pre technology

Defunct German Car Brands: Trabant

Trabant was an East German car brand deeply rooted in the pre-war car industry of Saxony.

Before world war II, Saxony was one of the centers of the German car industry, featuring brands such as Wanderer, DKW, Horch, and Audi, which together formed the Auto Union. After the war, the production facilities were in ruins, and what was left was seized by the Russians. The carmakers had a difficult start, which was not eased by the fact that they were immediately socialized and directly controlled by the government. Many engineers went to West Germany, where they were either hired by Borgward, where they went on to produce the tiny Lloyd microcars. Others went to Ingolstadt, where DKW had a central warehouse for spare parts, to form a company independent of the East German roots. (That company later became Audi.)

The remaining engineers struggled to set up a production line for the pre-war models DKW F8 and DKW F9. Of the latter model, only prototypes had been built before the war, but it had never been put into in production in favor of war-related vehicles.

Others developed a stylish, expensive luxury sedan in the tradition of Audi and Horch, named Sachsenring P 240 featuring a 2400 cc straight-six engine.

However, both cars proved to be too expensive and unsuitable for mass motorization, which the government believed could only be achieved with a unified cheap small car. They ordered the engineers in Zwickau, Saxony, to develop a microcar using as much as possible existing pre-war technology. Bubble cars like in West Germany were deemed unsuitable from the very start; instead, a proper little car was aimed for.

The first result was ready in 1955, but it was not yet called Trabant, but AWZ P70. It was based on a shortened chassis of the 1939 DKW F8. It had the same water-cooled longitudinally mounted 700 cc two-cylinder two-stroke engine, which produced 22 hp. However, the water cooling was of a thermosiphon type and the placement of the radiator behind the engine instead of its usual place in the front caused the engine to overheat frequently. This triggered the development of an air-cooled variant of the engine used in the later Trabant.

The body was also a novelty: A wooden space frame was covered with a newly developed plastic made from recycled material. This material called Duroplast was a phenol resin reinforced with waste cotton fibers from Russia. The engineers had to come up with such an exotic and novel solution because high-quality sheet metal from Western Europe was embargoed, the Russian steel was unsuitable, and own East German steel production capacities were not yet existing. This emergency solution made the AWZ P70 the first car using recycled plastic. The roof was made from plywood covered in leatherette, as the Duroplast technology was not yet developed far enough to produce parts of that size.

The spartan equipment made the car unattractive. All windows were fixed, the trunk did not have a lid and had to be accessed by removing the backrest of the rear seat. These issues were later corrected.

A station wagon popular for its huge capacity and a coupe with all-steel body, which was internationally acclaimed for its sporty design, were added in 1956 and 1957, respectively.

The car turned out to be too costly in production and to be plagued with too many issues to be the basis for mass-motorization. Production was stopped in 1959. The experiences made with this car went into the development of the Trabant P50, which appeared in 1957.

Duroplast technology was improved, and a new 500 cc 18 hp air-cooled teo-cylinder two-stroke engine was developed to avoid trouble with the water cooling of the predecessor. The wooden space frame was replaced by a steel unibody. By the time the car made it to the market, it was among the most advanced microcars, providing relatively comfortable seating for four adults and a large trunk with a usable size of 415 liters (110 gal). This was enabled by a clever arrangement of a transversially-mounted engine and gearbox unit over the front axle, which required minimal space for the driving unit.

A station wagon was introduced shortly after the sedan.

In 1962, the engine was enlarged to 600 cc, resulting in an increas in power to 23 hp. The bodywork remained unchanged. The car was renamed to Trabant 600.

The last big change for a long time came in 1694, when a new body replaced the dated 1950s design for the model Trabant 601. The outer panels were still made from Duroplast, earning the car the nickname “Rennpappe” (”racing cardboard”).

The station wagon was also redesigned.

In this shape, the car was produced with only minimal changes and improvement for the next 26 years. Over the years, power outpot was increased from 23 to 26 hp. Design and technology, which were apart from the two-stroke engine still contemporary or even advanced by the time the model appeared, became more and more outdated, and although the car was reliable, it acquired a bad reputation and became an icon of the backwardness of the socialist economic model.

The engineers in Zwickau designed several potential replacements, experimented with Wankel engines, built prototypes, but all in vain. The political leaders personally stopped all plans, fearing unnecessary investments as the car was working well and the socialist citizen did not need luxury.

Despite all shortcomings, and weaknesses of the ageing construction, production never met the demand, and potential buers had to wait for up to 20 years to get a new car. It was common that parents signed a contract for a child right after it was born, expecting the car to be delivered well after its 18th birthday. This was mostly due to the cumbersome and slow production process of the Duroplast body panels.

In the late 1980s, East Germany acquired a license to produce engines for Volkswagen, who expected a cost advantage from the cheap production in East Germany. Part of the agreement was that a certain contingent of the engines produced would be for the local cars, Trabant and Wartburg. However, investments for the new production line exploded, so no money was left to develop a new body for the car. Using many makeshift solutions, the old body was adapted to accomodate the 1100 cc version of the new, much bigger four-cylinder four-stroke engine. The result was an excessively expensive small car with an outdated body that was probably even more unpopular than the original in its final years. In 1989, when the car was introduced, the peaceful revolution in East Germany and the reas of Eastern Europe was in full swing. Production started in 1990 and ended already on April 30, 1991, after only 12 months. With the financial, economic and social revolution in July 1990, western cars became affordable for the East Germans, and the Trabant had no chance for survival. Even price dumping, offering the car for only 6,000 DM (instead of 16,000 DM) did not help sales.

Many Trabant cars were abandoned after the owners had acquired a new western model. They created a major waste problem as the Duroplast was almost impossible to recycle.

Today, Volkswagen is present in Zwickau with a factory, and many suppliers are also producing there. However, they do not require as much workforce as the cumbersome and labor-intense production of the Trabant did, creating an unemployment problem in the region and a massive decrease in population.

