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Author Topic: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!  (Read 2637 times)

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Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #50 on: May 18, 2013, 10:33:11 AM »
On that I'll cede the point - it's ridiculously information-dense. But... well, that's kinda necessary if you're going to get even the most basic overview-level examination of a complex SF background, transhumanism, seed AI and the Singularity, and at least two major political and one economic system with which the average reader will not be familiar in only 400 pages. One of the things I like about this game is that it's relentlessly educational about real-world concepts, but I admit I might be in the minority on that.

Offline Aadreal

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #51 on: May 18, 2013, 10:58:24 AM »
There is a quickstart guide, not sure how consolidated that info is.  I felt horrendous last night so was unable to do more than just download them and bid on the Kickstarter.  Also, the Kickstarter is for a Player's Guide which should help with the info dump.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #52 on: May 18, 2013, 11:01:12 AM »
On that I'll cede the point - it's ridiculously information-dense. But... well, that's kinda necessary if you're going to get even the most basic overview-level examination of a complex SF background, transhumanism, seed AI and the Singularity, and at least two major political and one economic system with which the average reader will not be familiar in only 400 pages. One of the things I like about this game is that it's relentlessly educational about real-world concepts, but I admit I might be in the minority on that.
Well, I hold to the maxim if that it doesn't matter how good and author or creator you are, if no one understands what you're trying to say you suck. I'm looking at you, James Joyce... ಠ_ಠ

I'm kind of working on my D&D setting today, but when I do get to read the Eclipse setting it'll depend more on how they present their info. That's important.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #53 on: May 18, 2013, 11:42:37 AM »
Well, I hold to the maxim if that it doesn't matter how good and author or creator you are, if no one understands what you're trying to say you suck. I'm looking at you, James Joyce... ಠ_ಠ

I'm kind of working on my D&D setting today, but when I do get to read the Eclipse setting it'll depend more on how they present their info. That's important.
Oh, agreed. I think they present it well - I finally understood several concepts that I'd tried and failed to numerous times, thanks to Eclipse Phase - but I recognise that I'm hardly a typical case in a lot of things.

Offline Blythe

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #54 on: May 18, 2013, 03:04:55 PM »
Skynet, I'm tempted to steal some of the convenient typed out blocks of information for my worldbuilding thread. Would that be okay? I'd totally credit you where applicable for posting it in this thread first.  :-)

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #55 on: May 18, 2013, 03:46:23 PM »
Skynet, I'm tempted to steal some of the convenient typed out blocks of information for my worldbuilding thread. Would that be okay? I'd totally credit you where applicable for posting it in this thread first.  :-)

Go for it.  I wrote it up mostly so that people can tell others about the game's major features.

Offline Blythe

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #56 on: May 18, 2013, 03:48:06 PM »
Awesome. Thank you so much!  :-)

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #57 on: May 18, 2013, 05:33:07 PM »
For the record, Skynet, those were awesome summaries, and you deserve commendation for putting them together. *tips the invisible hat*

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #58 on: May 18, 2013, 09:41:07 PM »
Thank you, Ephiral.

Given that religion is not really discussed except in a 1-page description, would a summary on the topic be necessary?
« Last Edit: May 18, 2013, 11:28:22 PM by Skynet »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #59 on: May 19, 2013, 12:16:28 AM »
Mmmaybe, but it'd be incredibly short: Since almost nobody made it off Earth in their original bodies, and a lot of the religious have objections with uploading and resleeving (what happens to the soul?), the overwhelming majority of survivors are irreligious. Small minorities exist here and there. The major exception is the Jovians, who are the last bastion of the Catholic Church - and conveniently don't allow resleeving and mostly left Earth in their original bodies.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #60 on: May 19, 2013, 12:20:46 AM »
Also bearing mention is the Muslim community in the Martian outlands.

Hope that this is okay to mention in this thread, but to any interested female parties I've been wanting to explore the world of Eclipse Phase in a free-form RP (see story ideas).

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #61 on: May 19, 2013, 12:40:43 AM »
Also bearing mention is the Muslim community in the Martian outlands.

Hope that this is okay to mention in this thread, but to any interested female parties I've been wanting to explore the world of Eclipse Phase in a free-form RP (see story ideas).
Hey, it's your thread. Best of luck finding a partner!

