Tag Archives: avenoth

A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Popular Culture

(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 let’s talk about life in one of The Great Cities . . .

Popular Culture

Popular Culture has evolved a great deal since The War. Unconsciously, most people tend to mark cultural elements using The War, which considering the nature of the event is understandable. However, it is noteable that before The War there was no real idea of global popular culture.

After The War, with The Alliance forming, culture began standardizing as well. This included popular culture, though it involved several phases.

Immediate Post-War (-5 to 0 AR)

Post-War popular global popular culture was largely nonexistent as known today. Most of what was shared was classical novels, plays, and music. Some individual Great Cities shared culture with each other, but there was little “global.”

Reformation (0 to 50 AR)

The Reformation, an attempt to build a unified government and sense of purpose resulted, of course, in some unified culture. Cities exchanged more information, ideas of the reformation were propagated, and some major cultural milestones were agreed on. However music, books, and literature outside of the “classical” culture were little shared.

Most Great Cities had their own media production, from movies to publishing. Though they often copied each other, they did have their own way of doing things.

The Military provided to be a unifying force in that those joining it were exposed to other Cities, other former Nations, and other people. Many people did short tours of duty, and often returned to their Cities with other ideas about food, music, and more.

The growing Theopolis of Triad True and the theological parts of The Reformation added to cultural cohesion in the realms of theology. However that had somewhat existed before – it’s just that with some three hundred gods agreement on things had never been that coherent anyway.

Post-Reformation (50 AR to 100 AR)

The post-Reformation period was not conflict free, but was a period of reducing the smaller, regional conflicts and petty grievances. Not all of the Great Cities actually liked each other, so this period was necessary for cultural exchanges.

As cultural and economic commerce among The Cities expanded, as territory was reclaimed, more shared culture evolved. Music, books, plays, and films were shared among “groups” of cities that had strong relations.

During this time Sabillon began to arise as a cultural center.

The Rise of Sabillon and Triad True (100AR to 200 AR)

Sabillion had formerly been a publishing clearinghouse, strongly associated with Mindarion and Zafrel. With it’s proximity to Triad True, the unremarkable if well-established city became more prominent in this age of integration.

Triad True was a culture powerhouse, but was a bit focused, and people whos minds are tuned to the gods don’t always have the best tactical and publishing sense. Brightguard was an education powerhouse, but was focused on education and politics. Allanax was the capital but was busy keeping The Alliance together. Highpoint had no real unified identity, and Grand Ivar had its own local concerns.

But Sabillion was perfectly placed to become a media center. It expanded from books and shipping and its otherwise unremarkable economy to more and more forms of media production. Centrally located in a hospitable area, it grew faster and faster.

There was plenty of land for studios. There was a transporation hub. Refgurees from the Old Dragon Kingdoms who had fled there with money, knowledge, magic, and technology had established their own businesses and familities and unions.

Soon, Sabillon had become known as a media capital almost by accident. It’s hand was everywhere in television, movies, and more – and it had happened almost by accident.

The Current Age (200AR to Present)

Sabillon is a major producer of video and musical media – or at least adjacent entertainment concerns that sell media have a footprint there. Movies, songs, and television broadcast around the world bear its mark.

Sabillon’s works are considered to be entertainment by most people – fun and something everyone can enjoy, if not deep. Of course the influence of Sabillon – and the importance of popular culture – is easily underestimated. Having something unifying, even if its shallow Glitterpop music or the soap opera Souls of Sorcery is important to society.

What is often missed, especially as other Great Cities posture, is Sabillon’s role in distribution. Books written in one Great City are easily available in others. Locally shot movies are easily distributed via the Network. News is carried across the planet by powerful Network services.

Sabillon has remained humble throughout all of this (some would credit the cultural influence of Zafrel and Triad True). They know who they are and what they’re doing, though the younger members seem to be less aware of their history and role.

Growing up in the major media center on three planets really does change awareness . . .

– Steve

A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Names

(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 various countries and regions of Telvaren have had many naming traditions over the years. Many of them still exist in one form or another, even if in honorifics. However, certain naming trends dominate the culture.

A person one meets on Telvaren or its associated worlds may have a name like Scintilla Ferr-Orbil or Marigold Rel-Domau. The name of most citizens is in three parts:

First Name

The first name is almost always an object, phenomena, or thing with some meaning to the parents, family, culture, or community. The sources of these vary widely, and most everyone has a “why I got this name” story, some of which aren’t humiliating.

Common sources are:

  • Family traditions, often on certain objects – plants, stones, weapons, etc.
  • Meaningful items – An author may name a child “Papyrus,” a doctor may name a child “Remedy.”
  • An occurrence of birth – A child born during a storm may be named “Rain” or “Lightning.”
  • Items relevant to an important god – A child born to a worshipper of Ivonau, the god of magic, might be called “Rune” or “Grimoire.”

Last Names

The second paired names are matrilineal. The first is the matrilineal name of the mother, the second the matrilineal name of the father.


  • Marogld Rel-Domau is the daughter of mother Lyric Rel-Kaber and father Key Domau-Jobal.
  • Scintilla Ferr-Orbil is the daughter of mother Joyful Ferr-Bistrain and Thunder Orbil-Mizra

Most people refer to each other by both last names, though it’s not unacceptable to merely use the maternal name in casual conversation.

Name Variants

There are still variants on this common name that occur for certain reasons:

  • Traditional first names. Some people or families use names in older languages, family traditions, or due to regional trends. This you may meet someone with a name like Gyra Trell-Ozmi whos family uses old traditional names (in this case Northern ones)
  • Traditional last names. This is far rarer, but a rare and decreasing amount of people have single last names due to regional or family tradition. This is usually seem in Central and at times Western regions, but is also known on the world of Lindhaem. An example of a very traditional name would be Shalen Vynne – though there is some potential confusion . . .
  • Estrangement. Some people due to estrangement from one side of a family or other reject the last name of one of their parents and go with a single name. This is seen as a complete disownment of that family and would be considered a massive insult. An example would be Beacon Rindle – whose use of modern first names with a single last name hints at estrangement.

The Origin Of Modern Naming

The current way of naming children is not new – it originated from the common Western and Southern way of naming children. This had spread to some Central and Norther regions. What made it far more popular was the War and then popular culture.

Having a way to easily refer to people’s lineage was made necessary during the devastation of The War. Simply treating last names as a way to track both sides of the family was remarkably convenient, and became popular in the evolving Government and Military – the Military was especially enthused about it for the sake of ease.

The establishment of The Government and a relatively unified culture among the future Great Cities helped further this naming tradition. The various cities that became The Great Cities had a great deal of cultural and economic commerce anyway, and in some ways had more common culture than their countries. The Network in its Second and Third forms also propigated common culture.

Finally, true popular, global culture evolved in the last one hundred years. A few major Great Cities – most notably Sabillion, but also the Theopolis of Triad True and the academic powerhouse of Brightguard – had an outsides influence on culture. This also spread common naming ideas making them more common.

– Steve

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