Orion’s Arm

Orion’s Arm (also called the Orion’s Arm Universe Project , OAUP , or simply OA ) is a multi-authored online science fiction world-building project, first established in 2000 [2] by M. Alan Kazlev, Donna Malcolm Hirsekorn, Bernd Helfert and Anders Sandberg and further co-authored by many people since. [3] Anyone can contribute articles, stories, artwork, or music to the website. A large mailing list exists, [4] in which members debate aspects of the world they are creating, discussing additions, modifications, issues arising, and work to be done.

A computer game and a role-playing game is being developed by the community, within the middle OA. There is an ezine for Orion’s Arm fiction, art, and commentary, called Voices: Future Tense , [5] add-ons for the Celestia program to displaying Orion’s Arms, spacecraft and other objects, [6] and additional transhumanist flavored SF illustrations . [7]

The first published Orion’s Arm book, a collection of five novellas set within the OA universe, called Against a Diamond Sky , [8] was published in September 2009 by Outskirts Press. [9] The second published Orion’s Arm book, called After Tranquility , was released in February 2014. [10] [11]


OA is set over ten thousand years in the future, and claims to adhere to plausible, or “hard” science fiction ; that is, no human-like aliens, no literal faster-than-light or other violations of the known laws of physics , and no “naval analogy” space battles. Some speculative technologies, Such As the establishment of ” negative mass ” ( Averaged null energy condition of -violating) exotic matter and the manipulation of strange forms of matter, Such As magnetic monopolies and Q-balls , one length scales much smaller Than That of year atom, strong artificial intelligence and artificial life appear in the setting, distinguishing it from “ultra-hard” science fiction (which assumes only technology is possible at the time it is written).

Brain-computer interfaces , known to OA as “DNIs” (for Direct Neural Interface), are required to operate at least one of their capabilities. This technology is one of a number of other technologies that can be used to improve the accuracy of reality. When software is integral to the functioning of the Orion’s Arm Universe, it is usually felt. There are even benches in the setting.

The “ultra-civilized” polities are “sephirotic empires”. [12] Gray goo is Such a problem there That They Are subject to mass monitoring with a utility fog -based technology called “angelnetting” or “demonnetting”, and the local transapient can usually go through the data Gathered in this way to review Nearly every social interaction that has ever occurred in the polity. Protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to bear arms and freedom of speech are considered obsolete. Angelnetting, where it allows civil weapons, restricts their use. Like most of their technology, weapons often have some degree of sentience.

Outside the “ultra-civilized” sephirotic regions, there is the periphery, which is described as being relatively lawless and having some brutal dictatorships. Carrying personal weapons is recommended there, but usually is strongly regulated.

The denizens of this universe are ruled over by god-like, superintelligent artificial intelligences (AIs), called ” archailects, ” the descendants of humanity and some alien early artificial life experimentation. These beings are so powerful that they can create new miniature universes, and are completely beyond the understanding of normal humans. Their bodies exist as distributed intelligences in networks of planet-sized computer brains; their subroutines are themselves sentient, making an “archai” an individual and a civilization at the same time. Extraterrestrial life exists, but the focus is entirely on the descendants and creations of Earthlife, here collectively called “terragen life”. Normal humans, called “baselines”, are an endangered species . Their genetically and cybernetically enhanced descendants have supplanted them.

There are many types of intelligent life: nearbaselines (enhanced humans), posthumans , cyborgs , vecs (smart robots ; named for Hans Moravec ), aioids (intelligent computers ), uploads (intelligences transferred into computers), neumanns ( self-replicating robots ; named for John von Neumann ), provolves (animals with enhanced intelligence, similar to ” uplift ” – see below), rianths (humans with animal DNA spliced ​​in), splices (similar to provolves, upgraded with human DNA), neogens (life genetically synthesized from non-life) and xenosophonts (aliens). Nanotechnologyis common. Ringworlds , Dyson spheres and other “megastructures” exist. Much of civilized space is connected by a network of wormholes .

OA is a part of the transhuman space opera subgenre. The world was influenced by Iain M. Banks ‘ Culture series, Vernor Vinge ‘s A Fire Upon the Deep , and David Brin ‘ s Uplift Universe , among others. It takes the concept of the technological singularity Directly from the work of Vernor Vinge Among Others. In Orion’s Arm , there is not one singularity goal at least six, And They Refer not to internships in the technological development of civilizations as a whole, aim to different levels of consciousnessin individuals. The concept of Toposophics used in this setting is inspired by the work of Stanisław Lem .

