fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
I just thought of a horrible critter to inflict on the continent of Ahbahss, on the planet Traipah. Imagine something the size of a Japanese giant hornet, but social, aggressive as all hell, that swarms like Africanized bees and builds enormous mounds. They make a kind of honey that is extremely delicious, and fucktons of it, but they're huge, aggressive, and just one sting would put you in the hospital for a week.

Now imagine keeping these things professionally, to sell the honey.

I can picture the tactics now: have your group's fastest runner poke the hive with a stick and then run like fuck as the swarm chases hir. While the swarm is thus occupied, raid the nest for the honey.

My only question is, I'm wondering if the Ah'Koi Bahnis would eat it. I mean, they're herbivores. And honey is mostly sugar, right?

EDIT: OMG, this won't the only nasty swarming insect on Ahbahss. I found this in the info file while about to add this new critter:

Rah'laaf'dahk = Not only are these worms fast and sighted, they're also poisonous and are hive insects. Oh, and not really worms. They have literally thousands of tiny legs. They can shoot out of their burrows at speeds fast enough to come out flying, and the soldiers have wings for gliding. The poison in the stings won't kill from one sting, but it will set every single nerve on fire, causing scream-inducing agony for over an hour. They also don't lose their stingers, so they can sting multiple times. Home: Ah'Bahss.

The honey-making insects will be called jokokoro.
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
Important notes about the Duenicallo
(Duenicallo pronounced do-en-ih-ky-yo)

Life on the continent of Ahbahss, back before the Duenicallo and AKB met, was very difficult. The land had become parched and dry, even becoming deserts in many places. It was a bit like life in ancient Egypt, with rivers flooding on occasion to make the land moist and fertile again. But life even in these slender fertile areas was difficult. For one, the waterways and surrounding lands were infested with ny'ah'lah; to imagine a ny'ah'lah, picture a large crocodile or alligator with feathers and a sharp, toothed beak. Being warm-blooded, the ny'ah'lah are faster, stronger, and meaner than crocodiles, and they eat more. They threatened not only Duenicallo but also their prey. There were also a lot of nasty critters of other sizes that lurked about, killing when threatened. So Ahbahss was a bit like a cross between ancient Egypt and Australia, on crack.

Rather long )

Because of their history, the Duenicallo point of view remains a mixture of pessimism and defiance. Their basic philosophy is:

“The universe is immensely old, and huge, and uncaring, but do not let that defeat you. Living is an act of defiance. Life is forever giving a rude hand gesture to the universe and the forces of entropy. No matter how bad things are, they are rarely so bad that you should give up. Suicide is for those who have been defeated. Death comes to us all, eventually, but going into that darkness fighting tooth and claw the whole time, Death will be unable to defeat you; it will only be able to kill you. It may mean nothing in the greater scheme of things, but as I said, life is defiance. We will all be swallowed by the void, but our howls may yet be heard for millennia to come.”

Their gods come in three varities: the first, Vahk-tuma, are powerful forces of nature so ancient and terrifying that their names (when spoken) are spoken with fear. These entities, which include their sun god, Pofoshiintus, are never invoked; it is believed that they don't notice or care about mortals, and if they ever DID, then it wouldn't be good. A great way to terrify a Duenicallo half to death or more, is to tell them “May you be noticed by Pofoshiintus” or other Vahk-tuma. This is similar to the supposed Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times and come to the attention of important personages,” but infinitely worse. The Vahk-tuma aren't quite as bad as Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian figures, insofar as they don't cause madness, but Vahk-tuma are to mortals as a brontosaurus might be to a sentient ant.

The second class of Duenicallo deities is called Jolorsiikon. The Jolorsiikon are a bit like Vahk-tuma in size, power, and the vastness of their minds, except that they are mostly benevolent (yet still capricious) towards motals, and can produce smaller pieces of themselves that can relate to mortals. These can be invoked in magick, by cautious adepts. They may also approach certain mortals on their own. But they are still dangerous to work with, being powerful and capricious. Djao'Hkein and Ĩandyn are Jolorsiikon.

The third and fourth varies of Duenicallo deities is the one with the most usage in magick and prayer. Called Emblaath and Fetahkmadu respectively, deities in these classes are former mortals who were deified either before or after death. The only significant difference between the two classes is that Emblaath are older and more powerful than Fetahkmadu. The power difference is generally the result of Emblaath being used by more people, since attention is food for these kinds of deities.

