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Story Bits for 8/30/2008 – Mining our Foundation

August 30, 2008

John Scalzi tells the story in his post titled “The Big Idea: Tobias Buckell” of how Buckell came to the setting for his recent novel “Sly Mongoose” – a planet called Chilo.  Chilo is a world modeled after Venus, where air suitable for humans is actually a lifting gas, which means airships and floating cities are all the rage.  It sounds a little like Cloud City in the Star Wars universe.

In Star Wars, the economy was focused around gas mining.  For today’s Story Bits, imagine a world like Chilo or Cloud City, and over the decades the gases that have been holding the cities up have been so overly mined that they are threatening the overall stability.  Could the city residents mine the “unbreathable” gases steadily enough to eventually drop their cities to the surface (essentially terraforming the atmosphere)?  Would they have periods when atmospheric conditions throw the cities around like corks in the ocean during a storm?  Is there something on the planet’s surface that the government is trying to keep hidden, and the mining is threatening to reveal it?

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