satrapy (n.): A foreign polity, for whatever reason, temporarily operating with the advice and under the supervision of an Imperial satrap (typically, an officer of the Ministry of State and Outlands of prefectural or higher rank) but not under military occupation; a relationship one step closer than a client-state.
The purpose and degree of management of a satrapy covers many points on a large scale. The most common type of satrapy is a polity in the process of admission (but not yet admitted) as a constituent nation of the Empire, receiving guidance in the process of discovery, challenge, and adaptation. Other satrapies have existed, temporarily, for purposes as widely different as disaster relief, trade protection, and galactic security, with the role of the satrap varying between “friendly and optional advice” and “the consequences can make low orbit within the hour”.
– Dictionary of Terms, MoSaO Internal Printing
“Orbital Consequences” sounds like a good name for a ship. ‘Friendly and Optional Advice’ sounds like a good name for a Culture ship
It does at that…
You know, that points at a key set of differences between the Culture and the Empire, it does. There’s something about the Culture that leaves me feeling like I just took a bath in chip-oil. I get the distinct feeling that the Empire and the Culture would drive each other absolutely, positively nucking futs.
They are both expansionist and self idealist. That will cause conflict. They won’t go to war over each other’s existence, because war is stupid and expensive, and not fun, as there is a lot of galaxy to fill, at least, not for a long long time, before they start running out of galaxy to fill. OTOH, they do have some deeply different axioms. The Culture is “the happy fun place, fun fun fun fun fun!”, and the Empire is “be excellent at imprinting yourself on the universe, and when we imprint ourselves on it hard enough, we will FIX IT!”
It’s the difference between a rich old money scion who is spending his trust money on drugs and orgies, vs the self made billionaire who isn’t going to stop working hard, just because he’s now rich, because now he has enough money to actually Get Real Shit Done. They both will pity and look down at the other.
The Culture also told me more than I really wanted to know, but I’m glad I know, about both it’s author, and many of the literary setting’s fandom.
Also, I’m curious about what you mean regarding the fandom here, though I suspect it’s something I’ve already begun to smoke about a lot of people. (Suffice it to say there’s a standard joke about my handle, which is ha-ha-only-serious.)
That about sums up my thinking on the matter. Give or take.