Monday, September 16, 2019

Ain't No Gods in Gyre

Belief is a virus. On the levels above those of heavy matter, the multiverse is an ideaspace, susceptible to co-opting or conversion by belief alone. The Outer Planes and their competing attempts to rebuild the Godhead are engines of it, and the City at the Center of the Multiverse, Gyre, is the one place with no agenda in the big game It has to keep their seductive memes suppressed at all costs, or the strange loop that enforces it's existence would broken, and possibly the stability of the entire multiverse with it. Again.

That's why Gyre's real ruler, not the corporate committees or the concerned citizen boards or even the occasional winners of the city's haphazard elections, works hard to keep belief out. There is a strict "no gods" policy, for instance. Gods are strange attractors for belief. The lost, outcast, or psychological vulnerable, have been known to fall for them on sight. So they're all banned. There have been attempts by rogue theists to instantiate a god in the city (in one case the smiling cat mascot of a fast food restaurant), but the Lady was on to them before they could power it up. Four manifestations of her twisted the whole block into a Klein bottle and tossed it into the Astral manifold.

The thing about sentient beings is they tend to want to believe in things, and even the Lady can't be everywhere. So registered policlubs are allowed. These tamed belief systems, whatever their intentions, only serve to strengthen the city's loop because they wouldn't exist without it. If one steps out of line despite the safeguards, well, they get disappeared too.

Though Gyre's citizenry complain about the policlubs, they are also a source of entertainment. Most have some sort of media presence from talk radio to slick television shows. Major street clashes between clubs tend to be televised events associated with gambling. 


Anne said...

This is some compelling stuff! I feel like I first noticed it in your Outlands post, but I'm intrigued by the idea of Gyre and its surrounds being an area of non-belief, where strong ideas (and especially strong ideas that match any of the current Outer Planes) are an ontological threat.

China Mieville's "Embassytown" has a similar kind of location, shown in a moment of crisis. Frankly, subverting believers to try save the city from an unwanted apotheosis seems like a great job for adventurers.

The "politics as a literal team sport with uniforms and everything" idea is a nice parodic element. I feel like the various clubs of Samuel Delaney's "Triton" would fit in too. The main ones I remember were a troupe of who did guerrilla street theatre, a group who memorized and chanted very long nonsense words, and some people who tried to live like wild animals. I'm sure there were a few more.

"Triton" is kind of depressing, because it's full of characters who have freedom and are basically looking for some way to renounce it, but since reading it, I've noticed how much the real world is full of people trying to do something similar.

Trey said...

Yeah, Aliaster Reynolds societies of the Glitter Band in The Prefect included "voluntary tyrannies" where people joined up to have all their rights taken away (except opt-in/opt-out). I think a lot of people would go for that really.

In trying to protect the city from threats of the memetic sort, I could actually see the somewhat anarchic behavior of adventurers serving a large, strategic process.