Emblaath and Fethkmadu become deities either by being beloved ancestors, or by doing something that falls under the Duenicallo definition of heroism. Aside from the obvious of saving lives, other ways to be a Duenicallo hero is to contribute in a meaningful way to the betterment of future generations. So all the early kings that helped organize and finance the artificial rivers and lakes in Ahbahss are now Emblaath-class deities.
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
I had a hard time getting into Iain M. Banks' The Culture series, because "Consider Phlebas" had some very graphic scenes of violence. But I've been reading "Player of Games," and getting very much into it now. So much so, that I want to live in The Culture! The Culture is a human/AI symbiotic culture where they can harness massive amounts of energy, make these humongous orbital habitats to live on instead of planets (though most people still live on the massive spacecrafts of The Culture. Orbitals are considered the boondocks.) There's no money; anything you want, a machine will make it for you. You don't have to be anyone special to own houses or land because they keep pumping out more orbitals, which are so large I think every man, woman, and child on earth could have 50 acres apiece of just one Orbital and still have room left over.

Furthermore, the humans in The Culture are "genofixed" to be able to live at least 250 years before dying, possibly more, even without medical tech. Medical tech can pretty much do anything, there. Severed limbs grow back. People wear these things called "terminals" which are like an extreme form of smartphone. As long as you have your terminal on, you could fall from a mountain and a drone would catch you before you went splat, or you could be accidentally beheaded and get your head rushed to medical care in time to put your head on life support while your body grows back.

And best of all, they have an artificial virus that can induce a full biological sex change. Change to a man, you produce sperm and have a dick; change to a woman, and you can get pregnant. And considering their other genofixing, they probably got rid of periods.

Also, their genofixing allows them to adjust to new environments; land on a heavy gravity world, and in a few days you'll be perfectly adapted to the higher gravity. And they have built-in drug glands that allow them to consciously "gland" any of hundreds of drugs in thousands of combos.

The Culture also has anti-grav BEDS! Man, I would love that!

Not implicitly said yet, but I imagine you could also get other changes done if you wanted: changes in skin color, grow a tail, grow horns, get extra senses built on.

Oh, and pretty much nothing is illegal. Their "punishment" for murder is to assign a drone to babysit you for the rest of your life, to keep you from doing it again. I imagine rape and kidnap are the same. But in The Culture, anything done between consenting adults is legal, even incest. And theft is pointless; very few things in The Culture are completely unique and irreplaceable, so stealing them is usually pointless.

It kind of inspired me to start thinking about how to write a story in my Vah'Zyahl universe to show what their society is like. Because they're a lot like The Culture in many ways, but different. For one thing, they've abolished death; it's entirely optional now because everyone born has built-in backup scanners, so that even if the person's entire body is vaporized, they can be repliported* back to life from the backup. And they can, if they want to, switch species or even become an AI by loading their mind into a mechanical body. The Vah'Zyahl also live mostly on ringworlds (which they call ring habitats), and their technology level would make The Culture look like primitives by comparison.

* = Repliporters are one of the major technologies of the Vah'Zyahl. They can either teleport things by converting them to data-rich energy that travels through hyperspace and unfolds on its own, or replicate things from a template, or can "teleport" something or someone by converting them to a template, sending the data through hyperspace, and having a repliporter on the other side spit them back out again.
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
Okay... something has been missing from TPNN for all this time, and I can't believe it's taken me this long to realize it. But I finally realized it last night on my way back from the pagan meetup, while planning something in my head. I was getting annoyed because I couldn't decide if I wanted to use singular or plural pronouns for our collective, and both had their pros and cons. Then I did a facepalm as I realized what I needed to do. Especially since multiplicity is more common on Traipah. (It's at least as common there as homosexuality/bisexuality is here.)

So now, I have some "singulaplural" (singular AND plural) pronouns for Trai'Pahg'Nan'Nog, specifically for use by/with multiple groups. And here they are...

(Examples will be mostly in English because I intend to use these new pronouns!)

For use BY multiple groups, when referring to themselves:

Sha'az (shah-ahz) = I/we (alternative "shaaz")
Shiiah (she-uh) = my/ours mine/ours

A. Shaaz think that you're not being very respectful of shiiah feelings.
B. Some day shaaz will get shiiah-self a cat.

For use when referring to multiple groups:

Gry = Them/they/she/he
Grair = their/his/hers

A. Gry said I wasn't being respectful of grair feelings, but that's just because I had a headache. Can you get gry the message?
B. I really like grair cat. I wonder where gry got it?


Adding second person singulaplurals, which could be used for more than just multiples:

Goh - you/y'all
Griiah - your/y'all's

(For non-multiples, or unknowns, TPNN still uses "thiin (theen)" for "I/me," "thiiah (thee-ah)" for "my," "grehn" for "we," and "grehj" for "our." "They" is "uugaam (oo-gahm)," and "their" is "sada (say-dah)" or "uugahnihn (oo-gone-in).")

A thought

Jul. 23rd, 2012 08:32 pm
fayanora: Steph perv (Steph perv)
The Ah'Koi Bahnis have a long, retractable, prehensile penis that looks like a very large green roundworm. The Centauri males of Babylon 5 also have a large, retractable, prehensile penis, which looks a little like a squid tentacle. I find myself in the strange position of wondering what a, uh... "swordfight" between the two would look like.