Yeah, I'd forgotten about them. Also, IIRC there's an above-average religious population in the Lunar-Lagrange system, since a lot of them came up without uploading, including a noteworthy Hindu population.

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #62 on: May 19, 2013, 11:06:18 AM »
I'd say you'd only need to really go into detail if it would impact the plot - although between you and Ephiral, I think you've covered a fair amount (going by your original description of a one-page section in the core rules.)

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #63 on: May 20, 2013, 05:55:26 PM »

Eclipse Phase is a rarity among RPGs in that anarchists are a prominent aspect of the setting and manage to break many pop-culture stereotypes of them.  This will be separated into 2 posts: the first will be a discussion of real-world anarchist history, figures, and organizations, the second a discussion of how anarchist society functions in the world of Eclipse Phase.

In short, anarchism is a political philosophy which holds the concept of the State itself to be unnecessary and harmful.  Additionally, anarchism opposes the formation of hierarchical systems not just limited to the State.  Anarchists favor stateless societies based upon non-hierarchical free associations.

There are many different forms of anarchism in real life, united only by a shared dislike of hierarchy and government.

Anarchism has roots in the early 19th century Europe during a time of social revolt.  Composed of various anti-authority political philosophers and revolutionaries, anarchists played significant roles in history, supported abolitionist causes in 1800s America; popularized the concept of the 8 hour work day in 1870s Spain; managed the Paris Commune; supported worker's rights in both the United States and Europe; and even fought against Franco's fascists and claimed territory in Spanish Catalonia in World War II!

Anarchists had mixed relationships with Communist groups during these times: Anarchists fought alongside the Bolsheviks to overthrow the Russian Czars.  Same in Franco's Spain.  Mikhail Bakunin, the father of modern anarchism, was friends with Karl Marx due to a shared distaste for government and capitalism.  The two of them fell out of favor due to internal disagreements and struggles of their political circles.  Bakunin in particular found Communism to be an authoritarian ideology, expressing that it would be more dangerous than monarchism as it would function as a sham expression of the people's will.  Marxists and anarchists fell to infighting in Spanish Catalonia, and the newly formed Soviet Union put down an anarchist insurrection in 1920s Ukraine.

Famous Anarchists
Emma Goldman: Early 1900s anarchist.  Focused on worker's and women's rights, encouraged education on birth control, acceptance of free love and homosexuality, and wrote many articles about various social issues such as the prison system and exploitation of immigrant workers.  Trendsetter for anarchist feminism.  Wrote Anarchism and Other Essays

Mikhail Bakunin: Father of modern anarchist, mid-1800s.  Laid the groundwork for collectivist anarchism, notable early critic of Communism, significant influence on later thinkers such as Noam Chomsky and Peter Kropotkin.  Wrote Statism and Anarchy.

Peter Kropotkin: Trendsetter for anarcho-communism.  Advocated for a communist society free from a central government and based upon voluntary associations between workers.  Wrote The Conquest of Bread as well as Fields, Factories, and Workers.  Added the entry for anarchism in Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition.  His scientific work, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution argued that cooperation between humans had a prominence over competition as an evolutionary factor, in contrast to the widespread concept of Darwinism in evolutionary works at the time.

Noam Chomsky: Still alive, notable work in fields of linguistics and political science.  His work Manufacturing Consent discussed how media outlets are used to direct and control public opinion.  Identifies with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.

William Godwin: English journalist, political theorist, and novelist.  One of the first exponents of utilitarianism.  Wrote the first mystery novel, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, which attacked the aristocratic system of privilege.

Leo Tolstoy: Famous Russian writer and playwright.  Popularized anarcho-pacifism, and his work The Kingdom of God Is Within You discussed effective forms of nonviolent resistance.  It had a profound impact on 20th-century civil rights leaders such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.  Popularized the concept of Christian anarchism.

Forms and Types of Anarchism
Anarchism without adjectives: Anarchists who reject the adoption of qualifying labels.  Discussion and debates upon ideal economic systems were secondary to the abolition of coercive authority.

Anarcho-capitalism: Form of anarchism which advocates the elimination of the State in favor of individual sovereignty and the free market.  Differs from most anarchists in that they favor private property and insist that the worst excesses of big business are the result of government interference.

Anarcho-communism: advocates the abolition of the state, capitalism, wages and private property (while retaining respect for personal property), and in favor of common ownership of the means of production,  direct democracy, and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with production and consumption based on the guiding principle: "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need".  The anarchist insurrection in Ukraine were anarcho-communists.

