Saturday, June 11, 2005

A few notes on the Extended Kingdom

So, as I've completely failed to get more than two paragraphs into part two of the Thousandth Son, I've instead compiled a few sort of background notes describing how things are in the society, what the legal systems are, tech levels etc. Here it is

A few notes on the Extended Kingdom
The Extended Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy ruling over a small group of close by star systems. The ruling family has reigned for a thousand consecutive generations, with no major disruptions in the succession. Interstellar travel is practical but not convenient, travel between systems in the kingdom is comparable to traveling between parts of the British empire in the late eighteenth-early 19th century, a major undertaking not to be done lightly, and usually a long term move. Top speed is maybe ten to twenty times the speed of light.

The government is a constitutional monarchy, again, a lot like England. A major difference is that the monarch has a lot more ability to influence policy, and openly does so. This is done so with consultation with the people, and in the spirit of doing what is best for the kingdom as a whole. In general this is a setting of general policy, with actual implementation being the responsibility of the elected representatives.

The representative part of the government is bi-cameral. One house is directly elected representatives, much like the house of representing in the Australian parliament. The upper house is two-thirds the size of the lower house, and is elected by the whole population in a proportional representation system. There are three or four major parties, and a number of smaller ones. It is rare for any two parties combined to be able to control both houses, and usually a convoluted minority government is in power.

Society is generally pretty ok. Suffrage is universal, discrimination pretty much non-existent.

The history of the Kingdom is a long and convoluted one. Starting from little more than the city state conquered by Brilthang, it grew first through military conquest, then through economic and political maneuvering. By the time the Kingdom started exploring space, it was a centralized world government. As first their system, and then other systems were colonized, the new colonies were integrated into the Kingdom as semi-autonomic entities. Local matters are dealt with locally, but within the overall legislative whole. Regional governments are responsible for the provision of services. The parliament for the whole kingdom establishes a general legislative framework, while regional governments enforce and administer the law.

There is some contact with other species, although this is infrequent and very limited. Most other contacted civilizations are socially similar, but all have directly elected heads of state, making the Kingdom somewhat of an anomaly in the local region.

Genetic technology is still limited in what can be achieved, but what there is is common place. Most major hereditary problems have been removed from the population by means of prenatal screening. There have been a few attempts to do more, but these have generally not been successful and are looked down upon by most of the population.

Anyway, that's what I've got for now. I'm still going to work on part 2, but it may take longer than I thought.

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