a survey of
ooranye

The material on this page will initially consist of contents transferred from the old website www.ooranye.com, which I am phasing out.  But that probably won't be all: as time goes on it's likely that further additions will show up here.

introduction - physical planetography - flora and fauna - intelligent life

introduction

Ooranye: a world of ancient civilizations, both human and non-human; of epic voyages, wonder and adventure; a world with its own distinctive dreams, ideals, philosophies and institutions; its own ecologies and multifarious forms of life...

Uranus was its former name, given it by the people of Earth.  The adjective "Uranian" is still in use, but the noun fell into disuse on the day of the mysterious so-called Fostering.  On that fateful Tenth of July, A.D. 3564, action carried out by Terran reality engineers caused the planet's truest nature to surface in our continuum: whereupon Uranus was rightly revealed not as a lifeless gas-giant but as the solid, inhabited world named by its natives Ooranye.

This "surfacing" was retrospective: once it had happened, it had always been.

(For the background to this event, see "Uranian Thule", in Vintage Worlds (2018), ed. John Michael Greer and Zendexor.) 

And because of the retrospective effect of the Fostering, we may truly say that civilization on Ooranye predates that of Earth by approximately 1,200,000 Terran years.

physical planetography

size and area

Ooranye is 25,011 miles in diameter.  This is not quite as big as what used to be called Uranus; the Fostering resulted in some shrinkage as the planet's former gaseous nature was upgraded to its truer, more solid identity.  But a reduction in diameter from 31,764 to 25,011 miles still leaves us with a colossal world.  Ooranye's surface area, which is mostly land, is 1,965,223,665 square miles, about ten times the surface area of Earth, and over thirty times the land area of Earth.

Ooranye is a perfect sphere; unlike the Earth, of which the polar diameter is 27 miles less than the equatorial.

Despite being one of the distant outer planets, Ooranye has an axial rotation that appears to be tidally locked, so that its solar day and solar year are the same.  Terran scientists remain puzzled as to why this is.  Perhaps tidal drag is not the cause; we know very little about the history of Ooranye's previous Great Cycles, i.e. before the start of era 1 of the present Cycle, 1,200,000 Terran years ago, and we have to allow the possibility that the present set-up was artificially created by some super-civilization of the distant past.

day and night

Ooranye's solar day is not much use; firstly because it is so long - 84 Terran years, which amounts to a lifetime - and secondly because in any case the Sun only gives the seventh planet about 1/400th of the light it gives Earth.

Therefore, the term "day" on Ooranye is not employed in the astronomical sense.

Instead, it denotes the thirty-hour cycle of the brightening and darkening of the air.  This is caused by the periodic brightening and dimming of aerial micr-organisms, called the throom.

The throom, be it noted, not only pervade the Uranian atmosphere, but are also present in the tissues of much of the planet's plant-life.

The bio-generated pulsation of light and dark keeps the same simultaneous time at every longitude, which means that all Uranian clocks are synchronized, and, because it is the same hour over the entire globe, there can never be any need for "time zones" on that fortunate planet.

An account will be given in Timekeeping of how the Uranian day is divided and its divisions named.

the two hemispheres of ooranye

As is natural for a world which has one side always facing the Sun, Ooranye's significant hemispheres are held to be, not the northern and the southern, but the Sun-facing and the other - or, as the Uranians call them, Sunside and Starside.

The Sunward polar city, Skyyon, is the cultural centre of Syoom, an area coterminous with the main bloc of Uranian civilization.  Antipodeal to Skyyon is the Starside polar region, the mysterious, legendary land of Arclour.  (For the momentous expedition to Arclour which inaugurated the Final Era, see Uranian Thule.)

the interior of ooranye

The planet's ice mantle extends most of the way down to the core.  The core itself, and many moon-sized globules within the mantle, consist of denser mass-concentrations ("mascons").  These can be of degenerate matter - as abnormally dense as that found in white dwarf stars, only cold; or of the pre-universe non-particulate matter called kolv; or of gvo, which is a compound of kolv and particulate matter.  Occasionally, with the slow convection of aeons, a mascon may find its way to the surface and emerge as the tip of a globular mountain.  One of these, the so-called "Sun-Egg", played a key part in history (see the chapter on the Lithium Era in Uranian Gleams).  At a much later period, the Bismuth Era, there was a vogue for exploring the density-globes by diving down into the mantle itself, by means of a form of travel that employed molecular interpenetration.  (See "The Mascon Expeditions, ibid.)

the plains and the mountains

The characteristic Uranian landscape is that of an immense plain.  That sense of awe and mystery which on Earth is aroused by its oceans, on Ooranye is aroused by the solid world-ocean, the endless ice-plain.

The ice, however, usually does not appear on the surface, which is generally covered by a layer (a yard deep at most) of a semi-organic granular substance, known as gralm.

Although plants can grow in it, gralm has nothing in common with Earthly loam, either in texture or in appearance.  Gralm is corky, slightly springy to walk upon, and of varied cold colours - greys, blues, purples and browns.

Perhaps two per cent of the plains are covered with isolated forests, and in addition to the forests there are innumerable solitary groves, some of them formed by deadly narps, the long-lived weeds with laser-tipped stems, who can live for millions of days on the metal carcass of one downed skimmer.

Other breaks in the world-embracing plain are formed by "islands" of hilly or mountainous territory, and some huge chasms.  The Mountains of Flame beyond the city of Pjourth cover thirty million square miles and include peaks twice as high as Everest.

The greatest physical mark made by man to the topography of the plains consists of the mighty monorail network built in the Zinc Era.  Around 150,000 miles of track were laid down, upon embankments seven yards high.

Finally we may note the rare "seas", actually giant lakes, whose slow-motion waves have been known to conceal submarine monsters and - on one occasion - monster submarines.

Environmental change

The giant planet Ooranye is much less vulnerable than is the comparatively fragile Mother Earth.  Ooranye can look after itself; hence there has never been any need for Uranian "environmentalism": that pest Mankind cannot damage the seventh planet in the way that he has damaged the third.  Uranian humanity ("Nennkind") flourishes up to a point, but is never in any danger of dominating the colossal, dim, mysterious world, of which the physical challenges are too great to master, and which besides has to be shared with intelligent powers greater than he.

