The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums

accessing the future via the past
Hi There! Welcome to OASmile

(10-08-2016, 07:08 AM)tomzdadster Wrote: hi,

i'm a student of biology who is grateful to encounter world-building contexts which have, through the imaginative extrapolation of scientific principles, achieved some distance from many historical tendencies to anthropomorphize... i love how this process opens doors creatively,

Glad you like it! Smile

One of the issues that has occasionally come up over the history of the OA project is whether or not we find our insistence on sticking to 'real world' physics as it is currently understood is restrictive or limiting of our creativity. I would confidently say that very much the opposite is true:

By requiring ourselves to stick to a certain ruleset, it actually forces us to think outside the box and often leads to ideas or takes on ideas that are more unique than what I think we would get if we took a more 'anything goes' approach.

(10-08-2016, 07:08 AM)tomzdadster Wrote: i've read many articles for OA beginners as well as specific entries in the Encyclopedia, but i am still new to OA and don't want to participate by re-hashing old discussions.

TBH it's not uncommon for us to come up with new ideas when an idea gets rehashed. So, if something is really a burning question for you, feel free to askSmile

We really don't mind answering questions as a general rule.

(10-08-2016, 07:08 AM)tomzdadster Wrote: i'm wanting to access past discussions, whether they're fiction or not, about things like the original "terra-forming" of the Earth, abiogenesis, the "RNA world" hypothesis, how "evolutionary processes" apply to both living and non-living forms, complexity, "emergent" properties of complex systems, implications for how the work of imagining/explaining the past fuels the work of imagining/explaining the future (and vice versa), the development of life xenobiota et al.

You're certainly welcome to access past discussions. Much of our older content lives on Yahoo Groups (where I'm sorry to say that Yahoo has managed to fubar access and use to an astounding degree), but if you'd like to look it over, you can request access via the website and one of the staff can make you a member over there.

Regarding the specific topics you raise - while evolution definitely plays a role in various aspects of the setting, I'm not remembering much in the way of discussions or articles around some of the specific points you mention. For others there has been some discussion and development, although not necessarily in a direct way. We have mentions of various cybernetic or biological systems 'evolving' in the setting, and certainly in imagining the earlier parts of the setting we've found various ways that it impacts the 'future' or later part of the timeline leading up to our 'present day' of 10,600AT.

Over and above all of this, there is the definite possibility that we simply haven't delved into these areas as much as we could - in which case you may find yourself opening up the group to whole new areas of thinking and ideas that we haven't explored before - but definitely shouldSmile

(10-08-2016, 07:08 AM)tomzdadster Wrote: i'm also interested in what's considered "(un)exceptional" in OA, e.g. so far I have the impression that "Garden Worlds" are exceptional in terms of biodiversity and suchlike while the existence of xenobiota generally is less exceptional; i also have the impression that abiogenesis on Earth, as opposed to some other places/times, is (generally?) not portrayed as subject to "alien" and/or "high toposophont" influence.

Hm. Garden Worlds are definitely considered exceptional in the setting - although so are xenobiota, albeit to a lesser extent. In both cases, these are exceptional because they are extremely rare in the setting. Xenosophonts are also extremely rare and exceptional.

We do take it pretty much as a given that Earth developed without 'outside' influence, although the Muuh did visit the Sol system some thousands or millions of years ago (they presumably sent some probes to Earth, but probably didn't visit such a hellishly hot and heavy world (by their lights) directly).

Re 'unexceptional' things in the setting...Probably one of the biggest such things (and one that sets us off in some ways from nearly every other SF setting) is how much the use of massive energies and structures is simply taken for granted by people in the setting. In most SF settings, a dyson sphere is treated as the ultimate expression of engineering prowess - the culmination of the technological capability of a civilization. In OA, they are more or less the equivalent of a large city or a hydropower dam. Similarly, OA civs think nothing of taking whole stars apart or remaking planets or creating entire new lifeforms and intelligent races from scratch.

One of the things OA likes to play with is what is life like when things like terraforming or dysons spheres are old hat - just all in a days work as it were - and where do we go from there?

(10-08-2016, 07:08 AM)tomzdadster Wrote: i'm trying to learn the OA lexicon as i go, and i hope this post hasn't been confusing; if anyone can direct my exploration of OA along the lines laid out above, i'd be even more grateful than i already am.

Nope - not confusing at allSmile By all means feel free to ask questions and don't worry about getting flak for using the wrong terms. We've all been new at one point or another and we taken it as read that everyone has a learning curve.

I'm hopeful that some other members may weigh in with suggestions for other sources around the questions you raise above - I may be forgetting something that would be very much in the areas you're interested in.

Hope this helps and once again: Welcome to OA!


Messages In This Thread
RE: accessing the future via the past - by Drashner1 - 10-08-2016, 01:48 PM
RE: accessing the future via the past - by Rynn - 10-11-2016, 06:40 PM
RE: accessing the future via the past - by selden - 10-12-2016, 08:36 AM

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)