Quick Start Guide
New to Fenspace but don't want to slog through the wiki or the forum? This guide is for you.
The Rules (Abridged)
First and most importantly, this is not a dystopia. Fenspace is inherently optimistic; neither Earth nor the rest of the solar system are wracked by war, corruption, crime, environmental collapse, economic collapse, peak oil or any other major disaster that's in vogue. Or at the very least, things are no worse than they were as of January 1, 2007. There are rough patches ahead - 'cause we need the plots - but most of humanity is looking forward and will muddle through without destroying civilization as we know it.
Secondly, this is a collaborative project. A whole bunch of people have added their ideas to the pot, and continue to do so. If you contribute, you're expected to behave like the adult you are, or at least are pretending to be. Like the man said, "Don't be mean, we don't have to be mean." Part of this means not hogging all the Cool Stuff, talking to people, asking for suggestions, simple stuff like that.
Those are the key rules. There's some technical stuff in there for in-world mechanics, but those can be found on the Rules page. Remember, a happy Fenspace is a productive Fenspace!
Handwavium is the magic mystery substance that makes Fenspace go. Nobody knows where it came from, who invented it or why. All we know is that it can cheerfully violate the established laws of physics, and that makes it the backbone upon which all offworld settlements are built. Handwavium has a few simple rules that nobody's been able to crack completely:
- It can't be used to make weapons. You can make a sharper sword, but not a working laser pistol.
- Handwavium modifies more than it creates. There needs to be some sort of mechanical or electronic inner workings for the handwavium to work properly.
- Things created by handwavium don't work 100% perfectly. They'll always have some small oddities or required rituals in order to work properly. These are called "quirks."
Handwavium works on people just as much as it does on objects. This process is called "biomodding" and it can be done deliberately or accidentally (usually by inhaling too much handwavium vapor, or simply falling into a vat of the stuff). Biomods are subject to the same rules as handwaved objects.
The History of Fenspace in Three Paragraphs
Okay, so sometime around 2006, somebody discovers handwavium. The first samples are all sent to the usual super-secret government labs, but then somebody - nobody knows who - decided to let handwavium run free, free in the wild. At this point, it's kinda neat but nobody knows what the hell it's for. Enter science fiction fan Katz Schroedinger, who stumbles across an abandoned chunk of the stuff in the woods outside his house, eventually hooks it up to an old cabin cruiser, and hey presto, instant spaceship. May 10, 2007 is the day Katz first flew in space, and that's where Fenspace begins.
So Katz spreads the word through his fandom buddies, they spread the word, and soon enough science fiction fans - singular and in clubs - start converting pretty much anything they can find into spaceships. At this point various governments, the USA in particular, throw a huge moral panic over the situation and start outlawing the use of handwavium. This just accelerates the process, and by the end of 2009 most of the English-speaking science fiction fandom has abandoned Earth for the cluster of small towns springing up on the Moon, Mars and in the upper atmosphere of Venus.
The moral panic on Earth settles down, and in 2010 relations between Earth and the Fenspacers normalize. A little anyway. People go on being people, the colonies get built up, and life goes on. Piracy problems start building up in the asteroid belt, attached to a growing situation where some weird bugger is growing new drugs for the Earth market. Things come to a head in 2012 when the charismatic nutcase Haruhi Suzumiya calls for the creation of a military task force to handle the problem. Fenspace responds to the call, and that's where things stand as of Season One.
Still with us? Okay, in that case here's stuff we think you'd like to read.
Mal Fnord's Picks: The Word of Mod
- So You Want to Come to Fenspace?
- Tell Your Children When
- The 2012 Season
- There's No Such Thing...
- Angels and Wizards
Rob Kelk's Picks: The Word of Noisy-Opinionated-Writer
Rob thinks origin stories make for good introductions to the setting.
- Gina and The Bullet Boy Express
- Buckaroo Banzai and the Fen from Space
- So You Want to Come to Fenspace?
- A funny thing happened on the way to the shipyard...
- Bootup, a Fable for Space Shuttles