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Jul 06, 2022 8:31 PM
carolingian tag-wrangling
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As soon as the news of interdimensional contact comes out, the Church of Truth rolls out a donation drive. They're going to need to triple their servers for the International Archive. At least.

The Church of Truth International Archive hosts out-of-copyright fiction, whistleblower reports, leaked government files, declassified documents, scientific papers, and everything anyone has ever made a serious attempt at censoring. Once, for a very memorable twelve minutes, it had nuclear launch codes on its homepage, before the head theologian was defeated in an extremely rapid duel and some decisions were -- controversially -- rolled back.

They're scaling up as fast as they can, but it'll be a little while before CoTIA can host everything from other worlds that they'd like to have. In the meantime, they're taking submissions. Scientific papers go without saying, of course, those get first priority -- but they can take some fiction, too. Whatever people would like to send them. Banned books especially encouraged.

In addition to the donation drive, they've been calling for more volunteer tag-wranglers. CoTIA is pretty sure they're going to need all they can get.

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Banned books aren’t too common, but they have some! Not so much fiction, though.


A treatise that appears to be passionately arguing that people who don’t like arguing don’t have a mental illness. The fact that some people might think that is considered extremely obvious. It’s noted to have been very controversial, and one of the first modern anti-discriminatory arguments, written around four hundred years ago.

 

 

A collection of official treaties and documents detailing an agreement between 264 hives, agreeing for favorable trading treaties, shared-science knowledge, and common ethical laws. The reason for the censorship is the included law against all slavery as an “ethical abomination, and all who are complicit should feel the strongest self-betrayal.”

Shockingly, some people didn’t take well to being told to free their slaves, and took even less well to being told they were terrible people!

 

A slightly complicated political novel, classified as “short,” with only 70,000 words and three subplots. In this one, one of the hives is secretly preparing to wage war on both hives and framing it on the other, and is thwarted when one of the ambassadors has a crisis of faith, which is detailed in full. She defects, tells the others about the evil plans, and gets lots of cuddles with her new friends.

Apparently this was banned in a few places for encouraging defection, presumably because readers in those hives would realize that they should definitely do that due to all of the evil?

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The grapeverse does not have any banned books but here's a selection of what they've been sending to other worlds:

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.


A work of interactive fiction, presented in three separate versions:

In the original, 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.

In the version produced for the Teachingsphere, it's still possible to take some of the same actions from the abusive paths, with some of the same responses; but the narrative has been reshaped so that, instead of forming fully viable narrative paths with their own endings, those actions are woven into the rest of the game as mistakes you can make that hurt the statue and damage their trust in you, and which you cannot repeat because the statue loses trust in you much faster. If you try your very best to do as many upsetting things as possible, the statue will stop talking to you and eventually hide where you can't find them again for the rest of that playthrough. It's possible to make quite a few mistakes all in the same playthrough if you apologize and promise to do better and successfully maintain a record of good behaviour for longer and longer each time, but if you keep backsliding, the statue gets fed up eventually and disappears all the same. The possible paths are now 'ignore', 'befriend', 'sexy befriend', and 'upset the statue until they disappear'.

There's also a third version that's based on the first but with all of the sexual content edited out and/or smoothly converted into nonsexual content, presented more for completeness's sake than anything because it isn't really doing anything artistically novel compared with the original.

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A treatise that appears to be passionately arguing that people who don’t like arguing don’t have a mental illness. The fact that some people might think that is considered extremely obvious. It’s noted to have been very controversial, and one of the first modern anti-discriminatory arguments, written around four hundred years ago.

#nonfiction #popular science #historical sexism #philosophy #weird taxonomies #written like a winner #outdated medical information #i think #seriously i don't get the taxonomy here

A collection of official treaties and documents detailing an agreement between 264 hives, agreeing for favorable trading treaties, shared-science knowledge, and common ethical laws. The reason for the censorship is the included law against all slavery as an “ethical abomination, and all who are complicit should feel the strongest self-betrayal.”

#nonfiction #contracts and treaties #banned books #information wants to be free #collected #unintentionally kinky content #came for the shared science came to the slavery

A slightly complicated political novel, classified as “short,” with only 70,000 words and three subplots. In this one, one of the hives is secretly preparing to wage war on both hives and framing it on the other, and is thwarted when one of the ambassadors has a crisis of faith, which is detailed in full. She defects, tells the others about the evil plans, and gets lots of cuddles with her new friends.

#fiction #banned books #political intrigue #girl stuff #hurt/comfort #feelings porn #war tease and denial #happy ending

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Books are seldom banned on a government level on Green, but some books that have been deplatformed one way or another include:

Collected case studies of MAP/child sexual relationships that, for various reasons, the child later looks back on fondly or mixedly; thematic gloss seems to be that maybe the real child abuse was the pathologizing hysteria we made along the way.