Nature herself is less prone to violent change on Ooranye than she is on Earth.  Apart from the slow convection which occasionally brings a mascon to the surface, the giant planet is mostly quiescent.  The "cold volcanoes" of Jersh pour forth liquid water rather than lava, and even those low-key eruptions are mostly delayed consequences of the events which ended the Bismuth Era.

However, that last point must count as an admission that in certain exceptional cases humans have had a discernible - though never irreversible - effect on the Uranian environment.

We refer the reader to page 94 of the History in Uranian Gleams for the crime of Nehal Fozdak, who incited mascon life-forms to damage the world's surface with their ultra-dense bodies.  And we must mention two other exceptions to the generally stable picture of the relations between world and man; both of these events are also covered in the History..

The first of these disasters was the Great Winter of the Titanium Era, which covered most of the civilized world in snow.  The second disaster was the "Foam" - the popcorn-like expansion of the gralm in the Lanthanum Era, which, even more deeply than the snow had done, covered the main cities of Syoom.  The Great Winder was retaliation by Fyayman powers for Nalre Zitpoidl's act of murder.  As to the Foam, we understand the physical mechanism involved but we do not know why it occurred when it did, and the possibility remains that human action was a contributary cause.

flora and fauna

the flora of ooranye

Not quite so rich in species as is Earth, Ooranye can nevertheless boast an impressive flora, especially when one considers its distance from the Sun.  Many of the forests which clothe two per cent of the plains consist of trees 150 or even 200 yards high, of varied species and shades of blue and green.  Some other areas of plain and hilly country are covered with scrub and/or moss. 

the narps

These are perhaps the most dangerous plants on the planet.  They can live for millions of days, and seem, for most of that time, motionless; when, however, a wayfarer skims unwisely close, the narp's laser-tipped stem can aim and fire, so that during the next few tens of thousands of days the plant gathers in the wreckage with sweeps of its leaves, to ingest it in its acid-oozing core.

the katora

The rare katora groves have sometimes been regarded as sacred to the World-Spirit.  In actual fact the intelligence haunting them is purely that of the katora themselves.  Spiky, like Terran hawthorns, they are apt to tremble sometimes when the wind is not blowing.  It is believed that during this Great Cycle they are, and will remain, in a kind of trance.  Hardly anything is known of them, but this lack of knowledge is combined with a conviction that when one stands in a katora grove one is in the presence of a secretive, telepathic intelligence.  And as a light-ray may bounce off an inert mirror, so it has happened that a vital fact has been transmitted, passively, by the katora.

the vheic

These are the glowing ell-light plants, the fuel or energy plants, which are cultivated in the fields around the cities of Syoom.

Their natural glow normally pulses in a thirty-hour cycle, following the rhythm of the throom.  Brightening the cities' surrounding zones with golden territory, the vheic are harvested in rotation and compressed into fuel for vehicles and for static machinery of every type.  Furthermore, vheic-phials provide backing for the currency system.  Without the vheic, Uranian civilization would grind to a halt.

Up until era 7, vheic could only be used in its uncompressed form, as a relatively inefficient fuel, or for lighting.  Successful experiments in the use of compressed ell-light for power were first carried out in era 7, the Nitrogen Era.  The phials - a kind of standard fuel-cell - came into widespread use in era 10, the Neon Era.

A historical note regarding fields of vheic: in most eras they have glowed a rich gold (there is also a less widespread blue variety).  But in the Praesodymium Era, Era 59, they glowed an especially beautiful wan orange, a beauty which signalled decline, because after the disaster of the Foam the weakened plants emitted at longer wavelengths.  (In parallel with this change, human society henceforth displayed the social distinction between foregrounders and backgrounders - as if Fate in its own mode were reflecting an exhausted ecology.)

the fauna of ooranye

The tenet "Form follows function" does not always apply to Uranian life-forms.  Although many of the characteristics of Ooranye's fauna can be understood by reference to evolutionary processes and environmental needs, such analysis breaks down when one attempts to understand a crystallized nightmare such as the lathokna.  This is a major difference between Ooranye and Earth.  It may be due, at least in part, to the fact that some so-called animals on Ooranye are degenerations from what were intelligent species in previous Great Cycles.

Being thus harder to study and analyze, Uranian fauna are less predictable than Terran.  This tends to make them more dangerous.  Another cause of danger to wayfaring man, is the length of some predators' metabolic cycles.  Creatures which can freeze in stasis for tens of thousands of days between meals, can be all the more ferocious when they awake.

(In the list below, the classification "fauna" in some cases is uncertain.   For example the eopc and the velng may belong in the category of Intelligent Life, and conversely the zicena may not be alive at all.)

the eopc

This is a giant bird, with a wing-span of up to seventy yards.  It is the largest known winged creature on Ooranye.  It does not eat or drink, and the mystery of whence it obtained its energy led the researchers of the Rin-Stazel to discover the dimension called Chelth.

the fdalm

This is a wedge-shaped burrowing creature which creates ice-caverns under the plains.  Its accordion-like plasticity enables it to insert itself into cracks in the ice and then to split them further.  Thus it enlarges its subsurface space.

the mareks

This strange animal has a purely accidental resemblance to a human head.  Its circle of thin legs support its cephaloform body, which, when the "cheeks" are puffed out, is ready to kill its prey with sound.

the mavos

A much larger relative of those aerial micro-organisms known as the throom, the mavos are wardrobe-sized and wardrobe-shaped, albeit fuzzy at the corners and light enough to drift on the wind.  (In the earlier, sessile rooted-vegetable stage of its life, the mavos is called a vrayn.)  Mavos avoid the presence of man, but nevertheless pose a danger, in that if left alone they will eventually block off huge areas of sky, crowding out the throom on which other living things depend for light.  This was a serious problem during the Lithium Era (see Uranian Gleams, pages 12-13) but since then mawos have become fewer and the airship-patrols which restrain their spread have become far less expensive to maintain.

the rebexa

A large, semi-intelligent bird with a long beak and yellow teeth.  Rbexaou vary in side from fifteen down to five feet tall.

the umbna-jorraynt

The "jorraynt" end is a plant, the "umbna" end is an animal, and they are joined by an organic cable.  The direction of energy flow along this cable depends on which component of this double organism happens to be contributing the most - whether it be the root system of the jorraynt, or the umbna's devouring of prey.  Usually the jorraynt provides for both ends during periods of stasis.  During brief orgies of meat-eating, the umbna repays.

