June 20, 2017 by Gregory Josephs
I Won My Own Planet (Sort Of)!!!
Coming into this week, I expected a lot of things. Receiving an award wasn’t one of them. I expected to be tired. I expected to be stressed. It’s the first week of the annual summer day camp I oversee, and faced with thirteen-hour workdays from now until the beginning of August, I expected to put my writing on hold.
Then the lovely, scary, funny, supportive A.S. Akkalon nominated me for the Liebster Award—an honor bestowed upon bloggers by their peers. I’ll be honest, it was just the lift I needed at the start of camp season.
Not only do I get this lovely graphic and a reason to write. . .
I also get my own planet (kind of)!
So here’s how it works. To accept this award I am supposed to answer eleven questions from the nominator, and select eleven more bloggers to receive the award. A.S. Akkalon only had six questions (but by her own admission they were tough), and nominated three bloggers (I really am honored), so I’m going to play the numbers by ear, myself.
The basis for the questions posited to me is this:
Suppose you crash landed your spaceship on an uninhabited Earth-like planet with fifty of your crew.
1 On your new planet, you have to build a civilisation from scratch. What would your role in the new civilisation be?
I’d totally be the High Sage, also known as the guy who knows a little bit about everything and has loads of opinions on how things ought to go. Whenever the poor saps who got stuck governing got—well—stuck, they could visit me in my garden and I’d give thoughtful, objective advice. It would also be nice if my advice was binding, but that might put me too much into the Governor column, which I’d rather avoid.
I suppose that’s not too different from being a writer on Earth. I get to share my stories/viewpoints and people generally enjoy reading them. Some people even take what I write kind of seriously, which is pretty awesome!
2 In the first week, what would your priorities for the new civilisation be?
Earth-like or not, an alien planet is no joke; it’s swim together or sink together. I’d call for an election to appoint a leader for a term of one year, and let the winner of that election appoint people to lesser positions of authority. It would be done super fast, and the results would have to be accepted absolutely; political quibbling is a luxury to be enjoyed by established societies not concerned with colonizing a new planet.
If the leader and his/her administration sucks, we could get a new one after a single trip around our alien sun.
After that, the priorities would be water, shelter, and food, in that order. We’d set up camp along a lovely, lush riverbank, and I’d use my (newly appointed) High Sage powers to teach my crew-mates everything I’ve learned about farming. Hopefully we’ll have had the foresight to bring some seeds and maybe some hard-tack or something to tide us over. Zucchini grows fast, but not overnight.
Someone in the colony ought to know a thing or two about hunting, since this would be beyond my High Sage expertise. I can cook though. I hope the wildlife on this new planet isn’t too gamey, but I’ll be grateful for the protein no matter what.
3 If you were made leader, what are the first three laws you would put in place to govern the society?
Hell no! I said I wanted to be High Sage, not Governor! Oh well, the results of the one-year election must be accepted universally because we have no time for in-fighting. My first three laws would be:
- No colonist shall reap the rewards of another colonist’s suffering or oppression, lest their roles be reversed.
- Art isn’t optional. All colonists shall be required to spend 90 minutes per day consuming or creating art. Television doesn’t count, but books, music and live theater do. Just because we’re colonizing a new planet doesn’t mean we can’t write novels or put on skits, right?
- No motorized private forms of transportation. It’s a new planet, so we’re going to start things off on the right foot, er. . .bus. A limited number of communal single-occupancy vehicles will be available for the eventual weekend trip, but otherwise, take a hover-bus, train, or a good old-fashioned bicycle. Our new environment will thank us.Luckily we’ll just be a small village to start with and won’t have any motorized vehicles anyways unless we build them from the wreckage of our ship. I’d rather save that precious metal for tractors.
4 What animals would you domesticate to help your society?
Chickens, cows and horses would be essential. I personally couldn’t live without cheese or eggs, and we’d need horses to plow the fields until we could build some tractors with the wreckage of our ship.
In addition I’d like to domesticate cats, bunnies, and snails. Especially cats. A home just isn’t a home without an adorable, furry overlord. Honestly, it’s an alien planet—give a guy his fur babies. Plus, they’d help deal with the obligatory stowaway vermin on our wrecked ship.
5 What would the worst punishment in your society be? What crime would a person have to commit to earn it?
Copying the entire Oxford Dictionary by hand. The crime would be “willful ignorance.” Since my society would be enlightened and non-violent (obviously) the worst thing a colonist could do is choose not to be informed about something important.
What’s that you say? Human beings are inherently wicked and I’d soon have to come up with some actual punishments for real crimes? Well, I happen to believe people are inherently good, and whether that’s realistic or not, let me have my little Utopia, at least while it lasts.
6 After a while your society becomes so successful that migrants want to join it. What criteria would you use to decide whom to accept?
My selection criteria would be based entirely on culture; all would be welcome who share a passion for art, knowledge, inclusion, public transportation, and peace. Age, gender, and race don’t mean anything. If a potential migrant displayed the above characteristics, I know they’d be a good fit for my happy little colony.
And I Nominate. . .
Jean-Paul who writes about food, life, and living with his ultra-wise super-chef husband Guido in London.
Estella Lynch, who approaches writing about writing creatively and has a clear passion for literature. I’m still chuckling about her post featuring Nathaniel Hawthorne
cracTpot who writes with honesty and humor about life and “whatever is chasing its tail in [her] head.“
I suppose I’ll leave it there (as my nominator did), but invite anybody to answer the following questions on their own blog regardless of nomination. If you answer (and let me know) I shall read!
Update: Jennifer, who writes on her blog ‘The Lone Rose’ has responded. Her answer to number 11 in particular has me in stitches.
Without further ado, I’d like to know:
- If January was a candle, what would it smell like?
- Regardless of nationality, do you prefer gray or grey, and why?
- If you could pick your own lottery jackpot (and win it) what would the cash value be?
- If you couldn’t write anymore, how would you express your creativity?
- If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
- You’re only allowed to listen to one song for the rest of your life. What do you choose?
- Roasty-Chocolatey or Fruity-Tarty-Fresh?
- Sand or snow?
- What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
- You can have any mythical creature as a pet. Which do you pick?
- If you could be any vegetable in your next life, which would it be?
Nominees are not obligated to participate, but they should know I’ll be awaiting their responses with baited breath.
How about your thoughts? Would you enjoy living on my Earth-like planet? Do you have an interesting answer to any of A.S. Akkalon’s questions (or mine)? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you as always for reading, and don’t forget you can subscribe to my (now award winning) blog below,