Sunday, December 13, 2015

13 Worldbuilding Questions: Numbers 3 & 4

  3.  What happened here before?
  4.  How does its history influence the present?

In the previous post I did start talking about what happened before.  The godlike Originator Race created our universe after destroying their own.

The key influence this has on our present is that our entire universe obeys their laws, and/or whims.

Panspermia is the concept that life on Earth was seeded from other places in the universe.  H.P. Lovecraft plays with this idea in At the Mountains of Madness and "Shadow Out of Time."   In fact his Old Ones are the ones who created humans as a joke or mistake.

In my universe this isn't true.  Life developed on Earth just as our scientists say it did.  Was it influenced by aliens?  Were there monoliths as described in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 and 2010?  In my initial concepts there was not.

Aliens are very powerful and intelligent.  For the most part they don't care about us at all.  They would not make an effort to "uplift" us as the aliens in Clarke's work.

Panspermia is out.  It is possible that aliens interfered in our past and could interfere with us in our future, but they are not benevolent.  This is horror after all, but why should they hate us?  They don't.  They are indifferent and unsympathetic.

This would be a good time to discuss the Great Filter.  This is a concept borne of the Fermi Paradox.  Given the number of possible worlds and the age of the galaxy, the purely random chance of life should have yielded many, many worlds, prompting physicist Enrico Fermi to ask, "Where is everybody?"  one day at lunch.

Since we have no evidence of any other life in our galaxy there must be something that keeps life from either developing at all, or if it does develop it must never get to the level of using radios and being detectable by our SETI efforts.

The thing that keeps life from developing or advancing is called the Great Filter.  There are several candidates for the Great Filter:  berserkers, self-destruction, cosmic destruction, etc.  None are very good, all are great horror story fodder.

In my stories all of these may brush against us, threatening our existence, threatening the existence of not just mankind, not just life, not just the earth, but our entire solar system.

We are also rarely and disastrously come in fleeting contact with the insanely powerful alien races that inhabit our galaxy, our universe and neighboring universes and even dimensions.  None of them is as stupid, weak and ignorant as us.  We are defenseless, like a swimmer when a great white shark decides to find out what the strange not-seal is and with casual curiosity bites off her leg.

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