Fiat Currency in SciFi Worldbuilding

One problem many authors have in building a logical science fiction (or fantasy) world is that they don’t know *stuff about economics. And so they come up with worlds that readers cannot believe in— like a fantasy-world I once read, in which a nation existed that had absolutely no agriculture and got their food by trade alone. (Why would their trading partners send them food when they could starve them out and just take stuff?)

A core item to think about in building a fictional economic/trade system is that of money/currency. In the Star Trek universe we have ‘credits’ in the Federation which we are to suppose are just like dollars, but more futuristic. But what is the dollar, anyway?

The US dollar is an example of fiat currency. That is, it’s money because the government says it’s money. Right now, the dollar works as money. Our government is fairly stable and does not print vast amounts of paper money to get itself out of debt. So the dollar is a solid currency at the moment. In the Weimar Republic in Germany after World War One, the socialist government went wild printing money— to the point there was massive inflation, people had to bring wheelbarrows of paper money to buy a loaf of bread, and in fact some of the German inflation money my grandparents brought over actual were lower-amount bills that had ‘One Million Marks’ overprinted on it.

Now, imagine space travel into that. A Terran space ship goes to planet Arleroshi and wants to buy some goods, and brings out a sheaf of US dollar bills. Will the Arleroshi people accept that? Will they know the difference between the US dollar and Weimar Republic inflation money? The US government, stuck on Terra, can’t exactly arrest people on other planets for not accepting dollars the way they would arrest a US grocery for refusing US dollars and making customers pay in yen or euros or gold or silver coins. 

The US dollar will only become useful off-world if off-world people can trade it for goods they want. If there is a regular interplanetary currency exchange so that the Arleroshi people can trade the US dollars they receive in trade for Arleroshi money or some other currency they can use, they will accept US dollars. If the US dollars mainly remain pretty pieces of paper to them, they won’t want them.

I think all trade, both in primitive or advanced societies, comes down to barter. One person has fine cows and wants a metal plowshare, another one has several metal plowshares but needs a good milch cow. A swap is arranged. 

The original money was coins stamped out of silver or gold, and it ‘worked’ because silver and gold were popular and valued commodities than many people wanted. The cow-seller, would swap cows for gold and silver coins even if he didn’t particularly want silver or gold, because he knew he could swap the silver and gold for stuff he did want. 

A futuristic society may trade on multiple worlds and trade in robots and starship parts, but the basic principle is the same— a currency, whether a fiat currency or a gold-backed one, only works if you can use it to get the stuff you want.  A complex modern economic kind of hides the ‘barter’ aspect of our economic life from us. We don’t think that we go to work to swap our labor for the US fiat currency, which we then swap at the grocer’s for grass-fed beef, cauliflower, cacao nibs, coffee and Kerrygold butter. We get hung up on ‘money’ and don’t think of it as a barter-assistance device to keep us from having to find a Kerrygold butter seller that wants our labor in accounting or flower-arranging.

In our worldbuilding work, we need to keep that barter factor in mind. If we have a fiat currency in our worlds, people have to have confidence in its buying power, and not suddenly suspect that the currency is no more useful than German inflation money. (A sudden loss of faith in a fiat currency, tragic as it is for people when it happens in real-world countries, is a nifty plot device for dystopian or apocalyptic fiction.)

May your trades be in non-inflated currency,

Nissa Annakindt

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Key to the Star Trek Aliens

Are the alien species of Star Trek (original Trek) symbols of something else? I suspected so— before there even was a Next Generation. They are of course more than that. But the symbols are a key thing to understand, especially if you are making your own aliens. Or if Star Trek and its aliens are one of your Asperger ‘Special Interests.’


Klingons are the major ‘enemy’ in the original Star Trek universe. So it’s only natural that they are a symbol of the USA’s real-world biggest enemy of the time, the Soviet Union. Klingons are quite plainly presented as cruder, more aggressive, and more direct than Terrans (‘Americans.’)

Klingons remind me of a story my high-school German teacher told us illustrating the difference between Germans and Russians. Seems a small boy’s village was taken over by German soldiers during the war. Since they boy had the good luck not to be Jewish, the German soldiers were kind to him, and let him fire off one of their machine guns. The gun jammed. The German soldiers were all upset, since now they would have to send the gun back to the manufacturer to get it fixed.