Anarcho-primitivism: Anarchism which advocates a return to the hunter-gatherer model of civilization, and rejecting large-scale organization technologies, abolition of the division of labor, and deindustrialization.

Anarcho-syndicalism: Anarchism with an emphasis on revolutionary industrial unionism in capitalist societies to help subjugated classes regain control and autonomy over the economy and their labor.  Syndicalism is viewed both as a strategy for facilitating worker self-activity and as being an alternative co-operative economic system upon which to base a democratic regime of production for the satisfaction of human need once the injustices understood to be inherent to capitalist society have been overcome.  Most anarchists who fought against Francisco Franco were anarcho-syndicalists.

Christian Anarchism: Synthesis of Christianity and anarchism.  Grounded in the belief that God is the only legitimate authority, and thus denounce the state when it becomes violent, idolatrous, and deceitful.  Most Christian anarchists are staunch pacifists.

Collectivist Anarchism: advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production. It instead envisions the means of production being owned collectively and controlled and managed by the producers themselves.  Broad encompassing term for many forms of anarchism, such as anarcho-syndicalism and anarcho-communism.

Egoist Anarchism: Form of anarchism most popular in public thought and media.  Created by Max Stirner.  Stirner's philosophy is usually called "egoism". He says that the egoist rejects pursuit of devotion to "a great idea, a good cause, a doctrine, a system, a lofty calling," saying that the egoist has no political calling but rather "lives themselves out" without regard to "how well or ill humanity may fare thereby."  Stirner held that the only limitation on the rights of the individual is his power to obtain what he desires.

Green anarchism: Anarchism with an emphasis on environmental issues.  Overlaps with anarcho-primitivism in some areas.

Individualist Anarchism:  refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his or her will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems.  Includes anarcho-capitalism and egoist anarchism.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 09:09:07 PM by Skynet »

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #64 on: May 20, 2013, 06:57:32 PM »
Anarchist Society in Eclipse Phase (summed up from Rimward, pg. 153-161)

Human Nature and Property
Anarchists in Eclipse Phase are of the collectivist bent.  Their societies are organized in such a way to give everyone involved an equal say.  They do have rules, although rules for society are collectively decided upon by those that follow them.  They believe that cooperation is a key human trait which does not have to be enforced by the threat of violence or eternal damnation.  Humans and other sapients are social creatures, and it is in our best interests to treat those whom we deal with the same respect we wish from them.  They reject the more pessimistic ideologies which claim humans are inherently selfish, and view the rewarding of ruthless behavior as a net negative on society.

“From each according to their imagination, to each according to their need” is a popular anarchist saying.  It was adopted from Marx's slogan.  Given that nanofabricators easily provide for basic living essentials and are publicly available, anarchists have more leisure time to pursue creative endeavors.  The relatively small population of anarchists system-wide means that food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, air, and education are pretty much accommodated for in individual habitats.  Anarchists voluntarily pursue subjects and work they have a passion for and enjoy.  The reputation-based economy means that there's no need to choose a job based upon money.  Menial and thankless jobs are performed by AI and robots, and if a sapient hand is needed the community rewards the worker with positive reputation boosts.

There is no private property and everything beyond the level of personal possessions is communally owned.  If something is in limited supply, its use is rotated among people that desire/need it.  If you need to get early access in an emergency, or to use something that's important to the community as a whole, your @-rep will be a large factor in whether the locals decide to fulfill the request.

Decision-making
Creation and enforcement of rules is determined communally: everyone affected by a decision has a say in it.

Local Level: Organizes appropriate to location, interest, and/or project.  Everyone in the group is on equal footing, no formalized hierarchies.  Leadership positions are sometimes granted, particularly in situations where quick decision-making is essential or a coordinating person is needed, but these are only enabled by universal vote and their decisions are subject to immediate critical peer review and possible recall. When interacting with other groups, delegates are elected to convey the groups’ decisions. Such delegates are not representatives, meaning that they are not empowered to make decisions on the group’s behalf, and must similarly answer to their peers.

Consensus is most often decided by unanimity, although a 2/3rds vote is the next most popular in habitats.  Objections are discussed, and minor dissenters are content to let a decision pass as long as the reasoning is archived in the public record.  For major objections which cannot be resolved, opposing groups simply go their separate ways (this is an intentional design in the system).  Proposals, discussion, and polling is often conducted entirely on-line and in real time.

