So, here we are at the end of September, and I’ve written all of one thing in the past month. Depression, unseemly heat, and a server deciding to take up an exciting new career as a brick have combined to do a real number on my creativity.
Thank you all for bearing with me through these times of crisis and literary drought. Hopefully October will suck slightly less. Or maybe COVID will come back strong and kill us all. Either way.
In the meantime, here’s one of those little fine distinctions that creeps its way into spacer slang:
topside: In a starship context, on the hull. (An EVA topside is thus distinguished from an EVA outside, which implies leaving the immediate vicinity of the ship.)
– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary
Transfragging is the use of a weaponized translocation device to destroy a target, most commonly by interpenetration (i.e., translocating an object to within another, preexisting, object), but the term is also used to refer to simply using the translocator to transmit bombs or other weapons to within a given target.
Since all known or even theoretically possible translocation devices either make use of wormholes or similar metric warps, or alternatively obey the principle of equivalent spatial exchange, and in both cases require a cooperative receiver, transfragging is for all intents and purposes not possible.
Don’t spread it about, though. Belief in the possibility keeps lots of weapons designers in unhealthy places from working on anything that might actually be dangerous.
– Once Again I Have Been Thwarted: Hopeless Ambitions for Budding Evil Geniuses, Bad Stuff Press (8135)
The outer surface of your light-cone is a monument to all your sins.Ebirax 0x8002626D, Clairvoyance-class far horizon probe
There are those, in the field of biotechnological and medical ethics, who class anagathics as dangerous and addictive, inasmuch as ceasing to take your life-extension drugs results in a plethora of aging-related side-effects, followed by death.
The absurdity of this position and the farcical nature of its enforcement naturally ensure that it is a common state of legal affairs across the Expansion Regions.
– 6200 Annual Report, Riverside Eubiosis Foundation, ICC
“The only truly automatic weapon is one which you can leave on the shelf and ignore entirely henceforth, only to occasionally hear about your enemies mysteriously dying.”
– “To Sleep, Perchance To Kill”, Ostár Sargas-ith-Sargas
“A number of high-biotech polities have taken the immune system as a model for their military forces. What seems an exotic, even amusing quirk when looked at from the point of view of rank titles and equipment designations is much less amusing when you’re drowning in sticky goo, encapsulated, and actively being digested.”
– A Virus Speaks: A Memoir of the Myriasoma War
“A computational system has reached the threshold of making ethical judgements when it no longer parses the equity operator as the semantic equivalent of the equality operator.”
– Introduction to Polymorphic Software (3rd ed.),
“Your puny precognition will be no match for my Inevitable Certainty Engine!”
“Huh. I guess it won’t.”
I decided everything should be perfect forever.
(Slightly delayed from April 1st.)
“Look, if your reaction to a sophont doing psychotically bad things is focused on the instrumentality they used, rather than why on you have a culture prone to psychopathogeny, you are wrong on a level that… well, starshit, you don’t need me to explain it; you need a metaphysicist.”
– Sen. Olynthé Amanyr, 1,688th century,
demonstrating the problem with Imperials
appearing on Meridianite chat shows
(Loosely inspired by this and that, et. al.)
“Every year, since I was old enough to read them, more books have been published than I can read in a year. My reading speed has increased many orders of magnitude in the millennia since then – I have a submind which does nothing but read, continuously – and yet the authors continue to not only outmatch my ability to read, but also my ability to keep the gap from opening still wider.
And yet there are people in the universe who claim that they would find immortality boring.
I do not think the problem lies where they think it lies.”
– Esitariel Cyprium-ith-Avalae, unpublished interview
(Which is to say, a bunch of miscellaneous snippety stuff that didn’t find a home anywhere else.)
“Just once, it would be nice to meet someone who used their wine cellar for storing wine .”Agent-Expediter Fors Raikav, Second Directorate
“Further information on the Spirinal Anomaly is classified REDSHIFT ABYSS YAK. If you do not have REDSHIFT ABYSS YAK clearance, stop reading now.”
