This post has the following content warnings:
it is broadly agreed that writing was the first krissan invention (but reading was the most important)

Where to send the aliens had been a matter of controversy for the three days before people decided that aliens really seemed like the Festival-City of Weaving Knowledge's problem (unfortunately so; aliens are a very exciting problem to have). The offloading meant Beloved of Water Lilies, Lead Coordinator of Weaving Knowledge, nearly immediately became also the Lead Coordinator of everything to do with aliens. (Everyone likes bright ideas. Few like implementing bright ideas. Luckily, Beloved of Water Lilies is very unusual for the species.)


Much debate later, Beloved greenlights a message sent out to the chaotic tangle of alien communication systems:

Greetings to aliens!

The krissan are a humanoid species on the planet Krisses and are new to the community. The current Lead Coordinator of Alien Relationships is Beloved of Water Lilies, also Lead Coordinator of the Festival-City of Weaving Knowledge. Weaving Knowledge is soliciting alien works of knowledge*.



-If a work cannot be held and accessed without using intermediate technology (such as a "computer"), and will not function on the "computers" already acquired by Weaving Knowledge (specs here), please include the needed intermediate technology as well as an appropriate power source. 

--Guideline update 1: Digital media can now be more easily accessed, see the announcement here.  

-Works in media that do not require intermediate technology are most convenient for access and distribution. 

-Not all works may be immediately opened for public distribution, but all works are welcome for submission, and all will be opened for public distribution in due time. 

-Works do not need to be translated into the local language before submission, though additional linguistic materials to aid learning the alien languages in question would be greatly appreciated. 

-The krissan enjoy learning about other people and are very excited about aliens! The krissan would love all knowledge but especially knowledge about aliens themselves - culture, history, thought, etc. 

-The krissan enjoy commenting on others' works. Please indicate if one does not wish to receive comments.


Gratitude to everyone submitting something! In the spirit of the commons, a repository of krissan knowledge is being developed for alien viewing here.

*Translator's note: 'Knowledge' includes art, literature, music, science, math, history, biographies, and philosophy, among many other fields.

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Ooh, more aliens! The grapeverse sends their standard collection to start with:

An epic poem about an ancient king, presented in the original with extensive annotations. Full translations are going to be legitimately tricky; it's long, it's gorgeous, and the poetic form is pretty strict and doesn't adapt well to the rhythms of other languages, but the writer keeps doing this thing where the rhyme scheme and meter highlight underlying thematic connections between different lines—anyway. The plot begins with an introductory section where the king is going around doing atrocities in a very badass ancient-legendary-figure sort of way, right up until a random peasant girl lights him on fire with her magic powers and he immediately falls madly in love and drops everything to beg her to marry him, then spends the next two-thirds of the poem gradually lightening up on the atrocities front, partly because he has now realized that peasants are people and partly because his wife keeps arguing with him and occasionally threatening to light him on fire again, which he always responds to with a confused mix of fear, adoration, and occasionally anger. The queen's power to set fire to her husband is depicted very obviously and straightforwardly, discussed in the text and the dialogue; the king's reciprocal power to have his wife executed is left completely to subtext and implication, only barely hinted at by means such as using epithets for her that emphasize her fearlessness whenever he gets angry. Accompanying notes explain that the poem is an allegory for real historical events, with the queen standing in for the entire Phoenix archetype, which did appear during that approximate historical era and did have those approximate powers and did have approximately that effect on ancient kings' tendency to oppress people although the exact mechanism was obviously very different.

Extremely well-researched historical fiction detailing the life of a high priestess of the River Kingdom who, by contrast to most high priestesses of the River Kingdom, did actual politics instead of spending all her time managing the movement of water. One gets the impression that the author wishes they could spend all their time managing the movement of water; lovingly detailed descriptions of River Kingdom plumbing and water management take up a solid third of the book, intermingled with plenty of inner monologue from the high priestess and lots of interactions with very well-fleshed-out side characters. An appendix carefully distinguishes side characters for whom there is historical evidence (and what that evidence covered) from side characters the author made up (and the census data and contemporary sources from which they extrapolated those characters' likely traits). An additional appendix tries to explain the context of the Ondine archetype so the aliens can properly appreciate it, but the author admits that they're not very good at explaining this sort of thing and recommends some other reference material to interested reader.

Porn about masochists with access to magical healing is its own entire genre but here is a widely acclaimed example, in which a [sadist who lives by themself in a castle they designed and built using magic] (this is a two-word phrase in the author's native language) gets an unexpected visitor and falls in love with them despite being sort of shaky on this whole 'human interaction' concept. Neither of them has much of a clue how to pursue a healthy relationship, but they are both highly motivated to figure it out, and they make it to the end of the book having successfully reinvented most of the basics from scratch and settling into a life together full of art and luxury and wholesome, loving, extremely gory sex. The climactic scene involves the introverted-sadist-architect breaking into tears about how much they love their partner and needing to be wrapped in blankets and snuggled until they calm down. The two of them are the only characters in the entire book, unless you count the introverted-sadist-architect's house as a third character, which you very well might given how much screentime it gets. The back of the book has a collection of author-approved fanart of the castle, added so the aliens can get a sense of the architectural styles involved that words alone would have trouble conveying.

A duology of very long fantasy novels, which turn out to be collectively about 40% appendix by pagecount. The appendices cover worldbuilding, conlangs, and a set of six different detailed maps of the world, each from the perspective of one of the major nations involved in the plot, all of which have subtle disagreements with each other on matters such as which landmarks are important, what they are called, and who owns them. The plot consists of a ragtag yet lovable ensemble cast, thrown together by circumstances beyond their control which accidentally leave them the only people in the world capable of saving it from a cataclysmic threat, having breakdowns about how they're not ready for this and then going ahead and doing their best anyway. In the end, they pull it off by the skin of their teeth and with rather more casualties than any of them are comfortable with. The second volume has a long denouement consisting mostly of our heroes leaning on each other and their friends and loved ones to help them cope with all their realistically-described trauma once the crisis is over; the last chapter concludes when they're all psychologically stable again and leading healthy, thriving lives, and the epilogue shows a bittersweet scene of the six of them holding a private memorial ceremony together ten years later, after which they are going to attend a massive celebration being held in their honour on the anniversary of their success.


Humans apparently can’t sense pheromones, so learning Antsfolks’ languages is unfortunately impossible! However, notes on sound-based communications are included for interested parties! Antsfolk near-universally love commentary, please do it lots! Art and nonfiction is mostly still in the process of being translated, but more will be sent shortly!


A tale for young workers about a new mushroom farmer who is very unhappy with her* job and desperately wants to change it and become an explorer, but feels like she must stay in her current job for the good of her hive! The story details her becoming less happy and satisfied, until she eventually makes new friends in her fiction-reading group who encourage her to tell the hive-manager that she’s unhappy and wants to switch jobs. She does this, and becomes much happier, and finds a new valuable type of fungus for the colony, that is eventually used to make a new kind of antibacterial. It is clearly written with a moral lesson to tell people about your problems and not just tough them out.


A very complicated political novel with around 600,000 words, featuring nine diplomats from three different hives navigating a tension-filled debate about the morality of executions, while also trying to make the most advantageous trade deals, with several backroom discussions between every combination of hives at different points, embarrassing interpersonal drama, and a tremendous amount of dramatic irony.


A rules and lore book for a tabletop RPG, featuring several books of additional content based on other series, and a wide variety of different powersets. Nearly three hundred different personality traits are listed in the original alone, all with various mechanical benefits and downsides. 


An collection including seven novels, three books of short stories, four series about the most popular alternate universes, a collection of poetry, half a dozen epistolary books, and an annotated book of music scores. An additional eight powersets, 412 character traits, and new faction-loyalty and relationship mechanics for the RPG above are included, all inspired by this series. The base series is about a worker, named Halru, who is taken as a war-prisoner by a rival hive as slave labor and is forced to care for their grubs. Two of her limbs are cut off, and she generally has a terrible time doing awful labor under threat of death. Her best friend, Terilu, sets off on an extremely dangerous and ill-advised quest to rescue her, which at various points includes having a riddling contest with a dragon to gain fire breathing, bargaining with a Fairy Queen to gain wings, fighting a variety of creatures, secretly training under five separate rival hives to become a master of all five styles of spearfighting, and generally becoming a really powerful and dangerous warrior. She then rescues her best friend, and they return home, only to find themselves dealing with complex social dynamics now that Halru is maimed, which means that she is lower status in Semi-Generic!Fantasy!Past world. They cuddle a lot, talk about their feelings, play around with various power dynamics, and become lifepartners.

An included note says that while slavery and treating maimed people worse is something that happened in the past, they definitely don’t do it in the modern era, because that’s horrendously unethical.


Watchmaker's Heart is considered the genre-ending book in the "creative angst" category.