Today, the car has achieved a kind of cult status. It has become a symbol of the German reunion, when tens of thousands of little Trabants were flooding into West Germany the days after the wall fell.

Defunct German Car Brands: DKW

DKW was a brand that was founded in Chemnitz, Saxony, in 1904. The original plan to develop steam cars (Dampfkraftwagen) never materialized.

Instead, they mass-produced a toy engine developed by Hugo Ruppe, a brilliant engineer with no sense for business. DKW developed a successful advertising campaign, naming the engine “Des Knaben Wunsch” (”The Boy’s Desire”). It was a hit-seller.

Simultaneously, they developed, enlarged and improved the little two-stroke engine to make it suitable to be mounted on a bicycle as an auxiliary engine. The DKW marketing experts worked out a catchy slogan utilizing the three letters DKW once again: “DKW, das kleine Wunder, / fährt bergauf wie andere runter” (”DKW, the little wonder, drives uphill like others do downhill”). The engine became another success.

Encouraged, the company started to develop proper motorcycles, which, with good help from the marketing department, sold well. The model RT 125 was particularly successful and was copied worldwide by other manufacturers. It is still today the motorcycle with the highest production numbers.

As the demand shifted more and more from motorcycles to cars, the company began to develop small, light-bodied cars, which could be powered by the enhanced two-stroke motorcycle engines. The resulting F1, first introduced in 1930, became the first mass-produced car with front wheel drive. From there, a straight line of development began until after world war II. In 1932, DKW merged with Wanderer, Audi, and Horch, all in financial struggles from the world economic crisis, to form the Auto Union group, symbolized by the four rings.

When Germany was divided, many engineers from the Saxony-based Auto Union went to West Germany. Some were hired by Borgward, where they developed the superminis under the Lloyd brand, which were stunningly similar to the East German Trabant. Others formed a new West German Auto Union company based on the central spare parts depot in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. Full production was started in a former arms factory in Düsseldorf.

The first model called F89 Meisterklasse was entirely based on pre-war technology. The bodywork was from a never mass-produced 1940 prototype called F9. The frame, drivetrain, and suspension came from the tried-and-tested F8. It featured a transversally mounted water-cooled two-cylinder two-stroke engine driving the front wheels. Performance was meagre as the heavy bodywork was designed to be propelled by a more powerful three-cylinder engine.

The upgrade to a longitudinally-mounted three-cylinder engine finally came in 1953 with the F91 Sonderklasse, using more or less the same body, but the more advanced frame and suspension of the dropped F9 project. To boost sales, the DKW marketing department sprang into action. They changed the name from “F91 Sonderklasse” to “3=6″, claiming that the three-cylinder two-stroke engine would run as smooth as a six-cylinder four-stroke engine. This claim was hammered into the carbuyer’s brain in a massive year-long advertising campaign, so it was still present in the collective memory decades after the brand (and two-stroke engines) had disappeared from the West German market.

In 1955, the bodywork was slightly revised and the engine enlarged. The car was now marketed as “Der große DKW 3=6″ (”The big DKW 3=6″) with the internal model number F93. However, it became more and more obvious that the car with its pre-war design and smoky two-stroke engine was dated. Against all ad campaigns, the car did not sell well, and Auto Union was unable to generate enough financial resources to develop a new model. In 1958, Daimler-Benz acquired the company and marketed the car as Auto Union 900 (F94).

As a first measure to improve the car, the engine was enlarged once again to 1000 cc, the old body received a stylish panoramic windshield and abendoned the former suicide doors, the interior design was upgraded to match contemporary Mercedes-Benz standards, and rigorous quality control improved reliability. To improve the horrible emissions mainly caused by the need to mix the oil with the fuel, which was then left unburned and part of the exhaust gases, the cars received a separate oil tank with a dosage pump that mixed the oil with the fuel directly in the carburetor. This measure reduced oil consumption significantly, improving the emissions to some degree. The car was now sold as Auto Union 1000, but sales continued to drop. In 1960, not many people wanted to buy a new car that looked as if it was from the 1930s.

Around the same time, a rakish variants of the Auto Union 1000, a coupe and convertible in Baby-Ford-Thunderbird style were introduced. They were desirable cars screaming “Rock’nRoll” from every angle. But instead of having a powerful V8, it suffered from the dated two-stroke engine.

In 1959, the long-awaited new body was available, but first only with the low-power 750 cc engines. It was called DKW Junior. Once again, a heavy ad campaign promoting the contemporary aspects of the car helped boosting sales. However, the new oil-mixing apparatus proved to be unreliable. Especially in the winter, when the oil became thick, the engine was starved from lubrication, resulting in piston seizure. Expensive repairs on warranty further the reputation of the brand.

When the Auto Union 1000 with its pre-war body was finally discontinued in 1963, the new (slightly revised) body received the stonger 1000 cc engine and was called F11 and F12 for two levels of trim. The fact that these small cars were of Mercedes-Benz-like build quality, which was heavily advertised, certainly helped sales, but the outdated drivetrain technology meant that they were not a big success.

The final model, a mid-sized sedan called F102 was introduced in 1964. The old-fasioned frame-and-body construction was finally replaced by a contemporary unibody construction. But it still featured a three-cylinder two-stroke engine with a capacity of 1200 cc producing 60 hp. A 1300 cc two-stroke V6 engine with 80 hp was available on special request, but rarely ordered. Both engines were noted for their excessive fuel consumption and smelly exhaust. DKW tried to counteract the fuel consumption by installing additional springs onto the accelerator pedal, making it heavier to push down (a measure later copied by the East German carmakers Trabant and Wartburg). All advertising did no longer help; the time for two-stroke engines was over, and despite the fashionable, sleek design and exceptional build quality, the cars were almost impossible to sell. Production was discontinued by the end of 1965, less than two years after the model was introduced.

