A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Politics

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Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.  It’s out late this fall but you can find out about the world now . . .


“Never trust a person without divided loyalties.”
– The Sixth Sage

The politics of Telvaren and all the human worlds orbiting Avenoth can best be summed up by that pithy statement from the ancient thinker. A further motto from the Reformation also adds some insight.

“Peace is when people agree on 60% of everything.”
– Unknown

The politics of all the worlds of humanity are thus summed up as follows:

  • It is considered natural and indeedp healthy for people to be involved in multiple organizations, churches, temples, unions, political groups, and more. It is by these multiple involvements that the reconciliation and truce-making necessary to politics comes about.
  • As long as people can agree on an (at-times slim) majority of things, peace is assured.

This leads to a mix of practicality and idealism, where people aspire to reconcile and fix issues while being members of their community, while assuming they’ll disagree with each other. Politics is soaked into the post-War culture, and it is assumed that all people to some extent engage in political actin. The idea of this endless cycle is called The Dance.

The Dance

The Dance is the nickname given to the various ways unions, guilds, companies, Great Cities, The Military, and more attempt to both get along and disagree. Everyone wants the Dance to go on, and thus does nothing radical to disrupt the world, meaning a great deal of politics is arguing, avoiding, bribery, negotiation, backstabbing, or just giving up. This constant low-level political activity is considered far better than the alternative of ignoring things until they go wrong.

This means for anyone in a remotely controversal, active, dangerous, or public profession that they’re always going to be involved in some conflict. Dealing with this conflict in a way that doesn’t spiral out of control is considered par for the course.

As an example, the relic-hunters of the mage’s guild Phoenix Ascendant may find themselves clashing with the guild of Radiant Visage, who hunt down and destroy rogue mages and dangerous magic over a trove of artifacts. There may be no violence (well, more than a broken nose or a display of magic), but there may be theivery, bribery, or deal-making. When open violence occurs, it is considered a failure.

One does not stop The Dance.

Political Parties

There are multiple political parties on all the worlds of Avenoth. Some may be as local as the Ward of a city, others may be planetary or interplanetary. Most people so inclined belong to multiple political parties, depending on their interests. Powerful Guilds, Unions, and Universities also act as political parties.

The parties respect The Dance as well, though some people find the arguing among them (especially in rather verbal places like Grand Ivar and Zafrel) to be cathartic.

Common Political Beliefs

Despite the acceptance of differences, thee are a few common political attitudes among the people of Avenoth.

The Need For Human Unity: Is very common – humanity must be united politically. This causes conflicts with the Unaffiliated Territories and large parts of Lindhaem for obvious reasons – they don’t want to be part of The Government. Fortunately this unity is often pursued in passive-aggressive means.

The Need For Division Of Politics: Most politics is split between The Government, The Cities, local territories, and assorted organizations. This is seen as good and healthy, in that certain areas of society have certain responsibilities. Its just people argue about what they are.

Multi-Level Identity: One’s political identity is assumed to be multi-faceted – one’s City, one’s professional association, your neighborhood, etc. THe idea of people having one “party” or “loyalty” is seen as unhealthy – and fanatic.

Caution over Innovation: Though how cautious people are varies, the culture/cultures of Telvaren and its worlds do not assume innovation is always a good thing. There’s so much history of dangerous magic and technology that “hey look what I came up with” isn’t something people always want to hear. Needless to say, mages and technics and scientists tend to overstep these bounds.

We Are Better Than Before The War: Though the Lindhaemi might disagree to an extent, there’s an assumption that humanity learned so many lessons from The War and The Reformation, that they are better people for it.

Fear of Another War: Built into the culture and politics of all the peoples whose worlds orbit Avenoth is a fear of another War, a great global (or now interplanetary) conflict. Though it’s seen as very unlikely, this fear is woven throughout everything.

A Minimum Standard Of Living: Povery and assumed poverty were both part of the times before The War, and after it. Between The Government and The Great Cities, there’s a large amount of financial, educational, and other support for citizens. Going hungry or without medical treatment is rare.

A Need TO Be Involved: Being part of society, functioning in it, contributing, is also woven throughout the culture. It is considered normal to do charity work, go to political rallies, be involved in public institutions, etc. A duty to society (and its parts) is considered normal.

The Inevitability of Politics: Finally, most citizens accept politics and political involvement, with all its ugliness and strangeness, to be completely natural. This leads to a kind of cynical idealism.

– Steve