Earth (Noon Universe)
The Noon Universe is the setting of a series of science-fiction books written by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky. Earth is one of the planets populated by humans in this setting, and is implied to be their origin. "Noon" Earth is identical in concept to real-life Earth, but set in an alternate future, with the story taking place in the 22nd century. Earth is described in detail in Noon: 22nd Century, which serves as the first in the Noon Universe series.
While humans also inhabit other planets in the Noon Universe, the humans of Earth and make up the most scientifically advanced civilization in the known universe. A single governing body called the World Council, composed of Earth's brightest scientists, philosophers, historians and strategists governs all the citizens of Earth. Many aspects of this governing system resemble the idealistic vision of communism, which is strongly implied by the humans of Earth, who often refer to themselves as "communars."
Earth in the Noon Universe is set in an alternate future, where the Soviet Union has managed to realize the ideals of communism proclaimed by Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin in the second half of 20th century, and spread these ideals peacefully over the planet. Soon afterwards the entire planet was united, all wars ceased and a (seemingly) utopian future began.
First of all, it was marked by extensive exploration of Earth's own secrets such as those the ocean and deep underground. However, more fascinating were the studies of space. At the beginning they were limited to exploration of the Solar System (see The Land of Crimson Clouds), but with the invention of the photon engine, inter-stellar flights became possible (see Ruzhena). Simultaneously, due to various technological advances in other fields, by the end of the 21st century Earth was capable of satisfying all material needs of its citizens including spaceships for amateur exploration of the galaxy.
For more information about 22nd century, see Noon Universe Chronology.
The Earth's humans are the most technologically advanced civilization in the Noon Universe (except for Wanderers and maybe Tagorians). Some of their technologies utilize the well-known principles of physics while the others are rather of sci-fi nature.
- Photon engine has replaced the normal spaceship engines by the end of 20th and the beginning of 21st century. It utilizes energy of thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen-tritium plasma combined with s.c. absolute reflector, a material reflecting any (!) electromagnetic waves without loss, to create a propelling force capable of accelerating a spaceship up to relativistic sub-light speeds. See The Land of Crimson Clouds for more info.
- Subspace jump has replaced the photon engine in the 21st century. This technology is based on the subspace physics and uses the "wrapping" of traditional space in order to achieve a condition in which a material body, e.g. a spaceship, is "stretched" between two points in space for a short time. This has nothing to do with traditional space travelling and is much more like teleportation but unlike null-T (see below) it is not applicable on a planet surface because of some technical restrictions. See Escape Attempt for more info.
- Self-moving roads are much more a symbol of over-abundance on Earth in the beginning of 22nd century than a real transportation device. The principles of this technology are unknown, but visually they resemble 8-meter wide horizontal escalators crossing the continents of the planet in all directions. Apart from the main function, they are known for somehow purifying the environment of unwanted emissions and pollution. See Noon: 22nd Century for more info.
- Gliders and fliers are a very common in Noon Universe semi-living mechanisms (see below) capable of flying above the ground at a considerable speed, probably, utilizing some kind of anti-grav technology. They were commonly used even after the invention of null-T.
- Zero-transport (often Zero-t or null-T) is a sort of teleportation used in the Noon Universe. It was developed in the 2150s and widely applied on Earth in the second half of 22nd century. Zero-t is based on the so-called puncture of the Riemannian fold and actually goes against everything proclaimed by traditional theories of absolute space, time-space continuum and kappa-space.
In real life it is very simple: there are two zero-t booths, a person steps into one of them, dials the code of the other one and in an instant he or she is in the second cabin, no matter how large the distance between them (in 2177, for example, progressors used zero-t to travel between Earth and Giganda). It isn't mentioned anywhere in the books how the Wave problem, that devastated Rainbow in 2156, was solved. See Far Rainbow for more info.
Apart from these there are also more conventional transport means used on Earth like submarines and helicopters, that probably remained from older times, but were, of course, modernized to match the safety requirements.
