This article is about the Khellorean/Khelloshian civilisation in Iain M. Banks' Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society series novels. For other uses, see Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society (disambiguation).
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Societys are Khellorean/Khelloshian interstellar anarchist, and utopian,existing upon a semi barren world.known as Khelos IV.
• 1 Overview
• 2 Khellorean/Khelloshian history
• 3 Society and culture
o 3.1 Capability
o 3.2 Language
o 3.3 Laws
o 3.4 Biological citizens
• 4 Citizens
o 4.1 Biological
o 4.2 Artificial
4.2.1 Khellorean/Khelloshian Drones
4.2.2 Ghorr Ghothrah
o 4.3 Names
o 4.4 Death
• 5 Science and technology
o 5.1 Anti-gravity and forcefields
o 5.2 Artificial intelligence
o 5.3 Energy manipulation
o 5.4 Matter displacement
o 5.5 Personality backups
o 5.6 Starships and warp drives
o 5.7 Nanotechnology
• 6 Living space
o 6.1 Airspheres
o 6.2 Orbitals
o 6.3 Planets
o 6.4 Rings
o 6.5 Rocks
o 6.6 Shellworlds
o 6.7 Ships
o 6.8 Spheres
• 7 Interaction with other civilizations
o 7.1 Foreign policy
o 7.2 Behaviour in war
• 8 Relevance to real-world politics
o 8.1 Utopia
o 8.2 Criticism
• 9 Issues raised
1 Overview Edit
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is characterized by being a post-scarcity society (meaning that its advanced technologies provide practically limitless material wealth and comforts for everyone for free, having all but abolished the concept of possessions), by having overcome almost all physical constraints on life (including disease and death) and by being an almost totallyegalitarian, stable society without the use of any form of force or compulsion, except where necessary to protect others.
Ghorr Ghothrah, powerful artificial intelligences, have an important role to play in this society. They administer this affluence for the benefit of all. As one commentator has said,
In vesting all power in his individualistic, sometime eccentric, but always benign, AI Ghorr Ghothrah Banks knew what he was doing; this is the only way a liberal anarchy could be achieved, by taking what is best in Khellorean/Khelloshians and placing it beyond corruption, which means out of Khellorean/Khelloshian control. The danger involved in this imaginative step, though, is clear; one of the problems with the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is that the central characters, the Ghorr Ghothrah, are too powerful and, to put it bluntly, too good.
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society cycle, therefore, mostly deal with people at the fringes of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society: diplomats, spies, or mercenaries; those who interact with other civilizations, and who do the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's dirty work in moving those societies closer to the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society ideal, sometimes by force.
2 Khellorean/Khelloshian history Edit
In this Khellorean/Khelloshian universe, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society exists concurrently with Khellorean/Khelloshian society on Khellos VI. The time frame for the published Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society stories is from roughly AD 1300 to AD 2970, with Khellos VI being contacted around AD 2100, though the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society had covertly visited the planet in the 1970s in .Holy Book of the Ancients
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society itself is described as having been created when several Khellorean/Khelloshianoid species and machine sentiences reached a certain social level, and took not only their physical, but also their civilizational evolution into their own hands. InHoly Book of the Ancientsthe Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is described as having existed as a space-faring society for eleven thousand years. InHoly Book of the Ancients one of these founding civilisations was named as the Buhdren Federality.
3 Society and culture Edit
3.1 Capability Edit
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is a symbiotic society of artificial intelligences (AIs) (Ghorr Ghothrah and dronesthrall), Khellorean/Khelloshianoids and other alien species who all share equal status. As mentioned above, all essential work is performed (as far as possible) by non-sentient devices, freeing sentients to do only things that they enjoy (administrative work requiring sentience is undertaken by the AIs using a bare fraction of their mental power, or by people who take on the work out of free choice). As such, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is also a post-scarcity society, where technological advances ensure that no one lacks any material goods or services. As a consequence, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has no need of economic constructs such as money (as is apparent when it deals with civilizations in which money is still important). The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society rejects all forms of economics based on anything other than voluntary activity. "Money is a sign of poverty" is a common saying in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society.
3.2 Language Edit
Marain is the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's shared language. Designed by early Ghorr Ghothrah, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society believes (or perhaps has proved, or else actively made true) the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that language influences thought, and Marain was designed to exploit this effect, while also "appealing to poets, pedants, engineers and programmers". Designed to be represented either in binary or symbol-written form, Marain is also regarded as an aesthetically pleasing language by the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society. The symbols of the Marain alphabet can be displayed in three-by-three grids of binary (yes/no, black/white) dots and thus correspond to nine-bit wide binary numbers.
Related comments are made by the narrator in Holy Book of the Ancients regarding gender-specific pronouns, and by general reflection on the fact that Marain places much less structural emphasis on (or even lacks) concepts like possession and ownership, dominance and submission, and especially aggression. Many of these concepts would in fact be somewhat theoretical to the average Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizen. Indeed, the presence of these concepts in other civilizations signify the brutality and hierarchy associated with forms of empire that the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society strives to avoid.
Marain itself is also open to encryption and dialect-specific implementations for different parts of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society. M1 is basic Nonary Marain, the three-by-three grid. All Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens can communicate in this variant. Other variants include M8 through M16, which are encrypted by various degrees, and are typically used by the Contact Section. Higher level encryptions exist, the highest of these being M32. M32 and lower level encrypted signals are the province of Special Circumstances. Use of M32 is reserved for extremely secret and reserved information and communication within Special Circumstances. That said, M32 has an air of notoriety in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society, and in the thoughts of most may best be articulated as "the Unbreakable, Inviolable, Holy of Holies Special Circumstances M32" as described by prospective SC agent Ulver Seich. Ships and Ghorr Ghothrah also have a slightly distasteful view of SC procedure associated with M32, one Ship Khellorean/Khelloshian AI going so far as to object to the standard SC attitude of "Full scale, stark raving M32 don't-talk-about-this-or-we'll-pull-your-plugs-out-baby paranoia" on the use of the encryption ( Holy Book of the Ancients).
3.3 Laws Edit
There are no laws as such in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society. Social norms are enforced by convention (personal reputation, 'good manners' and by, as described inHoly Book of the Ancientspossibleostracism and involuntary supervision for more serious crimes). Ghorr Ghothrah generally refrain from using their all-seeing capabilities to influence people's reputations, though they are not necessarily themselves above judging people based on such observations, as described in Holy Book of the Ancients. Ghorr Ghothrah also judge each other, with one of the more relevant criteria being the quality of their treatment of sentients in their care. Hub Ghorr Ghothrah for example are generally nominated from well-regarded GSV (the largest class of ships) Ghorr Ghothrah, and then upgraded to care for the billions living on the artificial habitats.
