|“||Until now in world's history, whenever we've had a dark age, it's been temporary and local. And other parts of the world have been doing fine. And eventually, they help you get out of the dark age. We are now facing a possible dark age which is going to be world-wide and permanent! That's not fun. That's a different thing. But once we have established many worlds, we can do whatever we want as long as we do it one world at a time.||”|
—Isaac Asimov, speech at Newark College of Engineering, 1974
Nearly 40% of all Fen are independent, either as neutral as humanly possible when it comes to politics, or generally liking many different groups but not enough to join any of them. (These Fen are often called "Neutrals" and "Generalists", respectively.) The rest belong to one or more factions - something of a cross between a nation-state, a political party, a business, a social club, and a mutual-aid society, but not quite like any of those types of groups.
Confusing? A bit, but think how much worse it is to the people who live there.
Fandoms and Factions
"Science fiction and fantasy fandom" is a complex web of identity, with a spectrum that ranges between two extremes: Fandom Is A Way Of Life, and Fandom Is Just A Goddamn Hobby. Because Fenspace is what it is, it steers closer to the FIAWOL extreme simply out of necessity. It's a cold, mean universe out there and when your fellow Fen are your best shot at surviving in it, you tend to cluster together.
This doesn't mean the FIJAGH extreme isn't represented in Fenspace, although many of the people at this side of the spectrum are still on Earth - they still care about fandom, but their families and careers are more important to them. A supermajority of the hobbyist Fen who are Up are what Fenspace calls "Generalists," and many of them are what the FIAWOL crowd identify - rightly or wrongly - as "Fendane."
This isn't to say that all Generalists are in the FIJAGH side of the spectrum, or that the Factions are made up only of Fen from the FIAWOL side. Most people are fans of more than one thing at a time. FIAWOL isn't meant to mean "just Trekkies," or "just Warsies," and so on; it's a generalist statement and we all are, as fans, generalists.
Differences Between Factions and Fandoms
A fandom does not automatically equal a faction. Just because somebody likes Property X doesn't mean there's a large or even a small group of people who like Property X and want to bring Property X's tropes out into the real world. And even if there is, these people might be more interested in Property Y's memes.
Conversely, a faction doesn't always automatically equal a fandom. For example, Jupiter and its moons are claimed primarily by the Browncoats, but for the most part the population in and around Jupiter is Indonesian. Does this mean there's a subtle but strong underground current of Firefly fandom in Indonesian culture? No, it means the Browncoats offered a lot of work that they couldn't handle on their own and a lot of Indonesians jumped at the chance to find decent pay that didn't involve getting looked down on by Australian racists.
For another example, the Crystal Millennium wasn't set up because everybody loved Sailor Moon - there are likely Senshi out there who hated Sailor Moon when it first ran. The Senshi made a point of being inclusive. They only run the show on Venus because Tanith Curtis and her closest associates were scary-good organizers, and by the time they hit their destination they made it a fait accompli.
Also, some people hold a factional citizenship just to make things easier, without actually identifying as that faction. How well this works depends on the faction; it's a little easier to be an independent ship operator in the Warsies than in the Trekkies, for instance.
Finally, a faction can form - with difficulty - without an associated fandom. These factions are small and tend to be inconsequential in Fenspace, but a leader with sufficient drive and charisma can catch the Convention's attention and make a name for the faction; the premiere example of this in Fenspace is the SOS-dan. Alternately, a group with sufficient resources can make a name for themselves, much like the owners of Grover's Corners when they launched and the groups in charge of the larger Fen companies over time - these groups are factions in all but name.
A Brief History of Factions
Factions evolved from the groups - specifically the larger groups - who were the first to effectively exploit handwavium. Aside from outliers like Stellvia Corporation or the Grover's Corners and individual efforts like Katz Schrödinger, most of the people who went to space and thrived there had the resources of a larger group backing them up. Most of these groups were fan clubs of one variety or another, and this gave the First Fen factions a tendency towards self-selection. Star Trek fans would pool together with other Trek fans, Star Wars fans would do likewise, fandoms which were too diffuse would cluster around whoever seemed to be doing best at the time, and so on.
