Friday, 13 May 2016
We live in a wonderful time, now assured that near and far stars have world orbiting them, some with worlds orbiting within a habitable zone. Within tantalizing reach is the Centauri System consisting of multiple stars locked together, and at the time of writing at least 2 planets circulating one of the small suns, Alpha Centauri B.
I have placed the planet of Terrorfar around Proxima Centauri, an altogether more desperate situation than our own world because of the risk of greater perturbation of remnant ice in the far system. Consistent with the possibility of external gravitational effects, i imagine it to be in a highly elliptical orbit of about 300 rotations of 20 hours each, leaving it locked in ice twice yearly as it clips the far Goldilock band for about 90 days each. The thaw is fast, converting the relatively flat world surface into wet marshlands and shallow seas.
I imagine this to be the homeworld of the Crest, a vaguely lupine race, with a matrilineal pack social hierarchy. The world is under challenge and at the time of the story the clams are evacuating off world.
In this story some of the Crest believe in the ceremonial tasting of a deceased, by touching the dead body during funeral preparations or tasting the blood of a dying warrior. Like the human cultures I have based this belief on, some of those practicing it believe that in this way the deceased will be carried into future generations, both informing the present of the past and allowing the dead eyes in a living future.
Perhaps sadly, there is no justification for the belief, and while it might satisfy deeply held emotional or cultural needs, it defies current scientific thinking. Further, it has been very destructive in some cultures, most recently adding to the spread of Mad Cow Disease in Papua New Guinea and Ebola in West Africa.