A E S T H E T I C: From the Far Future to Nostalgia

From the comments:

Steve R. Neill

The early to mid 1980’s (the original timeframe for the inception of these logos) had a very interesting “subculture” that most people don’t even know about; picture it like the Vaporwave/Cyber subculture of today, but at that time, rather than being nostalgic, it was futuristic and forward-looking.

These logos and the way they were designed reflect that subculture. You can see elements of the said subculture in issues of “OMNI Magazine”, movies like Blade Runner, and even subtle hints of it in other movies such as Risky Business (Tangerine Dreams soundtrack is directly from that subculture) and Ferris Bueller’s day off (Cameron Frye’s parents house has an interior design motif that exists in the same vein, suggesting that they were within that subculture as well).

You see other elements of it elsewhere, especially in early-mid 1980’s Japanese TV Ad’s, and in early home computing magazine advertisements. Basically anywhere that relied on “futurism” to sell its product in the early 80’s used small elements of this unique faction to push a narrative of openness, utopianism, individuality, human progression, deep space, modernism and minimalism.

I believe the greatest example of this kind of “futurism” existed in the forms of Jonn Serrie’s music, such as “Starmoods” from 1984 and “Lumia Nights”, which was done to be a continuation of Starmoods, in 2001.

VHS logos display a lot of characteristics synonymous with the style of this era and timeframe, and I think it’s wonderful to see them being appreciated for the forward thinking art that they were.

Wonder how a far future culture like the Vilani — building star empires while the Terrans/Solomani were discovering iron — could be so nostalgic, so fond of the Old Ways?

Wonder no more.

Also: it’s interesting to see what The Future meant in the late 70s/early 80s, during the rule of the Little Black Books.

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From Sea To Shining Sea

An interesting hivemind invasion scenario, From Sea To Shining Sea starts off thus:

A request by Jcw3 for an especially strange scenario. In 1783, shortly after the signing of the Treaty of Paris the announcement of the official recognition of the United States of America a sudden and inexplicable event takes place. The entire population of the United States found their conscious and subconscious minds linked together in a collective hivemind. It took barely another second for every American citizen to also feel an undeniable compulsion to expand the hive consciousness by dominating the rest of humanity.

Transporting this to Traveller, the first question I would have is on the limits of this hivemind, especially in it’s ability to hold together with interplanetary/interstellar distances. Also: is the connection between the members of the hivemind of chemical, electronic, or psionic nature? Finally, is it capable of sticking with treaty restrictions?

Answers to such questions would help determine the response of the Imperial government, on the rise of such a hivemind on a human-dominant world. A less aggressive hivemind may well become a (sort of) Imperial citizen: a more aggressive and expressionistic entity will most likely be exterminated, with Vilani thoroughness.

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“It’s Evil! Don’t Touch It!”

So Imperial Scout.

So very, very Imperial Scout.

(Hivers nod in sympathy)

On the other hand, the surviving son looks to be the kind of Scout that actually lives to see two terms of service!

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A Certain Kind of Noblewoman

The Highland Park Woman
(Texas High Nobility, 1976)

THE HIGHLAND PARK WOMAN is thirty-two or thirty-three. She says she honestly forgets sometimes. She’s not particularly afraid to tell her age (she’s not that old) but she seldom does. It’s not really necessary: a ten-year-old son in St. Mark’s and a seven-year-old daughter in Lamplighter, three bedrooms and three baths on one end of Beverly Drive, her station wagon, his 98. Although she isn’t young young anymore. Last summer, in Acapulco with the Frasers, she gave up her bikini. And came back and enrolled in Louise Williams’ exercise class. She like ballet better but thinks it doesn’t keep the tummy quite as flat.

Early thirties, but downright good-looking, seated in Houlihan’s and having a Bloody Mary—one Bloody Mary—with Judy and Anne. She easily passes for late twenties, although the men who eye her probably don’t demand that kind of youthfulness and girlish charm. She’s the woman they have in mind when they get back to Detroit and Denver and tell their associates about those wonderful Dallas women.

Her hair is, or was, blond, but that was a good many streakings and tintings and tippings ago. Pulled back, short, cool. Her eyes are blue or hazel according to whether or not she has on her tinted contacts. Or prescription sunglasses. Big, oval or round. She never leaves home, summer or winter, without her glasses, of course, so unless you know her very well you don’t know what color her eyes really are. Probably not even John, her husband, remembers. Her figure is much more important, and it’s still competitive. Although the Highland Park woman hates to compete, if you want to call it that. There’s something so lower middle class about competition. Dallas is full of young stewardess types. It would be foolish and wasteful at her age to compete with them. And she certainly does not consider waitresses and bar girls to be competition at any age. God forbid.

The Highland Park Woman, Texas Monthly

Someone to contrast with English or Chinese Noblewomen.

The link was found over at GetReligion, where we also get a peek at a High Noble conflict: Why did Ross Perot turn on George H.W. Bush, another rich Texan? Look for a religion ghost

Mr. Perot espoused a kind of fiscal conservatism and toward the end of his campaign a strong law-and-order theme. But he also drew cheers when he staunchly defended a woman’s right to choose an abortion and when he bashed the religious right. Indeed, in the voter survey, only 34 percent of Mr. Perot’s voters said they attended religious services at least once a week, compared with 42 percent in the survey sample as a whole.

Mr. Perot’s army seems to include a strong libertarian streak: people seeking a measure of freedom from what they perceive as the heavy hand of institutions, religious as well as governmental. If the fundamentalist right holds sway in the coming battle for the soul of the Republican Party, Perot followers could go elsewhere.