The first half-decade of Fenspace saw the formation of the major factions as we know them today, mostly formed around the larger fan clubs of the pre-handwavium age when such clubs existed. When they didn't, Fen would gather under the banner of the nearest proactive group - the Crystal Millennium became a major faction by absorbing anime and action-girl fandoms. The social dynamics leading to this fragmentation were put on hold during the Boskone War, as the necessities of the conflict forced all the factions to work together under the Fenspace Convention. Increased cross-faction cooperation became the new normal during the war and after it, as institutions like Great Justice and the Space Patrol depended on trans-factional unity to keep going.
In the post-war period the factions continue to exist, but as time goes on they've become increasingly generalized beyond their respective "flagship fandoms:" The Trekkies are evolving into a faction that focuses on deep space exploration and colonization, the Warsies are evolving into the generic Space Navy faction, focused on defending Fenspace as a whole, and the Whedonites and the Fivers are evolving towards Space Settlement, backfilling the territory discovered by the Federation and defended by the Republic. Other factions like the Potterites and Senshi continue to grow by absorbing microfactions and individual Fen who want the security of numbers but don't fit into the science-fiction background of the other majors.
Absorption and consolidation is the major theme of factional dynamics in the 2020s. The merger of the Sozvezdie Soviet with the Federation is only the most public example. Several microfactions devoted to the Macross series have become part of the Greenwood combine. Some observers think it only a matter of time before the Senshi, the Supers and Stellvia unify. And of course there are cross-factional regional unification movements on Luna, the cislunar Lagrange points and Mars that could see larger factions arising. A full-fledged unified Fenspace is not likely in the near-term, however.
Joining a Faction
New fish from Earth will join whatever faction they think will get them what they want. Being a fan of the property helps - it cuts down on culture shock, if nothing else - but it's only one factor among dozens of possible considerations. One man joins the Federation because he always wanted to be an engineer on the Enterprise and the merchant marine's hiring. Another man joins the Barsoomians because they're offering land grants around Hellas and he always wanted a ranch to retire to. One neckbeard joins the Senshi not out of any love of anime but because he just wants to see scantily-clad women running around everywhere.
To join a big, established faction that isn't just a general-interests club, you go in, sign the local EULA, agree to pay the taxes and boom, here's your passport, welcome to the club, citizen. That's citizenship and nationality in a nutshell. There's no set limit on how many factions you can be a citizen of, so you can in theory catch 'em all... but after about the first three or four, the psychological demands would be overwhelming.
Government, or what passes for it in Fenspace
Main page: Government in Fenspace
|Government Body||Flag, Icon or Logo||Capsule Description|
|Fenspace Convention||Civilian government across (and binding on) all of Fenspace|
|Space Patrol||Fenspace's pan-factional police force|
|Great Justice||Originally Fenspace's equivalent to NATO and the Warsaw Pact, GJ has become the Convention's standing army.|
These six groups, listed by size, are the largest factions in Fenspace:
|Faction||Flag, Icon or Logo||Capsule Description|
|United Federation of Planets||Also called Trekkies, Trekkers, or FedFen, the UFP is the single largest faction in Fenspace. Based around Mars, they have a reputation for staying on their ships and exploring far afield.|
|Galactic Republic||The Warsies have colonized the Saturn subsystem, but maintain a presence throughout the rest of Fenspace, working with Great Justice to defend the Solar System. The Trekkie/Warsie feud is greatly exaggerated for the tourists, but was the cause of the largest interfactional dispute in Fenspace history.|
|The Wizarding World||Scattered throughout the Main Belt and elsewhere, the Wizards (or Potterites) are fans of all sorts of modern-magic stories, not just the recent blockbusters. They have a bad habit of debating and dithering rather than acting, which led to them taking heavy losses during the Boskone War.|
|Interstellar Alliance||The Fivers (or Rangers, if you prefer) can be found throughout Fenspace, acting as diplomats between other factions. They're believed to be based out of Earth orbit.|
|Independent Faction||Call them Browncoats, Whedonites, or Jossies, the members of the Independent Faction are the major colonists of the Jupiter subsystem. They've turned Ganymede into the breadbasket of the Solar System.|