It is about a young Sky* woman named Amethyst and her craft watchmaking business, which is barely profitable in the modern age despite the level of fine dexterity and mechanical knowledge involved. Watchmaking is Amethyst's lifepath, her passion; however, it doesn't help to support her polycule. Instead the majority of its income is maintained by her Earth, Violet, who works a boring but necessary clerical job in the civil service. Amethyst is sorrowful that she cannot ease Violet's burden of responsibility despite all her skills, and contemplates abandoning watchmaking for a more practical pursuit; however, Violet's other Sky, Oak, who is an archaeologist, encourages Amethyst to continue in her work to honor the past and keep the traditions of watchmaking alive. There is a flint-knapping scene where Amethyst tries and fails to make a stone tool out of chert; this is treated as both a spiritual challenge and a practical one. Most of the events of the book are colored heavily by Amethyst's sense of what is "proper" and "correct", which blurs the line between neurodiversity and spirituality; Amethyst speaks both to a secular therapist and a spiritual leader, and the accounts she gives of her reasoning and motivations differ significantly between the two professionals, neither one able to give a full accounting of the why or what of her condition. Ultimately, Amethyst comes to agree with Oak that the task of preserving the past must fall to someone, and talks to Violet about her worries and her feeling that she's failing her; Violet reassures Amethyst that as an Earth, she loves to come back from work each day to see a smile on Amethyst's face and a disassembled watch on her desk. Amethyst springs back into work, in a sudden creative frenzy that overlays a spiritual montage of significant moments from earlier in the work, and makes a pair of custom watches specifically for her and her Earth. She mounts them on long necklaces, and bashfully presents one to Violet, and asks to be her Kept.** Violet accepts; they kiss, and the novel fades to black. There is an official erotica patch which intersperses several key sex scenes into the novel (between all three members of the polycule, separately and together) and includes the implied sex scene after Violet and Amethyst exchange necklaces. All the erotica is realistic, detailed, and built into the spiritual and emotional journey of the protagonists, though relatively vanilla as this is not primarily a kink work.


*Skies, on Heart, are the majority; they are those who work on passion projects, cannot deal with boring mundane work easily, and are generally supported by their polycule's Earth until their passions mature.

**Heart's population are generally polyamorous, but particularly deep relationships, especially ones with a high degree of commitment and trust, are sometimes recognized as a Keeper and Kept by the exchanging of necklaces. This is generally an unequal but reciprocal relationship, with the Keeper pledging to look after and protect the Kept, who pledges loyalty and service. Most polycules center on a central Keeper/Kept pair.


A realistic mystery novel for adults involving the murder of one member of a company's internal policies board. A witness claims to have seen someone dressed as a certain employee and sharing her fur color standing over the body. The main investigation dives into seeking out other people who might dress similarly and who have similar fur colors, as well as the exact internal policies of the company and whether or not the employees would have a reason to protest against them, and whether or not anyone would have a personal grudge against the particular victim. In the end, the case is cracked when the witness is revealed to have an undiagnosed form of colorblindness that widens the suspect pool, allowing them to find the actual killer. The killer is revealed to have been attempting to have a civil discussion about a certain company policy, but constant insulting needling from the victim led to them snapping and escalating to murder. Their sentence is partly decided on with input from the deceased's family, and in the end a short jail sentence and therapy for those violent urges are the final conclusion. Interestingly enough, at no point is someone deliberately framing the first suspect suggested as a hypothesis.

There is also a version of the above novel that's intended for younger readers. Several of the suspects are removed from the plot to shorten the book, although the main forensics and investigation methods are still described in detail. The main plot difference lies in the ending, where the murder is framed more as a fight gone wrong, and much more detail is given on the need to control those impulses, as well as methods for doing so.

A nonrealistic fantasy culture-clash novel for all ages about two species, both somewhat distinct from grayliens, where one group is obligate carnivores and the other herbivores. The book focuses on a herbivore ambassador to the carnivore city, and alternates between surreal illustrations that the herbivore is telepathically transmitting back home, narrative from the perspective of the ambassador's host as they try to be a good host, and various records of the minutes of the council meetings on each side. The herbivores are generally presented as overly paranoid and hypervigilant, with the ambassador constantly distorting the actual events as something horrifying, although there are also some hints that the carnivore host is being overly positive about some things themself, and the two slowly get to understand each other better and better. The climax involves the herbivores nearly declaring war on the carnivore city when they believe their ambassador has been murdered, and the carnivores preparing for war due to an unintentional insult, but by now the host and ambassador have become fast friends/romantic interests (it's not entirely clear and could go either way) and manage to stop the war from erupting. The last scene is the herbivore ambassador carefully trying a meat dish, a callback to a previous discussion about the two species having an omnivorous common ancestor.

A semirealistic trilogy of novels for all ages taking place in a prehistoric setting, with the first one being about a pair of protagonists fleeing their original pride (an archaic word that has connotations of both "harem" and "housemates"*) where they are both considered low-status, and finally finding a place to settle down and create a New Pride with just the two of them. The second describes how the protagonists have to deal with having their first litter, and the needs of their children for both privacy and safety. Several comments are made about how the original pride structure had its uses. Eventually, they reconnect with several of the friends they made in the previous book, who join the protagonists in their childcare duties. The maned protagonist worried that he** might become a tyrant like the original pride leader, but he is reassured that the division of power here is already different, and furthermore that he himself is not that type of person. The book ends with the characters declaring themselves to have formed a New Pride. The third book is about the New Pride's interactions with other nearby prides and individuals, as well as the slow development of various romances within the pride and a few more children being born, and eventually ends with the first use of the modern word "housemates." Various appendices describe the inaccuracies in the novels, such as how research has shown that most prides were not as tyrannical as the first, as well as the fact that the change from prides to the current standard of living probably took much longer than a single generation, as well as the linguistic drift which means the final book's ending is unlikely to be how the term was actually coined.

*This term shows up quite often in graylien novels, and it seems that generally their family setups are assumed to have multiple adults living together to split various duties. It can have connotations of polyamorous relationships in some usages, though it can also refer to a found family.
**This pronoun does not quite map to the typical Earthling concept of gender, but has a closer match to a certain social role. Previously in the first book, a different pronoun was used for both protagonists while they were still living in their original pride.


Grapeverse Responses

An epic poem about an ancient king...

Weaving Knowledge opens this work for public distribution with a performance in the primary city square, sending out localized pronunciation guides with the hard copies they distribute to the other festival cities. (They've had to implement stricter crowding rules than normal, and Weaving Knowledge is rapidly developing satellite festivals; fortunately, people still listen to requests to spread out a bit more and to wait and come listen later.)

The first three dozen commentators whose reactions are relayed to the Grapeverse respond with exuberant praise, bounces, and wiggles. The next round of reactions is an update on the committee that's formed to refine and localize the annotations. They aren't even trying to translate it. They're just making learning the language for the apparent sole sake of reading this poem easier. (Comments quickly start incorporating bits of the poem's language. Getting comments translated into a single coherent language is very, very hard.)

(The localized annotations have pretty extensive notes explaining and debating the concept and use of pronouns, some discussions about what this poem inplies about weird alien biology - that has a lot of crossover with readers of the other works, and also what the fuck a king is.)

The comments also include extensive fan works - art more than anything, poetry experimenting with the style including seeing it it can be adapted into the krissan language blob, highly creative attempts to rework the poem into a different poetic form (and then running with the resulting changes in tone and theme), erotica featuring the queen running into a krissan serial killer and successfully rehabilitating them by threatening to not set them on fire if they cause problems...


Extremely well-researched historical fiction detailing the life of a high priestess of the River Kingdom

The krissan love this!!! The politics are a bit more of a niche interest than straight history, management of water systems, or setting kings on fire, but the first comment is from Beloved of Water Lilies herself, expressing delight with the depictions of society.

They request All The Reference Material, and also Weaving Knowledge forms a Committee of Alien Histories since this is probably going to keep being a thing.

This, too, gets fanfic in response - significantly more of it is written, though there's also drawings of River Kingdom architecture, and ideas for buildings in the style of the River Kingdom but built with krissan technologies and to their needs (and pictures of someone having apparently already started seriously preparing to build a tiny house using River Kingdom architecture). There's a lot of cross-over fanfic with the Phoenix poem - a significant number of people think the high priestess and the queen should kiss - and with krissan historical fiction (the high priestess should kiss all these other people, too).


Porn about masochists with access to magical healing is its own entire genre but here is a widely acclaimed example

"[sadist who lives by themself in a castle they designed and built using magic]" becomes a single word in the krissan language blob in the course of about two days.

The krissan love the fanart. Building an actual castle is going to be much harder, but someone starts on a scale model, and several other people start on modifications of the architectural style to a more useful scale. (Weaving Knowledge forms a Committee of Alien Architecture.)

A significant number of people want to join the sadist architect's pod (this sometimes gets translated as 'family' or 'polycule' or 'nest'). There's a deluge of comments comparing them to people's crushes and to other similar characters. (Also they and the king from the first poem should kiss, agrees the collective mind of fandom. The king definitely needs a bigger pod of people being mean to him. (This devolves into a long running collaborative story of various popular krissan characters being very mean to the king.))

Also everyone wants magical healing, does Grapeverse actually have magical healing and if so can they import it?


A duology of very long fantasy novels, which turn out to be collectively about 40% appendix by pagecount.

The krissan are a bit shaky on the concept of conlangs, apparently, and also start gleefully incorporating phrases from all six conlangs into their language blob. They're very very delighted by all the appendices, and much of the fanfic and fanart and such that promptly happens is set outside the scope of the main novels, further developing the world and creating spinoff stories of the other people in it. (Though the central six characters are very popular, too, and at the very least are referenced in a lot of the spinoffs.)

(The commentators seem to have concluded all six are dating, regardless of what the novels do or do not say. It's pretty obvious that they're dating, after all. (Some argue that maybe they're just not dating yet.))

(The comments also include a lot of questions, of course, about this or that tiny thing not covered in the appendices.)