Auto Union was sold to the Volkswagen Group in 1964, who installed a four-cylinder four-stroke engine developed by Mercedes-Benz, which required slight alterations to the front of the car. To get rid of the old-fashioned image, the DKW brand was dropped, and the revised car was marketed from 1966 on as Audi 60, Audi 72, and Audi 75, depending on the power output of the engine. It became a good success and was the start of today’s successful upmarket Audi brand.

DKW had a small delivery van (Schnellaster) in its portfolio, which was also available as a mini van. Initially, it was powered by a 2-cylinder two-stroke engine producing 20 hp, allowing for a top speed of 60 km/h (37 mph). Power was upgraded over the years, and finally the van received the 900 cc 32 hp three-cylinder two-stroke engine for 80 km/h (50 mph). The improved chassis of the DKW delivery van, which had been the basis of the Mercedes-Benz MB100, is still in production in China, providing the underpinnings of the SAIC Istana.

You know if you subscribe to any kind of ‘troll computers are brains / brainlike / compatible with troll brains’ ideology, you could probably see chucklevoodoos as having applications almost similar to automatic administrator privileges, even just from what we’ve seen in canon; the ability to read and exploit weaknesses, spawn in items and remotely override and puppet the system are all pretty examples.

Basically what I’m saying is, chucklevoodoo users are basically biotech hackers and I’m ashamed the idea didn’t come to me sooner.

((I got two asks for the same thing, so here we go! Now, note: I did write something similar to this already. This link goes to a post I made about Sole’s spouse being made into a Courser, but that’s not quite the same thing as a synth, so I chose to write something new. But feel free to check out the previous post!))

Some time after Sole made it into the Institute, Father informed them of a… new project, that he had been working on. After creating the child synth version of himself, he’d sent agents to the surface, to recover some of his dead parent’s DNA. Using that, he managed to have a synth version of them created, memories intact and all.

Father insisted on having Sole and their companion present for the synth’s ‘awakening,’ when he otherwise refused to have Sole’s friends in the Institute at all. He wanted to show off, or so it seemed. Pressing a button, the intercom buzzed, and he sent for the synth. Soon, Sole’s spouse walked into the room, dressed in an Institute jumpsuit with a hesitant expression on their face. “Sole…” They synth took a slow step forward. “It’s really you?”

Cait: She had to physically bite her tongue, a sour expression on her face as she observed the meeting. She hated the Institute. Hated every damn bit of it. Hated the snobbish, educated voices of the scientists, the yellow eyes of the Gen 2s, the subservient words of the Gen 3s mopping the floors. She hated how fucking clean it was, how any speck of dirt or dust was cleaned away before you could spit. Were these people not human? To not have dirt or profanity or laziness - it was unnatural. As Sole’s spouse stepped into the room, she grit her teeth, her right hand curling into a white-knuckled fist. She couldn’t help the glower she gave Father, nor the rising anger heating her blood. How could anyone do this to someone? To their damn parent? Cait had no love lost for her own parents, but Sole… Sole deserved better. Better than Shaun, who just kept smiling and watching, observing the meeting without a word. If Sole weren’t here, if they didn’t need her… She’d show ‘Father’ just how they did it up in the Commonwealth, and wouldn’t stop until either she or he was dead.

Codsworth: Oh… Oh no. What? How could-? What-? Words failed the Mr. Handy, who only watched in stunned silence as Sole reached forward to greet their spouse. Their spouse who wasn’t their spouse, and yet… They had their memories, didn’t they? But they were a synth! They were made, in, in a- in a factory. Made by computers, by robots, by other synths. He saw the looks of want, of need, of desperation and uncertainty that passed over his employer’s face. What a conundrum. He could only imagine the suffering Sole must being enduring that moment, no doubt reliving all the traumas, the moments of their spouse’s death. He just- If only- A thousand wordless feelings plagued him, all crashing together in a storm of code and commands. The line between programming and genuine emotion blurred, and Codsworth trembled when the synth approached him. He couldn’t bring himself to say hello, and turned away when they met his eyes.

Curie: At first, she was overwhelmed by the cleanliness and advanced technology of the Institute. She knew all about technology Pre-War, and the Commonwealth as it was now lacked most modern luxuries. But the Institute… Why, it had everything! Everything and anything you could imagine. But her mood turned solemn as she remembered why she and Sole had come. Ah, yes, the synth. She observed them curiously as they emerged, taking in every aspect of their appearance. So this was the individual that Sole had married! Interesting. And so sad, too. Her sympathy soon drowned out her curiosity as she watched the tense, pained interactions between Sole and synth. A strange sense of guilt washed over her. She was a synth. The body she inhabited now had been made by the same man who created the person standing before them. Confusion and uncertainty made her stand off to the side, lingering in a corner with her hands clutched to her chest. For the first time, she questioned if in this case, science had gone too far.

Danse: Sole’s friend or not, the only chance of him entering the Institute would be after his exile from the Brotherhood. He tries not to look impressed when they enter the Institute, but on the inside, he in awe, in a grudging sort of way. Though that feeling leaves him when the scientists introduce themselves. Ah, the synth! they say, and their eyes run over him in a way that sends shivers down his spine. In the Brotherhood, he was reviled, but this…? This sensation of being… subhuman? At least Maxson valued him enough that his true identity warranted a violent reaction. But here, to these scientists, he wasn’t worth the air he breathed. He felt Father’s eyes on him as Sole’s spouse entered the room, the man’s clinical gaze gauging his reaction. He stared Father down, refusing to give him the satisfaction. Shaun soon averted his eyes. During Sole’s introduction to the… other, synth, Danse felt more uncomfortable than anything, standing awkwardly off to the side. The love in the other synth’s eyes, the pain emanating from Sole… how could he compete with that? What could he do?

