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obvious noob questions from a writer
Hmm - Thoughts and comments below...

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: THE SCHUMANN FOUNDATION AND CHARON

By the mid 2030's, a number of “Immortality Foundations” had arisen across the globe, most organized around the same basic premise: in exchange for a flat fee (usually around a million dollars, or the International equivalent thereof), plus the assignment of the deceased's assets into a trust to be managed by the foundation, the body of the deceased would be cryonically preserved, with the stipulation that when sufficient technology had arisen to cure whatever killed the subject, the subject would be resurrected and his or her financial assets returned.

From a grammatical standpoint this is an extremely long sentence. Suggest shortening it.

Also, this statement ignores the fact that cryonics organizations of various kinds already exist in the real world. It also seems to assume that dollars are a currency that would have any relevance to a an interstellar civilization 10,000yrs in the future. And that cryonic freezing can be successfully reversed. As we've been discussing, while OA does suppose that some from of cryonic storage and retrieval is developed, its not until some centuries later. People frozen from earlier times (meaning now) are most likely just dead meat because the techniques to freeze them successfully haven't been developed yet.

As mentioned earlier, we can see about what the group thinks about postulating some relatively near future tech that increases the odds of successful revival in the future (see my earlier post on this). But this would still need to be developed in the future and would almost certainly have no application for people frozen in our real life (RL) past or even right now. Again, as mentioned earlier, I need to know how far into our future you feel you can have people hail from and still be sufficiently like current people for the audience to relate to. Because I don't see any way for people frozen now or in the past to have any chance of successful revival as OA is currently structured.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: Despite substantial widespread skepticism of the concept – in particular, the suspicion that precisely because these foundations were legally obligated to return the assets of the frozen upon revival, there would be strong motivation by those controlling these trusts to never actually revive the subject - these Immortality Foundations became a popular funeral service among the wealthy. For many, even the possibility of future resurrection in some far future seemed preferable to the certainty of traditional burial methods and cremation. This process came to be known as “deadsleeping” and “deadfreezing”.

This ignores the point that there would most likely be a lot more skepticism about cryonic freezing working in any form. The basic tech exists now and yet is not widely used. Why should this suddenly change? Again, if we postulate some tech to make the idea of cryonics more palatable you might see an upswing in usage, but first we have to agree to add that tech to the setting. And it would need to be explicitly mentioned in this writeup. Otherwise it gives the impression that 'generic' cryonics is considered a viable tech even in the early setting and that is not how we have things set up.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: By 150 AT, an extremely high-end superturing dubbed “Charon”, had effectively assumed control of the Schumann Foundation, answerable only to a board-appointed human chairman whose position became increasingly ceremonial as the Schumann Foundation expanded its scope over the next several decades. With the accumulated trusts of several million wealthy individuals at their disposal, FutureLife PSG and the Schumann Foundation had become enormously powerful entities, rivaling many of the top megacorporations of the era in size and scale.

You seem to use a lot of superlatives throughout this writeup. Lots of things are 'immensely powerful', 'enormously powerful', 'immense', 'enormous', etc. After a while it starts to wear a bit. More so when we remember that this is being written from the standpoint of a civilization 10,000yrs more advanced for whom these various superlative things would be primitive toys of no real power at all. Suggest toning it down a bit.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: By 180 AT, however, cloning and medical technology had progressed sufficiently that with the exception of a few exotic genetic conditions, most cancers, injuries, and diseases could be readily cured, and the popularity of deadfreezing plummeted. In particular the premise of eventual resurrection began to seem, to many, unattainable, particularly since due to cellular damage of brain tissue, the memories of revived cryonics subjects could not be reconstructed sufficiently accurately as to pass the “personality integrity verification” (PIV) protocols legally required to declare a subject revived.

Cloning really doesn't play much of a role in OA. Tissue printing would play a much larger role. I would suggest just saying 'medical technology' and leave it at that. Also, medical tech is not this advanced by this point in the timeline. What you describe wouldn't be available until sometime just before the Nanodisaster. Medical tech would be quite advanced by our standards, but not this far along less than 200yrs in the future. I would suggest not trying to get too detailed about what the tech of the time can and can't do.

Also, how could the PIV protocol be developed if no one had been successfully revived from cryonic suspension?