The grapeverse is collectively SO CHARMED by all of these reactions and fanworks. So charmed.

Clarification: the grapeverse mostly does not have healing magic, certainly not to the level described in that story, though there are some applications of existing forms of magic that are useful for medical purposes. Unfortunately grapeverse magic is all tied to the grapeverse personality-archetypes, and experiments with deliberately making yourself more archetypal to get magic have so far been unsuccessful.

Also, the fan theory that the central six characters of that duology are dating is probably a cultural gap about the definitions of dating, but just in case clarification helps, here's a grapeverse fanfic of the duology that explores what the story would have been like if the characters had started dating-in-the-grapeverse-sense over the course of the plot. It's very well-thought-out and paints a detailed, character-accurate picture of what kinds of relationships they would have had with each other, which ones are mutually romantically incompatible and would have just been metamours through the rest, what the sources of friction and misunderstanding would have been as they all tried to cross their own personal and cultural gaps, and how this all would have affected the recovery arc. The end result is similar in the broad strokes but surprisingly different in the details; some characters' recovery arcs have to be totally rewritten to account for the difference in the shape of their support network.


Due to the technological restrictions of the krissan, the periverse has elected to submit only, like, books. Paper books, along with a hard drive that has all the files for said paper books and a printer that can take the files in question. The only restriction on comments provided is that if anyone has constructive criticism it should be sectioned off from praise and clearly labeled.


An anthology of memoirs about several people who work in distressing-undesirable¹ professions:

  • A daycare custodian who had an accident that caused cus² to lose cus' sense of smell. This was extremely distressing to cus for the first month, due to the loss of taste and ability to enjoy food! The silver lining made itself apparent quite quickly when cus' friend mentioned on social media that a local daycare was in need of a distressing-undesirable specialist custodian and cus discovered that cus' anosmia meant that cus was markedly less put off by toddlers' bathroom accidents. Cus still needed to get used to the visual and textural aspects, but cus' quality of life increased once this hurdle was cleared.
  • A surgeon who kicks³ on the kind of medical imagery that most people are extremely distressed by. Sur used to feel like a bad person for sur's fascination with this imagery and with the notion of cutting into people, but a professional rubber duck⁴ brought up the idea of taking the distressing-undesirable exposure tests, which sur passed. Sur still felt awkward while going through training, but has by now found a sense of community with sur's colleagues, who admire sur's attitude and ability to find fascination in daily work.
  • A dentist who doesn't have a particular fascination with distressing-undesirable imagery and is simply much less squeamish than most people! Den had a little bit of difficulty early on in den's career because while a lot of den's patients were put at ease by den's casual, upbeat demeanor, some of pat were put more on edge. This was mostly fixed by den asking questions before appointments intended to gauge patients' overall mood and what pat would respond well to.
  • A construction worker who has a much higher tolerance than average for cold weather (and a corresponding much lower tolerance for hot weather). Con particularly enjoys getting waved at by the subset of people who walk past sites con works on who tend to wave at construction workers, street sweepers, and other people who work outside.

The anthology is accompanied by some (appropriately labeled) pamphlets used in the distressing-undesirable exposure tests. The imagery starts out relatively tame and ramps up in graphicness as the test goes on so that applicants can be sorted by when they tapped out.

A textbook about the care and breeding of motherbeasts⁵. It has a brief history-of section but mostly focuses on the day-to-day practicalities, behaviors, and lifespans of the motherbeasts.

A book for children about popular pets, such as goldfish, pigeons, rodents⁶, and rabbits! Each animal group gets its own section on the history of that animal, its temperament and behavior, its care and breeding, and fun activities you can do with your pet! The history parts have lots of pictures and illustrations of the domesticated pets' wild and historical counterparts alongside the modern domesticated instances, the care parts have straightforward descriptions and illustrations of how the animals mate, and the "fun activities" parts are split between practical jobs animals can do (messenger pigeons!) and anecdotes of training one's goldfish to swim through hoops for a treat.

A history of economics and how different cultures adopted money before the periverse, in an impressive feat of coordination, did away with money entirely. This is widely regarded as one of the best things to happen to humanity, alongside the existence of motherbeasts and the invention of the internet.


A setting bible⁷ for a world divided into the material (normal mass governed by the laws of physics) and ethereal (magic, souls, minds). There are several types of sapient creature, such as vampires (ex-humans who can't produce ether on their own and must feed on the ether of others, the most effective way to do so being to drink blood, since humans' material bodies are bonded to their ethereal bodies, or souls), zombies (subset of vampires that eat flesh instead and gain a corresponding boost to physical strength), fairies (creatures that are entirely ethereal), angels (Really Powerful creatures that are entirely ethereal), and constructs (creatures that are entirely material). There's a weak masquerade but not much in practice actually stops interested humans from learning magic, particularly if they know how to summon fairies to teach them or if they have a natural talent for sensing the ethereal.

A novel about children for children where a preteen group of friends has extremely perilous adventures solving mysteries and fighting monsters! None of the protagonists actually die in this one but every member of the friend group comes pretty close in different and exciting ways. 

A novel about children for adults where the highest stakes are "the protagonist is nervous about an upcoming piano competition because what if pro makes a mistake." It's full of detailed descriptions of home life where all four of the protagonist's parents take very good care of pro and make good food and take pro on fun activities - each parent has different hobbies and interests that par is delighted to share with the protagonist (and not too disappointed if pro isn't up to an activity on a particular day). The parents are all able to attend the piano competition, and even though the protagonist makes a minor mistake towards the beginning of the piece pro isn't disheartened and manages to finish the piece without freezing up.

A prism⁸ set in a magic system where the protagonists are on opposing sides of a divide between the light-mages and the dark-mages. Much of the story is powered by the fact that light-magic and dark-magic are fueled by opposed aspects of one's self and personality, meaning that while the protagonists may share a basic underlying personality and template attractors, different parts of their self have been encouraged and harnessed over the course of their lifetime.

¹Catch-all term for certain medical professions, particularly ones that involve performing surgeries or dealing with nasty bodily functions, construction work, anything that involves being outside in inclement weather conditions, dealing with smelly garbage, particularly spoiled food, and anything else that would be dealbreakingly uncomfortable or unpleasant. Many Earth professions are split into work that normal people can do and something you'd call a distressing-undesirable specialist for: a custodian does routine cleaning of dust and spilled soda every night, while a distressing-undesirable specialist comes in on a case-by-case basis if, for instance, someone vomits on the floor.

²All the translated works use krissan-style lack-of-pronouns, of course. The language the memoir collection was initially written in has a mostly-arbitrary warm/cool grammatical gender for nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns.

³Like a kink, but non-erogenous.

⁴A kind of counselor who can give advice, but mostly just listens to their clients as they talk themselves into solutions that they possibly already knew on some level.

⁵A piglike, non-sapient animal that has the magical property of being able to accept genetic contributions from one or more humans and create/gestate a baby that is the offspring of all the contributing humans. It carries its young separately from human babies - both male and female motherbeasts are able to gestate human babies, but only female motherbeasts are able to carry motherbeasts.

⁶There are So Many Kinds of domesticated rodents.

⁷A popular genre in the periverse is "extremely thorough writeups of how a setting works." There's no plot; just descriptions of the SFF elements (the periverse doesn't draw a strong distinction between "fantasy" and "science fiction," so there's a term that covers both magic systems as well as things like the warp drive), alternate histories, types of cultures present, and so on. Typically setting bibles will also have descriptions of how the characters and/or plots of other media properties would alt into the setting in question.

⁸Extremely popular genre where alts meet each other. There are several subgenre: more earthficcy ones where the protagonists discover their althood after a lot of amusing-in-hindsight personality clashes, more magical ones where alts know they share a (usually telepathic in some way) connection but live far away, and ones where several sets of alts of different people meet up through multiversal travel.


Antsfolk Responses

Humans apparently can’t sense pheromones, so learning Antsfolks’ languages is unfortunately impossible! However, notes on sound-based communications are included for interested parties! Antsfolk near-universally love commentary, please do it lots! Art and nonfiction is mostly still in the process of being translated, but more will be sent shortly!

The krissan aren't sure what a human is, but after some back and forth san confirm that yeah san's sense of smell isn't that good. (Some experimental brewers start working on a fungus that will change color in response to pheromones. Weaving Knowledge creates a Committee for Alien Technological Localization.)


A tale for young workers about a new mushroom farmer who is very unhappy with her* job and desperately wants to change it...

Some of the commentators are very worried about why the worker can't just swap, which promptly starts a massive argument about duties to society versus self and if dealing with unpleasant things for the sake of others' good is reasonable or not. The entire argument gets politely moved into a single comment thread helpfully labeled 'Dumb Argument, Topic: Duty to Self vs Society' on moderator request, and future comments on the topic are directed there.

(Someone creates sexy ant-humanoid fanart. Somebody else calls the first artist a coward and creates sexy ant fanart. Moderators don't nudge the fanarts into 'Dumb Argument, Topic: Artistic Anthropomorphism of Aliens' but the resulting textual argument does get nudged there.)

The vast majority of the reactions do not need to be labeled a Dumb Argument, though! There's a very excited and productive debate about parallels between hives and krissan clans or even fests, and approving comments on the moral of the story (and someone writing a fanfic about the worker instead becoming a serial killer which only barely avoids getting directed into the relevant Dumb Argument bin). Also the krissan are pretty enthusiastic about the antibacterial work! A lot of krissan apparently work on stuff like that, and a comment thread sharing details of krissan antimicrobial and fungus-modification technology promptly develops.