The umbna may eventually snap the cable and live thereafter as an independent creature.

The umbna is a crablike monster the size of a Terran military tank.  The body-pattern, with its arrangement of arms and pincers, differs markedly from individual to individual, perhaps due to influence from the jorraynt - plants having more individual variation than animals.

the velng (singular: vellg)

This is the ant-like race which builds artificial mountains and has been known, especially in the Vanadium Era, to hold humans captive.

the zicena (singular: zice)

Possibly alive, though not organic, zicena are Ooranye's lowest and hardest clouds, accreting crystals from the winds they summon.  Zicena are crystal carpets formed from millions of inch-scale tetrahedra, floating at high speed exactly five yards above the ground.  Fortunately rare, when they appear they pose a huge danger to transport on the plains.  Notoriously, in the Nemuran War, the surprise offensive was launched under cover of zicena.

intelligent life

the nenns

On Ooranye the human species which most resembles us is that of the Nenns.  Individually they would pass for Earth people as far as appearance is concerned, except that their skin is steel-grey.  Their lifespan is approximately the same as ours: on average one Uranian year, or 84 Earth years. 

However, in the mass, statistical differences soon become apparent.  Judging by our standards, we Earthlings have to admit that strength and good looks can realistically be taken for granted among the Nenns, as are their almost complete freedom from disease and from the uglier ravages of old age.

Perhaps from our point of view the most startling thing about the Nenns is their absolute certainty of limited reincarnation.  A Nenn knows that nen has two or three lives.  Never more than that; but that much is guaranteed.  The lives of an individual are almost always widely separated in time.  During the second life (hardly anyone has yet attained a third) the first life is remembered, in a manner dreamlike and somewhat hazy like an old blurry photograph, but nevertheless in a mode which imparts real information.

The next most startling aspect of Nenn nature is its lack of meanness and vulgarity.  Nenns can do evil, but they are free from Terran-style grossness, pettiness, perversion and pusillanimity.  There is apt to be a certain grandeur to Uranian villainy, when it occurs.  On the other hand, due to the differences in the way in which cause and effect operate on the two worlds, Uranians face some moral problems from which Terrans are free. 

We now provide, from the Nenn point of view, some notes on the human geography of Ooranye.

cities

It is believed that a majority of Nenns live in cities - though the rest, a considerable number, live in smaller settlements or isolated homes.

the disc-on-stem cities

The great cities - the ones that naturally come to mind when we think of the stories which come from that world - are the twenty-five mighty disc-on-stem structures which date from the Phosphorus Era.

Their like could not be built today: they were constructed using power looted from Chelth, another dimension, during a brief window of opportunity before the extradimensional tap was turned off by the indignant beings at the other end.

The stem and upheld floor of these cities are built of ultimate metal, called iedleis., which, immune to natural processes of decay, will last as long as the Universe. 

It needs to be remembered that there are some famous Uranian cities which are not of the disc-on-stem structure, and which instead rest upon the ground: for example Contahl in Syoom, and the settlements on Starside such as Poleva and Olhoav, and Yalar and Nii in "the other Syoom".  Dmara, beside the dried-up lake where Nennkind began, is a town rather than a city.  These are all hugely important.  Nevertheless, no urban spectacle can equal the stupendous sight which a classic disc-on-stem city presents to the Wayfarer who approaches it from the plain.

"A huge tray piled high with lights and held aloft by a stem" - the tray being a circle miles in width and the concave stem at least fifty yards high - the ensemble perpetually coruscates as skimmers rise and fall in double filigrees of aerial traffic-lanes, entering and exiting via the three ayashou (air-streams) spaced at 120-degree intervals around the city's rim.

The 25 disc-on-stem cities are:

Ao

One of the greatest cities.  Together with Vyanth and Skyyon, it formed the "Great Triangle" alliance which, during the Osmium Era, patrolled the lands between them, giving an outstanding period of peace and prosperity to this sizeable patch of Syoom.

One hundred million days before the Great Triangle, Ao had played a different role, a lone role, unique in history.  Era 54, the Xenon Era, is known as the time of the Last Great Hive.  For over one and a half million days it was the most successful of hive-minds.  It managed to combine the freedom of the individual with the group consciousness of a sentient city, to a degree that was never achieved before or since.

Ao is one of five cities which can trace its name, though not its physical identity, back to a settlement in the Hydrogen Era which existed close to its modern site.

Some narrative featuring the city is to be found in Confluence at Ao.

Distances from Ao to some other cities, in miles:  Contahl, 7,787; Dmara, 4,260; Hoog, 5,724; Innb, 3,967; Jaax, 2,396; Pjourth, 7,321; Skyyon, 5,723; Soolm, 5,697; Vyanth, 6,056. 

Grard

Grard is the odd one out among the 25 disc-on-stem cities.  It was built like the rest of them in the Phosphorus Era, but in a later part of the era than they.

Grard was the native city of the nameless master criminal known only as the Grardesh Sponndar, the great opponent of detective Restiprak Zentonan (the "Sherlock Holmes of Ooranye") in the Tantalum Era.

Distances from Grard to some other cities in miles:  Ao, 9318; Innb, 6809; Nusun, 15,041; Olhoav, 11,248; Vyanth, 13,058.

Grard is fairly isolated geographically.  There have been periods in which its reality has been forgotten by the rest of Syoom, so that it has been known as a mere legend.

Hoog

During the latter part of the Phosphorus Era, a notoriously explicit hive-mind arose for a while in Hoog.  Hive minds - the group-consciousness of cities - had been widespread and successful in that era, but their success depended on the people not being fully conscious of them.  In Hoog, something went wrong: the group-mind became known to its constituent individuals, who reacted in horror.  Hoog's example was an influence on the later attempted treason of the Vyanthan, Mulvu Xy (see "The Shears of Night" in Uranian Gleams).