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: Still, in all, it is estimated that more than 90 million dead subjects were interred at the various cryonics foundations, which contained deadsleeper repositories scattered across the globe. More than 75% of the subjects who entered the cryonics repositories of the various Immortality Foundations did so between the years of 60AT to 180AT (the oldest of these had actually been born in the late 1950's pre-AT, predating even the Information Age.)

90 million is vastly overoptimistic IMO. There are only a little over 1100 people associated with the Alcor Foundation right now and less than 200 of those are actually in cryonic suspension. Even with the proposed future development that we've discussed, it seems highly unlikely that the equivalent of the population of a major country would all be frozen. I would suggest reducing this number by 1-2 orders of magnitude.

As mentioned earlier, until/unless we come to consensus on the proposed coldsleep tech advancement making this seem more viable and encouraging people to try it, there isn't really a way to have people from our past or even the very near future being around and revivable.

The article as a whole seems to ignore Steve's take on how early revived 'deadsleepers' would actually owe more to the imagination and clever memory programming than their real existence.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: By 330 AT, advances in destructive downloading, in conjunction with long-understood cloning technology, had rendered the practice of deadfreezing almost completely obsolete. Improvements in medical bioscience, cryonics technology and memory-retrieval techniques likewise allowed the Immortality Foundations to deliver their first true successes; by 350 AT virtually all of those who had entered the Immortality Foundations post-180 AT had been resurrected and re-integrated into Earth's civilization, usually with less than a 170-year moratorium between death and resurrection.

The first successful destructive upload (we call it uploading in OA, not downloading) didn't take place until 330AT. As a first attempt it seems unlikely to have changed much about how things were done in the first year, or even first decades, after success since it required large and complex equipment and procedures and the substrate to store the mind would be quite large in its own right.

More importantly, IIRC cold sleep tech was still a difficult and iffy thing even after the Nanodisaster, some centuries later (it's mentioned in the Starlark stories as having a fairly high failure rate, I believe - although Steve would need to confirm that). The tech to just revive a bunch of frozen people from the get go wouldn't exist this early in the timeline, although SOME successes might have been had with some subjects. There would also be some failures.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: It should be noted that not all cryonic freezing of this time was voluntary, or even applied to the deceased. Many criminals convicted of capital offenses were sentenced to “deadsleep” for periods of often greater than centuries, giving various governments and law-enforcement agencies a less controversial alternative to outright execution. In a number of countries suffering from intense overpopulation, particularly in the semi-industrialized “Second World” nations, it became common practice to “freeze” those convicted of even petty crimes as a cheaper alternative to incarceration. Some of the worst offenses occurred in Brazil; around 110 AT, coveting the clifftop regions above the beaches of Rio De Janeiro that remained covered by swaths of shanty slums (favelas) the corrupt Alvaro Love regime forcibly cleared over a hundred favelas of their occupants, marching close to a million people into crude mass freezer facilities “until such time as they could be suitably relocated.” The "Rio Cryomassacre”, as it was dubbed, drew worldwide outrage and resulted in the censure of Love's regime by the United Nations. When political pressure finally forced the Brazil government to revive the victims of the Cryomassacre, it was discovered that the crude freezer facilities the favela-dwellers had been interred in had caused such extensive brain and tissue damage to the subjects that they could not be revived with contemporary medical technology. In 125 AT, Brazil was forced, again by the U.N., to transfer custodianship of the nearly one million Rio deadsleepers to FutureLife PSG in exchange for massive financial restitution.

This entire section has multiple issues:

a) It seems highly unlikely that criminals and poor people would be frozen in this fashion. Why would anyone assume that future generations would revive them? Rather by definition, a 'capital offense' carries a death penalty, not a 'we'll foist you off on our great great grandchildren' penalty. Freezing is also not free and it seems iffy to assume that the cost would be so low that a poor country could afford to do it on an industrial scale. And if its not a poor country, the motivation for doing it goes away.

b) You seem to be assuming that our current notions about First World, Second World, and Third World nations are still relevant some centuries into the future. This is very VERY unlikely and may run afoul of other developments in the setting such as the development of Africa into a major political and technological force.

c) You seem to assume that the UN both exists and is of any relevance at this point in the timeline. Actually there is a mention that it evolves into something else some time before destructive uploading comes along.

d) You seem to lay out a bunch of historical events, up to the 400s and then jump all the way back to the 100s to talk about this particular issue. This is a bit offputting to the reader as is. Perhaps either move it around to fit into the earlier bits or include some sort of header to discuss non-medical or politically motivated freezing issues (assuming that we can reach some sort of agreement on whether or not such is viable in the setting).