Prominent theoretical technologies

Technologies that feature prominently in the Orion’s Arm setting include:

  • Nanotechnology , and sub- atomic analogues.
  • Extremely advanced artificial intelligence .
  • Space megastructures .
  • Production and manipulation of averaged null energy conditions-violating negative tensor energy fields, including quintessence and scalar quantum field fluctuations, for use in reactionless space drives and wormholes .
  • Stable wormholes , Allowing apparent faster-than-light travel entre star systems, though They must be transported to the systems at sublight speeds (with physical limitations prevent prevention Intended to time travel ).
  • Several kinds of reactionless sublight space drive , Including Almost all of the kinds Described by NASA ‘s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program , though in the setting MOST of These are in the process of being white Replaced by various space drives, Including Displacement, Halo, and Void drives, which are based on the ESAA / Van den Broeck metric solution to the Alcubierre / Natario warp drive.

Prominent theoretical artifacts

Types of megastructure that feature prominently in the Orion’s Arm setting include:

  • Dyson spheres (shells around stars), both swarm-based and dynamically-supported.
  • Ringworlds (rigid hoops around stars at a distance of about 1 AU ).
  • Bishop Rings (large ring-shaped habitats), described as the largest spinning ring-shaped habitats that can be built using non-exotic materials. [13] Similar to Iain Mr. Bank’s Gold Orbitals Halo .
  • Complex orbital ring variants ( suprastellar and supraplanetary shells ) That perform functions similar to Dyson spheres .

Types of nanotechnology -based artifact include:

  • Utility fog (swarms of microscale robots that act as a reconfigurable bulk material).
  • Disassemble swarms ( gray goo -like swarms of nanobots that dismantle hostile craft / objects).
  • Angelnets / Demonnets / Guardwebs ( nanotechnology -based infrastructures allowing for complete control of the local environment, up to and including mind uploading in the case of severe accidents, that provides functional immortality in addition to its holodeck -like uses).

Other noteworthy artifacts are typically unknowable to “baseline” humans (named Clarketech , after Clarke’s third law ).


Orion’s Arm has-been reviewed in the role-playing magazine Knights of the Dinner Table , [14] as well as on Boing Boing by transhumanist science fiction author Cory Doctorow . [15]

References to the Encyclopaedia Galactica have been made in a book on overcoming Librarian stereotypes. [16]

The Orion’s Arm website has also been recommended for children’s teaching guide. [17]

The Orion’s Arm perspective on wormholes has been discussed in various science fiction forums outside the group’s own mailing lists, including mention on hardsf .org [18] and discussion in a paper from UC Davis. [19]

See also

  • Transapient
  • Archailect
  • Collaborative Fiction


  1. Jump up^ “Orionsarm.com Site Info” . Alexa Internet . Retrieved 2014-04-01 .
  2. Jump up^ “Orion’s Arm – The Early Years” . Orionsarm.com . Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  3. Jump up^ “Orion’s Arm – The Beginning (Part 1)” Voices / Future Tense ” . Voicesoa.net . 2006-02-28 . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .
  4. Jump up^ “Yahoo! Groups” . Groups.yahoo.com . 2000-06-05 . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .
  5. Jump up^ “Voices / Future Tense” . Voicesoa.net . 2012-12-22 . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .
  6. Jump up^ “Orion Arm – Orion’s Arm Celestia Addons” . Orionsarm.com . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .
  7. Jump up^ “Orion’s Arm” . Helfert.de . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .
  8. Jump up^ The Orion’s Arm Universe Project,Against A Sky Diamond: Tales from Orion’s Arm Vol. 1, Outskirts Press, 2009,ISBN 1-4327-4099-7 ISBN 978-1432740993
  9. Jump up^ “Outskirts Press Announcements Against A Diamond Sky from VA The Orion’s Arm Universe Project – Outskirts Press, Inc.” . PRLog.org . 2009-09-13 . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .
  10. Jump up^ “The Orion ‘s Arm Universe Project Forums” . Orionsarm.com . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .
  11. Jump up^ “Orion’s Arm – Latest Updates” . Orionsarm.com . Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  12. Jump up^ “Civilized Galaxy – Sephirotic Empires” . Orionsarm.com . Retrieved 2003-04-23 .
  13. Jump up^ “Institute of Atomic-Scale Engineering: Open Air Space Habitats” . Iase.cc . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .
  14. Jump up^ Kenneth Newquist, Plunder Free RPGs on the Web,Knights of the Dinner Table# 92, June 2004, p.66
  15. Jump up^ Cory Doctorow (2005-08-17). “Orion’s Arm: CC-licensed, post-singularity shared world / Boing Boing” . Boingboing.net . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .
  16. Jump up^ Ruth Kneale (2009)You Do not Look Like a Librarian: Shattering Stereotypes and Creating Positive New Images in the Internet Age, Information Today, Inc.,ISBN 1-57387-366-7,ISBN 978-1- 57387-366-6p.118
  17. Jump up^ Timothy Tuck,Wonder wits teaching guide,Blake Education, 2006ISBN 1-86509-917-1,ISBN 978-1-86509-917-0
  18. Jump up^ “Tech SF: Wormholes: Morris-Thorne Wormhole / Space Tunnel” . Hard SF . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .
  19. Jump up^ “Wormhole Engineering in Orion’s Arm: An Overview” (PDF) . Github.com . Retrieved 2016-02-27 .

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