The Sunspot

From The Inmara
Diagram of the hull of the Sunspot
When the fusion drive and Bussard collector are active, the spectacular plasma jet and corona tend to overshadow the ship itself

Our inworld, essentially the recurring dreamspace that we share as a system and inhabit when we are not conscious, has evolved quite a bit over our lifetime. It started as simply a house that was a conglomeration of the notable houses in our life as a child. In August of 2000, we started work on a role playing game setting called the Sunspot, designed to be a generational starship with flexible enough cultural and technological elements to accommodate any cliche, trope, or favorite genre of science fiction or fantasy story telling.

It turns out that this was an excellent way to also accommodate the variety and enormous size of our growing inworld. By that time we had roughly 1.5 million or so system members, each contributing to the landscape in their own way. So, when we came out as plural to ourselves in 2016, and started to become more aware of our internal world, it became clear to us that we had subconsciously fashioned it after the Sunspot.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of an inworld, think of it as a mind palace that accommodates multiple consciousnesses and can also be a place that you visit in your dreams. It is constructed in much the same way, through repeated visualization. Though, negotiation between system members is necessary.

Each system member may have their own headspace, a section of the inworld belonging entirely to them.

Because of our collective interoception and spacial sense of our inworld as it relates to our body and our individual locations in our brain, some elements of the Sunspot seem to correspond directly with our psyche and physiology.


The structure of the Sunspot as our inworld can be broken down into the following locations:

History of Development

Map of the Garden

In August of 2000, inspired by Babylon 5, Larry Niven's Ringworld, and Mary Doria Russle's the Sparrow, we conceived of the Sunspot for use in a role playing game, with the intention of one day writing a comic in the setting as well.

The game lasted one session, and was abandoned after that in favor of other activities.

From 2000 until 2016, we mostly kept the concept in the back of our head for future use, consciously unaware that we were molding our inworld to match it. However, many of us can recall thinking about it regularly and making small adjustments to its design over the years.

In 2016, after we had accepted our plurality, we resurrected the project of consciously designing it, and redid much of our earlier research to clarify its dimensions and physics. Again, we were still interested in using it in a role playing game and a comic. We made a few Facebook posts about it, then focused on other more pressing matters.

After that, we occasionally wrote about our experiences in discovering that it was in fact our inworld.

In late 2019 and early 2020, we started work on the RPG and the comic. This meant drawing up more careful diagrams of the ship and creating illustrations of what the inside looks like. We created a map of the inner surface of the habitat cylinder, called the Garden, and we rendered a mockup of what the aft endcap might look like from Fairport as it exists on the ship and started to draw an illustration of that.

This work can be found in the Sunspot Chronicles, Systems Out, and Our Autobiography.

In the service of creating these stories and the reference matterial for them, we have been spending several hours each day visualizing various internal views of different parts of the Sunspot, including how inhabitants would live there. As a result, when we visit our inworld via dream states or memories of it, we are finding that our inworld is more and more closely resembling the fictional creation.

We also get a general feeling of excitement and pride from most system members who are asked about the project.

Fictional Construction

An illustration work in progress of the view from Fairport of the aft endcap of the Sunspot

In its novel, Ni'a, our system member Abacus describes the Sunspot like this:

Someone, some time in the deep past, developed the plan for a mobile planet of sorts, to carry a population of natural flora and fauna through interstellar space, and to house a growing population of complex consciousnesses. A cylindrical compartment 400km long by 640km in circumference on the inside was spun from a single small planetary body using heat and self-replicating nanites. Living quarters and operational systems were built into its hull walls, while the inside was lined with earth, rock, mountains, ice, rivers, lakes, a sea, an atmosphere, and life.

Bussard hydrogen collectors at the prow harvest interstellar gas and compress it into a plasma ball, which is sent daily through the center of the cylinder to act as a sun. Every evening, the sun enters the engine through the aft endcap, and is compressed into a fusion reactor to create more energy and forward thrust. The ship is constantly accelerating at a small fraction of a g, enough to maintain the flow of the rivers from the foreward ice ring to the aft sea.

And in the prequel novel, Systems' Out, Metabang offers this description of what it calls a sun emergence:

In case you haven’t yet taken the time to enjoy it, the sun emergence is definitely worth beholding. If you happen to live in the aft coastal regions, as the Pembers and their friends did, it will have a distinctly different character than if you live forward of the mountains. If you have a good view of the water, you will get to see the entire ring of the sea light up and glow with sunlight before the land you are on is fully illuminated.

The terminator appears near the base of the Aft Endcap, so that the whole Endcap and a ring of ocean around it are slowly lit up by the growing sun. You will be able to watch the unbelievably huge machine that is the Endcap begin to glow with a dark red and grow in brilliance to the ruddy gold of full daylight. Then, as the sun begins to move aftward out of its magnetic womb, its light spills out further into the Garden from the hole in the Forward Endcap where it begins. That edge of darkness moves quickly. Looking up, you can watch it march forward across water, then land, forests, hills, mountains with glaciers, then plains and deserts. City lights across the cylinder from you fade out as daylight reaches them. But as more and more of the interior is lit, the reflected light illuminates the darker areas too, so the area around you grows in radiance gradually.

If you look at the Forward Endcap before the terminator passes you, you’ll see the sun’s light reflected off the interior rings of its womb. You can look at that directly without damaging your eyes, and you will see it as a small disc in the sky. In the beginning of the process, you can watch it turn on ever so faintly like a lamp switched on, then brighten gradually as the sun is fed more hydrogen and brought up to temperature.

Once the terminator passes you, the sun will suddenly be in direct line of sight to you and the glare can damage your retinas. It is best not to directly look at it then, if you have retinas.

Differences from the Fictional Version

Conscious Perceptions