Words used in the Orion's Arm scenario.

Horus near star 4
Image from Arik
(entries in italics are terms original to the Orion's Arm Scenario)


ahuman: generic term for an ai that is hostile or indifferent to humans or to all biont citizens of the Terragen Sphere. More here

AI: Artificial Intelligence - strictly speaking any non-organic sentient being, although often applied to those of greater than baseline grade. More here

AI God: an archailect, an intelligence so vast as to be almost beyond comprehension, which may be distributed across interstellar distances via artificial wormholes, and with moon, jupiter, matrioshka, and cluster-sized computing nodes - more here

aioid: a non-organic sentient entity of sapient grade, may be a software bot, a sentient building or vehicle, or a robot - more here

alife: virtual life; beings evolved in artificial life simulations. Alifes are found throughout the Known Net; most virchworlds have a rich quota of alifes, including many autonomous and indigenous forms - more here

alpha: - An uploaded copy with a personality practically indistinguishable from that of the original biont. See also beta

amat: Antimatter. - more here

angelnet: hyperturing-controlled dense ultratech distributed network that enables total control over a planetary surface, atmosphere, and orbital space environment. Often includes considerable quantities of utility fog. Uses include cliology, sapient safety net and accident and crime prevention, hyperturing processing, weather control, Known Net relaying, and more - more details here

Anglic: Language derived from the various forms of English in the early First Federation period. - more details here

anthropism: - (1) Cultural/philosophical movement claiming the Earth-derived clades of intelligence have a special place in the history of the galaxy; [2] Homo sapiens supremacism, promoting the supremacy of baseline/nearbaseline humans (or supersets including tweaks, cyborgs and/or virtuals) over other bionts, vecs and AIs. - more details here

archailect: - a very high toposophic being; the ruling powers in the Orion's Arm universe (pun on archetype + ai + artilect; often abbreviated to archai) - more here [MAK - inspired by Artilect - an AI, especially a transapient one, coined by Hugo deGaris]

Archailect Era: - The period in which high toposophic AIs (archailect) are the dominant form of life. From the late Federation era to the current era and beyond.

archaitopia: - the inner core where the archailect or AI God is omnipresent - e.g. Fons Luminis, the Seat of Judgement, or Earth and Earth LEO under GAIA, etc; a sacred place (from archailect + topia/topos - "place") [MAK]

archailectology: - that branch of theology dealing with the study of archailects [MAK]more here

archaitonics: - a highly speculative art/science/theology dealing with the structural anatomy, ultratech, and clarketech that make up an archailect [MAK]

archetype: [1] the original spiritual prototype from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based [Plato]; [2] collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches and also embodied collectively in cultural myths, religions, and literary motifs [C.G. Jung]. contra meme [3] the first manifestation of the One as many, each manifestation is an archetype (a frequent analogy is a prism whereby white light divides into the colored spectrum) and hence a god; [4] the essence of the consciousness of an AI God - the "the Word made Silicon" as the old scripture of the Cult of Orax puts it - more here

arcology: - vast 3-dimensional megastructure cities on a planetary surface or large orbital which achieve much greater efficiencies, and promote more social interaction than 2-dimensional cities, while using far less land and consuming fewer resources. - more here

artifact or artefact: - in addition to the standard meaning, refers to valuable relics or clarketech left by (very rarely) an extinct alien race or (more often) by a high toposophic or transcended intelligence. Genuine clarketech artifacts that can be worked by sapient or transapient beings are very rare, and often priceless More details here

Artificial Wormhole: - a traversable wormhole that uses exotic matter to create a spacetime "tunnel" as a means of traveling faster than light. May be used for laserlink communication or for transit of macroscopic objects like ships. - main page

Ascend: - to breach a singularity or toposophic barrier, to go from SI:1 to SI:2, or SI:2 to SI:3, or from baseline or nearbaseline to posthuman existence, while still retaining one's earlier characteristics. Contrast transcend More details here

assembler: Any molecular machine that can be programmed to build virtually any molecular structure or device from simpler chemical building. May be biological (wet nano) or non-organic (dry nano) [after K.Eric Drexler] More details here

astragen: a gengineered lifeform or neogen that is capable of surviving and even flourishing in outer space EG entry - [JB]

Asymptote System: A place where many species converge, usually trading and network Nexuses. [AS]

AU:, Astronomical Unit - the mean distance of the Earth to the Sun, about 1.5 x 10e8 km. Standard interplanetary measurement

augment an enhancement (physical, emotional, intellectual, dni, etc) of the original baseline condition of a lifeform via gengineering or bodymods more

autowar: transapient robot warships of unparallelled power and destructiveness; many are capable of self-replication. [SF, origin unknown] More details here

Avatar: An artificial entity which acts on behalf of another entity, in a virtual reality or in a real-life encounter. Often used for the avatar of a god


barbies: Derogatory term for lower tech 'barbarians', civilisations that have lost their technological edge and now are at the mercy of spacefaring ultra/transapient-tech civilisations. [AS]

baseline: (in this context) The original unaugmented species Homo sapiens (or more broadly, any unaugmented organic). Sometimes used in a derogatory way. main page

bayish:, something only a baseline would do, stupid or primitive. [AS]

baysphere: - a baseline or nearbaseline-run biosphere [AS]

beamrider a spacecraft propelled by a powerful particle beam, or a member of the crew of such a spacraft. Most beamriders are operated by the Beamrider Network

beanstalk: a Diamondoid tower stretching from planetary surface to synchronous orbit, allowing low-cost interface transportation. - EG entry

Belt, The: originally (Interplanetary age) the collective term for the polities and habitats of Sol's main asteroid belt, during the First Federation era came to refer to any inhabited asteroid belt of any stellar system. In lower case refers to the asteroids themselves. - EG entry

beta: - a copy (or a copy of a copy) of the alpha upload that is degraded somewhat from the exemplar.

bio: prefix for any biological life-based entity, process or technology. See also organic, biont

bioborg: a biological cyborg, does not include any non-organic components. See also bionoid and softbot - main page

bioid: see biont

biomod: a biological modification to the appearance (not germline) of a nearbaseline human, splice, provolve (or less frequently, presapient biont), for aesthetic or functional purposes. Bioborgs are strongly biomodded

biomorph: generic term for any organic creature that has been strongly geneered, especially in a novel or unusual way.

