Imagine, Earth, 2120.
A not-so-distant future where we have managed to avoid obliterating ourselves with war, we've managed to reverse manmade climate change, and even created technologies to manipulate simultaneously occurring natural climate change that would be detrimental to our wellbeing. Even the robots didn't rise up to kill us.
Things are far from perfect, but we appear to be on the cusp of a true golden age. The likes of which we've only seen in Star Trek and the most Utopian sci-fi stories. It wasn't easy getting to this point. Nearly 100 years ago, a decades long series of technological advances initiated global paradigm shifts across all levels of society. So many rapid changes from computing, biotech, and DNA discoveries about our distant past, caused conflicts, political upheaval, crashing and booming of markets, and a need to completely reinvent how global society functions. But... we made it through and found the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, a world exists where all costs of maintaining a high quality level of day to day life is almost nil. Biotech allows us to live indefinitely. Space tourism is commonplace and we've even begun to explore the Solar System, setting foot on Mars and even moons of Jupiter. There are experimental craft on the cusp of interstellar travel, but we're not quite there yet. Humans cannot indefinitely live off-planet for medical reasons, but space hotels and stations are able to support life indefinitely thanks to self-sustaining-ecosystems. Houses, organs, furniture, and even some foods are 3D printed. Money barely exists as value is exchanged in an infinite variety of ways on global blockchains and decentralized grids.
However, the ambitious and powerful always find a way to maintain their elite status, and trillionaire pioneers in the mid 21st century made great strides in securing their place amongst the controlling powers of all orbiting space stations, hotels, cruise ships, and latest technological advances.
The things about humanity that have existed for tens of thousands of years haven't changed. People still love and hate. Collaborate and fight. Some inspire and do amazing things. Others are lazy and content. Some extremely intelligent and many ignorant. People are still driven by the need for affection or attention from others. Sex still sells. People still want to escape through alcohol, drugs, and entertainment. Life goes on. But just as the average person in 2020 lives a life even an emperor of 1500 couldn't conceive of, in 2120, even the poorest person has access to luxuries that would make Jeff Bezos feel like a caveman.
It's now Dec 12, 2123, and something disturbing has been discovered by the UN's Hubble 2 detection system. Something so unsettling, it is immediately marked classified and only made known to the highest levels of global government. A comet, 278 miles in diameter, is hurtling towards Earth and at tens of thousand of miles per hour, and projected to hit us in 9 years. The sophistication of our instruments leaves no room for error on this trajectory, and our defenses against cosmic hazards have not yet developed anywhere near what we would need to stop such a monstrosity. We may be able to shrink the oncoming behemoth by blasting bits of it off, and will do everything we can to change its trajectory, but things look bleak.
First, this is kept extremely classified. Assessments are made of our current global infrastructures ability to withstand such an impact. From all currently existing underground military facilities, seed banks, and shelters developed for continuance of government in the event of a global natural disaster. Some facilities even dating back to the 21st century. Then the planning begins. A cascade of contingency plans, each preparing for varying degrees of calamity.
One plan prepares for the best case scenario - we manage to blast the comet into thousands of pieces and only a few smaller fragments hit. But it is still projected to have the impact of a dozen or so nuclear warheads hitting the Earth, with no way to predict where.
The worst case scenario is dire - almost unfathomable. One where, should any sect of humanity hope to live, it will need to spend the next 1,000+ years avoiding the surface of Earth. One path for survival being in underground cities, using self-sustaining technologies as done in space. Another path being a life lived perpetually in orbit, with periodic trips to Earth's underground shelters to spend time in a normal gravitational environment. And a third path, the most extreme, living on Mars or a moon of Jupiter. Priority becomes the ability to survive and carry on the species, and the length of lifespan seems less important.
Of course there's a very likely chance that this is the end. This is dinosaur level extinction all over again.
In the middle are dozens of scenarios of varying degrees of destruction that could occur, and no one will know for sure which one is correct until it happens. Plans are set, incredibly hard choices are made, and the inhabitants of the world prepare for obliteration of everything they've ever known. Of course those with any means to influence their status here do so.