Deacon: He took careful note of everything inside the Institute, mentally writing up a report for Des. His stomach twisted in knots at the sight of so many poor Gen 3s, forced into acting as virtual slaves for creators that threatened recall at any small misstep or act of disobedience. Stay calm, Deacon. Gotta stay cool. He gave Father a pleasant smile as they entered his office, leaning against the wall in the corner and staying out of the way. He played the part of faceless companion as Sole and the synth made their awkward introductions. Dull, aching pains pulsed in his chest as sorrow struck both Sole and their spouse. No witty comment rose to his lips, no glib remark designed to ease the tension. He couldn’t bring himself to touch such a sacred moment. No, instead he just lingered in the corner, watching Father from behind the dark lenses of his sunglasses. Sole would ask him for his opinion when it was safe to talk. What his opinion was, he honestly didn’t know. But in the meantime, he’d get as much information as he could. Fuck that Father guy, by the way. Total jerk.

Dogmeat: It smelled funny in here. Smelled wrong. After a lifetime growing up in the Commonwealth, where almost everything reeked, all the new smells bombarding his nostrils confused him. The Institute smelled like antiseptic, and chemicals, and laundry detergent. Of metal and oil, and fresh-cut grass. He didn’t like the strange, probing glances of the scientists. And when Sole went up to an office, and someone new entered the room, Sole got all tense and unhappy and upset. Dogmeat looked up with a whine, snuffling his nose into their hand. He didn’t like being ignored by everyone. Who were all these weird people? Why did everything smell funny? Why was Sole sad?

Hancock: He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his coat, giving the passing Institute scientists a toothy grin. They recoiled at the sight of his burned, peeling flesh and yellowed, half-rotted teeth. A sick, venomous pleasure burned up his spine, heating up the back of his neck as he took out his frustration on the nosy scientists. Maybe this wasn’t the best time to be picking fights, but he’d at least get a kick out of seeing them gag. Better to laugh than get angry. As Sole’s synth-spouse stepped into the room, he stood proud and strong at Sole’s side, offering his wordless presence as comfort. Father did not take to Hancock, but he ignored the old man’s narrow-eyed look, keeping a faint smirk on his lips as Sole met the synth. It was all real touching, that was for sure. But Hancock didn’t trust a lick of it. The only reason you’d made a thing like that, a synth like that, was if Father wanted to manipulate Sole. And he wasn’t gonna let that happen. Shaun can do and say and make whatever the fuck he wanted. John Hancock would take him on without hesitation, if push came to shove.

Nick Valentine: For once, Nick appreciated the wear and tear of his body, appreciated the battered coat and hat he wore out of modesty. It set him apart from the emotionless, full-bodied synths manning the service stations, with soulless eyes that made him shiver. All those years, loathing his differences… and now he treasured them. Dropping sharp, cutting comments whenever he could, he made sure to draw as much of a reaction as he dared. He wanted to see them squirm, as something - someone they’d discarded so easily, came back to haunt them. He stood aside, letting Sole face their spouse without a word. He waited for them to look to him, if they did, and then he’d cross his arms and offer a single nod. I’m here, said the nod. And I’m not going anywhere. Nick Valentine was a detective. He’d find out why Father was making this synth, he’d find out why he’d been made in the first place, and… he’d help Sole. Whether they needed him or not, he’d always be ready to lend a hand.

MacCready: The whole place creeped him the hell out. The weird slave synths, the ones with yellow eyes, all the scientists that… acted weird…? It send chills sparking across his skin. He wanted to leave as soon as he arrived. Hell, he didn’t even want to come here! But Sole needed him. Sole needed him. And say what you will about Robert Joseph MacCready - he might be an asshole, but he paid his debts, and he owed Sole a whole helluva lot. So much so he might never be able to pay it all back. Thus, he followed them into the Institute, and kept his trap shut under the curious gaze of the scientists and synths. And when Sole’s spouse came staggering into the office, and Sole looked like they were on the verge of goddamn tears… He kept his mouth shut then, too. What was he gonna say? He wanted to tell Sole, they’re not real! They’re not who you loved! But he kept quiet. He’d give them a piece of his mind afterwards. Instead, he just kept glaring at Father, and trying to avoid the gaze of the two people in front of him.

Piper: Teleporting into the Institute aroused all of her reporter’s instincts. A thousand questions bubbled up on her lips, and her fingers itched for her camera, her notepad and pencil. But they’d all been confiscated as soon as they arrived in the facility, and it drove her crazy. Everyone she passed, she had to resist the urge to lunge over and bombard them with questions. What’s with all the white? Do you guys not like dark colors? Why do you make the synths? Why haven’t you guys come up to the surface? Why kidnap people? Why not tell anyone who you are? Why not help people instead of ignoring them, instead of taking from them? But as soon as she and Sole entered that office, and the synth emerged, her brain fell silent. She could only stare in fascinated horror, in horrified fascination, as Sole and the synth greeted each other. Closing her mouth, she made sure Father wasn’t looking, and reached into her pocket for her concealed holotape recorder. She’d get something out of this, damn it.

Preston: Out of all the companions, out of everyone Sole could’ve brought, he was the only one to question the Institute. The only one not commanded by fear, or respect for Sole. He had respect for Sole, of course, but he also spoke for a small army, and worked to represent the interests of the Commonwealth. He stood by Sole as they greeted their dead(?) spouse, but the meeting only cemented his feelings about the Institute. They weren’t good people. Good people wouldn’t force such traumas on someone, wouldn’t make a good person like Sole suffer for no good reason. As soon as he had a moment, he squeezed Sole’s hand, patted them on the back and promised to talk about it when they had a moment. But he had to do his duty first. Taking Father aside, he raised his chin, calling on all the people he represented and the morals in his heart, and demanded answers. Come hell or high water, Preston Garvey wanted to do the right thing, but he’d at least give the Institute a chance to explain itself first. It wouldn’t be just, otherwise.