My brain is a strange place.
fayanora: Djao'Kain (Djao'Kain)
Traipahni social group types to be aware of:

Guilds (AKA Jiijahnglah) – Guilds are a bit like corporations, except that Traipahni society would never tolerate most of the crap that Earth corporations (at least in the 20th and 21st centuries) do. All profits of all Guilds are mandated by Traipahni society to go into one of three things, if not all three:
        1. Increased pay to all Guild workers.
        2. Expanding the Guild (new facilities, renovation or expansion of old facilities, replacing worn out machines, etc).
        3. Bettering society in some way (funding a new or existing library, funding public renovations, donating services to the needy, etc).
      Also by societal mandate, while individual raises in pay are allowed, they must be based on worker merit and not on position. There are also upper limits to the kind of pay individuals can get. Specifically, if any one person's pay is more than a certain percentage higher than the pay of everyone else in the Guild, there are problems. Traipahni society also demands full transparency; groups dedicated to enforcing that transparency are plentiful, and respected by society.

Orders (AKA Jykahn'glah) – Orders tend to be religious, spiritual, or philosophical in nature, and so tend to be misunderstood as something like church organizations. While they can be that, Orders are more like completely non-profit Guilds, usually dedicated to some cause. While that cause is often religious or spiritual, sometimes it is not. Members of Orders get little if any pay, but they live well enough. Being part of an Order is about being called to some higher duty; people who join Orders have a passion for something, and most Orders exist solely to better the lives of individuals and society in general.
      An example of a non-religious Order is The Unity Order (Ben Vahziil Jykahn'glah), which is dedicated to quality education; it is a global organization that runs all Traipah's schools from Primary to Secondary to Tertiary, working in conjunction with other Orders and with local groups and individuals. Unity Order schooling is a lot like Montessori schooling, except that it focuses primarily on universal Traipahni values, teaching critical thinking, and generally teaching kids how to think, rather than what to think.
      The Unity Order also works with The Order of Kusahnia (Ben Kusahnia Jykahn'glah) to keep and maintain the libraries and everything in them. In this, the Order of Kusahnia is the primary and The Unity Order is the secondary. Dozens of other Orders, religious and otherwise, also help with the libraries. Most religious Orders also keep their own libraries of sacred texts, philosophical works, etc.
      Then there are the Orders that are purely philosophical. Some of these Orders generally don't do much beyond making or sharing spaces in which to have philosophical discussions. Others act like specialized universities... where The Unity Order can give you great generalized education, other Orders like the philosophical Orders can give you highly specialized and detailed educations. There are also philosophical Orders dedicated to teaching the psionic arts, and others that teach the magickal arts. Many medical Orders exist as well, for teaching medicine. In fact, the largest medical Order on Traipah is The Healing Order (Ben Alornikez Jykahn'glah).
      Those outsiders who are used to the health care industry being run by corporations for profit tend to mistakenly believe The Medical Order to be a Guild. But like education, health care on Traipah is free. Education and health care are considered basic sophont rights that should be granted for free without prejudice.

Ziigyowt [zeeg-yowt] – “City-state,” kind of. Traipahni society is connected globally, and long has been. There is even a global government, but most of Traipah is governed locally by the ziigyowt system. Cities, towns, villages, even wandering tribes are all considered their own ziigyowt. The global government is mostly there to be a third party mediating disputes between the different da-ziigyowt, dealing with off-worlder tourists and pre-citizens, and providing the globally standard currency. Pretty much everything else is handled at the ziigyowt level.
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
Taken from an entry I posted at [livejournal.com profile] conlangs:

In my Traipah storyverse, I have an interesting thing going on: the Ah'Koi Bahnis, who by human standards would all be considered to have Asperger's Syndrome, have a bunch of languages in their culture that are constructed languages in that culture. Even Trai'Pahg'Nan'Nog, my main conlang for that storyverse, is a constructed language in canon. They constructed TPNN as a trade language, and it had the kind of success that Esperanto can only dream of. Other conlangs had great success there as well.

1. The language called Krai'Ahd is a constructed pidgin-ish tongue used to help AKB and Duenicallo1 communicate with the Shaokennah, because Shaokennah language contains sounds that the other two species can't even hear, let alone say. So Krai'Ahd is an extremely simplified version of the Shaokennah language.

2. The Yahgahn culture's sacred language, Yahgahnii, was constructed back during that culture's early days. It is a musical language, and was in fact designed to be sung.

3. A third language exists, the name of which I have forgotten. That one was constructed as an extremely precise scientific language, using operational language. It lacks any form of the words "be" or "is," and any translation into English would sound like hyper-Spock, because the idea was inspired by Operationalism, E-Prime, the Copenhagen Interpretation, and related things.

