For Presidents’ Day: consider the alternatives
Today is Presidents’ Day in the USA. When that came into being in California, I felts a little cheated. Since my birthday is the same as Abraham Lincoln’s, I sort of lost a personal holiday when The Great Emancipator’s got merged with the Father of Our Country.
I’ve done other Presidents’ Day posts, but this time, I thought I’d do another game and let you guess…I love games!
In this case, I’m going to describe some fictional set-ups where they don’t have a President, they have some other kind of government.
The game is to see if you can identify the place and/or the book and/or the author.
My intuition here is that this is going to be relatively easy (compared to, say, the games I do with quotations), but we’ll see.
Any spoiler concerns here? Maybe a bit…I’ll be describing the societies, and the way they got that way or how characters use the “rules” of the society may impact story lines. I’m pretty careful about spoilers, though, and I think you’ll be okay.
In this society, you move up by killing people above your rank and “taking their metal”. You can’t just poison them or ambush them, though…this isn’t 16th Century Italy.
They have to attack you first, so you kill them in self-defense, or the entire ruling council as to decide that you should fight. You can ask for that…that puts a check on a high-ranking person just never attacking anybody.
This society does have a lot of cultural rules: males don’t kill females…or vice versa, and prisoners aren’t killed (but may have “worse” things done to them).
This place has a beloved leader, ranked over all others (and there are many at lower levels). There are challenges and clear aggressive action against the land, but this ruler is basically a pacifist. That doesn’t mean steps won’t be taken by this administration to remedy evil deeds. The ruler is aided in that by a powerful magic user…and the ruler has forbidden the use of magic except by two people.
The land, under the guidance of the ruler, is basically socialist in concept…there used to be money, but it isn’t used any more. However, some people certainly have wealth. That happens in part because the land is so separated, with considerable geographical challenges…some small areas have never even heard of the central ruler.
While perhaps not a ruler in the formal sense, this character has absolute dominion over the land, and must be obeyed. Over 2,000 years old and ruthless, the ruler had come to this place because of a process that provides immortality. The ruler commands magic, but overwhelming attractiveness may be the despot’s greatest power.
Well, there’s a few for you.
These are all definite alternatives to the electoral college! The systems are considerably different. In the first one, authority is granted by ability…the lowest can rise to the top, if they deserve it (or get lucky enough). Many people would like living in the second one…but there is no chance of becoming ruler…well, without significantly subverting the current system. In the third, individuals have very little power.
Give yourself credit if you can identify the place, even if you can’t name it.
I’ll publish the answers in a later post.
Happy Presidents’ Day!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.