Some of the greatest adventurers of the swashbuckling Vanadium Era came from Hoog.

Hoog can trace its name, though not its physical identity, back to the Hydrogen Era settlement which existed close to the modern site.  Only Innb, Ao, Nuvium and Pjourth can boast similar antiquity.

Distances from Hoog to some other cities, in miles:  Ao, 5,724; Dmara, 3,774; Innb, 6,522; Jador, 1,664; Skyyon, 5,165; Toolv, 4,792; Vyanth, 9,983.

Ierax

Ierax (pronounced eye-racks) figures largely in the history of the Nemyuran War. 

Distances from Ierax to some other places, in miles: Juxxt, 2,596; Lysyon, 1,064; Nemyurur, 2,396; Skyyon, 8,253; Tva, 2,183; Yaz, 375.

Innb

Innb can trace its name, though not its physical identity, to a Hydrogen Era settlement close to the modern site.

Distances from Innb to some other places, in miles: Ao, 3,967; Dmara, 2,928; Grard, 6,809; Hoog, 6,522; Jaax, 6,389; Pjourth, 4,180; Vyanth, 9,930.

Invun

The Bards of Ooranye have not yet told us much about Invun.

Distances from Invun to some other places, in miles: Linnt, 1,557; Nemyurur, 1,552; Skyyon, 4,925; Vlamanor, 1,633; Vyanth, 5,231.

Jaax

The Bards of Ooranye have not yet told us much about Jaax.

Distances from Jaax to some other places, in miles: Ao, 2,396; Contahl, 7,720; Skyyon, 3,993; Soolm, 5,324; Vyanth, 3,960.

Linnt

The Bards of Ooranye have not yet told us much about Linnt.

Distances from Linnt to some other places, in miles:  Ierax, 2,928; Invun, 1,557; Nemyurur, 819; Tva, 1,278; Vlamanor, 2,429; Yoon, 4,260.

Lysyon

Lysyon was the birthplace of the youngest-ever Sunnoad, Unnd Dunaiv 80522, and of his half-brother Vyam Alorn, both heroes of the Nemyuran War.

The Square of Waves in Lysyon is a famous sight.

Distances from Lysyon to some other places, in miles:  Ierax 1,064; Juxxt 1,697; Linnt 3,527; Nemyurur 3,221; Skyyon 8,252; Tva 2,395; Yaz 937.

Narar

In more than one era, Narar has been notorious for tyranny.  Several instances occurred in the Vanadium Era, and as late as the Actinium Era there was the reign of the evil Tyoar Ixx.

Distances from Narar to some other places, in miles:  Hoog, 7,767; Jador, 5990; Oso, 2,662; Skyyon, 7,953; Yoon, 4,791.

Nemyurur

Nemyurur was the headquarters of the irrational "Creed of the Destined Life Force" during the latter part of the reign of Sunnoad Miokk Monray 80521 and the early days of Sunnoad Unnd Dunaiv 80522.  This was the time of the Nemyuran War, when the city challenged the rest of Syoom.

Distances from Nemyurur to some other places, in miles:  Ierax 2,396; Invun 1,552; Linnt 819; Lysyon 3,221; Skyyon 6,189; Tva 1,597; Vlamanor 2,869.

Nuvium

Nuvium can trace its name, though not its physical identity, back to a Hydrogen Era settlement which existed close to the modern site.

The area under Nuvium's sway is called the Konteng of Nuvium.

Distances from Nuvium to some other places, in miles:  Dmara 4,060; Hoog 5,324;
Jador 6,449; Pjourth 2,130; Toolv 4,859; Yoad 413.

Oso

Oso was the "Mad City" of the 245-day Tin Era.  The trouble was caused by a Ghepion, evolved in the vaults from the city's administrative computers.  Its war against the rest of Syoom ended in defeat, but dire longer-term consequences stemmed from the resulting disturbance in the planetary unconscious, taking the form of distortions in the gralm, leading to the phenomenon of the Foam. (See pages 58-64 of Uranian Gleams.)

Another of Oso's claims to fame is that it was the birthplace of the controversial Sunnoad Nalre Zitpoidl 4854 (see pages 38-44 of Uranian Gleams).

Oso is also the scene of much of The Rash Down-Payment.

Distances from Oso to some other cities in miles:  Jador 5,032; Narar 2,662; Skyyon 8,765; Toolv 4,260; Yoon 7,164.

Pjourth

Pjourth is close to the Mountains of Flame.

Pjourth is one of only five cities which can trace their name, though not their physical identity, back to a Hydrogen Era settlement which existed close to the modern site.  (The other four are Ao, Hoog, Innb and Nuvium.)

Distances from Pjourth to some other places, in miles:  Dmara 3,235; Grard 9,038;
Hoog 6,020; Innb 4,180; Jador 7,454; Nuvium 2,130; Skyyon 10,648; Toolv 6,855.

Skyyon

Skyyon is the Sunward Polar City.  There, the Sun is always at the zenith.

The place is exceptionally full of history.  Until the fall of Tu Rim 78860, Sunnoads had their official residence in the flame-shaped palace called the Zairm.  Inside it is Zdinth Hall, now called Norkoten Hall, scene of the Rhenium Moment (see Uranian Gleams, page 80).  The tip of the Zairm reaches 1.6 miles above the plain, which makes Skyyon the tallest city in Syoom, its summit visible from 200 miles away.

The Zairm is still at the Sunnoad's disposal, except that ever since Tu Rim's reign nen is not allowed to sleep there.

Structurally, Skyyon is unique among the disc-on-stem cities of Ooranye, in that its iedleis stem supports not one but two discs, the lower with a diameter of about 4 miles (altitude a quarter of a mile), the upper with a diameter of 2 miles (altitude three quarters of a mile).

Parts of The Forgetters and Greenery, in Uranian Gleams, are set in Skyyon.

Together with Ao and Vyanth, Skyyon forms the patrol area known as the Triangle.