New York Times (1992)


Culturally speaking, Bush had sinned against the values of Highland Park. He had become, among other things, a threat to the world of Planned Parenthood — one of the key organizations that Perot and his wife Margot consistently supported in Dallas. She served, for many years, on the advisory board for the Dallas branch of Planned Parenthood.

Perot was, in other words, a classy Texan — a man with his own historic copy of the actual Magna Carta and original Normal Rockwell paintings hanging in his home. He was that self-made man who earned his Eagle Scout rank in one year and, when his father died, the 25-year-old Perot dug that grave with his own hands.

When Perot hit it big, he demanded that his business disciples follow his rules — conservative suits and short hair. He would not tolerate those who were unfaithful to their spouses. When he was in town, Perot always sat at his home dinner table with his large family and he said grace.

GetReligion, Why did Ross Perot turn on George H.W. Bush, another rich Texan? Look for a religion ghost

Things are more complicated and subtle than they seem. Back then, anyways, before the years sharpen the divide and drive more people to be more consistent in their life.

If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family–anything you like–at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.

C. S.Lewis, That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy, Book #3)

As of writing, there are 27 years between 1992 and today (2019): things have changed.

Twenty-seven years is not all that long for a spacefarer that spends two-three months or so travelling the subsector, with a week or two between tours to spend with family at home.

So he finally makes his million credits, gets the house and neighbourhood his wife dreams of, has his passive income stream set up nicely.

And finally comes home to stay, and looks around.

And decides that he does not like what he sees.

And calls a few of his buddies, hook up with the old network, and gets to work, to change a few things around here.

ProTip: Ross Perot had a nice setup for making his wealth tax efficient: a sufficiently wealthy Traveller might want to look into it.

For the rest of us, I leave North’s intro to the article:

In 1996, a pair of researchers published their book, The Millionaire Next Door. It became a bestseller.

It deserved to be a bestseller. It is one of the best books I have ever read on how to build wealth. The secrets of building wealth are these:

1. Start your own business.
2. Be prepared to go bankrupt a couple of times.
3. Live frugally.
4. Don’t get divorced.
5. Minimize your taxes.

The book reported that 80% of millionaires in the United States are self-made. They did not inherit their money.

Built your wealth (in your head, your spirit and your bank account) like a good Christian should. Start your business.

(Starships are hard to find on TL 9 worlds, but there are other roads to wealth.)

Then, put it to work for the Kingdom of God.

Yes, you are entitled to a 90% cut of your earnings: God gets 10%. Taxes get deducted before you and God get your shares. But about those taxes….

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At The Right Hand of the Throne

A discussion of Esther, set in a large empire, led by an absolute monarch.

(Persian style in this case, not the Roman/European style of Traveller. But you can always change the flavour!)

While the whole oriental monarch thing is useful, I want to focus on this bit:

(From 48:53) Now we could also mention the image that’s familiar to us, of the right hand of the throne. It’s a phrase that’s used throughout Scripture. We’re told that after during his ascension Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father. The right-hand man to the King was his intermediary to others: you did speak to the king and the King didn’t speak to you. It all came through an intermediary. Jesus at the right hand of the throne is not a subordinate position.

It’s not a number-two position. It refers to Jesus as the intermediary. It means that everything goes through Jesus. He’s not just the intermediary of our prayers (and we pray through Jesus) but everything — the action from the throne, everything — that we refer to as God goes through Jesus Christ, because of Jesus Christ. It stresses the centrality of who Jesus Christ is today. He’s at the right hand – he is – and everything goes through Jesus.

The Emperor of the Third Imperium does not have an official Right Hand in Canon: although the Grand Prince, the heir to the Iridium Throne, is probably the closest thing to it, there is no special powers given to that position.

However, seeing that he (she — Grand Princess Ciencia Iphigenia — in Emperor Strephon’s court) is seated next to the Emperor, I would be careful not to annoy that man.

In the Imperium of 993, in Stellar Reaches, there is an actual Right Hand Man: Princess Elizabeth, head of the various Imperial secret services. This is a family/personal arrangement, though, rather than a part of the Imperial constitutional order.

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Digging Deep

Because I love (the idea of) scouting!

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The Corporate Life

(Small) Corporate for Life!

The modern Japanese salariman looks more stereotypically Vilani than Solomani, withthe major difference being the small 5-man business Makoto works for.

(The Vilani have a strong preference for crushing, huge — “preferably galaxy-spanning” — conglomerates.)

If anything, I’d tag current Japanese corporate culture as on the nicer end of the typical Mixed Vilani Imperial world. (Note his large home in a very expensive city, tied to his family.)

From the comments:

Ice Inducer
“If he lost his wallet, he is completely done for. Imagine having all his cash, debit cards, and transportation card in 1 place”

Chances are it’ll just be there on the ground where he dropped it, or in the train station office.

I am a strong individualist… but there are real benefits to a conformist culture.

so 12 hour work day, hour and a half commute, thats 13.5 hours. 8 Hours for sleep.. that leaves 3.5 hours of personal time per day..

“It’s the way the Vilani like it: less alone time to generate Deviate Thinking”

I’m not sure if his work routine would be that much different if he was at TL 15. Remember: even today, his face-to-face sales job is due to human/social requirements: strictly speaking, it could be all handled by social media.

But just because it could be done, does not mean it should be done.

Also, he helps out with an after-school program: quite a good-hearted thing to do! I can see this kind of thing being the ‘secret sauce’ that keeps Vilani corporate-cultures/corporate-nations holding together, even under stress. Not just money, but community: shared wealth, shared culture, shared benefits.

(That, and the whole job-for-life thing!)

Now, this is NOT a “Typical Japanese office”: it’s progressive/high-end, as of 2019.

Which means it will be somewhat standard five-ten years from now, and old-fashioned twenty years from now.

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