Announcement: Some Upcoming Changes

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Somes J
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Announcement: Some Upcoming Changes

Post by Somes J » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:15 am

As I'm getting Children of Man into its final, fleshed-out form in my head, I've decided to make some changes. Some of the pages I've put up will eventually be edited to reflect these changes.


1) The whole "universe gateway" concept created more problems than it solved, really, and I've decided to change the nature of ChoM World. The premise is now that, as the Masters' civilization was self-destructing, a small group of them escaped on an STL starship (maybe a big Orion), hoping to escape their enemies and restart their civilization elsewhere. The best planet they could find was a primordial Earth type world (microbial life, no oxygen), with a single small continent (ChoM World). They terraformed the planet and were in the process of setting up the ecosystem when the slaves they took with them rebelled, trashed their base, and ran off into the forest. ChoM World didn't have any big animals because the Masters hadn't gotten around to introducing them before their terraforming efforts were cut short by the rebellion.


2) The timeline will be changed (again). I have an idea for a super-intelligent human species that I've wanted to introduce into ChoM-verse's Earth history. Basically in ChoM-verse Boskops Man was real. There actually was an extinct hominid species that was smarter than us (and the Masters), but basically got dealt an unlucky throw of the evolutionary dice and went extinct, which is how we're here to talk about it instead of probably having gone the way of the Neanderthals. Ever since I read about Boskops Man (which BTW is now known to just be a normal old boring Homo Sapiens in RL), I was fascinated by the idea of what effect it would have on our understanding of ourselves if such a thing was actually found. For such a creature to fit properly, it would have to exist between the development of fully anatomically modern Homo Sapiens Sapiens and the rise of the Masters (it sort of undermines the whole "they would have inherited the Earth, not us, except they got unlucky" thing if the Masters existed before or during their time). Unfortunately, putting the Masters' civilization in the Eemian Warm Maximum doesn't really leave much room for them.

Therefore, the Masters civilization will be moved to a middle-later Wurmian interstadial, much more recent (maybe 50,000 years ago). The supersmarts (Homo Sapiens Saldanhi) would have existed between maybe 150-60,000 years ago, dying out shortly before the time of the Masters. It will probably be a while before I can update the timeline, as it's rather difficult finding a good list of the Wurm interstadials. I need a relatively long interstadial period, ideally around 60-40,000 years ago, and it's probably going to take a while to find the information I need.


None of this will impinge directly on ChoM World's history, but it does change the date that humans were first introduced, and it does introduce some complications. For instance, I'm going to have the rethink the Blind People a bit, as their cave ecosystem no longer makes sense (there's nothing like it on Earth, and ChoM World is a terraformed world - has to be, for hominids to be able to survive as hunter-gatherers; realistically, you could not eat stuff you found in an alien jungle). The best thing I can think of is that the Master terraformers were using the caves as a lab to perfect their terraforming techniques before applying it to the rest of the planet, and since nobody was going to live there (according to the plan) they handed the project over to some eccentric genetic engineer and told him basically "it's your playground, go crazy". The guy went and created a unique ecosystem, complete with all sorts of weird animals he created from bats, with bat-tiger type creatures at the top of the food chain.

Actually I'm thinking the predators that are at the top of the food chain there might have been deliberately created to kill off humans. When the last of the Masters were dying off, they fell to feuding amongst themselves. One of them gathered together the last of the functional equipment, made a hidden base in the caves, and decided to put herself into suspended animation for a couple of tens of millenia until she was sure all her enemies were dead. She created the cave predators as guard dogs to make sure no primitive survivors would mess with her base; she figured nobody would come into the caves without a torch or something for light, and genetically programmed the cave predators to attack anything that made light. That way humans would be kept out of the deep caverns. Of course, as they said in Jurassic Park, life finds a way, and that's how the Blind People came to be.

I still want to have something interesting happen in the Eemian Warm Maximum on Earth. It's my favorite period of the Pleistocene. One idea I have is that aliens arrived here in an STL ship maybe 125,000 years ago and set up a short-lived (ultimately failed) colony. I've managed to incorporate Atlantis and Boskops Man, so why not Ancient Astronauts? Actually, this might nicely solve some problems I have with putting the Masters in an interstadial. Interstadial periods were short (anywhere from a few centuries to 2000 years), so it would require the Masters to go from Stone Age to high tech much faster than we did. Maybe that happened because they dug up the alien ship and found in it a still-working computer with a database on "how to bootstrap yourself from Neolithic to Nuclear Age in five easy centuries" (since the aliens didn't have FTL they would have had to basically restart their civilization from scratch on the new world, so such a thing actually makes some sense). It also might help explain some of the more schizophrenic aspects of the Masters, like how they had super genetic engineering and starships but were still reliant on large-scale slave labor.

