Torco wrote: ↑23 Dec 2020 01:32
though, then again, some items on that list are going to be, well, settler skills: just like the brits would reuse talented hunters, plantation managers and, well, slavers and the enslaved from one colony to the other, so would one expect a few frontiersmen to advance with the frontier.
That's true - but I suspect the number would be small relative to the total number of colonists.
Also, fair enough on those cities, but they're I think very much the exception: square is a perfectly good shape for a planned city after all, it's just I understand the vast majority of cities in ye oldentime weren't that planned.
Science, as I understand it, disagrees with you. Most cities in Ye Oldentime probably were not planned from scratch - although a very high percentage of them were*; but most were constructed under an extreme degree of centralised authority. People didn't just turn up and build a house - they needed planning permission. Usually they'd have to wait until the government constructed a new housing estate for them - at the very least, they had to build where they were told to build, which was usually in a way that fit into existing urban patterns.
Of course, this doesn't mean that every city was a perfect square or circle - some areas would be built up 'early' or 'late', and of course the underlying topography would always have the power to introduce bends and kinks.
[another idea I've played with is for cheap FTL travel, but for FTL ships to be so expensive they're literally irreplaceable. In this scenario, many species engage in interstellar travel, but only a handful have every actually built FTL ships, and most of those species aren't around anymore. So FTL ships are effectively ancient heirlooms of immense value, diligently maintained by engineers who only vaguely understand their workings and can't actually replicate them. (more precisely: the FTL engines are like this; new owners can to some extent build new ship-shells around them if they want). FTL mechanics are fun!]
oooh, i like it.
Btw is the new frontier... pre-terraformed? or is terraforming just kind of cheap. cause when you're talking about planets with a couple thousand people living there they're either earthlike planets
Yes, so, in this setting, I've assumed that terraforming costs (in time and in resources) are very low for at least some planets, and that FTL is cheap enough that such planets can be easily found. I think you have to assume something along these lines in order to have this sort of 'galactic empire' setting: if it's not cheap to expand, then you'll instead have a much smaller world, and in particular you won't have the absolutely extreme differences in scale that this model provides.
[That is: a setting like Star Wars - and the many other 'galactic empire' model settings - assumes that you have both a) massively populated urban planets, and also b) lots and lots of planets with only slightly more inhabitants than a railroad stop in the wild west. And it turns out that if you adopt assumptions like the set I picked, you can get that setting. But without those assumptions, you probably can't...]
or we're talking about at best zeppelins on venus, and at worst a ground level space station.
FTR, my main SF setting, where terraforming is expensive and there are hostile aliens, does indeed have a lot of small settlements like this, along with a small number of full colony worlds. However, in the galactic empire setting, you mostly don't get these - because expansion to hospitable worlds is cheap (either there are lots of them, or they're easy to make, or your FTL is just so great), there's little need to waste your time in any less than hospitable (outside of the oldest and most populated systems).
Anyway, I think it's at this point also that those details about who is colonizing and why are really going to show: when you have hundreds of thousands of people you're talking about the city, and whatever the economics of ideology of people there it's still gonna look more or less the same. but small outposts tend to be concrete projects more than colonies: you know, plantations, mines, research stations. I have trouble imagining that it'd be only agricultural homesteaders and townspeople.
Some portion will indeed be politically or economically linked to larger planets.
But less than you might think, I think. By the time you get to the New Frontier, you've been through several rings of progressively less populated worlds. Even in the Outer Core, there's spare space; the Hinterlands are drowning in unoccupied land, and the Old Frontier is barely inhabited at all, relatively speaking. So ordinary "we need some space to put this thing", or "we need a gold mine" or "we need good growing conditions" or whatever reasons mostly won't cut it - you'll be able to find places to put your mines, plantations, research stations, holiday homes, etc, on already-established worlds. The people who go out to the New Frontier will mostly be people who specifically
want to not
be anywhere else. And there's a limit to the number of mines and research stations you need, anyway.
I mean, what percentage of small villages on earth are research stations? It's very, very low. And to get to a place where research stations are more common than 'people who for some unfathomable reason want to live in the middle of nowhere', you basically have to go to Antarctica - even in southern Chile, or northern Norway, normal residential villages far outnumber the other possibilities.
Aw, man, now I'm gonna go on a 'interstellar civilizations: what's their economy look like anyway'