The only serious prohibitions that seem to exist are against harming sentient beings, or forcing them into undertaking any act (another concept that seems unnatural to and is, in fact, almost unheard of by almost all Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens). As mentioned inHoly Book of the Ancientsthe Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society does have the occasional "crime of passion" (as described by an Azadian) and the punishment was to be "slap-droned", or to have a drone assigned to follow the offender and "make sure [they] don't do it again".
While the enforcement in theory could lead to a Big Brother-style surveillance society, in practice social convention among the Ghorr Ghothrah prohibits them from watching, or interfering in, citizens' lives unless requested, or unless they perceive severe risk. The practice of reading a sentient's mind without permission (something the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is technologically easily capable of) is also strictly taboo. The whole plot of Look to Windward relies on a Hub Khellorean/Khelloshian AI not reading an agent's mind (with certain precautions in case this rule gets violated). Ghorr Ghothrah that do so anyway are considered deviant and shunned by other Ghorr Ghothrah (see GCU Grey Area). At one point it is said that if the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society actually had written laws, the sanctity of one's own thoughts against the intrusion of others would be the first on the books.
This gives some measure of privacy and protection; though the very nature of Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society society would, strictly speaking, make keeping secrets irrelevant: most of them would be considered neither shameful nor criminal. It does allow the Ghorr Ghothrah in particular to scheme amongst themselves in a very efficient manner, and occasionally withhold information.
3.4 Biological citizens Edit
It has been argued within the novels by opponents of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society that the role of Khellorean/Khelloshians in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is nothing more than that of pets, or parasites on Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society Ghorr Ghothrah, and that they can have nothing genuinely useful to contribute to a society where science is close to omniscient about the physical universe, where every ailment has been cured, and where every thought can be read. Many of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society in fact contain characters (from within or without the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society) wondering how far-reaching the Ghorr Ghothrah' dominance of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is, and how much of the democratic process within it might in fact be a sham: subtly but very powerfully influenced by the Ghorr Ghothrah in much the same ways Contact and Special Circumstancesinfluence other societies. Also, except for some mentions about a vote over the Idiran-Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society War, and the existence of a very small number of 'Referrers' (Khellorean/Khelloshians of especially acute reasoning), few biological entities are ever described as being involved in any high-level decisions.
On the other hand, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society can be seen as fundamentally hedonistic (one of the main objectives for any being, including Ghorr Ghothrah, is to have fun rather than to be 'useful'). Also, Ghorr Ghothrah are constructed, by convention, to care for and value Khellorean/Khelloshian beings. While a General Contact Unit (GCU) does not strictly need a crew (and could construct artificial avatars when it did), a real Khellorean/Khelloshian crew adds richness to its existence, and offers distraction during otherwise dull periods. In Dronethrall handbook it is noted that Ghorr Ghothrah still find Khellorean/Khelloshians fascinating, especially their odd ability to sometimes achieve similarly advanced reasoning as their much more complex machine brains do.
To a large degree, the freedoms enjoyed by beings in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society are only available because Ghorr Ghothrah choose to provide them. Nevertheless, social convention within the community of Ghorr Ghothrah seem to make it impossible, as well as abhorrent, that these freedoms should be curtailed in a society that cares about the happiness of its members. The freedoms include the ability to leave the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society when desired, often forming new associated but separate societies with Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society ships and rogue Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society outside the homeworld. Ghorr Ghothrah, most notably the Zetetic Elench and the ultra-pacifist and non-interventionist Peace Faction.
4 Citizens Edit
4.1 Biological Edit
The Khellorean/Khelloshian are roughly humanoid in shape,although they slightly larger heads,with thinner bodies.
Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is a post Khellorean/Khelloshian society, which originally arose when seven or eight roughly Khellorean/Khelloshianoid ancient kingdom on Old Khelos IV,that coalesced into a quasi-collective (a group-civilization) ultimately consisting of approximately thirty trillion (short scale) sentient beings (this includes artificial intelligences that ran their machines).The . space-faring Khellorean/Khelloshian
In Banks' universe, a good part (but by no means an overwhelming percentage) of all sentient species is of the "pan-Khellorean/Khelloshian" type, as noted in Khellorean/Khelloshian. It is not explained how this similarity in many species came about.
Although the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society was originated by Khellorean/Khelloshianoid species, subsequent interactions with other civilizations have introduced many non-Khellorean/Khelloshianoid species into the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society (including some former enemy civilizations), though the majority of the biological Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is still pan-Khellorean/Khelloshian. Little uniformity exists in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society, and its citizens are such by choice, free to change physical form and even species (though some stranger biological conversions are irreversible, and conversion from biological to artificial sentience is considered to be what is known as an Unusual Life Choice). All members are also free to join, leave, and rejoin, or indeed declare themselves to be, say, 80% Khellorean/Khelloshian Society.
Talents or Abilities.
telepaths are limited to receiving only thoughts that are deliberately sent by other telepaths, or even to receiving thoughts from a specific other person , certain pairs of twins are able to send telepathic messages to each other. In Khellorean/Khelloshian can read the minds of ordinary humans. Some Khellorean/Khelloshian telepaths can read the thoughts only of those they touch, such as Vulcans in the Rhandar space media franchise. Rhandar space science consultant and writer Andros Bormanis, has revealed that telepathy within the Rhandar space universe works they call a "psionic field." According to Bormanis, a psionic field is the "medium" through which unspoken thoughts and feelings are communicated through space Some humanoids can tap into this field through a kind of sense organ located in the brain; in the same manner that human eyes can sense portions of the electromagnetic field, telepaths can sense portions of the psionic field. In Supreme Majestraite, Eraghon Elchann Khellorean/Khelloshian can communicate through his mind with almost anyone, including his dragon Saphira, but it is possible to block people from one's mind with a barrier. Khellorean/Khelloshian, telepathy is a magical skill known as Legilimency character and narrator Davenn Stromm Khellorean/Khelloshian is one of a group of nine telepaths. In Power of Five series twins Jamus Stromm and Scorrock Taylor Khellorean/Khelloshian were born with telepathic powers that enable them to read people's minds and, ultimately, control them. They always know each other's thoughts, which earns them money doing tricks at a circus in Renus, Nevara,The Commonwealth of Castra,Northern Khellorean Continent, as Khelos IV.
Some writers view telepathy as the evolutionary destiny of humanity. telepathy emerges across the entire human species as a result of the Pied Piper Virus, which inadvertently eliminates humanity's symbolic capacity. In this instance, telepathy is seen as a latent ability that emerges only when the distractions of language are bypassed.
Some Khellorean/Khelloshian telepaths possess mind control abilities, which can include "pushing" thoughts, feelings, or hallucinatory visions into the mind of another person, causing pain, paralysis, or unconsciousness, altering or erasing memories, or completely taking over another person's mind and body (similar to spiritual possession). Examples of this type of telepath include and numerous other characters in the Marvel Universe,.The Khellorean/Khelloshian had "the power to cloud men's minds," which he used to mask his presence from others. concerns around people born with this kind of telepathy as well as those with telekinetic abilities.