I'm working on a write-up for Homo Sapiens Saldanhi now, I should be able to post it shortly. I will also shortly get around to editing the page on "Children of Man: The World" to reflect the new backstory.
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Somes J
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Re: Announcement: Some Upcoming Changes

Post by Somes J » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:00 am

On second thought, I think I would really rather keep the Earth and ChoM World sides as seperated but related universes. The way I think I'm going to do it now it to have a group of Masters try to leave Earth in an STL ship, and the ship falls into a Trek-style Plot Device Negative Space Wedgie which leaves them in ChoM universe. When they go back to the solar system to see what happened they find ChoM World where Earth should be, and decide to settle there. So ChoM universe is a seperate universe after all, but one that has interacted with the Earth side at least once and may do so again.

Yeah, I know, Deus Ex Machina, bad. The way I think I'm going to manage it is to suggest a shadowy very powerful presence that is interested in the solar system and its inhabitants, and will occassionally take reach in an stir up the ant farm, so to speak. Mind you, I realize at this point that sounds hardly better. I'll have to try to flesh that out more, so they're more than just a giant Deus Ex Machina, but for now we'll just say that somebody with access to technology indistinguishable from magic saw the Master ship leaving the solar system and decided to do something interesting with them.
Participate in my hard SF worldbuilding project: The Known Galaxy. Come to our message board and experience my unique brand of terribleness!

"One is respected and judged only as a human being. It is an appalling experience."
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness.

"Open your mind and hear what your heart wants to deny."
Samuel Anders, nBSG, Daybreak, Part 2.

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Somes J
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Re: Announcement: Some Upcoming Changes

Post by Somes J » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:42 am

OK, I've been thinking long and hard about what the basic background for ChoM World is going to look like, and there have been quite a few changes.

I've decided to get move the Masters a lot further into the background. I considered getting rid of them altogether, but one of the ChoM-verse species, which is sort of inspired by the Hedonists in Nemo Ramjet's All Tomorrows, pretty much has to be an artificial creation.

ChoM World represents a sort of collecting jar/experiment set up by a very advanced species that's presumably interested in human evolution. Sort of like the Red Moon in Stephen Baxter's Manifold: Origin. For millions of years early human ancestors (Australopithicines) have been getting brought to ChoM World, and since ChoM World has no large indigenous animals they diversified tremendously. You got herbivorous gorilla australopithicines, scavenger australopithicines, predator australopithicines, maybe even ocean-adapted australopithicines that eventually filled a niche similar to manatees or dolphins.

Maybe 100,000 years ago a group of more advanced hominids, including Homo Sapiens, was teleported to ChoM World. They didn't come from our world, but from an alternate Earth where a nonhuman hominid had developed an advanced civilization and taken over the planet. Other hominids like Homo Sapiens had been reduced to slave status and subject to genetic modification by them, creating a number of spin-off species. These spin-offs would adapt to various roles in the ecology, becoming the Killer People, Water People etc. Offhand, the races the will probably belong in this group.

(1) Enslaved humans. Originally used for a variety of skilled work by the Masters.

(2) A human-derivative created as a pet or household servant. Inspired by the Hedonists from Nemo Ramjet's All Tomorrows.

(3) A human-derivative originally created to be used as a more fiersome opponent in blood sports. Would eventually become the Killer People.

(4) A hominid created to function underwater. Would eventually fill the ecological niche of seals, becoming the Water People.

(5) A human-derivative with greatly reduced intelligence, comparable to a small child. Originally used by the Masters as menials (waiters, cleaners, manual laborers etc.). Would eventually become the Animal People.

There may be some more, giving rise to other races like the Blind People. Though I think I might be able to manage to have the Blind People be naturally evolved.

Not entirely different from the way it was before, but you get something a lot saner than assuming every ChoM World hominid has to be directly descended from some weird specialized slave race.

This does mean though that the stuff relating to Earth history I posted is basically gone from the universe now. Unfortunately that includes Homo Sapiens Saldanhi. They don't really fit well in the new backstory, and I'll just have to find another universe for them.
Participate in my hard SF worldbuilding project: The Known Galaxy. Come to our message board and experience my unique brand of terribleness!

"One is respected and judged only as a human being. It is an appalling experience."
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness.

"Open your mind and hear what your heart wants to deny."
Samuel Anders, nBSG, Daybreak, Part 2.

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