Skyyon stands in the region of Ammye.  Closely surrounding the city are some hills of rockfoam, a pumicelike substance not to be confused with the gralmy Foam which buried the city during the disastrous Era 57.

Distances from Skyyon to some other places, in miles:  Ao 5,723; Dmara 7,521;
Grard 14,908; Hoog 5,165; Jaax 3,993; Jador 5,045; Juxxt 8,319; Pjourth 10,648;
Vlamanor 3,327; Vyanth 5,990; Yoon 6,149.

Toolv

Toolv's constitution is unique.  The city has a Noad, as is normal, but there is no equivalent anywhere else in Syoom to the "Four Hundred Lords" of Toolv.

Distances from Toolv to some other places, in miles:  Hoog 4,792; Jador 4,339; Narar 6,789; Nuvium, 4,859; Oso 4,260; Skyyon 9,317.

Tva

The Uranian Bards have not yet told us much about Tva.

Distances from Tva to some other places, in miles:  Ierax 2,183; Juxxt 2,396; Linnt 1,278;
Lysyon 2,395; Nemyurur 1,597; Skyyon 6,323.

Vlamanor

Famous sites in Vlamanor include:

     - the Ezem, the slowly circling avenue half way between the circumference and the hub;

     - the Embers: a zoalsh (hotel and restaurant) with a centrepiece glowing with real coal.
        (At least, when the management can obtain it.  Coal is to be found in a few, rare
         sites in Fyaym.)

Vlamanor figures in The Open Secret, which is one of the tales in Uranian Gleams, and also in The Non-Dummy Run.

Distances from Vlamanor to some other places, in miles:  Ao 7,961; Invun 1,633; Jaax 5,690; Juxxt, 5,990; Linnt 2,429; Nemyurur 2,869; Skyyon 3,327; Vyanth, 4,991; Yoon, 5,124.

Vyanth

The largest, and perhaps the most glamorous, of the disc-on-stem cities, Vyanth is the only one of them to have preserved its independence without a break, being unconquered through all the ages since its construction.

Diameter of the disc: 5 miles.

Height of disc above surrounding plain: 200 yards.

Population (in Actinium Era):  3 million on the disc itself, and 7 million in the flaon-scrorr, the surrounding agricultural contado, which (again in the Actinium Era) had a radius of about 130 miles.

The wider region in which Vyanth and its territory stands is called Maelv.

Vyanth, together with Skyyon and Ao, forms the Great Triangle patrol-area.

A well-known sight in Vyanth is the Palace of Justice, 2 miles down the avenue Radial 3.  Inside the Palace are the famous elliptically-orbital appointment-flows, while outside are the Clears, where trials are displayed on public screens, as described in The Shears of Night (see Uranian Gleams).  In the same tale we find a reference to Kioll Octagon, where strange judgements were issued in the last days of Era 15.

In another of the Gleams, The Forgetters, we learn that the great Taldis Norkoten and his wife Athness Keprella lived in Vyanth.  The pedestalled globe where they lived is a tourist attraction.

At the end of the Vanadium Era a Noad of Vyanth, Valim Poand, was instrumental in the abolition of slavery - an institution which had crept into existence during the last fifth of that immense Era.

Distances from Vyanth to some other places, in miles:  Ao 6,056; Contahl 6,589; Hoog 9,983;
Innb 9,930; Invun 5,231; Jaax 3,960; Lysyon 9,757; Olhoav 18,302; Skyyon 5,990;
Soolm 4,525; Vlamanor 4,991; Xydur 753.

Xydur

The Bards of Ooranye have not yet told us much about Xydur.

Distances from Xydur to some other places, in miles:  Invun 4,526; Nemyurur 5,989;
Skyyon 5,724; Vyanth 753.

Yaz

Sobriquet "The Jokers' City" - because it is the focus of an entertainments industry, of a sort.

Distances from Yaz to some other places, in miles:  Ierax 375; Lysyon 937; Karth 18,888; Skyyon 8,652; Tva 2,529.

Yoad

The Bards of Ooranye have not yet told us much about Yoad.

Distances from Yoad to some other places, in miles:  Nuvium 413; Pjourth 2,130;
Skyyon 10,050; Toolv 4,679.

Yoon

The Bards of Ooranye have not yet told us much about Yoon.  However, we know it is in the region called Jersh, the land of "cold volcanoes".

Distances from Yoon to some other places, in miles:  Juxxt 3,727; Lysyon 5,124; Narar 4,791; Nemyurur 4,880; Skyyon 6,149; Tva 3,549; Vlamanor 5,124.

the cities of oirr

The cities of Oirr, in the region of the Sun-Egg and the Great Wall, are even older than the disc-on-stems, and, unlike the disc-on-stems, were built by means which could be reproduced today.  These Oirran cities - Arn, Vus, Soolm and the first and greatest of them, Contahl - look like semi-oval lattices standing up on end.  Their height exceeds that of all other cities except Skyyon.

freightshuttle exits, fleet remnants and the 'other syoom'

On Starside, in the depths of Fyaym, stand cities which grew around the now-defunct "freightshuttle exits" or matter-transmitter destinations, dating from the Phosphorus Era when the wealth and power of Syoom led its people to suppose that they might come near to mastering both hemispheres of the giant planet.  These are the cities of Deev, Karth, Koar, Nusun and Poleva.  They have managed to hang on to existence in their isolation, visited very occasionally when one of the Syoomean cities decides to undertake the enormous expense of temporarily re-activating the matter-transmitter network. See the fourth tale in Uranian Gleams, The Worm of Poleva.

Likewise lurking deep in Fyaym, but withouteven the tenuous contact with Syoom enjoyed by the freightshuttle exists, are the cities Yalar and Nii, which rule the "Other Syoom".

The Starside city of Olhoav seems to have originated in a settlement of marooned survivors from Fiarr Fosn's Grand Fleet, after its doomed attempt to conquer Fyaym.  For Olhoav see The Terran Heir, volume 1 of Uranian Throne.

allv, yr, vlonn and the dubious

Close to the Starward pole stands the fabled city of Allv.