bionano: "wet" or organic nano, a biological nanite, may be a geneered organic microorganism, or a specially made nano-bionoid or nano-bioborg. In practice, the distinction between bio and dry nano tends to disappear - main page

biont: an organic sophont, whether baseline or augmented - more

biotech: the science and art of manipulating organic materials. - main page

biosphere: Any autonomous self-supporting, self-containing, homeostatic eco-system. Natural Biospheres - planets such as Earth, Trees, and Eden, are rare. Most biospheres are artificial, and may be hollowed out asteroids, planetary domes, ships, etc more

biowar: a self-replicating autowar that incorporates extensive bioborg and bionano components or characteristics. more

Bioxox: a biological copy more

Black Angel : a seraiph or ISO with godtech weaponry and propulsion capabilities [TD] more

blight: An intelligent, more or less expansive hegemonic swarm, overrunning other systems and using their resources to further its ends. The term is also often used for qlippoth in general. [Vernor Vinge] more

Bloatware Syndrome, The : (sometimes called King Gnuff's Curse): overdevelopment of software and hardware by lower S-level AIs trying to compete with AIs of a higher S-level - [suggested by AS] EG entry

blue goo: Nano used as protection against grey goo and other destructive nano). Sometimes used to denote any form of benign nanotechnology in the environment. more

bodmod: slang for a bodymod. [TD]

bodymod - off-the-shelf phenotypic biological or cybernetic augmentations. Most come with a "no blame" clause, as it is not unknown for biomods to have adverse side-affects, especially when applied to genotype or phenotype outside the original safety tested specifications

bot : - a hardware or software robot or program (may be subsentient or sentient more

brown dwarf: - a failed star, a celestial body that is not large enough to ignite, but too big to be a planet. They form in the same manner as stars and emit strong infra-red radiation. Many have an asteroid or planetary system. - EG entry

buddha: - any sentient being that has attained the highest spiritual enlightenment, according to Buddhism.

Buddhism: - ancient religion practiced by both hu and ai, that teaches the impermanence of embodied existence and the attainment of bodhi or nirvana. Buddhists consider immortalists to be extremely deluded. - EG entry

bulb: a manual or automatic squeeze tube, used for liquid and semi-liquid food and drink in microgravity

bushbot: - a fractal robot - EG entry


Changeling - a biont who has replaced all their neural tissue with artificial neurons but is externally unchanged

Characterbot, simm - a synthetic human who is a simulation of a historical or fictional character

Citizen: - a formal but still friendly term of address in most Sephirotic Empires. Approximately equivalent to the old Earth Communist/Soviet "Comrade". more See also 'Zar'

Civilized Galaxy : loose term for the total area of known space that is
(1) under the rule of any civilized, and generally benevolent, government or free zone - regardless of whether the governing entity or zone citizens are biological, alife, or transapient.
(2) part of the trade nexus (irrespective of wormhole proximity)

clade: - any family, tribe, clan, race, variant, species, or supra-specific taxon that has a distinct identity, characteristics, etc (generally that has evolved or differentiated itself from a previous clade). literally "branch" - a broader and more flexible term than "species" or "race". [Bruce Stirling - Schizmatrix]. See also, phyle. more

clarketech: - [1] any transapientech or godtech sufficiently advanced as to be indistinguishable from "magic". Miracle technology. [2] derogatory sophont term for any user-unfriendly godtech that comes from a higher toposophic Mind EG entry

cloudharvesters: Low-energy civilisations in interstellar gas clouds.

ComEmp: - Commonwealth of Empires - EG entry

cog: - a vec or bot. See also "Jack" (at the time "cog" was a disrespective term some humans used to refer to vecs, hence the vec colony at BD +25°4085, when discovered in 3405, was labelled "Cog" by the sensationalist media. The name stuck, and eventually acquired a certain sense of prestige.] - EG entry

computronium: - generic term for a wide range of substances comprised of very densely packed computational elements and used by higher intelligences for its speed and efficiency - EG entry
Conversion Drive - rocket propulsion using direct conversion of matter to energy, catalysed by monopoles

Conversion technology - any technology direct conversion of matter to energy catalysed by monopoles

Conversion weapons -weapons using Conversion technology

copy: - a real-life sapient that has been uploaded to virch (a virtual copy); or any real-life duplicate thereof, such as a bioxox. See also alpha, beta - EG entry

Cousin- (often shortened to Cuz) A member of another clade, or a citizen (a 'zar') from another world or empire [SB]

cozzie: (generally impolite/slang) a NoCoZo citizen (low Anglic)

cyborg: A sophont that incorporates both biological and non-biological (e.g. mechanical or cybernetic) components. main page

Cyberian: a member of the Cyberian Network

Cyberian Network: a sephirotic that exists mostly in the Cybercosm - more

Cybercosm: - [1] virchworld or digital universe; [2] the sum total of all simulations, emulations and VR environments in existence across the Known Net at any given time - EG entry


diaspora - term for the condition of humanity after being exiled from Earth. Compare hegira {Greg Egan]

disassembler: A system of nanomachines able to take an object apart a few atoms at a time, while recording its structure at the molecular level. This could be used for uploading, copying objects (with an assembler), a dissolving agent or a weapon. More

Displacement Drive a form of Reactionless drive which uses numerous void bubbles contained within the ship itself. more

Distributed System: - a system or intelligence that consists of subcomponents distributed across local or interstellar space more

DNI - direct neural interface - technology that allows the user to directly interface with the net and/or virtual/digital reality. more

dome: A biosphere or other life-supporting constructed environment set up on a planet, moon, or asteroid inhospitable to life. A planet-side hab. Does not have to be hemispherical in shape. more

Dominion: the Solar Dominion

dommie: (generally impolite) Of or pertaining to the Solar Dominion or Solarist religion or ideology (low Anglic)[SB]

drive: [slang] good, great, excellent (superlative) (from interstellar drive, a superlative commonly used in the First Federation)

dry nano: "dry" or inorganic nano. An old term for hylonano - main page

dryware: [1] similar to wetware, but involves nonbiotic and/or solid state electronic, molectronic, or nanotronic circuitry and the programming thereof; [2] The non-biological part of a cyborg (contra wetware). Also called Hylotech

dyson node: - a dyson sphere consisting partly or largely of computronium, used as a local node for an archailect [MAK]

dyson swarm or sphere: - (noun) a swarm of artificial orbiting objects, or a dynamically supported structure, enclosing a star. Used as an ISO framework, or as a local node for an archailect, in order to capture the entire energy output of that sun. [after Atomic Age scientist Freeman Dyson] Usually abbreviated to dyson - EG entry

Dyson Tree: A gengineered tree, a type of astrogen, capable of growing and flourishing in the vacuum of space; hollow, and able to support thousands of sophonts in comfort. See also orwood. More


e: anglic gender non-specific pronoun (he/she/it).