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: Through an intricate system of fronts, blinds, and third-party ownership, the Schumann Foundation gradually acquired a sizable stake in the often unregulated black-market biotech arcologies in Third World nations on Earth, and then, as the cutting edge of biotech switched to the Jovian League (and subsequent Gengineer Republic), the Schumann Foundation also acquired a significant interest in a number of the Jovian biotech megacorps. During this period, Charon also consolidated its control over the Schumann Foundation and began a personal expansion, turning a significant fraction of its internal resources towards non-Foundation-related pursuits.

This again talks about 'Third World' nations. The entire concept of a Thrid World has probably ceased to exist with the rise of nanotech and advanced robotics and AI. By our standards the world is very very wealthy.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: particularly when in 406 A.T., Schumann's former primary competitor, FutureLife PSG, utilized loopholes in Earth's revised citizenship laws (which had been intended largely for the regulation of cloned citizens) to de-certify its own charter, and then auctioned off custodianship (and the associated trust funds associated with the deadsleepers) on public exchange markets.

See my earlier comments re cloning. It currently doesn't play a large role in OA, although related things like engenerator produced bodies do later in the timeline. What are you thinking here in regards to cloning? It may or may not be something that could be added to the setting.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: Believing that the human board of FutureLife PSG had betrayed its mission for petty personal gain (a trait that Charon declared to Schumann's human board members was “endemic to humanity”) and believing itself to now be the only entity capable of fulfilling the Schumann Foundation's directive, over the next fifty years, Charon began quietly but systematically buying up the custodianships that FutureLife PSG had optioned off. By 450 AT Charon had acquired custodianship of more than 95% of the remaining deadsleepers on Earth. It also appears that during the years 300 to 450 AT, from the Schumann Foundation's extensive Jovian manufacturing facilities, Charon sent off a number of interstellar probes and, later, dataships, many of which, it is now believed, would become integrated into a number of Diamond Belt AI civilizations.

I think you may have several timeline issues here. Earlier you say that it was an event in 406 that is believed to have pushed Charon over the edge. You then talk about something happening over 'the next 50 years' but then jump to 450AT, only 44yrs later. You then talk about Charon sending off interstellar probes and dataships from 300 to 450AT. So it was sending out these probes over a 100yrs before the event that made it dislike humanity? Why? Not sure if there's a date issue here or if you just need to explain things a bit more clearly about Charon's ahuman tendencies and when they started.

Note also that interstellar probes are not something one just whips up and sends out with nobody noticing. Especially this early in the timeline when they would have been pretty major undertakings and quite slow.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: At this point, it appears Charon made the decision to abandon both Sol and human civilization altogether. Over the next sixteen months, a staggering number of extremely advanced vessels for the time, He-3-fueled Ark ships, departed the Schumann facilities around Europa, carrying with them the nearly 70 million deadsleepers remaining in Charon's charge; the last Ark to depart was immense, and carried with it the primary cores of Charon itself.

What, exactly, is a 'staggering' number of ships? What qualifies them as 'extremely advanced'? What is 'immense' in this context? Overuse of superlatives here.

Bear in mind that at this point in the timeline, interstellar travel was still a major MAJOR undertaking. It would also be totally impossible to launch all these ships without it being noticed and question and the authorities coming to investigate. It is also pretty near impossible to hide a spacecraft in flight (our current tech in RL can detect the space shuttle orbiting Pluto if we could get it out there) and the people of the time would be quite motivated to track the ships.

See my earlier comments about reducing the number of sleepers by 1-2 orders of magnitude (you originally only had 60,000 sleepers - why has this number increased so much?).

Helium 3 is not really a fuel by itself. It is used as part of a fusion process using Deuterium and Helium 3. So you'd want to mention both of these fuels.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: What is known is that in 1931 AT, probes from New Callisto discovered that the hyper-advanced Xi Geminorum AI-1 civilization around the Hyades Cluster had vanished (it was speculated, into either a baby universe of their own creation or a higher transcendent mode.)

Actually, in 1931, remote sensors at New Callisto discovered that signals had stopped coming from XG and sent out probes. These would have required decades (or longer) to cross the distance to the nearest XG sun and then it would take years for the signals to make it back. The New Callistans probably didn't just have the probes sitting around ready to go either. Tech was more advanced by this point so it was probably possible to whip up the ships in a few years, maybe even less than a year depending on design. So it might or might not be relevant. But the probes were not in the XG systems in 1931.

