Worldbuilding Wednesdays: Geography of a space station

So, does a space station actually have a geography? Well, Tiberius Base is pretty big, so, yes, it does. It’s a space city, really.

This is a post in the Worldbuilding Wednesdays blog hop. Join us!

The Core

The core of the Base is a hollow-out asteroid donated by The Diggers. The Diggers are a True Alien race— not humanoid— and they are classified as Fernal Aliens. In other words, they can’t or don’t communicate with humanoids normally. But in this case there is another alien race, the Tsanan, who are Bynal Aliens— they do interact with humans— and they are able to communicate with the Diggers.

The Core is the center of the Base but it is covered in artificial constructions. The Base is in levels and has artificial gravity emanating from the bottom of the sphere. I might mention that in my current WIP Tiberius Base is in the late stages of construction and a lot of the interior is still being build or adapted for its intended used. Tiberius Base is built and owned by the corporation Fortunate Dragon, which is based in the Terran Empire, in a subdivision ruled by Chinese people.

The Docks

There is a double-ring of docks around the ‘equator’ of the station, where ships can refuel, undergo repairs, or trade cargo. At the Docks level, most of the facilities are related to trade or repair, as well as lodgings for those who are visiting the station. There are also security officers aplenty, because there are also some spacemen’s bars being set up and trouble is anticipated.

Topside

This is the ‘top’ of the station although designations like ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ are arbitrary. Topside is where the well-to-do will live and work when the Base is fully operational. A home in Topside is considered very exclusive. The rooms don’t just have many rooms. Most have their own gardens build in— and they are not practical gardens, but are filled with difficult-to-grow exotic flowers, usually. Though one eccentric grows nothing but varieties of day-lilies in his. A few of the more posh spots also have a second garden for the practical purpose of growing herbs and vegetables for the kitchen. The Topside shops and restaurants are the most desired locations and people of all levels of the station use them.

Midside

The levels just above and just below the Docks level are devoted to the homes and workplaces of the middle class. The homes are not luxurious but are nicer than those in most space cities. The ‘downtown’ shopping district is also located in upper Midside. The great ‘street’ which makes up the shopping area has streetcars. It is also where the Base’s forest is located. All Bases and starships have a forest, but the one on Tiberius Base is larger than any forest previously set up by Terrans. During mushroom season, mushrooming in the forest is a popular activity, but one heavily controlled by the authorities. On other stations there have been murders over poaching mushrooms (they were morel mushrooms so it was justifiable homicide.)

The Dome

It is a tourist attraction really. There are a lot of transparencies (like glass but tougher) so you can see out into space. There is also a grand colored transparency like an abstract stained glass window. My main character Ping was in charge of the project of installing the transparency. The Dome area leads into Midside’s ‘downtown’ area. It is also the entrance to the ship’s forest.

Bottomside

Bottomside is dedicated to the most practical operations of the base, like the sewage system. There are also the homes of the menial workers. These homes are NOT posh and there are actually barracks for the unmarried workers. The only shops and restaurants at the Bottomside level are a few cheap places that cater to the poorest. Most Bottomside residents shop and eat at Midside. The station management makes shop spaces available there at low-enough prices that most folks locate businesses there.

 

Worldbuilding Wednesdays: Food

Yet another post in Worldbuilding Wednesday, a blog hop sponsored by Rebekah Loper.  This week our topic is food.

Food supply is an essential for many worlds, yet authors don’t often think about all the difficulties involved. Our culture discourages involvement in food production. I read about a promising farmer’s son who was told in high school he would be ‘wasting his life’ if he studied agriculture in preparation to take over the family farm.

In my WIP Tiberius Base, the setting is a space city— like a space station but much larger — which is called, not surprisingly, Tiberius Base. The city is still under construction, but it needs to support the needs of a crew of builders and of some administrators supervising the project.

Tiberius Base is very large. It is built around a hollowed-out asteroid which was given to the human base-builders by the Diggers, a true alien race (not humanoid). The humans don’t understand the Diggers and cannot directly communicate with them.

Given the large size of the base they can do a lot of food production on their own. Since the population of the base are meat eaters there is no question of imposing vegetarianism. There are large facilities which grow hydroponic grasses which are fed to cattle of various sorts, as well as artificial pastures, which are rotated almost daily. A small number of pigs are kept in order to recycle food waste. Chickens are kept along with the cattle and they clean up spilled feed and provide eggs. Some ducks are raised also.