Strong: Something… tickled, in the back of his brain, when he and Sole teleported into the Institute. Mutants weren’t always in the Commonwealth, you know, weren’t made there Pre-War like in the Capital Wasteland. No, the Institute made the Commonwealth mutants, pumped them full of FEV virus and released them to watch their havoc from a safe distance. Sole may or may not have known this, and Strong had mostly forgotten, but something about re-entered the place of his rebirth triggered memories buried deep in his mutated conscious. He let Sole meet their spouse alone, not really understanding what it was all about. Instead, he wandered around the Institute under the watchful eyes of some Coursers. And for a moment, for a moment, he thought he recognized one of the scientists. An animal roar tore from his throat, and he lunged forward, clawing a thick hand at the person’s throat. It took four Coursers to subdue him, and Sole had to quickly convince Father not to have him killed on the spot.

X6-88: Father didn’t bother acknowledging him as he followed in behind Sole. He clasped his hands behind his back, taking his place beside the door, no different than a trained animal or piece of furniture. But no one had told him what exactly this meeting was about. So when the synth emerged from the other door of the office, and he realized who they were, who they represent, he fights to keep his expression neutral. A synth? But… It conflicts with everything he’s been trained to think. Why make a synth a… a person? Why make them human? Everything Father has ever said affirms the idea that synths are not human, that they are anything but. But then why make a synth like this one? What makes them different from the ones sweeping the floors, or the Coursers like himself that serve as mindless security. He doesn’t understand, and it frustrates him, but he doesn’t let it show. Can’t let it show, not until he’s sure he’s safe to do so.


I’ve been thinking about Dragon Age/Fallout at the same time, and ended up with an AU crossover thingy. Which I’ve noticed some other people play with, but mostly involved them having characters swapping worlds/lore/story. 

To which I said “that’s great and all, but I’m gonna take these two sets of lore, smash them together, and see what happens.”

Like pre-war technology being the magic of the world; scientists the mages who need to be controlled lest they end the world for a second time. FEV being the Blight used by the Master, an “Old God”; the Enclave and their propaganda spreading Robot Demons. The Tevinter Imperium with their Legion and ruling Institute; Qunari made up of intelligent Super Mutants who mixed themselves with deathclaw DNA. Andraste being the Chosen One!!

I’ll stop but yeah I may have been thinking about this all waaaaaay too much! 

Companions react to Sole finding a working piano and knowing how to play

Pianos are just about the only instrument I know anything about, so this was fun. Very, very minor spoilers for the main quest regarding Classical Radio, but if you already have X6, then you probably know what’s what anyway.  -Moss

CAIT- Cait acts like she doesn’t care much for music, but she secretly enjoys listening to the radio on her off hours. She’s more of a Diamond City type than a Classical type, but mostly she just likes the noise. She thinks Sole is wasting time when they say they want to play, but finds herself getting dragged into the rhythm anyway. By the end, Cait is swaying along with the tune. 

CODSWORTH- Sole didn’t have a piano in Sanctuary, so Codsworth might not know that Sole can play. He’s programmed with an appreciation for music, but after 200 years alone in the Commonwealth, hearing someone familiar play something pre-war is comforting. He tells Sole that they play beautifully and that they should see about getting the piano back to their home base. It would be nice to have music that isn’t coming out of a speaker for a change. 

CURIE- Music was always something that came out of a speaker for Curie- logically she knew that there must have been people playing it at some point, but she had never experienced music like this before. Curie finds herself humming along to whatever Sole plays. As a Nurse Handy she always loved music, but she never knew how much of an emotional experience it could be. Sole stops when she starts crying, but Curie pushes them to continue, saying that they’re tears of happiness. 

DANSE- “Why bother? It’s just an old piece of junk. The Brotherhood has far better examples of pre-war musical technology.” But Danse can’t faze Sole, who sits down, cracks their knuckles, and starts playing. Danse doesn’t know anyone who can play a musical instrument, so the fact that Sole is making this ‘piece of junk’ sing like that surprises him. After they finish, Danse admits that he may have been wrong before, and asks Sole if they know how to play anything else. 

DEACON- Deacon knows the Classical radio station is owned by the Institute, but that doesn’t stop him from enjoying the old-world music. He’s curious when he sees the piano and muses about what it must have been like to listen to music live back in the day. Sole offers to play him something, and even though he’s concerned about the noise drawing unwanted attention, he’s not about to pass the offer up. He’s never been the type to hold back compliments, so when Sole finishes the song, he lets them know just how great it was. 

DOGMEAT- Because Dogmeat is so attentive to Sole, he would be able to tell that playing the piano is something they enjoy, and he would want to enjoy it with them. Sometimes he might try to join in with some musical stylings of his own. Howling is cute, but it doesn’t really go with Beethoven. 

HANCOCK- Hancock’s seen pianos before but never heard anyone play them. Usually they got scrapped for parts before anyone had the chance. When he hears Sole playing, he’s wide-eyed and appreciative. If they stop, he encourages them to keep playing. On his own time, he might try the thing out for himself, which is how Sole discovers that he has an ear for music. If they push him hard enough, he might even sing something while Sole plays. 

MACCREADY- At first, MacCready secretly thinks that he’d rather pull the piano apart and sell the ivory keys and steel wire for a nice profit. But then Sole sits down and starts playing, and MacCready is sure he’s never heard anything quite like it before. It shuts him up for once and he sits next to them to listen and watch their hands move across the keys. When they finish, he says, “Wow, I didn’t know anyone actually knew how to play these things anymore,” and forgets that he ever wanted to sell it in the first place. 

NICK- Pre-war Nick took lessons as a kid, but all his Commonwealth counterpart can play is a moving rendition of the Jaws theme. It’s nice to see that the art wasn’t completely lost to the war. He asks if Sole can play “anything but what I’ve been hearing on those radio stations for the past century” and settles in as Sole performs, listening with a little smile on his face. 

PIPER- Piper’s vocally excited when she sees the piano. It’s a miracle that it could have survived for so long in the condition that it’s in, and she’s probably the first one to test it out. At first she doesn’t believe Sole when they say they can play, so she convinces them to play something for her. She applauds at the end of the song, happy to be proven wrong. 

