Aligare in the distant futurePosted: March 11, 2013
I sometimes try to imagine what Aligare’s future will be like. You know, the futuristic kind of future. With electronic devices and synthetic materials and sculpted cityscapes, and maybe space travel or something. Because how cool is it to imagine shiny futures?
It’s hard enough to predict the future for humans on Earth — and science fiction has seen some predictions turn out wrong already. In the last century, we’ve gone from airplanes being sensational to smartphones being commonplace. We’re piling technology onto advancement onto revolution and struggling to keep up with ourselves. The rapid change is probably because human society is very competitive. We’re always trying to one-up our enemies, so we invent in times of war. We have many brand names vying for shelf space, so companies search for the next new thing. And there are always ambitious people who invent simply for the joy of it, or because they want to solve a problem.
My Aligare society, on the other hand, isn’t prone to rapid change. The three peoplekinds live peacefully and have no history of resenting each other, so it’s highly unlikely they’ll start the wars that drive invention. Sharing and bartering is commonplace — since it’s a simple fact that everyone has a different skill set — so there’s not much motivation to compete with the other guy. Why try to fly like a korvi? He’ll happily fly a message for you, if you’d like. So in Aligare, change is mostly driven by the rare, ambitious few. One person who designed a better farming tool and shared the concept with everyone. One person who found a treatment for a dread illness. The exceptional few people that legends speak of. That’s not a recipe for broad-scale change anytime soon.
In my mind, that’s the biggest weakness of Aligare’s peaceful, friendly society: it’s not prone to fighting, therefore not prone to revolution. That spares them from some of the bloodier chapters of human history, but it also makes invention and innovation come at a glacial pace. If korvi, aemets and ferrin achieve a shiny, technological future, it probably won’t be for many thousands of years.
But then again, my characters could surprise me. If they met some enormous threat, one generation of folk could very well rally together to protect each other and create tools of change. Maybe build some kind of steampunk industrial age that leads to even greater things. Indoor plumbing and medical surgery, and wondrous devices powered by casting-charged quartz stones. I’m not sure I want that to happen. I mean, it’d make an awesome fanfic. I did consider steampunking Aligare up when I was trying to sell it to traditional publishers. But shiny futures come at a price. They might be more like dystopias than utopias (although I’ve doubted before that a clean good/bad split is possible).
Given how humanity has struggled with our sudden growth spurts, it would be less painful for Aligare progress to crawl along a million years, instead. I’m happy with a rural fantasy tone for my folk — as cool as a quick injection of sci-fi might be.
- Barter in Aligare (heidicvlach.wordpress.com)
- Aligare weather and its lack of cold (heidicvlach.wordpress.com)
- Salterra sickness (heidicvlach.wordpress.com)