As the war went on, the Germans left, and Russian soldiers marched into the village. The boy made friends with these soldiers as well, and they let him shoot one of their machine guns. The gun jammed. A Russian soldier took the gun, smacked it against a big rock, and the gun worked just fine again.

I can totally see Klingons smacking one of their disruptors against a rock to fix it, instead of sending it back to a factory into the hands of whiny, not properly Klingon eggheads.

Romulans and Vulcans

Though Romulans were an enemy race and Vulcans an ally, it was also made quite clear that they were somehow related. Romulans were more aggressive, because they were more emotional. Vulcans traditionally controlled their emotions, and were more peaceful. 

I believed that both Romulans and Vulcans were symbols of Asian peoples. The Romulans were symbols of the Chinese— a mysterious people who had gone communist and assisted the North Koreans in killing Americans during the Korean War.

The Romulans in Star Trek were a mysterious enemy— the Federation had fought a war against them before without ever seeing a Romulan, living or dead, and so they didn’t know Romulans looked like Vulcans. Like the Klingons/Soviets, the Romulans/ChiComs were an aggressive empire likely to conquer planets and never give them back. 

The Vulcans were symbols of the Japanese people— not the WW2 enemies that attacked Pearl Harbor and committed atrocities against civilians in Nanking, but the later, allied-to-us Japanese that we perceived as good, possessing an ancient culture, and friendly. The Vulcans were a more mature species, but we Terrans had a thing or two to teach them. Starfleet only had one Vulcan officer, Spock— and he was not only half Terran, but half AMERICAN. 


They were the blue-skinned guys with an antenna and white hair. They required enough make-up that there were no Andorians on the Enterprise crew. The very little we saw of them mainly made me think they were a symbol of race/skin-color issues, especially of the more exotic races/skin-colors.

Terrans/The Federation

The United Federation of Planets seems to be a knockoff of a bad Terran idea, the United Nations, but with less vampires (This is a reference to Declan Finn’s vampire novels in which we learn how to get the vampires out of the UN building. Nice to know.) Even the flag of the UFP is nearly the same as the UN flag.

Both Terrans and the Federation are symbols of Americans. Because Star Trek was an American TV show with an American audience, see? Americans are a fairly useful ‘type’ of the population of planet Earth, anyway, because Americans come from all over the planet. And you can’t say that Navaho Americans aren’t ‘real’ Americans because they aren’t Scottish Americans, or African Americans are not ‘real’ Americans because they are not Japanese Americans. 

Because Gene Roddenberry did not have time to invent dozens of alien races for the Federation and introduce them all before the storytelling got started, and because it was cheaper to have regular human actors without a ton of expensive time in the makeup chair, most people in the Federation seemed to either be Terrans or an alien species who looked exactly like Terrans.  The few exotics we saw (Andorians, Tellerites, Horta, Organians) spiced up the rest without scaring off too much of the American audience.

Or maybe the aliens of the original Star Trek WERE too much. The show was cancelled after 3 seasons, and never made it back to network television except for the cartoon Trek which also didn’t last long.

Hoping you had a happy Divine Mercy Sunday or Orthodox Easter,

Whether you celebrated or not (everyone should have a happy once in a while)

Nissa Annakindt

So, what do YOU think of my ‘key’ to the Star Trek aliens? Feel free to rant about how I’m all wrong and you, with your theory, are 100% correct. What do/did the Star Trek aliens mean to you? Or do you hate Star Trek and are ‘wrong’ enough to like other SF series better? 

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Matter Replicators in Science Fiction

They had them on the Starship Enterprise— machines that could give you whatever you wanted, from a cup of hot tea to a new uniform to a violin. But the idea goes back even further, to science fiction stories from the pulp fiction days.

The usual idea is this: a machine is invented that can turn energy into ‘stuff.’ Food items, manufactured goods, whatever. And since the cost of energy in these stories is significantly less than the cost of getting items through agriculture, mining and manufacturing, it ushers forth an age of prosperity and plenty.

Unless of course you are a farmer or factory worker, in which case your job is not only gone, but it is obsolete and won’t come back. And since the energy to work the replicators may be cheap but won’t be free, the unemployed won’t be able to eat, except through the charity of the employed. 

But who can be employed in the brave new replicator age? Almost everyone’s job will be gone. Of course some jobs will hang on due to tradition or politics. Public school teachers could easily be replaced by computer programs that won’t leave any child behind because each child will be treated as an individual— which public schools can’t or won’t do— but public school teachers unions are an important political force and source of campaign donations. So schools stay. They don’t even computerize instruction so that the actual school facilities would be only about the schools’ babysitting function. Because unionized teachers, no matter how dreadful, are sacrosanct. At least to the politicians that get money from teachers unions.