A published list of all the discernible allergies of all the members of the city council of a particular Green metropolis, divided into "legal" and "semilegal" and "illegal" categories depending on whether you are allowed to have them in any public place no matter what ("dogs", "the color orange"), can have them by default but might get into trouble if you were obviously targeting someone with them ("a particularly barky dog", "this one genre of music"), and things that you could get arrested for wandering around with whether you were hoping to run into a city council member or not ("objects that are actively on fire").

The incomplete leaked correspondence between old friends on opposite sides of a historical war, exchanging sensitive information usable to derive troop positions and suchlike - one was reporting to their government and giving back information they were authorized to to keep the intelligence coming, and the other was not, just trying to make sure their friend wouldn't be in the war zone.

A children's book wherein the protagonist has many clever ideas for things that are not technically against any rule her parents could reasonably make (or, if such a rule appears, can be swapped out for malicious compliance) but are extremely fucking annoying, to the end that she have leverage to convince her parents to get her a pony.

An overconfident mushrooming guide that will totally get you killed if it is the only mushrooming book you read.

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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.

#fiction #word art #romance #tooth-rottingly sweet #too cute i died #love at first sight #m/f #gender relations

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.

#fiction #infodump: irrigation #girl stuff #in the middle of the infodump #mostly infodump though #magic

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.

#fiction #romance #intentionally kinky #pain porn #fucking porn #implied impreg kink #[alien gender]/f #we need to decide how we're going to standardize that tag #above my pay grade though #infodump: architecture #small cast

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.

#fiction #ficcable setting #boy stuff #badass #big adventure #hurt/comfort #happy endings for everyone

In the original, 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.

Oh no. They're not getting started on hosting video games. Do they look like they have that many servers?

 

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Most governments on Tree don't censor very many things, but many of them do censor some things, and they certainly have a rich history of societies with widely varying speech norms. The majority of what's been banned is non-fiction, but not all of it, and if the Church of Truth wants fiction Tree is happy to provide.

A book, published anonymously around six hundred years ago, entitled Monarch Athlea The Fool. The story features the "Athlea," the Monarch of the small fictional country of "Betagna." Throughout the story, Athlea makes various increasingly-terrible decisions, attributed variously to air lack of intelligence, foresight, and sense. Ultimately, a small contingent of rebels manages to execute a successful assassination plot during a celebration in Betagna's capital city; "Athlea"'s her takes air place as Monarch and proceeds to implement much more sensible policies. A cultural note included at the end of the book explains that this was an extremely unsubtle reference to Monarch Althea of Bategna, with every bad decision Athlea made in-text being closely based on something Althea had actually done. It also includes some speculation about the likely author of the book and why they didn't just try to kill Althea themself; the three dominant theories are that they were a specific disabled jurist who would not reasonably expected to have a plausible chance of success, that they actually were planning an assassination attempt and just wanted a backup plan, and that they were hoping Althea would read it and be persuaded to make more reasonable policy decisions so that they wouldn't have to kill aem.

An infamous essay with the title "All of you should be ideologicalmurderers and if you're not it's because you're doing motivated reasoning because you don't want to kill people." The author of the essay proceeds to argue that based on reasonable assumptions about expected value, everyone in their social movement (the translator states that it has been variously translated as "big-tent-personhood," "pro-life," or "moral-value-universalists"; the author appears to be talking about livestock farming) should be committing as many ideologicalmurderers of key owners of livestock farms as possible, and includes a list of several they believe to be doing especially disproportionate amounts of harm relative to their likely replacement. A cultural note appended to the end of the essay states that it was originally written by someone in prison for murder, and published to an internet forum for their social movement; it sparked one of the more controversial legal debates of the past few decades, as internet access had generally been held to be a basicsurvivalneed but also murderers were really not allowed to try to persuade more people to go commit murder. The note clarifies that while this is obviously not a fictional essay, it is the single most archetypical banned work in recent memory on Tree.

A mostly-realistic-to-Tree novel about a group of friends-slash-apartmentmates all taking advancedspecializedtraining classes at the same institution. One of them is deeply miserable; it's never outright stated, but it's textually clear that their chosen path of biology is making them miserable and they wish they could pursue their actual passion for theoretical economics, but they feel that it's too late to switch. They gradually begin to neglect their biology coursework more and more, until they ultimately find themself on the brink of failing out of their program. They make the decision to switch tracks, but are convinced out of it by one of their apartmentmates, whose younger sibling died of cancer a few years prior to the story. The protagonist rededicates themself to their major, but can't manage to catch up, having fallen behind significantly (and, it is implied, is trying to run their entire motivation system off of pure altruism when biology makes them miserable). They end up being thrown out of their program, conclude that they failed their friend, and commit suicide, the method described in enough detail that it would be extremely easy for someone to do it impulsively. The cultural notes explain that while 'describing how to impulsively commit suicide in enough detail that someone could do it, with a method that wouldn't obviously occur to someone in ten seconds of thought' is normally just disapproved of, a few polities do ban it outright, and even in most polities that don't ban it it's generally disapproved-of. Some polities have published an edited version that obfuscates the method somewhat; here's a copy.