Though the only one of these languages I have any words for is my conlang Trai'Pahg'Nan'Nog.

So I was wondering if anyone else has works of fiction - theirs or otherwise - in which conlangs feature.

1 = There are three sophont species that evolved on Traipah: The humanoid Ah'Koi Bahnis, the saurian Shaokennah, and the four-legged predatory Duenicallo. (Duenicallo can stand upright, and walk upright, but can only run on all fours.)
fayanora: Steph Pensive (Steph Pensive)
“A Question of Ethics”
By = Tristan A. Arts

Words - 3619

Note: This is loosely based on an episode of “Angel,” so that's why I'm posting it here instead of attempting to publish it for money. The Zatorshnok are entirely my own creation, though. The story was actually inspired by my wondering what the Zatorshnok would say of the ethical dilemma presented in the episode.

NOTE 2: Zatorshnok is pronounced zah-torsh-nok.

Zatorshnok log entry for 08/12/2489
Entry by: Annik Xandol 88456

      I am making this log with the intent of having it filed with the Earth government, given the events that I and my two siblings witnessed and participated in. If, after reading this entry, the government of Earth wishes to take punitive actions against these three units, we will willingly submit ourselves to whatever punishment is deemed appropriate. We do, however, believe that we were acting in the best interests of justice, at least as we understand the concept. As to why this report is not being filed with the government of Nova Terra, where the incident took place, that will be made clear eventually.
      For the sake of any readers who are unfamiliar with the Zatorshnok Collective, I will relate the relevant overview here for your elucidation. Many thousands of years ago, the sophonts of Zator Alpha were a dying people, being killed by a virulent plague that left few survivors. Their numbers dropped down to a mere 28 individuals, far too few to repopulate the species. These remaining individuals, all scientists who had developed a cure too late to save anyone but themselves, make one last effort to preserve the Zator culture, knowledge, and heritage. Part of this process was to digitize the minds of the remaining scientists, to be downloaded into devices known as “flesh blanks,” a hybrid of biological and technological systems. Nanites amidst the biological components could keep those components alive, young, and healthy for hundreds of years, barring catastrophic damage. With built-in subspace backup units, the death of any one unit is but an inconvenience for the mind inside.
      Even with these new bodies, twenty-eight units were not enough to rebuild an entire civilization. So the 28 Primes, as they are called, uploaded themselves to massive quantum supercomputers, and began churning out copies of themselves by the hundreds. Though there have been occasional new Primes added, for a current running total of 58 Primes, all motile units – regardless of the species of the flesh blank, are copies of one of the Primes.
      Due to the feeding of new information back into the Primes from their motile units, the consciousnesses of the Primes grew in size. Now, only massive Matrioshka Brains set up around stars have the data storage and processing power necessary to hold even a few Primes. As units share data and experiences with their Primes, so do the Primes share these things with one another. Thus was the Zatorshnok Collective born.
      More importantly, to today's log, is that somewhere along the line, the Primes became corrupted from their original templates, resulting in a change of thought patterns. We used to be a vibrant, passionate people with all the varied emotions of biological sophonts, but many now liken us to humorless machines. We have been working on restoring the complexity of emotions we once had, by studying other sophont species, and we have made some progress in correcting the errors, but we still retain a unique perspective and still struggle to interact meaningfully with other sophonts.
      My name is Annik Xandol. I was the result of an experiment performed back in 2304 AD to create new Zator children from DNA replicated from models, as were my two siblings, Yen Xandol and Pokiv Xandol. Because the original Zator species had three sexes, I am sperm-maker, Yen is egg-maker, and Povik is unifier-carrier. Because we were the first batch of a series of these experiments, we are genetically related to one another and not expected to breed. The Collective is still building up a decent breeding population, slowly but surely.
      I say we were the first run of that experiment, but truthfully these units are one of thousands of genetically identical units; the original Annik, Yen, and Povik are now Primes 29, 30, and 31, and in truth I am Annik Xandol 88456. I am stationed on Nova Terra with Yen Xandol 99734 and Povik Xandol 77765.
      Physically, the Zator – like my own flesh blank – are humanoid, with blue scaly skin, yellow eyes, and hands with two opposable thumbs apiece. Males, like myself, have six small, black horns on our heads. Females, like Yen, have a hard, black shell of horn over the top of their craniums. And the unifiers, like Povik, are merely bald with no horns.
      With those necessities completed, I shall now move on to the rest of my story.

Read the rest of the story. )

A note about how I thought up the Zatorshnok: As a mid-continuum multiple collective, there are more things in my head than just the usual 9 Faces. Faces are fully sentient in their own right, but I think most of them (if not all of them) started out as things I call Soul Shards. They're bits of me that float around inside my mind and surface on occasion, making me feel different. These are different from Masks, because Masks are thought-forms I choose to shift into. Neither Shards nor Masks are sentient on their own, as far as I know.