Yr, "City of Mists", is Ooranye's unique flying city, often camouflaged so as to be invisible.  It has a dark reputation for piracy though it has also been known to engage in peaceful trade.

Vlonn, the "Rubble City", is not to be found on any map.  Its government can manipulate the space around it, to keep it hidden, though access to it is allowed at discretion.

Many of the settlements in the Mountains of Flame consist of volumes honeycombed with interconnected caverns; these may or may not amount to cities.  On the other hand other settlements are certainly mere villages, lying out in the open in valleys between the huge peaks.

the institutions of ooranye

the noadex and the dayonnad

Ooranye's typical political unit is the city-state.  The head of this state is the Noad - meaning "focus".  The rank of Noad, or the institution itself, is the noadex.

A Noad wears a grey cloak; there is no other distinguishing mark or apparel.

By what right does a Noad rule?  Certainly not by hereditary right - except during atypical periods such as the Vanadium Era.  Indeed, so hostile have some Uranian cultures been to the idea of hereditary monarchy, that the child of a Noad is at a grave disadvantage if nen tries to follow in nen's parent's footsteps, even if nen is otherwise the most suitable choice.  Indeed there have been quite a few cases when the brilliant offspring of a Noad, debarred from the hereditary succession, has pursued nen's career in another city.

Yet a noadex is undoubtedly a monarchy.  And it is absolute in the sense that if you are a Noad you can give orders unhindered by any democratic or legal body - such things being non-existent on Ooranye.  There is no accepted, official way of removing a tyrannical Noad; but precisely because this is the case, a Noad who seeks to become a tyrant runs the risk of drastic, unofficial action being taken.  Tyrants tend to... disappear, with no questions asked.  On that dangerous planet, a society cannot afford bad leadership.

The heir to a Noad, the person who will succeed to the noadex if the Noad dies or resigns, is called the Daon, and nen's rank or office is the dayonnad.  The Daon wears a blue cloak.

The Daon customarily shares the government with the Noad, but cedes final responsibility to the Noad in all vital decisions.

Noadex and dayonnad had their origins in Contahl in the Lithium Era; Contahl was the first city of sufficient size and complexity to make such arrangements necessary.

All the above remarks do not explain how a Uranian city is governed.  What about lesser officials?  He we Terrans come up against the humbling fact, that the city-states of Ooranye function without bureaucracy.

This may be hard for us to believe; but equally, those Uranians who are beginning to discover Earth's history regard its bureaucratic structures as a bizarre joke.

In truth, it is all very well for them, for they possess an internal sense, as mysterious as a balancing or homing instinct, which allows them to co-ordinate their societies without conscious direction.  This is the faculty which they call renl.  (The adjective of renl is lremd.)

A good Noad will, above all, possess lots of renl.  If you're lremd, you will instantly perceive priorities; you will disentangle the threads of city life to uncover where action needs to be taken; you will have the knack of being at the right place at the right time; you will deputise, delegate, appoint, command, without reference to any laws or rules.  By the standards of an Earthly president or kind, a Noad leads a fantastically adventurous and fulfilling life, but it is a life which no Terran could endure for a day (except, of course, Neville Yeadon alias Nyav Yuhlm, the one-off example from Uranian Throne).

The above remarks apply to a city which is functioning properly.  However, a noadex can go wrong.  It can cease to be lremd and, instead, become all that we have said Uranian regimes are not - that is to say, tyrannical and bureaucratic, or despotic and dull.  This degradation is called arelk: a word derived from a term for "hardening of the arteries".  Sometimes the result of this political sclerosis is picturesque rather than evil, as we can see from the stories which have come down to us from the Vanadium Era's colourful hereditary monarchies.

the sunnoadex

Just as there is a Noad for every city, so for Syoom as a whole - the entire civilized area of Ooranye - there was a Noad of Noads, a focus of foci.  This person is the Sunnoad, and nen's rank is the sunnoadex.  The Sunnoad wears a golden cloak. 

Nen also has a number after nen's name.  For example, the current (A.D. 4162) holder of the office is is Iyen Noom 80525, which means that he is the 80,525th Sunnoad, of a list that stretches all the way back to Hyala Movoun 1 in the Neon Era, before which there were no Sunnoads (though there had been Noads since the Lithium Era).

It is hard to pin the Uranians down on what exactly a Sunnoad is.  It appears that the Sunnoad does not exactly rule Syoom in the sense that the Noads rule the separate cities.  The cities are sovereign states.  Yet a Sunnoad traditionally commands the combined Syoomean fleets on those rare occasions when civilization must unite against a Fyayman menace.  To that extent, the Sunnoad's authority is practical as well as moral.  Yet the kind of reverence paid to the Sunnoad makes nen seem above politics.  As often, we are driven to the conclusion that the Uranian institution we are studying would not work on Earth.

The sunnoadex does not regularly allow for a recognized heir-apparent, analogous to the dayonnad for the noadex.  Sunnoads are chosen by a variety of means, depending upon the situation when the office becomes vacant.  This circumstance has given rise to many dramatic moments in history.  The most characteristic method of election to the sunnoadex involves a tool called the thuzolyr.  This is a kind of thought-reflecting screen which diagrammatically displayes personal qualities, too rapidly for conscious control by the user.  Somehow, the thing measures one's renl; it is used only in competition with another's thuzolyr, and many such competitions must happen till the one which out-flashes the rest is the only one left.  On some occasions, thuzolyr-election and personal recommendation by a Sunnoad's "dying voice" have both played a part; this happened in recent times with the succession of Unnd Dunaiv 80522 during the Nemyuran War.

The reverence accorded to Sunnoads appears to be deserved.  Out of the more than 80,000 that have worn the golden cloak, not one - if we are to believe the records - has utterly disgraced the office, though a few have failed spectacularly: an obvious example being that of Fiarr Fosn 723 whose tremendous defeat brought down the curtain on the Phosphorus Era (see pages 33-6 of Uranian Gleams).  Perhaps the most dubious character to be named among the Sunnoads was Tu Rim 78860, last of the Radium Era, who, uniquely, tried to alter the nature of the sunnoadex into something like what we would recognize as a superstate or empire.  Yet even "Tu Rim of the Invaded Soul", as he came to be known, was never despised, though condemned by enlightened opinion.

sunnoads

Here for convenience are collected some details of those Sunnoads who are mentioned at various points in the history narrative of Uranian Gleams.  They are shown in chronological order.