But when the vast majority of jobs are obsolete due to replicators, fewer jobs, even union ones, will be sacrosanct enough to hang on long. It’s like horse harness manufacturers once cars were invented and in use. Very few people are employed in that job today.

The jobs that will be booming are in replicator technology. There will be no replicator factories, just a big replicator replicating more replicators and replicator parts. But someone will need to take the newly replicated replicators and put them in boxes to ship to wherever replicators are needed/wanted. There will have to be replicator installers and repairmen. 

Craftsmen will become obsolete. Who will want a custom-made violin when every grade-school kid taking violin lessons can have a replicated Stradivarius? Even the most fashionable artist will have a hard time selling paintings when the customers could buy a replicated Rembrandt or Van Gogh for less. 

When writing a story in which replicator technology appears, you must decide on what the limitations of the technology are. Could you use a replicator to replicate people— perhaps make yourself an army of replicated trained soldiers? Or could you use a replicator to feed all the people of a starving Third World country? Or is replicator food not a true duplicate of the food it is intended to replicate. Maybe a replicated steak is high in carbs and low in protein and fat.

Who controls the replicators in your story world? If you have to be a member of a certain political party or faction in order to have access to replicators, what will that do to society? To democracy? And what happens to people who are on the outside and can’t get replicator access or replicated goods?

What are the social rules limiting what you can do with a replicator? Are there things you CAN do which are not allowed? Perhaps you COULD make an exact replica of the Mona Lisa with a replicator but there are laws and social taboos that would make it unthinkable. Or perhaps the replicator-owning caste doesn’t allow certain rich-people foods, like caviar or exotic mushrooms, to be replicated for the common people.

In the old Soviet Union, the saying among workers was ‘We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.’ If a socialist (or National Socialist) party had control of replicator technology, could they fulfill the broken promise of socialism and bring prosperity to the workers— or at least the ones that were loyal party members?

And what about working? Replicator technology might mean there were few people who actually needed to work. Would the non-working majority look down on the replicator repairmen? Or would there be an effort to allow the non-working ‘caste’ to die out— either through enforced ‘birth control’ or through more gruesome methods?

How would YOU write a story with replicator technology? What factors do you think are most important? Do you think replicator technology would be more of a blessing or more of a curse? Share your opinion in a comment!

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Why Aliens Attack (part 1)

Why Aliens Attack

A Writer’s Guide to Extraterrestrial Conflict

It’s the theme of movie after movie, of some TV series, and of many science fiction books and short stories. Extraterrestrials come to Earth in their high-tech machines and attack us. Usually, human technology can’t do much to fight back, at least not at first.

People whose ideas tend more toward the peace-and-love movement declare that these stories are just awakening fear and hatred towards probably-nice aliens we haven’t met yet. More cynical types declare that this is the good that comes of those stories— to make us more aware of a possible danger we haven’t encountered yet.

When the first alien Mothership starts destroying major Earth cities, they probably aren’t going to send out a notice to us giving a list of their reasons for attacking us. They may not think we are an advanced enough race to be worth talking to. And, unlike movie aliens, they may not have learned Earth languages by listening to a few moments of Earth radio broadcasts. There may be no communication possible for months or years.

One thing we can know is that the trip from the alien homeworld to our Earth required a lot of effort, as well as technology we ourselves don’t possess yet. Because of that effort, we know our alien soon-to-be overlords have a reason or set of reasons in mind when they came here. They may not share that reason with us. But for the alien characters in a work of fiction to be credible, they must have a reason. Or a series of reasons.

In a work of fiction, much will depend on how our aliens are portrayed. In some movies, especially older ones, we don’t get to know the invading aliens except through what their spaceships do. We don’t know any aliens by name or know how they live or what they do for a hobby when they aren’t busy knocking down the Eiffel Tower. The movie ‘Independence Day’ is a lot like that. The aliens are remote and rarely shown, and the one message they have for humans is ‘die.’

That is one fictional choice. Another, more thoughtful choice is to be found in Harry Turtledove’s ‘Worldwar’ series. In that series, an alien race called ‘the Race’ invades Earth right in the middle of World War Two. We get to meet individual aliens, like Atvar the Fleetlord and his subordinates, and various humans, from a couple of minor-league baseball players to a Jewish man about to die in Nazi captivity when the aliens come and liberate the Warsaw ghetto.