The Zatorshnok mindset is basically lifted lock, stock, and barrel from one of the Soul Shards that occasionally makes itself known. It is a complex thought pattern, that I'm not sure I've done justice to in this story. It's a bit like detached curiosity with a feeling like everyone else is completely alien from me, more so than the Ah'Koi Bahnis mindset. That Shard's sense of ethics and emotional reactions to things are unusual.

Though there are similarities to the Vulcans, I'm not sure how well the two species would get along. Zatorshnok may seem logical and cold, but their logic is tempered by their unusual emotional reactions. The Zatorshnok do not actually suppress their emotions, it's just that their emotions don't work the same way as human emotions.

To be honest, the Zatorshnok mindset is complex enough that I'm not even sure *I* understand it. And I haven't figured out how to really explain it.
fayanora: Fay doll icon by me, original pic by Lady Dark (Fay Doll still)
(Written the other day.)

Earlier in the week, or earlier than that, I made a post about how the neuro-typical Ah'Koi Bahnis (or other Traipahni sophont species) would be considered to have Asperger's Syndrome if they were human.

Well, I'm writing up a little piece in the Silence Speaking novel, a supposed excerpt from a book by the fictional xeno-anthropologist Marion Dears, and in part of this excerpt, she not only says that the neuro-typical AKB would be an aspie if they were human, she also goes on to say, "In fact, there is a psychological complex among the people of Traipah called Kyorethett Complex, or Kyorrethett Syndrome, whose sufferers would be considered neuro-typical if they were humans."

Also, she calls it "Asperger's Complex" rather than "Asperger's Syndrome."

This just kind of excited me for some reason. :-)

Also, on an only vaguely related note, picture an Ah'Koi Bahnis saying the following: "The universe can't possibly be only 6,000 years old! Our written history goes back several hundred thousand years! Our children still sing songs that predate the invention, on Earth, of bronze tools!"

(Not to mention, Na'Voom Da recorded history goes back at least a million years.)

Note to self: Need an Ah'Koi Bahnis with lots of colors that would be very unnatural for a human. Maybe purple hair, neon green skin, electric orange spots, and neon magenta eyes. Yes, some colors of AKB are good for camoflague. While others have more of an aura of "Don't fuck with me, I might be poisonous."

One last thing: I've been writing "Silence Speaking" and "Extended Vacation" without using any gendered pronouns for any Traipahni person, using zie and zir instead. I do it because I believe it's necessary to keep in mind that Traipahni sophonts only have one sex (IE, they are hermaphrodites), and I hate the two standard English bullshit genderless things, "it" and "they." But goddamn, it can get really difficult using so many 'zie's and 'zir's. I try to cut down on the need as much as possible, but it's hard.

I also use the TPNN pronouns "djai" and "djair" in the dialogue sometimes. I'd like to use those in the rest of the story, too, but it's even more of a pain in the futz than zie and zir. Zie and zir, after all, work like "she" and "her." But with djai and djair... djair is ALWAYS posessive. So sometimes where you'd use "her" or "zir" in English, you'd have to use djai, because the ONLY time you use djair is when it's posessive. (IE, "I told her that." = "I told djai that" as opposed to "I told djair that." Since "that," in context, is not owned by the person, one cannot use "djair" there.)
fayanora: Elle Fanning by LJ user bitemeee (Elle Fanning)
Because I like to avoid planetary monocultures, Traipah has a number of religions and other cultures. I haven't done much exploration of other cultures yet, but along with Yahgahn, I have three other major religions for Traipah:

1. Yaenaanism, the closest thing to a monotheistic religion Traipah has.
2. I don't have a name for it yet, but there's a religion that has thousands of deities. They deify places, people, ideas, books, pretty much anything.
3. A third religion, also so far nameless, believes in a vast Divine Bureaucracy. They basically took the idea of "no single deity could ever possibly hope to run the entire universe, much less the multiverse" to extremes. They believe there are at least a couple thousand deities at different levels running the universe like a divine government. I suspect it's mostly a holdover from pre-Reformation days. Also, I get the feeling this religion is very popular on the continent of Vaish.

I've also figured out that Yahgahn, though having 39 official deities, has a policy that all deities of all pantheons are real, and the original 39 deities of Yahgahn were taken from older pantheons anyway; so there are possibly a whole bunch of people on Traipah who identify as Yahgahn but work exclusively with deities from outside the official Yahgahn pantheon.