|Crystal Millennium||Some are called Senshi, others are called Action Girls, but they're all busy terraforming Venus and coming to the aid of distressed travelers.|
|Faction||Flag, Icon or Logo||Capsule Description|
|Belters||Mostly libertarians, mostly found in the Main Belt, often fans of Niven's Known Space stories, the Belters (also called Nivenites or Rockrats) are best known as the people who find and refine the bulk of Fenspace's raw materials.|
|Kingdom of the Abh||Formed around a group of Crest/Banner of the Stars fen, the Abh appear to be abandoning the concept of living on planetary surfaces altogether. They are best-known for the L5 station Abliarsec.|
|Kingdom of Jurai||Originally a group of Tenchi Muyo fen, the Juraians have become the "feudal Japan fen" faction. They're insular to an extreme, rarely leaving station Tsunami.|
|Justice League Interplanetary||Four-color fandom writ large, the Supers are responsible for the most visible change to the Solar System, Kandor City on Luna.|
|SOS-dan||The smallest known faction (with five members), the SOS-dan were the driving force behind the establishment of Great Justice.|
|Sozvezdie Soviet||Previously known as the Soviet Air Force-In-Exile or VVS, the Soviets are a faction-within-a-faction (as a distinct group within the UFP). They are best known as explorers of strange new worlds and makers of movies about those explorations.|
|Spacefleet||Originally a British group drawing inspiration from the Dan Dare stories, the Eagles strive to settle the Solar System and then move onwards towards the stars.|
|Space Pirates||Call them Pirates, Leijiites or Buccaneers, the free men of Space hold themselves to the moral code expressed by their symbolic founder, the great Captain Harlock.|
|The Twelve Colonies of Kobol||Fans of both the original and remake versions of Battlestar Galactica, the Galacticans are made up of two distinct subgroups. The Colonials are the ones who distrust atuomation and AI, while the pro-AI "Cylon" group maintain the most popular "garage" in L5.|
|United Stars Organization||The stereotype of the Perry Rhodan fen is "GERMANS! IN! SPACE! Complete with bureaucracy!" The Rhodanites take this as a badge of honor.|
|Village Hidden in Asteroids||Suddenly, Ninjas! Or other hand-to-hand-combat anime Fen! Or somebody who's comfortable associating with those people!|
Cultures and Subcultures
These groups are identifiable as distinct cultures in Fenspace.
|Cultures and Subcultures|
|Group||Flag, Icon or Logo||Capsule Description|
|Furries||Folks who like the idea of having fur and tails, either part-time or on a permanent basis. They have a larger-than-average percentage of animal-person biomods among their number.|
|Heinlein Society||An umbrella group of fans of the Golden Age grandmaster Robert Heinlein, the Heinleinians have three subgroups: the Longs (who do their best to be self-sufficient polymaths), the Juvies (often called overgrown Boy Scouts if they're too old to still be Scouts), and the Nesters (who the rest of Fenspace tries to not think about).|
|Military fen||If someone in Fenspace needs to understand something of a military nature, and they don't have access to the Dorsai or the Roughriders, they consult their local Military Fen.|
|Minimalist Spacers||Guys who like to fly a Mercury capsule with the bare minimum of 'Wavium.|
|Panzer Kunst Gruppe||Cyborg Martial Artists who may take the cyborg thing just a bit too far. Gunnm Fen.|
|Pellucidarans||Miners, tunnelers, Hollow-earthers and other fen with similar interests. By necessity an earthbound group, not strictly considered a faction.|
|Pulpers||The Golden Agers are an umbrella group, not a distinct faction. Their fandoms are found in pulp-era horror, fantasy, and science fiction, or stories with the same feel. Recognizable subgroups include the Barsoomians and the Blue Blazers.|
|Submariners||For lovers of Seaquest, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and similar works. Those who believe the mysteries of Space are nothing compared to the hidden mysteries of the Abyss.|
|Timelords||The Whovians are the Doctor Who fen who aren't primarily part of other fandoms.|
|Turnerites||a.k.a. Skinheads, Space Nazis, Church of White Jebus, etc. Named after the first group of people in space identified to think this way, the Turnerites held onto their racist and sexist beliefs when they moved Up from Earth. They are considered an "enemy" culture by many Fen but not by the Fenspace Convention as a whole, who offer them as a group the rights and protection that they deny to some of their own members.|
Some things need to be done, or should be done, but cannot effectively be done by a company or a government. These groups are the ones who do these things.