The base was started by Asians, mostly Chinese, from Earth. So rice is grown on the base on a large scale. The straw from the rice plants is used as cattle bedding. When a large group of Catholic workers are imported, a small amount of wheat must be grown so they can make their own communion wafers.

Sprouting is a vital food source. Sprouting seeds are imported from various worlds and sold nearly at cost by the station administration. Most households on the base do their own sprouting both of salad sprouts and of bean sprouts or lentil sprouts. There are also commercial operations which supply sprouts to restaurants and cafeterias.  The sprouting habit is the major source of vitamins and minerals to the average station inhabitant.

Hydroponic facilities grow a variety of vegetables, including oriental veggies that most Americans would consider exotic. A few orchards on the base provide fruit.

Every space city has at least one transplanted forest at the heart of it. Tiberius Base has an exceptionally large one, as well as three smaller parks. The forests/parks are traditionally seeded with mushroom spores so there are many inhabitants of the base who go mushrooming regularly to supplement their diet. A mushroom growing center will likely be added to the base at some point to supply those who had bad luck mushrooming.

Lower income people on the station have a rather boring diet of beef or pork, rice, and locally grown veggies. Higher income people can pay for imported canned food or frozen meat grown on a relatively local planet. The richest can buy exotic meals from many different cultures specially preserved for the high-income consumer.

The hydroponic growers and the meat producers are sensitive to the desires of the consumers, even low income ones. If they import a group of workers who want more cauliflower or more chevon (goat meat) they are likely to look into ways to produce it. The employers of the low-wage workers, who do such things as move cargo from docked spaceships or do menial tasks around the station, think it very important to provide their workers with decent food to keep their morale up.

Celebrating some small things….

It’s time for the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. The blog hop is hosted by Lexa Cain, who has been ill and not able to participate lately, so prayers are called for.

This week I’m celebrating the newest small things in my life: kittens! It started like this: my cat Consubstantial 2 had kittens. A couple of days later my cat Charybdis had kittens. A couple of days ago Connie 2 went absolutely crazy and started stealing Charybdis’s kittens. Charybdis started stealing kittens back. When they started playing tug-of-war with a kitten, I decided this must stop. I cleared out an extra-large kitten box and put everyone’s kittens inside.

Connie 2 and Charybdis settled down at first. Then Connie 2 went nuts again and started moving the kittens behind the television. She also chewed some toes off of one of her kittens. I threw her out so she can be a barn cat again and Charybdis was left with eight kittens to raise.

Then another pregnant cat, Umberto, jumped in the kitten box and had a kitten. Just one. She was an only-child kitten herself and tends to have small litters. But she also adopted all the other kittens and currently is helping Charybdis raise the whole tribe. She does try to let her own kitten eat first but since it is 9 days younger than the rest, she needs the extra help.

Umberto is accustomed to raising kittens with other cats. In spring Umberto had kittens, as did Umberto’s daughter Angelica, as well as Consubtantial 1, Consubstantial 2 and perhaps Charybdis. They raised the kittens together— there were a few kitten deaths so we were left with 3 of Connie 2’s babies. Umberto was willing to let the babies nurse when Connie 2 wanted to wean them so Umberto became the most important mother.

I might mention that all mothers are normally barn cats but I take them in the house when pregnant so the babies are socialized. Barn-raised kittens are so wild, I had one jump out of the barn loft when I approached it. (The kitten was OK.)

Other things I am celebrating is that I found a new weekly blog hop, Rebekah Loper’s Worldbuilding bloghop. It’s not only fun it actually does help in the worldbuilding process.

I’m also celebrating that I have found some popular topics to blog about. I wrote a post about conservative church congregations trapped in liberal denominational bodies and that post did better than even my famous Lutheran Rosary post which is a perennial favorite here.

Worldbuilding Wednesdays: Economy — Feudalism in the Zombie Apocalypse

Worldbuilding Wednesday, a weekly blog hop by Rebekah Loper, is today, and our topic is the Economy. Economy is an all-important topic in worldbuilding which is often neglected— who wonders how Frodo managed to pay Samwise? But I’ve only just written a post about the economic collapse caused by the zombie apocalypse which happens in the third book of my as-yet-unwritten Revenant Nation series.

So I’m narrowing the focus to one aspect of the new economy— feudalism. Because if you don’t own land or any form of wealth when the Zombie Apocalypse hits, all you have is your labor power to sell.

