Michael: That’s how I imagined it. Some people have it in their heads that everything was so much better in the olden days, which is rarely true unless you’re caught in the middle of a war or a repressive regime or a massive plague. But it’s that sort of uchronian love of ancient periods that led a lot of people to this constructed world and there would certainly have been luddites among them. Most likely, they would have positioned themselves to take the best advantage after the switches are thrown. And then torn out of the wall. But they’re no fools. On a world where cannon don’t work, hypertechnology is the last argument of kings.
Now I’m getting a Dune vibe where some of our Luddite-Aristocracy would very much enjoy lobotomising a strong AI and clapping virtual chains on it. Suffer not a machine to think!
And the Unseelie Court finds this prospect most unappealing.
Dan:Love love love. I like the idea that the current problems with environmental engineering is “runaway software oligarchism,” but you’re right that can’t have been what caused the problem in the first place. So is this place a holiday get-away that suffered a catastrophe (perhaps a pocket-universe that bubbled off the real universe, therefore no hope of rescue)?
I like the conflicting interests between human and AI factions. Perhaps there is an “AI Tithe” where software personalities are offered up to the Emperor’s court to be lobotomised as slaves. Originally it was a stopgap measure to prevent runaway oligarchism, but it evolved into a means for one AI to punish another (you are sentenced to serve the humans!) Now, the Unseelie Court has grown powerful enough to choose Tithes, and is sending Seelies to become human slaves, both undermining the Seelie position and depopulating its ranks (imagine sending animal rights activists to the lion pits). The Unseelie is close to its end-game scenario: wrestling enough control away from the Seelie environmental programming to wage a war of Nature against Man that will forever scrub away the stain of humanity. Evil laughter!
Michael:Ahh, to the Shape of the World. This a disk so massive that it’s the star that’s caught in its centre. Proper application of gravitic manipulation makes the star bob up and down giving the world a day/night cycle and suspended way up in the sky is a layer of highly reflective dust to guarantee solar energy is distributed where it’s needed. This dust can be “shuttered” or concentrated as needed. Archimedes’ sun mirror, anyone? Also, there are shrouded cities (of Leng?) where it is said Darkness dwells eternal…
The disk spins so that predictable weather patterns form. And there are the Regional AI’s to manage local climates. Perhaps the disk radiates heat in a regular fashion as well so we can have seasons.
There are lots of things to break or subvert like what we’ve been working on. And we haven’t even touched on biotech or anything like that yet.
A good model of an Alderson Disk can be found in Charles Stross’ Missile Gap.
For a model with most of the science worked out and with some of Stross’ climate control features, check out Rak Mesba.
I love the idea of a flat world. It brings together super-advanced stellar engineering with the anachronistic worldview of a flat Earth.