(And of course people ship the worker with both her friends and the hive-manager. Do the Antsfolk want shippy fan works, there are now many shippy fan works.)


A very complicated political novel...

The krissan love this! There's so much friendly debate on the best trade deals and people liveblogging with what peep would do in the diplomats' shoes, and a lot of gleeful analysis of the dramatic irony. (Though the embarrassing interpersonal drama gets so much 'oh no' and a warning for secondhand embarrassment put on the novel.)

(The moderators preemptively create 'Dumb Argument, Topic: Executions,' so none of the argument following up on the views expressed in the novel spills outside of that this time.)

Some people also write speculative essays about differences between antfolk politics and krissan politics (including Beloved of Water Lilies, of course), though the majority of fan works seem satisfied with the amount of politics contained in the novel and focus on 'mood breakaway' spinoffs for people who want a mental break at various points or just want to see a cracky divergence. (Though people also write plenty of non-crack divergence fanfics.)

(And clearly fan works about backroom discussions turning into emotionally charged orgies are warranted, says the collective voice of fandom. (The related thread has a banner at the top directing people to the existing sexy ants Dumb Argument, on the likely chance anyone wants to start arguing about sexy ants here too.))


A rules and lore book for a tabletop RPG...

It takes about three days for someone to release a major homebrew modification pack to add in mechanics popular with other krissan tabletop rpgs, and another two days for the first fully fledged campaign. It takes a bit longer for groups actually playing the game to get organized.

A collection including seven novels...

Oooo more fiction and rulebook stuff. (The krissan start making fan works that expand on the original RPG's lore as well as the lore presented in the collection, of course.)

The base series is about a worker, named Halru, who is taken as a war-prisoner by a rival hive as slave labor and is forced to care for their grubs...

The krissan are so conflicted about the base series. 

The main responses:

-What is slavery

--Wow slavery is horrifying what the fuck

--Wow slavery is so hot though (these seem to be the same people as 'slavery is horrifying'), definitely calls for erotica

-Treating maimed people poorly is horrifying!

--Okay say that to the kajillion stairs in Weaving Knowledge -

---(This gets very quickly labeled as 'Dumb Argument, Topic: Maiming, Mod Opinion: DO NOT', and actually promptly dropped.) (The mod opinion doesn't seem to be enforced in any way except with frowny face reactions, people just follow it anyways.)

----Do fan works about maiming being hot count as Do Not? (The answer is no, go ahead, and go ahead on 'this sucks', just not the actual argument, which opens the gates for quite a lot of maiming-centered fan works.)

-Improving as a person and society is very important, and leaving behind unethical past practices is good! (This is uncontroversial.)

-Terilu and Halru should kiss. (This is also uncontroversial.)

-Terilu is so cool. There is now a lot of fanart of Terilu being very very awesome.


A story about sex-sports in the style of 17776 - that being, a sweeping epic about a stasis-ed society and the incredible stories that a sport can generate if it's being played on an epic scale for tens of thousands of years, including the raw absurdity alongside the epic scope of plots and plans. 

A series of dialogues between a woman (who's implied to have wide-ranging spiritual powers) about the meaning of pleasure, desire and 'the original self' and a wide cast of characters - including several scenes where she interrogates the minds of people deep into domme and sub space, people experiencing orgasm, people dreaming while being sexually stimulated and more, interspersed with occasional citations from the more prosaic research into the mind present in hearthome. There's a climatic scene where a domme confesses earnestly that she doesn't care at all about her wife at the height of her passion during her neglect scene, before showing off an intimately detailed hurt-comfort middlecare scene and the rest of their 20 year anniversary together as lovers. It's suprisingly non-judgemental about what the 'real' self-involved is, and is framed to let the audience find there own answers. 

A series of rapekink webfic featuring mindbreak and increasingly exasperated and tired insults from the original self of the sex slaves you make that's designed to be short and sweet enough to each be playable in a single session. 

(All of the works come in their original forms, plus with five different high quality but mostly untouched machine translations and a curated recommended one with sections from each, alongside some human work, and don't require more then a basic computer to run with hyperlinks, though they all flatten elegantly enough into something printable.)


A novel set in a popular shared soft sci-fi setting, which features aliens and spaceflight and very little concern for the scientific possibility of these things, but no magical powers, nor magical powers by some other name- all of the impossibility lives in the tech. The novel clearly expects the reader to be existingly familiar with the setting. The novel focuses on a young woman who lives with her girlfriend, and does not seem to have other friends and datemates. She's clearly dependent on her girlfriend in a few ways, living in an area with no public transportation despite being frequently unable to drive, and cannot afford housing on her own. Over the first half of the story it becomes increasingly apparent that the girlfriend is emotionally abusive, frequently cancelling plans with the protagonist in favor of other friends or datemates, and never cancelling in favor of the protagonist, lying to the protagonist about all sorts of things, making promises she never intends to keep, and, several times throughout the story, begging the protagonist to promise to never leave her shortly before confessing to gradually worse and worse atrocities. Throughout the same time the sex scenes gradually become less and less consensual, culminating with the protagonist physically shoving her girlfriend off her, after which her girlfriend claims she didn't realize the protagonist wasn't into it.  Up until this point the girlfriend had been employed and the protagonist had not, instead living off of her savings. Shortly after, this dynamic switches, with no reason given, and the protagonist slowly begins to make friends at her new work. She spends more and more time away from the house, which enrages her girlfriend, and eventually begins dating another girl at her work. This relationship is much healthier and allows her to realize her existing relationship is abusive, and she begins the tedious work of figuring out how to move out of her and her girlfriends shared house. At the end of the story she lives in a small apartment alone in a city, still dating the girl from work, though it's now long-distance, and has friends and other datemates in her new city.


Heart Responses

Watchmaker's Heart is considered the genre-ending book in the "creative angst" category. 

The krissan are delighted by this! They end up pretty enthusiastically curious about Skies and Earths and everything like that, with some people trying to compare the system to traditional personality archetypes. (Someone notes that personality archetypes have fallen out of favor as an concept, though it seems some people still like them, and they're a pretty major focus for historical analysis.) (They don't seem to think it's very angsty, mostly just romantic.)

'Profitable' is a bizarre concern to have, and the krissan get distracted figuring out what an economy even is. (The resulting discussion does get quarantined to a single thread but isn't labeled a Dumb Argument, since "economies sound like they'd be bad on our planet" is uncontroversial, as is "but if they work on alien planets, cool.") They also really like watches and clocks and preserving historical skills, that seems like the type of thing it'd be pretty easy to get a settlement to support you doing even if you couldn't help with practical stuff.

And people feel so sad for Violet. 'She enjoys serving others' is obviously a given, but there's a lot of fan works about Violet getting to spend less time at her job while still being supported by her community (no one seems to understand how jobs actually work) and then making art and telling stories in a way that usually dovetails well with Amethyst's work but sometimes is more a soapbox for the creator's favorite artistic medium.

Also the idea of things being inherently proper or correct is fascinatingly bizarre? The krissan have so many philosophical debate spinoffs about the ideas raised in the story.

And the idea of Keeper and Kept is so romantic! There's a brief fad of Entwined posting pictures of similar-concept necklaces they made for themselves in response (Entwined definitely seems to imply a similar intense romantic relationship, though held to be inherently equal, but also some of the Entwined look related to each other, which depending on the aliens reading may or may not be confusing).

Also the publicly distributed versions pretty much just the one with the sex scenes, the krissan are kind of confused about why anyone would make a version without those. (This is such good erotica. The krissan naturally respond with sadism/ masochism rewrites among their many fan works - they seem to feel that makes the emotional journey much more intense.)

Also fanart. Someone produces a conversion of the novel into a long and beautifully illustrated and hand lettered comic - apparently the panels were literally painted, by the comments about difficulties getting it scanned in properly - and posts both the krissan language blob version and the original language version.


A working group has been put together to curate a collection of some the Union's most significant or impressive works. These are some of the selections they've made for fiction. (The form of the submission is a box containing paper books, naturally.) Excepting the book of lies, all are certified for accuracy*.

A fantasy novel in which people have physical 'souls' which record their memories, instincts, and parts of their personalities. Moreover, it is possible to 'eat' the soul of a dead person and gain some of their memories and instincts. Since this is transitive, and most souls are eaten after death, some small part of most people lives on for hundreds or thousands of years after their death, although transmission is lossy. The story who follows a young monk and his life in a monastery (which is equal parts academic and spiritual). One day, returning from an errand, he discovers that the entire monastery has been slaughtered by an errant monster. Alarmed, he hastily eats as many of the souls of the dead that he can before they expire, almost one hundred in total. This is many more than most people ever consume, and for the rest of the story he is afflicted by mysterious visions and impulses. In the aftermath of the massacre, he travels to the nearest military outpost to report the attack, only to discover that they too have been overrun. Soon learning that a large group of monsters have penetrated civilization's defensive lines and are now heading inwards, towards populated areas, he sets off for the nearby large city to warn them. Along the way, the intuition borne of the souls he consumed helps him narrowly avert disaster several times, and he comes to trust it. After reaching the city, he helps organize its defense, and distinguishes himself. After the crisis is resolved, he is recognized as an exceptionally wise and resourceful leader, and accepts a position on the city's ruling council.