Also, at this point in the timeline it wouldn't have been known that baby universes could really be created (you need an S5 or S6 for that and they won't be along for a long while). "Higher transcendant mode' doesn't really mean anything in OA, although if you mean a higher Singularity level, then the results still exist in this universe and would have significant hardware. Suggest not getting too specific about speculations about where these beings went.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: Around the cluster's central core of eight white dwarfs – a region known as the “Godhead” - a number of abandoned megastructures, some of them the size of planets, had been constructed and left empty by the now-vanished Xi Geminorum AI-1 civ. Colonists from New Callisto and numerous other worlds quickly poured into the cluster, soon establishing the most advanced civilization in the Inner Sphere, the Taurus Nexus. For the most part these colonists were near-baseline or superbrights, with few higher-order sophonts, but one particular exception did appear, in 1988 AT: an immensely powerful third-singularity-level archailect the Nexans dubbed “Tiburon” - the Shark. Spurning all attempts at communication, Tiburon immediately laid claim to the largest series of megastructures, those around the white dwarf HZ 4 within the inner ring of the Godhead, and began fortifying its position. Any probes that attempted to approach HZ 4 were quickly attacked and destroyed, and the Nexans quickly learned to avoid the region.

All third singularity beings are immensely powerful compared to lower S-levels by definition. More importantly S3 minds operate in moon brains around 3000km across. They really don't travel much. The first S3 minds only appeared in the 1700s (we need to tweak that a bit, but the date probably won't move) so iffy on how Tiburon could arrive in the Nexus like this. There are other issues later on when you describe em leaving. I would suggest just having Tiburon be an S2 entity and leave it at that. Also, it took something like 300yrs and more to colonize the TN. And as mentioned above, the probes took decades to travel there. The colony missions and ships would take time to set up and travel and such. So how could Tiburon arrive only 50yrs after the signals stopped? We e en route already or something else? Just need to tweak some dating here I think.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: However, over the next two centuries, a large procession of relativistic vessels were observed arriving from the general direction of Sol space. Though still crude by modern standards, these vessels were much smaller, and much faster, than the great lumbering Arks that had departed Jovian space in 450AT; these vessels were capable of speeds exceeding 0.3c – and were carrying the deadsleepers that Charon had fled the Sol system with so many centuries before. These ships arrived at the NZ 4 megastructure – a hexagonal array of six interlinked McKendree Cylinders that themselves rotated around a central hub – between the years 1988 AT and 2190. In total, almost 40 million of Charon's original 70 million sleepers arrived at the NZ 4 megastructure – where they were apparently revived, in youthful bodies reset to approximately 18 chronological years of age – into the megastructure that was quickly dubbed Purgatory. (What happened to the remaining 30 million deadsleepers is unknown.)

How large is 'a large procession'? How and when were these ships built such that they arrived at the very moment that Tiburon did, to the year? See my earlier comments re reducing the number of sleepers. Also, based on what we've discussed earlier, if they were revived, their minds are mostly a figment of some transapients imagination.

Bear in mind that the Purgatory megastructure is well within First Federation technology. It may be impressive in that it uses six linked cylinders, but it's not going to be particularly awe-inspiring to the people of the day.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: Following the arrival of the last of the deadsleeper vessels in 2090, the archailect known to the Nexans as Tiburon is believed to have departed the Hyades volume; an enormous amat-powered relativistic ship was observed leaving the system late in that year. Left behind as the ward and protector of the NZ 4 system and Purgatory habitat was a still-formidable SI:2-level hyperturing the revived deadsleepers dubbed “Saint Pete”. It is now commonly believed that the archailect “Tiburon” was in fact an ascended version or offshoot of the hyperturing Charon, fulfilling its final trust to the deadsleepers of the Schumann Foundation.

