Workblog Preview Post ONE!

Posted: May 15, 2009 in Threat Quality

I guess that’s what we should call this.  Holland and I have decided, in light of certain pieces of fiction we’re going to be working on and (possibly) running here at TQP, we thought we might today give you a preview.  I’m going to put some of my notes up now, Holland will put some of his up later this afternoon.

When it comes to stuff that I’m working on, I generally play my cards close to the vest.  I rarely attempt to write anything down.  When I actually make notes, one of two things happen:  1) I forget where I put them, and have to think everything up again.  2)  I just get excited about the idea, and write the whole story instead.

I am going to do this anyway, though, because today I have to figure out how to cut the grass that has (MIRACULOUSLY) grown to three feet in height.

Okay, so, I have in my mind a story called something like, “Assembled on the Field of Law,” or something like that.  I am combining a number of ideas with this one, and relating it to We Are Shepherds, which I wrote earlier.

Firstly, I’m interested in the idea of a medieval society that’s grown up on top of a super-advanced future-city.  In my head, the setting for both this story and Shepherds is a post-singularity world that goes like this:  the singularity occurs, and all the post-singularity humans leave.  They go into space or something, who knows?  All that’s left on the planet are the die-hard humanists.  Then, either at the same time, or shortly thereafter, Something Happens.  It’s big and bad, and will probably remain mysterious, but it turns the world into an apocalyptic wasteland full of horrible monsters.

Every except a place called the Emerald City, which is preserved against the apocalypse by science.  It’s green, and has terraced gardens and fields everywhere, and artificial intelligences in its basement.

2) I’m also interested in recreating the human/god environment that shows up in things like the Ramayana and the Tain bo Cualinge.  The first major paper I wrote in college was called “The Divine Arsenal:  Arms and Armor in Indo-European Epic Poetry,” and I’m still fascinated by the subject.  The Emerald City has a fairly rigid caste system, run by the people who still have the means to use the super-advanced technology weapons that have been left lying around.  They don’t know how any of them work–but the weapons are keyed to something (genetic profile, say, which is why lineages and castes would be so important), so only some people can use them.

This is, you know, thousands well, hundreds of years at least after the singularity; the people that live in the Emerald City found it–they weren’t the original inhabitants.  No one knows how anything works, half of the weapons speak in languages that no one understands.  They behave peculiarly and erratically, following protocols that exist to myterious purposes.


3)  I am particularly looking at the way you can have a worldview that includes magic and gods and things like that, but views them as simple extensions of the natural world.  “Science,” in this setting is a description of anything that can function according to its own volition.  “Old Science” are the things that were built before anyone got to the Emerald City; “New Science” are the things that have been built since then.

And this, which I think is going to be the tricky part:

I want to try and build a society that uses an ethical code based on the laws of classical mechanics.  It’ll be tricky to do it without it seeming, you know, stupid.  But that’s what I’m thinking of:  a set of base principles that unify both moral order and the laws of nature.  I don’t know how that’s going to work, yet, but whatever–I’m going to try and write a story that is Pulp Adventure! firstly (because whatever, man, not everything has to mean something), secondly moral allegory, and thirdly, basic physics lesson.

The main character is going to be a woman whose name I don’t know, a half-caste, someone who has no Weapon to use, but is willing to let the machines in the city fill her up with bionics.  There will be an invasion.  Somehow, she will stop it.

I’m probably going to have to go back and tinker with Shepherds, eventually, to make it all jive up.

  1. Jeff Holland says:

    Sorry for the delay in my workblog – prepping for a camping trip has taken on a life of its own, so I’ll post mine next week.

  2. threatqualitypress says:

    Oh, you bastard. I only did it because I thought you were going to!

  3. Hsiang says:

    Fight, fight, fight!