A memoir written by a woman who grew up as a member of one of the last isolated primitive tribes of the great river forest. When she is a young woman, a group of Hadarite missionaries arrive, bearing gifts. Once they learn the language, they tell stories of faraway lands, vast cities, great wealth, and an incredible amount of knowledge about the natural world. Most of her tribe is skeptical, but she, ever curious, listens to them with rapt attention. After a year, they depart. She chooses to accompany them to the city, leaving her old life and family behind. Over the next several years, she attends a school, and learns a great number of things---the knowledge of more than a thousand years of civilization—very, very fast. The book describes in detail her thoughts and inner experience, and what it was like for her life and view of the world change so much so quickly. She seems to have found it both overwhelming and exhilarating. During her time in the city, she also comes to grips with an entirely foreign culture, and the book recounts various stories of misunderstandings or confusions on her part or on the part of others, not used to people with her background. These events are not only humorous, but also offer a deep look into both cultures, and the unstated assumptions and beliefs that underlie them. (This book is popular in the Union for its rare perspective on Hadarite culture, and the curators expect that, for similar reasons, it will be useful to help other worlds understand that culture.) The increased comfort and security available to her in her new life is also a significant change, although she seems to find this less important than what she's learning. After studying for several years, she returns home to visit. After so long, and dressed in foreign clothing, they do not recognize her at first. When they do, they welcome her back, and ask her about her travels. She struggles to recount the most magnificent things she's seen or learned, but finds it difficult to communicate why they mean so much to her when her audience lacks the background knowledge to understand. In her time away, she has grown accustomed to Hadarite culture, and must make an effort to remember what it was like to be so different, to know so little. Realizing that she cannot go back to the life she once had, she departs for good. It is a bittersweet farewell. She returns to the city, begins a career as a biologist, and (as described by the afterword) eventually makes several significant discoveries and is acclaimed as one of the greatest minds of her era.

This book isn't fiction, precisely, but it's definitely not nonfiction either. The most common religion on Olam, called Hadar, is centrally about truth. A fringe sect (allegedly) believes that the best way to learn truth is to be exposed to lies—the trickier the better—examine them, and learn from them how to overcome illusions. This book, written by a member of that sect, is one of the most acclaimed examples of what are known as 'books of lies'. Not everything is a lie, of course, or else you would be able to reverse them and consistently discover what the author really thinks. Instead, the book is a careful mixture of truths and falsehoods, some more obvious than others. It combines various arguments about philosophy, psychology, sociology, and history into a strangely persuasive theory of everything. This book is clearly labeled as not-reliably-true, and the included advice recommends reading this carefully, treating it as a challenge to discern which parts of it are true and which are false, and avoiding drawing any strong conclusions from the text, even if you're pretty sure you've got it right. The curators have included an 'answer sheet', containing the priesthood's best judgments about which parts are true and where the deceptions lie (although it is strongly cautioned that they could have missed something). It is strongly recommended not to distribute these answers, except to a small group of sanity-checkers who will be in a position to notice if your extra-dimensional civilization has a special vulnerability to any of the deceptions contained herein. If used in accordance with the provided instructions, the curators expect this book to be much more valuable as a learning exercise than it is dangerous.

(There are other books of lies, designed to be deceptive taking into account that you expect to be deceived, those are much more dangerous and the curators thought it best not to send any to other worlds just yet.)

A book of post-post-apocalyptic speculative fiction (set on Olam) in which, in the aftermath of an improbably dangerous plague that killed most of the population, the survivors rebuild civilization. It follows seven characters from all around the world, of various ages, genders, and social roles, over a period of several decades. In this period, substantial recovery and reconstruction takes place, and isolated lands come back into contact with one another. Many decades of separation—and varying consequences of and reactions to the plague and its aftermath—cause the already distinct cultures of these various lands to diverge further. When characters from these separate populations meet, they are struck by the differences between them, and seek to understand each other and draw together despite those differences. The book focuses most on its examination of the cultural and economic consequences of the plague, and contains several appendixes detailing the timeline of events, how the economic and cultural conditions changed over time, and why they changed in those ways. The plot, in comparison, is rather straightforward and unsurprising.

*'Accuracy' in this context, seems to be related to how safe it is to draw conclusions about the world from a work. In the case of fiction, it mainly has to do if the work's implicit or explicit models of psychology, sociology, economics, biology, etc. are accurate.


Grayliens Responses

A realistic mystery novel for adults involving the murder of one member of a company's internal policies board...

There is also a version of the above novel that's intended for younger readers...

The mystery novel is pretty interesting, though doesn't attract a wide fandom. The readership it does attract are split between 'write further mystery fanfic' and 'write Serial Killers Are Sexy fanfic' (that often reimagines the killer as a famous real or fictional krissan serial killer). Having a separate version for younger readers is honestly very bizarre and mostly provokes bafflement.

(Also, nearly no krissan livebloggers guess that the first suspect has been framed, and a lot guess that if it wasn't a serial killer it was an argument gone wrong.)


A nonrealistic fantasy culture-clash novel for all ages about two species, both somewhat distinct from grayliens, where one group is obligate carnivores and the other herbivores...

The inevitable erotica many krissan produce about this novel would probably horrify most censorship committees. (Obviously, the krissan would argue, if you're writing about carnivores and herbivores, the resulting cannibalism kink basically writes itself.) The moderators at least seem to realize they should quarantine this particular strain of fandom to its own thread.

They're in general delighted, though, and the psychological and culture clash and diplomatic elements are wildly popular. They produce fanart and fanfic that isn't extremely kinky, even about who should kiss whom, and about potential divergences in the story (one fanfic where the negotiations are interrupted by an alien invasion who kidnap the ambassador and host gets popular and spawns a number of spinoffs of its own).


A semirealistic trilogy of novels for all ages taking place in a prehistoric setting, with the first one being about a pair of protagonists fleeing their original pride...

The first debate about this one is actually translation. 'Pride' and 'housemates' would both translate as 'pod,' and while there's a lot of words that mean 'pod,' none of them have the negative connotations 'pride' does. Eventually a general consensus emerged that 'housemates' should be translated as 'pod' and vice versa, and 'pride' should be a loan word with 'very controlling pod' as the definition. (The krissan at no point question groups of multiple adults living and working together being the default way of organizing society.)

(They also have a debate about the pronouns. The krissan don't use pronouns and find them hard to interface with, so plot-relevant pronouns are also a translation headache since they can't just be removed. Eventually they decide to just change the referral-noun being used by the maned protagonist, and someone adds notes about what they think the social roles are to the communally annotated version. (The krissan don't have gender so no one thinks to make that comparison.))

On the actual plot: the romance and childcare focus is really popular! There's so much fanart of the kids, and a lot of fanfic focuses on the children or on next generation stuff. The general consensus is also that the romances are very sweet and well written, and most of the shippy fan works keep to that same sweet tone. 

(Also coining and replacing words in a single generation sounds pretty normal, it's interesting that that would be unlikely for the grayliens though.)


Grapeverse Responses 2

The grapeverse is collectively SO CHARMED by all of these reactions and fanworks. So charmed. 

The krissan are charmed by the grapeverse being charmed, so there! (This response greatly encourages more fan works, of course.)

Clarification: the grapeverse mostly does not have healing magic...

Awwww. (Well, if going to alien worlds is possible and it's a thing about the world, the krissan are very good at just having a different personality now? But that might not work too.)

Also, the fan theory that the central six characters of that duology are dating is probably a cultural gap about the definitions of dating...

This is really interesting! (Someone comments that facts have never stopped fan theories, which gets a lot of amused and 'yeah that's true' responses from the fan theorists.) Also the extra fan work is very good and definitely feeds the fandom. (...It's possible they don't have a real canon/ fan work distinction, actually, the fan work is being treated as a canon in its own right, as are many of the popular krissan fan works.)


A song for children about a young Joey who is implanted with a lover (executive-function-boosting symbiote, the more or less literal backbone of Iie*an society) and immediately sets out to adventure, leaving his dozen or so fathers behind, because he's desperate to do something interesting, not just make art and have fun. Unfortunately, he is not very well suited to adventure; fortunately(?), he's self-deluded enough that he manages to convince himself at every turn that whatever disaster has just ensued is what he wanted. He loses his possessions fairly early, but reasons that he wanted to experience the world on his own merits. He makes several friends and drives them away with his terrible luck and inability to own up to mistakes, but convinces himself that they were the cause of whatever disaster latest befell him. Eventually, he falls in battle against a shark he had convinced himself was threatening a nearby village, which is actually a farmer's beloved pet; he goes to his grave convinced that he is a hero dying before his time, and when the spirits of the deeps show him his life and ask his regrets before letting him drift out of reality, he cheerfully claims none. The spirits state that he is the only man who has ever died happy, and that on balance, more people should lie to themselves if they want to enjoy life.

