1. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    No stars, no sun, no moon...

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by ClusterChuck, Jan 4, 2012.

    I'm working on a post post-apocalyptic story involving societies forming on earth with a ever-present overcast sky. This is due to an upper-atomospheric "super storm" that is maintain by an outside force. Well Earth starts over being physically and communically seperated from its colonies and stations pocketed around the system because of said super storm. Which is a very destructive and obtrusive barrier, think jovian level all encompassing storm that only rages in the confines of the mesosphere leaving everything below rather peaceful.... Long story.

    Anyway the main stock of characters are born under a starless, sunless sky. As were thier parents and so forth for a good 700ish years. Society was a slate wiped clean by, again, an outside force. It starts to reemerge about 500 years ago prior to the story at hand, and... Long story.

    Anyway my real question involves the effect that this environment would have psychologically on a population of humans in a bronze era style future of swords and city states. And if anyone has any suggestions on the technicalities of an altered food chain, weather system, cosmological issues, whatever... all input is welcomed.

    I'm thinking about how unconsciously our ever present celestial bodies above effect us and our ingrained psyches. Then stripping that way.... Under the pretense that it had something to do with what we have started to become about 50,000 years ago. Basically with the sun comes the idea of I. Coupled with mind altering substances and the realization of forebearing death, well next thing you know we have cemetaries and libraries... Another long story..
     
  2. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    All I have to say is it would make the world a difficult place to live in. Without the sun, plants are weaker. Though they can get some energy even with overcast skies, they will tend to not grow as fast, and many may die before they are fully grown. This will completely disrupt the food chain, since everything relies on plants.
    As for the stars, ancient civilizations relied on stars for navigation. Navigation would be completely reworked, because people would have to rely on landmarks instead of starts. So, instead of North, it would be "aim between the large rock and the tree that leans to the left". Maps would be more handy than directions.
    Psychologically, I wouldn't think the lack of a sun would have any effect after 700 years of living without it. Only the first few generations would "miss" it. Perhaps, by this point, the sun will have become a "god" in stories, who will descend to... pick your ending.
    Hope all this helps you.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Unless you go to something like a hydrothermal vent, the sun is the source of energy on earth. You have a 700-year time period under which there is no sun, you're going to have a cold, dead planet except where humans are employing some advanced technology to prevent it, and it doesn't sound like the society you propose is at that advanced level of technology.

    Given the severity of the ever-present storm you are proposing, it doesn't look like very much solar energy is going to make it to the surface.
     
  4. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    There seems a lot to clarify.
    The source of energy for an altered food chain would be from the storm. With a bit of help from the sun baking it's outer level. The science of this is flexible because i'm not going hard scifi on this. It has a very solid fantasy thread throughout.

    What i do want to get rock solid fact-wise is the psyche of a people in that environment.

    As far as navigation, magnetic compasses are still in full fashion.
     
  5. BrianBrian
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    BrianBrian New Member

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    AH! I thing I need to disagree with here. The world wouldn't be cold. It would be the opposite. The reason that the surface of Venus is so hot is because its atmosphere is completely overcast. The energy from the sun gets it but has a much more difficult time getting out causing a true "greenhouse effect". Moist, hot, humid. Here is a link!
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think that is necessarily true. Venus doesn't just have cloud cover. Its entire atmosphere is substantially more thick than that of the earth. In addition, it is like 97 or 98% CO2. None of those would be true in the proposed story. Also, Venus gets more intense sunlight than earth in the first place because it is closer to the sun.
     
  7. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    For starts, without the sun, melanin would probably not develop. You'd have a world full of pastey pale humans. Secondly, how is light even penetrating this super storm? How does this affect vision considering vision is the brain's interpretation of light bending and being absorbed. Is this world shades of gray? Muted earth tones? what?

    If plant life is weak, how to cultures go about cultivating food stores? Are they hunter gatherers? What is irrigation like? Do they merely live by river banks? Are the rivers polluted? Are there mutations in the human species causing them to look different, or adapt to this new environment?

    Just throwing out some questions to delve deeper into your people and how they will interact with their environment.
     
  8. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    All very good questions. Some of which i haven't considered yet.

