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This is Part 3 of my long, rambling imaginings. Heigh thee to Part 1 if you haven’t read it yet.

At last, the conclusion to this Tidally Locked World thought experiment… “Why such a gap between posts?” you may well ask, and ultimately it comes down to the fact that this whole concept just blows my mind. So much so that I’m not sure I’m really doing justice to it.

Reading about science and discussing it with other like-minded folks I’m continually forced to consider alternatives to my own ideas, i.e. In my comparative ignorance I’m missing a lot of potentially important stuff. For instance, it was pointed out regarding my previous discussion of plants that I wasn’t really accounting for just how remarkably differently plants in constant sunshine would develop. Our day/night cycle is critical to both the lifecycle and evolution of all the plantlife here on Earth, and so it’s terribly difficult to picture how this truly unique environment might influence the development of life… By way of a simple example, would all the plants be leaning at a crazy angle? Remember this is a world of never-ending sunrise, would the plants all be competing against each other to present the most and broadest leaf faces toward the sun? What hope would there be for an understory in conditions like those? Do natural disasters level the playing field from time to time? And that’s only one example, where I’ve been on the receiving end of quite a few. You see my dilemma?!?

So I’m going to take a different approach to the last two entries on this subject. What might happen to my human colonists on this far-flung world? How might they change in time; how might their society change?
The more I start to think about it, the more I’m struck by seemingly endless levels of complexity… You’d think being speculative I’d have it fairly easy here, but I’d also like to keep things within the realm of scientific and sociological plausibility, and I’m discovering that neither really make the possibilities seem any less infinite.
Riddle me this: how deeply can you trace your own current and historical relationship to this planet? Start with something innocuous, for instance I just added a little shake of cinnamon into my coffee filter (incidentally you should try this, it’s yummy). It’s the ground-up bark from some tree I’ve never seen, grown by farmers in South-east Asia whose culture is entirely alien to me, and it arrives here through an international commerce that I don’t directly participate in. From a historical perspective it’s one of the oldest know spices, carried to Europe along the Silk Road at first, and then later by East India Companies of various flags. It has certainly played some greater or lesser role in the lives of every one of my ancestors dating back to at least the 16th century. And all that from a little glass jar in my kitchen cabinet!

With that in mind I can’t really hope to suggest how unknown environments on an unknown world might effect unknown people in an unknown time, but there are a few notions that I find intriguing. The main one is the role of their new sun; much redder than ours, never rising or setting, casting deep shadows all across the landscape… From generation to generation there must be some sort of acclimation process that takes place, to the point at which the very idea of a sun moving across the sky might seem either outlandish or simply very difficult to imagine.
Whatever the spiritual beliefs of the original colonists, surely their descendants would develop some kind of reverence or deistic embodiment for their star. You could do some interesting stuff with a star like that too, since it’s always in the same place. Using an enclosed space split by a very thin beam (or beams) of sunlight ¬†you could measure quite accurately any deformation in the orbit of the planet around it’s sun. Also any parallax (perceived movement of the sun’s position) caused by the orbit of a moon or moons around the planet. Here on earth it’s the kind of thing that requires some complex mathematics and finely tuned instruments, because we keep rotating relative to any observable yard-stick. On our new world it seems like it’d require no greater technological advancement than a sundial… Would such an easily accessible measure of their place in that solar system act as a defense against insular thinking? In time might it prevent the reduction of the original colonists to mere mythic figures?

The other fascinating idea to toy with is the question of how the society might develop as it spreads both sunward and shadeward. Sunward you’d have a movement of people into ever greater heat, potentially denser and richer biological environments (until those give way to baked desert and stone) sustained by both a greater degree of energy being captured within those local systems, and more evaporation – and thereby distribution – of water.
I could imagine domiciles moving underground to escape the unrelenting solar radiation, and populations developing social mannerisms intended to conserve energy in what would presumably be a labour intensive and physically draining environment; as I’m given to believe many jungle and desert cultures have here at home. Shadeward things get colder and darker. I imagine energy into the system would get locked into larger and hardier species, but what’s the payoff? Perhaps glaciers that constantly grind away at the bedrock, depositing raw mineral resources. The lack of energy resources would seem to make it a case of rapidly diminishing returns though, and at some point the giant glacial ice sheets, constant darkness and freezing temperatures would probably make it as unrewarding as the baked spot directly beneath the sun.

Through it all though the tiniest, most unfathomable little influences could work to shape any expanding human society in ways I can’t even begin to imagine. From flavours to energy densities, hallucinogens and other potentially illicit substances, the interactions with native flora and fauna, mineral scarcities, mediums of exchange, the difficulties of trade and travel… It’s an endless amount of fodder for letting the mind wander.


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The Dose

What if every act of imagination were the seed from which a new universe grew?
What universes would you then be responsible for having crafted from the ether of the multiverse?
Mine may well be full of zombies, soviet invasions, apocalyptic wastelands, strange empires and their even stranger inhabitants, but I'd like to think that despite their idiosyncrasies they all share a general sense of hope for their respective futures.

My own little universes, made to scale...
They are the Markrocosm.
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