Recommendation Spotlight: Galanthus

(All links and rec posts)

I found this great comic, a sci-fi story of hope and found family and queer love in the shadows of galaxy-spanning politics and schemes. Yes, it’s Galanthus, a lovingly-rendered, thoroughly charming saga from Ashanti Fortson which I just finished rereading.

Galanthus page.pngThe style has a very cohesive feeling of a bizarre world made cozy and loving by its characters, and the story spans grand galactic intrigue while keeping a tight focus on a tight-knit group of rogues. It’s been dropping hints and introducing concepts that I’m really excited to see bloom, and there’s so much great stuff already (baker crime boss! alien takeout!) in between all the poignant, emotional moments.

If you want some loving, gorgeously-rendered space fantasy, check it out.

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Worldbuilding Wednesday: Earth

(All Worldbuilding Wednesday posts are here, and as always, you can ask questions about this or any other Parhelionverse thing on the Tumblr blog! These posts aren’t necessary to understand the comic, but they might be handy for summarizing context.)

Excerpted from the Encyclopedia Xenocartographica, v38.712.5c, slightly abridged, Ponoma Publishing House, a Yima subsidiary

This entry was last edited in ZY 461, and the information may be outdated. Consult local sources.

Earth is a fledgling commercial hub, with an extensive local history and a relatively late start to interstellar conduct.

Population: ~10 billion
Permanent settlements: 
>5000
Imports: Precious metals, cultural artifacts
Exports: Grain, labor, stimulants

Size:  ~12,700 km in diameter
Orbits: Skaja-44
Satellites: Lun

The planet is primarily divided among four superpowers, known locally as Leviathans (or “Levis”).

Russian Syncretic Caliphate (“RSC”)

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The RSC is built on a foundation of religious and cultural tradition, faithfully interpreted to maintain its relevance. It owns more of the Earth than any other Leviathan, primarily pilgrimage routes and holy sites. At time of writing, the leader is Caliph Mikhail IV.

The RSC’s top leadership is thoroughly Islamic, though other faiths may enforce their own laws and doctrine within specified Oblasts, at the cost of slightly higher tax rates.

Kuan Yew Prosperity Sphere (“Prosphere”)

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The largest Leviathan by wealth, the Prosphere manages trading hubs and factories the world over. Its leadership’s legitimacy is tied to economic prowess; whenever growth statistics slip below a certain threshold, it triggers an automatic Vote of No Confidence and the relevant positions are open to election.

The Prosphere has become an informal farm system for the Yima Family, which recruits the top managers and, in rare cases, offers intermarriage into the Family.

Deseret Hive (“Hive”)

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While not explicitly a theocracy, the Hive is led by an unbroken chain of Mormon emperors. It is the largest Leviathan by population- industrious, prosocial, skilled in planning and executing immense engineering projects. The Hive offers a birthright of self-contained communities, with rigorous spiritual and vocational training.

Jovian Coalition (“JoCo”)

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All Leviathans have a stake in extraterrestrial development, but only the JoCo makes it their primary focus. They are the de facto ambassadors to foreign life, and while the Hive and Prosphere build and manage settlements beyond Earth, the JoCo collects rent and plans further.

The other Leviathans are content to compete for Earth, while the JoCo sets their sights beyond; interstellar contact has vindicated them, but they remain the smallest Leviathan in most metrics, and their future is uncertain.

Worldbuilding Wednesday: Raskavaar

(All Worldbuilding Wednesday posts are here, and as always, you can ask questions about this or any other Parhelionverse thing on the Tumblr blog! These posts aren’t necessary to understand the comic, but they might be handy for summarizing context.)

Excerpted from Encyclopedia Xenotheologica, v81.754.4Q, abridged, Ponoma Publishing House, a Yima subsidiary

Raskavaar

Bear in mind that depicting, praising, revering, or making requests of Raskavaar is highly illegal in many jurisdictions, including nearly all Yima territories. For dispensation to discuss Raskavaar in detail within an academic context, contact your local Xenoculture Campus’s Redaction Bureau.

Raskavaar is the most common name for a mythological figure often revered in pirate circles. According to legend, Raskavaar delivers good or ill fortune to individuals, based on requests written at public shrines. Slightly more often than chance, the requests are answered to an extent that is surprising but within plausibility.

On rare occasions, the requests come true in spectacular fashion- a massive financial windfall, an abrupt and grisly death. Raskavites are quick to claim these as proof of divine intervention, but shrine requests have no meaningful impact on the frequency of these outlier events.

The specifics vary by community- the boundaries of requests, the style of shrine, the syncretic overlap with other local faiths. Raskavaar may be an aspect of another god, an interloper in the pantheon, a fusion of local heroes and saints, or simply a personification of vigilante justice. The moral compass ascribed to Raskavaar varies as well- they may be primarily vengeful or charitable, punishing great injustice or quietly working to level the playing field.

Even among outlaws, Raskavism is a marginal, fringe belief. Most pantheons already have a god of justice, or balance, or retribution, with little need for redundancy. Exact data is unavailable, but Raskavism is projected to dwindle and die within three hundred years, leaving only a strange sociological history.


POLITICAL DOSSIER: RASKAVISM

Yima Family internal use only. Leaks will be detected and summarily punished.

Whenever we seize a Raskavite shrine on our turf, nearly all the prayers for death are invariably directed at our Family. As of last month, there have been 3,470,881 prayers for my death in particular, and that’s only what we know about. (And I barely crack the top 50 in the Family!)

Look, I don’t think some vigilante pirate god is going to kill me in my sleep. But this stuff is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we’ve all seen the reports of Raskavite rebels cosplaying their god. We couldn’t confirm Raskavite sympathies among the Kiefer-161 insurgents, but their rhetoric was unmistakable.

We have enough thorns in our side- Tyrants, Unfettered– that this cult could very well be the final straw. Squash it by any means necessary.