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Solar Punk
29th Jan, 2020

While working on backstory for Sciror I thought I’d take a closer look at Solar Punk. I notice the tv trope for Solar Punk includes my Ecoria as a “dark subversion” of the trope. This is only partially true. While the current 40K incarnation of the Ecoria is pretty grimdark and degenerated, it did not start off that way. Once is was beautiful, people liked them, and that is the direction stage 1 Ecoria is headed (and the reason I’m checking the trope). In the beginning the concept was very much aligned with what we see of Solar Punk. I then noticed the tv trope page also lists my Ecoria as an “unbuilt trope“. It says that my Ecoria predates the Solar Punk Manifesto of 2014 which caused a storm. I had a quick butchers as Wikipedia, and I notice it says the early ideas of Solar punk can be traced back to 2008. Which sounds a little later than when I was first talking about such things. I was curious if I really did predate the trope, so I looked it up, and this is what I found;

The earliest mention of proper Ecoria I could find on the WayBack Machine achieve of my website was in 2007.

The most notable characteristic of early Ecorium design is that they are above ground and have windows! These building where constructed by machines working under the the Mars Accord; an alliance between Humans and Machines that lasted until the Age of Strife. Without concern for costs due to the self contained Machine Economy, and built with human aesthetics in mind, these early Ecoria were often highly elaborate with exquisite facades and exotic roof top gardens.

Philip Sibbering 2007

I then go on to explain the internal workings, as it was a completed concept by then. The image of the above-ground Ecoria lacks the stepped design of later stage 1. All that is missing is the Art Nouveau facade, which seems to be an integral part of the Solar Punk trope, so I cannot claim the trope as mine. I remember writing somewhere you could put any facade on the front, including Art Deco and Art Nouveau, along with classical and gothic, but that is lost to the internet.

Before 2007 I know I talked about if for years, as the website was the culmination of many forum discussions like this one from the old Anargo Sector Project: =Hive World: Invictonburg= from 2004 [WM archive]. I know that was chatting on the ol’ Black Library forum too – which was killed off a long time ago. So the nascent ideas for my Ecoria go back to 2004. 4 years before the earliest thoughts that led to Solar Punk, and 10 years before the Solar Punk manifesto. The unbuilt trope entry says that the concept is bigger and broader than the final trope, and able to explore the ramifications before everything became set. It seems true in this case;

Steam Punk lacks certain elements of the Ecoria, it’s close, but no cigar. Solar Punk seems to use the old ‘build by the side of the road’ architecture paradigm rather than the build over road and rail of the Ecoria. Solar Punk also seems to miss out on the internal warehousing of farming, and maximising of premium green space for living. Solar Punk hand-waves the power requirement of the system as ‘recyclable’ which we know is not enough (unless we are talking small off-word settlements on Sciror’s paradise worlds). I go for Thorium Reactors in the near future, and later the 40K power plants. It does have any details of co-working spaces or remote drones. The Solar Punk concept also miss out on all the later stages of developments of the Ecoria, which Solar Punk only really covering Stage 1.

I built Sciror as a framework for creating your own backgrounds, to support the vision ‘as is’ Ironically, it seems that the Ecoria concept could still be used as a foundation for Solar Punk, to give it are more believable near future feel; in accordance with the ‘Visions of the Near Future’ agenda. All you have to be is a design an Art Nouveau facade and slap it on the front and you are good to go – instant concept upgrade :P

Of course, using the Sciror Stage 1 Ecoria as a basis of Solar Punk implies Stage 2, 3 etc. will follow, and that leads to a place that is very un-Solar Punk!

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Hearing feedback is very important to me in developing my ideas. Much of my designs are inspired, and crafted, by chatting to fans on forums before snowballing into a full concepts posted on this website. I would like to thank all those who have contributed critiques and participated in discussions over the years. If you would like join in, you are most welcome!

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