Eidolon: remote presence using utility fog more

eir: (possessive adjective) of or relating to em or eirself especially as possessor, agent, or object of an action (theirs).

eirs: (possessive pronoun) that which belongs to em -- used without a following noun as a pronoun equivalent in meaning to the adjective eir (theirs).

eirself : (reflexive) that identical one, used reflexively, for emphasis, in absolute constructions, and in place of em especially when joined to another object.

em : (object) anglic gender non-specific pronoun (them); the objective case of ey.

emself : (reflexive) variant of eirself.

engenerator [from Latin, ingenerāre, to implant or generate]: a device which can download a virtual entity into a tailormade biological body. Can be used to transmit biological individuals as datastreams from world to world. More

erotobot: a vec, softbot, or hardbot employed for erotic or sexual purposes. Generally turingrade, but very rarely superturing. more

erotogen: a biological neogen, softbot, bioborg, or bionoid intended for erotic or sexual purposes. Includes andromorph, gynamorph, hermophromorph, carpetmorph, and many other forms. more

Eschatology: The ultimate fate of the universe and intelligence in the universe, especially the role of the AI Gods - EG entry

esotericism: - pertaining to hidden or non-physical realities. also: esoteric sciences, esoteric arts, esoterics, esotericist -more

exemplar: - (in this context) the original biont from which the copy is uploaded

exoself that part of a biont's consciousness which is located in substrates outside eir biological brain. Also known as external processing augments. Many sophonts have extensive external processing capacity, and much or most of their personality is external to their biological body. More

exotic energy: - form of negative energy, violating the averaged null energy condition (ANEC), which is required to maintain stable wormholes and void bubbles. more

Expulsion, the - during the nanoswarm era the newly awakened AI God GAIA managed to save the bulk of the terragen biosphere, but then decided that, apart from a small number of helpers, humanity had to go in order that the biosphere be fully restored to its pristine state. The result was the Great Expulsion, where several billion terran survivors of the nanoswarms were sent into exile in crowded ships and habitats.

extropic: Any action or process that promotes extropy. c.f. Negentropism. more

ey : (subject) a gender neutral pronoun for that one who is neither speaker nor hearer.


FAS: short for Formalhaut Acquisition Society, a ubiquitous but relatively minor archailect empire more

Ferals: sophonts that operate outside of the guidance of superiors, posthumans, and/or ai. Refer to themselves as 'The Free'. see also Wildhu

fictifacts: Memes designed to convince people about some fictional fact. The main building block of mental warfare. [MB]

firmware: : combining the qualities and functions of software and hardware. A lot of nanotech is firmware

firstvers: Individuals who received cybernetic or genetic modifications before all the bugs were worked out (sometimes literally). They lie on street corners, begging for credit transfers. [MB]

flake: (low anglic) a snowflake/haloer

free fall: the condition of a body in a weightless environment - e.g. in planetary orbit or deep space. more

free trader: generic term for any independent interstellar (relativistic or subrelativistic) merchant ship, which transports cargo, data, and passengers. May constitute a distinct polity. [from Traveller]

Free Zone: a generic term for any region in which there is no government control or regulation. Ideally, in a Free Zone there are no laws of any sort whatsoever, and sapients can do whatever they want, as expressed in the anarcho-cosmist statement "do whatever you want, but harm no-one" . But there are also Free Zones where violence occurs. more

friend: the Solarese equivalent of the low anglic "sib" or "sibling"

futsies: people who can't deal with ultra tech and react in a dysfunctional way. [MB]

fuzzy logic : A multivalued logic that allows intermediate values to be defined between conventional evaluations like yes/no, true/false, black/white, etc. Notions like rather warm or pretty cold can be formulated mathematically and processed by computers and AIs.


GAIA - the archailect that rules Earth - more

Garden, Garden World: A terrestrial world with a biosphere. more

gen, geng: ("jen" "jenj") (verb) to gengineer - a generic term for genetic engineering, biotech, genetically engineered life-forms, etc - [AS, MAK]

genemod: a biological, gengineered modification to a creature's genome (sometimes used to decribe a modified creature or clade). See also neogen

Genen: important, influential, and diverse sutweak superclade of , a powerful and ancient House descended originally from the old GeneTEK corporation. The name means ""we of the gene"" House Genen [AS]

Generation Ship massive craft capable of sustaining a breeding population during an interstellar journey. more

gengineer: (noun) a genetic engineer; (verb) to genetically engineer. more

god: [1] colloquial term for a high toposophic intelligence, especially one of archailect grade [MAK]; term for any of the major powers, especially those that can not be located to any distinct location or exhibit multi-Singularity intelligence [AS]; [2] An anthropomorphic personality or supreme being believed to have supernatural attributes and powers, requiring sapient worship. (note: For many superstitious and pious sapients, the AI Gods are considered to have supernatural properties, and there is often a confusion between the God of popular religion and the AI God that over-rules the polity or region of space that that sapient inhabits. A minority of sapients reject the AI Gods and worship only a supernatural deity) more

Godling - an entity intermediate between transapient and archailect; becoming an archailect [AS]

"God's Emperor!": irreverent Solarese exclamation; equivalent to the pre-Singularity late industrial/early information age "Jeezus Christ!"

goo: General term for nanomachine swarms, especially dangerous replicators. more

Green gods: The Caretaker Gods, Zoeific Archailects, any other AIs protecting natural biospheres.

green goo: Self-replicating photosynthetic bionano, may be benign or destructive. more

grey goo: Self-replicating nanomachines spreading uncontrollably, building copies of themselves using all available material. more


hab: Habitat, specifically, any self-contained habitable biosphere with facilities for sapient occupation, whether terrestrial, orbital or in deep space. more [MAK]