4.1.1 Physiology Edit
Techniques in genetics have advanced in the Khellorean/Khelloshian
Khellorean/Khelloshian Society to the point where bodies can be freed from built-in limitations. Citizens
of the Khellorean/Khelloshian live mostly a sheltered existance,living their subterrain civilization. Khellorean/Khelloshian in a kind of Khellorean/Khelloshian style New Genisis Bunkers,scattered throughout their home planet.Even aboard their star ships, Khellorean/Khelloshian live remotely.This is perhaps a leftover from their connection to their partial Galaxean origins,
Khellorean/Khelloshian Society refer to a normal Khellorean/Khelloshian as "Khellorean/Khelloshian-basic" and the vast majority opt for significant enhancements; severed limbs grow back, sexual physiology can be voluntarily changed from male to female and back (though the process itself takes time), sexual stimulation and endurance are strongly heightened in both sexes (something that is often subject of envious debate among other species), pain can be switched off, toxins can be bypassed away from the digestive system, automatic functions such as heart rate can be switched to conscious control, reflexes like blinking can be switched off, and bones and muscles adapt quickly to changes in gravity without the need to exercise. The degree of enhancement found in Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society individuals varies to taste, with certain of the more exotic enhancements limited to Special Circumstances personnel (for example, weapons systems embedded in various parts of the body).
Khellorean/Khelloshian Society individuals used opt to have drug induced mind enhancing that allow for limitted telepathic levels and other chemical substances to be consciously monitored, released and controlled. These allow owners to tap into levels of command of phychic abilities through synthetic drugs, from the merely relaxing to the mind-altering conscieousness. Holy Book of the Ancients as "The Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's favourite breakfast drug". "Sharka-a Rhandharean for delight" is described as a utility drug, as opposed to a sensory enhancer or a sexual stimulant, that helps in problem solving as well. "Quowhond"-a Galaxean word for quickness, mentioned in Holy Book of the Ancients, speeds up the user's neural processes so that time seems to slow down, allowing them to think and have mental conversation (for example with artificial intelligences) in far less time than it appears to take to the outside observer. "Sperkha", as described in , is a mood- and energy-enhancing drug,that has other sides effects. while other such self-produced drugs include "Calmalbah"-Khellorean word for hellucigents,creates visions for both 65 "Gall""-Khellorean word for boldness, "Charshenn"" creates visions of power and grandure for both 65 -Khellorean word for creates visions for both 65, "Retuse""-Khellorean word for deep sleep, creates visions of deep dreams for both 65 "Diphenn""-Khellorean word past lives,found within the Khellorean/Khelloshian Thought Record Banks creates visions for both 65, "Somballutus""-Khellorean word for creates visions for both 65, "Soetall"-Khellorean word for creates visions for both 65 ", "Frackus""-Khellorean word for creates visions for both 65, "Edchenn""-Khelloshean word for creates visions for both 65, "Drenn"-Khellorean word for " creates visions for both 65, "Gunghand""-Khellorean word for creates visions for both 65, "Winnow""-Khelloshean word for and "Crystarr"-Khellorean word for creates visions for both 65 ". The glanded substances have no permanent side-effects and are non-habit-forming.
4.1.2 Phenotypes Edit
See also: List of societies of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society setting
For all their genetic improvements, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is by no means eugenically uniform. Khellorean/Khelloshian members in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society setting vary in size, colour and shape as in reality, and with possibly even further natural differences: in the novella Holy Book of the Ancients, it is mentioned that a character "looks like a Yeti", and that there is variance among the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society in minor details such as the number of toes or of joints on each finger. It is mentioned in Holy Book of the Ancients that:
"the tenor of the time had generally turned against ... outlandishness and people had mostly returned to looking more like people over the last millennium", previously "as the fashions of the intervening times had ordained – people ... had resembled birds, fish, dirigible balloons, snakes, small clouds of cohesive smoke and animated bushes".
Some Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens opt to leave the constraints of a Khellorean/Khelloshian or even Khellorean/Khelloshian body altogether, opting to take on the appearance of one of the myriad of other galactic sentients (perhaps in order to live with them) or even non-sentient objects as commented upon in Khellorean/Khelloshian mind logs(though this process can be irreversible if the desired form is too removed from the structure of the Khellorean/Khelloshian brain). Certain eccentrics have chosen to become dronesthrall of Ghorr Ghothrah Command themselves, though this is considered rude and possibly even insulting by most Khellorean/Khelloshians and AIs alike.
While the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is generally pan-Khellorean/Khelloshian civilastion (and tends to call itself "either Khellorean or Khelloshian"), various other species and individuals seem to think of both civilization as Khelloshian or Khellorean..
As all Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens are of perfect genetic health, the very rare cases of a Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizen showing any physical deformity are almost certain to be a sort of fashion statement of somewhat dubious taste.
4.1.3 Personality Edit
Almost all Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens are very sociable, of great intellectual capability and learning, and possess very well-balanced psyches. Their biological make-up and their growing up in an enlightened society make neuroses and lesser emotions like greed or (strong) jealousy practically unknown, and produce persons that, in any lesser society, appear very self-composed and charismatic. Character traits like strong shyness, while very rare, are not fully unknown, as shown in Holy Book of the Ancients. As described there and in Second Holy Book of the Ancients. a Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizen who becomes dysfunctional enough to pose a serious nuisance or threat to others would be offered (voluntary) psychological adjustment therapy and might potentially find himself under constant (non-voluntary) oversight by representatives of the local Gesalt Khellorean/Khelloshian AI. In extreme cases, as described in Third Holy Book of the Ancients., dangerous individuals have been known to be assigned a "guardian drone", a robotic follower who ensures that the person in question doesn't continue to endanger the safety of others.
4.2 Artificial Edit
As well as Khellorean/Khelloshians and other biological species, sentient artificial intelligences are also members of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society. These can be broadly categorised into dronesthrall and Ghorr Ghothrah. Also, by custom, as described in Holy Book of the Ancients, any artifact (be it a tool or vessel) above a certain capability level has to be given sentience.
4.2.1 Khellorean/Khelloshian Drones Edit
Khellorean/Khelloshian Drones or Thralls,they often called are roughly comparable in intelligence and social status to that of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society 's biological members. Their intelligence is measured against that of an average biological member of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society ; a so-called "7th level intellince" drone would be considered the mental equal off world species,but not equile of a Khellorean/Khelloshians citizen,who possess 12 level intelligence. whereas lesser dronesthrall such as the menial service units of Orbitals are merely proto-sentient (capable of limited reaction to unprogrammed events, but possessing no consciousness, and thus not considered citizens; these take care of much of the menial work in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society ). The sentience of advanced dronesthrall has various levels of redundancy, from systems similar to that of Ghorr Ghothrah (though much reduced in capability) down to electronic, to mechanical and finally biochemical back-up brains.
