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

A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Medicine

(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 . . .

Medical Care

Medical care on a world of sorcery, super-science, and eccentric gods is complicated. Throw in other worlds, ancient bioweapons, and more and you have a place where “hypochondria” might be considered a rational reaction.

Medical care on Telvaren and it’s worlds has the following common traits:


Preventative medicine is paramount for all inhabitants of the worlds, at least in the Great Cities and Unaffiliated Nations. Most people are raised very young to engage in healthy habits and activities, and its a popular area of discussion on talk shows, magazines, and books.


Vaccination is also of major importance in the setting, and for some Great Cities not being vaccinated is considered a criminal offense – one can be literally exiled in Olanau-Kau or Vasikon Zek for not vaccinating oneself or their children. Followups are also important. Many Guilds provide related medical service.


Diet is considered a core part of health, and is a mixture of scientific pratcie, ancient and at times unquestioned tradition, and personal preference. Most people have a decent amount of dietary knowledge, though in some Cities and Wars/Districts people tend to eat locally as opposed to cook.

The mixture of good ideas, traditions, and useless habits is hard to separate, and often varies from region to region and City To City. It’s not common to argue diet and food among people.


With so much unpredictability, medical testing is a part of daily life and security. Most people have a general health exam including blood work every six month from childhood. For those in more dangerous professions such as relic recoverers, Cryptodivers, or the Military, it can be monthly.


Alchemy, the art of combining magic and chemistry, has led to many useful treatments over the aeons. Common alchemical treatments are sold with moderate regulation.

Alchemical treatments are restricted in their larger use and common use for two reasons:

  1. Users of magic and those with related magical abilities like Revenauts may find such treatments cause unusual side effects.
  2. Continuous use of magical treatments has medical risks, especially when used for healing.


Surgery is an obviously common treatment as it is in our world. Magic is often kept out of surgery except in limited extends. Vast exchanged of surgical knowledge are held among medical professionals, and recovered knowledge is propigated quickly.


Magic is used careful in medicine due to its ability to affect other magic users and the fact that using magic on living systems has side effects. Common uses of magic are:

Healing Acceleration: Healing Acceleration accelerates the bodies own processes. However overuse of it has a risk of cancer or weaker healing simply because one is accelerating cell division. Safe amounts have been worked out mathematically.

Sealing And Repairing: More common in medical magic is the ability to seal a would or re-knit bones with existing materials. Such first-aid magic is quite effective and less risky.

Transplant Connection: In the case of transplants, magic is a powerful way to quickly re-bond organs despite any risk.

Divine Power

Gods often provide healing Aspects to their Clerics or the Touched. This varies with the god, the individual, and their need and is not always reliable. Such healing usually has no side effects.

There are a variety of Medical gods with no actual leaders among them. The noteworthy ones are

  • Sybella – The general medical goddess, The Lady Of Health. She’s considered patron of most general practitioners and good habits. She is portrayed as a woman whose age changes to fit the individual praying.
  • Romolak – Our Lord of the Red Shield. Romolak is the god of vaccines and preventative medicine. He is portrayed as a warrior dressed in red, and is noted for switching between being dead serious and having a wacky sense of humor.
  • Mavina – The Uncutting Knife. Mavina is a genderless god who is the patron of surgery. Portrayed as a tall person with dark skin and white hair, wearing robes within which are a variety of tools. Mavina is calm, clever, and thoughtful, and maintains good relations with both the technology god Xomanthu and the magic god Ivonau.
  • Yavolox – The Lord of Development. Yavolox is a god of exercise as well as good cooking. The brother and at times rival of Romolak. Yavolox maintains a cheery attitude at all times, and is often portrayed as an Easterner with curly hair and a powerful but limber build.

– Steve

A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Economics

(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 . . .


Economics isn’t the dismal science on the worlds of Avenoth; it’s taken quite seriously. When you’ve got sorcery, super-science, and the gods running around it really helps to know what won’t destabilize your economy.

Economics is considered a science similar to statistics, analysis, and forensics – it is about understanding how things work for the sake of improvement. Economics tend to be very workaday, often specialized, and very dedicated – it is not a “sexy” profession.