Not surprisingly, the top leaders of government across the world find sanctuary. Some choosing to the underground option, some orbit, and some hoping to mix both. None of them choose the more dire option of entirely off world - only the most desperate find that to be their fate. You may recognize the name of some people, such as the grandchildren of the Bezos and Musk families. The continual descendants of Bushes and the Obamas and various members of royalty. Actually, more people are alive in this time who were born before 2020 than you may believe, thanks to advances in biotech. The most likely people to find a spot for safe haven after that are the extremely wealthy (however wealth is determined in this post-money society), scientists, engineers and doctors, and celebrities who find themselves in the favor of everyone else. Not as many low level workers are needed as one may think, in this world of highly advanced robotics and A.I. But still, many are needed and secretly told about the dire situation. From there, once everything is set into motion, the rest of the world is slowly allowed to know what is happening.
Genuine efforts are made to help as many people as possible survive the impact, but nothing can guarantee anyone's wellbeing. Civil unrest grows and grows, millions adopt a fully nihilistic approach to life. Much of the order of civilization falls apart. However, never underestimate our species' ability to avoid thinking about anything it would rather ignore. Much of life goes on normally, almost bizarrely so. People still get up, go to work, watch sports, celebrate birthdays, and carry on as if nothing is wrong. But collectively, like never before, is an idea that we're in this together.
Massive efforts are made to aid our future selves and our descendants in rebuilding whatever elements of civilization we may lose, and to be done as easily and quickly as possible. This global effort is as simple as storing all the world's knowledge on hard drives, and burying them deep into the Earth, shielded from harm, and on satellites orbiting the Earth, to be extracted later. This is even easier than we may think it would be today in the 21st century, as information can be stored as such as high level, so easily, and in so many innovative ways unfathomable to us now. Even within someone's DNA.
Meanwhile paper documents - miles and miles of bookshelves are housed in vaults and deep within caves and underground facilities.
Some scenarios prep for a world that holds onto its current level of knowledge but loses its technology, and what information would need to be retained to reboot it all. Others have to account for a world that loses the knowledge and ability to rebuild that technology, and focus on retaining as much as possible. Other, worse scenarios must focus on the reality that we may lose all electronic capabilities, the knowledge to rebuild it all, and generations of other scientific knowledge, and fight to conceive of the best ways to ensure we can at least maintain an 1800s level of government and society, and not lose our evolved democratic systems, or worse, spiral into a world once again controlled by demagogues and theocracies.
Somewhere within these scenarios is one of the most dire - that they will be utterly decimated, barely holding onto existence. That everything, literally everything on the surface will be decimated, and by the time their descendants begin to rebuild civilization, not a person alive will have any clue of humans ever having achieved any of this. What then can they do? The only thing they can. Encode knowledge in things guranteed to survive.
But what will survive hundreds, maybe thousands of years? No metal. Not even plastics. Only stone.
Utilizing the most cutting edge 3D printing construction technology, space-age levitational sonic equipment, artificial gravity technology, and molecular composites for stone-like building materials, they create massive, nigh-indestructible architecture. Incomprehensibly large megaliths suited to withstand the worst of impacts. Within them, we encode all levels of knowledge possible - through etchings, through symbolism, through mathematics and engineering. Through codes. If humanity can't guarantee our physical world will survive such a catastrophe on the surface, and all means of storing its knowledge will be lost, we can store knowledge in these places themselves. Then we will only need to teach our descendants how to read them. Teach them the code that they will be able to decipher when they later emerge.
Eventually, D-Day comes. Attempts to reduce the size of the comet into smaller pieces have worked, even throwing as much as a hundred cubic miles of debris out of our path, but still the impact hurtles towards us. All of humanity takes a breath, maybe its last, and waits braces.
It's now May 17, 2159
To be continued...
