uranian throne - reference page

[For a timeline see Uranian Eras; for stories, maps and a history see the collection Uranian Gleams, and for entries on flora, fauna and culture see the website www.ooranye.com.]

Note: the headwords given below are in common to all three major Uranian languages: Jommdan (the original speech of the Hydrogen Era), Lurissuj and Nouuan.  The last two tongues diverged grammatically from the first but retain the original Jommdan vocabulary for key concepts.

agrash - a word strictly speaking untranslatable, except by loose analogy with the Terran idea of a "holy fool", a kind of sacred simpleton.  (The analogy has to be loose because although the Uranian religious impulse exists, it is held in a kind of suspension: on Ooranye an "intermediate" numen, the World Spirit, currently takes the place of a completely transcendent God during this phase of deep time.)

alapatea - a term untranslatable into neat English: "anecdotalist-cum-socialite-poet-cum-reporter" gives some idea.

apparng - context-awareness.  The frame of mind in which Uranians are aware of how special something is even though they are accustomed to it.  The ability not to take things for granted.

backgrounder - a "member of the general public" - someone whose existence provides background for the more storied life of a foregrounder

bafract - a kind of translucent tarpaulin used as a boundary-skin for the poorer dwellings in a Uranian city.

bejeh - "cheer" - emotive term for the ambience created by a meal shared in convivial fellowship; the glow of solidarity this gives the participants; the sense of clustering around a hearth-glow, beyond which stretches the infinite mystery of an untameable giant planet.

blaping - a Uranian swear-word.  Its literal meaning has not yet been vouchsafed to Terrans.

Chelth - the continuum looted of much of its energy by the Uranians during the 130 days of the short Sodium Era (see chapters 4 and 5 of the History in Uranian Gleams).  The plunder of Chelth has caused deep (though manageable) guilt among Uranians ever since.

chirr - a city-employee who remains conscious at work, instead of getting through the day's tasks in the usual work-trance.  For a fuller description see under vigilee.

cmem - the extension of Demelath's brain, in the form of a red mist of convincells.

convincells - the components of the cmem.

Corrector - someone who has managed to get away with justifiably coercing a Sunnoad.  The penalty for unsuccessful Correctors being death, few have aspired to the honour.

Daon - the recognized heir to a Noad; the person who is due to succeed to the noadex.

dayonnad - the office of Daon.

dwallidee - an expensive gift in the form of a beautiful blue bowl with nacreous highlights, and a communicator which summons help from the Noad only if the bowl is smashed.  The idea is that the beauty of the object ensures it will never be used as a summoner except on the rarest occasions. 

flaon-scrorr - the belt of cultivated land around Olhoav.  The flaon is the continuously cultivated, inner part; outside it is the more vaguely defined, part-settled scrorr, which fades out into the wilderness.

flunnd - literally, a backgrounder who adopts the airs of a foregrounder; a destiny-snob.  As a mere ejaculation, flunnd! is one of the commonest swear-words on Ooranye.

flurg - in appearance a stone, conveniently shaped to sit on; in reality a fungoid creature with the capacity to deliver a sharp and sometimes lethal sting.

foregrounder - someone whose life-story is sufficiently distinctive and memorable, that it makes him/her into material for one of the main protagonists in a tale.

forg - translation of the abbreviation of the longer Uranian word for foregrounder.

frush - literally, a late, deflated stage in the life of a certain large balloon-like fruit (the fradosh) when it has lost its freshness; figuratively, someone who has lost his or her former importance.

Fyaym - the antithesis of Syoom.  Fyaym is loosely "the wilderness", but more accurately comprises those areas (covering four-fifths of the giant planet) where a lone Wayfarer has a less-than-even chance of surviving a thousand-mile journey.

Ghepion - the Ghepions or "Old Machines" are the fruits of mechanical evolution: machines who in a purposive drive towards the biological have developed into sentient living things.  The semi-organic computer Dynoom, city-brain of Olhoav, is a Ghepion.