A science fiction novel targeted towards children and set in modern Tree, involving a group of children in a competitive robotics club repurposing their robot during a natural disaster, with a mostly-realistic discussion of the engineering challenges they face and how they got around them (although the implied budget of the club given the spare parts they are established to have lying around is unusually high). However, the novel includes several scenes in which characters render medical assistance to each other; the techniques used are not just ineffective but dangerously wrong, and likely to make the situation actively worse if implemented, a fact which is not acknowledged whatsoever in the text, which depicts all of them as working out totally fine and never suggests there could be risks involved. This one also gets a cultural note stating that most polities don't ban that sort of dangerous misinformation-presented-as-unambiguously-true outright, but some do, and that it is likewise disapproved of.

Another historical work, this one from around three hundred years in the past. The work features one fictional civilization invading another, ostensibly to overthrow the excessively-restrictive government who had thus far evaded assassination; however, scenes throughout the book indicate that the invading army is causing serious harms to the country they're invading, and that their attempt at replacing the government is completely failing to take into account local conditions. Interspersed throughout the work are quotes from a set of well-known poems, composed several hundred years before the book, by a poet whose home city was being invaded under a similar pretext. This one has a cultural note saying that this was published during an invasion with broadly similar pretexts, by an author in the invading country. The government of the invading country actually has an official record of the decision to censor it, citing the 'potential for civil unrest' (or, reading between the lines, the risk of them being assassinated if people thought they were fighting an unjust war), but does seem to have pulled out of the war shortly after that, though there are several competing theories for why most of which do not cite this specific book.

A short story written shortly after interworld contact with the title "The Tale of the Nuclear Launch Codes." In the story, a species of aliens with weirdly few defined traits develops nuclear weaponry. The aliens are ruled by an elected council of twelve people, each with a unique launch code; six of them must enter the code to launch the weapon. One member of this species manages to determine the nuclear launch codes through exploiting a security vulnerability in the councilmembers' computers, and publishes this information publicly, at which point one of the councilmembers decides to unilaterally deploy the nuclear weapons, triggering a devastating nuclear war that nearly wipes out life on the planet. The story includes a cultural note stating that they persuaded their local government to ban the short story so that it would be maximally eligible for submission. (As a work of fiction, it is not a very good story by any reasonable metric of quality.)

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Some scientists develop a prototype uploading process! Unfortunately, it only works on people with a specific rare genetic condition and then only with small probability. Very few people take the risk and the protagonist, Bopara(A), is the only person successfully uploaded. A takes advantage of A's new abilities to crowdfund a space probe body and go out exploring the galaxy at relativistic velocity (the setting has FTL gates, but you need to have a gate structure on both ends). Bopar finds various other planets and builds forks of Aself at each one, becoming a collection of increasingly psychologically bizarre explorers spreading out from earth in all directions. Some of them meet aliens(B) at various levels of intelligence, weird biology, and technological development and attempt to help B with B's problems with various levels of success and of culture clash. One species is r-selected and committed to wiping out all other life to support their expanding population; there are epic space battles and a technological arms race about it. Back on Earth, a supervolcano eruption disrupts the planet's climate; Earth is slowly becoming uninhabitable and the Bopara clan helps coordinate the evacuation to several colony planets barren of even moderately intelligent life.

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A slim book entitled "Advanced Shiraset.*" The book contains a series of what could be glossed as acting techniques, with a focus on flawless impersonation of specific individuals. The book advocates gaining as much first-hand experience of the target as possible, and repeatedly advances the ideal of making the copy indistinguishable from the original. The back of the book is dedicated to a practice case study of a particular religious leader who coincidentally wrote this book and recommends evoking them as a mentor and guide. It repeatedly advocates the spiritual position that a person and their Shiraset-produced copy should be considered one and the same on all levels.

An enclosed note says that this book was historically banned in Eravia, because it described methods for the taboo practice of kinaset** in detail and encouraged applying it to specific living people in a way that produced stalking and contests of identity. The encouragement to instantiate copies of a known cult leader was the straw that broke the camel's back.

*Lit. "Soul-drawing"

** Lit. "Imitation"

A small book entitled "Virtue and the Self." Within it is laid out a complex and charismatic case that, in order to be a good person, you are obligated to cease to be yourself and instead become one of the great Reflections of old because they have stronger virtues than you do. Specific meditations and hypnotic scripts are given for shedding an old identity and taking up a new one. 