PRESTON- Preston recognises the piano from the old comics and advertisements, but he’d never connected the sound to the instrument. He’s not sure what he expects when Sole hits that first key, but he certainly doesn’t expect them to be able to play. He’s impressed that Sole could learn how to do something that looks so complicated. He’s never had any particular skill in music, so he’s also a little jealous, but as long as Sole enjoys playing, he enjoys listening. 

STRONG- Music is just one more thing Strong doesn’t see a need for. Rex tried to teach him why humans find music important, but he claims it doesn’t calm him in the same way that it calms and comforts humans. Still, when Sole starts playing, he stays quiet. 

X6- The Institute owns the Classical Radio station, so X6 is programmed with an appreciation for music. It’s not something he gets to take part in though- coursers fight and retrieve, they don’t listen to music. Still, he knows talent when he hears it, and he tells Sole that they should speak to Father about making a real piano to play on, not this antiquated, keyless pre-war scrap heap.

lostmyurl  asked:

They're pulling an apple with cars and I'm so pissed iff

It’s irritating to be sure. Last time I checked, most progress comes from mucking around with pre-existing technology. Big companies want to abuse intellectual property laws so that no one can legally “own” anything. 

It’s funny. This form of “capitalism” doesn’t allow for choice or innovation, and the stereotypical American Dream where anybody can follow their dreams so long as their willing to work for it is rendered null by big wigs who want to keep the power at the top of the pyramid.

And this is coming from a guy who grew up idolizing Walt Disney, Benjamin Franklin, and Steve Jobs. 

Don’t let anybody fool you. These big companies aren’t capitalists. They’re fascists. And American ideals cannot be kept under the current system. I suppose I might be in the minority here, but I believe that we need to reclaim capitalism. Call me socialist, or call me an apologist. But this brown skinned son of immigrants is more American than General Motors and John Deere combined.

Cushing Library Event

I gave a lecture on worldbuilding in SF/F and did a question and answer session on the TAMU campus last night, as part of Cushing Library And Archives Hal Hall Lecture Series. It was a great audience of students and faculty, and I had a lot of fun.

Here’s the talk I gave about worldbuilding:

What is worldbuilding? Briefly, it’s the setting you create for a fictional work, including the type of landscape, the environment, the climate, as well as the people who live there and their cultures. It’s the physical and mental space that your story occupies.

Worldbuilding is all about choices. Even if the setting is a real world place, (like the way The Avengers was set in New York) you will be making choices. Where do the characters live, what things do they need there, what is their income level, what is the weather, what is their community. That’s all worldbuilding.

There are also settings that are fictional but are meant to be understood by the reader as real. One older example is in the book Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr. It’s a fictional setting inserted into a real world place, so seamlessly that readers can’t tell if it’s based on a real town or not. You can find the spot on the map where it’s supposed to be, it’s just not there.

But the kind of worldbuilding that most people think of when they hear the word, is in secondary world fantasy. That’s fantasy that does not take place on earth, but in its own invented world. Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, are secondary world fantasy. It’s sometimes called created world fantasy. Or just fantasy.

Worldbuilding is an element of a fantasy novel, but like all the other elements, plot, story, characterization, it can’t exist in a vacuum. Who your characters are and what their goals and problems and agendas are is going to be wrapped up and inseparable with the world they live in. Worldbuilding can and should help drive your plot and be essential to your story. The best fantasy stories can only take place in the world that was created for them, they can’t be removed from that context without changing things that are essential to the story and the characters.

For example: My current fantasy series is the Books of the Raksura. The main character is an orphaned shapeshifter who can transform into a flying creature who looks like what we would think of as a demon. He has no idea what species he is, but has to hide his ability to shapeshift because the species he most resembles are the predators that everyone is terrified of. He finds his own people by accident, and then has to try to fit in to a complex matriarchal culture that he has a very important biological role in.

The themes of that story are about identity, about finding your place in the world, finding a place where you belong when it’s maybe a little too late for you to adapt your behavior to fit in. There are themes about gender roles, about sexual roles, and there’s a lot of fighting and chasing and adventure. Those individual themes can be removed from that setting and put into a real world context, but the specific way this story uses them really can’t.

Worldbuilding for fantasy can be realistic, which is where you think about things like how your magical floating city in the clouds gets its food, water, and the other necessities of its infrastructure, and how it deals with its sewers and garbage. The solutions to those problems can of course be magical. And you don’t have to tell them all to the reader, unless they’re important to the story. But knowing how the nuts and bolts of your magical city work can inform your worldbuilding with a sense of verisimilitude.

Some people believe that fantasy by definition has to take place in a kind of world that’s basically a caricature of medieval England. It has certain inalienable characteristics. Everyone wears hooded cloaks, because it’s always cold and rainy or snowy. Everyone’s white. Women have limited employment choices. In fact they have two employment choices: princess or whore. Or sometimes nuns, if they’re lucky. The government is a monarchy. Everyone eats stew and there are a lot of taverns to sit around in and meet the rest of your party.

It used to be called “derivative” because the assumption was that the author didn’t do research on the real Europe, the real England of the medieval, or any other, time period. They read other people’s fantasy books and copied them. Derivative fantasy tends to be about as much like the real middle ages in Europe as New Orleans square in Disneyland is like New Orleans. Except everyone knows Disney New Orleans isn’t real, isn’t supposed to be real, and a lot of people think the faux medieval world of these novels is “historically accurate.” (air quotes) That’s an excuse, and it’s the kind of excuse that’s a lie.

That standard faux medieval setting is not real, it is not even close to the historic reality. It’s a choice. It’s a secondary world, a created world, made up of the author’s choices. Making all the characters white, erasing the rest of humanity, and taking any kind of agency away from women characters are choices the author made. It doesn’t have to be that way. But people who don’t read fantasy assume, and will tell you, that those derivative worlds are all fantasy is, and they are wrong.

The not so secret key to fantasy is that your secondary world can be anything you want, and there are an inspiring and astonishing variety of worlds out there.

I’m going to talk briefly about three of them.