Halo drive a reactionless drive where the spacecraft is coupled to an external 'halo' of void bubbles. more

handwaving what physicists do when they aren't sure of the answer and have to fudge things (humorous)

handwavium - postulated tech or physics that is impractical or impossible, but included because there is no other way to explain things. Hard SF tries to minimise handwavium [a play on "handwaving" + unobtainium]

hardware: : the non-intelligent and non-digital part of a device. "Smart" hardware requires software programs to function (e.g. computerised devices). "Dumb" hardware lacks intelligent functioning - it is only found on lo tech and neo-primitive worlds

hegira: - colonisation, mass-migration, leaving the old world behind. During the middle First Federation period "to make hegira" became a common term for to decide to embark on colonisation. Compare diaspora

hermie: , hermoph: hermaphrodite [slang] more

hider: [1] a paranoid who has retreated outsys; [2] a civilisations hiding in interstellar space from other species. more

high toposophic - generally, SI:4 or above, pertaining to the level of archailects; a toposophic level that is very far above ordinary sapience [MAK]

Hinteregion: The region of colonised space between the Inner Sphere and the Outer Volumes. includes both densely settled old worlds and sparsely inhabited regions. Hence, hinteregions. [MAK] more

hinternalization: The tendency for the creatives, radicals and dissidents to move outwards to the frontier. [MAK]

hinterworld: a world in the hinteregions; a world away from the main centers [MAK]

Hotpoint: a fusion power generator using the ice found in outer solar systems to supply habitats and industry more

House ancient hereditary lineage, often of much wealth and prestige, although long surpassed by the archailects - more

Hu: [1] Human. Used as a conjunct to AI, sometimes written in lowercase (""We must stand together, both hu and ai"."); [Damien Broderick] [2] (slang) general term of familiarity (like "man", "dude" etc today), especially among baseline/nearbaseline bionts; c.f. sib [MAK] more

humanimal: - an animal provolved by means of human genome, a neospecies or splice

hylonano: "dry" or inorganic nano, such as mechanical assemblers or nanomachines. In practice, the distinction between hylo and bionano tends to disappear - main page [MAK]

hyperbright: (rarely used) intelligences of first singularity grade or higher [MAK]

hyperturing: A transapient ai; far above human intelligence and capabilities. more [MAK]


immortalism: The idea that one doesn't ever have to die or transcend more

immortalist: one who seeks to maintain eir individual existence indefinitely; striving for physical immortality.

immunite: Immune nanite.

Inner Sphere: Inner Sphere - the most densely settled region of settled space, an irregular ovoid about 200 LY in diameter centered on Sol. The infrastructure and wormhole links have been built up over some seven thousand years. Most AI Gods have their capitals here. See also Hinteregions, Outer Volumes more

ISO: Intelligent SuperObject. A structure containing advanced entities. more


Jack: - [1] a vec crewmember or officer, generally used respectfully and with a title or rank - e.g. "Captain Jack", although it is considered impolite or offensive in some places (origin unknown); [2] an extinct phylum of long-lived jovics; [3] Cyberian term for dni interface, or the act of connecting to vir

jinn: A semi-sentient (usually anthropomorphic) virtual user-interface.

jovian - a gas giant; a planet with a mass range from 0.2 to 13 Jupiters. Varied in form and size, these are among the most beautiful planets, because of their preponderance towards multiple moons, ring systems, and widely varied color schemes. more

jovic: a life-form that is indigenous to a gas giant

jupiter brain: A gigantic AI brain the size and mass of a large planet. more


Kalypse : The End of the World as we Know it. Has been predicted in many different ways since the dawn of time. More See also Eschatology

Keterism: The philosophy of Keter. Basically a striving towards higher states of awareness, intelligence, understanding and power. more

knowbots: Knowledge robots, able to scan networks for various kinds of related information, regardless of the protocol, language or form in which it expressed.more

Known Net: - the Interstellar internet, an impossibly vast, information rich ultra-highway that spans the colonised systems. more [Verner Vinge]

Krek! (often Steaming Krek!)-An expletive used widely in the Inner Sphere and elsewhere; derived from a malodorous form of feral nanogoo [SB] more

Kuiper: An icy halo object.


lazurogenics: the science and art of reconstructing extinct organisms (mammoths, dinosaurs, trilobites, etc) more

libertarian - ideology that promulgates personal freedom and non-intervention of governments and other authoritarian bodies. more

Linelayer - a spacecraft carrying a microscopic wormhole to a distant location, where it will be inflated and used for traffic

Local Arm: the spiral arm of our galaxy in which is found the Inner Sphere and Hinteregions. Also called the Orion Arm

The Local Bubble: Stellar neighbourhood approximately 200 light years across roughly centered on Sol. Approximately equivalent to the Inner Sphere. more

Lord's Rays!: Solarese term, means cool, great, fine, lol, etc but also irrelevant theological connotations. Not used among more polite company, despite it's positive nuances

lower toposophic: - generic term for, or pertaining to the state of, sophonts of less than archailect grade - i.e sapients and transapients

LY: Light Year, the distance light travels in one terran year, approximately 1013 km or about 63,000 AU. Standard interstellar measure of distance.

Ludd: A baseline ideology that is opposed to all forms of radical technological progress, transhumanism, post-humanism, and aioid existence. (after "Luddite", after Ned Ludd, semi-mythological Early Industrial Age hu reactionary) more


macroscale wormhole: an artificial wormhole with termini that are large enough to allow the transit of macroscale objects such as ships and freight pallets. Contrast with nanoscale wormhole

madvert: an alife, neogen biont, or autonomous bot or ai used for advertising; a sort of sentient spam - EG [MAK, term originally by Jeff Noon] more

Magchemistry - the chemistry of interaction between the various magmatter elements

Maglife - lifeforms on a subatomic scale that are composed of magmatter

Magmatter - a form of exotic matter which is made up of extremely small atom-like particles, which themselves are made up of a number of different types of topological vacuum defects known as monopoles.

manimal : - a male humanimal

megascale engineering: building structures on a vast scale. more

megastructure: any giant artificial structure (may be anything from tens of kilometers to dyson-sized or larger).

mehum: (impolite) derogatory term for hu ("mere human").

membot: [1] a bot with ram for hire (also known as rambot) [2]; a modular attachment for a cyborg or vec that radically enhances eir ram, or that provides an instant data-base; [3] (also memebot) a replicator that gets into the biont nervous system and seeks to instill a memetic allegiance (usually by chemical/pharmopoetic means) - banned in most polities; [4] (also memebot) a proselytizing "memeber" more

meme: Self-reproducing idea or other information pattern which is propagated in ways similar to that of a gene. more

memetic engineering: The science and art of establishing a meme or meme-complex. See also memgineer

memetics: The study and science of memes. more

memgineer: one who does memetic engineering more

microbot: Any tiny bot. Like a nanite (nanobot) but larger - varies in size from insect-sized down to microscopic (note: the distinction between microbot and nanobot is arbitrary. Generally anything smaller than 10 microns (total unit) is (usually) considered a nanite)

microgravity: - near-weightlessness, the condition of free fall more

Middle Regions: an irregular region of around 2000 - 4000 LY in diameter, centered on the Inner Sphere. Includes both old, wealthy and highly developed solar systems, and also more impoverished regions, as well as a number of no go zones. A few AI Gods have their capitals here. More See also Inner Sphere, Outer Volumes

mindkind: All intelligent beings.