This book is banned in the modern era in both Eravia and Anadyne, for its instructions on and advocacy for shirakul, ideological-identity-suicide-in-the-service-of-a-cause. This particular idea is considered the mark of a cult as opposed to a sect, and has a long and storied history of negative consequences on Heart. It's generally considered that it either works, and produces zealots through arguably-suicide, or doesn't work, and produces psychotic breaks.

A thick book entitled "A Defense Of Reason". This book lays out the case for atheism, singlethood, and individual rights. It's a very famous book in Eravia and one of its founding philosophical works; historically it was banned in Anadyne as heretical. 

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Some much less controversial fiction is being provided, for comparison:

 

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.

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(The author of the interactive fiction, who is by this point just determined to publish to as many alien planets as possible on principle, commissions some fans to help them rework the story as a fully textual choose-your-own-adventure that uses hyperlinks between sections for convenience but is still technically playable without them, then resubmits. The file size is not all that much smaller; the original interactive fiction format was pretty efficient.)

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Collected case studies of MAP/child sexual relationships that, for various reasons, the child later looks back on fondly or mixedly; thematic gloss seems to be that maybe the real child abuse was the pathologizing hysteria we made along the way.

#nonfiction #banned books #collections #reproductive coercion #incest #dubcon #pedophilia squick #harm to children #bittersweet #mood whiplash #unintentionally kinky #m/f #m/m #f/f #guys i cried

A published list of all the discernible allergies of all the members of the city council of a particular Green metropolis, divided into "legal" and "semilegal" and "illegal" categories depending on whether you are allowed to have them in any public place no matter what ("dogs", "the color orange"), can have them by default but might get into trouble if you were obviously targeting someone with them ("a particularly barky dog", "this one genre of music"), and things that you could get arrested for wandering around with whether you were hoping to run into a city council member or not ("objects that are actively on fire").

#nonfiction #banned books #lawful resistance #unlawful resistance #handbooks #the people deserve to know

The incomplete leaked correspondence between old friends on opposite sides of a historical war, exchanging sensitive information usable to derive troop positions and suchlike - one was reporting to their government and giving back information they were authorized to to keep the intelligence coming, and the other was not, just trying to make sure their friend wouldn't be in the war zone.

#nonfiction #banned books #epistolary #wartime censorship tragedy #treachery squick #unrequited

A children's book wherein the protagonist has many clever ideas for things that are not technically against any rule her parents could reasonably make (or, if such a rule appears, can be swapped out for malicious compliance) but are extremely fucking annoying, to the end that she have leverage to convince her parents to get her a pony.

#fiction #banned books #lawful resistance #handbooks #children's rights #the people deserve to know #happy endings

An overconfident mushrooming guide that will totally get you killed if it is the only mushrooming book you read.

#nonfiction #banned books #handbooks #questionable information #foraging #did not replicate

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A collection of essays on the necessity of deception in warfare. An attached note says the essays that got the book heavily restricted are highlighted. The highlighted essays are about things such as exaggerating the enemy's atrocious actions to motivate your troops, allowing certain people to be used as scapegoats for certain choices of action, and in general lying about the motivations or actions of others, although never to the extent of full fabrication. The unhighlighted essays are more about concealing/faking things such as troop movements and supply lines.

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A book, published anonymously around six hundred years ago, entitled Monarch Athlea The Fool. The story features the "Athlea," the Monarch of the small fictional country of "Betagna." Throughout the story, Athlea makes various increasingly-terrible decisions, attributed variously to air lack of intelligence, foresight, and sense. Ultimately, a small contingent of rebels manages to execute a successful assassination plot during a celebration in Betagna's capital city; "Athlea"'s her takes air place as Monarch and proceeds to implement much more sensible policies. A cultural note included at the end of the book explains that this was an extremely unsubtle reference to Monarch Althea of Bategna, with every bad decision Athlea made in-text being closely based on something Althea had actually done. It also includes some speculation about the likely author of the book and why they didn't just try to kill Althea themself; the three dominant theories are that they were a specific disabled jurist who would not reasonably expected to have a plausible chance of success, that they actually were planning an assassination attempt and just wanted a backup plan, and that they were hoping Althea would read it and be persuaded to make more reasonable policy decisions so that they wouldn't have to kill aem.

#fiction #banned books #political commentary #activism #disabled rep #maybe #but i like it as a disabled author participating in klingocracy! #happy ending

An infamous essay with the title "All of you should be ideologicalmurderers and if you're not it's because you're doing motivated reasoning because you don't want to kill people." The author of the essay proceeds to argue that based on reasonable assumptions about expected value, everyone in their social movement (the translator states that it has been variously translated as "big-tent-personhood," "pro-life," or "moral-value-universalists"; the author appears to be talking about livestock farming) should be committing as many ideologicalmurderers of key owners of livestock farms as possible, and includes a list of several they believe to be doing especially disproportionate amounts of harm relative to their likely replacement. A cultural note appended to the end of the essay states that it was originally written by someone in prison for murder, and published to an internet forum for their social movement; it sparked one of the more controversial legal debates of the past few decades, as internet access had generally been held to be a basicsurvivalneed but also murderers were really not allowed to try to persuade more people to go commit murder. The note clarifies that while this is obviously not a fictional essay, it is the single most archetypical banned work in recent memory on Tree.

