Image from Steve Bowers

No matter how wide and far neumann and exploration swarms scour through deep space, there will always be worlds and regions they miss, and some of these will be inhabited by civilizations and cultures that have — through accident or design — become cut off from the main Terragen sphere and developed in isolation, some for many thousands of years. Some believe the archailects encourage this, in order that these regions may develop their own independent civilization, in order to add to the galactic diversity when they are discovered. Some say it is just part of natural ecology of the galaxy. Whatever the reason, these are the Isolates, the heterocivs, the outers, the foreigners. They are not part of the Civilized Galaxy, and in some cases they have no wish to be. Often however they embrace discovery and either join one of the great empires, or continue as independent cultures but engage in trade and exchange of information and travellers.

Isolates are not necessarily the same as Hiders, although it is not unusual for Hiders to be Isolates, and Isolates Hiders. Even Hiders who are not Isolates may associate with Isolates, and vice-versa. But generally an Isolate is distinguished as an autonomous civilization, with its own distinct and unique phenotypes, memetics, tech, culture, etc., and often a separate history of centuries. Such a civilization may span thousands of star systems, or it may be contained in a single hab or a small volume of computronium.

For sophonts who have never known anything other than the Civilized Galaxy, Isolates can exert a fascination surpassed only by that inspired by xenosophonts. In fact, for many clades and phyles, no distinction is made between Terragen isolates and aliens. However, we have followed the Eden Institute here and distinguished Isolatesphonts from Xenosophonts.

Isolates can be of any race or species or clade, any toposophic, and memetic or noetic, or any combination. They can be mind-bogglingly diverse, though even the largest isolate civilization is much smaller and less diverse that that of the Civilized Galaxy as a whole.

Contact with the rest of the galaxy sometimes leads to a deterioration of Isolate uniqueness. The Isolate sophonts, as eager to experience novelty as any other being, too often are swallowed up in the overwhelming diversity of Terragen society. For this reason, both Terragen powers and Isolate leaders themselves, are often very concerned that contact be managed properly, and none of the richness of the original and unique Isolate heritage is lost.

  • Amerindian Worlds, The  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Human baseline worlds discovered along the Terragen peripheral regions, each with re-created pre-Columbian civilisations.
  • Echir-{n}  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A-life civilization in the Feinstein 1 cluster.
  • Gerkletoss  - Text by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
    Multispecies utopian civilisation that developed in the Black Acropolis dyson swarm.
  • Jarre  - Text by Extherian, from an original article by Tapio Erola
    A former Lo-Tech colony at the edge of the Perseus Arm, disrupted by badly-managed contact with outsiders
  • Lost Colonies  - Text by Somes Jung Hallinan with additions by Steve Bowers
    Colonies that have been totally isolated from the remainder of Terragen civilization for a long period of time.
  • Neosemperism  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Neosemperism is the general name for the many survivalist movements that are spreading across known space. It is somewhat derived from the pre-Version War semperism, but less ideological and more practically directed. In the wake of the fragmentation of the empires, the rise of the "barbarians" and the emergence of chaos, many groups prepare for the worst. The overall view is that at best things will soon change unrecognizably, so it is a good idea to be prepared for drastic changes.
  • Quiet Zones  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Among the colonised worlds, some appear to be abandoned or overlooked.
  • Refugium  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Capital of the Refugium Federation, settled in the 6th millennium by the Semperist Survival Fleet.
  • Semperism  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A broad and loosely connected but highly persistent set of memes in Terragen society. A Semperist is anyone who has given serious thought to the direction of and ultimate fate of Terragen civilization, considering the implications of the Fermi Paradox. Semperists consider the various proposed Great Filters and in light of those what might be done to prolong, preserve, or revive either Terragen society or some fraction of Terragen society against existential threats.
  • Tylansia  - Text by Darren Ryding
    A relatively small independent baseline planetary colony in the Hinteregions, near the borders of the Keter Dominion and the Archosaurian Empire.
  • Virtual Haven  - Text by John Snead
    Virch clade and phyle found on over 200 worlds.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 07 September 2001.

Additional Information