Now, the aliens in Worldwar don’t start off with telling the humans why they are invading and why they would be better off surrendering right away. Humans and the Race get to know each other more gradually. But both human and Race characters are portrayed as individuals in a way that the aliens in Independence Day are not. We don’t even know the name of one alien in Independence Day— or if those aliens even have names, or individuality.

Writers may find the concept of an alien attack on Earth to be inspiring. But writers must be aware that this concept has been floating around the science fiction world for decades. If you don’t keep up with current science fiction books and short stories, if you mainly get your sci-fi concepts from movies, or, still worse, from OLD movies, you may be just recycling old sci-fi concepts in a thoughtless way. The solution is to think things through. Why do your aliens attack? What do they want? What do they plan for the surviving humans? And what are the aliens like? Could YOU see yourself as one of your aliens, participating in an attack on Earth? What are you doing it for? How should the puny humans you are attacking see your presence? As liberation? As a working-out of evolution or God’s will? As a chance for advancement to the aliens’ level? It’s up to you, as a writer.

This is the first part of a series on science fiction stories featuring alien attacks, looking at possible reasons for the alien attacks. If you like this article, comment with any questions or suggestions for the series. Sharing the link on social media is also a help.

My Star Trek fantasies

Being a writer starts out with having fantasies— making up stories in your head. At first, we do it for our own amusement. It’s only later that we decide to write down some of our fantasies and become Real Writers.
The biggest influence on my early making-up-stories was the original Star Trek series. As a kid, I often went on long walks through my neighborhood or a nearby woods, making up a Star Trek story all the time. Of course, these stories were silly. If I had written any down, they would be embarrassing. Kids’ fantasies are like that.
Since I was a big Star Trek fan, I watched the episodes over and over, and internalized the rules of that particular science fiction universe. I loyally ignored the weird, contradictory stuff- like the fact that the Enterprise had an actual chapel but no chaplain or even visiting priests, pastors or rabbis. Over the years of making up stories, my Star Trek stories became better. Though they also became less like the Official Star Trek canon and more like what I wished Star Trek was like.
At a certain point in my later childhood, I decided I was a general science fiction fan and tried to read other science fiction. Didn’t always have luck finding stuff I liked. I remember one story where a space traveller discovered that the Star of Bethlehem was a supernova that destroyed an inhabited planetary system. And then there was The Cold Equations, where the stowaway girl-character I thought of as the main character has to be killed to save other lives.
I eventually discovered stories I did like. Some, like the Darkover series by She Who Must Not Be Named, I can no longer bear to read when I discovered unpleasant realities about the author in a book written by her daughter, Moira Greyland. So I had to find other authors. Like Declan Finn, Karina Fabian, Daniella Bova and Jill Williamson.
But my mental Star Trek stories have persisted all these years. I used to have plans to write one of those Star Trek novels from Pocket Books. I used to read and collect them compulsively. But for a few years I didn’t buy new ones due to a bookstore shortage in my area. I recently bought a new Star Trek novel and saw that the series had been utterly ruined. The novel showed what should have been an exciting action sequence. But a character was wasting time worrying about what pronoun she should use while THINKING about unisexual aliens— she chose a newly invented ‘alternative’ pronoun. I chose not to waste my money on such drivel again. Real action heroes don’t waste time worrying about THINKING the wrong thing.
Since I’ve been aware for years that my mental stories now contain a lot of original content— persistent characters who never appear in Star Trek, an interplanetary system that’s nothing like the United Federation of Planets, a space fleet that is not taxpayer supported but has to support itself by hauling trade goods from planet to planet….. I’ve been working for some years on creating an original setting and character group that I can use as a replacement for my unoriginal Star Trek stuff so I can write an original space opera novel or series.
I think that many of use writers are working through something similar. We have long connections to other people’s fiction that stimulates our own creative side. And then we must cut the cord and create something original to take its place, We have to think about what it is about those other people’s fiction that inspires us, and what parts we don’t like so much or that we could replace with something we like better. And then we have to take that flood of ideas we have and make them consistent. For example, if Christians are widely persecuted in your universe, you can’t have Christian leaders wielding great power without explanation. Perhaps you can have persecution in most places and Christians-with-power in others.
The thing to remember is that your writing is first about YOU. What you like, what stimulates your imagination to produce ever-more ideas. You have to shape your ideas so that there are at least some groups of readers who can enjoy your work, but you shouldn’t be writing stuff you can’t stand. You probably can’t do that over the long term, and even if you can, you won’t enjoy it.
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Science-fictional languages & Esperanto