S3 minds aren't generally referred to as archailects. A being needs to be S4 or higher for that title. S3 are usually called high transapients. Also, you already told us that it is known to the Nexans as Tiburon. No need to repeat it hereSmile

As mentioned earlier, S3 don't generally travel, certainly not in a single ship (there are complicating factors later in the timeline, but not this early). And transapients from S2 onward employ conversion technology using magnetic monopoles to convert matter totally to energy. Much more advanced than antimatter.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: The Old Earthers, as they came to be known, quickly expanded into the Purgatory cylinders and formed a thriving baseline human civilization at the Hyades Cluster's core. At first the more advanced superbrights and higher-tech colonists largely ignored the presence of the Old Earthers – pure baseline humans, even ones from Old Sol – were a novelty and little more, but it quickly became apparent that there was another aspect to the Old Earthers that made them far more than inconsequential novelties. Remaining behind on the former worlds and worlds and megastructures of the Hyades were numerous godtech artifacts of the old Xi Geminorum AI-1 civilization. These higher-topospheric artifacts remained inert and did not respond to the nebs, tweaks, superbrights, vecs, and AI's that attempted to use them...but some of these "XG1" relics did respond to some Old Earthers. These Xi Geminorum artifacts were universally sapient (some of them were in fact of transhuman intelligence), and included a myriad of advanced weapons, sensors, power sources, and fabrication devices that made the baseline humans wedded to them (a process known as “welding”) extraordinarily powerful relative to their limited intelligence and technological and cultural sophistication. For reasons known only to themselves, the Xi Geminorum seem to have chosen the baseline Old Earth humans as their inheritors.

Erm. On general principles this starts to strain credulity at best and starts tapdancing on the edge of canon violation at worst. The XG civ was ahuman - it would consider biological intelligence, human intelligence as about as welcome as we would a box of cockroaches and magnets dumped over a dinner table full of food. Why would it just happen to make its tech accessible only to baseline humans?

On a more general note, at this point in the timeline 'godtech' wouldn't really exist. That term is generally reserved for Fourth Singularity or higher tech. Transapientech is used for lower level tech.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: While their reasons for doing so have never been conclusively determined, there existed in the Taurus Nexus the suspicion that the original Xi Geminorum AI-1 civilization in the Hyades Cluster contained at least aspects of the original Charon hyperturing. The Purgatory megastructure certainly seems to have been built for baseline human habitation – an extremely odd undertaking for an ahuman AI civ that demonstrated substantial antipathy towards other clades of humans. Some Nexan AI theorists further speculated that the Old Earther's capacity to weld to XG1 godtech was a completion of the spirit of the original Schumann Foundation's trust – which included not merely resurrection, but a viable future that included a path for self-determination in a future that would have otherwise have grown far too advanced for them.

How would Charon have had anything to do with the XG civ? Not sure that the dates and transit times required would work here. It might help to lay out a timeline of how this is all supposed to work.

(11-18-2013, 10:21 AM)TheodoreBonn Wrote: Regardless, whatever the motivations of the Xi Geminorum AI-1 civilization, it is an ironic fact of history that due to the efforts of the ahuman AI Charon, and the patronage of the vanished ahuman AI Xi Geminorum AI-1 superciv, the culture of what would become the most advanced civilization in human space would be shaped heavily by the Old Earthers...many of whom had been born prior to even the Information Age.

Per existing Canon, the TN civ was very advanced, perhaps even the most advanced, for a time. Then the new generation of archailect empires came along and pretty much reduced it to a minor backwater.

As mentioned earlier, people born prior to the Information Age and frozen won't be viable or revivable, even if we go for the tech advance that makes revival seem more probable. The tech to freeze them in even a theoretically revivable form would be different from what we use now.

Finally, bear in mind that the whole 'baselines are inferior to practically everybody else' isn't just ego stroking on the part of everybody else. They really are superior to baseline humans in most ways (Superiors are even more so and transapients are superior to modosophonts in all ways and in all things all the time).

Ok, that all said...

Overall I like the level of detail you're going for here and the concepts are interesting. I'm not critiquing you for the sake of slamming or because I hate what you've written (you did say to critique it after all). But it definitely needs some tweaking - in some cases an adjustment here or there will take care of a whole batch of issues. In other cases, it may take a more extensive set of changes. If you'd like to discuss those in more details, I'm more than happy to do so.

I'm going to assume you'd like to see about developing whatever tech advance allows a better chance of cryo-revival. Will follow up on that this week, but need to go to bed now.

Beyond that, I'd suggest laying out a timeline of how you see this progressing and then working in things like transit times, comm-lag across light years, etc. We can also discuss the sort of tech that would be around in this period.

Ok, gotta get some sleep. Hope this helps,


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RE: obvious noob questions from a writer - by Drashner1 - 11-18-2013, 02:41 PM

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