Welcome to Orion's Arm

What is "Orion's Arm" you might ask? That is an excellent question, and in a nutshell here is your answer:

Orion's Arm is:

  • The next step in the evolution of science-fiction
  • A collective hard science fiction world building endeavor
  • A space opera
  • A communal background for science fiction stories
  • A universe ready to be brought to life through illustration
  • A forum for cutting edge science
  • A roleplaying setting
  • A transhumanist projection of what the future might look like
  • A bunch of semi-sane sentients having fun together

Why are we here? The answer to that question can be found in our Statement of Purpose:


Our purpose is to inspire writers, artists and thinkers. To create a vision of the future that is plausible at every level, internally consistent and abides by the accepted facts and theories in the physical, biological, and social sciences. We embrace speculative ideas like Drexlerian assemblers, mind uploading, posthuman intelligence, magnetic monopoles, wormholes and the technologies, and developments that will make all this possible.

To quote Arthur C. Clarke's Second Law:

The only way to explore the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Our task is to create an ever evolving universe that is interesting, inspiring and provocative - to theorize on a future that may, or may not, come to be.

Red planet and flare
Image from Arik

In order to meet this goal we have established certain ground rules:

  • Matter cannot travel faster than light
  • Matter and energy are conserved
  • No evolved humanoid aliens have been discovered
  • Technology will change the nature of social issues
  • A logical explanation for even the most fantastic elements within the setting must be provided.
  • Space is vast - expect the same challenges to have many different solutions, or as we say at Orion's Arm - Diversity! Diversity! Diversity!

Orion's Arm is a work in progress, a space opera setting like no other. It spans the next ten thousand years of galactic history, from the near future interplanetary colonization to the far future where the galaxy is ruled by vast ascended intelligences. It incorporates hard science, and the "soft" or social sciences, as well as the mythological, archetypal themes, as the gods of the collective psyche incarnate in unforeseen new forms.

The Orion's Arm project (OA for short) is a big place with more than two decades of history, and hundreds of contributors. Most likely you will encounter new concepts and terminology throughout the site. We have provided links on this page to a number of helpful resources to get you acquainted with all of them.
The Illustrated Backstory and these introduction pages are specially written to provide an introduction to the setting. However, reading the Culture and Society, ,Galactography, Sophonts and Technology pages may provide a more complete initial understanding of the setting in the "OA present day", in 10,000AT.

You may also want to peruse the FAQ pages for answers to various commonly (and not so commonly) asked questions.

The Glossary may be useful before searching further for unfamiliar words.

There is of course the Encyclopaedia Galactica (Commonly referred to as the EG), where you can find anything in the Orion's Arm universe, and which so far, constitutes the majority of contributions to the setting. Enjoy the stories, art and ideas you find here, and should you find during your journey that something is missing, or you have something to contribute, please join us at one of our many discussion groups.

When that time comes we highly recommend going over the How to Contribute and Netiquette pages.

You will find the Main menu to be useful for navigating the website. Clicking on the upper lefthand corner (on mobile) or "Home"/the OA logo, "Explore", "Read" "Participate" "What's New" (on desktop view) will make the menus drop down.

Like all good art, this project is ever growing, and will therefore never be complete. We invite you to join us on this journey of imagination; after all it looks like we've barely gotten started, and there are still many worlds left to explore.

Above all else we would like to ask you to remember to have fun while you're here.

In order to register for a new account on our main forum, the last (case sensitive) word of this introduction page is : Transapient