Beyond Local Level: These small decision-making groups are networked together into a decentralized confederation.  Individual groupings and members are polled in a similar manner by using a very sophisticated set of algorithms and programs.

Crime and Justice
There are no laws, but commonly decided-upon set of rules and guidelines which are mutable and often change from situation to situation.  Small-scale interpersonal scuffles and fisticuffs are tolerated ("just let them get it out of their system"), although murder and large-scale destruction is met with resistance by the community.  Most communities decided to ban the creation of WMDs out of common sense.

There aren't any copyright laws in our sense, although claiming that somebody else's work/idea was your own might get your rep dinged if found out.  Most anarchists own a personal firearm for self-defense, and the average community is well-armed.  Most communities have volunteer militias supplemented by armored security drones.  Most stations have weapons meant to manned against outside aggressors.  Given public surveillance and communal nanofabricators, creating dangerous materials such as explosives immediately alerts the entire community.

Actions which impinge upon free will are treated much more harshly than crimes of bodily harm.  Forknapping, involuntary psychosurgery, cyberbrain and infomorph hacking, and similar things are certain to get an angry mob on your heels.

In regards to 'punishing' bad behavior, the most common method of deterrence is voting down a person's reputation score.  Restorative justice is prized over retributive justice.  If someone is engaging in anti-social behavior, the common view is that there is a reason for it and the person needs help.  A typical response to the behavior is to select an impartial group of peers from the community to assess the situation.  Rehabilitation and conflict resolution is overseen by community volunteers at a crisis center.  The opinion of the victim of the crime is also strongly considered.  There are no prisons, so the offender is expected to voluntarily comply with a community's judgment.  Those who refuse, or are repeat offenders, will be exiled from the habitat.  Only the most egregious of offenses, such as slavery and mass murder, result in capital punishment (destruction of the ego and morph along with all available backups).

Daily Life
Much the same anywhere else, except your job doesn't have a boss and you don't have to worry about paychecks and rent.  Sexual behavior between consenting adults is regarded as a normal and healthy behavior, and fetishes and fantasies which don't involuntarily harm others are tolerated.  In terms of relationships, casual sex and polyamory are the most common, although monogamous pairings can happen (if rare).  Creative expression is very common, from sculptures to graffiti to AR sensory feeds.  Housing is assigned by AI and is most commonly communal instead of private.

Ubiquitous surveillance is common and transparency is the order of the day.  Most peoples' lives are open books, and people who desire privacy and keep to themselves are going to run into some problems.  People who try to lie and hide the truth of their actions causes the community to get suspicious if they find out, and makes them wonder what else they're lying about (keeping to yourself but being truthful will probably earn you some odd looks, but not suspicion).

There's lots of variety to morph designs, and synthmorphs are incredibly common due to versatility.  Most morphs are equipped with cyberbrains to enable easier forking and resleeving.  Forking does not have as much of a stigma as elsewhere, although excessive users are viewed in a similar fashion to real-world alcoholics: what they're doing is legal, but very risky and potentially damaging.  Many people fork for days or keep a fork companion on hand for various tasks.  Alpha forks are not considered property and forceful remerging is considered offensive.  Most anarchists do not consider beta forks to be fully sapient, though some habitat communities disagree and treat them the same as alphas.

AGIs and uplifts are treated as equals to humans.

Problems
Not every society is perfect.  The whole lack of privacy thing is something very hard for outsiders to get used to.  There is also the creeping influence of involuntary hierarchies, Reputation and otherwise.  Sometimes this can enable people to get social leverage over others.  Of course, acting like an entitled dick a lot can cause one's reputation to get reduced as punishment.

Given that anarchist society operates on Reputation, there's less incentive for inner system visitors to behave socially.  Those who get caught are expelled instead of imprisoned or killed (unless they do something bad enough under Crime and Punishment entry), so it's easy to take advantage of the open society.  Non-Autonomist outsiders are treated with suspicion as a result until they gain the community's trust.

Most anarchist habitats are small, far-flung, and physically isolated from each other, leading to a rather cliquish social order.  Due to a lack of a strong, centralized leader to make people work together, it's possible for factional schisms in habitats to grow out of control.  Due to lower numbers and lack of wide-scale slave labor (like the hypercorps use), shortages of fuels, metals, and other precious resources is a common problem.