The new wealthy of the Zombie Apocalypse world are the people who control food resources— farmers. Imagine a typical dairy farmer in Menominee county, Michigan— there are a few such farms within walking distance of my house. They will still have their herds once the Z.A. hits— but lack of fuel and electricity means that they will be needing greater supplies of labor.

Human beings who survive the zombie carnage in the cities and larger towns will need work to provide food and a place to stay. It is almost inevitable that arrangements will be made, trading the labor power of workers for a place to build a cabin and a supply of food.

The workers will be at first fully unskilled— how many people know how to harvest grass for hay using a hand scythe or even a horse-drawn hay cutter? But with practice the survivors will become skilled peasants of the European type.

The farmers will be expected to supply some of the food needs of their workers, perhaps giving them a cut of the milk, butter and cheese harvested. But the new peasants will be expected to produce some of their own food through gardens and the like.

I have read that in Ireland the peasants subsisted on their potato crop plus what they got from the family cow. At least until the potato famine came along. Although a diet of potatoes plus butter, milk and cream is nutritionally horrible— too many carbs— it was able to sustain life. The new peasants of the Z. A. world will likely have to discover a similar way of basic subsistence to survive.

The wealth of the farmers will depend on how near they are to transportation of their goods to a market. Some farms— cultivated by the military to feed the troops— will be supplied with fuel and operate in a nearly normal method. Other farms, without the market, will mostly be about feeding their workers.

At first, most of the purchases people make will be in the form of barter. Perhaps some people will be able to install solar or alternative electricity in exchange for long-term food supplies. It will probably be a few years before a stable currency is reestablished.

In addition to food and/or a chance to produce one’s own food— one can’t garden without a home to garden from— a farmer will probably have to provide a degree of protection. The Z. A. world will likely be full of would-be Negans who would love to enslave other people. A farmer who arms some of his trustworthy male workers would be able to fight off most threats of that sort.  New peasants choosing a farmer for a ‘master’ would take into consideration the ability of that master to protect his workers.

Worldbuilding Wednesday blog hop: DEATH!

Death is a part of life. The last part. It’s also today’s topic in the Worldbuilding Wednesday blog hop, which is hosted by Rebekah Loper on her blog Fantasia Hearth

In my WIP series Revenant Nation, which is a near-future political dystopia with zombies, people start out with attitudes on death that are pretty much that of Americans today. They leave death and the handling of bodies to morgues, funeral homes and churches. The Rosa party, the faction which is making it a dystopia, prefers cremation and party-dominated secular funerals. The Settlers, a rural faction, has members who experiment with do-it-yourself burials, cremations, and eagle-burials on their own land. (Eagle-burial is when you tie a corpse in a tree and leave it for the eagles.)

The spread of zombie infection changes burial customs. Corpses have to be handled promptly in case they were infected. In the Rosa party dominated cities they are disorganized and most infected corpses rise as zombies. In the area dominated by the Settlers, smashing in the skull of the dead person with a sledge hammer becomes part of the death rites. In Catholic families, on the order of the current pope who is in exile in Northern Wisconsin, a blessed sledge hammer is used. After a while, this becomes a part of the death rites even for people who are known to be uninfected. (It’s not like TWD where everyone is infected.)

Large numbers of zombie corpses are killed (or should that be re-killed) by shots or blows to the head and are then left somewhere— often a paved area— to dry out during warm days of summer. When they are dried out somewhat the corpses are burned.

Mourning procedures change depending on if a person died of the infection, turned, and killed people as a zombie. Some communities ban the wearing of mourning bands for someone whose corpse killed people as a zombie.  Others use a charcoal gray mourning band for such cases. People in the Judeo-Christian faiths tend to not blame the dead person for what his corpse did as a zombie, but are concerned about the feelings of those who lost family members to zombies.

Spiritual aspects: among religious believers with afterlife beliefs, a person is held to have died and his spirit gone into the afterlife at clinical death. The zombie that may arise from his body is considered its own entity, more animal than human-like. IT is widely believed that a person is not responsible for evil actions performed by his zombified corpse. Anti-religious types like those in the Rosa party often insist that the zombies are not risen from death, that they are the same person they always were only with brain damage. They are wedded to the idea that humans have no soul and that nothing happens after death. Which is why Rosa ruled regions can’t cope with zombie infestations effectively.

This has been a post in the Worldbuilding Wednesdays weekly blog hop. It runs from July 26 to Aug. 1. If you are an author currently doing worldbuilding, it’s a great opportunity to get inspired to do more work. Join us at http://rebekahloper.com/worldbuilding-wednesdays/ and sign up.