Hyala Movoun 1

The First Sunnoad.  She was, for a while, a teacher.  Her influence brought the Dark Age of the Nitrogen Era to a close; her reign was the Neon Era.  At the end, she it was who took the moral risk of solving the energy crisis by the looting of Chelth - and paid the price.  Risk notwithstanding, her reputation is swathed in a glow that will never be rivalled. See pages 18-25 of Uranian Gleams.

She was reborn for her second life in the Actinium Era - see Uranian Throne.

Lamiroth Eren 2

The Second Sunnoad.  A respectable successor to Hyala Movoun, Lamiroth Eren showed wise leadership embodied in the sheaf of decisions which became known as the Choice of the Way - on how best to employ the energy-windfall from Chelth.  See pages 27-8 of Uranian Gleams.

Fiarr Fosn 723

Commanding the Great Fleet which tried to conquer Fyaym at the end of the Phosphorus Era, the 723rd Sunnoad was killed in the epochal disaster which overtook that fleet.

These events are covered in Uranian Gleams' historical narrative, pages 31-6; and Fiarr Fosn figures in the Gleams' second tale, The Shears of Night.

We also have a record of his second incarnation: as a distinguished Noad of Jador during the latter part of the Vanadium Era.  As Noad of Jador he showd none of the arrogance and hubris which had brought on the doom of Era 15.  It is an instance often cited, of how it is possible to learn from history.

Nalre Zitpoidl 4854

Possibly the most controversial holder of his office, the 4,854th Sunnoad was the last wearer of the golden cloak in the Argon Era, and he survived into the Vanadium Era, though some historians argue that he had been rightfully deposed by that time.

He is notorious for the murder of the avian, Tjoren, whom he believed to be threatening Syoom with a misleading offer of help against the phenomenon known as the White Sun.  See Nalre Zitpoidl and the Great Winter, in pages 38-42 of Uranian Gleams.

Readers of Valeddom will perhaps remember that "zitpoidl" is a Mercurian word.  How it came to be part of a Uranian name is a complete mystery.

Restiprak Zentonan 33337 / 45329

The only person every to become Sunnoad twice in two lives, RZ moreover reigned during two crises, transitions between eras.  As the 33,337th Sunnoad he defeated the besiegers of the Other Syoom in the Gallium Era.  (See The Age of Spies, Uranian Gleams pages 53-6.)  In his second life he was the mountaineer who conquered Mt Gnemek, the highest point on the planet: a peak which reaches out into space.  During that expedition he experienced the adventures which ended with him being elected the first Sunnoad of Era 69 (see The Prospectors, Uranian Gleams pages 68-9).

It is possible that the Restiprak Zentonan who lived a life later than either of the above - the great detective of the Tantalum Era - was a third incarnation of the same person.  Third incarnations (like third sets of teeth) are very rare; but the identity of the name ought to suggest it happened in this case, since on Ooranye personal names are not supposed to be shared by different people.  On the other hand, the somewhat decadent Tantalum Era was sometimes lax in this respect, allowing quite different people to have the same name; the uniqueness of names was not as jealously guarded as in most eras.  See Holding the Line (Uranian Gleams pages 76-7).

Jad Darkal 35480

He is remembered as the archetypal warrior among all those who have worn the golden cloak.  Syoom was saved, after the fall of the Rubidium Fort, by the 35,480th Sunnoad's great victory over invading forces.  See The Age of Spies.  Jad Darkal also figures in the third tale of the Gleams, The Open Secret.

Dynnt Gilvar 48559

Reigning at the transition between the Hafnium and the Lutetium Eras, the 48,559th Sunnoad was the one who made the crucial decision to follow Simulator advice.  The advice was to "appease" the Fyayman powers by putting an end to Syoomean incursions into their territory on the part of prospectors, whose search for ell-light crystals had characterised the Thulium Era.  (See Uranian Gleams pages pages 70-3, The 'Dassan Call.)

In his second, less important incarnation, in the Actinium Era, Dynnt Gilvar was captain of a Nemyuran skyship.

Taldis Norkoten 64702

Before he became the 64,702nd Sunnoad, Taldis Norkoten of Vyanth was a secret agent working for the then Syoomean Intelligence Corps - a precursor of the more modern Bostanga Fom.  One of Taldis' adventures is recounted in The Forgetters, the fifth Gleam.

His exploits as an agent have won him historical renown equal to that of his reign as the 64,702nd Sunnoad.  In fact he had become so absorbed in his agent-duties that when the call came to ascend to the sunnoadex he showed serious hesitation; he found his way to accept only by combining acceptance with an announcement that he would reign for exactly 1,000 days.  And when the 1,000 days were over he abdicated as he had said he would.

Both as agent and as Sunnoad he lived amid the Osmium Era spy-craze.  After he had acquired the prestige of the golden cloak he used it to institute a permanent Syoomean Navy so as to help calm international tensions; his efforts continued after his abdication but unravelled at his death.  However the project was not forgotten and was resumed much later, and the Navy ideal triumphed during the Iridium Era.  In Taldis' honour, Zdinth Hall in the palace at Skyyon, scene of the Rhenium Moment, was re-named Norkoten Hall.  It is extremely rare for re-namings of any sort to take place on Ooranye.

On Earth such a man would have given rise to a folkloric belief that he would one day return, as with the legends of King Arthur and the Emperor Barbarossa.  On Ooranye, such returns actually do happen.  Taldis Norkoten's second incarnation occurred at the end of the Radium Era, when he became the nemesis of Tu Rim. 

Hevad Notoxt 69546

Probably the second most famous woman to wear the golden cloak, the 69,546th Sunnoad was a psi, able not only to read minds but to operate on moods.  Her great service to Syoom was the overthrow of The Cyborgs (Uranian Gleams pages 88-9), but she bears much responsibility for the subsequent persecution of the Ghepions (The Era of Psi, ibid. pages 90-2).