A lightly annotated collection of poems by a fry afflicted by a terminal illness which meant he would not live long enough to be implanted with a lover, and chose to spend his brief existence writing about what life meant to him. It's stylistically shaky, not as polished as one might expect from a professional, but it's certainly more than might be expected of a six-to-ten-year-old equivalent. His tone shifts almost schizophrenically between bitter sarcasm and raw fear-anger-suffering and appreciating small joys in life, not only between individual poems but between stanzas or lines within the same poem. One of the better-regarded poems swings wildly between apologizing to his fathers for bringing them pain and railing against them for not smashing his eggsac with a rock when they realized the suffering he would experience. The poems deteriorate stylistically as his health declines, until his final poem, which he transcribed through a Morse code equivalent after seizures had taken his speech and motor function: i am filled with words i cannot say i fear the end no end my pain is not your pain beloved fathers love me let me leave you

A book centered around the internecine drama of a family of Joeys that really shouldn't be raising a child together! Some of the fathers aren't even speaking to each other, though they present a unified front to the outside world. As their fry grows, the fathers' relationships break down further, and the kid grows up faster than he should; he ends up climactically yelling at them for a while and going off to live on his own until he's old enough to get his lover. (This is seen as incredibly impressive; apparently the executive dysfunction treated by the implantation of a lover is normally so crippling that a Joey without one should not expect to be able to get out of bed most days without the help of his fathers.)

A fanfictional sequel to that last book, submitted significantly after the other works came through the pipeline, which has found significantly more success in the wider universe than among the Joeys themselves. In this one, picking up a few months after the boy left, we see that "living on his own" turned out to be kind of a very bad mistake. He is in many ways more unhappy than he was back at home, though in some ways he appreciates his newfound freedom; it's just not enough to make him eat consistently. He is propped up to a limited extent by the wider community, but only enough that he's surviving, not enough that he's happy; after a few tearful breakdowns, he decides to run off into the mainland, where he can starve and no longer inconvenience anyone. However, he's found by a wight (glossed in the annotations as "a grown-up Joey who lost or never got his lover and turned into a monster about it"), who initially considers eating him but eventually decides against it. The wight decides to take him in and feed him in the expectation that he will grow up to be the wight's mate. The Joey is conflicted about this, because on the one hand, it's very nice being taken care of by someone who isn't one of his dysfunctional fathers, but on the other hand, he's still got a lot of "wights are scary monsters" built up in his head from when he was in Joey society, and he's not sure he wants to be a scary monster. By the climax, he's almost to the point of metamorphosis when a rescue party finds him while the wight is hunting and brings him back to the village. He lets them implant him with a lover, mostly on inertia rather than because he wants it. Then there's a lot of internal turmoil mediated by the lover's calming presence, which eventually resolves with him seeking out his wight friend in the hopes that they can still find a way to be together even though he'll never be a wight like him.


The collected best-of-[mythos/extended universe/fandom] from a setting where men have emotion-powered magic and women have ritual magic and hermaphrodites can combine the power of both and therefore rule with an iron fist. The protagonists variously foment revolution, fall in love with their hermaphrodite masters, die in heroic sacrifices, have eight children, learn to control their magical powers, work through trauma, and struggle with the implications of unethical orders. Also all of this is going on IN SPACE! The collection features works by lots of different authors, some anonymous. It includes an eight-season TV show, two separate novel series (one of which forks into three more series halfway through), a few dozen short stories, a book of recipes using fantastical ingredients and cooking methods, a handful of porn films depicting canon-compliant sex scenes among the protagonists, and a reified version of a board game that appears briefly in one scene of the TV show.

An ancient epic poem describing the awesome deeds of a female folk hero. She is born with a full head of braided hair, never cries, suckles from a large predator after it eats her parents, is adopted by peasants, and speaks in full sentences before her first birthday. Some middle parts of the poem are lost, but it picks back up with the heroine weaving impossibly complex patterns, cleverly deceiving an invading army into harvesting her family's crops and then leaving peacefully, marrying a prince, having an intimate and ambiguously sexual friendship with the prince's female cousin who lives with them, inventing the mirror, detecting and exiling a thief, smothering her deformed newborn, negotiating a treaty with a neighboring tribe, and dispensing miscellaneous wisdom in her old age.

A series of essays between two policy-makers, arguing back and forth about whether suicide by being fed to large predators is (a) awesome, exciting, and a great way to ethically allow zoo animals the occasional hunt, or (b) selfish, because someone who's willing to choose a scary and painful suicide method should instead volunteer for risky disaster relief missions until one kills them. The victory ends up going to (b), and the book concludes with the text of a law denying government funding to zoos which enable suicide-by-large-animal.


(They've been getting a remarkable amount, both in submissions and in responses to their submissions - and the computers and theater screens they've distributed to assorted festival cities aren't really keeping up with the demand. Beloved insisted on a committee to create analogous technology and format conversion methods as soon as they realized exactly how much of the rest of the multiverse uses digital media.)


So, very shortly after the submission from Carolingia, a banner pops up at the top of the submission inbox - 

The krissan are now encouraging digital submissions! Submissions need to be converted to local formats before full release, though, so responses might be delayed. The krissan are capable of doing format conversions, but if submitters are interested in preemptively converting submissions, the technological specs and conversion processes are here.*

All digitabl submissions are welcome (though see the specs document for potential issues). Currently 'porn'^ and music are very popular, though the krissan have not received many examples of what can be done with digital mediums, and would like to explore more. 

There's some further notes apologizing for the delays in responses; they're hoping to streamline the process a bit more going forward, but are still developing an 'internet' solution that works for their technological base without requiring new industries or massive imports.


*The linked document details what appears to be a vat-grown brain**, with an output consisting of a thin membrane the brain connects to and displays images*** on as well as assorted vocal membranes, and an input mechanism consisting of the membrane itself, light sensors, and long sensitive tentacles that work kind of like keyboards plus mice if you ignore the 'being tentacles' part and if computer mice could respond to their current location in three-dimensional space, and if either could discern the feeling of skin or common glove materials accurately. The tentacles can't yet understand the entirety of touch-language but there's some highly simplified commands they can take! 

**It was developed from existing research into forking and modifying simple animals, as well as existing work on integrating biological modifications into the brain's body-map, and into creating a direct brain-to-art interface. (It doesn't have internal experiences, the document helpfully reassures readers.)

***The images are currently very different from and not as crisp as those on the computer screens they were given, so this medium might still struggle with anything that heavily relies on a specific appearance.**** The brains currently are also prone to spontaneously adjusting the images based on conditions around them and the viewer and what else they've shown recently; if aliens care about artistic specificity they should possibly note that and hold off on digital submissions until newer versions are developed.

****The Committee on Digital Conversion would really appreciate media that is likely to challenge the technology's ability to interact with it, if the artists don't mind the inevitable mangling!

(The conversion process is currently noted as needlessly complicated, since they're having trouble with just giving the thing eyes and ears, especially integrated with a memory and an ability to exactly repeat specific things it sensed earlier, and especially with no tendency to overwrite past desireable-to-access memories.)


^This is a loan word from Carolingia.


A novel about a young girl who has to come to terms with the years long horrific crime spree she engaged in while being raised by a small gang who committed similarly depraved acts. The novel starts after she has been separated from her 'family' and largely doesn't onscreen any gruesome acts. She starts off reveling in her violent activities but as she makes friends she begins to find ways to relate to people that aren't gruesome torture based. For much of this process she avoiding thinking about her past, feeling empathy for her new friends but not her past victims. In the climax of the novel she slips up and torturously near murders a new friend's brother after he upsets her friend. Realizing what she did, and how she can't deny how her past led to her present, she breaks down realizing that her previous victims were no different from the people she's grown to love and care for. She runs away from her new home, only to realize that she can't avoid her problems - returning to try to be better.


At the end of the novel a section provides discussion questions for grade school teachers to go over with their students.


The video game "Open Body Exploration" - a multiplayer open world game with detailed sandbox torture simulation. The computers to run it are unaffordable for most Faylien consumers but they will send over a few for the Krissians to play with. 


Ooh, if the krissan have computers (ish) now, the author of that work of grapeverse interactive fiction that's been going around can grab a few more fans and get this thing converted for distribution here! The, uh, hardware involved is a little... interesting, but the team working on the conversion is mostly excited about the challenge rather than concerned about the difficulty. And the fact that the interactive fiction is made essentially of words rather than pictures means that mangling the details of visual output won't matter much, though mangling the details of the interactive behaviours will, uh. Well it might lead to some unintended narrative experiences.

The team is already preparing to release the next version when they send the first version over, because they bet the rate of unintended narrative experiences is going to be higher than the author would like, but that first version comes out pretty soon after the krissan announcement.

In the game itself, the player's character appears wandering in a starlit desert with no memory of where they came from or how they got here. After finding and exploring a nearby ruin, you eventually stumble upon a talking statue of a beautiful winged person, and although the statue is very shy at first, eventually you can coax enough information out of them to realize that they're some sort of powerful magical being who has been horribly abused by people using them for personal gain. You, too, can horribly abuse them and use them for personal gain; or you can use them for personal gain in less gratuitously awful ways that they still pretty clearly find traumatizing; or you can try to befriend them; or you can try to befriend them but in a sex way; or you can ignore them and try to figure out a way to escape the mysterious magical ruins by yourself. The descriptions of the statue's reactions to trauma are uncompromisingly realistic; the descriptions of the statue's reactions to genuine friendship and love are heartbreakingly sweet. The story has multiple possible endings, depending on your relationship with the statue and on whether you choose to escape the mysterious ruin or not, plus the implicit non-ending of simply never deciding to take an ending option; it is only possible to remove the statue from the ruins by force or with maximum trust levels, and if you do it by force the statue crumbles to dust as soon as they cross the outer wall.