  4. Hsiang says:

    I really liked Kelly, the talking gun from Shepards. I’m reading a book (if you can call it that) by David Gunn (HAH! irony) whose protagonist carries an AI sidearm. Now thinking of other examples…Smith & Wesson from Buck Godot, Ian Cormac’s shuriken–not a big conversationalist, the Lazy Gun maybe, and of course the Bomb from “Dark Star”.
    None of which really delved into the potential of the intelligent weapons. There could be a society of these ancient, smart, powerful entities with their own relationships and motivations that can’t do anything until one of the cute l’il monkeys picks them up. I don’t think they’d care to be worshiped or control the course of mighty empires. They just want to be USED.

  5. threatqualitypress says:

    Yeah. Those guys in the Emerald City were kind of in a bad way when the guy left with Kelly, because she was the smartest and most user-friendly of all of their super-weapons.

  6. wench says:

    Sounds nifty…. seems like in some ways the society will be very moral, and in some ways it’ll be very amoral.

  7. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Maybe “The Emerald City” is a re-building of something like “The Hanging Gardens of Babylon”, which turned out to be an early, artifical biome where food/propogating experiments were taking place. Maybe the large monsters developed from being fed animal meat that had an excessive amount of growth hormone in it, mutating cells upon accumulation in specific animals–like the Coelacanth, a living fossil.

    Fish have lots of room to grow and it was shown that the specific hormone in the food accelerated growth to immense proportions. Originally, the growth and anti-growth experiments were taking place to find new ways to develop and harvest food, while also reducing the body size of humans. Unfortunately, that all went out-of-wack, humans actually grew bigger, the monsters grew bigger and it became and all-out battle of humans vs. ancient critters. The humans realized that they’d met their match, zipped off to look for a new home, leaving the monsters to fend for themselves. Turns out, the monsters weren’t prepared to enter the evolutuionary period they’d found themselves in, had no cerebral capacity to maintain “The Emerald City” and the food biome went to pot—that is, until “new” humans rediscover it, find out that the strange language posted everywhere are warnings from it’s previous managers and that some of those people have survived a loop through space-time, are secretly integrated into the human pack, incognito and intended to take control of the biome after using everyone to get it back to stable condition–all in hopes of attempting new experimentation. A whole lot of political intrigues abound, a “Lord of the Flies” scenerio unfolds and we wonder, who emerges triumphant?

  8. threatqualitypress says:

    Well, the Emerald City is definitely meant to evoke Babylon–I like the symmetry of the last city being essentially the same as the “first” city.

    But I think the Something that Happens is going to be bigger than that. I’m playing around with some ideas about sort of denaturing physical law, and–this is for a future story in the same setting–combining some stuff about Boltzman Brains and Nyarlathotep.

    I’m thinking that what happens to Earth is a huge strange catastrophe, and the Post-Singular humans probably left because they knew it was coming.

  9. threatqualitypress says:

    Now I’m thinking, though–what if some of them are big biotech terraforming machines? Engineered to avert some massive environmental crisis, now just wandering around throwing the equilibrium out of whack. That would also help to explain why the environment is so horrible.

  10. V.I.P. Referee says:

    “…Now I’m thinking, though–what if some of them are big biotech terraforming machines? Engineered to avert some massive environmental crisis, now just wandering around throwing the equilibrium out of whack…”

    Ooo–yes. Maybe some sort of cyborg or android-GMO hybrid, a robotic “Johnny Appleseed” that fertilizes the earth with its own organic stores; however, after abandonment and without direction from it’s creator, it can’t “shut-off” this feature. The unexpected outcome is that it gains the ability to control creatures that consume the harvests. Apparently, specialized parasites (nanotechnology can reproduce! And it might be riddled with computer viruses that have adapted and transferred information!) have imbedded in their brains, so the android can anticipate the actions of those who have eaten the food. Hmm. Too suggestive? Worthy of a $6,000 “Sci-Fi” budget?

  11. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Sorry–I somehow missed the “shut UP!” in your previous response. Must brush-up on my “Humanese”…

  12. threatqualitypress says:

    It’s actually leaning perilously close to the premise for Cleopatra 2525.

  13. Hsiang says:


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