- Material synthesis is a technology that changes the elementary structure of matter in order to create new objects, e.g. golden coins out of wooden sawdust, virtually solving the philosopher's stone mystery. This includes duplicating objects (after a sample object) and creating objects of specific structure given by a program. Apparently, this is also the solution for pollution problems in the Noon Universe.
- Semi-living mechanisms are mechanisms utilizing advanced bionics technologies to function. They are grown out of eggs/embryos following a certain program assigned to them: "cleaning droid", "glider", "spaceship" etc. Once grown up they can regenerate and gather energy from the environment themselves acting as living organisms. They are often used on unexplored planets because embryonic eggs are very compact and easy to transport.
- Bioblockade is one of the most brilliant inventions of the Noon Universe. "Bioblockade" is a common used word for foucamization, a procedure that activates the full power of human immune system, making those who underwent it nearly invulnerable towards all kinds of physical, chemical and biological harmful factors, as well as nuclear radiation. This technology became possible only after Dr. Mboga discovered the "bacterium of life" on Pandora in 2119 AD.
- Pharmacology is what helps the people of Earth when the bioblockade is just not enough. Progressors are especially fond of them because they usually take much more damage while on duty than other humans do. Two of the most popular remedies are kasparamid (used to remove any effects of alcohol consumption from a human organism) and sporamin (used to temporarily restore maximal physical abilities to an exhausted or battered human body). See Hard to Be a God for more info on these two.
- Other medical technologies include: quasi-biological colloid mass used for treating serious wounds; psy-massage and psy-surgery (healing wounds with one's own mental energy); cyber-diagnosts, devices, capable of inspecting human body for possible health problems and scanning human mind for emotions.
- Great Allplanetary Informatorium (GAI) is a huge database containing all information and knowledge ever obtained by a human. GAI is accessible from every computer on Earth and on its colonies although some topics are classified. The name probably derives from Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Apart from scientific knowledge, there is also some information on each human born on Earth or its colonies stored in the Informatorium.
- Collector Of Dispersed Data (CODD) is a colossal supercomputer capable of gathering information about the past and the present of its environment simply by inspecting it. CODD was built and launched in 2120 AD and, apart from its main purpose, used to solve various physical and even psychological problems.
- The Great Encoding of 2121 AD was the first attempt to record a human's identity onto an electronic medium. The experiment subject was oceanologist Dr. Okada who nearly perished in a submarine accident. The scientists led by Dr. Kasparo tried to save him by "recording" him but at the 98% Dr. Okada died because of multiple injuries he suffered in the accident. The experiment required complete shutdown of all electronic devices save for those used for encoding. Also, clouds and rain were generated to limit solar radiation. Dr. Okada's identity was being recorded on large amounts of biomass stored in specially-designed containers. Had the attempt succeeded, Dr. Okada's mind would exist in an area the size of a small town.
- "The Devil's Dozen" were 13 scientists-enthusiasts who voluntarily merged themselves with the machines becoming cyborgs. Technically the project was a success, but eventually all participants self-destructed because of the cyborg psychological crisis. The last of the Devil's Dozen was Camill, last spotted on Rainbow shortly before the catastrophe.
- Communication technologies used by Earth of Noon Universe are so sophisticated that they capable of transferring any amount of information onto any distance in no time, including live video communication. Presumably, null-T is somehow utilized to transfer information across the galaxy faster than the speed of light.
- Other successes in IT field include: programmable semi-living mechanisms (see above); androids; a probably sentient artificial intelligence (s.c. "Massachusetts Machine").
The World Council is the main governing body on Earth as well as on its colonies all over the Noon Universe. However, each of the colonies has its own World Council to handle local problems, while the Earth's one usually only suggests the overall policy. On Earth, the Council determines the distribution of energy and other resources between various institutions like institutes, laboratories and universities. Famous members of the World Council include: August-Iogann-Maria Bader, Leonid Gorbovsky, Gennady Komov and Rudolf Sikorski.
Independent Reconnaissance Unit
IRU (or FSG - Free Search Group) was a label for all non-professional explorers who went into space to discover and study new planets and stars. According to the authors of "The time of the disciples" (Время учеников), a collection of stories by authors other than the Strugatsky brothers set in the Noon Universe, the IRU existed during the period between 2114 and 2193 AD. To become a member of IRU one needed mere a piloting license and a flight registration issued by COMCON. After that, one was free to visit the planet he decided to and study it, unless there was a native civilization on it in which case he or she was supposed to leave the planet immediately after destroying all traces of one's presence.