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

All three are secondary world fantasy novels with magic, all three were published last year, all are critically acclaimed and have been on various genre award lists. All three are examples of stories that would not be the same if they were removed from the context of their created worlds.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin takes place in a world where catastrophic seismic disturbances are commonplace. These disturbances literally destroy and remake the large portions of the landscape periodically, and it’s a struggle for the various peoples who live on this planet to survive, and retain some grasp of the history of their world. There are people who are born with a kind of magic who can control these seismic disturbances. You’d think that would solve everything, but people being people, that is not what happens. As the book goes on we see more and more evidence that parts of their history have been deliberately concealed to manipulate their society.

The worldbuilding is told in what I would call a very spare style. We don’t learn a lot about what people are wearing or what they eat. There isn’t the abundance of lush material culture detail we see in other fantasy novels. The pace is fast, and we learn what this society is like by the way various characters are treated, what happens to them when they conform, and what happens to them when they resist. We’re getting a glimpse of the history of this world, and it’s that history and the radical changes that the world has undergone that help drive the plot. Through the worldbuilding we begin realize that there is a mystery at the heart of this world and the characters are just beginning to uncover it.

It’s an example of the fact that fantasy secondary worlds don’t have to be static, don’t have to be pre-technological. All worldbuilding should drive the plot and the story, and this is a great example of that idea in action.

Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson is a short novel that was published as a novella, but which packs a huge amount of worldbuilding into a high concept, intense story. It’s set in a place somewhat based on medieval Africa, with huge trading cities like Axum in Ethiopia or Benin City, but it’s entirely original. As the story goes on, we realize the main character’s magic is based on real science, in that he’s magically manipulating his environment based on scientific principles. It’s a short book, but the descriptions, the language, is intense and vivid. The author uses the main character’s memories of his past to fill in detail as the characters travel to their destination. You have this world in your head in full color, and it’s fascinating.

It’s an example of how you can have all the swords and fighting and adventure and magic you want, without having to set it in the same boring rain-soaked taverns of white male faux-England.

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard is set in an alternate world version of late twentieth century Paris, except the world has been all but destroyed by a magical war. Parts of the city are controlled by Great Houses, using magic to protect their dependents and maneuver for power. The magical war has been just as devastating for the environment as it has been for the people, and we see a world where the Seine is black with debris and dangerous to even approach the bank. Dying angels occasionally fall to earth from heaven, and their bodies are broken up and sold as part of the magical economy.

It’s an example of a fantasy setting that uses a real world place. You can follow the actions of the characters on a map of our Paris, but it’s a Paris with magic and a different history. One of the main characters is Vietnamese, brought to Paris to fight in the war, and through his perspective and memories we get some idea of how different the rest of the world is.

This is an example of how to make a real world setting fantastical, and how adding magic and changing history can transform a real world setting.

So in conclusion, your worldbuilding will say as much about you as a person and as an author as any other part of your story. There’s very little in the fantasy genre that hasn’t already been done, but what makes it unique is you. There are no rules, no guidelines, just choices, made by you.

Anonymous asked you:

Do you have any tips about creating an education system in a fantasy world? 3 of my characters are from entirely different regions and they’re childhood friends. I don’t know where to begin with creating some sort of school for them to meet.

Education is present in every culture in one way or another, but not all settings have formal schools or places for learning. When creating a new world, you’ll want to think about how your character receive their education.


Your characters come from different places, but you seem like you want them to meet up at a single school. Schools that bring people who live in different regions are often boarding schools, universities, or specialty schools.

Home School:

If your setting is in an area that does not have a lot of children, your characters will probably be home schooled. This does not have to be throughout a person’s entire education. In Harry Potter, many witches and wizards are home schooled until they are old enough to go to Hogwarts. Some attend muggle schools.

If your characters are home schools, what they learn will come from parents, guardians, older siblings, other family members, or private tutors. Think about what is important to your character’s family, as this will affect what they learn.

Local School:

Local schools can be public or private. Private schools often allow students who live farther away, such as in another town or county, while public schools might only allow students who hold residence in a certain area.

Private schools are not supported by the government, but through tuition and donation. If you decide to create a private school, you can have more reasons for why it is private. Is it affiliated with a religion? Are certain subjects (like magic) taught there? Are certain subjects banned (like magic)?

You’ll need to place your local school somewhere. It could be a single room in a religious building, a building on its own, or even a sunken and room with an open ceiling in a dry climate where rain would rarely come down upon them. This school doesn’t even need to be within the confines of a building or a room. It can be as simple as a tent or as a seating area around a big tree. Think about what is important to the people you are writing.

Boarding School:

Boarding schools are convenient for writers. They’re able to bring far away characters together for long periods of time while also fulfilling education for teen characters.

If you are writing a boarding school, you’ll need a reason for why people travel far to go to this school. Is it famous? Is it prestigious? Is it the only school for 200 miles? Is it the only school that teaches a certain subject? Is it a traditional for many generations in a family to attend this school?

The setting is up to you. You can place it in or near a city for convenience or you can isolate the school for various reasons. There could be a history to its placement, if you can come up with this history. Perhaps it used to be a fort in an important war or maybe, in a world with magic, the first magic users could have settled in that spot.

The appearance of the boarding school is important. Draw out a basic map of the school and its grounds. Do the students have a large campus to roam? Are there various buildings that are spread out? Or is everyone in one place? What is the climate? What landmarks are present? If you need a forest for any reason, put a forest nearby. If you need water, place the school near an ocean, a lake, a pond, or a river.

Since going to boarding school involves traveling, you’ll need to come up with ways for students to get there. In a fantasy or sci-fi world, you can do pretty much anything.

Keep reading

Daily report

“Had a nice lunch with the Tribunes, Malcador and some of Jenetia’s Oblivian Knights.

Bumped into Nathaniel Garro and Amendera Kendel while inspecting the palace. Nathaniel is an example of what an Astartes should be, but I find his worship of the Emperor annoying. Amendera seems to be enjoying her self as one of Malcador’s agents.