“In theory, you can carefully program high-grade nanophages to respect in vivo thermal emissions limits, respect the surface markers of legitimate nanoproducts they might encounter, and use them as a vaccination against possible infection. In actual practice, you shoot people with them from a safe distance, then shout ‘sorry’ if or when their blood begins to boil out of their ears. Remember, you’re likely to discover a need for these when there’s a friggin’ bloom in progress. They probably have a backup anyway, and saving their life comes in third, behind removing them as a transmission vector and not becomin’ part of the problem.”
Return to Hunger, Return to Labor
A minority political movement originating in the League of Meridian and spreading elsewhere among the wealthier regions of the Worlds, advocating the creation of artificial scarcities of goods and artificial demand for labor in order to preserve society from decadence and idleness. It has proven difficult to create memetic countermeasures against, due to the sheer blithering wrongheadedness of the ideas from which it arose.
Ice Age: The period in ciseflish prehistory lasting around 2.5 million years, ending circa 1,000, during which raw water ice (considered a mineral on Ólish) was widely used to make implements with an edge, a point, or a percussive surface. Following this period, ciseflish technological ascension began with the development of more advanced iceworking and iceturgical techniques, ushering in the Clathrate Age.
“It never delights anyone to find their favorite belief system archived in the Library of Lies, but most of them don’t get truly angry about it until they discover that it’s in the catalog under ‘philosophical weapons’.”
– Clovis Sjarra, Librarian Excellence
(With due apologies to the author of GURPS Lensman, whose work I am shamelessly imitating and which put this thing in my head in the first place…)
“Oblong shape and squared-off prow,
Writ with words from stern to bow.
Drive the mass and make a hole –
That’s a Gallie slave patrol!”
“One of the chief problems with some cultures’ attitude towards professionalism is that it prevents their courts from issuing opinions such as – to quote Mandatory Benevolence Association vs. Suld – ‘This court must affirm that the defendant possesses an unalienable derived right to be, if he so wishes, a bigoted sack of contaminated crap.'”
– Presiding Justice Madrasi Koiric, Court of the Beyond
“There was a pond below the window! We’re not monsters, after all.”
– First Quill Seïn Ejava, Scrupulous Company of Learned Scriveners,
at the Defenestration of the Descriptivists
“If we’re being scrupulous, it was a settling pond. For night soil.”
– Sorel Haranye, former Learned Scrivener, two hours later,
at the “Deodorizing of the Descriptivists”
The defining feature of Lintis (Banners), to most visitors, is that the entire planet smells strongly of peppermint. (A characteristic attributable to the local grass-analog – there’s always a grass-analog – which is heavily loaded with menthols.) Natives and long-term residents, of course, have all long stopped smelling anything, but the casual visitor always ends up leaving before their nose burns in. Or burns out.
– Leyness’s Worlds: Guide to the Core Worlds
“Among the torang, when crisis strikes, it is safer to be among your enemies than among your friends. A friendly torangta may expect you to sacrifice yourself in the name of the friend-group; an enemy will keep you alive as an assertion of superiority.”
– To See The Outer Worlds And Live!, Peregrine Press, 7930
“The Venerable and Veritable Autocrator of Chengál Rock, may his reign last forever, will be accepting petitions from all within the Rock during the first shift for the megapulse following the Rock’s apoapsis, as custom dictates. Please note that immediately following shift-end, all vacuum-qualified citizens of the Rock are required to report to Docks and Locks for mandatory civil labor. All non-vacuum-qualified citizens are required to report to Central Recycling, likewise.”
– system announcement on Chengál Rock public notifications channel
“For new citizens and visitors to the Rock, the ‘mandatory civil labor’ is required because the V. and V. Autocrator has a policy of throwing anyone who demands that he have a policy out of his personal airlock, and traffic control start complaining if no-one cleans up after Petition Fortnight. Be advised.
“And may his reign last forever.”
– anonymous classified advertisement immediately following the above