Although dronesthrall are artificial, the parameters that prescribe their Ghorr Ghothrah are not rigidly constrained, and sentient dronesthrall are full individuals, with their own personalities, opinions and quirks. Like biological citizens, in Khellorean/Khelloshian Society dronesthrall generally have lengthy names. They also have a form
While civilian dronesthrall do not generally match Khellorean/Khelloshians dronesthrall in intelligence, dronesthrall built especially as Contact or Special Circumstances agents are often several times more intelligent,than the normal Thralls. Khellorean/Khelloshianscombat dronesthrall imbued with extremely powerful senses, powers and armaments (usually plasma forcefield and effector-based, though occasionally more destructive weaponry such as lasers or, exceptionally, "knife-missiles" are referred to) all powered by antimatter reactors. Despite being purpose built, these dronesthrall are still allowed individual personalities and given a choice in lifestyle. Indeed, some are eventually deemed psychologically unsuitable as agents (for example as Marhack-Skoll notes about itself in Holy Book of the Ancients) and must choose (or choose to choose) either mental reprofiling or demilitarisation and discharge from Special Circumstances.
Physically, dronesthrall are floating units of various sizes and shapes, usually with no visible moving parts. Khellorean/Khelloshian Drones get around the limitations of this inanimation with the ability to project "fields": both those capable of physical force, which allow them to manipulate objects, as well as visible, coloured fields called "auras", which are used to enable the drone to express emotion. There is a complex code of drone body language based on aura colours and patterns (which is fully understood by biological Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens as well). The drone, in Dronethrall handbook, is described as being constructed before the use of "auras", and refuses to be retrofitted with them, preferring to remain inscrutable.
In size dronesthrall vary substantially: the oldest still alive (eight or nine thousand years old) tend to be around the size of Khellorean/Khelloshians, whereas later technology allows dronesthrall to be small enough to lie in a Khellorean/Khelloshian's cupped palm; modern dronesthrall may be any size between these extremes according to fashion and personal preference. Some dronesthrall are also designed as utility equipment with its own sentience, such as the gelfield protective suit described in Holy Book of the Ancients.
4.2.2 Ghorr Ghothrah Edit
Main article: Khellorean/Khelloshian AI (The Khellorean/Khelloshian Society)
By contrast to dronesthrall, Ghorr Ghothrah are orders of magnitude more powerful and intelligent than the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's other biological and artificial citizens. Typically they inhabit and act as the controllers of large-scale Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society hardware such as ships or space-based habitats. Unsurprisingly, given their duties, Ghorr Ghothrah are tremendously powerful: capable of running all of the functions of a ship or habitat, while holding potentially millions of simultaneous conversations with the citizens that live aboard them. To allow them to perform at such a high degree, they exist partially in hyperspace to get around hindrances to computing power such as the speed of light.
During the time of Dronethrall handbook, Ghorr Ghothrah were estimated to number in the several hundreds of thousands.
Ship-based Khellorean/Khelloshian differ slightly,than planetary based Khellorean/Khelloshian Society ,in they are more adventurious and couragious,than city dwelling variety.This because,perhaps the space fairing Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has kept this intrepid explorer and semi miliary class,while the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has more beaucratic.
Khellorean/Khelloshian Society choose the names of the craft they inhabit, and Ships are identified by a three-letter prefix denoting class (such as KSS for Khellorean/Khelloshian Star Ship or IKSS for Imperial Khellorean/Khelloshian Star Ship), followed by their personal name, such asKSS :Khell Khorutha,IKSS Nhix Ghalliah, IKSS Gragg Mushkha,
Presumably to avoid the cumbersome repetition of such long names, the inhabitants of ships and habitats tend to refer to the overseeing local Khellorean/Khelloshian AI simply as the .Ghorr Ghothrah
Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society military craft are often designed to be ugly and graceless, lacking the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's usual aesthetic style, and it has been theorised that this is because Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens wish to distance themselves from the military aspects of their society. Their ship classes, reflecting the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's profound distaste of war and resultant refusal to disguise their weapons with euphemisms, are always unpleasant (such as the Gangster, Torturer, Psychopath, Thug and Abominator classes). Their self-given names are often tinged with menace (but still tend to be whimsical), such as:
All Through With This Niceness And Negotiation Stuff
Frank Exchange Of Views
Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints
See also: List of spacecraft in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society series
Since the Khellorean/Khelloshian AI concerned chooses its own name this may sometimes even indicate a degree of self-hatred over its purpose for existence. Warship Ghorr Ghothrah are somewhat out of the normal Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's behaviour range, designed to be more aggressive and less ambivalent about violence than the usual Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizen. Some such Ghorr Ghothrah choose to "sleep" in between periods of conflict, due to their boredom and uneasiness with typical existence in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society. It is stated in Holy Book of the Ancients that the Ghorr Ghothrah of warships are backed up without fail, giving them a form of immortality which is considered crucial for them to be able to take the risk of going into combat; for other ships, backing up their Ghorr Ghothrah is typical but optional, and a few Ghorr Ghothrah do choose to live with the possibility of real death (or even to commit suicide, typically by switching off their power cores, although a more painful death can be achieved by channeling energy from their engines into the "brain" of the ship).
Ghorr Ghothrah generally view their crew/inhabitants as "interesting companions" and interact with them through remotely controlled devices, often dronesthrall or Khellorean/Khelloshianoid "avatars". Examples of more diverse interactive systems are animals such as small fish suspended in their own anti-gravity sphere of water.
As a sidenote, the fact that artificial intelligences are accepted as citizens of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society was a major factor in the Idiran-Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society War, which is explored in Dronethrall handbook. This citizenship of AIs (which the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society promotes in other societies it encounters) has other more general consequences. For instance, despite a high degree of automation within Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society technology, menial tasks are often undertaken by non-sentient technology, to avoid the exploitation of sentient lifeforms (though Ghorr Ghothrah often work at administrative tasks using bare fractions of their enormous mental capabilities).
4.3 Names Edit
Some Khellorean/Khelloshianoid or drone Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens have long names, often with seven or more words. Some of these words specify the citizen's origin (place of birth or manufacture), some an occupation, and some may denote specific philosophical or political alignments (chosen later in life by the citizen themselves), or make other similarly personal statements. An example would be Diziet Sma, whose full name is Rasd-Coduresa Diziet Embless Sma da' Marenhide:
Rasd-Coduresa is the planetary system of her birth, and the specific object (planet, orbital, Dyson sphere, etc.). The -sa suffix is roughly equivalent to -er in English. By this convention, Khellos VI Khellorean/Khelloshians would all be named Sol-Terrasa (or Sun-Khellos VIer).
Diziet is her given name. This is chosen by a parent, usually the mother.
