Posted by: markfender | December 21, 2011

Transhuman Space – High Frontier

Hot nanotech on a stick! It’s another Transhuman Space book!

High Frontier details Earth orbit and the Moon. So, yeah, this is the second book about Earth.

The first chapter is about general Earth orbit – definitions of the various zones, satellites, how much space debris there is, and lots of descriptions of essentially industrial parks in space. So, yeah, kinda boring. Seriously, almost all of the descriptions of habitats consist of descriptions of what high-tech consumer gear they make or are researching. Good times.

The next chapter is called Vacuum Cleaners. So, yeah, an entire chapter on garbagemen. I’m not sure why the Transhuman Space line decided that cleaning up space junk was exciting enough to base a campaign on, but here we are. Besides the sidebar on the Six Most Interesting Salvage Finds of 2099, there’s not much interesting going on in this chapter. Methods for space clean-up, clean-up culture, some of the corporations involved, etc. Man, I’m excited.

The next chapter is Luna (as people insist on calling it). This hits the high notes of Luna in a manner similar to the Mars stuff in earlier books. It covers Luna mining and the He3 collection efforts along with the various settlements and who controls them. Luna is losing out to Mars expansion so it’s a bit of a backwater – a place that’s rapidly losing its outer space cachet. This section did a pretty decent job of showing that.

Luna City is next, because its such a happening place. Luna City is a weird bio-city where the walls grow fruit and the carpet is actually grass. There are also hormone sprays you can buy to spray on the walls to have them produce specific goods, change the layout of your apartment’s living walls, or what-have-you. I was disappointed that the sidebar on Illegal Hormone Sprays didn’t cover the things that people would really do with a living structure – like making various orifices (I mean, c’mon, after the last book’s lactonarcotic biomods, I expected more kinky shit). Luna City citizens are also big into “reality games,” which is what happens when ARGs get out of control, I guess.

The next section is L4 (that is, Lagrange point 4, for those not hip to the astronomy). Man, this section is long. There’s quite a number of habitats detailed, all with extensive history, stats, government, relations with other countries, and the sort of detail you expect from GURPS. This is also the section where more out-there transhuman stuff starts showing up. For instance, Hives, in which communities of people all maintain mental communication at all times. There’s also Virts, who live in virtual reality. Wait, I mistakenly called that one “out-there transhumanism” when I really just meant “internet nerds.” There’s also Die Sonnenspinnerin Sieben, which has got to have the most convoluted backstory in any Transhuman Space book. Secret conspiracies, mind uplinks, corporate buyouts, and enough wacky ideas to fuel at least a couple sessions. Even their technology is weird (A circulatory system for the asteroid belt. Seriously. I’m not sure what that even means.) We also get the all-female habitat, the one-entire-clone-family habitat, and the Mormon habitat. So, weirdness abounds.

L5 is the next section and it’s a little more normal. I mean, if you consider memetic immune systems, totalitarian brainwashing, and Star Trek-themed habitats to be normal. And, just to be sure you weren’t too comfortable, we’ve also got the wiccan habitat and the “We all want to be aliens” habitat. Okay, I guess this section is weird, too.

Lastly, we get the typical amount of new vehicles that I don’t understand the stats for and new design options for the spacecraft system.

Okay, I didn’t love this one. There’s too many silly ideas (Seriously, a habitat where everyone pretends to be a member of the United Federation of Planets), weird shit (I’m still trying to understand half of Die Sonnenspinnerin Sieben), and just-plain boring shit (Garbage men. Seriously.) On the other hand, this is a book that really goes out on a limb for some its ideas and when you’re dealing with transhuman stuff, why the hell not? I mean, a living city is just the surface of what’s possible, right?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: