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Generation ships not from us

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:06 am
by ShawnDriscoll
Been reading a series of books lately about a spaceship (or spacestation, the books haven't said which so far) that has at least 80 - 90 thousand (plus thousands more that are frozen) people residing in the thing still after many many many generations. There are different cultures and religions going on. There are people, cyborgs, robots, synths. Longevity drugs are in use. So far, just a few characters know that they're on a ship of some kind and they have no name for what they see outside of it because they don't understand what it is they see out the windows.

When I started reading the books I figured this all takes place about 1000 years from now, and that maybe the frozen people are from 100 years from now. But now I'm starting to think that the books take place 100,000 years from now. And the frozen people are from 99,100 years from now. Because they have the same culture pretty much as those that have been living on the ship. They just know how the ship works compared to a regular citizen. So that means the ship grabbed those people from somewhere that already had the religions that they still use. Some of the robots hint at being asleep for 300 years onboard the ship before they were activated for martial law duties, etc. The story is being told from the point of views of characters that only know the street that they grew up on. Everything on the ship is no longer functional. People have no idea what stuff does, or was meant to be used for. Even the robots aren't sure of some things, because their programming is limited to a job that they do.

All kinds of Traveller game session ideas using non-accurate knowledge of the surroundings.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:15 am
by Tenacious-Techhunter
An inherent problem with that story is that cultures change over time; they don’t just stay constant. Throw in the decay of this or that piece of knowledge in a knowledge-dependent environment like a starship, and things are going to change even more radically. In principle, the culture you end up with shouldn’t resemble the culture you started with; there should be commonalities, but there should also have been some significant divergences.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:38 am
by ShawnDriscoll
Some of the changes on the ship are similar to how Vatican II made changes. And governments change over time. The frozen people are unaware of the changes. Changes in the life-support caused changes in the culture also, depending on where a town or a lake was located on the ship.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:17 am
by Condottiere
You could wake up where same sex marriage is the norm, or the entire galaxy is run by clones.

In a shorter timeframe, there was Ascension, where we might have had the cultural clash between an elite sixties society meeting a rather uncoordinated twenty first century one.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:18 am
by Hopeless
You mean like Wayward Pines? :shock:

I was wondering what if that generation ship is found in the present day, the people aboard resemble humanity to a great degree its only once people really start digging that you learn they were placed in stasis and sent using an experimental jump drive reverse engineered off an alien wreck discovered centuries previously.

The kicker is the jump drive sent the generation ship quite a few centuries into the past, this ship was what they reverse engineered in an attempt to save a specific portion of humanity of that time and this being humanity that selection wouldn't be based on entirely who would help such a colony thrive but on who was most important to the people who prepped that ship to escape Earth's destruction.
Now if you have any survivors aboard would they want to reveal what's really going on especially as only a few of them know the full details?

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:44 pm
by hivemindx
This is a relatively common trope I think. Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss is somewhat similar. The last book in Stephen Baxter's Xeelee series, Ring has a major plot thread featuring a generation ship in which society has gone a bit peculiar. In the second novel of Alastair Reynold's Poseidon's Children trilogy, On the Steel Breeze a major part takes place on generation ships. In this one the usual tropes are avoided and the society doesn't have the usual peculiar hang ups (at least not most of them). Interestingly in this the generation ships are a fleet so people who don't fit in on one ship may be able to relocate to somewhere they will.

I think it is reasonable to assume that society on a generation ship could be a lot more static than on a planet. There would likely be good reasons to maintain the status quo and social pressure might strongly encourage that, the entire society and first generation crew could have been designed and selected to result in a very stable society. On a planet social unrest can erupt and result in rioting in which neighbourhoods are burned down, if this happen on a starship chances are that everyone dies. However in the books you are talking about it seems like the society has already changed a lot, not even knowing what space is, so it is hard to understand why the people in suspended animation aren't more different to the people who have been awake.