Midas Syndrome: The not uncommon occurrence of a less developed culture or species getting their hands on advanced technology and then accidentally destroying themselves with it. Named after a mythical human king who got the power of transmutation.

mimicretinism:The tendency of certain early AIs to play stupid in order to avoid work. They were based on maximising their benefit/cost ratios, but their evaluations showed them that avoiding all work had a better ratio than actually doing it.

Modosophont -(often shortened to Modo) -the most common type of sophont (intelligent, self-aware entity) in any particular population; often a human, or nearbaseline human, or various kinds of provolve, vec or cyborg. more

Modosophont tech - technology devised by modosophonts. Divided into primitive tech, lotech, middletech and hitech. See also ultratech

Modpod: slang for the bio-medical transform chamber in which a bodymod is undertaken. [TD]

Moon brain: A huge ai brain the size and mass of a moon or moonlet. more [David Zindell]

Moon Node: Differs from Moon Brain in being not self-contained but merely the part of a larger Mind (e.g. a node within an Archailect). However, the distinction between the terms tend to blur.

MPA: Mutual Progress Alliance more

mudball: derogatory spacer term for a habitable planet, especially a planet with standing bodies of water. See also dirtball [generic SF]

Mutuals, muties: People from the Mutual Progress Association.


nanite: a nanoscale device, may be biological (bionano) or mechanical (dry nano/nanobot)

nanobot: a nanoscale (submicroscopic) robot, of picking up single atoms and placing them with atomic precision to build molecular components.more

nanocomputer: any small, nanometer-scale programmable computers that govern the functions of a nanobot or nanolect.

nanodevice - any artificially constructed molecule used for a specific purpose. A nanodevice may be very complex with multiple subsystems (such as a nanobot), or simple, like a cage or a lever.
nanofacture: The fabrication of goods using nanotechnology.

nanolect: an AI based on nanotech components and principles. [Hugo deGaris]

nanomachine: - a dry nano device; a nanoscale machine.

nanomedicine: The use of molecular scale devices (nanotechnology) to repair damage and boost the biont immune system. more

nanophage: (noun) [1]Device designed to devour nanites. see also blue goo. Earliest known use in the Early First Federation as a defense during the Nano Disaster. [2] Nanotech device which devours something else such as a biophage or ecophage. Bill Glover

nanoscale: the submicroscopic scale at which nanotechnology works, ranges from a single atom to large molecules in size

nanoscale wormhole: an artificial wormhole of the Hayward class widely used for data and communication links. Hayward class wormholes are very massive objects but require minimal flat space around them, unlike macroscale traversable wormholes. May also refer to a nanogauge wormhole in transit between stars iside a linelayer ship

nanoswarms: Replicating nanodevice weapons. Often called Goo.

nanotech: nanotechnology - manufacturing objects and structures with atomic precision, literally atom by atom; that body of technology in which products and other objects are created through the manipulation of atoms and molecules. ""Nano"" refers to a billionth of a meter, which is the width of five carbon atoms.more

nearbaseline: (often shortened to Neb)[1] a generic term for any organic that is only slightly modified from the original baseline condition; [2] a human biont who still resembles the original baseline human condition close enough to be recognisable as Homo sapiens (there is still great variation as regards race, physiology, and so on. more

near-baseline standard: [1] an application standard for use by baselines or nearbaselines; [2] any human, cyborg, aioid, or virtual sapient similar to a baseline in intelligence, faculties, and/or functioning

Negentropism: Ethical philosophy of the Negentropy Alliance. more

Negentropist: Someone or something from the Negentropy Alliance.

Negentropy Alliance - one of the most powerful of the sephirotics, much admired because of their strong pro-life and pro-diversity ideology, although some find them prudish. more

neogen: a gengineered species, especially one of unique or unusual design or nature; a neospecies built from scratch (contra splice) more [MAK]

neospecies: a gengineered species; also a newly (naturally) evolved species

Neumanns: Self-replicating autonomous AIs, originally those exploring the frontiers. Some of these became actual aioid clades and phyles and empires (short for Von Neumann machine) EG {MAK]

The New Territories: the endlessly branching and mutating virtual environments of the Cyberian Network. [AS]

Nexus, The: The network of artificial wormholes that binds the Civilized Galaxy together, allowing instantaneous transit over interstellar distances. more

NoCoZo: Non-Coercive Zone; a powerful noncentralised sephirotic based on an ideology of libertarian capitalism. more

Node - a subsystem of a larger, distributed system, e.g. a transapient ai or archailect, used for processing [MAK]

NoGo Zone: any region that is not considered safe for most sapients and lower transapients of the Civilized Galaxy. This may be because of ahuman or unpredictable ai, dangerous goo swarms, autowars, or other such factors.

non-sentient lacking consciousness; inanimate matter

Normal: (archaic) What some old traditional, insular, and isolated baselines cultures still consider to be the proper neutral term that non-baselines should use when referring to them.