The major goal of economics is seen as better understanding of how things work and making it better. Many an economist with ambition will pitch a plan to a town, ward, district, or even a Great City to try and implement. Some will succeed – though few seem to go into politics, preferring to be more of an advisory role. Considering the often verbal politics of the Government that’s probably wise.

There are no real economic philosophies as we would think of them in our world – many points of culture and civilization are considered not up for debate. For instance, regulation of toxic substances or the need for strong economic representation of professionals int the forms of guilds and unions is considered normal. What does exist is hundreds if not thousands of proposals, ideas and theories to tweak this or that.

It’s a lot like diet – people know the general outline of what’s healthy, but there are debates over the best food, proportions, and the like.

A few universal elements of the economy of the human worlds of Avenoth:

Marks: Marks are the common currency, maintained by The Government. The term is a shortened version of the term “Mark Of Trade,” an old way people would mark the value of items in different currency. Marks usually come in waterproof paper bills, with coins for single Marks, and fractions of them (half-Mark, Quarter-mark, and Decimark). A thousand Marks is usually called a Kilomark or K-mark.

A Mark would be roughly equivalent to just under two dollars in America 2018, though prices are hard to translate.

City Wealth Funds: Each Great City maintains a Wealth Fund, a large pool of money used to promote economic wellbeing. This can take the form of everything from zero-interest or no-payback loans, grants to promising students, and investment seeking payback in other businesses. The Great Cities also invest in each other’s cities, businesses, colleges, and other ways to seek benefits for their citizens – and this opens up yet another route for complex politics.

Guilds, Unions, and Professional Associations: Almost anyone who has a profession is part of one or more professional group. These groups, recognized by ancient charter and slow-but-inevitably-evolving laws, provide support for various professionals with both social bonding, training, and economic support. They also act as power brokers, giving people economic leverage, which is both accepted, but is yet another area of complex politics that citizens navigate.

Guilds and Unions, especially, provide retirement and economic benefits to their members. The Great Cities appreciate this since it ensures people are taken care of.

Benefits: Citizens of Avenoth who are under The Government (which is about 60-80% of them) are provided with certain benefits as citizens:

  • A public education up to and including college. An educated population is a cornerstone of civilization.
  • Health benefits. Obviously a healthy population is a stable one – and considering the amount of biological weapons unleashed during the War, and new diseases from other worlds, it’s needed for survival.
  • Welfare. The society in general provides a lot of welfare benefits, but they vary from Great City to City and planet to planet. For instance on Gellitar food and housing is free.
  • Retirement benefits. Though retirement is a nebulous term in the culture, it is generally figured that past a certain age it is desirable to slow down. Plans are provided by a mixture of The Government, The Great Cities, and professional associations – usually meaning a financial advisor needs to get involved.
  • Maintenance of the Network. Cities work hard to maintain a good part of the network and public access is free to all. Some people pay for boosters or additional security.

Taxes and Fees: Taxation is part of Avenoth and is seen as one paying to support their social structures. People often pay government taxes, City taxes, Ward or district taxes, and there are membership feels to guilds or unions. There is no single tax filing day – taxes are reviewed quarterly. Obviously this keeps many an accountant in business.

Electronic Commerce: Electronic commerce has been known for over five decades, and in piecemeal ways before that. Its best to say it’s been secure for a decade. However, people have adjusted to it slowly and there are those who refuse to use it in any form to this day. Some electronic commerce is thus paid for upon delivery or done by other means.

Forensic Accountants: The term Forensic Accountant refers to people who unriddle financial and economic issues, often after disasters, crimes, and historical discoveries.

Banks: Each Great City has its own Bank, and many Unions, Guilds, and the like run smaller Banks or Credit unions. Banking is highly regulated because of the potential for abuse, thus this arrangement is generally considered a positive. There are only two “non-localized” Banks that operate broadly and they are watched with great suspicion as banking is seen as being open to abuse.

Banks are considered more like a public service than a business venture.

– Steve