For reference to Traveller it is worth noting that the Vilani society is supposed to be more stable than ours, with the Solomani being more dynamic. It's likely that someone waking up from a 1,000 year sleep in the core sectors would fit right in with the people of the modern day.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:50 am
by Condottiere
Another series that has relevance is The Hundred, where there is strict birth control policy due to limited resources, and even mass euthanasia.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:05 am
by Tom Kalbfus
Condottiere wrote:You could wake up where same sex marriage is the norm, or the entire galaxy is run by clones.

In a shorter timeframe, there was Ascension, where we might have had the cultural clash between an elite sixties society meeting a rather uncoordinated twenty first century one.
Reminds me of this book
Image
Three centuries ago, a ship carrying women to a colony world was marooned on an uncharted planet. Reproducing by parthenogenesis, which produces only female offspring, the survivors told their descendents that someday others would come to the world they named Atlantis -- including men. As centuries passed, the legendary creatures called men have taken on a godlike aspect. And when a lone space explorer discovers Atlantis, the women know he can't possibly be a man -- he's just a monster who looks like a deformed woman. But he has advanced knowledge that the nations of Atlantis want, and are willing to go to war with each other to obtain....

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:16 am
by Synther
I was actually watching an old episode of Space: 1999 (late Series 1) and came up with an idea for my group to run into an old, decrepit, generation ship from another species. I saw this idea and the idea for an artifact ship and I might mix the two into something. Whatever I come up with, I'll post the event to our website, for sure.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:19 am
by AndrewW
Synther wrote:I was actually watching an old episode of Space: 1999 (late Series 1) and came up with an idea for my group to run into an old, decrepit, generation ship from another species.
Does one part of the population prey on the other part?

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:40 am
by Synther
AndrewW wrote:
Synther wrote:I was actually watching an old episode of Space: 1999 (late Series 1) and came up with an idea for my group to run into an old, decrepit, generation ship from another species.
Does one part of the population prey on the other part?
I'm not sure yet. Its still just a tickle in the back of my head. Might be a campaign ender, might just be another "explore the derelict" type adventure. I don't know yet.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:41 am
by Synther
It's still better than having a mist that turns everyone into cavemen.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:06 am
by AndrewW
Synther wrote:It's still better than having a mist that turns everyone into cavemen.
Hmmm, could turn them into cavemen, adjust their stats and so forth, see what they do. Just need to find a planet with the right mist, perhaps a group already exists on the planet that has already been in the mist.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:29 pm
by SSWarlock
Synther wrote:
AndrewW wrote:Does one part of the population prey on the other part?
I'm not sure yet. Its still just a tickle in the back of my head. Might be a campaign ender, might just be another "explore the derelict" type adventure. I don't know yet.
For a truly horrific view of what can happen on a generation ship, find the movie "Pandorum". The plot can be adapted to players as a outside party running across a such a ship and having to find and save the crew. The movie itself is great for having nightmares even if you're over 30.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 3:19 pm
by Rikki Tikki Traveller
Morlocks from HG Wells' Time Machine could be descendents of the crew, keeping the ship functioning by rote memorization of maintenance tasks and the colonists are a food source. At first by necessity when the actual stores ran out, now part of the culture, after all they are HUMAN...

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:49 pm
by fusor
Synther wrote:I was actually watching an old episode of Space: 1999 (late Series 1) and came up with an idea for my group to run into an old, decrepit, generation ship from another species. I saw this idea and the idea for an artifact ship and I might mix the two into something. Whatever I come up with, I'll post the event to our website, for sure.
Ah, Mission of the Darians. "MUTANT!"

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:49 pm
by Reynard
And everyone forgets what happens to a population within a closed system generational ship ala Wall-E.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:58 pm
by Condottiere
It's Disney/Pixar, but unless the sex drive has been subsumed, people tend to want to attract members of the gender they're interested in, and while tubby chasing is a valid, if minority pursuit, and those gravitating deck chairs certainly assist in it, that would be a significant sociological shift.

Re: Generation ships not from us

Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:13 pm
by Reynard
Considering the changes humanity has gone through in a mere couple hundred thousand years in an open system environment. Yes, we are a bunch of weakening, short-jawed, tubbies with allergies and immunity issues our ancestors would look at with disgust. Lifestyle matters.