By Josh Blaylock
The Origins of Archeopunk and the ArkWorld Comic.
The foundation of all good fiction starts with building the world the characters are to live in. When it comes to sci-fi and fantasy, it's even more important. But what about a sci-fi world from the distant past that must tie into the modern real world?
That is the inspiration for ArkWorld, and this entire genre that I'm coining as Archeopunk Sci-fi. Specifically, ArkWorld is inspired by the convergence of dozens of real life scientific discoveries that are pointing to a very truly disruptive retelling of human origins. Does that mean we come from Ancient Astronauts? No. But it doesn't mean that we don't. It means that we are learning more and more that we have no idea what our real story is, but we're getting closer to learning the truth.
To create the ArkWorld universe, I had to create a complete history of the human species and the planet Earth. Creating the inner workings and rules of the universe, and the interconnected backgrounds of characters, so that some time years later, readers are not led into an empty payoff. With ArkWorld, though, beyond just creating fiction, I have done my best to create a research paper / sci-fi hybrid. Treating my story bible like a college thesis. That thesis, while I won't share every detail and spoil the story, pulls together a few very interesting discoveries that are truly throwing a wrench in the gears of traditional archaeological beliefs.
This website and blog is a fun place to explore these discoveries while simultaneously talking about the story. Below is just the beginning of some of the topics I look forward to diving into.
1. The Denisovans and DNA
This species of humanoids were discovered in a cave in 2008, revealed to have lived on the Earth at the same time as us, Homo Sapiens, and Neanderthals. Not only that, but we also all interbred. That's right, you likely carry a percentage of Denisovan DNA in your genetic makeup.
The genetic artifacts indicate that Denisovans may have been very, very tall. Their skeletal structure was larger than ours. But most mysteriously, an analysis of people alive today with the highest concentration of Denisovan DNA defies logic - South American natives and Australian Aborgines. At least it defies logic according to the mainstream beliefs on human origins and migration from Europe to the Americas.
And the cherry on top would be an ancient stone bracelet found in the Denisovan cave, dated to be over 30,000 years old. Drilled into this bracelet, where the clasp would go, is a hole so small, it would have required a high speed drill to create.
The Denisovans became part of the inspiration for the ArkWorld character Sovian. A 7'5" tall behemoth of a man, with an unusual elongated skull inspired by the ancient skulls of Paracus (yet an entirely different rabbit hole to do down another time). With all of that brain space is it any surprise he's a scientist? An expert of mycelium and.... oops! I'm giving away too much. Let's move onto the next topic.
2. Gobekli Tepi
Found by a farmer in Turkey who noticed an odd rock protruding from the dirt, who would later learn his discovery would forever change mainstream archaeology's story of human civilization. With civilization's origins believed to have started around 6,000 years ago, in ancient Sumeria, the massive, megalithic stone monument that is Gobekli Tepi blew that theory apart, coming in at an age of over 11,000 years old. Currently the accepted theory is now that this must have been a temple, and the first of its kind, erected by hunter-gatherers. The turning point at which they became an agricultural society. But the size and scope of the "temple," (150 times the size of Stone Henge), with its massive, multi-ton stone architecture, begs the question of how such a primitive people could have the engineering and mathematical skills to pull off such a task. Perhaps it will be revealed that this was built by an even older, already civilized people. You can count on Gobekli Tepe finding its way into ArkWorld, although its origins may not be what you expect!
3. 60,000 Mayan Buildings
While DNA science is poking new holes in our old beliefs about civilization's origins, on an almost weekly basis, new scanning technologies, like ground penetrating LIDAR ("laser RADAR"), is hitting them from another angle. Just last year, researchers in Guatemala discovered over 60,000 Mayan structures beneath the dense forests. No longer needing physically venture into the terrain to discover these artifacts, they found a vast array of cities spanning 800 square miles, connected by complex roadways and travel networks. Even special channels created to prevent roads from flooding. The population of Mayans thought to live in this area at the time has been increased by millions.
