Against a Diamond Sky – Tales from Orion’s Arm #1

By | June 17, 2009

I’ve been involved with the Orion’s Arm Universe Project for almost 9 years now, almost since its inception.

In that time, it’s grown from a mailing list of 10 or so to a thriving community with about 60 active contributors, a board of 10, over a thousand people signed up on the mailing list, and something over a million words of canon source material. Not to mention several side projects including an island, “Port Moravec“, in Second Life, an RPG under development, and an ezine called Voices: Future Tense.

What is Orion’s Arm, then? A few snippets from the Orion’s Arm Intro page might help..

Orion’s Arm is:

  • 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

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, the softer, social sciences, as well as mythological, archetypal themes as the gods of the collective psyche incarnate in unforseen new forms.

We’ve got two big developments underway at the moment:

The first is a new website. Despite the size of Orion’s Arm, the current website is entirely static HTML, which for those non-technically inclined people means that it can’t easily be updated en masse – there’s pages in there that haven’t been touched in five or six years. So, over the last two years, a team of us have been re-conditioning, re-organizing, and re-writing the entire site for re-release on a new website, currently in open beta at It’s still not quite finished, but we’re scheduled to launch the new site on July 20th, Tranquility Day, the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission’s landing on the moon.

The second is a book. Last year, we held a novella competition, and got a number of great submissions. The best three have been edited by the Orion’s Arm Editors, and are now in the final stages of being published. We’re really excited about this, and hope to publish more in the future. I’m not 100% sure where copies will be sold, but they’ll almost certainly be available through our website.