In older science fiction, it was assumed that future people of different cultures would speak to one another in Esperanto, or in a fictionalized version of it. Esperanto is a real-world invented language created by L. L. Zamenhof in 1887, which is highly simplified, and can be learned by an English-speaker in about 1/10th the time it would take an English-speaker to learn French. It is also a language which largely lacks idioms which cannot be literally translated, such as saying ‘I am blue’ in English to mean ‘I am sad.’ (The English translation of the German sci-fi series, Perry Rhodan, has future slang terms with Esperanto roots, even though that’s not in the original German text.)
In early science fiction, Esperanto was new linguistic technology which seemed to scream ‘futuristic.’ That impression has changed, in large part because so many people on the planet don’t want to have to learn the international language Esperanto when they have already learned Chinese, Arabic, Spanish or English as their international language. It is commonly said that Esperanto has ‘failed.’ But since it has gone from just-an-idea with one speaker, Dr. Zamenhof, in 1887 to a language estimated to have 2-4 million speakers and maybe more who could recognize the language and communicate in it on a basic level if they had to.
A later idea of how future people would solve the interplanetary language problem was a ‘universal translator’ device like used on Star Trek. The Star Trek device could start translating without hearing a word of a new alien tongue, as far as we could see on the show. But in the real world, translation by computer is hard. There are always mistakes. Would YOU like to create a treaty with the Klingons using only a ‘universal translator,’ or would you opt for using bilingual beings as translators so they could catch the mistakes and ambiguities?
There has also been the idea that in the future, English or a version of English will be the interplanetary universal language. On Earth, our experience has been that a country with great military and economic power can induce foreign peoples of less power to learn their language, as the British Empire spread English and English-learning around the world. But our experience on Earth has also been that the most popular international language doesn’t stay so popular forever. Greek was an international language in the ancient world, and was learned by educated persons in many nations from Egypt to Israel to Rome. As Greek national power waned and Roman power grew, Latin became an international language. It continued to be an international language for a long time because the Church was centered in Rome, and the Catholic Church still uses Latin for international communications purposes. (There used to be an ATM machine in the Vatican with Latin instructions!) Later French became the language of diplomacy, and only later did English start being used for international purposes. In the future with the growing power of China and of the Muslim world, perhaps Mandarin Chinese or Arabic may have a turn at being the most popular international language.
Adopting a created language like Esperanto is a different sort of thing. It does not belong to any one nation on Earth, and it is highly unlikely that if Esperanto moves out into the interplanetary world that any Esperanto-speakers will claim it belongs particularly to Earth. Like other created international languages, it belongs to the people who have taken the trouble to learn it in order to communicate better with others. It may seem that Esperanto or other similar languages moving into common use would require loads of people (and space aliens) to become more idealistic. But actually, it is pragmatic. I learned Esperanto well enough to read it by spending 2 month studying a book on it in my spare time while I was in college. This is a short investment in time as language-learning goes. Imagine how an international or interplanetary project would be enhanced by asking (or ordering) the participants to spend the small amount of time it would take to learn to communicate with others in Esperanto.
Esperanto is not the first created language ever made as an international language. There were many such projects before Esperanto, such as Universalglot or Volapuk. Volapuk actually had a following and language clubs at one time! After Esperanto, there were languages such as Ido (an Esperanto dialect) and Interlingua. There are also languages like Slovio, a pan-Slavic language.
In the future, a new international or interplanetary language could arise that is no relation to Esperanto, but has similarities in easy of learning. It’s possible that English speakers might meld English word roots with a simplified, Esperanto-like spelling system and grammar to create a new language easy for those who already speak English as a first or second language. Or Chinese speakers, or Arabic speakers. Now that Esperanto and other simplified languages have been created, the principles are available to anyone.
What about Klingon for an international language on real-world Earth? There used to be internet rumors of how an English-speaking Star Trek fan had communicated with a Japanese Star Trek fan in Klingon. As a massive fan of Star Trek, I looked into that. I wanted to translate a few simple sentences into Klingon. But I found that Klingon had no words for the key words in my sentences, like ‘cat’ and ‘rat.’ And no mechanism for creating new words, which Esperanto has. And since Klingon is the intellectual property of Paramount Pictures, who hired the man who made up the Klingon language, we really can’t use it for an international language without permission. So an Esperanto club in Poland can’t transfer its loyalty to Klingon as an international language, as Volapuk clubs transferred their loyalty to Esperanto once Esperanto was invented, because Klingon isn’t in the public domain!
As writers, if we like the interplanetary-language concept as a plot device, we are free to create our own interplanetary language— language inventing is a legit hobby now and there are web sites that may help you— or you can used Esperanto (or Volapuk or Universalglot) as a pre-fab language in your work. Since they are international languages meant for use, they were all ‘born’ in the public domain, and are old enough that they would be in the public domain now anyway.
Esperanto is the best developed international language. There are free Esperanto learning websites and cell phone apps like Duolingo, there are still a few Esperanto shortwave broadcasts, and even more broadcasts in Esperanto on internet radio— including one on Vatican radio. Also, the Bible has been available in Esperanto from early on. The language’s creator, Zamenhof, was a Polish Jew and spoke Hebrew as well as many other languages, and he translated the Old Testament. Here is a sample: ‘En la komenco Dio kreis la chielon kaj la teron.’ [Genesis 1:1]  The New Testament was translated by the British Bible society, and the Deuterocanonical books— the books in Catholic Bibles that modern Jewish and Protestant Bibles don’t have— are also now available. So the Esperanto Bible— especially the Zamenhof-translated Old Testament— is a treasure trove of grammatically proper Esperanto stuff to quote.
I might warn other language geeks: don’t give out long solid blocks of text in Esperanto or your own fictional language or any language other than English (or whatever other language you are writing in.) It will confuse or annoy many readers, while using a word or phrase or two may be able to be ignored by people who don’t like that sort of thing. Sometimes, less is more!
Story prompts:
  1. Imagine a futuristic story in which language diversity is a problem. How will your characters solve the problem? How will they get others to agree to their solution? What will be the drawbacks and benefits of the solution your characters choose?
  2. A major corporation builds a massive factory or mine or something, and has to get workers from many linguistic groups. The corporation hires linguists to create a simple language for the corporation workers to use with one another. Over time, children are born from ‘mixed marriages’ among the workers who use the (copyrighted) corporation-owned language as their primary or only language— and they can’t leave to work for other corporations because they cannot use their native language without corporate permission!
  3. Your characters believe that Esperanto (or another interplanetary language) is evil and threatens the survival of other languages and their related cultures. Languages like Chinese and English and German are dying out the way American Indian languages are dying today (many Indian languages in the US have only a handful of elderly speakers left alive right now— when they die, the language is dead, without any native speakers.)

