliens and strange worlds and uncovering mysteries about both (I grew up on Stargate, it’s kind of my jam haha), but that’s just not what Caelum Lex is about. I’m definitely not opposed to one day doing a sci-fi that does include that sort of theme (there was some discussion about a possible “sequel” to Caelum Lex that sort of did, but shh), but it’s just not this one.

J: I don't think aliens get in the way necessarily - I just think creating races of aliens and civilizations is a HUGE undertaking and I wasn't ready to consider it for our first sci-fi story. We wanted to create characters that felt distinctly human who just happened to be far in the future.

5. Unlike Firefly, I did not come across any River analogs as I was reading. What are your thoughts about the use of telepathy and its limitations within the context of a fictional universe?

J: Who says none of our characters can read minds?!

H: Hah yeah that’s true. Perhaps they can. But they don’t because actually no, I really dislike telepathy and that was among my least favorite parts of Firefly. I’ve never been big on the whole ‘gifted’ or ‘powers’ thing. I enjoy a good superhero movie as much as the next person, but telepathy? The human experience is already complex and interesting, why throw in the ability to circumvent the best part: communication. Not my thing.

6. Unlike BSG, in my reading mentions of robots and AI were virtually nonexistent. From the standpoint of World Building, do you feel that technological plateaus are useful, and if so what are some specific restrictions that you deliberately implement?

J: Technological plateaus are essential. Imagine if everyone in our story could teleport - they'd do a lot less running and fighting!

Generally, our goal in writing future tech has been to ask ourselves, "is this a device that is easy to describe, that the reader can understand? Is it feasible to see this device in the future?" Nothing too outlandish, I don't think. Which is unfortunate - some of the tech we give the Society runs parallel to current events.

H: There’s actually an in-world reason for why CL’s technology isn’t mind-blowingly futuristic. When the First Colonists traveled from the Origin to the Span they now inhabit, they were forced to dismantle most of their tech in order to make the trip and start the colonies and after the First Division War, much of that technology was simply lost for good. As for why we chose to do that. I like space-y future-y gadgets, but Jenn’s right, it needs to be easy to understand and simple. Also, we’re working with struggling space pirates. Some of the bigger planets have some cool tech we haven’t really delved into, but for the Dionysian? Gadgets would just make things easier for them. And we don’t want that.

7. From what I read people in the universe of Caelum Lex have similar lifespans to what you and I could expect. Do you feel that widespread immortality has a numbing effect on the intensity of science fiction narratives?

J: Who said none of our characters are immortal?!

Just kidding (maybe). They do have similar lifespans, but we can bend the rules a bit. For example, Leta's only 24 when the story starts, and she's already a doctor. Technology advanced medicine as such that she didn't have to be in school studying medicine forever.

H: I think this goes back to the answer above. These people are supposed to be struggling to survive and (later on in the story) make something out of their lives. If those lives were unending, why worry about it? It also ties back to the telepathy thing. I don’t have any desire to make things easy for them. They’ve got some hundred years to figure their shit out and that clock is and should be ticking and loudly.


QUESTIONS FOR THE READER:

1) What are your thoughts about technological plateaus in science fiction?

2) What are your thoughts about including or excluding robots and AI in science fiction?

3) What did you like about Firefly?

4) What did you dislike about Firefly?
2014 FALL FEATURE: Caelum Lex


Caelum Lex is a self-published open access space opera that is reminiscent of “Firefly.” The story is the product of collaboration between two dedicated individuals, a technical writer and a visual artist, and a new chapter is released each Friday. Like “Firefly,” Caelum Lex focuses on a group of ordinary people just trying to get by and does a good job of presenting likeable characters that viewers/readers can get attached to. However, unlike “Firefly,” the universe of Caelum Lex is built to last beyond a mere handful of episodes and the experience does not include analogs of annoying characters such as River and Shepherd Derrial Book. Chapters are available on dA fav.me/d5gro6q but Caelum Lex also has an excellent website www.caelum-lex.com/ complete with an interactive table of contents www.caelum-lex.com/category/pa… a wiki-style encyclopedia lexicon.caelum-lex.com/doku.ph… and illustrations. There is also a fan group here on dA caelumlexfans.deviantart.com/

