On Cartography

But first, merry rebirth-of-the-solar-deity day to one and all.

So, let’s see.

So far as maps of worlds go, such as one might be able to make biomes out of…

…well, this may take a little while. For values of little while equal to “I have a map of Eliéra that’s over ten years old and which is almost entirely wrong…


A world bearing little or no resemblance to Upperside Eliéra.

…and the maps of everywhere else are even worse.”

So before I even think about that, it’s time to redraw all the maps. Which I am working on, starting with this one. But let’s just say for now that we won’t be talking about planet surfaces any time soon.

But I am busy putting together the definitive data on the Lumenna-Súnáris System above the atmospheres, which I might have for you tonight if everything goes comically well, or tomorrow if it doesn’t.

And on we go.


Question: Technological Development

Another question to answer:

And finally, how much far advanced Imperial science/technology compared with other Presidium Powers?

Well, now, that’s a complicated question, covering a whole lot of different fields and people and… yeah. I probably can’t give you a full answer, but let’s see what I can say (with the additional caveat that this is the publically-known *there* view).

The Empire, by and large, does lead the edge of advancement for several reasons, including but not limited to (a) being ideologically and personally inclined to push the edge of progress For Science!; (b) being entirely comfortable with buying, imitating, etc., good ideas other people have for their own use, unlike more xenophobic cultures which often seem to reject ideas just because someone else thought of them first; and (c) being very flexible in using new technologies (the economy is laissez-faire, the ethical standards don’t wibble about much beyond informed consent, and so forth)…

…but it’s not nearly as far ahead as it might be, because the Empire’s set-up is diametrically opposed to keeping such things secret. Even if its governance could get away with imposing the sort of controls needed to keep technological secrets out of other people’s hands, which it couldn’t, it knows perfectly well that security by obscurity never works in the long term, that keeping technological secrets reduces the total amount of innovation you have to draw on, and, for that matter, that keeping other people mired in primitivism for your own advantage is, well, remarkably morally ugly.

(In relative terms, that is. An Imperial would point out that by giving up the opportunity to be further ahead in relative terms, they’ve actually made more progress in absolute terms.)

Specifically of the Presidium powers, the Photonic Network trails a short distance behind the Empire, and may actually be ahead in certain areas: the difference often isn’t much, because they have similarly sensible policies and are very good at information-sharing. The others make up a clump a little further back, with the League of Meridian bringing up the rear of that clump because their voters often issue knee-jerk moral-panic bans due to what amounts to squickedness; often they get over it when they see that other people have been able to use such technologies without causing whatever it was that squicked them, but the tendency is enough to notably slow the rate of adoption.

(Such is as expected, really: the Ephemeral Worlds, Rejectionists, and people whose planetary economies can’t support high technologies have other reasons to explain why they can’t make it into the Great Power club.)

Technepraxic #2

“Only the smallest, least enlightened minds accept the limits of the currently possible. Indeed, only small minds accept the limits of the possible, where greater minds strive to expand its reach. Some apologist philosophers would advance the claim that a finite mind is inherently limited in its ability to comprehend greater possibilities; to them, I say that only small minds indeed choose to remain bound by their own limitations. The strength of flesh is limited in itself, but the strengths of tools, wealth, and contracts unbind it. How, then, should we accept that the wisdom of flesh is limited?”

– ch. 2, Eternal Progress, Ianthe Claves-ith-Claves Elinaeth


Miríë.  Idaharis.  Jírileth.  Order, progress, liberty.  These are the principles to which we have dedicated ourselves, we of this new-forged Empire. ”

”But not the externally-imposed kórasmiríë of the dark times before the Drowning, nor that of the benighted lands beyond the mountains and the ocean. We believe that múratmiríë – cooperation – is superior to autarky, tyranny, or strife, that men of every kind may come together unforced to order their affairs for the greatest good of each, and thus of all. Our Empire is but one of these associations, one dedicated to the defense of this principle, and in whose shadow many more may grow.”

”In our new common language, as in my own native tongue, idaharis means ’charging the future’, and that is what we shall do. The challenge is before us, and we shall rise to it. The secrets of the world are before us for the taking, the eikones point the way, and we shall not rest until the promise of idaharis is fulfilled – that every day shall dawn brighter and better than the day before.”

Jírileth is the prize and the cost of our order and our progress. In its name our ancestors cast down tyrants great; in its name, we shall cast down tyrants petty, too, and carry their work abroad until there exists no place under heaven where one man may command another, nor need any fear for him and his, and all may freely pursue their qalasír as they will.”

”And as that work is done, we shall seize freedom, too, from all else that dares constrain us. By the cunning of our minds and the skill of our hands, by the wisdom of our libraries and the wealth of our storehouses we shall free ourselves from labor and lack, from the weaknesses of the flesh and the chance of mortality, from every insufficiency, and even from the very circles of the world. And we never again shall be bound.”

”For we are the eldrae, the doers of deeds and makers of works, and bold enough to voyage wherever dreams have gone before.”

– Seledíë I, first Empress of the Star, excerpted from her first speech from the Throne