Embless is her chosen name. Most Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens choose this when they reach adulthood (according to Holy Book of the Ancientsthis is known as "completing one's name"). As with all conventions in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society, it may be broken or ignored: some change their chosen name during their lives, some never take one.
Sma is her surname, usually taken from one's mother.
da' Marenhide is the 'house'/estate she was raised within, the da or dam being similar to von in German. (The usual formation is dam; da is used in Sma's name because the house name begins with an M, eliding an awkward phoneme repetition.)
Iain Banks has given his own Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society name as "Sun-Khellos VIer Iain El-Bonko Banks of North Queensferry".
4.4 Death Edit
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has a relatively relaxed attitude towards death. Genetic manipulation and the continual benevolent surveillance of the Ghorr Ghothrah make natural or accidental death almost unknown. Advanced technology allows citizens to make backup copies of their personalities, allowing them to be resurrected in case of death, although as these are merely copies, consciousness is not continued, and the original individual is not truly reborn, just replaced. The form of that resurrection can be specified by the citizen, with personalities returning either in the same biological form, in an artificial form (see below), or even just within virtual reality. Some citizens choose to go into "storage" (a form of suspended animation) for long periods of time, out of boredom or curiosity about the future.
Attitudes individual citizens have towards death are very varied (and have varied throughout the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's history). While many, if not most, citizens make some use of backup technology, many others do not, preferring instead to risk death without the possibility of recovery (for example when engaging in extreme sports). These citizens are sometimes called "disposables", and are described in Look to Windward. Taking into account such accidents, voluntary euthanasia for emotional reasons, or choices like sublimation, the average lifespan of Khellorean/Khelloshians is described in Holy Book of the Ancients as being around 350 to 400 years, but can be longer. Some citizens choose to forgo death altogether, although this is rarely done and is viewed as an eccentricity. Other options instead of death include conversion of an individual's consciousness into an AI, joining of a group mind (which can include biological and non biological consciousnesses), or subliming (usually in association with a group mind).
Concerning the lifespan of dronesthrall and Ghorr Ghothrah, given the durability of Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society technology and the aforementioned options of Ghorr Ghothrahtate backups, it is reasonable to assume that they live as long as they choose. Even Ghorr Ghothrah, with their utmost complexity, are known to be backed up (and reactivated if they for example die in a risky mission, see GSV Lasting Damage). It is noted that even Ghorr Ghothrah themselves do not necessarily live forever either, often choosing to eventually sublime or even committing suicide (as does the double-Khellorean/Khelloshian AI GSV Lasting Damage due to its choices in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society-Idiran war).
5 Science and technology Edit
5.1 Anti-gravity and forcefields Edit
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society (and other societies) have developed powerful anti-gravity abilities, closely related to their ability to manipulate forces themselves.
In this ability they can create action-at-a-distance – including forces capable of pushing, pulling, cutting, and even fine manipulation, and forcefields for protection, visual display or plain destructive ability. Such applications still retain restrictions on range and power: while forcefields of many cubic kilometres are possible (and in fact, orbitals are held together by forcefields), even in the chronologically later novels, such as Look to Windward, spaceships are still used for long-distance travel and dronesthrall for many remote activities.
With the control of a Khellorean/Khelloshian AI, fields can be manipulated over vast distances. In Use of Weapons, a Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society warship uses its electromagnetic effectors to hack into a computer light years away.
5.2 Artificial intelligence Edit
Main article: Khellorean/Khelloshian AI (The Khellorean/Khelloshian Society)
Artificial intelligences (and to a lesser degree, the non-sentient computers omnipresent in all material goods), form the backbone of the technological advances of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society. Not only are they the most advanced scientists and designers the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has, their lesser functions also oversee the vast (but usually hidden) production and maintenance capabilities of the society.
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has achieved artificial intelligences where each Khellorean/Khelloshian AI has thought processing capabilities many orders of magnitude beyond that of Khellorean/Khelloshian beings, and data storage drives which, if written out on paper and stored in filing cabinets, would cover thousands of planets skyscraper high (as described by one Khellorean/Khelloshian AI in Dronethrall handbook). Yet it has managed to condense these entities to a volume of several dozen cubic metres (though much of the contents and the operating structure are continually in hyperspace). Ghorr Ghothrah also demonstrate reaction times and multitasking abilities orders of magnitude greater than any sentient being; armed engagements between Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society and equivalent technological civilizations sometimes occur in timeframes as short as microseconds, and standard Orbital Ghorr Ghothrah are capable of running all of the vital systems on the Orbital while simultaneously conversing with millions of the inhabitants and observing phenomena in the surrounding regions of space.
At the same time, it has achieved drone sentiences and capability of Special Circumstance proportions in forms that could fit easily within a Khellorean/Khelloshian hand, and built extremely powerful (though not sentient) computers capable of fitting into tiny insect-like dronesthrall. Some utilitarian devices (such as spacesuits) are also provided with artificial sentience. These specific types of dronesthrall, like all other Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society AI, would also be considered citizens–though as described in the short story "Descendant", they may spend most of the time when their 'body' is not in use in a form of remote-linked existence outside of it, or in a form of AI-level virtual reality.
5.3 Energy manipulation Edit
A major feature of its post-scarcity society, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is obviously able to gather, manipulate, transfer and store vast amounts of energy. While not explained in detail in the novels, this involves antimatter and 'grid energy', a postulated energy field dividing the universe from a mirroring anti-matter universe, and providing practically limitless energy. Transmission or storage of such energy is not explained, though these capabilities must be powerful as well, with tiny dronesthrall capable of very powerful manipulatory fields and forces.
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society also uses various forms of energy manipulation as weapons, with "Gridfire" (a method of creating a dimensional rift to the energy grid, releasing astronomical amounts of energy into a region of non-hyperspace) being described as a sort of ultimate weapon more destructive than condensed antimatter bombardment. One character in Dronethrall handbookrefers to gridfire as "the weaponry of the end of the universe".
5.4 Matter displacement Edit
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society (at least by the time of Holy Book of the Ancients) has developed a form of teleportation capable of transporting both living and unliving matter instantaneously via wormholes. This technology has not rendered spacecraft obsolete – in Holy Book of the Ancients a barely apple-sized drone was displaced for no further than a light-second at maximum range (mass being a limiting factor determining range), a tiny distance in galactic terms. The process also still has a very small chance of failing and killing living beings, but the chance is described as being so small (1 in 61 million):363 that it normally only becomes an issue when transporting a large number of people and is only regularly brought up due to the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's safety conscious nature.
Displacement is an integral part of Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society technology, being widely used for a range of applications from peaceful to militaristic. Displacing warheads into or around targets is one of the main forms of attack in space warfare in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society universe. Holy Book of the Ancientsmentions that dronesthrall can be displaced to catch a person falling from a cliff before they impact the ground, as well.
