The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums

Hi there. This project still working?
Does this project still have people working on it? I sure hope so.

Hi. I'm Bear. I'm called "Bear" face-to-face as well as online, so it's always the first thing I try when I'm asked to provide a username - though it's rarely available. I found you guys when, in another forum, I was complaining that science fiction no longer even pretends to respect physical laws and has become just a setting or style for what are effectively fantasy novels. I mean, these guys aren't even trying any more, and have forgotten that anyone in the audience values any kind of physics or realism that might actually make writers need to learn or think. Someone pointed me at OA for a counterexample, so I came to check it out.

I've been reading the Encyclopaedia Galactica entries for a few weeks, and while some of them are a bit silly, they are at least somewhat possible and, well, a lot of history is a bit silly. Also post-scarcity would allow people to indulge a few fairly silly whims if they want to, and the silly things would in fact be remarkable enough to include in an encyclopedia, so that's okay. I particularly like how EG documents that many aspects of things are still controversial, mysterious, or unknown to most of civilization. That is entirely consistent with living in a galaxy controlled by beings so advanced you don't understand them.

OA describes a future I find at least mildly plausible (though bits of the tech such as stable exotic matter and stable, transportable, traversable wormholes are highly unlikely IMO) and that puts it about six cuts above everything I'm seeing in bookstores these days. I'm totally onboard with the future being full of Posthumans, Tweaks, Vecs, AIs, Rianths, Provolves, and Xenosophonts utterly UN-like humans wearing rubber suits.

I already have a couple of ideas fairly well developed and consistent with the setting; One clade of extreme tweaks descended from a Backyarder group that wanted to be sure no one could ever take their nanofacs away, and one megastructure ISO far from any star, possibly aligned with Deeper Covenant, possibly in recent contact with Drifters or Hiders who will have fled the instant they understood that it is effectively the equivalent of an archailect.

The tweaks are fairly open and knowable, though they may have gone through a long period of separation before being recontacted. The megastructure ISO is full of mysteries, moreso for being a "Slow God," relatively immobile, using an unfamiliar ontology, being of uncertain origin, and located very far from any form of realtime contact due to lightspeed delays. E may (or may not) have important insight regarding the Great Filter and The Chaos. But nobody will be paying much attention to em for the next few thousand years, for much the same reasons people paid no attention for decades to humans who believed in silly things like global warming and a climate crisis. The thing you need to stop doing, if e is right, is the same thing that keeps civilization working.
Hi! Welcome to OA!
Yes; we have plenty of people working on the project, as you might see from the Updates page.
These days we are putting articles and other material onto the site just about as fast as people are writing it, which hasn't always been the case.
We have some new developments in the pipeline as well, including a new submissions process and a new Front Page, scheduled for next year some time.

Wormholes and magmatter are quite speculative, and so is reactionless drive; I tend to think of these as stand-ins for the unknown technologies that might be developed when and if superintelligence does emerge. Since we can't describe these unknown techs we may as well describe the ones we can imagine.
Hi There, Welcome to OA!

As Steve says, the project is still quite active, although things are a little quiet just at the moment due to a mix of the upcoming holidays (some folks are traveling or visiting family or whatever and so aren't active right now), time of day, and just general fluctuations in list traffic. We're all volunteers here, so OA basically gets done as a spare time activitySmile

Regarding your ideas, please feel free to post them to the General Setting Discussion forum for initial consideration and discussion. Once things have been hashed out there, you can then convert them into an EG entry and post in the EG section. That generally triggers another round of discussion and possible final tweaks and revisions before the finalized article goes into the pipeline for addition to the setting.

If you want, you can also just post an EG from the get go, assuming you're comfortable with the style and such. That will still trigger discussion and suggestions for modifications, and probably some revisions before final submission, so it's all good in the end.

Along with the EG entries, there's also Voices:Future Tense, which is our ezine where members inclined to do stories and artwork get to have their stuff presented.

Finally, if you're looking for hard science SF, we can likely recommend a number of books of various levels of 'hardness'. Just ask and folks will be happy to offer suggestions or point you at relevant parts of the website.

Hope this helps and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to post em in the relevant sub-forums or whichever one you think works best.

And once again, Welcome to OASmile


I am very glad to see that things are still cooking here.

I think that for AT LEAST these first couple, I will go through the Setting Discussion forum. I think they're consistent with what I've read so far and probably good plot devices or settings for writing stories around, but aside from reading a lot of the EG articles I don't know what direction this project is trying to develop in, so I wouldn't want to go haring off in some other.

So.... I'll be posting a little later -- possibly today, possibly in a couple of days, depending on how long these things take me to write up and figure out (the ISO in particular requires doing some substantial mathematics).

So look for two posts: The first will most likely be titled "Seeker Of Now" - a working name/title for the ISO.
(12-16-2014, 11:18 AM)Bear Wrote: I think that for AT LEAST these first couple, I will go through the Setting Discussion forum. I think they're consistent with what I've read so far and probably good plot devices or settings for writing stories around, but aside from reading a lot of the EG articles I don't know what direction this project is trying to develop in, so I wouldn't want to go haring off in some other.

Just to provide some additional information on this issue...

This page HERE is more or less what passes for our 'Mission Statement' and what we're on about. OA has been around for over 10yrs now and has been growing all that time. The primary basis for describing the setting itself is the EG, but we also include member artwork, fiction, poetry, music, and videos within the scope of the project. We are also open to considering whatever other ideas members may have for exploring and presenting the OA setting.

By all means, post the initial ideas to the Setting Discussion page. But if you've got some additional thoughts for how these might be presented or how we might present the overall setting or aspects of it, please feel free to share. Even if we determine an idea isn't something that would work for the project, we're a pretty laid back group and aren't going to rip your head off or anything.

Looking forward to seeing your ideas.

A quick article about MEECs using Bear's image

If anyone wants to add anything to or amend this, feel free.
Does it count as a needed edit, to note that while the text says 200 MEEC civilizations have been detected, there are only 101 spots representing them on that map?
Well, rather than add some more, it is easier to change the number; 101 plus the five or six inside the Terragen Sphere (say 107); then the number of vanished ones wants to come down to around thirty or so.

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