Glomb - the native Uranian word for "Weigher"; the title chosen by Dempelath.

gneh-ou - predatory clouds.  One of the many varieties of gaseous life-form in the skies of Ooranye.

gralm - the granular substance forming the Uranian plains; has a consistency rather like cork, and varies in colour, from mostly dark blue, brown and black, to occasional bright blues and reds.

grutt - a miscreant; worthless person; the meaning has something in common with the Terran Viking term "nithing"

hlann (plural 'hlannad') - a "bivalve-boulder" creature.

igrul chozzuk - "the matter having been weighed" - catch-phrase of the supporters of Dempelath - evoking the leader's propensity for unquestionable decision.  The words are, presumably, the origin of the title of Weigher (Glomb, in Uranian).

lonk-plaen - contemptuous term for an over-contented or over-respectful backgrounder.

lremd - (adjective) - those who possess renl are lremd.

Meegn - thin metal arches soaring above Olhoav, suggestive of force-field structures.

narp - a large, dangerous wild plant with laser-tipped stems.

nebulation - the mind-blown condition to which people can fall prey when alone in the Uranian wilderness, if they allow a sense of its vastness to overcome them.

nebulee - a victim of nebulation.

nen - the unisex pronoun meaning "he or she", or used as a more personal substitute for "it" when denoting an intelligent being of neither gender.

Nenn - the Nenns are the humans of Ooranye.  They and Terran humans are telemorphs (sharers of species identity without a common ancestor).  Nenns differ physically from Terran humans in that Nenns are grey-skinned and have more efficient metabolisms (they don't need to eat so much, and so meals tend on average to be more special occasions on Ooranye than they are on Earth - see bejeh).  Mentally and morally, Nenns differ from Terrans as follows: (1) Nenns, whether good or evil, are free from all vulgarity; (2) their brains are "hard-wired" with awareness of the periodic table of the elements; (3) they have apparng or context-awareness; (4) there is a sharper or more conscious division than on Earth between foregrounders and backgrounders - although the categories are not openly admitted.

Noad - the ruler or "focus" of a city-state.

noadex - the office of Noad.

nyzyr - a military unit composed of 133 men including its commander, a zyr.

omzyr - "general" - a military leader with 16,104 men in his command.

Ooranye - the seventh planet; called by Terrans "Uranus".  (Coincidentally, a vowel-change from noun to adjective means that the adjective of Ooranye is "Uranian", not "Ooranian".)

pliif - generic term for the class of creatures who live in Ooranye's icy crust.  See stryegns.

Pnurrm - the building that houses Olhoav's centre of ooranographic information.  The basement hall-floor (Wayfarers' Hall) is a huge walk-on map used to display Wayfaring routes and marshal data for the sfy.

renl - the ability to be in the right place at the right time; to prioritize instinctively and rightly; to achieve leadership without bureaucracy or hierarchic structures.  The quality a Noad has to have.

reporzunt - the martial art which depends upon slowness.  It is most effective in a tense social conflict where a gradually incremental threat presents the enemy with a hard choice as to when best to respond.

sanungi-stillig-ost - "meld-cheer marriage meal": a banquet at which a marriage is announced and takes place.

sfy - the safety-contours on Uranian maps.  They constantly change, like the isobars of the weather-maps of Earth. 

sfy-50 - on Uranian maps, the line joining all places in which a lone Wayfarer has a 50 per cent chance of surviving a thousand-mile voyage.  Sfy-50 is the boundary between Syoom and Fyaym.

Skimmjard! - the word of greeting used by Uranians in all three of their main languages.

Snaddy-Galomm - the "spinning top" - a vision of the destiny-network.  It's not a spatial dimension, it's a meaning-dimension, but to the eyes of the beholder it necessarily has a shape.  It appears as a rotating oblate spheroid composed of twisting tornado-like tubes which represent the currents of fate, and, riding those currents, tiny figures wearing flame-hats.  Pairs of incarnations of the same soul tilt their hats towards one another across distances representing the gulfs of time which separate them.

sponnd - a laser hand-weapon which can resemble either a sword or a gun, depending on whether it is set to blade or bolt mode.