Ahim Trarv 77062

The reader is referred to Impostor (Uranian Gleams pages 94-5) for the murder and impersonation of the 77,062nd Sunnoad by the arch-villain Nehal Fozdak.  This crime, and the events associated with it, brought the Bismuth Era to an end amid crisis, inaugurating dark times for Syoom.

Tu Rim 78860

The 78,860th Sunnoad reigned at the end of the Radium Era (era 88).  During this period much of Syoom had been subjugated by non-human races (the only era of history in which this was the case).  Tu Rim was part of the movement to recover human control, but the methods he used - trying to convert the sunnoadex into an authoritariam empire - brought upheaval and chaos to Syoom.  Tu Rim was overthrown by a movement headed by the second incarnation of Taldis Norkoten, who convened a conference to decide how a repetition of these events could be avoided for all time.

The outcome was that henceforth Sunnoads have never been never allowed, or have never allowed themselves, to dwell in Skyyon.  Instead they have held it a point of honour to make sure that if they work in Skyyon they nevertheless spend their nights in a "hut" (well-appointed, to be sure) which is now their official dwelling, in Melikon, a village outside the Sunward polar city.

Nyav Yuhlm 80438

A unique phenomenon of a man who belonged to two planets, the 80,438th Sunnoad was a soul with two bodies not, as is common on Ooranye, in two incarnations widely separated in time, but instead simultaneous while separated widely in space. 

His Earth self was Neville Yeadon of 1970's London.  (See The Londoner.)  When that self's body was murdered, its consciousness was transferred to the body of Nyav Yuhlm of the Uranian Starside city of Olhoav.  Nyav Yuhlm being a nebulee, the Terran personality was dominantly superimposed on the weakened Uranian mind, but later the two awarenesses became confederated and in some sense fused, reuniting the split soul.

Nyav Yuhlm's career on Ooranye can be divided into three main phases:
[1] His life on Starside, first in Olhoav and then in the surrounding country.
[2] His "private" time in Syoom, first as the wanderer Yadon, then as the agent of Sunnoad Brem Tormalla 80437.
[3] His reign as Sunnoad, during which he saved Syoom from the menace of the hybrid human-Ghepion tyrant, Dempelath.

The story of Nyav Yuhlm is being told in Uranian Throne.

Miokk Monray 80521

Greenery, the sixth tale in the Gleams, includes a scene with the 80,521st Sunnoad.  Later, he perished in the battle of Ierax, in the Nemyuran War.

Unnd Dunaiv 80522

The youngest person ever to wear the golden cloak, the 80,522nd Sunnoad owed his elevation during the crisis of the Nemyuran War to his inborn strategic sense, an exceptional faculty which may have been some sort of psi.  He mitigated the defeat at Ierax and led Syoom to subsequent victory against the Nemyurans, partly helped by the exploits of his half-brother, the Wayfarer Vyam Alorn.

Iyen Noom 80525

Currently reigning today (Terran year A.D.4162), the 80,525th Sunnoad saw the outset of era 92, a result of the successful voyage in which he led the Second Great Fleet to the Starside pole, winning through where Fiarr Fosn 723 had failed.  See Uranian Gleams pages 99-102,  The Actinium Fulfilment and The Assault on Arclour.  The great voyage and its aftermath forms the basis of the tale Uranian Thule, in Vintage Worlds 1.

the correctors

Occasionally, it looks as though a Sunnoad is going to make a dire mistake.  The threat of that occurrence gives rise to a dilemma: a magnified version of the problem which occurs when a Noad goes to the bad.  In the case of a Sunnoad with the wrong idea, it is not a case of malevolence but of an honest mistake; yet that, in a way, makes it harder to cope with.  Some special risk must be taken.

Despite the profound respect which all Uranians feel for the wearer of the golden cloak, it is recognized that the Noad of Noads must if necessary be corrected, by force if need be.  An example is Sror Moruv's temporary kidnapping of Unnd Dunaiv 80522 during the Nemyuran crisis.  Sror Moruv got away with it - the Sunnoad himself eventually justifying the action - and so the getter-away-with-it has ever after been titled Corrector Sror Moruv. 

It is a rare occurrence: there have only been a few hundred Correctors, compared with the over eighty thousand Sunnoads.  But it is a profoundly Uranian institution, dating all the way back to the reign of Hyala Movoun 1, who allowed herself at one point to be restrained by Corrector Lehal Thoal (Uranian Gleams, page 23).

other institutions

Uranian history is rich in corporate bodies.  Most are more ephemeral than the ones discussed above, yet still mighty and long-lasting by Terran standards.  Examples include:

The Unity Club in the Hydrogen Era, which established the semaphore network on the plains, and later organized the excavation of the Sun-Egg  (Uranian Gleams, page 8 onwards.)

The Bank of Light in the Phosphorus Era (ibid., pages 30-1).

The various teleological guilds from the Zirconium Era onwards (ibid. page 57, The Institutes of Fate).

The corporation known by its nickname The Forgetters, which has survived intermittently in some form through most of Uranian history.  Its agents are willing to undergo voluntary amnesia for the duration of their missions, so as to bring a radically fresh vision to their tasks.  Their adventures, not surprisingly, have provided many of the stories which have been most helpful to the Terran understanding of Ooranye.  Taldis Norkoten was sometimes a Forgetter, and one of his adventures is recounted in the fifth tale of the Gleams.

military ranks and units

The following is a summary of those ranks and units which have proved most durable in Uranian history:

nyr - unit of 12 men - i.e. 11 plus the zamur commanding

zamur - officer with 11 men under his command

nyzyr - unit of 133 men: 11 nyrs plus the zyr commanding

zyr - officer with 132 men under his command

nyzynzyr - unit of 1464 men: 11 nyzyrs plus the zynzyr commanding

zynzyr - leader with 1463 men under his command

nyomzyr - unit of 16105 men: 11 nyzynzyrs plus the omzyr commanding

omzyr - general with 16104 men under his command.

As on Earth, units are not always up to strength.

the languages of ooranye


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