 

Define your blog niche to find more readers

I’m often working on improving my blog and my blog’s traffic. One resource I use is a site called ProBlogger. Today they had a post with the title How to Approach Influencers in Your Niche. OK, the problem with that was I wasn’t sure about the ‘niche’ thing. So I searched their site for a post on ‘niche.’ I found 15 Questions to Ask to Help Identify Your Blogging Niche or Focus.

This post contains a podcast on the topic. There is also another page which lists the 15 questions, called What Should I Blog About?.  Going through the questions I become more aware that I am a multi-topic blogger. There is a focus on writing and blogging, a focus on the genres of SF, fantasy and zombie fiction, a focus on politics, one on Asperger’s Syndrome, and also there is the faith thing.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I won’t ever be the top writing blog, or the top blogging blog, or the top zombie blog, or the top faith-based blog. But maybe I can be a good solid blog for people interested in several of these topics.

One thing I have noticed is that my faith-related posts sometimes get a lot of traffic. My all-time most popular post is the one about The Lutheran Rosary. Every day I get one or more visitors reading that post. Yesterday, when I posted on Churches in Chains, I got 42 page views. Normally I get 14. So I think I’m going to keep up with my Sunday posts on faith topics.

I also use Twitter to get my blog posts out in to the world. I use Buffer in order to post to Twitter several times a day without being on the Internet all day long. I’ve read it is recommended to post each blog post three times— the original posting time, later that same day, and then the next day. Of course I also go on Twitter to retweet other people’s posts and interact. I hope that will bring my blog traffic up.

If you are a blogger, what is your blog’s niche? Please tell us in a comment!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, what topics on this blog do you like the best?

On Twitter? If you leave a link to your Twitter page, I will follow you. (Though if you post naked pictures or other stuff I don’t care for, I may not stay a follower for long.)

 

Worldbuilding Wednesdays: Clothing

Author Rebekah Loper has this blog hop called Worldbuilding Wednesdays. In spite of the fact that today’s theme is about clothing, I’m going to participate. Here goes! http://rebekahloper.com/worldbuilding-wednesdays/

My current WIP is for a series I have envisioned called ‘Revenant Nation.’ It’s a near-future political dystopia in a world where zombies are real, but not as dangerous as the pro-totalitarianism Rosa political party.

Some of my characters are a part of the Settlement movement, where people leave the Rosa-party-controlled urban areas and create rural settlements where they live old-fashioned, more self-sufficient lives.

Settlements started out as a way to protect Amish communities. Christian Settler women commonly adopt modest-dress fashions, which are of several types.

Neo-Amish styles use the exact same patterns that Amish women use for their dresses. But brighter colors are allowed. Also, some who use Neo-Amish dress allow themselves some print fabrics for the apron and cape of the standard Amish dress, or print dresses with plain, usually white aprons and capes. These styles are most popular with Amish fiction fans.

Pioneer style dresses honor the women of the pioneering age. They are also called Laura dresses after Laura Ingalls Wilder. These dresses are almost always worn with sunbonnets. The dresses themselves are often more like 1970s versions of the old styles.

Trachten styles are based on the official national and regional styles of dress from Europe, and also on the dirndl style of dress. Many women seek out the trachten style from the homeland of their ancestors. Others pick a long-skirted version of the dirndl dress. Plain versions are made for everyday use, and fancier ones for use going to church, synagogue or mosque. Clothing styles based on national dress of non-European nations are considered to be in the trachten category, and most seamstresses who make dirndls and other trachten styles have patterns for Asian and Middle Eastern costume as well.

Denim jumpers are used by most settler women for outdoor chores. In some families these are the primary style of dress.

Men tend to not follow these styles too closely. Men tend to wear jeans with plaid shirts for work/everyday wear. For more formal occasions Western wear or Amish mens’ clothing are the inspirations.

American Indians, whose reservations provide a legal basis for the Settlements, have adopted an odd style of dress which is a combination of Indian styles and fantasy-world elven costumes.

The style of Rosa party members, by contrast, is unisex and immodest versions of contemporary fashions.


Fantasia Hearth – Worldbuilding Wednesday – Clothing  This is today’s post by Rebekah Loper, founder of the blog hop. It was nice to discover I’m not the only woman on the planet who was taught to sew in childhood. Nor the only one intimidated by today’s fabric prices.