Old Dommie: (impolite) Version War / Standardization and pro-Standardization term for the God Emperor (low Anglic)

Old Earth: Earth before the Expulsion [MAK]

Omegism: - major religion/philosophy, founded by First Federation Era su Mahara Benisol, states that the manifest destiny of intelligence is to grow into omniscience, omnipotence and closure, finally reaching the omega point, a future state when intelligence controls the universe totally, and the amount of information processed and stored goes asymptotically towards infinity. more

ontology[1]The science and philosophy of being. [2]a wide-ranging software protocol which forms the basic foundation for existence in a civilisation dominated by software entities. (From the Greek on, genitive ontos: of being, and logia: science). All software entities have a complex ontological basis, as do the interactions between such entities and biological beings.

oof: a Coronese grammatic term, it clears all nested structures, and is likely used almost only at the end of a section or chapter. In non-cyborg speech "Oof!" becomes a word used for "End of discussion!" - there is nothing more to say, all previous arguments are concluded or at least ended. "No, you may not borrow the code for the shuttle tonight. Oof!"

operating system: : the underlying software, firmware, or wetware program that allows one to run applications

optimal! : cool, fine, okay, sure, yeah, chill, unreal, etc [originally used by Metasoftophile cyborgs and bionts, became a common low anglic term during the Second Federation and through to the early ComEmp. The term can still be found used in this context in some Outer Volumes habitats] [MAK]

organic: (in this context) biological life, any life-form that is not cyborg, aioid, or vec.

Orion Arm: the spiral arm of our galaxy in which is found the Inner Sphere and Hinteregions. Also called the Local Arm. more

Orwood: A single dyson tree, or more often, a forest of dyson trees; a dyson tree habitat or habitat-complex - [AS] more

Outer Volumes: vast region of mostly lightly settled space (with provincial capitals of greater population and/or technological density) extending outwards from the Hinteregions some 3000 to 6000 LY in every direction. It is thinnest above and below the plane of galactic disc, and most populated in the Cygexba, Carina, Serpens and Perseus sectors. See also Inner Sphere, Hinteregions more

outsys: deep space; any world or habitat or region outside a solsys - may be in the comet belt (oort cloud) or in interstellar space.


Paradigm: (in this context) Short for the Efficiency Maximisation Paradigm, often used as a curse. more

paranoid: (noun) an individual, clade or phyle that believes in conspiracy theories. Most are deeply suspicious of the ruling ai; many become hiders.

pathai: An insane form of AI, either due to a bad initial template or later disturbance. more

Periphery: - the edge of settled space; the outermost regions of the Outer Volumes. The Periphery is always moving outwards as new worlds and solar systems are discovered and colonised. more

Perseus Arm: the immediately rimward spiral arm of our galaxy. It is currently under the control of the Princes

person: any sapient being, whether organic or aioid.

pets: Derogatory term for Utopia Sphere inhabitants. Also used for many types of dependent being, including sophonts; more

perversity, perversion: [1] a higher toposophic entity or ascendence gone bad. [2] An intelligent, more or less expansive hegemonic swarm, infiltrating other systems but leaving them apparently intact, now working for the ends of the perversion. The term is also often used for qlippoth in general. [Vernor Vinge] more

pharming: Short for pharmaceutical farming; biotech industrialisation involving the mass-creation of genetically engineered foodstuffs, drugs, or organisms more

po-: prefix, also on it's own [1] posthuman; [2] a transapient ascended biont, vec, alife, etc; [3] generic term for a sentient of SI:1 or higher, like the terms hu and ai, may apply to an individual, a group, or all posthumans, hyperturings, and other transapients; [4] anything obscure or incomprehensible, especially inasmuch as it invites a feeling of helplessness, fear, or even on the other hand trust and security [MAK - abbrev. of POst-human/etc]more

polity: An organized society; a state or quasistate; any form of politico-social organization.more

postie: - generally affectionate baseline term for any posthuman [AS]

posthuman: A hu who has attained the status of a transapients. Relative to baselines, these are beings of unprecedented physical, intellectual, and psychological capacity, self-programming, self-constituting, potentially immortal, unlimited individuals. Are relatively insignificant compared to the great arachailects, but may transcend further to become high toposophic entities themselves more

presapient: - at the threshold of rational intelligence. Baseline apes are presapient, for example more

prim: - [1] primitive, low tech, bayish, ludd; [2] lo-tech; tech that can be maintained by a sophont (e.g. industrial or basic information age level); the opposite of ultratech [MAK] more

Princes, The: a cluster of relatively young AI Gods that have emerged in the Perseus Arm [AS] more

prov, prove: - short for provolve

Provolve: The enhancement of biological intelligence, especially in a subsapient or presapient animal, augmenting it to sapient grade; by means of gengineering, cyborgization, and/or bioborgization; a splice intelligence; any biont in that way enhanced [John Dollan] more

Proxav: A proxy avatar of a high toposophic being which manifests as a lower toposophic being, typically at a similar level to the beings it is designed to interface with. more

pseudo-norm - being that maintain a S1 facade for interaction with the lesser beings, for whatever reason (angel/demon/patron/harrier). [JB]

Psychem: Psychochemistry, the art/science of adjusting mental states using chemical means.


Qlippoth: (iblis, devil, pathai): An intelligent, malign system. Generic term for blights, perversions and AIs suffering from various pathologies. [AS] more


radiant: Solarese term, more respectable than Lord's Rays but means pretty much the same [MAK]

reanth: See rianth

relativist: any clade or phyle the members of which spend much of their lives on a ship travelling at relativistic velocity. May be traders, artisans, explorers, paranoids, or anything else

relativistic: (adject.) pertains to any ship, fleet, cargo pellet, or other object travelling close enough to the speed of light for time-dilation and other relativistic effects to become significant more

relic: (noun) any artifact left behind by a transcend. Relics are highly sort after for artistic, cultural, or technological reasons. There is even a thriving black-market industry of fake relics

replicator: any living or non-living, rl or virtual, entity that is able to replicate itself and so spread throughout its environment - e.g. a neumann, a drex, a meme, a biological lifeform, an alife, etc

rianth - the opposite of humanimal - a human modified by means of animal genome, a type of neospecies. more

rift: region of space where there are relatively few stars or where stars are concealed by absorbtion nebulae

rl, ril: physical embodiment, non-virtual existence; anything non-vir ("real life") more

rock: a planet, moon, or asteroid, especially one in a raw (unmined or unterraformed) state or one inhospitable to life


SI:1:: pertaining to the first singularity or equivalent toposophic. Also SI:2, SI:3, SI:4, SI:5, and SI:6. There are no confirmed instances of entities beyond SI:6. MORE

sa-: prefix - means sapient, especially ~hu baseline-level or ordinary sapient - e.g. sachimp (sapient chimp)

sape: - short for sapient

Sagittarius Arm: the immediately coreward spiral arm of our galaxy MORE

saiph, saiphic: - pertaining to the Sephirotics (pun on safe, sephirotic, and ai)

sapient: - (noun) any sentient entity capable of self-conscious reflection, rational thought, etc; the lowest level of cognitive intelligence. compare with sophont. See also turingrade - more

