Today’s random snippet:
“Select Committee on Long-Range Planning
Perhaps better known as the committee on “excruciatingly long-range planning”, the SCLRP concentrates on planning for the long term defined as deep time – ranging from several kiloyears to matters of megayears and gigayears. Such matters include long-term secular stellar and planetary climate changes, continental drift, very-low-frequency disasters (in conjunction with the SCET), the effect of the decay of planetary rotation on the calendar, genetic drift over evolutionary timescales, planning for navigational adjustments in light of stellar drift, the upcoming galactic collision, and the eventual heat death of the universe.”
In other news, work has commenced – well, it commenced a while ago, but metaphorical pen has finally been set to metaphorical paper – on Unnamed Project, a work intended to be of rather greater length than the nanofiction which has thus far been my primary oeuvre, and a first shipment is expected to go out to the beta readers sometime this week.
In light of how fast (or rather not) I tend to write, great anticipation would perhaps be unwise at this time, but maybe a little bit of anticipation is in order?
Everything Is Online: Played entirely straight, including just about every piece of technology you can think of – infrastructure, houses, vehicles, appliances, even the simplest packaging will have at least an identity-location-and-v-tag beacon on it – and including people’s brains (which is where your modern chap keeps his PDA); all hooked up using pervasive wireless mesh networking. Only the most paranoid of organizations or those working with incredibly dangerous technologies air-gap their networks, because it’s so incredibly inconvenient in the modern world.
But then, IIP is different from IP inasmuch as it has security baked right in – it’s impossible to send or receive any traffic, for one thing, that’s not all duly certified and encrypted and authenticated – and many of the network managers, routers, security systems, and so forth are artificially intelligent and quite capable of running their own little panopticon, so while it’s not impossible to perform great feats of hacking using Everything Is Online, it’s a damn sight harder to do than our Internet might make it look.
And there generally are local overrides, just in case.
NO, IT IS NOT AN OMNI-TOOL. WRONG UNIVERSE, DAMMIT.
Every Device Is A Swiss Army Knife/Magic Tool: The ubiquitous nanolathe is pretty much the poster child for these two: basically, it’s a bunch of processors, a future-iPad-equivalent, a complete universal network interface, a pocket-sized nanofac, and a bunch of miniaturized nanomanipulators, vector effectors, and a few other tools built into one handy gauntlet-style package that still permits full hand use and is wearable with most clothing. It can make a wide variety of useful objects (described by software recipes) on the fly, interface with, analyze, debug, modify, and repair just about anything recognizable (including lifeforms), operate as a remote control for even the most complex devices, scan for any number of things, perform a wide variety of computational tasks, let you communicate in a variety of ways, operate as part of your personal-area network, and chill drinks.
Also, it runs apps. And there is almost certainly an app for that.
Every Bullet Is A Tracer: Justified for non-slugguns, inasmuch as modern slugthrowers kick their tiny dust-grain bullets up to such a high velocity – a respectable fraction of c – that they plasmate the air they hit on the way to their target. The bullet doesn’t glow, but the resulting plasma bolus does.
(The disadvantage that this has, that firing gives away your position unless you turn the muzzle velocity way down, has been noted by the relevant tacticians.)
Even Evil Has Standards: Not in general played any straighter than it is in reality – the dumb and brutal kind of space pirate/raider, in particular, is infamous for atrocities – but seen on occasion. A lot of Renegades, even the gone-plain-and-simple-evil ones, still have their instincts and culture programming, and as such tend to avoid slaving and other blatantly choice-stealing, and often adhere to codes circling around the twisted form of mélith that could be summarized as “those who aren’t asking for it shouldn’t get it”.
Eternal Prohibition: Averted, because no-one in the Empire would consider it reasonable to ban anything that, say, didn’t cause immediate homicidal mania in the first place. Your psychochemistry is your own business, and no-one else’s – except the plentiful dealers in recreational chemistry. And enhancement chemistry, like nootropics, mnemotropins, etc., etc. Some of which are even used in breakfast cereal.
Don’t even ask what they put in the fruity oaty bar…
Eternal English: Let me put it this way: immortality plays merry hell with linguistic drift. (So does conscious linguistic engineering, but the ongoing presence of a very large body of speakers of the old version certainly helps.)