A crossover fantasy series about a group of 64 young adults from a wide array of settings who wake up in a sapient, magical library-slash-academy and are trapped there. The characters each bring some form of magic or powers from their respective worlds. They are tasked with surviving for four years so they can "graduate" and return to their respective worlds with new and more powerful magic. The academy itself is hostile, and produces a variety of threats both environmental and active each year. However, the primary challenge is the end-of-year exams, which test the students on magical knowledge (in particular, each other's magic systems,) and which pass only the top 50% of the class each year; the bottom half are turned into books by the library. Dead students are treated as having gotten a score of 0, so students are incentivized to kill each other to increase their chances of passing each exam. The magics brought by the various characters are not at all balanced against each other, and the characters also vary greatly in competence, but beyond these factors, it is difficult to tell which characters will die or fail and which will survive; some characters get more screentime than others but there are no clear primary protagonists. A fair amount of sex is implied but it occurs offscreen, and pairbonding is not a focus; everyone is too busy not dying. Death-school-magic-system-analysis-many-setting-crossover-fantasy is a popular enough combination of tropes to constitute its own genre. This series is an exemplar due to the variety of novel magic-and-power-classification systems studied and invented by the characters, a few of which are groundbreaking by Auderan standards and many of which are refinements of popular classification systems, and which have since entered common usage. The settings and characters involved are not actually from other works; the team of authors who worked on this series took great pride in its originality and scope, and there's a perceptible aesthetic that holds across the diverse settings. There are numerous appendices expounding on the settings and their magic systems. At the end of each novel, this information is included for all of the characters who have died, to minimize spoilers in the intended reading experience.

An AU series of the aforementioned death school books where the characters attend a much kinder multiversal institution which lets them gradually learn each other's magics, including many of the noncontagious ones, and after graduation releases them be free to uplift their worlds in exchange for contributing original research. There are still some stakes, as it is possible for a student to drop out early with insufficient magic to solve all the problems they want to solve at home and no ability to visit their friends, but there's much more breathing room for love and pairbonding. In particular, several fan favorites who died early in the original series get a lot more development, and a prominent pair who led opposing factions in the later books of the original end up pairbonded. A lot of the words are straightforwardly indulgent descriptions of precious precious characters bantering and flirting and being happy together and having fun together and making each other happy like they clearly deserve. However, there is still no explicit description of anything more intense than cuddling despite their sex lives not being implied to be dead offscreen. Also, despite all the sunshine and roses, a few of the students are still egregiously terrible people, and prominent plot in the second book involves a faction of students conspiring to sabotage their experimental results so that they drop out early instead of gaining enough power to take over their homeworlds. There's a lot more tangled-up mixing of magics, analysis of their interactions in edge cases, and characters using multiple magic systems together than in the original series. Many details of magic systems previously relegated to appendices are instead discovered organically through diligent experimentation. Due to the greater focus on magical academics, characters helping each other succeed despite severe executive dysfunction is a prominent theme. The series culminates in the fourth year with a few students designing a communicable near-omnipotent powerset by jailbreaking a few key magics with other magic systems that are able to bypass their limitations. The graduating class adopts this powerset and is implied to have an easy time uplifting their own worlds, while the characters who dropped out with less power are left as further spinoff-bait.

A selection of the most popular erotic fanfiction of these series. Fanfiction set in the first version of the death school tends to have sadistic-exploitation, rapey, desperate-comfort, and desperate-indifferent sex. There is little in the way of explicit consent. Fanfiction set in the AU version tends to have more comfy sex, and a few characters ask for consent explicitly before their first time together, if not thereafter. There is also some crossover fanfiction between the universes which tends to take one of two forms: either a more amoral and hostile character from the original series defiles an innocent cozy character from the AU, or a powerful, kind, and safe character from the AU rescues a character from the original series and helps them learn to feel good and be happy during sex again. The sex tends to occur without any preamble, often while one participant is working on something else, or with a focus on the pleasure of only one participant. There is also a lot of casual groping. In some cases the characters in question are alts of the same character. In none of the fanfiction sent over does a character who is pairbonded in either series have sex with someone other than their partner.

A fantasy novel about a young wizard who steals a fallen star and embarks on a journey to return it to the sky. The protagonist is targeted by the setting's magocracy, who want to get the star back and exploit it for its magical properties. The protagonist's primary character traits are his curiosity, impulsiveness, and creativity. The star is sapient, and is depicted as naive, intelligent, alien, and adorable. The deuteragonist is a girl who has run away from a family of genetically modified mercenaries with superhuman physical abilities but drastically shortened lifespans. She joins the protagonist and the star on their journey and lends them her acute tactical intellect, her abilities in combat, and her well-honed paranoia. The deuteragonist never expresses vulnerability in an obvious way, but there is a lot of adorable cuddling and casual handholding. The featured magic system centers around sacrificing knowledge to evoke magical effects: to perform magic, a wizard focus on some area of their understanding of the world and figuratively "burns" it to power the effect. Efficiency of knowledge use scales with specificity, accuracy, and relevance of the knowledge used. Overdrawing on knowledge is easy and potentially disastrous, as it can not only undo years of study, but in extreme cases erase fundamental intuitions about the world that can't be easily relearned, such as a wizard's instinctive understanding of heat or gravity. This is played for horror, and depicted as one of the most awful things that can happen to a person ever. A central element of the setting is that anyone at all with significant scientific knowledge can perform magic, potentially to great destructive effect, and so the magocracy has outlawed literacy and study of the natural world among the populace. The novel ends with somewhat abruptly with the main characters overthrowing the magocracy. The characters dealing with the resulting chaos, implementing a better way to deal with the dangers of magic, studying sufficient astrophysics to return the star to the sky, and studying sufficient biology to save the deuteragonist from dying in her 30s is implied to be the plot of one or more sequels. This novel is notable for having been written by a particularly young author, whose style is a bit unrefined in a way that many Auderan readers find refreshing. It's also an example of a work with less heavy magicbuilding.
A series of relatively short novels about magical girls whose powers each revolve around conjuring and manipulating some class of ordinary manufactured objects, and who must fight monsters that appear in extradimensional fake nightmares to survive. The protagonist's powers are themed around measuring instruments. Her conjures aren't very scary in combat, but each magical girl has a mental power as well, and hers is highly potent: anything she can perceive with her senses, she can perceive with absolute precision, and she can also move her body with perfect precision and imagine distances and motion in space with precision. Early in the story, she is mentored by a magical girl who can conjure springs in arbitrary states of compression or tension. Before meeting the main character, she had been acting conservatively and laying low, but she takes on more monster fights to support the protagonist, as magical girls depend on dream marbles dropped by the monsters for sustenance. In the third chapter of the first book, she dies, and this spurs the main character on to be more self-reliant and agentic despite her offensively weak powers. Besides the necessary conflict with the nightmare monsters, there is a lot of conflict and combat between magical girls over hunting territory and the limited supply of dream marbles. There are around 20 magical girls who are introduced at various points with interesting powers. The most prominent characters besides the protagonist are a sadistic cleaning supplies-themed magical girl who fights with devastating gases and corrosive industrial cleaning agents, a happy-go-lucky balloon-themed magical girl who can conjure arbitrarily pressurized balloons which create pressure explosions, and a recordings-themed magical girl who acts as a mastermind and foil to the protagonist due to her similarly potent mental power. The second book revolves around a conflict with the sadistic cleaning supplies girl, and by the end the protagonist wins her over by outsmarting her in their cat-and-mouse game and begins to pairbond-date her. The third book revolves around the two of them taking care of and training the balloon-themed magical girl, whose power initially appears useless; there are clear parallels with the beginning of the first book. The fourth book is implied to escalate the conflict between the protagonist's party and the recordings girl mastermind, who has been exploiting other magical girls for dream marbles, but it hasn't been released yet. 

A fantasy tabletop RPG that's widely popular on Auder. Much of its appeal among Auderans comes from its organic exploitability and imperfect balance: the first version was written by a bright, extremely passionate 12-year-old, and the currently most popular version uses the same mechanics but has been edited by an adult to resolve ambiguities and patch only the most gamebreaking exploits. There are three core books, but a few other books have been officially released with additional player options, spells, and monsters. Currently there are around 500 spells total. The game uses a character archetype system as is common among such RPGs, with archetypes for studied-wizards, innate-sorcerers, pacted-diabolists, inspiring-paladins, practiced-spellblades, minstrel-enchanters, naturalist-biomancers, and inventor-artificers, as well as numerous subarchetypes, playable species, and other character options.

A series of setting books for the aforementioned TTRPG, written by adult professional bottom-up worldbuilding specialists based on the mechanics of the magic in the game. They depict a setting that is modern and globalized despite a low technology level and a low percentage of the population using magic. The setting achieves this by leveraging magic intended by the original designer to be dungeoneeringmagic, dungeoncrafting magic, and adventuringmagic as potent economicmagic. For example: city-states in the setting use a spell which enchants objects to repeat recorded messages in response to a trigger for computation and long-distance communication; trade guilds use an extradimensional storage item, an extradimensional-mansion-creating spell, and a party-teleportation spell in combination to move massive quantities of goods and people between cities; and the construction industry uses a dispellable stone-to-mud spell intended to be used as crowd control in dungeons as magical concrete. There are hundreds of little tidbits about uses of magic that influence the world's industries, geopolitics, and cultures. It's extremely popular for the sheer number of things that are used in ways due to the diligently bottom-up worldbuilding, which lends the setting a feeling of interconnectedness and not-easily-compressible detail that some Auderans compare to the wonder of the modern world.