Lack of restriction on technological innovation, and publicly-accessible open science programs, means that there's more opportunities for people to make use of dangerous technologies.  Tech specialists and scientific experts police their own ranks, although these factors lead to exhumans, singularity seekers, and sociopaths visiting anarchist habitats to abuse the system.

There are cases of gaming the Reputation system.  AI-managed sock puppet accounts lead to abuse, AI-managed botnets mass hack to make people 'ding' a target's rep according to an algorithmic scheme.  Griefing's a pernicious danger.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 09:05:11 PM by Skynet »

Offline KaylaM

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #65 on: May 21, 2013, 07:49:32 AM »
Eclipse Phase is a setting that I want to like but I can't

It has a lot of fantastic ideas and a lot of fun concepts, and a lot of the tech and the ideas behind it are great. It also has a high degree of crack-headedness in it, which is also an incentive for me. Plus it puts me in mind of some of my fave comics and novels (Some of which are in the Bibliography section) which would in turn provide me with a bukkit of inspiration for characters, stories and the like. Frankly, it's great stuff.

Unfortunately, it's head writer (and I suspect the other key writers) have very high horses that they love to sit on and pontificate from endlessly. They have their own clear political, social, economic, religious etc etc views which they seem to revel in shoving down the reader's throat at every opportunity with all the subtlety of a brick to the crotch. If it's something they're pro (Anarchisim, mainly) then every opportunity will be taken to present it in the best possible light. If it's something they're against (organised religion, as an example) then they'll take every opportunity to say that it's dumb, bad and wrong and people who belive in/support/whatever that are also dumb, bad and wrong.

Don't get me wrong. The author is free to have whatever opinions or beliefs that he likes, and I'm fine with that. What I'm not fine is with him using the RPG as his personal soapbox to ram his opinions down the reader's throats. That's a huge turn-off for me, and it's really hard to get into the setting when it so often devolves into a lengthy rant.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #66 on: May 21, 2013, 11:56:23 AM »
Yeah, I don't go as far as to cast the anarchists as "Space Elves," but I can see why many people come to that conclusion.

Rimward softened the anarchists somewhat by giving them flaws, but they felt like they were addressed briefly instead of pontificated upon.  The Reputation system can easily give way to an informal hierarchy, and then the Autonomists would be back at square one with haves and have-nots.

With direct democracy beyond the local level, decisions and debates should represent the bureaucratic morasses of Congress and other democratic governments.  Factions stonewalling and considering all the options should lead to slow decision-making, and yet their decentralized voting system moves much more quickly than inner system hierarchies.  I suppose the case could be made in regards to the Planetary Consortium (who have a democracy), but not with the Jovian Republic (a military dictatorship with a chain of command).

And let's not get into the social conservatism which can arise from a shame-based society where rep is everything.  The anarchists are the rebels of the traditional capitalist inner systems, but who are the rebels among the anarchists and how are they treated in turn?

I didn't talk about it, but there are cases where low-rep individuals in infomorphs can be confined to cyberspace.  See, everything is public property, and cyberbrains make it easy to resleeve into various bodies.  Lower resource production than the inner systems means that those infomorphs with low rep can remain effectively imprisoned as the available physical morphs get used most often by the higher rep people.



There's also the fact that in terms of numbers and influence, the anarchists' numbers fall far behind the Titanians and Extropians.

Largest anarchist city, Locus?  500,000 people.  Plus several, much smaller, habitats averaging around several thousand people.

Extropia?  10,000,000 people.

Titanian Commonwealth?  40,000,000 people across the habitats.

Titan is already a State, and even though they're less oppressive than the Jovians and the PC, the anarchists are wary of the day when they do become as bad as them.

And the contract-based society of Extropia, with it's omnipresent legal firms and mercenary armies providing protection, is just begging to be turned into a State.  The practice of indentured servitude in Extropia, due to contract clauses, is something which pisses off a lot of anarchists, and whether the practice should continue in the Alliance was a huge political issue before the Extropians got a majority vote in favor of it.