    My theory on plant life is a mutation in the chloroplast which obtains energy from a radiation in the storm, along with the weakened UV light. Green would be a rare thing in vegitation due to this mutation. Blueish grays to straight ashen would be the norm for most of the leaves and blades that do the taking in. But in my head i have certain species that flower very vivid and bright petals to attract pollinators in the dreariness of the muted world. I would say plant life isn't weakened. If anything it's just tougher to kill, less to look at, and holds a higher caloric count.

    Now speaking of 'muted,' I believe some UV light would penetrate the storm just enough to make the days liveable. No shadows of course. Just imagine the darkest evening thunderstorm storm about two hours before dusk. That kind of ambient atomophere. At night though, absolutely dead dark. Pitch. Except for when certain higher altitude light shows spark out of the blue due to the wierdness of the activity of the storm. Then you'll get splashes of light in different colors wave through the pitch blackness, But those are rare. Also lightning and other severe weather is common and attributes to some of the architectural demands.

    The humans vision is adjusted to lower light levels and their other senses are sharpened through more dependant use. Also due to thier diets of cultivated crops that are different, they are also different. Melanin is present but under the same condition of the chloroplast. I'd imagine we go pale initially for the first couple hundred years. Then we adjust as the plants do. On a purely asthetic level i assert poetic license on a stockier paleish ashen people with great ears, decent night vision, varied hair types and skin hues along with other individual traits carried over from before the end of the world. But yes mutations abound. Evolution in all its slightly speed up glory.

    Culturally (in the collective city states of what use to be southern california, at least) they hold a particular value in the culinary arts and music, masters of stone work and ceramic, metal smelting, nautically proficient with advanced trade routes and codependant economies. They have mastered crop rotation, irrigation, fermintation of liquors, domestication of animals, fisheries, they have a written language, rudimentary geomtry, and tactical martial units that include calvary and machines of war (there is a Di Vinci inspired character that has a minor role).

    Politically the city states have independant rule by monarchy or council. Each 'state' governs their surrounding territories and settlements. Roads were established by merchants and militaries between and through the states, usually forged through war.

    The fact that all this has been established from scratch after only seven hundred years can be attributed to the guiding hand of the "outside force" who brought all the events together. And his willingness to allow the smartest and strongest of his choice to live and rebuild. Yes all traces of our society have been wipe off the face of the earth, almost literally. And yes the people who were left were in the midst of a changed world and they knew nothing of the one that no longer exists. And yes there are these off world bases which are thriving tecnologically and looks at the innaccesible earth as thier lost cradle of life.

    But still i wonder how the very lack of celestial bodies would change us psychologically. That's what I really need to figure down.

    Note that this is mostly a fantasy piece the science can be a little iffy, but the psychology is key.
     
  9. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Well, you have mutations. Look up seasonal depression, seasonal affect disorders and mental imbalances related to seasonal change. That will help on the psychological level. Regarding written language...it's not that long since the obliteration of the world. Those who DID survive in order to sustain the species probably have tried to preserve what history they could via written word. All digital information is lost however, I would assume.

    With seasonal disorders, they are related to lack of light in winter. It causes an increase in depressive type behaviors. There is a link between the increase in suicide rates in the northern hemisphere and the month of January. There is also an increase in bipolar type disorders, which could cause some conflict especially if your alpha character is bipolar.
     
  10. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    BF, that's actually really helpful. My characters do fit it those molds rather snugly as is. I'll for sure be doing more research as i go forward.

    This may not work but my idea for the rebuilding of language and whatnot is during the end of the world the survivors get a mind scrubbing that pretty much leaves them with only thier base instincts intact. The have no language, no memory, no remains of the society in ruins or artifacts (mostly.) They really do start over. It's kinda like the 'Outside force' entity is running an elaborate experiment. A discection of the human condition.
     
  11. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Evil aliens! But with all the radiation I could see that happening. How will you handle the situation of radiation poisoning? Or is that going to be a non issue 700 years later?
     
  12. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    It's a special flavor of radiation that peaks past the point of lethal and striaght to the realm of godsmacking recreation. But yeah a very small portion of species survive the initial event and those few who do are drastically changed. So yeah, no more lazy pandas.

    What i love is the challenge of creating this type of setting and the infinite ways i can explore it.
     

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