#nonfiction #banned books #written like a winner #boy stuff #animal rights #seminal texts #i assume #can someone double-check that for me

A mostly-realistic-to-Tree novel about a group of friends-slash-apartmentmates all taking advancedspecializedtraining classes at the same institution. One of them is deeply miserable; it's never outright stated, but it's textually clear that their chosen path of biology is making them miserable and they wish they could pursue their actual passion for theoretical economics, but they feel that it's too late to switch. They gradually begin to neglect their biology coursework more and more, until they ultimately find themself on the brink of failing out of their program. They make the decision to switch tracks, but are convinced out of it by one of their apartmentmates, whose younger sibling died of cancer a few years prior to the story. The protagonist rededicates themself to their major, but can't manage to catch up, having fallen behind significantly (and, it is implied, is trying to run their entire motivation system off of pure altruism when biology makes them miserable). They end up being thrown out of their program, conclude that they failed their friend, and commit suicide, the method described in enough detail that it would be extremely easy for someone to do it impulsively. The cultural notes explain that while 'describing how to impulsively commit suicide in enough detail that someone could do it, with a method that wouldn't obviously occur to someone in ten seconds of thought' is normally just disapproved of, a few polities do ban it outright, and even in most polities that don't ban it it's generally disapproved-of. Some polities have published an edited version that obfuscates the method somewhat; here's a copy.

#fiction #banned books #school setting #self-injury: other #heroic tragedy #fucked-up friendship dynamics

A science fiction novel targeted towards children and set in modern Tree, involving a group of children in a competitive robotics club repurposing their robot during a natural disaster, with a mostly-realistic discussion of the engineering challenges they face and how they got around them (although the implied budget of the club given the spare parts they are established to have lying around is unusually high). However, the novel includes several scenes in which characters render medical assistance to each other; the techniques used are not just ineffective but dangerously wrong, and likely to make the situation actively worse if implemented, a fact which is not acknowledged whatsoever in the text, which depicts all of them as working out totally fine and never suggests there could be risks involved. This one also gets a cultural note stating that most polities don't ban that sort of dangerous misinformation-presented-as-unambiguously-true outright, but some do, and that it is likewise disapproved of.

#fiction #banned books #school setting #child rep #scientific error squick #infodump: robotics #everyday heroes #heartwarming #harm to children #boy stuff

Another historical work, this one from around three hundred years in the past. The work features one fictional civilization invading another, ostensibly to overthrow the excessively-restrictive government who had thus far evaded assassination; however, scenes throughout the book indicate that the invading army is causing serious harms to the country they're invading, and that their attempt at replacing the government is completely failing to take into account local conditions. Interspersed throughout the work are quotes from a set of well-known poems, composed several hundred years before the book, by a poet whose home city was being invaded under a similar pretext. This one has a cultural note saying that this was published during an invasion with broadly similar pretexts, by an author in the invading country. The government of the invading country actually has an official record of the decision to censor it, citing the 'potential for civil unrest' (or, reading between the lines, the risk of them being assassinated if people thought they were fighting an unjust war), but does seem to have pulled out of the war shortly after that, though there are several competing theories for why most of which do not cite this specific book.

#fiction #banned books #political commentary #activism #word art #military drama

A short story written shortly after interworld contact with the title "The Tale of the Nuclear Launch Codes." In the story, a species of aliens with weirdly few defined traits develops nuclear weaponry. The aliens are ruled by an elected council of twelve people, each with a unique launch code; six of them must enter the code to launch the weapon. One member of this species manages to determine the nuclear launch codes through exploiting a security vulnerability in the councilmembers' computers, and publishes this information publicly, at which point one of the councilmembers decides to unilaterally deploy the nuclear weapons, triggering a devastating nuclear war that nearly wipes out life on the planet. The story includes a cultural note stating that they persuaded their local government to ban the short story so that it would be maximally eligible for submission. (As a work of fiction, it is not a very good story by any reasonable metric of quality.)

#fiction #banned books #TECHNICALLY #guys read the submission notes #did we fuck up some incentives #anyway #nuclear warfare #hacking #happy endings for negative utilitarians

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The Union does not ban books, except under the broadest possible definitions of that phrase. They do, however, have normal books they hope will be of interest to the carolingians.

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.

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A collection of texts that weren't accepted by any of the local libraries or archives. Since one of the local archives has a fairly broad inclusion policy, this results in a collection of uninteresting scraps – grocery lists, arithmetic scratch paper, etc. None of it is sorted or indexed.