This 800 square miles, while an extremely impressive amount of territory to discover, pales in comparison to the 5 million square mile unexplored area of the Amazon Jungle. What else lies beneath the surface there? How much farther did the Mayan and Olmec civilizations extend, or their unknown predecessors? How far back does it go?
Recently, over 140 new Nazca line images were discovered. The Nazca lines being famous for only being visible from the sky, yet at the very least centuries old.
And just last month, it was revealed that researchers have discovered a new complex in Peru, thanks to LIDAR, buried under the Earth, similar to the legendary Machu Picchu. But this structure is 5,000 feet higher up in the mountains than its famous counterpart!
These new discoveries are only the tip of the iceberg, with the price to acquire the scanning technology getting cheaper and improving every year, and this doesn't even begin to cover what lost civilizations are hiding underwater. What will we learn next?
In ArkWorld, the character Elmack is a soldier living in the city of Tenoch, the predecessor of these lands we're talking about.
4. Comet Impact Hypothesis
One of the biggest questions asked is, if there was once a global civilization predating Mesopotamia by thousands of years, whether highly advanced or simply a medieval seafaring society, where is the evidence? Well, part of that may now be answered by mounting evidence that 12,800 years ago, Earth experienced one of the worst natural disasters in all of homosapien history. A cosmic impact from a comet that crashed into the Earth somewhere in North America. Not only is it believed to have hit there, but possibly could have been a series of impacts, spread out over centuries, hitting us with the force of the world's modern nuclear arms supply over and over again. Then again, 11,600 years ago, we were pummeled again in a massive impact that kicked us out of the Ice Age once and for all. This hypothesis has been moving closer to full blown theory, thanks to layers of soot (at the 12,800 year mark) across the Northern Hemisphere revealing particles only found in cosmic impacts, mounting evidence proposed by geologists, and now, as of 2019, a nineteen mile-wide crater found under the ice in Greenland. A crater that could have been ground zero for the main impact. The Earth at this time was buried in ice sheets a mile or two in height (yes, over a mile tall), and would have instantly melted, causing never before seen level of flooding, flying mountains of ice and rock crashing into the ground hundreds of miles away, tectonic shifts, canyons and canals carved out in mere days, and the complete annihilation of any remnants of a civilization unlucky enough to live there at this time. This could also explain the lack of evidence of human life in North America before the arrival of the famous Clovis culture of 13,000 BC (who by the way, also disappeared after the time of this cataclysm).
And are you ready for the weirdest tidbit of all? The impact suspected to have happened 11,600 years ago times almost exactly with Plato's account of when the city of Atlantis was supposed to have sunk into the sea on one fateful night.
For the past century archaeology (and science at large) had an aversion to any hypothesis that came anywhere close to insinuating any truth in the biblical flood of Noah, and for good reason. After centuries fighting against the Catholic Church to put reason over religious superstition, but unfortunately this caused many compelling discoveries made by researchers pointing to a global flood or cataclysm to be buried (pun intended), and for many of them to even have their careers destroyed.
Likewise, with so much of academia being orchestrated by the European conquerers, and mostly the British empire, any evidence pointing to civilizations more advance than their own, be it ancient Egypt, Ethiopia, India or the Mayans, would be outright dismissed as the modern world's educational infrastructure was born.
There is a lot more than this beginning to challenge the theories of modern academia. Much, much more. But I think this is a great place to leave for now.
All of the following have been taken into consideration, and incorporated into my comic book series, but as to how, you'll just have to read the book to find out.
By Josh Blaylock
This is an area to enjoy and explore the real world mysteries that are the backbone of what inspired my upcoming comic book series, ArkWorld, and what I call "Archeopunk" sci-fi. On a very real level, I follow mounting evidence that the story of human civilization is much, much older that we've previously thought. That ranges from some very hard-fact science and archaeological discoveries all the way to the esoteric and sometimes even silly. Although often what one originally dismisses as nonsense, I've found in my own journey, has ended up having more merit than I first thought.