The thing is, the Autonomist Alliance's system of direct democracy means that the anarchists are politically ineffective.  The fact that the two factions with the most State-like qualities are potentially the most powerful is something the authors did not notice (or maybe they have, and didn't expound upon its negative implications).
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 12:12:08 PM by Skynet »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #67 on: May 21, 2013, 01:12:26 PM »
I read Eclipse Phase and think it would be an awesome mechanic for playing a game in Peter F. Hamiliton's Adamist/Edenist setting (The Night's Dawn stories, ect.. The series summary on Wiki)

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #68 on: May 21, 2013, 08:50:09 PM »
The thing is, the Autonomist Alliance's system of direct democracy means that the anarchists are politically ineffective.  The fact that the two factions with the most State-like qualities are potentially the most powerful is something the authors did not notice (or maybe they have, and didn't expound upon its negative implications).
Not just politically, but practically. There's a very strong trend out in the Rim: If there's a major undertaking that needs done, the entire Alliance turns its gaze to Titan. Finding, defending, and holding the first Pandora Gate? Titan. Coordinating the Alliance defense forces, and contributing an overwhelming chunk of their manpower (and pretty much all of their navy)? Titan. Arranging a free-to-anyone high-quality higher education system? Titan. One of the most impressive research programs in the system, including an extremely nice particle accelerator? Titan. Extrasolar colonization that doesn't touch the gates? Titan. It's been amply demonstrated that Titan is capable of organizing and directing more resources than any other member of the Alliance by an order of magnitude - which I honestly think is pretty likely given that they have a standing organizational structure that fights a lot of the trends that make other members ineffectual or sluggish to act. Really, their nearest competition for influence in the outer system is the Love and Rage collective - and that's a very distant second.

If I didn't know better, I'd think it was a deliberate statement. Knowing that it wasn't, but that it certainly looks and feels likely and realistic in the setting, is pretty damning to the authors' pet political system.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #69 on: May 21, 2013, 09:00:38 PM »
I first thought that the Extropians would be given the best treatment, given that they're the quintessential transhumanists and have all the latest technology.

If I didn't know better, I'd think it was a deliberate statement. Knowing that it wasn't, but that it certainly looks and feels likely and realistic in the setting, is pretty damning to the authors' pet political system.

This would make great material for setting conflict, and an interesting political allegory.  The revolution was successful against the inner system corporations, only to turn into a (more benevolent) government counterpart.

By the way, what are your thoughts on the Jovian Republic's treatment in Rimward?

Offline KaylaM

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #70 on: May 22, 2013, 07:07:39 AM »
I found the treatment of the Jovian Republic to be symptomatic of all that is wrong with the way the books present the writer's political and social beliefs. Here we have the Jovian Republic which stands for all that they are opposed to; big government, organised religion, bio-conservatism and so on. Rather then a nuanced or balanced approach, they're instead shown to be evil, corrupt, inefficient and with more then a few fascist overtones. While, yes, there was a brief attempt to display that they may have a point or two, much like the supposed 'downs' of anarchisim, they were only given the briefest of points before moving on.

Otherwise, the books seem to go out of their way to depict the Jovians as negatively as possible. Their government is full of evil military-espionage types, the church wields undue power on their system (and of course the illustration of it is sure to emphasise the "GIVE GENEROUSLY" signs), their habitats are inefficient overcrowded hellholes and so on. Unfortunately it's done with no subtlety or attempts to present a balanced perspective, and instead comes across allmost as blugenoning the reader with the message.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #71 on: May 22, 2013, 11:02:44 AM »
I don't think the treatment of the Jovians is as bad as all that - it tries to step back a lot from the "evil fascist assholes" we're given in the core, and it succeeds to a degree. Given what we already knew about them - military dictatorship, extremely bioconservative, averse to AI and nanotech - they were going to have inefficient, crowded habitats and extremely low liberty. There's some authorial bias showing, and it's still not as sympathetic as it should be, but it's far better than I would've expected coming from the corebook.