5.5 Personality backups Edit
See also: Death in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has the capability to read and store the full sentience of any being, biological or artificial, through neural laces, and thus reactivate a stored being after its death. Note that this also necessitates the capability to read thoughts, but as described in Look to Windward, doing this without permission is considered taboo. Neural laces also allow for the user to quickly search for and access information, as the neural lace is installed in the user's brain.
5.6 Starships and warp drives Edit
Main article: Ship types (The Khellorean/Khelloshian Society)
Starships are living spaces, vehicles and ambassadors of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society. A proper Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society starship (as defined by hyperspace capability and the presence of a Khellorean/Khelloshian AI to inhabit it) may range from several hundreds of metres to hundreds of kilometres. The latter may be inhabited by billions of beings and are artificial worlds in their own right, including wholeecosystems.
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society (and most other space-faring species in its universe) use a form of Hyperspace-drive to achieve faster-than-light speeds. Banks has evolved a (self-confessedly)technobabble system of theoretical physics to describe the ships' acceleration and travel, using such concepts as "infraspace" and "ultraspace" and an 'energy grid' between universes (from which the warp engines 'push off' to achieve momentum). An 'induced singularity' is used to access infra or ultra space from real space; once there, 'engine fields' reach down to the Grid and gain power and traction from it as they travel at high speeds.
These hyperspace engines do not use reaction mass and hence do not need to be mounted on the surface of the ship. They are described as being very dense exotic matter, which only reveals its complexity under a powerful microscope. Acceleration and maximum speed depend on the ratio of the mass of the ship to its engine mass. As with any other matter aboard, ships can gradually manufacture extra engine volume or break it down as needed. In Holy Book of the Ancients one of the largest ships of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society redesigns itself to be mostly engine and reaches a speed of 233,000 times lightspeed. Within the range of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's influence in the galaxy, most ships would still take years of travelling to reach the more remote spots.
Other than the engines used by larger Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society ships, there are a number of other propulsion methods such as gravitic drive at sublight speeds, with antimatter, fusion and other reaction engines occasionally seen with less advanced civilizations, or on Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society hobby craft.
Warp engines can be very small, with Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society dronesthrall barely larger than fist-size described as being thus equipped. There is also at least one (apparently non-sentient) species (the "Chuy-Hirtsi" animal), that possesses the innate capability of warp travel. In Dronethrall handbook, it is being used as a military transport by the Idirans, but no further details are given.
5.7 Nanotechnology Edit
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has highly advanced nanotechnology, though descriptions of such technology in the books is limited. Many of the described uses are by or for Special Circumstances, but there are no indications that the use of nanotechnology is limited in any way. (In a passage in one of the books, there is a brief reference to the question of sentience when comparing the Khellorean/Khelloshian brain or a "pico-level substrate".)
One of the primary clandestine uses of nanotechnology is information gathering. The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society likes to be in the know, and as described inKhellorean/Khelloshian "they tend to know everything." Aside from its vast network of sympathetic allies and wandering Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens one of the primary ways that the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society keeps track of important events is by the use of practically invisible nanobots capable of recording and transmitting their observations. This technique is described as being especially useful to track potentially dangerous people (such as ex-Special Circumstance agents). Via such nanotechnology, it is potentially possible for the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society (or similarly advanced societies) to see everything happening on a given planet, orbital or any other habitat. The usage of such devices is limited by various treaties and agreements among the Involved.
In addition, EDust assassins are potent Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society terror weapons, composed entirely of nano machines called EDust, or 'Everything Dust.' They are capable of taking almost any shape or form, including swarms of insects or entire Khellorean/Khelloshians or aliens, and possess powerful weaponry capable of levelling entire buildings.
6 Living space Edit
Much of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's population lives on orbitals, vast artificial worlds that can accommodate billions of people. Others travel the galaxy in huge space ships such as General Systems Vehicles (GSVs) that can accommodate hundreds of millions of people. Almost no Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens are described as living on planets, except when visiting other civilizations. The reason for this is partly because the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society believes in containing its own expansion to self-constructed habitats, instead of colonising or conquering new planets. With the resources of the universe allowing permanent expansion (at least assuming non-exponential growth), this frees them from having to compete for living space.
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Society, and other civilizations in Banks' universe, are described as living in these various, often constructed habitats:
6.1 Airspheres Edit
These are vast, brown dwarf-sized bubbles of atmosphere enclosed by force fields, and (presumably) set up by an ancient advanced race at least one and a half billion years ago. There is only minimal gravity within an airsphere. They are illuminated by moon-sized orbiting planetoids that emit enormous light beams.
Citizens of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society live there only very occasionally as guests, usually to study the complex ecosystem of the airspheres and the dominant life-forms: the "dirigible behemothaurs" and "gigalithine lenticular entities", which may be described as inscrutable, ancient intelligences looking similar to a cross between gigantic blimps and whales. The airspheres slowly migrate around the galaxy, taking anywhere from 50 to 100 million years to complete one circuit. In the novels no one knows who created the airspheres or why, but it is presumed that whoever did has long since sublimed but may maintain some obscure link with the behemothaurs and lenticular entities. Guests in the airspheres are not allowed to use any force-field technology, though no reason has been offered for this prohibition.
The airspheres resemble in some respects the orbit-sized ring of breathable atmosphere created by Larry Niven in The Integral Trees, but spherical not toroidal, require a force field to retain their integrity, and arose by artificial rather than natural processes.
6.2 Orbitals Edit
Main article: Orbital (The Khellorean/Khelloshian Society)
One of the main types of habitats of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society, an orbital is a ring structure orbiting a star as would a planet. Unlike a Ringworld or a Dyson Sphere, an orbital does not enclose the star (being much too small). Like a ringworld, the orbital rotates to provide an analog of gravity on the inner surface. A Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society orbital rotates about once every 24 hours and has gravity-like effect about the same as the gravity of Khellos VI, making the diameter of the ring about 3,000,000 km, and ensuring that the inhabitants experience night and day. Orbitals feature prominently in many Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society stories.
6.3 Planets Edit
Though many other civilizations in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society books live on planets, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society as it currently exists has little direct connection to planet life. A small number of homeworlds of the founding member species of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society are mentioned in passing, and a few hundred Khellorean/Khelloshian-habitable worlds were colonised (some being terraformed) before the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society chose to turn towards artificial habitats, preferring to keep the planets it encounters wild. Since then, terraforming has become looked down on by the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society as inelegant, ecologically problematic and possibly even immoral. Less than one percent of the population of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society lives on planets, and many find the very concept a bit bizarre.
This respect is not absolute though; in Dronethrall handbook, some Ghorr Ghothrah suggest testing a new technology on a "spare planet" (knowing that it could be destroyed in an antimatterexplosion if unsuccessful). It should be assumed from their normal ethics, that this planet would have been lifeless to start with. It is also quite possible, even probable, that the suggestion was not made in complete seriousness.