Breathless Breathless by khronosabre fav.me/d6kb59k
Year One Year One by khronosabre fav.me/d6n9lyw
Spoilers? Spoilers? by khronosabre fav.me/d6xs1an

The first thing that impresses me about Caelum Lex is the shear “going for it” passion of the creators. Chapters keep coming through each week, and the art complements it in a way that is quite effective. Basically it’s a great example of an indie sci-fi project that actually works. Both creators have successful full time careers but they make the most of the time they have in order to produce the best reading experience possible. But as Geordi La Forge—I mean—LeVar Burton—used to say on “Reading Rainbow,” you don’t have to take my word for it: fav.me/d5noop1 www.universeeventual.com/2013/…

Below is an interview that I conducted with khronosabre and jennerally:


1. In your Literary Compass interview you said that your goal was to write the most epic space story ever. Before you two began writing Caelum Lex, what what were some things that you felt were lacking in TV and book-based science fiction stories?

Hayley: I wouldn’t necessarily say there was anything missing in the grand scheme of science fiction. Sci-fi, in fact, has always been a genre well-suited to hit so many story elements, it’s difficult to point to something and say ‘yeah we don’t have enough of that’. Caelum Lex, rather, was meant to just be everything that we personally wanted out of a sci-fi, a lot of which was drawn from pre-existing media we liked. The spaceship action of Battlestar, the character development of Firefly, the core fantasy epic of Star Wars, the romantic chemistry of the X-Files, the list goes on. Caelum Lex isn’t looking to fill any void in sci-fi, it’s just looking to be an ultimate hybrid of love.

Jenn: A writing teacher told me once that you should "write things that you personally would want to read." I'm always looking for sci fi stories with a wide cast of diverse, interesting characters with a complex smart female protagonist in the heart of it. So that's what we went for! We drew inspiration from all of our favorite classics, like Star Wars, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica ...

2. When you plan out chapters do you go in with the intention to make something that would work well as a one-to-one text-to-motion picture conversion, or do you prefer to exploit advantages inherent to text-only formats?

H: I for one am a primarily visual person. When I write, I definitely see everything in full cinema which I think comes across most in our scene changes and POV shifts. In my head it’s less a literary page break and more a hard film cut. But there are definitely text-only advantages that we utilize as well. It’s a lot harder to get details about someone’s feelings or pasts or what have you from an image than a paragraph.

J: In the beginning, I wrote like I was writing a book. And my writing suffered for it. It was overwritten and crappy. Now that we are 100 chapters into Caelum Lex, I have a better understanding of writing concise description & dialogue, and capturing images in my head. So I write it more like a webcomic / movie now, I think.

3. dA versus Tumblr: Which one has been the most useful as far as bringing in new fans?

J: Definitely DA. Moreso than Tumblr, DA's format lends itself to understanding what Caelum Lex is: a story with words and drawings. It's not a webcomic and it's not a story, it's something in between. Explaining that on Tumblr is hard.

H: Probably dA simply because our Tumblr isn’t exactly...maintained. Both, however, are a little problematic in terms of really drawing in audience though as dA and Tumblr (especially Tumblr) are catered to a very fast consumption of information. People on either aren’t necessarily looking to read hundreds of thousands of words of text as they are browsing around for cool imagery. Frankly, we get most of our audience through webfictionguide.com If you like reading free online serials, check it out, there’s a ton of great work there.

4. As with Firefly and Battle Star Galactica, I did not come across any aliens or strange ecology. As a general rule, do you feel that artifacts, lost civilizations, and talking squids just get in the way when it comes to writing compelling character-based fiction?

H: Eh no, not really. Not as a general rule. I love aliens and strange worlds and uncovering mysteries about both (I grew up on Stargate, it’s kind of my jam haha), but that’s just not what Caelum Lex is about. I’m definitely not opposed to one day doing a sci-fi that does include that sort of theme (there was some discussion about a possible “sequel” to Caelum Lex that sort of did, but shh), but it’s just not this one.

J: I don't think aliens get in the way necessarily - I just think creating races of aliens and civilizations is a HUGE undertaking and I wasn't ready to consider it for our first sci-fi story. We wanted to create characters that felt distinctly human who just happened to be far in the future.