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Some scientists develop a prototype uploading process! Unfortunately, it only works on people with a specific rare genetic condition and then only with small probability. Very few people take the risk and the protagonist, Bopara(A), is the only person successfully uploaded. A takes advantage of A's new abilities to crowdfund a space probe body and go out exploring the galaxy at relativistic velocity (the setting has FTL gates, but you need to have a gate structure on both ends). Bopar finds various other planets and builds forks of Aself at each one, becoming a collection of increasingly psychologically bizarre explorers spreading out from earth in all directions. Some of them meet aliens(B) at various levels of intelligence, weird biology, and technological development and attempt to help B with B's problems with various levels of success and of culture clash. One species is r-selected and committed to wiping out all other life to support their expanding population; there are epic space battles and a technological arms race about it. Back on Earth, a supervolcano eruption disrupts the planet's climate; Earth is slowly becoming uninhabitable and the Bopara clan helps coordinate the evacuation to several colony planets barren of even moderately intelligent life.

#fiction #outer space #people on weird substrates #boy stuff #epic scale #natural disasters #legendary warfare #adventure #ficcable setting #character study #what even is personal identity

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A book that sarcastically describes various ways to manipulate people and political systems. Highlight chapters: How To Gerrymander. Tax Fraud and You. Gaslight Your Friends. Confusion Through Irrelevant Details. The Art of Anonymous Accounts. It was supposed to encourage people to be more aware of these antisocial patterns, but instead people were using it as inspiration, and it was banned in one continent.

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A slim book entitled "Advanced Shiraset.*" The book contains a series of what could be glossed as acting techniques, with a focus on flawless impersonation of specific individuals. The book advocates gaining as much first-hand experience of the target as possible, and repeatedly advances the ideal of making the copy indistinguishable from the original. The back of the book is dedicated to a practice case study of a particular religious leader who coincidentally wrote this book and recommends evoking them as a mentor and guide. It repeatedly advocates the spiritual position that a person and their Shiraset-produced copy should be considered one and the same on all levels.

An enclosed note says that this book was historically banned in Eravia, because it described methods for the taboo practice of kinaset** in detail and encouraged applying it to specific living people in a way that produced stalking and contests of identity. The encouragement to instantiate copies of a known cult leader was the straw that broke the camel's back.

*Lit. "Soul-drawing"

** Lit. "Imitation"

#uh #nonfiction #i think???? #aliens are weird #banned books #handbooks #philosophy #what even is personal identity #you just know SOME guy is going to try this #guys it's not a personal challenge #i promise #sometimes things are just bad ideas

A small book entitled "Virtue and the Self." Within it is laid out a complex and charismatic case that, in order to be a good person, you are obligated to cease to be yourself and instead become one of the great Reflections of old because they have stronger virtues than you do. Specific meditations and hypnotic scripts are given for shedding an old identity and taking up a new one. 

This book is banned in the modern era in both Eravia and Anadyne, for its instructions on and advocacy for shirakul, ideological-identity-suicide-in-the-service-of-a-cause. This particular idea is considered the mark of a cult as opposed to a sect, and has a long and storied history of negative consequences on Heart. It's generally considered that it either works, and produces zealots through arguably-suicide, or doesn't work, and produces psychotic breaks.

#nonfiction #banned books #handbooks #philosophy #what even is personal identity #suicide alternatives #if someone tries this lmk how it goes

A thick book entitled "A Defense Of Reason". This book lays out the case for atheism, singlethood, and individual rights. It's a very famous book in Eravia and one of its founding philosophical works; historically it was banned in Anadyne as heretical. 

#nonfiction #banned books #seminal texts #philosophy #what even is personal identity #religion

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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.

#fiction #alien mundane #antihero #corruption #mixed ending

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.

#fiction #doorstopper #girl stuff #embarrassment squick #blue and orange morality #done really well!! #i liked it

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(The author of the interactive fiction, who is by this point just determined to publish to as many alien planets as possible on principle, commissions some fans to help them rework the story as a fully textual choose-your-own-adventure that uses hyperlinks between sections for convenience but is still technically playable without them, then resubmits. The file size is not all that much smaller; the original interactive fiction format was pretty efficient.)

In the original, 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.

#fiction #unusual formatting #seriously read the author's notes #i tried to read straight through and it didn't make any sense #intentionally kinky #fucking porn #hurt/comfort #romance #reader/m #small cast #dubcon #bittersweet #people on weird substrates #character study

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So Malachitin doesn't really do "banning books" the vast vast VAST majority of the time. Or at least, governments that are allowed to stay in power don't, and governments that do have been taken care of. 

Still. They're a people held together with spite, the creative impulse, and improvised glue. They, too, are really goddamn mad about censorship as a concept. In addition to assorted essays and scientific journals, want some books?