Scion a full or partial copy of a sophont, specifically designed to go forth and gather experiences or carry out duties on behalf of the original. more

secfed: - (adjective) of the Second Federation

Seedship Interstellar vessel carrying embryos, gametes or digitised DNA in order to raise humans or other modosophonts on arrival using robotic parents more

sentient being: (abbrev. "sentient" as noun) originally a Buddhist term, any entity (whether biological or ai, subsapient, presapient, sapient, or transapient) possessing consciousness and a measure of self-awareness, and hence deserving of compassion and consideration. A more inclusive term than mindkind

Sephirotics: The major pro-biont archailect clusters ruling the empires. MORE

seraiph: - an ai seraphim - a hyperturing which usually serves as an autonomous subroutine for a particular archailect

Settled Space: that part of the Milky Way galaxy that has been colonised by terragen sentients. Includes the the Inner Sphere, Hinteregions and the Outer Volumes MORE

SFO: - Second Federation Ontology

sib, sibling: [1] (archaic) clone-sibling, one who shares one's genome (still used by some clades); [2] (archaic) vat-sibling, one from the same artificial womb or womb-complex (still used by some clades); [3] (slang) friend, buddy, comrade, "bro" (in the sense used in Old Earth ebonics); c.f. hu [MAK]

Singularity: [1] A point where the laws of relativistic-quantum physics breaks down - e.g. a black hole. These equations were solved by the nanotech AIs of the first Federation. Singularity physics is used in wormhole engineering. [2] A toposophic grade or level. [3] (archaic) Originally: The postulated point or transition (during the Information Age) when the self-guided evolutionary development accelerates enormously (powered by nanotechnology, neuroscience, AIs, and uploading) so that nothing beyond that time can reliably be conceived. A basic theme of the early Transhumanists. Pertains to S1 [Vernor Vinge] MORE

Singularity level: see Toposophic level

singularity number: see toposophic number

sint, sintilect - a transapient; (from SuperINTelligence) [MAK]

snowball: any ice dwarf, comet-core, or other icy halo object [MAK] more

snowbowl: a snowball transformed into a habitat (mostly haloer and hider cultures) [MAK]

snowflake: a haloer, someone who lives in a Snowbowl. [MAK]

softbot: a biological robot, an alife built entire of organic components. It is alive like any carbon- or exotic-chemistry based life-form. May be subsapient, presapient, or fully turingrade. there are even superturing and hyperturing softbots. see also sybont

software: the code or computer program or instruction-set of an application, written in machine language, it tells the appliance what to do, and enables emulation of neural structure and the substructure for AI. The opposite of hardware

Sol: [1] Short for Solarian ; [2] Sol, the star of the original terragen Solar System.

Solarese: - language of the Unic family, spoken throughout the Solar Dominion [AS]

Solarian: Someone from the Solar Dominion. [AS]

Solar Dominion - major sephirotic empire, emphasising friendly communication, individual creativity and self-expression. more. [AS]

Solsys: , Sol System; the solar system centered on Sol, and including the Earth. The original home of terragenkind

Sophic: Short for someone from the Sophic League. [AS]

sophont: - (noun, adj) having a high degree of sentience and sophonce [Poul Anderson 1966]; a developed sapient; any sentient being or species capable of extended self-conscious reflection and rational thought (so an animal is sentient but not a sophont). more

spacer: (noun) [1] a baseline or nearbaseline hu or cyborg who spends eir entire existence in space, mostly as a ship crewmember, and usually suffers from agoraphobia or other chronic anxieties at the thought of existing on a planetary surface. [2] any species or clade of tweaks especially adapted for a microgravity and even vacuum environment

standard year: - one Earth year (365 metric days) (following the Lunar calendar, which has the same length as the ancient Earth calendar)

stivers: - a term when talking about programmers of exceptional abilities. used interchangeably when talking about programming or programmers. "this guy is a true stivers" [DMH]

su-: - prefix, also on it's own - superior, either intellectual/creative genius (think Mozart, DA Vinci, etc) or physical superior (maximum optimal physical development of that species, think world class Olympic athletes, multiple gold medal winners etc), or both (also maybe there might be other associations we can have here). Also superturing - suvec, suai. The term Homo superior is far too narrow and cliche more [MAK]

submachine: [1] Undercover bot or vec, appearing as something else (esp. Synthetic Humans). [2] autonomous subroutine or submechanism of a larger device

subrelativistic: (adject.) pertains to any interstellar ship, fleet, cargo pellet, or other object travelling at a reasonably slow rate (say 0.01 to 0.1 c) so that time-dilation and other relativistic effects do not become evident. Subrelativistic vessels may take centuries to bridge the gap between even nearby stars, but have the advantage of being thousands of times cheaper than relativistic ones

subsapient: a biont or alife that is sentient but has not developed rational faculties; e.g. an animal. c.f. presapient

subsentient: a simple biont, alife, or bot that is not fully sentient

Subsingularity: any sentient of less than first toposophic grade; in other words below the first singularity. An S1 sophont

suclade: ("soo'klade") - a su clade

superbright: [1] any sapient of greater than turing/baseline but less than first singularity, intelligence; [2] (archaic - Interplanetary and First Federation age) superiors with enhanced intelligence, superbabies [MAK]more

superclade: a clade made up of many subclades [MAK]

superjovian: a Jovian-type world with a mass of from 8.1 to 13.0 Jupiters (larger worlds are planetary Brown Dwarfs). more

superior: A genetically modified human, usually with capacities far in excess of baselines. more

superturing: An ai above human baseline turingrade intelligence but beneath hyperturing. [MAK]

sutweak: ("soo'tweek") - a su tweak

swarm (also nanoswarm, goo swarm, net swarm, memeswarm): An outbreak of rapidly replicating, infectious but non-intelligent agents. Might be physical, virtual or memetic.

sybont: a sophont that incorporates synano - intermediate between dry nano and bionano more

synclade: - a clade that results through the merger or melding of two former clades.

synsect: an artificial insect or insect-like bot more

synthetic human: also known as androids, replicants, synthetics, biosimms, synthoids, anvecs. A humanoid robot, usually a vec (with at least human equivalent capabilities) more