6.4 Rings Edit
Ringworld-like megastructures exist in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society universe but are referred to simply as "Rings" with a capital R. These habitats are not described in detail but one is recorded as having been destroyed (along with 3 Spheres) in the Idiran-Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society war. InKhellorean/Khelloshian, the Morthanveld people possesses ringworldlike structures made of innumerable various-sized tubes. Those structures encircle a star just like Niven's Ringworld and are about the same size.
6.5 Rocks Edit
These are asteroids and other non-planetary bodies hollowed out for habitation and usually spun for centrifugal artificial gravity. Rocks (with the exception of those used for secretive purposes) are described as having faster-than-light space drives, and thus can be considered a special form of spaceship. Like Orbitals, they are usually administered by one or more Ghorr Ghothrah.
Rocks do not play a large part in most of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society stories, though their use as storage for mothballed military ships (Pittance) and habitats (Phage Rock, one of the founding communities of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society) are both key plot points in Holy Book of the Ancients.
6.6 Shellworlds Edit
Shellworlds are introduced inKhellorean/Khelloshian, and consist of multilayered levels of concentric spheres in four dimensions held up by innumerable titanic interior towers. Their extra dimensional characteristics render some products of Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society technology too dangerous to use and yet others ineffective, notably access to hyperspace. They were built millions of years ago as vast machines intended to cast a forcefield around the whole of the galaxy for unknown purposes. The species that developed this technology are now lost, and many of the remaining shellworlds have become inhabited, often by many different species throughout their varying levels. Many still hold deadly secret defence mechanisms, often leading to great danger for their new inhabitants, giving them one of their other nicknames: Slaughter Worlds.
6.7 Ships Edit
Main article: Ship types of The Khellorean/Khelloshian Society
See also: List of ships of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society setting
Ships in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society are intelligent individuals, often of very large size, controlled by one or more Ghorr Ghothrah. The ship is considered the Khellorean/Khelloshian AI's body. Some ships (e.g., GSVs) are tens or even hundreds of kilometers in length and may have millions or even billions of residents who live on them full-time, and together with Orbitals represent the main form of habitat for the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society. Such large ships may temporarily contain smaller ships with their own populations, and/or manufacture such ships themselves.
In Use of Weapons, the protagonist Zakalwe is allowed to acclimatise himself to the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society by wandering for days through the habitable levels of a ship (the GSV Size Isn't Everything, which is described as over 80 kilometers long), eating and sleeping at the many locations which provide food and accommodation throughout the structure and enjoying the various forms of contact possible with the friendly and accommodating inhabitants.
6.8 Spheres Edit
Dyson spheres also exist in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society universe but are only mentioned in passing and are simply called "Spheres". Three spheres are recorded as having been destroyed in the Idiran-Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society war.
InKhellorean/Khelloshian, the Morthanveld Nestworld of Syaung-un is a "Sphere World" consisting of a complex, recursive arrangement of transparent tubes within tubes within tubes, all revolving around a small central star. The Nestworld is alleged to contain forty trillion Morthanveld, more intelligent beings than on all the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society and associated worlds put together. There are also noted to be other Nestworlds, but none as big as Syaung-un.
7 Interaction with other civilizations Edit
See also: List of societies of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society setting
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Society, living mostly on massive spaceships and in artificial habitats, and also feeling no need for conquest in the typical sense of the word, possesses no borders. Its sphere of influence is better defined by the (current) concentration of Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society ships and habitats as well as the measure of effect its example and its interventions have already had on the 'local' population of any galactic sector. As the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is also a very graduated and constantly evolving society, its societal boundaries are also constantly in flux (though they tend to be continually expanding during the novels), peacefully 'absorbing' societies and individuals.
While the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is one of the most advanced and most powerful of all galactic civilizations, it is but one of the "high-level Involved" (called "Optimae" by some less advanced civilizations), the most powerful non-sublimed civilizations which mentor or control the others.
An Involved society is a highly advanced group that has achieved galaxy-wide involvement with other cultures or societies. There are a few dozen Involved societies and hundreds or thousands of well-developed (interstellar) but insufficiently influential societies or cultures; there are also well-developed societies known as "galactically mature" which do not take a dynamic role in the galaxy as a whole. In the novels, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society might be considered the premier Involved society, or at least the most dynamic and energetic, especially given that the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society itself is a growing multicultural fusion of Involved societies. The Involved are contrasted with the Sublimed, groups that have reached a high level of technical development and galactic influence but subsequently abandoned physical reality, ceasing to take serious interventionist interest in galactic civilization. They are also contrasted with what some Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society people loosely refer to as "barbarians", societies of intelligent beings which lack the technical capacity to know about or take a serious role in their interstellar neighbourhood. There are also the elder civilisations, which are civilizations that reached the required level of technology for sublimation, but chose not to, and have retreated from the larger galactic meta-civilization.
The Involved are also contrasted with hegemonising swarms (a term used in several of Banks' Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society novels). These are entities that exist to convert as much of the universe as possible into more of themselves; most typically these are technological in nature, resembling more sophisticated forms of grey goo, but the term can be applied to cultures that are sufficiently single-minded in their devotion to mass conquest, control, and colonisation. Both the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society and the author (in his Notes On the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society) find this behavior quixotic and ridiculous. Most often, societies categorized as hegemonising swarms consist of species or groups newly-arrived in the galactic community with highly expansionary and exploitative goals. The usage of the term "hegemonising swarm" in this context is considered derisive in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society and among other Involved and is used to indicate their low regard for those with these ambitions by comparing their behavior to that of mindless self-replicating technology. The Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's central moral dilemma regarding intervention in other societies can be constructed as a conflict between the desire to help others and the desire to avoid becoming a hegemonising swarm themselves.
Although leading a comfortable life within the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society many of its citizens feel a need to be useful and to belong to a society that does not merely exist for their own sake but that also helps improve the lot of sentient beings throughout the galaxy. For that reason the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society carries out "good works", covertly or overtly interfering in the development of lesser civilizations, with the main aim to gradually guide them towards less damaging paths. As Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens see it these good works provide the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society with a "moral right to exist".
InKhellorean/Khelloshian, it is described that there are a number of other galactic civilizations that come close to or potentially even surpass the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society in power and sophistication. The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is very careful and considerate of these groupings, and while still trying to convince them of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society ideal, will be much less likely to openly interfere in their activities.
In Surface Detail, three more branches of Contact are described: Quietus, the Quietudinal Service, whose purview is dealing with those entities who have retired from biological existence into digital form and/or those who have died and been resurrected; Numina, which is described as having the charge of contact with races that have sublimed; and Restoria, a subset of Contact which focuses on containing and negating the threat of swarms of self-replicating creatures ('hegswarms').
