Eras & Techs of Animilia
Currently Animilia concerns two universes, an Old World and a New World. The Old World is based on ideas I had from age 3 to 13; the New World was created when I was 14. The loss of the Old World leads to the colonization of the new. The Old World is more like the world as we know it, and otherly beings in it (animal spirits, elementals, "angels") usually stay hidden from its inhabitants. In the New World, the otherly is much more actively involved in the people's lives and struggles. Only these two planets have indigenous life; many others are later colonized and terraformed, but there are no "aliens" in these stories.
Being a fan of strategy games, in which one can progress from ancient to modern or future eras in the course of a game, I would not want to adopt the relative stagnation of technology over thousands of years found in myths such as those by Tolkien and George Lucas. I believe that when a society has both reasonable stability and a worldview conducive to science, technology will progress rapidly, even from ancient times. Here are the general eras of Animilia:Old World
Classical Era: This is a pretty straightforward conglomerate of elements from Earth history, from 3000 BC to the middle ages. Racial conflict is highest in this era, though cooperation is stronger. People live in tribal cities, which can grow very large. Metalworking is quickly developed. Weapons of the time include traditional swords, spears, arrows, trebuchets, and so on, in addition to the natural defenses many creatures are born with. Balloons, gunpowder and rocketry are developed later in this era. This is the period Velvet Cloak, Blue Roan
is set in.
Steampunk Era: A recent addition; it occurred to me that it's better to have a steampunk era than not to.
The discovery of a mineral fuel superior to both coal and internal combustion would kick-start the creation of huge and wonderful machines, like the giant mechanical spider in the 1998 film "Wild Wild West," plus airships and various flying machines. Cities become increasingly artificially constructed. Microcircuitry is developed towards the end of this era.
Science Fiction Era: The immediate star system is quickly colonized, while scientists study the manipulation of matter and space. Crystalline computers called thials are created which can be cybernetically implanted in one's wrist. Interstellar travel is soon made possible through the creation of "rivers," conduits across the galaxy in which ships are not constrained by normal space-time. Rivers are somewhat like wormholes, but rather than taking the traveler completely out of the visible universe, rivers are present and visible as bright ribbons in space. The transporter technology of the Star Trek universe is not possible here, because people are more than just the sum of their physical parts. Instead of being "beamed up," one can call down a small "river" by raising his or her hand (and thial) to the river's source; the river descends as a slender whirlwind and carries him or her away into the sky. A multitude of weapons and other technologies are developed by the colonies seeded across the galaxy. The colonies quickly become powerful new civilizations. Before long, a great leader unites several worlds and begins a war which ravages the galaxy and culminates in the destruction of several entire star systems, including that of the Old World. Guided by visions, survivors flee across the galaxy, gaining in numbers as they go, until they cross over into the New World.New World
Science Fantasy Era: Its turns out that this world was set aside from the beginning to be a refuge in this time. The survivors establish several civilizations on this planet and its moons. A few of the plans for this world can be seen in this piece
(which also contains six "rivers" emanating from the central tower). Science Fantasy Animilia is a picture of harmony in various forms, including harmony between advanced industry and nature, a possibility which many storytellers pretend does not exist.
Force fields have been used as shields and containment barriers for some time by this point, but now they are developed into "force nets," which can be used to move and manipulate matter, and filter it at an atomic level. Time bubbles can be projected with force nets, in which time passes very quickly or very slowly. Fast time bubbles can, for example, be used to grow plants in seconds, if the required light, moisture and nutrients are supplied using the force net. Slow time bubble generators become standard kitchen appliances, replacing refrigerators and freezers. More advanced force nets can be used to construct even intricate machinery. Force net generators are miniaturized and integrated into thials. A force net usually appears as a wispy, ethereal fabric emanating from its user's thial. It's possible to form this "fabric" into wings, though it's usually more practical to fly by using the net to manipulate air in the manner of a jet engine. Force nets have myriad other uses; for example, in medicine, they allow the detection and elimination of cancer genes with 100% accuracy and efficiency, removal of dangerous clotting agents from the bloodstream, internal manipulation of food intake to remove excess fats and sugars, and so on.
With personal shielding rendering weapons useless, thials are now used to generate a blade capable of cutting through any force field. These blades take on many appearances. By default they are dark and featureless, but if a warrior receives the blessing of an animal spirit, his or her blades will be strengthened with the essence of that creature's being. Thus blades may resemble the horn of an oryx, the iridescent shell of an insect, or the bioluminescence of deep sea creatures. And when a warrior is riding an ignited elemental spirit creature
, his or her blades will become that spirit's element in its form of purest power.