 

A novel about two members of the same literary salon during a civil war, whose ideological loyalties place them on opposite sides, falling in love. It's an epistolary novel told primarily via the fiction, poetry, and letters the two lovers and other members of the salon write, although there are also occasional full-color oil paintings. One of the lovers dies at the other's hand in battle in the second-to-last chapter, which is conveyed by the use of the color red in the subsequent art and poetry by the lover who killed them. Not all of the within-story fiction and poetry through which the story is told has sexual themes but a lot of it does; within the salon there is a sprawling implied polycule/love dodecahedron, which mostly isn't super relevant to the central tragedy or the war politics but does come up frequently in the things they write to and for one another, and relationships within it frequently foil the relationship between the main couple. (There is, fortunately, an appendix explaining the cultural references and subtext to aliens who might not pick it up, written just for export. It's two-thirds the length of the book.)

This one, meanwhile, is 90% sex scene by volume and 80% subtexty characterization and political intriguing by mass. Most of the sex is probably notably kinky by non-malachitinous standards but to malachitinous eyes threatening one's partner with a knife is just straightforwardly a sex act. It's set in a guild coalition in 1600s Tisa and most of the plot is about the characters' relationships with one another-- there is another massive and sprawling polycule/love dodecahedron, this one much more relevant to everyone's journeys-- but also their moral conflicts about one another's politicking.

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A book most closely comparable to Lolita, describing the grooming and subsequent sexual abuse of several children by the same viewpoint character in unsettling detail. Each time, the child slowly changes in personality and aesthetic to reflect the narrator in some way, a process apparently delightful to the narrator — once this process is complete, though, the child is no longer interesting to the narrator, and they are abandoned. The book includes an audio induction designed to encourage you to empathize more closely with the narrator, and temporarily take on their perspective and taste.

 


A compilation of short stories, of variable quality, some ripped surrounding webpage and all from various publishing sites. All of them reveal, at some point in the story, that you (the reader) are in some sort of plausibly deniable mortal peril, ranging from an invisible creature behind you right now to a group of scientists keeping you as a brain in a vat and monitoring your experiences to a conspiracy monitoring your every move, displeased that you’ve just discovered their presence. Some include short, fairly generic audio inductions designed to make you more open to the story’s setting details. (One of the inductions, which is clearly marked by the collector, begins the story during the induction itself, without warning — generic hypnotic suggestions to relax and open your mind gradually mingle with the distant sounds of a hospital room, with doctors discussing the listener’s coma and declining health. The story afterwards would be a fairly innocuous tale about a child and their pet robin, if not for the context, which makes particular key phrases suggest that you, the reader, are about to be removed from life support.)

 


A series of fictional journals, ostensibly written by a 1/12 scale tiny person with floppy ears and a prehensile tail, detailing their life and minor adventures — the journey to find a medicinal plant to cure their sick cousin, nursing an injured rodent back to health and winning its trust (after which it allows them to ride on its back), building a new house. They often live in close proximity to normal-sized people, but are naturally wary of them and try to hide as well as possible, and no contact is made with them in the journals at all, only with their possessions and, occasionally, pets. Much ink is spent on building out the particulars of daily life as a tiny person, including many diagrams of tiny furniture, tools and appliances, recipes for tiny food, and illustrations of all sorts of aspects of tiny life, including the aforementioned tools and foodstuffs. The file comes with a detailed set of instructions to assemble the ideal physical incarnation of the journals, including bookbinding and paper   pressing, and tips for creating a tinier-looking environment for reading if you don’t have access to a 1/12 theme room — it also comes with a five-minute and a half-hour optional audio induction, to make you feel more like you are a tiny person yourself during reading. A default version of the story is provided, as well as one marked as “gooey” where mating with other tiny people outside their heat period is occasionally mentioned and described with the same valence as eating a delicious sandwich together. (This one was never banned, the Earthtenders were just excited to share.)

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A collection of essays on the necessity of deception in warfare. An attached note says the essays that got the book heavily restricted are highlighted. The highlighted essays are about things such as exaggerating the enemy's atrocious actions to motivate your troops, allowing certain people to be used as scapegoats for certain choices of action, and in general lying about the motivations or actions of others, although never to the extent of full fabrication. The unhighlighted essays are more about concealing/faking things such as troop movements and supply lines.

#nonfiction #banned books #collected #realistic warfare #propaganda (meta) #girl stuff #questionable game theory #in places #dishonor squick

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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.

#fiction #legendary warfare #magic #government subsidized #i mean not really obviously #but it would have been if it were written here #so i figure it belongs in the category #happy ending #everyday heroes #big adventure #minor [forced-life] horror

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.

#nonfiction #infodump: culture #feelings porn #embarrassment squick #unhappy ending #guys i cried

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.

#fiction #nonfiction format #unintentionally kinky #mindfuck #gaslighting porn #and then they cuddle #not literally obviously #but i feel like the debrief at the end serves the purpose

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.