Teach Yourself Esperanto book

Esperanto-English dictionary

Science Fiction: Space Colonization stories

When we watch science-fiction series like Star Trek and Star Wars, it is assumed that somewhere in the universe there are Terran space colonies. There are Earth-type worlds were Earth human people grow crops and manufacture goods. These worlds support the larger culture of the series.

But where do these colonies come from? How were they formed? What kind of people went to the colonies? Did they go voluntarily, or were they required to? These are the kind of questions you must answer when writing a space colonization story.

One of the first questions is that of government involvement. Are the first colonists on the new world subject to an all-ruling government? Or are they, once they arrive, able to form their own government? We can look at examples of colonization from our own world and, in the United States, from our own history.

The Pilgrims that came on the Mayflower took it for granted that they could make some of their own governmental rules. They did not believe that they had to enforce the primacy of the Anglican Church. They were of course dissenters from the Anglican Church, and they built dissenting church communities, feeling they had the freedom to do so.

Some space colonies might be heavily supported by the home planet. Goods from the home planet might be brought to make the colonists’ lives easier. On other colonies, the colonists might be dumped with a handful of primitive tools, and allowed to survive or not by their own efforts period

Medical support is one thing that colonists may need to live without. On our own world and in our own culture, hospitals are available both for emergencies, and for routine events like childbirth. Women tend to expect high levels of medical care during pregnancy. They expect advanced interventions in cases where something goes wrong. In some cases, they expect genetic screening, followed by the termination of the lives of imperfect unborn infants. On a space colony world, women may not be given much medical support at all. Pregnancy terminations may be considered taboo, especially if done for the limitation of family size. Colonies must have an expanding population to survive. Routine abortions might make this impossible.