That said, I still prefer the sympathetic approaches given by some of the fans on their forums - in particular, I think they could've done a lot more to emphasize the "We're humanity's plan B for after you idiots get yourselves killed playing with fire" angle and the extreme trauma of the Fall, which does a lot to make some of the more draconian bits of Jovian culture understandable. Look at where America is in terms of security restrictions and fear twelve years after 9/11 - and the body count there was 0.001% iof the population. Imagine the reaction if it had been 95%, and suddenly the Jovians don't seem so senselessly evil. Misguided, maybe, and there's absolutely going to be a lot more corruption there than in the more transparent systems of the inner and outer systems, but not evil.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 11:05:53 AM by Ephiral »

Offline KaylaM

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #72 on: May 23, 2013, 07:45:43 AM »
I do agree that Rimward softened them a little, but the Joivans still seem to have an air of 'evil for the sake of it' about them. And while, yes, I can understand that their reluctance to use certain tech does lead to the inefficient colonies, the writers again seemed to go out of their way to make the whole place out to be a hellhole. The fact that the delivery comes off as preachy and high-horsed in a "they are dumb and they get what they deserve for being dumb" doesn't help any

I'm very much a fan of the more nuanced and balanced approach taken in the forums, and I think it's a great idea. I think it would be a great opportunity to play up their whys and wherefors and develop them into a sort of 'common sense, let's try to avoid Evil AIs and out of control tech from eating us again' sort of a thing, which could make for a great counter to the prevalent attitudes in the inner system.

Unfortunately, instead, the Jovians represent a wasted opportunity. Instead of what they could have gone with, the writers took every chance they could to accentuate the negative to ensure that their ideals should be presented in the best light, and anything counter to them should be seen as bad and wrong.

I hate cardboard bad guys who are evil for the sake of it. Sadly, that's what the Jovians tend to come off as.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #73 on: May 23, 2013, 01:05:07 PM »
I think that one of the things the Jovians have over the PC is that they don't entrap a significant portion of its citizens in slave labor simulations and cheap case synthmorphs.

In the Republic, you at least have a body, a human body.  Not trapped in cyberspace or cold storage, not forced to inhabit a robot for years at a time in an biosphere inhospitable to human life.  You still have to work for the Republic in exchange, but at least you have a flesh and blood body you can call your own.

"And you call us tyrants?!  What of your 'clanking masses,' your fellows who you treat no better than disposable labor equipment?  The same people your hypercorps profit off of every single day, enslaved into virtual realities or forced to mine rock for hours on end with no sleep or rest?  Yes, our habitats have shortages.  Yes, our bodies, or morphs as you call them, fall prey to birth defects, disease, and old age.  But at least we have autonomy over them.  If the alternative is to enslave 30% of the population in artificial shells for an effective eternity, then I choose the dignity of death."

I read somewhere on the forums of a way to make the Jovians more sympathetic: free resleeving into flats for 'humans,' and citizenship for people who can prove that their morph was the body they were born into.  This gives Fall refugees an incentive to join the Republic instead of the Consortium, where they at least have an organic body.  It also explains the poor living standards in their Reagan cylinders.  At least on Mars, you don't need food, water, and air for the infomorphs and clanking masses.  The Jovians' 'biomorph only' policy is principled and consistent with bioconservatism, but it is not as practical or efficient as the Consortium.

Under this interpretation, they don't view all transhumans as "not human anywhere," they're just wary of the horrible things technology can do to free will and identity.  You don't just stop being human if you get a cyberbrain, but the potential risks (brain-hacking, memory tampering) are just too much to be worth it.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 07:19:51 PM by Skynet »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #74 on: May 23, 2013, 06:01:57 PM »
If the alternative is to enslave 30% of the population in artificial shells for an effective eternity, then I choose the dignity of death.

This bit, I think, goes a long way toward showing that the Jovians, comparatively, aren't that bad. One of the most horrifying things about the Planetary Consortium is that the Company Store indentured-for-life model is alive and kicking - and this time it's your very body that they're holding for ransom. In Sunward, Venus is noted for being particularly prone to every dirty trick in the book - most notably, charging for lost morphs and restoring from extremely old backups. Accumulating a positive balance is very difficult, and even if you do manage to do it, one accident and you're loaded from the day you signed the contract - and what do you think the chances are that the corporation will tell you you were one year away from having a meat body of your very own out of the goodness of their hearts? Though the book doesn't mention this, I also have a sneaking suspicion that duty rotations are adjusted so that the closer you get to completing your contract, the more dangerous the work you do is.

TL;DR: Jupiter doesn't care about human rights if they come into conflict with the powers that be. The PC is actively corroding those rights at every opportunity, and profiting directly from the damage done. In my headcanon, the reasons the Jovians get the "#1 Evil" label are basically that the PC has a better PR department, and that the Jovians have the system's biggest collection of heavily-armed warships, making them a more obvious threat.