While writing in "Extended Vacation," I finally figured out why it took the people of Traipah roughly nine or ten thousand years to go back to being space-faring, while holding onto their technology the whole time: religion and fear. For all the advanced and enlightened nature of Yahgahn and other religions, there was still this pervasive "the gods have not forgiven us for almost killing the planet" idea. And every time the people of Traipah started to feel like maybe they'd been forgiven, something would happen that would be interpreted as the gods still being angry at them; events like Kiin Kohn Kaas's murderous rampage, natural disasters, or whatnot.
This actually makes a lot of sense, given many facts about the people of Traipah:
1. They are *very* spiritual.
2. They are more social in their own way than humans are.
3. The Ah'Koi Bahnis, at least, have a cultural and possibly species inclination towards conservatism in the truest sense (I have long suspected the Ah'Koi Bahnis to be at least somewhat autistic compared to humans. Their neurotypicals would not be neurotypical for humans).
4. The average Traipahni lifespan is somewhere around 200 years. Which means 10,000 years is roughly 50 generations. (Maybe not exactly, but the point is that their generations are longer than ours.)
I also know why Vaish was such a bunch of arseholes in the second novel, and still; Traipah was going through another "maybe we've been forgiven" buildup, a stronger than usual one, that had not reached Vaish by the time the humans and Xazians made first contact.
Some other oddities are being solved, too; like why there was no TV or other visual amongst the radio waves being picked up by Captain Solcan's ship.
Going back to the AKB being autistic compared to humans... well, here are the facts:
1. It is pretty much universal among the AKB that ideas are sacred, and burning books is a crime at least as bad as murder. Destroying a library is a sure way to get the AKB *really* pissed off at you.
2. The AKB do enjoy physical activities like sports, but their sports tend to have an intellectual aspect; their games are rarely as straightforward and simple as "throw a stick the farthest" or "score more goals than the other team." I haven't explored this as much as I should.
3. The AKB would consider it absurd to pay more for any aspect of sports than for academics. In Western civilization, school sports programs flourish while art and band and drama classes get funding cuts or get cut out altogether. You'd never see that in a Traipahni school. If anything, sports would be cut before band or art.
4. Free health care and free education have been a part of Traipahni civilization even thousands of years *before* the Reformation.
5. They just think differently than humans do. The people of Traipah do not fall into the common scifi sin of being humans that look funny. Their minds really just do not work the same way. I'm constantly running into things they do that work fine for them, and just would not work for humans. Their economic system, for one. I just don't think humans could pull off an economic system like theirs, where nobody starves or is homeless, unless the technology made such a thing inevitable. And even then, the crime rate is basically zero on Traipah, at least among the native sophonts; even with everyone having everything they need, humans would still commit crimes, I think; rape, assault, bullying, etc. Whereas hurting thy fellow sophont is so completely unthinkable to a Traipahni person that being attacked and nearly killed by a human basically scarred Nokwahl for life because humans look so much like Ah'Koi Bahnis.
6. Traipahni schools focus primarily on values and critical thinking. They teach their kids *how* to think, NOT *what* to think.
7. Creativity is one of the most valued things on Traipah. Art, music, writing, and other creative endeavors are big business on Traipah, and always have been. You're far more likely to see Traipahni people watching a play than a football game or the like. Their attitude is that the mind is what makes a sophont a sophont, and so the mind is to be honed, cultivated, and enriched so you can leave behind a legacy that enriches the whole culture. Sports is just a way of keeping the body fit; fun, but it has roughly the same place in their culture as walking on treadmills has in ours.
Something else occurs to me... I once read an account of what a world where autistics and Aspies were the norm might look like. The problem I now see with that account is that I think at least some of the "symptoms" of being on the autism spectrum may result more from having to cope with the neurotypicals than from the autism itself. If the autism spectrum were really the norm, the world would look vastly different. Smaller class sizes, for one, to cut down on overloads (since it is becoming increasingly clear that aspies and auties are MORE sensitive to the emotions of others, not less).
Further, the school system would naturally evolve around the differing needs of this different typicality. The rigid structure of the Western school system really doesn't do anyone any favors, but it is at least a lot closer to what neurotypicals need than to what auties/aspies need. A school system for AKB would naturally evolve to suit itself to children who don't need incentive to learn; and the kind of structure they'd need would be different. It would be more flexible, less rigid. Learning facts would be easy for them, leaving "critical thinking" and "values" as naturally obvious areas to teach. Human NTs tend to respond well to "these are the rules, you will abide by them," but Traipahni NT children would need to be taught values and the reasons for them, rather than rules, because rules that make no sense, or which have not been explained, are the rules most broken by Traipahni children as is true of aspie/autie children on Earth.
(Note that when I say "values," I mean "universal values" like "don't bully people, don't kill people," etc. A lot of the Statements of Faith of the Yahgahn is made up of universal Traipahni values.)
So yeah, the entire society would of course look different from ours! Hell, there's even a possible secular explanation why the Yahgahn built underground cities. Because while I can't speak for others on the spectrum, I can speak for the people of Traipah. They live on a planet that is very warm. They prefer the shade, where it is cooler. The pre-Reformation cities were not meeting the needs of the people, or were meeting them in expensive ways. It's a lot easier to keep a subterranean chamber cool than an aboveground building. So being environmentally conscious sorts, the early Yahgahn church decided to build underground cities because they were cheaper and easier on the environment to keep cool. Yahgahn became so popular in just a generation or two that there were hundreds of these cities around the world when The Reformation struck. They were protected from the chaos, and they were compassionate, so they saved as many people as they could. But though the spiritual explanation is that they had forewarning of the Reformation, the secular explanation is basically "dumb luck."
When autism becomes the norm for a society, that society evolves to favor it. Take any neurotypical human being and put them on Traipah, and THEY would be the ones maladapted to society. THEY would be the weird ones, the maladapted, the "diseased."
Oh, in other "Extended Vacation" story news, there are scenes in the story with Duenicallo cubs and Shaokennah pups, and those scenes are just so damned adorable!!! :-D Especially the Shaokennah pups!