5. Unlike Firefly, I did not come across any River analogs as I was reading. What are your thoughts about the use of telepathy and its limitations within the context of a fictional universe?

J: Who says none of our characters can read minds?!

H: Hah yeah that’s true. Perhaps they can. But they don’t because actually no, I really dislike telepathy and that was among my least favorite parts of Firefly. I’ve never been big on the whole ‘gifted’ or ‘powers’ thing. I enjoy a good superhero movie as much as the next person, but telepathy? The human experience is already complex and interesting, why throw in the ability to circumvent the best part: communication. Not my thing.

6. Unlike BSG, in my reading mentions of robots and AI were virtually nonexistent. From the standpoint of World Building, do you feel that technological plateaus are useful, and if so what are some specific restrictions that you deliberately implement?

J: Technological plateaus are essential. Imagine if everyone in our story could teleport - they'd do a lot less running and fighting!

Generally, our goal in writing future tech has been to ask ourselves, "is this a device that is easy to describe, that the reader can understand? Is it feasible to see this device in the future?" Nothing too outlandish, I don't think. Which is unfortunate - some of the tech we give the Society runs parallel to current events.

H: There’s actually an in-world reason for why CL’s technology isn’t mind-blowingly futuristic. When the First Colonists traveled from the Origin to the Span they now inhabit, they were forced to dismantle most of their tech in order to make the trip and start the colonies and after the First Division War, much of that technology was simply lost for good. As for why we chose to do that. I like space-y future-y gadgets, but Jenn’s right, it needs to be easy to understand and simple. Also, we’re working with struggling space pirates. Some of the bigger planets have some cool tech we haven’t really delved into, but for the Dionysian? Gadgets would just make things easier for them. And we don’t want that.

7. From what I read people in the universe of Caelum Lex have similar lifespans to what you and I could expect. Do you feel that widespread immortality has a numbing effect on the intensity of science fiction narratives?

J: Who said none of our characters are immortal?!

Just kidding (maybe). They do have similar lifespans, but we can bend the rules a bit. For example, Leta's only 24 when the story starts, and she's already a doctor. Technology advanced medicine as such that she didn't have to be in school studying medicine forever.

H: I think this goes back to the answer above. These people are supposed to be struggling to survive and (later on in the story) make something out of their lives. If those lives were unending, why worry about it? It also ties back to the telepathy thing. I don’t have any desire to make things easy for them. They’ve got some hundred years to figure their shit out and that clock is and should be ticking and loudly.


QUESTIONS FOR THE READER:

1) What are your thoughts about technological plateaus in science fiction?

2) What are your thoughts about including or excluding robots and AI in science fiction?

3) What did you like about Firefly?

4) What did you dislike about Firefly?

deviantID

space-commander

Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
I'm in my late twenties and like many aspiring writers, I have opted for anonymity. When I was younger I was a huge fan of the Sim and Sid Meir games, but as I got older I gradually grew tired of them and started looking for a more creative outlet. One day I noticed dA-Muro, started doodling, and the rest is history.

My main activity on dA revolves around a massive group world building project called One-Planet-at-a-Time one-planet-at-a-time.deviantar…. It's basically a science fiction universe that is designed to remain as open-ended as possible instead of collapsing in on itself like a lot of the mainstream universes seem to be doing. Submissions to this group are officially accepted on Sundays. I do not thank people for faves but I do reply to most comments and notes within a reasonable amount of time.

If anyone would like a critique for a short story (preferably sci-fi) just send me a note and I'll put it on my to-do list. My policy is one critique per writer unless the writing is for the OPaaT Project in which case I am willing to write multiple critiques. Even if you are not a Premium member I am still happy to provide detailed feedback.

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:iconxantipa2:
Xantipa2 Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2014
Thanks so much for :+devwatch: ...:iconfloatingheartplz:
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:iconspace-commander:
space-commander Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome :)
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:iconypplejax:
YppleJax Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the favorite, and given the collection name, in advance for the feature! :D
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:iconspace-commander:
space-commander Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You are very welcome :) If you'd like an 200+ word critique comment me again after Comical1 has posted the reviews.
Reply
:iconypplejax:
YppleJax Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Moar feedback!  MOAR!

You know, if you want.  :D
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