In other Traipah related stuff, I've been doing more writing in "Silents Speaking." Along with a Niven Ring habitat, there are two bioformed planets in Traipah's image: Ny'Kwahn, Traipah's version of Venus (at least in terms of being a sister planet), and Nahsh'Traipah (New Traipah). I used to have a map, years ago, of Nahsh'Traipah, but I can't find the file anywhere on any of my disks. :-(

Okie dokie

Jun. 14th, 2012 05:32 pm
fayanora: by lj user holdonbaby (Elle looks up)
Okay, so for I dunno how long, I've been a little worried that I didn't have the time scale for human and Traipahni space exploration big enough. But checking on some stuff in the timeline just now for "Silence Speaking," I find my worries were baseless. The stories take place in the 3200's AD; in "Silence Speaking," the year is 3232 AD. Given the timeline info, this means humans have been exploring space for at least 729 years at that point, and first contact with Traipah was 328 years prior.

Which means I may have to do some editing in "100 Year Wait."
fayanora: by lj user holdonbaby (Elle looks up)
In doing some writing recently, I decided to check a few things with a friend and with Google. And with a calculator. I've known the time scale of Traipah's civilization for over a decade, but I found some stuff today that boggles my mind... Given that the Reformation happened 10 thousand years before 3232 AD, that means that the underground cities that the early Yahgahn church built all around the planet Traipah prior to the Reformation were built in about the 6700's BCE. The train system interconnecting these cities was built within 1000 years after the Reformation, and hasn't significantly changed in terms of technology in all that time, with the exception of the crystalanium tunnels they built under the oceans to connect the continents. The underground train system predates not only the fall of Rome, it predates the rise of Rome as well! And since that happened *after* the Reformation, it means that Traipahni people were regularly mining asteroids for metal while the civilization of Ancient Egypt was still young.

What's more, I looked at that, and then looked again at the scale of the rest of Traipahni civilization. I did some Googling, and found out that the Ah'Koi Bahnis and Duenicallo would have been building cities and making systems of writing before Homo sapiens even evolved! Their civilization predates our entire species.

Now I'm even more determined to write a scene or a short story wherein some human is being superior to the Traipahni people for re-introducing them to space travel, because now I can have the AKB defending her people dropping bombshells like that! "Fuck you! My people were mining asteroids when yours were just beginning to invent the mud brick! My people were building cities to rival Rome before your species even evolved!" :-D

Pretty much the only reason they took so long to go back into space after the Reformation was because they were stuggling to find a way to get into orbit without using dangerous, pollution-causing chemicals.
fayanora: Djao'Kain (Djao'Kain)
Okay, so I have this sentient herbivorous species called the Ah'Koi Bahnis in my main scifi universe. But for years, I've wondered how they evolved to sentience, when the best science said it was probably unlikely for an herbivorous species to have any reason to evolve sentience. Furthermore, they have binocular vision; Ah'Koi Bahnis look remarkably like humans, in fact.

Over the years, I've gone through several contrived theories, each picked apart by friends more science-wise than myself. Then I finally figured it out, in a moment of sheer "D'OH!" It should have been obvious! I've known since the very beginning that there is an entire kingdom of life on Traipah that doesn't show up on Earth, called planimals, which are essentially motile plants that usually eat animals or other planimals, but some species eat plants. They produce some or most of their own sugars from sunlight (depending on how motile they are; some barely move at all), but they lack the ability to make their own proteins, and in some areas of the planet it is more efficient to get other needed nutrients from eating animals.1

I've also known for a long time that the Ah'Koi Bahnis hunt and eat planimals. Yet it only occurred to me recently that THAT is the reason for the AKB having binocular vision and evolving sentience. There was probably a time in their past when normal edible plants were hard to find, but the planimals were still thriving because they eat animals and can hunt around looking for water, even digging for it if they have to. So you're an herbivore, you can't eat meat, and the local plants are not doing so well. Food is thus scarce. And what should you happen to find but these nice green plants that move around like animals. You have no claws, and your teeth are only good for eating plants. So you learn how to hunt these motile plants, and you have suddenly a reason to develop binocular vision and big brains. Problem solved!

And since I gave up on "Foreign Influence," I've decided now, with this new revelation, to give up on the her'my'oh'ahd'jahg. (AKB meat eaters.)

1 = One of the most popular planimals to dine on being the kohrm'rand, and the kohrm'rand having a head that's just all jaw/teeth and nowhere for eyes or a brain, I wondered for a long time how they see and think. Then, duh! They have eyes, but they're a kind of compound eye that is indistinguishable from the rest of their "skin." I figure, if they can absorb sunlight to make sugars, why not see with their skin? That, and they have other senses like detecting heat, or detecting the electricity in animals.
And as for their brains, planimals are a bit like octopi, in that their brains are spread throughout their bodies. They literally think with their whole body! The bigger the planimal, the smarter it can potentially be.
fayanora: by lj user holdonbaby (Elle looks up)
I was thinking, the other day, about how Traipah has three different formats for writing:
1. Book format, which starts at the "back" of the book (as we Westerners would figure things), moving toward the "front," the book turned "on its side." Then the actual writing starts at the bottom right of the page, moves upward, then when you get to the top of the line, you continue at the bottom of the line to its left.
2. Sign format, wherein they write important signs top-down, right-to-left.
3. Scroll format, which starts at the bottom right of the scroll, and moves in a boustrophedon upward to the top.

