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the dog-radio spitting only noise, the fluttering neon bunny girl (11/4/21)

i don't have a ton to say today - i just wanted to share my thoughts about worldbuilding in general as a concept

i recently read this amazing wonderful thread, which is about a worldbuilding project i've seen here and there for the past several years. please go read that thread, it made me instantly fall in love with the world the creator has spent so long working on and it really opened my eyes to a lot of things about worldbuilding

and i kind of want to... i guess, talk and think about some of the worlds i've created! i don't have any that are nearly as rich and detailed as the light era world from that thread, but i think they're interesting, and i kind of want to try and tie them together in a way


OCCAM INTERSTELLAR is probably the universe i've grown the most attached to, but ironically, it has the least amount of real, heavy worldbuilding put into it. the main gist of it is that it's set somewhere in the future - i suppose my lastest project will be dating it in the 2300s - and it's all about space exploration and travel. in this universe, earthlings have developed hyperspace warp drives to cut corners in spacetime and spread across the stars. the Andro-Milky galactic group has been thoroughly populated with satelitte territories, and several extraterrestrial species have come to be known and even befriended.

i wish i had more to give you! i don't know why, but even though i've been living with this place in my head for more or less the last 4 years, i don't have much to say about it... it's not very interesting on its own!

but maybe that's why it's kind of so close to my heart? because it can be anything, really honestly - because it's kind of nothing except the limitless void of space? but also, it's a cozy little AA-class box jumper ship, living quarters the size of a hotel room, a nice big dashboard and enough space for a stowaway or two

it's a road trip, really. i've always liked road trips, being crammed in a car like sardines with people you care about and maybe sometimes even enjoy the company of. you're not having fun, exactly, because there's not a lot to do, but you're not exactly bored

it's a liminal space. you're waiting to get to the place you need to be next, and seeing the landscape around you change is a kind of alchemical reaction - your brain kind of goes somewhere else, but the somewhere else is here, because every single minute you're suddenly somewhere else on the road. maybe that's the feeling at the heart of OCCAM


Anwood City (pronounced like "on-wood") is where i put my cyberpunk worlds. you could probably make a good argument that Anwood City can exist at the same time as OCCAM, just on Earth instead of across its satellite territories. but Anwood City isn't exactly a place you want to live, not really

it's a single city-state that covers much of North America, spanning more or less between Edmonton and Mexico City. it used to be that Anwood City was just another city in the United States, then its own county, then a state, and now it's basically a country in its own right

long ago - if we're placing it in the same continuity as OCCAM, after much of the spacefaring terrestrials would have left the planet already - Anwood began using an experimental neural network to try and predict things like weather patterns, crime, accidents, etc. neural network technology is many times more powerful at this point than in our world; the Oracle, as the program is called, usually makes false predictions, but several of its predictions do come true with alarming specificity

the extremely well-funded Oracle Service set up to maintain and refine the Oracle program became more and more powerful. out of all five services in Anwood - the others being Medical, Processing, Recreation & Welfare, and Security - the Oracle Service eventually became the seat of power for all of Anwood, with the Oracle making all the decisions

the trouble is, Anwood is fucked. the Medical Service puts each and every citizen in insurmountable debt, the Processing Serivce is subject to its own unruly bureaucracy, the R&W Service only cares about propaganda and joy enforcement, and the Security Service is constantly chasing specters of Radicalism within its own ranks, fighting a war against itself. meanwhile, a handful of metacorporations are vying for control of the city

in essence, this world is a way for me to be pessimistic and imagine what new horrors await us in the oncoming years. beacuse though i said you could make the argument that Anwood City takes place in 2300, it seems to me more like 2100, or even sooner - a world where the government is controlled by tech bros and bureaucrats, a paranoid Neo-Red Scare runs wild, and it's all so painfully normal. this is the world we would rebel from if we knew what the world was supposed to be, but i don't even know if i'm interested in rebelling against this world - i think the more interesting story to tell, for me, is the story of the people who find a way to be okay in spite of it all

in case you were wondering, Anwood City is transparently a modification of Alpha Complex, from the game PARANOIA. it originally came out of a cyberpunk hack of PARANOIA that had the Computer as a neural network, which i never released


there's a project i've outlined - it really is a tragic story, and i should share it sometime, but i haven't got the time - and it's all about someone doing the same thing, over and over again, hoping for a different result this time

and what i was kind of wondering, is what if this is also a story about a revolution? what if the revolution is snuffed out, every time, and comes back, over and over again

and i realized that if this one person could just change their mind, once - losing the one they love in the process, of course - but if they could just change one thing then the revolution would succeed

and so that's what Black Sand is. it's the capital city of an unnamed nation, which gradually becomes the nation itself. (maybe Black Sand later becomes Anwood City?)

but the thing is, every couple of generations, there's a giant riot. and the riot is always led by two people, against their oppressive government which is headed by a man who promised to change things but who became bitter and jaded. and one of the revolutionaries is always struck down by the tyrant, and their comerade always whisks them both away, into the future, into a dream where it could all work out next time

so it's basically about past lives, reincarnation. i think that Black Sand, as a city, is kind of like a haunted house. in the same way that a haunted house is possessed by the trauma it witnessed, pantomiming that pain over and over, so too is the city of Black Sand. the conflict was never really resolved - the revolutionary never dies, the comrade never leads the rioters to victory, but the tyrant doesn't truly stamp out the revolt, only tamp it down to be ignited again later

and i think in a lot of ways, Black Sand is a city in arrested development. the technology changes - the story i planned for it envisions it as fluctuating between a sort of Biblical time period and the cyberpunk future, so maybe it really is proto-Anwood - but the landmarks, the people, everything always repeats somehow. there's nothing new here. maybe that's something


i didn't realize how much energy this would take out of me, so, i'm cutting this short. maybe i'll continue it tomorrow. bye!

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