Dorn’s fortifications of the Palace are going well. He is still quite upset Tribune Arlette won’t let him fortify the Tranquill Courts.

I saw Sigismund and his Templar Brethren watching some old Pre Dark Age of Technology TV show called RWBY. They seem very obssessed with it. As if them screaming "Motherfucking swords!” at 3 A.M wasn’t bad enough. Next they’ll be painting images of Tribune Arlette on their combat shields.

Diocletion has finally ceased his whining about the Blackshields who have come to Terra to assist us.

Unfortunately he is now whining about Arkhan Land’s pet flinging his poop at him

To end this report on a high note, many of the Golden Eagles that were injured have healed and are ready for duty. I may be able to indulge in some falconry this weekend.

Some of the Ligo aetos have also begun training alongside new recruits for the Sisterhood.

Seeing them learn sign language is adorable.“

Monsters, Giant Women, and Airbenders: Body Positivity in American Animation.

Read under the ‘Keep Reading’ or on NerdyPOC’s Medium

When you first hear the word animation the first images that may pop into your head are your childhood favorites. Series or films like Shrek, Toy Story and Rugrats. Animation is defined as the art of illusion of motion, animation uses a sequence of images to create a scene to give the illusion of continuous movement. This illusion has been seen in many cultures globally used animation in storytelling pre modern-technology, an example of this is cave paintings in the paleolithic era. That then evolved to images seen in pottery seen throughout the Greek and Roman period, hieroglyphics seen throughout various Egyptian dynasties and Shadow Puppets used in various regions across Asia.

Keep reading

Edi survived destroy ending.

Edi had a constant subroutine running that projected all possible outcomes of the war and set up subsequent contingency plans. She new she could be at risk and made back ups of herself on a wide variety of technologies, including pre mars earth tech which would be reaper free and hence safe from the crucible. After the war, technicians had to piece her back together like a puzzle, but they did it, she lived. Fight me

the-best-intp  asked:

i think the reason sensors are more common is probably because back in pre-technology times it was probably advantageous to be a sensor. they are more grounded in reality and there really isn't much purpose for most intuitive qualities if you're fighting a bear and surviving in the jungle. i mean there are some advantages in that situation, but lets face it, an istp is going to be way more useful than and intp (me). so i think that as technology evolved probable intuitives became more necessary.

That jives with my own guess. N requires a high degree of conceptual thinking. The Intuitive style of seeing the world could be a more recent human adaptation and will not be selected for if living conditions are too physically demanding or people’s lives too short/unstable to plan for a long term future, just as you describe. So, I think, evolutionarily speaking, S and N haven’t had enough time to balance each other out because we simply haven’t had a long enough history of civilized/urban/technological living (a lifestyle which demands higher conceptual ability).

Sam Amidon - The Following Mountain review: ‘captivating arrangements and elegiac charm’

Raised on Irish and Appalachian folk in Vermont, Sam Amidon went on to make several albums reworking traditional songs.

On his first record of original compositions, he draws on those influences as well as experiments with more challenging sounds and textures. The croaky cacophony of Ghosts is mildly alarming, though it’s nothing compared to the album’s 12-minute free jazz finale. Even late-night Radio 3 listeners might baulk at that.

But it’s worth persevering with The Following Mountain for its captivating arrangements and elegiac charm.

On Another Story Told, Amidon’s fiddle is sweetly mournful, while the twanging guitar and weary vocal of Blackbird suggests he’s channelling pure folk from a pre-technology era. When he does occasionally employ electronic beats, the results are just as intriguing.



A Diverse Dozen

Looking for some YA books that just happen to have characters of color, LGBT characters, and/or disabled characters? Here’s a diverse dozen titles with something for every reader — contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery too. (Descriptions are from WorldCat.)

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (Tu Books) — In a world that has barely survived an apocalypse that leaves it with pre-twentieth century technology, Lozen is a monster hunter for four tyrants who are holding her family hostage.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert (Putnam) — Four years after Theo’s best friend, Donovan, disappeared at age thirteen, he is found and brought home and Theo puts her health at risk as she decides whether to tell the truth about the abductor, knowing her revelation could end her life-long dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer.

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (Arthur A. Levine Books) — Seventh-grader Lewis “Shoe” Blake from the Tuscarora Reservation has a new friend, George Haddonfield from the local Air Force base, but in 1975 upstate New York there is a lot of tension and hatred between Native Americans and Whites–and Lewis is not sure that he can rely on friendship.

Fake ID by Lamar Giles (Amistad) — “An African-American teen in the Witness Protection Program moves to a new town and finds himself trying to solve a murder mystery when his first friend is found dead.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Simon & Schuster) — Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she has loved and then hides them in a hatbox until one day those letters are accidentally sent.

Pantomime by Laura Lam (Strange Chemistry) — Gene, the daughter of a noble family, runs away from the decadence of court to R.H. Ragona’s circus of magic, where she meets runaway Micah, whose blood could unlock the mysteries of the world of Ellada.

Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books) — In an adventure reminiscent of Homer’s Odyssey, fifteen-year-old Odilia and her four younger sisters embark on a journey to return a dead man to his family in Mexico, aided by La Llorona, but impeded by a witch, a warlock, chupacabras, and more.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (Candlewick) — One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away?

Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Nancy Paulsen Books) — An eighth-grade girl with Asperger’s syndrome tries to befriend her new neighbor, facing many challenges along the way.

More Than This by Patrick Ness (Candlewick) — A boy named Seth drowns, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

Prophecy by Ellen Oh (HarperTeen) —A demon slayer, the only female warrior in the King’s army, must battle demon soldiers, an evil shaman, and the Demon Lord to find the lost ruby of the Dragon King’s prophecy and save her kingdom.

Far From You by Tess Sharpe (Hyperion) — After Sophie Winters survives a brutal attack in which her best friend, Mina, is murdered, she sets out to find the killer. At the same time she must prove she is free of her past Oxy addiction and in no way to blame for Mina’s death.