Jan 7, 2016

Dark Stars

In the first paragraph of Trullion, Jack Vance included the idea of 'dark stars' being present within the Alastor Cluster. In the three Alastor Cluster novels, Vance did not elaborate on what he imagined his 'dark stars' to be, but he seemed to like the idea of there being a lurking population of "dead stars".

Later in Trullion, Vance casually mentions "star crystals" that are found "in the dust of dead stars".

A decade before developing the Alastor Cluster series, Vance included the idea of dark stars in the Demon Princes series. In Star King, Vance portrayed Kirth Gersen as visiting Hildemar Dasce's "planet" which was actually a "dark star". He imagined stars with, "a dead surface, perhaps still faintly warm".

Hildemar Dasce
Vance also suggested that in most cases, dead stars were, "...too dense, too massive for human occupancy, but if a small star in the course of two or three billion years happened to sweep up enough detritus to build a thick shell of light material, the surface gravity might be reduced to a tolerable level."

Space pirate base near a Y-dwarf star.
The League of Yrinna: a novel from the Ekcolir Reality
The idea of a "dead star" that might be only "slightly warm" sounds like some brown dwarfs.

After publishing his set of three Alastor Cluster novels (if only there had been more!), Vance then returned to the Demon Princes saga and published The Face. In The Face, Vance imagined that the Cora star system had once been a binary star system, but one of its two stars had "disintegrated into fragments". That long-gone star, called 'Fideske', had been a "small dead star". According to Vance, the largest remaining fragment of Fideske had become the moon Shanitra, now in orbit around the planet Methel. Other fragments of Fideske formed an asteroid belt. Some fragments, containing "rare and precious elements of high atomic number, the duodecimates" fell onto the dry planet Dar Sai where they could be mined and collected from the wind-blown sands.

a dark matter star
Dark Matter
In the current millennium, after dark matter was recognized as a major constituent of galaxies, a theoretical type of dark star was proposed that could have been fueled by dark matter. It has been suggested that some such 'dark stars' might have become very large very quickly. After their "dark matter fuel" was used up, these massive stars could have collapsed to form super-massive black holes such as the one at the center of our galaxy.

The League of Yrinna
Other even stranger possibilities have been proposed such as "dark-energy stars".

The League of Yrinna
For The League of Yrinna, I am imagining a form of matter (hierions) that is manipulated by the Phari. As hierion engineers, the Phari can even control the movement of Alastor Cluster through space.

In fact, it might be best to imagine Alastor Cluster as an artificial star cluster that has been "built up" and created by the Phari during the past 5 billion years.

Some how, the space pirates in the League of Yrinna have been able to hide their fleets of spaceships from the Whelm for thousands of years. Normally, for a story set in the Exodemic Fictional Universe, I might simply say that a spaceship could be hidden in the Hierion Domain.

However, I'm now toying with the idea of allowing the Phari to engineer and maintain a type of 'dark star' that would be associated with a kind of Hierion Tube that that would allow starmenters of Alastor Cluster to move between the universe of conventional matter and the Hierion Domain.


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