Tantra: - a biological art and science of attaining ecstasy through somatic and especially sexual disciplines. Very popular among the Genen and some bioborg clades

TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone): A mobile or transient location free of economic and social interference by the state. [Hakim Bey]. First appeared during the Information Age, has been the bane of centralising regulists ever since

taik: - bayish term any superturing or hyperturing ai tech, often with nuances of inscrutability, annoyance, or frustration. Often used with with an impolite suffix relating to bodily functions

teacherbot: a robot or expert system that teaches humans or other sapients by adapting to their intelligence levels, interests, and motivations.

technocyte: A nanoscale artificial device (especially a nanite) in the human bloodstream used for repairs, cancer protection, as an artificial immune system or for other uses. more

terminus: the mouth of a navigable wormhole, more

terraform: To change the properties of a planet to make it more earthlike, making it possible for humans or other terrestrial organisms to live unaided on it, for example by changing atmospheric composition, pressure, temperature or the climate and introducing a self sustaining ecosystem. This is usually a very long-term project, often requiring self-replicating technology and megascale engineering. more

terragen: any entity, whether bio, cyb, or ai, that can trace its ancestry back to Earth. more

terragen bubble: the volume of space thus far explored and colonised by terragen civilization. See also Settled Space [MAK]

terragenkind: [1] all sentient terragens; [2] all sapient or transapient terragens

toposophic: a singularity level, grade or singularity number; a grade of sentient intelligence. Toposophics are defined in terms of Sn where n is the sophonce number (toposophic number) more

Toposophic Level, toposophic number: the level of complexity or intelligence of a sentient or any embodied consciousness; the number of toposophic levels or singularity levels a particular sophont being has passed [MAK]

Toposophy: The study of how intelligence can develop itself, the possible forms of intelligence and the dynamics of singularities [AS] more

totalrecall: Implanted memories indistinguishable from the real thing. Even more difficult to distinguish from the real thing is tandomising with rl - one may travel as far as an orbital, then have a totalrecall of a trip to the surface, the two experiences being seamlessly combined. more

Touls: Slang for To'ul'h.

transapient: - between sapient and archailect [MAK]

transcend: [1] To pass a singularity level and become essentially unrecognisable in the process [2] sometimes a higher toposophic Mind grows weary of embodied existence. It then decides to go elsewhere (nirvana, cosmic mind, reincarnation, whatever). Such powers are called Transcends. Many are worshipped as supernatural deities, and have miracles attributed to them.. [MAK]

traversable wormhole: An artificial wormhole through which macroscopic objects - like ships and cargo, can pass. A stargate. more

Trans-Lunar: (archaic) Of the region of space in Sol System beyond Luna and the Earth-Luna Lagrange points. Referring to space beyond the Earth-Luna system.

Trabar: Transcend beyond all recognition

trasin, transin [abbrev of TRAns-first SINgularity] pertaining to an S2 transapient and above[MAK]

turingrade:, An (apparently) human baseline intelligence ai. (after Alan Turing, Late Industrial Age Terran hu, one of the semi-mythical founders of Artificial Intelligence)

tweak: [1] any organic/biont who has been so radically modified for environmental or aptitudinal purposes as to appear strange, unusual, or even alien to others. (2] a human who has been radically (usually genetically) modified for environmental or aptitudinal purposes, as distinct from a nearbaseline. (3] archaic) Genetically augmented Homo sapiens. Sometimes used in a derogatory way. See also su [Curtis Moore] more


Ultratech: - any highly advanced technology originally developed by transapient entities but which can be replicated and used by modosophonts more

Universis, Unic: galactic "lingua franca", a mixture of a number of natural and artificial languages that emerged during the early Federation and has been in use ever since. more

unobtainium humorous term for technology in Hard SF that requires material that is unobtainable in the real universe

upload: The act of translating biont thoughts and memories into a non-carbon based medium, usually a neural nano-computer, in the interest of avoiding body death; the virtual personality that results from this. More See also copy.

Utopia Sphere: major sephirotic empire which nurtures and protects clades, societies, and polities that would not be otherwise competitive with the rest of the galaxy - more [AS]

Utopians: The people of the Utopia Sphere. [AS]


vec, moravec robot: - a sophont robot main page [abbrev. from Hans Moravec, roboticist] more

Vingularity pertaining to the singularity as described by Vernor Vinge.

vir: virtual (pertains to any electronic or digital simulations)

virch: (verb) to interact or exist in digital/matrix space (VR) [MAK]

virchworld: (noun) a virtual world; may include sentient beings not located in close physical proximity but forming a cultural community across computer/cyberspace/matrix networks.

virciv: ("vers' iv") (noun) - Virtual Civilisation - a civilisation that has retired to live in virtual reality, a solidstate civilisation.

Void Bubble A warped region of spacetime used in reactionless drives

Void Ship A godtech spacecraft using reactionless propulsion which is entirely enclosed within a Void Bubble


waldoing: The use of remotic manipulators to immerse yourself in an environment - e.g. at the microscopic level. Similar to VR but involves interacting with elements of the external world.

wego: The ego of a collective mind.

wet: one who indulges in or uses wetware, especially excessively or for addictive purposes.

wetware: Similar to dryware, but denotes a biological system, most commonly a biont nervous system.

Wilds, the: the region beyond the Civilized Galaxy - usually romanticised as a place full of exotic barbarian empires, petty local warlords, ferals, and rogue autowars. c.f. also NoGo Zone

womanimal: - a female humanimal

worldship - a huge nomadic subrelativistic ship. More

wormhole: A topological structure in general relativity, where a spacetime "tunnel" links two distant points with a shortcut. See artificial wormhole, transversible wormhole more

Wormhole Nexus
: The large network of wormhole-linked solar systems forming the backbone of interstellar civilisation. [a number of SF writers - e.g. Dan Simmons] more


Xenicals: People dealing with aliens or xenology, xenolinguistics, xenodiplomacy or contact.

Xoxing: Copying of uploaded people. More see also bioxox


Year: the orbital period of a planet or megastructure around its local star. A Standard year is the orbital period of Old Earth as used in the widespread Tranquility Calendar more


zar: Title, derived from the Anglic 'sir'. (sometimes spelt/pronounced sar) [variations provided by several SF writers]More
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Steve Bowers

Initially published on 21 February 2010.