|Organization||Flag, Icon or Logo||Service Provided||Capsule Description|
|Artemis Foundation||Astronomical observation and charting||Project Artemis has taken over and expanded NASA's old space-exploration operations. The Artemis Foundation also maintains the International Space Station and builds Space Shuttles.|
|Banzai Institute for Biomedical Research and Strategic Information||Education, Disaster Relief||The Blue Blazers are best known for going out and Doing Good, however they can, wherever they're welcome. All Blazers are trained in basic rescue and first aid, and most know other things useful in emergencies.|
|The Cyber Confederation||Mutual-assistance||All things Mechatronic, from networking and technological standards, to AI and cybernetic research,|
|The Hacker Underspace||Computer Security||Fenspace's "l33t haxorz"|
|The Knight Foundation||Operating only on Earth, the Knight Foundation assists people while promoting good government and law and order.|
|The Mars Terraforming Project||Terraforming||The MTP works toward giving Mars oceans and a breathable atmosphere. They expect to complete their work before 2300.|
|The Mob||Thanks to the pervasive nature of fandom, the nature of criminal organizations in Fenspace is... different from their mundane counterparts. The Mob takes offense at those who confuse them with the Boskonians.|
|Musician's Aid Society||Mutual-assistance||Also called the Dandelions or (rarely) the Filkers, the Musician's Aid Society is a mutual-aid group for Fandom’s wandering troubadours.|
|Charitable Funding||The group that other NGOs turn to when they're short on resources, the Nikaido Foundation is a clearinghouse that connects donations and volunteers with worthy causes.|
|Paratheo-Anametamystikhood Of Eris Esoteric||Fnord||Fnord|
|The Quatermass Institute||Defence of Earth||While the rest of fendom gleefully go out into space, the Quatermass Institute grimly watch for signs of the inevitable alien invasion and stand ready to defend humanity – at all costs.|
|The Venus Terraforming Project||Terraforming||Sponsored by the Crystal Millennium, the VTP is working toward making Venus a "desert world" with oases near the poles, where baseline humans can live unprotected.|
Assemblages that resemble groups from the outside.
|Loose Groups of Fen|
|Grouping||Flag, Icon or Logo||Capsule Description|
|Antis||a.k.a. Anti-'Danes - virtually indistinguishable from Generalists, from the outside|
|Boskonians||Black Hats, the Dark Kingdom, Death Eaters, Pirates, Reavers, Shadows, Sith – whatever name one gives them, the Boskonians are Fenspace's organized-crime element. The Fenspace Convention considers them to be outlaws and terrorists; the whole point of the Space Patrol and Great Justice is to arrest or subdue (respectively) Boskonians whenever and wherever they arise.|
|Gearheads||If it walks, drives, flies, transforms or preferably all of the above it falls among the Gearheads. Fenspace mecha Fen.|
|Herbertites||A very loose collection (sometimes at each others' throats) of Dune fen, known primarily as the original backers of CHOAM.|
|Humourists||Some people can't take anything seriously – in Fenspace, these people are called Humorists. Or Humourists. (Some will insist you spelled the group's name incorrectly, no matter which spelling you used.)|
|The Watch||The local Neighborhood Watch, Terry-Pratchett style.|
- Fen Companies
- Mercantile and other business groups in Fenspace.
- Which means not at all neutral, of course.
- An effort funded in essence by one wealthy man
- consisting of a small group of close friends pooling resources
- And then he's disappointed that so few of them are fashion models.
- Sometimes called membership dues or whatnot, but let's be real here.
- Nobody ever said a faction had to be nice.
- Most Blue Blazers would say they technically count as a subset of the Pulpers, but the sheer size and scope of Dr. Banzai's operation leads this
TroperEditor to separate them into their own faction.