A big question is whether the colonists are volunteers, exiles, or draftees. Volunteer colonists may seen as the ideal, but very many people might wish to avoid giving up their whole lives to come to a primitive world. If life is made hard for certain minority groups, such as practicing Christians or Jews, these groups maybe willing to leave Earth to gain the right to practice their religion in peace. If colonists are drafted and taken against their will, they will be very disaffected, but will not choose two fail to survive just to spite those who ordered them there.

A big part of any space colonization story is the surprises. A planet is a very large place. There may be lifeforms or other dangers which have not been detected prior to the arrival of the colonists. The colonists will have to cope with these dangers on their own, whether they like it or not.

Many space colonization stories start with the very first days of colonization. Others may start years or generations after the beginning of the colony. It all depends on what the authors’ interests are. And the readers. What kind of colonization might you like to read or write?

This blog post has been written using the Enhanced Dictation available on a Mac computer. It is considered a good practice to use the dictation software on blog posts, emails and note taking, to make it easier to dictate the novel. Dictating is a skill that must be practiced.

Superversive Press: What’s a Superversive Anyway?

It’s like popcorn. I got one book from Superversive Press, I looked at the ads for other Superversive Press books in the back, and I just had to buy another one….. I’m still jonesing for 2 more Superversive books but can’t probably buy them this month as I’ve had unexpected expenses.
What does ‘superversive’ mean anyway? It’s obviously related to the word ’subversive’ somehow. I looked at the Superversive web page and found several essays on the ’superversive’ movement. But it wasn’t until I asked around for a short definition that L. Jagi Lampwright Wright told me: “Subversive is change by undermining from below. Superversive is change though inspiration from above.”
One of the projects of Superversive Press is Astounding Frontiers, a science fiction periodical. I have issue #1 which was published in July. My author friend Declan Finn has a story in the issue, and I thought it was epic. There were also stories by Patrick S. Baker, Lou Antonelli, Erin Lale, Sarah Salviander, John C. Wright, Ben Wheeler, Nick Cole and Jason Anspach.
I also have the anthology Forbidden Thoughts, which has this on the back cover: “You are not allowed to read this book. Don’t even think about reading this book. In fact, just forget about thinking all together.” So of course I had to read it.
And then there is “For Steam and Country” by Jon del Arroz, which is a steampunk novel about a girl who inherits her dad’s military airship in a time of war…. I haven’t finished it as I keep getting distracted, but I really liked the first third of the book.
It seems that most of my friends in the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance are involved in Superversive Press. I hope the effort succeeds because so far I love Superversive Press’s books. I hope readers will give some of these books a chance.

Superversive Links:
Superversive SF: Science Fiction for a more civilized age
What is Superversive Press?

MAGA 2020 & Beyond

Superversive SF Facebook Page

Would you please do me a big favor? My Facebook author page is Nissa Annakindt, poet, Aspie & cat person . I’m frustrated because I haven’t had new ‘likes’ in a while and my posts don’t have much ‘reach.’ So if you and a couple other people could ‘like’ my page and ‘like’ three posts on the page— at least I can see if that will help. Thank you so much!

Book-oriented Writers and TV-oriented Writers #amwriting

There are two kinds of aspiring writers in our age— book-oriented ones who get much of their fiction through books, and TV-oriented writers who get much, most or all of their fiction through television and movies.

Since television and books are different art forms, you can guess that the more book-oriented a writer is the better he is able to produce good books of his own. But with television ever-present in American homes and beyond- with DVD players in vans so little tots don’t have to do without entertainment on the ride to the grocery store, and televisions even intruding into family restaurants— we can understand how some folks can be TV-oriented.

I was almost wholly TV-oriented myself. My mother wrote in my baby book that they sat me up in front of the TV to watch Captain Kangaroo at six months. They thought I was a TV-watching prodigy or something. And as I grew older the first fiction that really inspired me to make up stories of my own was the original Star Trek.

But I was lucky enough to be born into a book-loving home. Neither of my parents went to college— in their day it was rare for people of their lower-income background to have that chance. I always remember my father having a collection of ‘serious’ non-fiction books– about the lives of recent presidents and statesmen, about wars, a set of books by Winston Churchill. My mother had some popular novels like Gone With the Wind and The Silver Chalice, and some sets of mystery short stories.

