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An Introduction to the JC, Humanity Without Technology

I want to briefly introduce the future society and culture from my current book, The Mars One Incident, as it is very different to most of our current cultures. The book introduces our main character, Alma Johnson, and follows her on one of her first missions as the commanding officer of the human fleet starship Indy. While in orbit around Mars, it doesn’t take long for her to realize that she has been set up by a faction, known as Terra Nova, whose sole purpose is to bring technology back to humanity. The Mars One Incident takes place in year 2635. Humanity had what they call the Great Leap Backwards in 2135. During the Great Leap Backwards, humans decided to give up most technology as they feared that they had almost destroyed themselves from it. Technology is the only sin in humanity’s future.

Alma Johnson’s world, post the Great Leap Backwards, is in some ways, more slow-moving than our Earth of today because of the lack of personal technology and the way in which humanity reorganized itself as one civilization. There are still the acknowledged different continental regions, but only one human government, The Joint Confederacy, known as simply, the JC, to everyone in the galaxy. Humans no longer separate themselves by country, race, sex or religion. Everyone is equal and people see themselves as individuals first, then apart of their immediate families and then apart of the guild they work in, then, lastly, as humans in the galaxy. In her world, everyone has a career and a trade which children choose from the age of ten years old when they join one of the many guilds around the world. From ten years old they apprentice in that guild until they are adults. Most guilds produce various forms of art or food which are for galactic export. Humans survive by selling their goods for universal credits to other civilizations in the galaxy. As such, humanity is the poorest civilization that is capable of space travel and having colonies within their solar system. The military and government guilds are the least popular, as those citizens must deal with technology. As the creation of new technology is banned, the government and military must do what it can with what is left over from hundreds of years before and trade. Humanity’s nearest neighbors from the Trappist system are more than happy to trade for universal credits but are weary to trade for starships. As a result, the government frequently involves itself with galactic pirates and black-market trading to barely survive in keeping the JC, sovereign within the galaxy. Conveniently, humanity is not located near any of the most powerful civilizations in the galaxy, so taking Earth and its meager colonies would be of no use to anyone.

In this world, people not only need universal credits for living, but must also have good social standing in their communities. JC citizens wishing to have a nice home and the privilege of children, must apply for living and procreation through their guilds and the government. Population is capped at 12 billion throughout Earth, Mars, Europa and Io. In addition, humans only live to be about 200 years old as most advanced medical technology was also abandoned in the Great Leap Backwards as it is seen as unnatural for people to live forever. Humans like to believe that they are living in harmony with their environment and that 12 billion is the maximum number to continue to support themselves and native wildlife. In this future, everyone is a vegetarian. To eat meat is as grave of a sin as to use personal technology in the eyes of society. However, just like with technology, there is a huge black-market for meat especially across Europe and Asia.

In this humanity’s future, there are no cars or airplanes. People travel by the extensive fast public magnetic train systems for free. For shorter destinations, trams or bicycles are always available. As people generally don’t expect others to arrive exactly on time anywhere, there is never a hurry on Earth and so the system of public transportation works, in the people’s opinion, very well.

All communication and news are passed only by word of mouth. Alma and her fellow humans are very suspicious of written documents or video communication. People communicate by old-fashioned communal telephones, but even then, those conversations are short and efficient as all contact through technology is seen as inauthentic. There are also communal computers and every JC citizen is allotted 60 minutes a day to check their Galactic Universal message account. The Galactic Universal is an organization made up of all the spacefaring civilizations in the galaxy that provides every being with a number and message account so that everyone, even humans, can be connected throughout the galaxy. Humans outside the government or military guilds rarely use these accounts to contact each other, but they are often used for trade for universal credits with off-worlders.

The JC is seen as adorable by other galactic civilizations, if they bother to acknowledge humanity at all. We are considered beautiful in the eyes of the galaxy because of the variety of colors in eyes, skin and hair, most off-worlders are one color only. Humans are also considered charming for taking the time to decorate everything rather than working efficiently. And as our technology has not been updated in centuries, translators are also seen as adorable, quite often getting the alien languages’ translations just wrong enough to be endearing. Most humans never leave the solar system, so unlike other civilizations in the galaxy whose citizens all receive universal translators after puberty, humans mainly use hand-held translators, which off-worlders also find quaint. Generally, humans do not mind being thought of this way, they believe their smiles and charms have kept them safe from colonization or annihilation by these much more powerful civilizations.

The Mars One Incident will be the first book in a series that follows Alma throughout the galaxy, focusing on humanity’s interactions with other powerful and influential alien civilizations. During which time, Alma will have to confront her own feelings about humanity’s ban on technology and her decision in The Mars One Incident which will periodically come back to haunt her.

This series of books will not only tell interlocking exciting science fiction stories, but also reflect on what humanity’s place in the galaxy would be without personal technology.

Photo credit: dreamstime@Michele Ricucci

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