One of the earliest stories of the nations of (what is now) the Global Alliance, written down before contact with their extraterrestrial benefactors. It is an epic poem in three parts. Part one follows a capricious river-goddess as she alternately provides for and torments the people of the villages along her banks. In one of her rages, she pulls a town metalworker down beneath the water and he nearly drowns; in the next, she is depicted as pregnant; in her next calm period, she gives the baby to the metalworker she had nearly drowned.

(Without cultural context, readers may or may not put together that “pulling the metalworker under the water” was tasteful concealment of a rape scene.)

The second piece of the epic jumps ahead to when the metalworker’s baby has grown into a young girl. He has just passed away from smallpox and she is crying over his dead body. Desperate for any way to bring her father back, she consults with the town elders, who eventually reveal to her a route to the land of the dead. They warn her that the journey will be dangerous, but she presses on. The girl kills monsters on her journey to the underworld; annotations mention that different versions of the epic include different fantasy creatures here, and it is traditional for new adaptations to add their own. At the climax of the second part, she has to pick her real father out from two imposters, charismatic shapeshifting monsters who had escaped her on her journey. She figures out which one is her real father by asking trivia questions about metalworking; the monsters are stumped but her father answers correctly. She returns to the village in triumph.

The third part again skips ahead in time; the girl has grown into an adult woman, developed divine powers like her mother’s, started a family of her own, and made journeys up and down the river uniting the villages in an alliance. The alliance is building canals to control the floods and protect themselves from the river-goddess’s rage. Finding herself constrained, the river-goddess tries to assassinate her daughter; all three generations of the family–the metalworker, his daughter, and her children–make their stand against her together. The girl and the goddess have a battle of wills with hydrokinesis, her family backs her up with ordinary weapons, and ultimately they prevail in the fight over the goddess. The defeated goddess repents of her actions and signs a contract with the alliance, promising protection from other gods and monsters in exchange for the alliance’s correct ritual practice and sacrifice. An epilogue of sorts describes the growth of the alliance over the next few generations, with them accumulating wealth, building cities, and educating their children, all thanks to the actions of their heroes, who saved them from the whims of capricious nature.

A classic novel controversial in its day. It is set in a period when humanity’s alien benefactors had pulled back a little, out of fear of humanity wiping itself out with their technology. The protagonist is an aspiring politician, in a country whose government is considered too repressive to get to trade with the aliens directly, though of course a rising tide lifts all boats. He hopes to rise through the ranks, reform his government to fit the aliens’ standards, and bring new prosperity to his country. The novel flips between detailing his progress on the campaign trail and a relationship he is conducting with a woman through correspondence, falling in love with her without ever seeing her face. He finally meets his girlfriend and finds out that she is an infamous anti-government terrorist–one of the youngest of a group that carried out several brutal attacks during a failed rebellion a decade ago, and the only one to successfully escape execution and go into hiding.

He is horrified, but she cries and begs him to give her another chance; she deeply regrets what she did in the war and just wants to stay out of politics now, as reforming the government isn’t worth any more bloodshed. The protagonist grapples with divided loyalties as his campaign advances. He has to choose between his dream of a political career and his girlfriend. In the end, he wins the race, but he never gives his acceptance speech–he has fled the country with his girlfriend to build a new life in a new place. An epilogue, a decade later, shows the protagonist and his wife reading news of their old country, which has reformed enough to resume trade with the aliens; they are hopeful that someday they will be able to return and show their children their old home.

(Cultural context notes at the end explain that execution is no longer practiced in the modern day, though euthanasia is offered if wanted to those whose crimes were so heinous they must be exiled to an island or imprisoned; while the aliens have relaxed their standards enough to trade with humans who do it, humans’ own moral standards have advanced to the point where any politician who proposed bringing back the death penalty would be voted out.)

rape, transphobia, forced marriage

Porn! It’s a dystopian sci-fi series about a colony on a far-future terraformed Red Planet which has cut off contact with the Global Alliance and its alien benefactors to experiment with more authoritarian forms of government; the cover has prominent “content notes” for “rape, transphobia, and forced marriage”, formatted and positioned as if they might be an advertisement as well as a warning. The framing device is “diaries from a period when the colony had lost certain technologies (or perhaps, it is implied, suppressed them to justify its atrocities)”; the focus is on the loss of genetic testing and assisted reproduction, and its use as a pretext for the government to run its eugenics program by arranging marriages (rather than subsidizing embryo selection) and disincentivize adultery by public flogging* (rather than universal paternity testing).

The first volume of the series follows a trans girl and her high school boyfriend as they come of age and are married off to other partners–the trans girl to several opposite-reproductive-role spouses as her genes are considered beneficial, the boyfriend to a same-reproductive-role spouse as his genes are considered deleterious. The trans girl is denied hormones to preserve her fertility, but granted other transition procedures she requests–electrolysis, breast augmentation, and facial feminization surgery. Sex scenes include “the trans girl is raped by each of her spouses (an older femme couple who were already married to each other, and a butch closer to her age on their first marriage) and taunted about how she’s betraying her beloved boyfriend by coming”, “the boy, who had only ever been dominant in relationships, learning to enjoy submitting to his husband (a man older, stronger, and more masculine than him)”, and “the trans girl and her boyfriend meeting up to fuck in secret, fearful of the consequences if they’re caught but unwilling to let the government split them up”.

*This is treated as dystopian only in that adultery is considered a criminal matter; of course corporal punishment is okay, without it we would have to go back to the bad old days of debt-slavery for petty-criminals who can’t pay their fines and imprisonment or island exile as first options for heinous-criminals!


[Moderator response upon receiving the Global Alliance submission.]

Beloved notes the arrival of a new submission - posts a quick update apologizing for delays in gets the recent responses synced to the multiversal 'net, they've been having some really weird technical difficulties, responses should start coming in and then hopefully being sync'd live soon...


And then they receive the initial content moderator (volunteers who are all of 'fast readers,' 'hard to perturb,' and 'good at predicting and managing other people's reactions') notes about the newest submission from the Global Alliance, and promptly puts their elbows on their desk and buries their head in their hands. 

After a little while spent muttering alien problems are not krissan problems to themself, they speed-read the works in question and then set about responding to notes.

The first is pretty easy - they approve content warnings for 'forced reproduction' and 'forced submission of a personification of nature' (...why is that a preexisting tag - no. Other people's taste is also not Beloved's problem, not going there). The second gets warnings approved for 'intrarelationship conflict' and 'dereliction of duty' for the narrative itself, and 'Reminder: All arguments about alien cultures have to go in Dumb Argument threads' as a warning for the cultural notes. Also nice and easy. 

The third one is the one Beloved facepalmed about. 

They strip out the existing content warnings except as cultural notes about what the aliens find relevant to warn for. It needs so many actual localized warnings, though. 'Forced reproduction,' 'forced non-reproduction,' 'central authority control of reproduction,' 'non-natural control of the genetic profile of newborns,' 'forced relationship (sexual)', 'forced end of relationship (sexual, romantic)', 'denial of sex shift', 'forced sex-phase stasis', 'forced partial sex shift', 'belittlement', and 'cultural-moral monogamy*' (this is a loan word).

They also, in returning the approvals and a few additional suggestions to the small content moderator team responsible for the third work, append:

And maybe also add a 'yes, agree' screen that anyone who clicks into this after reading the content warnings and gets upset about the content warned for is an idiot.

And then they formally approve all three for format conversion and dissemination, as well as the associated central discussion hubs.




......A day later, to the mod team of the third novel: 



But it was funny.


There is a... knobbly, multicoloured, bendy stick in a box? The box looks like obsidian splattered with paint; touching the paint conveys the strong impression that the shapes, colours, and textures being touched in that moment clearly represent this, and altogether work out to a mind-map sort of thing explaining that there is a story, inside the box, and one ought to start considering it from that end, that it was chosen for hopefully bearing meaning across divergent social contexts due to its focus on basic impulses and detailed experience, and apologises for the failure to translate either the technology or the work itself if the symbology is less universal than they hope, and a citation of the work done to [a twisting motion by your lesser tentacle echoed in its greater counterpart].

Touching the stick(?) brings on a full-spectrum hallucinatory experience of being a cephalapodish, underwater, with radially symmetrical eyes and two layers of tentacles. You are alone, an explorer of the far side of the world separated from your fellows by storm and confusion. You move your tentacles through the water for movement and exploration, every sight and touch vividly detailed. You are afraid of something that hangs in the sky, unseen—mostly thoughts about things are not provided, but that one is treated as fact.

You swim through reefs, storms, rocky channels and barren open water, chased or confronted by unrecognisable monsters and some that you... do recognise, right? And at points the narrative splits: you hide in a cave until the waves quiet, you swim long and longer across a monotonous empty sea without failing, you circle a certain distinctive reef four times because finding a route that takes you out entirely—or you don't. In the face of your greatest challenges, little branches sprout where you give up, and sink, and turn your magic in upon yourself to hibernate. The main flow presses on, a journey measured and oriented only by how far above the horizon you dare to peak. Halfway through it reaches its zenith, and you find your courses turn in larger and larger circles.

At the very end... at the very end, you turn to look up at the thing that hangs in the sky and you see what it is and you see what it is and what it is cannot be thought or felt or known.


(...because the person creating this story didn't know it looked like, and were striving for realism, and settled on a gap. They did very well at erasing that overtone! But not perfectly.)

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