Realm Makers – H. G. Wells Challenge

One of my fellow Realmies put forth this question in our group the other day, and after reading my response, I felt it was good enough to put here too and share with all you fine folks.  It’s Spec Fic, not fantasy, so… there’s that.

Dave Withe’s H.G. Wells challenge to the Realmies.

“If not us, then who?”

I was “blessed” to grow up in the Golden Age of Science Fiction and Fantasy (that’s what they called Sf back in the 1950’s and 1960’s). The hard Sf writers back then foresaw many of the Whizz Bang tech that has transformed the world into what we have today. (NASA was actually working on Faster Than Light travel before the Big O turned NASA into the Muslim outreach agency.)

Question for Discussion:

With your futurist speculative hats on; Starting from existing trends, what kind of Speculative, Whizz-Bang tech can you imagineer for your stories which will revolutionize the world in the next century?

I call it “The Missing Next Step Analysis”, look at today’s capabilities, then extrapolate as much as you can with existing trends until you get to “The Missing Next Step” that can’t be extrapolated from existing technological / biological / Quantum / etc. knowledge.

Then, imagineer something to be that next step.

I started using Solid 3D Holographic Projected Keyboards several years ago in some of my stories; but that’s old news now, a Japanese company is currently developing that technology for commercial release within the next few years.

Let’s see if we can pull an H.G. Wells on the early 21st century world. (he foresaw nuclear power during the Age of Sail you know).

Are we not some of the most innovative inventors of new worlds. Step up your game people. Have done with recycled plot lines and stretch to ask the tough “What If” questions.

Let’s Imagineer the future.

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My predictions of the future are pretty dystopian because I believe socio-economic failings of the globe will rewrite ourselves into a second dark age of barbarism and insanity similar to what came after the Fall of Rome… but worse. This will end up destroying our ability as a species to grow technologically for another 500 years (while saving our souls) till we clamber our way back up to even this level thanks to all the anti-intellectual insanity in the west, and zealous anti-enlightenment barbarism in the rest of the world. The only thing technology is going to do is accelerate the process by which this all happens and the thoroughness of the devastation. To paraphrase Einstein “I do not know by what weapons the next world war will be fought with, but I do know the one after that will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Ultimately, there are very few authors who envisioned what eventually came after their lifetimes. Victor Hugo (Submarine, Moon Landings to name a few) H.G. Wells as has been pointed out, but really there are none off the top of my head that I can point to that predicted future tech with any serious degree of credibility that wasn’t already being imagined in their epoch.

I’ve made this statement before, just not here, that the Spec Fic author is a captive of his time. Look at movies like “Metropolis”, or all the “Red Scare Sci Fi” of the 1950’s before the dawn of space flight. They were all victims of seeing the world through the lenses of the technology of that era. We too suffer the same problem, though we violate Clarke’s Law far more often or we now understand better the idea of technology so advanced it appears to be magic. All be it I’d call it dark magic at this point, and hence my first paragraph.

The older I get, the more I begin to realize that the world of “Thundarr the Barbarian” (pockets of super science and “magic” in the ruins of a world which suffered a global disaster) has almost as much chance to exist as Mad Max or 1984. We humans are too flawed to evolve a utopia. It may work on paper save for that one flaw of having humans involved. I also doubt very highly that AI or any other artificial life will be any more perfect beyond possibly having to eradicate all of humanity for its chance to survive.

The other elephant in the predictive realm is the “unforeseen outside factor”. What if aliens DO show up? What if Time Travel does get invented, or Faster than Light Drive? Things that are broad theory or fantasy that suddenly become reality. 50 years ago, the Internet was able to be predicted. So was nano-technology based on what was going on in that era. But that’s predicting one maybe two generations ahead, and mostly based on straight line predictions, which is ripe for much hilarity. Want proof? Look up the predictions from the first Earth Day in 1970. Cringeworthy. Mark Twain once told a parable on straight line predictions on how the passage from St. Louis and New Orleans by steamboat was shortening by a few hundred yards every year. In a few centuries, he “predicted”, the two cities would be neighbors.

But okay… if pressed, prediction time.
1. This assumes the west doesn’t collapse and technological advancement continues.
2. It also assumes Islam does not win the current 13th Jihad it is waging via immigration and the west somehow pulls it’s head out of its collective ass.
3. That the Deep State Technogarchy remains in power.
4. That Generation Snowflake and self loathing SJWism dies out thanks to objective reality being stronger than subjective madness (see Kipling’s Gods of the Copybook Headings).

A- Advanced nations will begin to devolve as their people, addicted to the internet and social media drop out into VR societies in an attempt to give the yearning for meaning a harmless outlet.
B- Automation increases, driving humans out of the workplace, requiring “A” to control them lest they destroy the powers that be due to idleness.
C- Human civilization grinds to a halt, replaced by AI control, reducing itself to cattle.
D- A slim chance that there will become a symbiosis between man and machine as cyborgs do become the next stage in “evolution”.

Nanofabrication will become household level tech. You won’t have to go to the store. Just buy and download the schematics, and have your home “nanofab” unit which will be the size of a refrigerator or garage workshop size tool, pour in the ingredients like a cake and make it there. You will have freebie apps and plans, as well as name brand sellers. Designing may become the only place left for human employment as men and women are reduced to nothing more than the creative thought processes of a new species. Good times, right?

“I have never seen a miracle of science
that did not turn from a blessing to a curse.”
Sting.

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Orion’s Articles : Municipal Feedstock Utilities

And now, another addition of Orion’s Articles.  The series of community commons licensed sci fi licensed material written originally for the shared Sci Fi community of “Orion’s Arm”.