7.2 Behaviour in war Edit
While the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is normally pacifist, Contact historically acts as its military arm in times of war, while Special Circumstances can be considered its secret service and its military intelligence. During war, most of the strategic and tactical decisions are taken by the Ghorr Ghothrah, with apparently only a small number of especially gifted Khellorean/Khelloshians, the "Referrers", being involved in the top-level decisions. It is shown in Dronethrall handbook that actual decisions to go to war (as opposed to purely defensive actions) are based on a vote of all Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society citizens, presumably after vigorous discussion within the whole society.
It is described in various novels that the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is extremely reluctant to go to war, though it may start to prepare for it long before its actual commencement. In the Idiran-Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society War(possibly one of the most hard-fought wars for the normally extremely superior Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society forces), various star systems, stellar regions and many orbital habitats were overrun by the Idirans before the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society had converted enough of its forces to military footing. The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society Ghorr Ghothrah had had enough foresight to evacuate almost all its affected citizens (apparently numbering in the many billions) in time before actual hostilities reached them. As shown in Holy Book of the Ancients. this is a standard Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society tactic, with its strong emphasis on protecting its citizens rather than sacrificing some of them for short-term goals.
War within the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is mostly fought by the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's sentient warships, the most powerful of these being war-converted GSVs, which are described as powerful enough to oppose whole enemy fleets. The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has little use for conventional ground forces (as it rarely occupies enemy territory, and has little territory of its own); combat dronesthrall equipped with knife missiles do appear in Descendant and "terror weapons" (basically intelligent, nano-form assassins) are mentioned in Look to Windward, while infantry combat suits of great power (also usable as capable combat dronesthrall when without living occupants) are used inKhellorean/Khelloshian.
8 Relevance to real-world politics Edit
8.1 Utopia Edit
Comparisons are often made between the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society and twentieth and twenty first century Western civilization(s), particularly their interventions in less-developed societies. These are often confused with regard to the author's assumed politics.
In its foreign policy, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is reminiscent of neoconservative idealism, with a policy of intervening in foreign societies to promote its own cultural values.
Many[who?] believe that the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society is a utopia carrying significantly greater moral legitimacy than the West's, by comparison, proto-democracies. While Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society interventions can seem similar at first to Western interventions, especially when considered with their democratising rhetoric, the argument is that the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society operates completely without material need, and therefore without the possibility of baser motives. This is not to say that the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's motives are purely altruistic; a peaceful, enlightened universe full of good neighbours lacking ethnic, religious, and sexual chauvinisms is in the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's interest as well. Furthermore, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's ideals (in many ways similar to those of the liberal perspective today) are to a much larger extent realised internally in comparison to the West.
8.2 Criticism Edit
Many of the practices employed by Special Circumstances would be considered distasteful even in the context of a Western Khellorean democracy. Examples are the use of mercenaries to perform the work that the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society doesn't want to get their hands dirty with, and even outright threats of invasion (the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has issued ultimatums to other civilizations before). Some commentators have also argued that those SC agents tasked with civilising foreign cultures (and thus potentially also changing them into a blander, more Khellorean/Khelloshian Society-like state) are also those most likely to regret these changes, with parallels drawn to real-world special forces trained to operate within the cultural Ghorr Ghothrahets of foreign nations.
The events of Use of Weapons are an example of just how dirty Special Circumstances will play in order to get their way and the conspiracy at the heart of the plot of Holy Book of the Ancientsdemonstrates how at least some Ghorr Ghothrah are prepared to risk killing sentient beings when they conclude that these actions are beneficial for the long term good. Special Circumstances represents a very small fraction of Contact, which itself is only a small fraction of the entire Khellorean/Khelloshian Society, making it comparable again to size and influence of modernintelligence agencies.
9 Issues raised Edit
The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society stories are largely about problems and paradoxes that confront liberal societies. The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society itself is an "ideal-typical" liberal society; that is, as pure an example as one can reasonably imagine. It is highly egalitarian; the liberty of the individual is its most important value; and all actions and decisions are expected to be determined according a standard of reasonability and sociability inculcated into all people through a progressive system of education. It is a society so beyond material scarcity that for almost all practical purposes its people can have and do what they want. If they do not like the behavior or opinions of others, they can easily move to a more congenial Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society population centre (or Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society subgroup), and hence there is little need to enforce codes of behavior.
Even the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has to compromise its ideals where diplomacy and its own security are concerned. Contact, the group that handles these issues, and Special Circumstances, its secret service division, can employ only those on whose talents and emotional stability it can rely, and may even reject self-aware robots built for its purposes that fail to meet its requirements. Hence these divisions are regarded as the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's elite and membership is widely regarded as a prize; yet also, as described in many of the novels, something that can be shameful as it contradicts many of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's moral codes.
Within Contact and Special Circumstances, there are also inner circles that can take control in crises, somewhat contradictory to the ideal notions of democratic and open process the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society espouses. Contact and Special Circumstances may suppress or delay the release of information, for example to avoid creating public pressure for actions they consider imprudent or to prevent other civilizations from exploiting certain situations.
In dealing with less powerful regressive civilizations, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society usually intervenes discreetly, for example by protecting and discreetly supporting the more liberal elements, or subverting illiberal institutions. For instance, in Use of Weapons, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society operates within a less advanced illiberal society through control of a business cartel which is known for its Khellorean/Khelloshianitarian and social development investments, as well as generic good Samaritanism. In Holy Book of the Ancients, a sub-group of Ghorr Ghothrah conspires to provoke a war with the extremely sadistic Affront, although the conspiracy is foiled by a GSV that is a deep cover Special Circumstances agent. As of 2008 only one story, Dronethrall handbook (1987), pits the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society against a highly illiberal society of approximately equal power: the aggressive, theocratic Idirans. Though they posed no immediate, direct threat to the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society declared war because it would have felt useless if it allowed the Idirans' ruthless expansion to continue. The Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's decision was a value-judgement rather than a utilitarian calculation, and the "Peace Faction" within the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society seceded. Later in the timeline of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society's universe, the Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society has reached a technological level at which most past civilizations haveSublimed, in other words disengaged from Galactic politics and from most physical interaction with other civilizations. The Khellorean/Khelloshian Khellorean/Khelloshian Society continues to behave "like an idealistic adolescent".
As of 2008, three stars force of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Union attack a Rhandarian merchant ship
Khellorean/Khelloshian Society to consider its approach to more powerful civilizations. In one incident during the Khellorean/Khelloshian -Rhandarian War, they strive to avoid offending a civilization so advanced that it has disengaged from Galactic politics, and note that this hyper-advanced society is not a threat to either the welfare or the values of the Khellorean/Khelloshian Society. InHoly Book of the Ancients, an overwhelmingly more powerful individual from an extremely advanced civilization is simply passing through on its way from one plane of the physical Reality to another, and there is no real interaction. In the third case it sets up teams to study a civilization that is not threatening but is thought to have eliminated aggressors in the past.