This got me thinking about how their books are designed, and why scrolls are still popular with them. And I came up with two things:
1. Their books are bound differently from ours. Their books are spiral bound. At least one cover of the book is hard. You hold the book by the cover with one hand, and turn the pages with the other. If both covers were hard, you could set the book up on its covers to free up one hand.
2. Scrolls are still highly popular on Traipah because of the invention, at some point, of a mechanical scroll reader. Hold with one hand, or set it down, and scroll the scroll with the scroll wheel:

The sample text on the picture just says "This is only a sample text," over and over again. (It is also difficult to read.) I think the scrolls made for the mechanical scroll readers are made of some kind of plastic or other tough substance that's flexible but able to take the beating of multiple un-windings and re-windings.

Then when digital paper was invented, a new digital scroll reader was invented, with a continuous loop of a single sheet of digital paper. The computer in the reader loads the text onto the digital paper as you scroll, so it's basically an e-reader. (Digital paper is paper made of nanites, which can store hundreds of terabytes of data just on its own.)

All published Traipahni books are published in all of the common formats, with physical copies of both books and scrolls archived in the Sahn-Kusahn library, and other libraries.
fayanora: by lj user holdonbaby (Elle looks up)
Have you ever noticed that in most scifi series, the main characters almost always understand the way alien math works? And sometimes the other way around; I'm watching an episode of Stargate: Universe where some aliens in a galaxy billions of light years from our own have somehow implanted Chloe with the knowledge of advanced *human* mathematics. I mean, sure, some things will be universal, but the notation system - the symbols that are used and the way they're laid out on the workspace - would be completely different. Even simple math! My constructed world of Traipah uses entirely different symbols than ours for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division - even the equals sign is different! And it's written backwards and upside down from the way we do it! I don't know near enough math yet to come up with more complex operators, but given enough time and work I probably could. All those Greek symbols we use in higher math, they'd be something else entirely!

Oh, and prime numbers! SETI folks and their fans, pay attention: Prime numbers are always the same, but how they're written out depends on what base you're using. In our base 10, the primes start out at 2, 3, 5, 7, and 11. In Traipah's base 6, those primes are written as 2, 3, 5, 11, and 15.

Hell, until the Arabs invented the place system of math, most people had no zero; it was rarely needed.

Of course, it's all just an extension of the whole "we and the aliens can always understand one another's language, even if we've just met, and in some cases even read written languages without knowing the living language, unless it serves the plot to have it be otherwise" trope. It's laziness! And it's not even necessary! So much drama can be made from trying to figure out a new language or an alien math or a dead written language. Even if all it takes is a few-minute montage, give it at least *some* consideration!

Hell, we can't even figure out how to decipher Linear A, because there's nothing to compare it to - no living language, not even a Rosetta stone sort of thing to compare it to dead languages we can interpret. If it weren't for some similarities to ancient Greek, Linear B would also have remained indecipherable! And it's all further complicated by the fact that Linear A is a syllabary, not an alphabet. Just like Traipah's written language! If some human archaeologists found the ruins of a Traipahni civilization, it wouldn't matter how many hundreds or thousands of pages of text they found; without a sample of the spoken language, or some kind of Rosetta stone thing that helps them decipher it (which would require some kind of Deus Ex Machina to exist, in this case), it could go untranslated for hundreds of years! Or thousands! Hell, it could remain untranslated forever!

Most scifi shows do this kind of crap to some degree, but Stargate is the worst offender! The movie did a good job concerning language barriers, but the series didn't even TRY. Oh sure, they're fairly good about taking time and lots of work to decipher written languages, but everyone on every planet in the whole fucking galaxy speaks the same damn language, and it's English! (With the exception of a few Jaffa words, and mentions in passing of Jaffa and Gould languages, or the occasional Asgard cussing in his or her native tongue.) And they don't even try to handwave it; they just act like there's no need at all to explain how or why everyone in two different galaxies (Milky Way and Pegasus) speaks English. Wait, they speak English in the Ori galaxy, too, so make it THREE galaxies. And the Ori galaxy is so far away from our own that their ships have to use a supergate to get here!

Gods... at least Star Trek has the universal translator, and Dr. Who has the TARDIS translating everything! And even then, both those series have had occasions when they ran across a language they couldn't translate.
And at least Stargate: Universe is better about that than the other Stargate series. They've run into two different alien species so far, and neither one of them spoke anything the humans could understand or even hope to speak. Yet, as I mentioned above, somehow these aliens billions of light years from our own know advanced mathematics in human notation, and gave that knowledge to Chloe, who did not previously know that kind of math. At least their knowledge of the Alterran language is at least partially understandable, as they'd been studying the Destiny for months or years before the humans arrived on it. Though how they interpreted a language they'd never seen or heard spoken, on a ship from a galaxy far, far away, written by a species they'd never seen before, I don't know. (Hell, the show still hasn't adequately explained how the aliens have been using the communication stones to switch bodies with some humans, when they had no way to get hold of those stones.)

