Spacing Out
November 12, 2011 1:20 PM   Subscribe

What nonfiction book or paper must I read to write a convincing story about an interstellar journey on a generation ship?

I'm looking for stuff in the sciences (genetics and botany), but also and especially for non-obvious humanities topics:

How do issues of class work in communal societies? How do tribes in a given area achieve political stability? What mechanisms do quasi-religious elites use to pass on their mission to future generations? Any psychological disorders that might be particularly prevalent?

Popularizations work, but I can handle fairly technical material. Thanks!
posted by Forbidden Equine Dentistry to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
For hard science references, check out PubMed cites for "biosphere 2" and similar projects.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:23 PM on November 12, 2011


You might have to search back a bit, but Charlie Stross has been blogging a fair bit about this topic over the last year or so at http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/

One point I found interesting is that the minimum-viable-population to maintain our civilization is probably much much bigger than people think.
posted by curious_yellow at 1:38 PM on November 12, 2011


How do issues of class work in communal societies?

You may find texts on the concept of a Hydraulic empire useful. On a generation ship, it's not just control of access to water, but control of access to everything that needs to be managed by a technocratic bureaucracy.
posted by kithrater at 5:11 PM on November 12, 2011


Research this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/crew-of-520-day-simulated-mission-to-mars-say-busy-schedule-helped-them-cope-with-stress/2011/11/08/gIQARd0S0M_story.html
posted by rudhraigh at 6:07 AM on November 13, 2011


Le Guin's Paradises Lost, in the collection The Birthday of the World. A major plot point is religion arising among the crew of rationalist scientists.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:35 PM on November 13, 2011


Ack - sorry - I didn't see the non-fiction caveat. My apologies.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:35 PM on November 13, 2011


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