A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: The Network

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

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 . . .

The Network

The Network is a general term on Telvaren for the massive, reasonably unified system of computers and communications technologies providing access to information. It is roughly equivalent to the internet as we know it in the 21st century, but far more restricted and carefully set up.

That is because of both culture and history.

The History of The Network

Though books have, could, and will be written on the subject, the history of The Network can be summed up with some simplicity.  Throughout recorded history people have used magic and tehn technology to communicate information. At some point, roughly 1000 to 500 years before The War, there were attempts to build a global or at least reasonably global network.

The First Network was created entirely with magic and sponsored by many Mages Guilds, some of which lived down their following mistakes. This first effort happened some 750 years before the reformation or roughly 950 years before current times. It functioned for several decades, but then was overtaken with magical side effects, ghosts, echoes, and even demons of pure information. It was ultimately disassembled, not that it was that functional near the end.

The Second Network was created with a mix of magic and technology some 500 years before the current age, or 250 years before the reformation. Though it’s not often known, some of the foundation of the The First Network was used, if only to patch connections between large geographic regions. It lasted fifty years before having malfunctions due to security and rampant Flashmind AIs.

The Second Network, despite its later malfunctions, became commonplace in people’s lives and was considered integral to building the social structures that survived The War.

The Third Network was build on the malfunctioning Second Network, with increased security and the formation of the organization known as the Techmoni. The Third Network emphasized heavy security, careful protocols, and appropriate functionality.

The current Network is considered the Third Network in most knowledgeable people’s minds.

The Maintenance Of The Network

The Maintenance of The Network is largely up to an organization known as The Techmoni. A non-religious but dedicated organization like The Bridgers, the Techmoni improve protocols, release patches, and ensure its security.

The Techmoni are funded by the various planets and the Great Cities, and the main Government supposedly has little involvement in it. This is technically not true, but the Government keeps its involvement quiet, focusing on ensuring the unity Network and avoidance of regional conflicts.

Few people who join the Techmoni ever leave for other jobs, though they do tend to retire.

The Structure Of The Network

The Network consists of a series of distributed nodes, wired structures, and satellites – it is partially wireless. These may be new or centuries old and constantly refitted depending on region and location.

The Network allows for mostly faster-than-light communications due to its techno-magical elements, though often signals piggyback off of The Bridges for better signals. This is achieved by a mixture of Bridger technology and satellites, as well as signal boosters.

An enormous amount of The Network is dedicated to security to prevent malfunctions, magical incidents, viruses, rogue flashminds, and more. It is often joked that most of The Network is about making sure it doesn’t break.

Common Use Of The Network

The Network is used commonly for the following:

Electronic Mail. Electronic mail is a common form of communication. To us, it would seem that text messaging and email are the same thing on Avenoth.

Chat and Video Chat. People commonly use audio or video chat to discuss things with each other.

Reading. Many people read books on Slates, though magical texts and related are considered dangerous to put on Slates. Some of this is justified.

Research. Enormous amounts of information are stored on The Network and every Library, theocade, and University has plenty of information available.

Network Sites. Similar to our web pages, individuals, businesses, and government have “sites” one can visit for information, communication, and commerce.

Personal Information. All citizens are provided with an email address and a personal site, often used for various reasons.

Commerce. Because of caution, electronic commerce is less common than we’re used to. Many transactions are prepay, cash on demand, or validated carefully.


Slates are the ubiquitous device for accessing the Network – very similar to our tablets in the 21st century. Almost everyone has one, carrying it in a pouch on their waist – such pouches are common ways to express fashion.

Your average slate is perhaps less than a third of a meter by a fourth of a meter depending on make. They are light devices, though heavier than we may be used to – especially military models and those used by various professions. This heaviness is due to increased insulation and security technology.

– Steve