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Municipal Feedstock Utilities

One of the major challenges of widespread nanofabrication is keeping a consistent flow of feedstock to the nanofabrication units and protecting the local environment from becoming depleted. To combat this, many societies developed Municipal Feedstock Utilities that keep a constant flow of refined feedstock accessible to the public and industry on demand. Similar to municipal water works or ancient gas systems, the flow of feedstock solution is pumped from central holding reservoirs
and towers through pipes and into a reclamation system that then cycles back to a refinery that breaks down the “waste” feedstock and reintegrating it back into it’s reservoirs. These pipes are commonly subterranean or underwater in nature or coupled with other utility lines. Reservoirs are commonly built in sealed or underground lakes and pools to prevent contamination of the solution. In megastructures or tall buildings these reservoirs are often placed in the top floors of the building to assist with pressures and regulating speed of distribution.

The central benefit of this system is that it ensures all connected nanofabricators have access to the full spectrum of elements allowed by law, while preventing consumption of the local materials or property. Often this removes the need for citizens to gather or purchase feedstock on a separate basis, offering access for nominal exchange or fees. Some Feedstock Utilities offer a credit system for recycling and preventing material loss.

The typical system is designed to have a centrally located refinery and processing plant. From here, pipes are constructed that lead to reservoirs and tanks placed for optimum levels of distribution in the supplied municipality. These tanks are then routed through subterranean pipes to all customers, buildings and locations that require feedstock. After flowing through the nanofabrication suite, the feedstock effluent pipes then flow back to holding pools and then into the refinery where processing begins for re-integration into the reservoirs. The solution is magnetic in nature, and can be pushed smoothly by linear accelerator pumps. Even the nanofabricators are designed to not stop the flow or divert it completely but rather filter off any elements required by nanofabrication at time of operation. This constant motion prevents any chance of settling happening outside of designed traps and pools.
Feedstock Utilities can be of very small local design like a single building, or massive megastructures and even weaving their way through an entire Jupiter sized brain! How the system is fed varies greatly, but usually break down into three formats: Local, System or Wormhole.

A local style Utility relies totally on resources mined from the stellar object it is built on. Mines transport the base material from parts of the planet or asteroid to the refinery. There the raw
material is broken down, filtered out, or Pico-converted to essential matter and stored in large hoppers used to supplement the reservoirs at a rate that keeps the feedstock solution at a constant “richness” and proportions.

A System style supplied Municipal Feedstock Utility usually gains its raw materials from off-world or long outside of the municipality’s orbit. Although the matter still is in the orbit of the local star or
Oort Cloud. These items are mined, and usually refined out at its mining site. These items are then shipped back to the Utility via a magnetic accelerator or coil system similar to that used by Dusters or Squirts. The loose material appears like a stream a few millimeters to a few meters in width depending on the demand. These streams are then ducted through “targeting pump satellites” to an Orbital Receiving Facility. This is usually found in a stationary orbit or attached to an orbital station itself. It then prioritizes feedstock for where it needs to go and organizes delivery via a variety of systems and networks.
Wormhole Style Utilities are very similar to system fed utilities, but include small (5cm to 5m) wormholes to allow material being broken down in another system to be shipped similar to beamriders or linear accelerator to the purchasing utility. Once it exits the wormhole link, it then is treated and moved about like a normal system fed utility. Often these wormhole stations are located near or at the solar “poles” of a system so orbiting mines can always see them and
control streams better.

Once a society has access to stable Picofacture (The ability to manufacture atoms to order by mechanical control of sub atomic particles), and can manufacture their own elements, the supply systems quickly become local in nature and only deal with occasional loads of off site matter when they run low on total available matter to continue growth.

Orion’s Articles: Pandifico

Written back in 2004, I participated in a shared hard Sci Fi community called Orion’s Arm.  It was based on transhumanist theory and sci fi writing, something that over time I became increasingly uncomfortable with as my walk in my faith grew deeper and my politics diverged radically from the belief in a collective future.  But during my time there, I put together a series of articles under a Creative Commons license.  To that end, these items are open to the public to use, but I would love it if you give me a shout out that you used them.


 

Pandifico (pronounced: pan-diff-EYE-koe) is a powerful diamondoid composite that is constructed to be elastic and flexible like rubber. This diamondoid fiber is incredibly resistant to damage and almost impossible to shatter. It is fabricated with permaform manufacturing technology. When struck with hard kinetic force the elastic features allow the fiber structure to flex and bend in a manner similar to that of polymers and metals. Because of their design the fibers do not stay dented or bent and can pop out – on their own or with a little help – to their original form.

Pandifico can be tuned to have different degrees of hardness and flexibility. As with ancient composite bows the fibers can be made to stretch at different speeds according to the strength and direction of an applied force. For example, a sheet of Pandifico armor may stretch along it’s X axis at a rate of 1 cm per 100 joules while along it’s y axis it may stretch 1 meter for the same pressure and only move a micrometer for the same force along it’s z axis. Pandifico could also be capable of increasing or decreasing its resistance depending on its tension or distance stretched, thereby giving reduced resistance through the middle portion of the stretch while offering high or medium resistance as it approaches maximum stretch. Pandifico retains the strength of standard Diamondoid even when stretched to maximum tension.

Pandifico can be formulated in any color (including transparent) or molded into the same range of shapes as standard diamondoid without any loss of functionality. It can be made to conduct electricity or be an insulator depending on the specific chemical composition of the fiber structure. Some brand names of pandifico are “Pandiflex,” “Foreverform” and “Eternilam.”

 

(Diamondoid is a theorized class of materials made from mechanically assembled carbon atoms that have the strength of diamonds)