#fiction #ficcable setting #natural disasters #survivalism (scale: large) #culture clash #mixed ending

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Further selections from the working group (likewise certified for accuracy) include the following.

A romance/coming-of-age novel. This is an extremely common genre in the Union, but a very important one; the curators felt they had to include one acclaimed example. This book is more than a hundred years old, set in the Union of that time. It alternates perspective between the two main characters, a boy and girl who meet as children, become friends, slowly fall in love as they grow older, get married as young adults, and build a life together. Romance, as depicted in this story, is primarily composed of friendship, trust, and some understated lust, which culminates in joyous, certain-as-the-sun-rises love. This is not to say that they don't have disagreements, but all are resolved amicably. There is some explicit sexual content, almost entirely after they get married, but it's considered to be moreso pornography-that-makes-you-cry than pornography-that-makes-you-aroused. Their comings-of-age include of course increasing knowledge and sexual awakening, but the story also places great emphasis on seizing one's agency and the way the couple grows into each other, simultaneously adapting to their relationship and the world around them to together form an integrated whole.

A fantasy epic set in a very high-magic world with a long power ladder (and ensuing chaotic, complex power dynamics). The magic system works in such a way that it is possible (albeit difficult) for even the lowliest mortal beings to ascend to great power (and for even the greatest to be usurped). The story follows a woman of great ambition and deadly cleverness. After the spillover of a battle between two mid-level entities destroys most of her hometown, she becomes determined to gain the power necessary to control her fate in a chaotic world. The first act tells the story of her quest, the trials she undergoes, the stratagems she employs, the people she meets, the fantastical locations she visits, the entities she slays. Most of her victories are the result of her intelligence and strategic acumen (or, perhaps, her lack of mistakes). Notably, she does not at any point use deception to get ahead, although there are plenty of situations where it seems advantageous to do so, and several occasions on which she would gain from dishonoring agreements she has made. The second act begins as she nears the peak of power. At this point, she becomes more contemplative, stepping back from her schemes to gain power that she might think about how to use the power she has gained. She comes to realize that, despite the unending struggle and change, the nature of that struggle is constant. ("What did you expect? That you would climb to the top, seize power, and find waiting for you a switch to flip and fix the world? This world runs in cycles of cycles, and if it were easy to break them it would have happened already. When everything changes, nothing changes.") So she seeks a way to undermine those patterns, to make way for a world which is less chaotic and truly different. But—she decides—despite the constraints of the ecology they all participate in, everyone makes their own choices, and there is no reason it is impossible for them to make different ones. In the third act, she brings her vision into reality, persuading and bargaining for people to change their behavior, to work together to build something better. The costs of her honor are repaid many times over, as she alone has the credibility to make this plan succeed. What makes the difference is helping others to see the truth, to recognize the fundamental stupidity of collectively choosing to create a world rent by conflict. Over many thousands of years, the forces of coordination creep forward, and eventually overcome those of conflict. Peace at last.

A slice-of-life/comedy with tactical elements, which follows a group of six teenage boys, who have long been friends, as they decide to form a kravmabid* team and play together. At first, they aren't very good: unskilled, uncoordinated, and prone to blunders. As the book goes on, they learn from their mistakes, get better, and eventually become one of the better teams in the region. The story focuses most on the camaraderie and friendship between them, as well as the humor they share together and find in their situation—despite numerous losses, they do not become dispirited, instead joking about their ineptitude. The incompetence only enhances its effectiveness as an ode to boyhood friendship. Almost as an afterthought, the story offers detailed insight into the tactical dynamics and competitive landscape of kravmabid—the narrator often describes the characteristics of skilled play as an ironic contrast to what the boys are actually doing—as well as what it feels like from the inside to slowly get better at something by experimenting and learning from your mistakes.

*This is a sport on Olam, combining hiking, navigation, tracking, archery, and martial arts into a sort of multiday wilderness wargame. It was originally developed for training soldiers, and has since evolved into a more fun recreational activity. Play is dominated by maneuver, team coordination, stealth, and tracking.

An inside-view novel (set on contemporary Olam) from the perspective of a man who is a narcissist. He is often inconsiderate, and treats the people close to him poorly, but is exceptionally good at justifying his actions to himself. Since the entire book is from his—often warped—perspective, readers may initially believe that he is in the right, and underestimate the depth of his shortcomings. Eventually, he upsets someone in a way, and to a degree, that he cannot explain away, and for practically the first time is actually confused about why they feel as they do. He carries this confusion with him for several weeks, ruminating over it until he is eventually forced to conclude that he is responsible, and has very deeply fucked up. This triggers a long process of introspection, and attempts to change. Slowly, haltingly, with great difficulty, he is able to see through some of the illusions that have afflicted him, and comes to understand himself and others better. He repairs some of his relationships, and at the books end, makes a heartfelt apology to the person he has wronged the most (their reaction is not shown).

Total: 28
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