When I was a baby my mother bought a 12 volume set of children’s books for me called ‘My Book House.’ The first volume had nursery rhymes from around the world. The second had simpler fairy tales, and the next had more complex ones. The last volume was advanced enough that it had chapters from ‘The Mill on the Floss’ in it. When I was about nine I decided that the numbers on the books indicated the age of child who was allowed to read it. So I didn’t read the last few books as often, since by then I was finding reading material on my own.

I got the idea to want to be a writer from reading ‘Little Women.’ I don’t know that I liked writing, or the character Jo from the book who wrote, all that much. I just was afraid if I cultivated my musical talent like Beth, I’d die young.

But, more so in these days, there are a lot of people who are keen on TV shows and want to tell TV inspired stories. That’s where the impulse to write TV-based fanfiction comes from. And there are a lot of fans of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter that experienced the movies first, and may or may not have read the book series. If you are from a TV-oriented family where no one owns books or reads them, it may not occur to you that the books can be deeper and richer than any movie could be.

The answer, if you are a TV-oriented aspiring writer, is to find books you like and read them. Novelizations of movies and TV shows count, at first. As a kid, when in about fourth grade I saw another kid reading the Star Trek book illustrating this blog post— Star Trek 3 by James Blish. I nagged my parents into buying me the other books in that series, and later used my allowance to buy others in that eventual 13 book series. Later, after the movie Star Trek 2 came out, original Star Trek novels started being published by Pocket books and I regularly bought them. I now have a nearly-full bookshelf of them— though some very recent Star Trek novels I bought were so very bad, riddled with political correctness, that I don’t think I need to be buying any more. Imagine a character in the middle of action worrying about which pronoun she should use when thinking about a gender-neutral alien species. People that dumb wouldn’t survive long in a hostile situation.

Of course an aspiring writer, even of genre fiction, will want to read a variety of books, including some that are rated ‘good literature.’ Don’t be afraid of trying books like that. Some of them are even better than Star Trek 3.

The #Orville: Star Trek alternative or moral sinkhole

A lot of people who have once loved the Star Trek series but are turned off by the modern movie series in which James T. Kirk seems to be a sexual predator as well as a bratty overgrown kid. Some people seem to think the new series ‘The Orville’ is a enough like Star Trek to be an alternative, plus it’s on free TV so we can all see it.

But a recent episode shows that The Orville is not the family-safe show that the original Star Trek was. The big funny in the episode is that there was a male alien who went into heat and gave off pheromones which attracted reproductively  irrelevant species and genders. The captain of the Orville and his ex-wife and first officer were competing for the alien’s sexual attention and neglecting their duties. The ship’s female doctor— mother of two fatherless kids— had sex with an alien who looks like a pile of goo. But it was all OK in the end because the crew used the pheromones to make two male warring aliens have sex with each other and believe they were ‘soulmates.’

Ok, funny. Not someone one could watch with their kids, other people’s kids, parents, grandparents or pastor in the house, but funny. And wholly unrealistic.

In the real world a military space ship that has mainly peaceful intentions would have to train its people to resist sexual temptations especially when dealing with other species or cultures. There are good reasons why cultures all over Earth have had rules against certain forms of sexual behavior. Adultery not only destroys marriages but what happens to a child when its father suspects he’s not the daddy, and that fact can be confirmed with DNA tests? Fornication with young unmarried women can lead to them becoming unsuitable for marriage. And it is highly likely that many cultures will look at sexual relations with other, different-looking species to be a form of bestiality that would cause outrage.

In addition, it’s very possible that sexually transmitted diseases that are mild for one species can mean death to another. We can see a little of that in the history of Earth in how mild non-sexual diseases like measles became a deadly plague to Indians in the Americas. Not only would Our Heroes from the Orville probably not enjoy, say, a flesh-eating STD, if they passed it on to members of an alien species before they knew they were infected it might well be considered an act of war.

Some viewers of The Orville may believe that one of the alien crew members is involved in a homosexual relationship, since both partners seem male. But an episode reveals that though the species considers itself ‘all male’, females are born (hatched, actually) and they are given ‘sex change’ operations. The alien crew member’s husband revealed herself to be born female, so therefore the relationship is not homosexual.

The Fox channel has a long history of providing raunchy and/or inappropriate programming even if the programming might also attract children, as in The Simpsons, Married with Children, and many others I’ve never even watched. Sadly, the Orville’s content as well as its mocking tone make sure that children can’t be inspired by it as I was by the original Star Trek. If only television producers had not lost the art of making clean television programming that even Christian and/or conservative families could enjoy!