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future_fabulators:the_shire

The Shire

Notes from the Future Fabulators Scenario workshop in October 2013, based on the question “What will happen to fear in 2033?”

It is the year 2033 in the prosperous Shire. From afar, it looks like a bucolic paradise. Passive houses with ornamental, perfectly manicured vegetable gardens. Small hamlets of ultra-local intentional communities, isolated from each other by neglected roads and overgrown forests harbouring ruins of the biotech age. (Even so, there are rumours of bored nanotech monstrosities threatening to leave the abandoned labs…) The refrain in their Anthem is “It's nice. It's oh so nice!”

The inhabitants are skilled crafters, trained in strict, compartmentalised guilds, safeguarding against too much innovation. They have learned their lessons about the abuse of power and technology. Each of the hamlets has evolved its own indigenous crafts, using their inbred genetic mutations to their advantage. Some build guitars for six-fingered players; others practice ultra-fast prototyping using all of their eight arms…

They're perfectly happy in the Shire and don't move around much. They live comfortable, opulent lives. They are hospitable to travellers, but they're happy to see them leave in good time. Guests are welcome for a few days, but beware of overstaying – just mentioning migration into or out of the Shire can cause widespread panic. “Travellers yes, immigrants no” is one of the Shire's slogans; it can be seen from the top of a surrounding mountain, written in a giant colourful wildflower arrangement. Even though they take the rest of the world into account in everything they do, they like to keep it at arms' length. A few of their people are sent out into the “Outside” to collect and copy things they encounter there. From these copies they build meticulous miniature replicas of the Outside – mini-worlds and mini-cultures, theme parks to experience with an air of benevolent indifference during their morning strolls.

The Outside, the Other, is irrelevant, since all externalities should be accounted for and absorbed in their ethical economics. Everything is just as it should be and they know exactly how it should be. Their schools of etiquette are renowned for their rigorous, decades' long training programmes. Because it is considered rude not to know how things “should be,” the idea of having to explain their way of life to an outsider makes the Shirelings highly indignant and even terrifies them. Atilla the Explainer is the arch-nemesis in their children's tales, for to explain what they do might make them aware that they are slowly dying of boredom… They placate their fears by ensuring that their basic needs are fulfilled, and that they have sufficient quiet time and limited sociality with likeminded neighbours. It's nice… it's oh so nice…


This scenario is one of four Fear scenarios:

future_fabulators/the_shire.txt · Last modified: 2014/10/23 10:32 by maja