Committee for Contacts with Other Civilizations (ComCon or COMCON) is an organization that directs the diplomatic negotiations between Earth and alien civilizations as well as the progressors' actions towards human ones. Officially, the Earth World Council makes all decisions, but usually it's up to COMCON to decide which actions should be discussed there and which not.
Committee for Control of Scientific Achievements was founded in 2137 AD to ensure the safety of the human civilization on Earth. Unlike COMCON-1, COMCON-2 is surrounded by much more mystery, which inevitably leads to a certain suspicion from the general public of Earth and even casual comparisons with Soviet KGB. The first COMCON-2 chief was Rudolf Sikorski (until 2178 AD) and after that - his apprentice, Maxim Kammerer.
Galactic Security Council
GSC is a security organization like COMCON-2 founded in 2142 AD. While COMCON-2 deals with extraterrestrial threats to Earth and mankind, GSC deals with civilizations that were potentially influenced by Wanderers, such as Saraksh or Saula. Following the events of Prisoners of Power, GSC made the Land of Fathers its protectorate.
Institute of Space Physics
Founded in 2110s on Kotlin Island (Gulf of Finland) ISP always concentrated on the most difficult and nearly unsolvable problems of modern physics. Some of these include: gravitation problems, deritrinitration, theory of discrete space, etc. The latter problem was the leading one in 2130s when the scientists tried to prove the theory of intersecting universes with the help from the "readers", a handful of people who were able to read others' thoughts. See Noon: 22nd Century for more info.
Institute of Experimental History
After half a century of idle, importance of IEH rose drastically with the discovery of Saula and other human planets. The specialization of this Institute is the history of human civilizations and means to speed it up (to "progress" it). The field agents of IEH are therefore referred to as "progressors". In the middle of the 22nd century IEH studies were considered to be the most important ones (along with null-physics) on Earth. See Hard to Be a God for more info.
Earth and other civilizations
A brief summary of Earth's relationships with other civilizations:
Relationships with alien races
- Ark Megaforms - despite numerous attempts by COMCON, no official contact was ever established
- Garrotian Snails - n/a; it is known, however, that the Snails consider humans mere a product of their own imagination, therefore an official contact is highly improbable
- Golovans - a full-scaled contact was established in 2160 AD and the Golovans had a permanent embassy on Earth
- Leoniders - a diplomatic contact was established in 2133 AD, but because of great differences between them and humans no considerable technology exchange was possible
- Tagorians - a full-scaled diplomatic contact established in 2124 AD and followed by a considerable technology exchange has been cancelled by Tagora shortly after the initiation of the "Stepchildren Case"
- Wanderers - no official contact was ever established, although, apparently, Wanderers have been progressing humanity for a long time
Relationships with human civilizations
- Arkanar - no official contact established, although 250 agents of IEH are "progressing" the civilization since 2141 AD
- Giganda - Earth's progressors played a significant role in putting an end to the war between Alai Duchy and the Empire
- Hope - during the unsuccessful "Dead World" operation progressors tried to rescue the remnant population of the planet but were fiercely opposed by them
- Ludens - an official contact established at "The Great Revelation" in 2199 by Maxim Kammerer and others, although Ludens had operated on Earth in secret for decades
- Pant - during the "Ark Project" progressors attempted to rescue the entire population the planet to a safe solar system
- Saraksh - a small group of progressors, including Rudolf Sikorski, desperately attempted to maintain control over the situation on the planet since 2148 but their entire efforts were undone by Maxim Kammerer in 2157 AD
- Saula - n/a; but since Institute of Experimental History was reactivated after the discovery of Saula in 2141 AD it is logical to suggest that progressors have been working on the planet ever since that
- Absolute reflector is a product of mesoatomic chemistry, the science dealing with artificial atoms, electron orbitals of which are replaced with muons.
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