Starside - the hemisphere of Ooranye that faces away from the distant Sun.  Starside is mostly Fyaym, but there are pockets of Syoom even there - for example isolated cities such as Olhoav and their environs.

Staunch Woman [kaparinvonv] - the woman-friend or supporter of the bridgegroom at a Uranian wedding.  To some extent an equivalent of the Terran "best man" idea.

stryegns - often referred to in tales transmitted to Terrans as "barnacle-stryegns"; a species of pliff, the class of ice-creatures who live in Ooranye's crust.  Stryegns are attracted by the foundations of cities, and cluster beneath them.

Sunnoad - the Sunnoad is the Noad of Noads; the focus of foci; the planetary warlord of Ooranye.  Not exactly a suzerain - for the city-states retain their sovereignty.  The Sunnoad's ascendancy is a matter of custom and prestige rather than due to any formal constitutional power.  Traditionally, the Sunnoad leads the forces of Syoom when that area of human civilization is threatened. 

The courtesy number following a Sunnoad's name is not a regnal number in the manner of Henry VIII or Louis XIV; rather, it is an administration number.  Thus, back in the dawn ages, Sunnoad Hyala Movoun 1 was succeeded by Sunnoad Lamiroth Eren 2.

sunnoadex - the office of Sunnoad.

Sunside - the Sunward hemisphere of Ooranye.

Syoom - loosely speaking, the area of human civilization on Ooranye.  More precisely, and using the statistical definition which is the basis of Uranian cartography, Syoom comprises those lands where a lone Wayfarer has a better than even chance of surviving a thousand-mile journey.  Syoom covers an area of approximately 400,000,000 square miles; about one fifth of the planet.  It is surrounded by its antithesis, Fyaym.  This is only a general picture; there are many pockets of Syoom in the vastness of Fyaym, and vice-versa.  Moreover, as is inevitable, some patches of Syoom are "thin" like threadbare bits of carpet, where the sfy are close to being as low as 50.  Finally, there are some cities isolated in the midst of Fyaym - cities such as Olhoav, on Starside.

thuzolyr - a device to mirror one's renl talent symbolically, on a hand-held screen.  In cases where no heir to a ruler has been named, the citizens must pair up and face each other with thuzolyrs, until one with winning screen-flashes emerges as the rightful Noad.

vheic - the glowing plants which form the energy-source for skimmers and sponnds.

vigilee - a city-employee who remains conscious at work, instead of getting through the day's tasks in the usual work-trance.  The chirr or vigilee is a highly respected trouble-shooter who can deal with the occasional situation which demands wide-awake initiative.  Such situations are few, because over the aeons of time the economic workings of a State have become almost as automatic as the metabolic functions of a human body.  But just as a body may occasionally need conscious medical attention, so a Uranian urban economy may occasionally require the wakeful care of a vigilee.

Vorratch - see Zedmaiol Vorratch.  The "Parity Tree".

vuocna - ground-crawling clouds (singular, "vuoc").

Wayfarer - a voyager whose fate is used by cartographers to compile statistics of peril.

wirrip - slang for "backgrounder", or "person with only one name", i.e. an ordinary member of the general public

woochna - (plural of "wooch") millipedal symbiotes of the hlannad.

World Spirit - the focus for the Uranians' "suspended religion".  The religious impulse of the Nenns, the humans of Ooranye, stops part-way to transcendence during this cycle of their planet's history, and is directed at the planetary Intelligence, vaguely defined but known to exist, and known to have intervened, though very rarely, in human history.

Zedmaiol Vorratch - the "Parity Tree".  A metal bladed structure like a tree with huge sickle-shaped leaves, on which were hung opponents or supposed opponents of Dempelath's regime.

zoalsh (two syllables, zo-alsh) - a restaurant / hotel / social centre, where banquets are held at which important social and political announcements are sometimes made.

zyr - a military rank, an officer leading a nyzyr of 133 men.