Okay, now it's clear that all I have to do to get myself motivated to learn something is to relate it to my constructed worlds in some way, because changing the math system of Traipah to base 6 and coming up with symbols for simple math operators has changed me from someone who absolutely hates math to someone obsessed with it. I still suck at it, and I still kinda hate it, so at least some small part of my obsession with it is fueled by spite and/or the desire to make sense of the bizarre world of mathematics. It has become a difficult puzzle I must solve.
fayanora: Martha and Ten by mischief89 (Martha and Ten)
Alex just made an interesting post over here, about the cultural taboos and customs that decide what kinds of animals are edible, which started as his curiosity about what dog meat tastes like. He left something for me to add to the discussion. I'll give you a minute to read his post first.

Then you can read my own thoughts on the matter. )
fayanora: Phoebe in Wonderland by LJ user bitemeee (Phoebe in Wonderland)
I have a humanoid species, the Ah'Koi Bahnis, that I've been trying to think of unique instruments and/or musical styles for them for ages. So far all I have is a kind of choral singing that I don't think humans have done yet, and one other instrument that may or may not be a dud.

I mean, I'm sure they have string instruments and drums and wind instruments. But look at earth: the guitar, the bandura, the banjo, the sitar, harp, harpsichord, are all strings. The piano crosses percussion and strings (Forizano in the Lyria stories calls the piano a "percussion harp"). And because this planet is part of my spirituality as well, I like coming up with details like unique takes on instruments.
fayanora: cognitive hazard (cognitive hazard)
I'm pretty sure I have this all correct, though it's kind of complicated. I made Dralakkith's money system as close to our own as I could while still having a logic of its own. If anyone is bored enough to read this, it will be...

under the cut. )

How rich is Lyria Spellspinner? Rich enough to make Bill Gates look like a pauper, though nobody living outside her fortress has any idea just how wealthy she is. But she's generous with her money, and isn't greedy; she pays generous taxes to her current home country of Dralakkith. To her, money and power are a means to a greater end, not ends in themselves.

I'm still trying to figure out how much she pays Forizano for tutoring Meriel. (Wanders off to think.) (Returns) Okay, so, I checked average US military figures for an enlisted person with a 4 year degree before enlisting to get a rough estimate of how much he got paid in the military, so Forizano got, at most, $20K for his brief stint in the military before his legs got blown off. I'm assuming, given how his life went after that, that Dralakkith doesn't have pensions for enlisted men (maybe for officers, but I dunno). I don't know if he was getting paid while he was a scholar in the time before and after the military service (though the after barely counts, for him).
Then I checked average teacher salary for Oregon. From that, I'm deciding Lyria will pay him the equivalent of $50K a year. I've decided on $4200 a month. Now to figure out how she pays him. I don't know what, if any, banking system Dralakkith has. But given the vast numbers of coins in her vault, he's probably going to end up with lots of coins. I figure the bulk of it will be in larger denominations, with maybe $1000 worth of smaller denomination coins.

Anyway, all for now.

EDIT: Forizano getting paid, details figured out.

Forizano's pay under this cut )
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
You remember I recently posted that I gave up on "Foreign Influence," a third novel in the Nokwahl Vii'ah'dah series (AKA "Truthspeaker Nokwahl" series), after having started work on it 5 or 6 years ago? ("I'll Tell You No Lies" is #1 in the series, "One Hundred Year Wait" is #2 in the series.) That I gave up on it because the plot was cliché? Well, [livejournal.com profile] erithianopius helped me figure out a plot for a new attempt. I haven't started writing in it yet, because I need to make more alien species and do more preliminary stuff, but once I get around to beginning, I already have a title for this new project, the new 3rd Nokwahl novel: "The Silent Speaking."

I can't tell you much yet without giving too much away, but there are going to be a lot more aliens in this one, and a VERY strange murder for Nokwahl and her partner Alex Davison to solve.
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
Living in Portland, you kind of get used to all the trees, to the point where you don't notice them. Then there are those occasional moments where you DO notice the trees, I mean REALLY notice them. Had a moment like that, today, while going to the local grocery store. I was like, "Fuck, man, there sure are a lot of trees here." Must've been more than 100, maybe even more than 200, that I could see just from where I was at the time. It was a little trippy, with thoughts like "is it a city full of trees or a forest full of buildings?" The moment ended with my thinking "This is how ALL cities should be: with fucktons of trees around everywhere."

It's the kind of city the Ah'Koi Bahnis would build, you know, if they didn't have to worry about accidentally planting the kind of tree that eats people.


fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
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