In my story, Earth was destroyed and about 19 million survive (from races and cultures from all over the world) and go to a new planet as their new home.

At the start of my Sci-fi book, it's set 125 years after earth's destruction so the population has grown to about... 80-90 million overall since then and have it's balanced cultures and everything already in place. The Economy is simple; that basic needs are met and anything more can be bought with their currency. Humans aren't set back to the Stone Age given their technological advances and have already reached warp-capabilities and grown as a species, so they barely have any of today's issues (racism, poverty, capitalism, etc).

My initial idea is that the residents of other races and cultures would maintain their way of life by having their own colonies --ecomony connected for trade and such-- and eventually designated new countries (Example- New Japan) on this new planet for future generations so that they wouldn't potentially lose their culture and diversity by integrating to others after several generations.

Would this be a logical progression of post-apocalyptic culture or a far-fetch idea on my part?

I have considered that this view could be seen as or have implications of racism due to ignorance on my part, so I do need help in ensuring I don't cross that potential line and would be brilliant for me to understand the implications I could be setting for my readers.

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    $\begingroup$ The question is absolutely fantastic, I really like it. Unfortunately, it has a very wide scope - one would have to invent a history of centuries to cover all aspects of human cultures (included ones not listed here). $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2020 at 9:35
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    $\begingroup$ If they reach the planet segregated (i.e. mostly homogenous national/ethnic culture in each ship), yes, they adapt their traditions and culture to the new environ and start from there (where they will go, that's for the writer to decide). could be seen as or have implications of racism no, maintaining one's culture is not racism. $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2020 at 9:41
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    $\begingroup$ Except that the colonies are all on the same planet, sounds like the situation in the Freelancer computer game. The game is set hundreds of years after the four (or five) colony ships arrived and started their own separate-but-economically-connected colonies. $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2020 at 9:47
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    $\begingroup$ @SKKennell I didn't originally want to add too much into the initial question I meant you already added too much. Please try breaking down in multiple posts. BTW: I loved Kim Stanley Robinson' Mars Trilogy, I warmly recommend it to you for the interplay (with plausible economic/physical/medical considerations) of the cultural/ideological aspects as factors in the way colonizing Mars goes and is shaped. $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2020 at 11:26
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    $\begingroup$ (1) Races don't have cultures. Culture is not inherited via DNA, it is acquired via education. As an example, most Russians and most English people are white, but nobody would confuse English and Russian cultures. (2) Some nations have cultures, but others do not. I seriously doubt that one could speak meaningfully of a General American culture, for example; New York, California and Texas being the canonical examples. (3) Since when do nations do things rationally? (4) I'd imagine that the E.U., for example, would set up an E.U. colony, not one for each member state. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 22, 2020 at 12:06

3 Answers 3


No, not really.

The populations of the colonies would show the imprint of the colonization process. In some settings (and some real world examples) colonization is driven by some religious or cultural minority searching for a home where it forms a majority. Such colonies would be fairly uniform in religion or culture.

Unfortunately in your setting the colonization was driven by an effort to evacuate survivors so that they do not die. The priority would be entirely on survival with cultural aspects being relegated to the "next generation, if it exists, can think about that" category.

Depending on the specifics this might not erase large existing cultural groups. For example if evacuation is organized by national governments, you'd reasonably have a Chinese colony, an Indian colony and so on. In addition to national pride and governments wishing to retain power it would genuinely be more effective to avoid jurisdiction issues by mirroring the political structure here there.

But you specified relatively small number of survivors. I do not think it plausible that most national governments would have survived intact. At best you could have a situation where survival was based on whether your government had the resources to get you off the planet. In which case we'd have only the cultures of the most powerful nations left.

More probably the evacuation would have been a global effort. The survival of the species is at stake so you want to evacuate everyone and everything you can with hard priority on maximizing the odds the humanity survives on its refuge. There would probably be single evacuation authority and single colonial administration using human resources based on utility value with culture, religion and nationality seen as irrelevant. Next generation, if one exists, will think about all that.

So there would IMHO be a single nation of survivors with fairly uniform culture and values formed by the struggle to survive. While there would be multiple colonies scattered over large area and they'd have their own local administration, valuable human resources would be moved as needed.

It might be useful to contrast this to the US. It would have similar melting pot character as US had but instead of large groups of people moving over and settling in it would have traumatized survivors settling and working where they are needed. There would be problems retaining families and major religions intact, cultures or nations would be a bridge too far.

But the next generation does exist

So how would the new generation seek to address this?

First thing to understand is that they all grew with the new unitary culture of survivors and strongly identify with it. First generation might have parents who were of same Earth nationality and culture. After that, people would just be aware of where the grandparents came from. They'd probably be interested in finding their roots and learning about the culture of their grandparents. All of their grandparents.

So instead of colonies dedicated to single culture, I think more reasonable model would be the way Japanese handle religion. Mix and match. One ritual or celebration according to one model, another according to another. After all you would want not to lose the old traditions.

I mean you would not want to lose the tradition of "suojalkapallo" or "eukonkanto" just because nobody remembered to invite the Finns. Or the Maori culture just because nobody could figure out where New Zealand actually is. And is it even a real place if it is not on the map?

So everybody would happily borrow from all cultures and do their part to remember all of the past.


The original colonies had sponsors with varying cultural agendas.

Each of the colonies had sponsors. It is expensive to set up a colony. The sponsors had varying motives. Some were nationalistic: a cause for the persons of the doomed nation to rally around. Some were religious, like the Mormon colony ship from the Expanse. I like the idea of a Rock and Roll colony, crowdfunded by Earth people who were annoyed at the prior 2 categories of colony.

Persons chosen to travel to the new colonies were chosen - mostly for their ability to survive and reproduce but possibly also for a family history of civic mindedness and social responsibility. Or artistic merit? 125 years later you can still see the origins in the languages and culture of each colony.

That is great for a story and you could go a lot of places with this. There could be prejudice. There could be prosetylzing. There could be hybridization - for example the Qatari colony took in refugees from the Japanese colony after a disaster, and now the descendants have a mix of the two founder cultures.


This is something that the author has to justify, no matter what choice you make. If you try to posit the future of Earth, you have to say something about race: either it still matters a lot (Firefly) or it matters not at all (Star Trek) or anything in between. But you have to justify your choice, and there isn’t a wrong answer.

For example: What caused the apocalypse? That could be a major factor. If it was caused by some world government, and that government’s people are part of the exodus, they’re probably going to be shunned and isolated. That may make them the only group singled out, or it may keep racial tensions enflamed.

There are so many aspects when planning that far out that any answer is plausible, but you have to provide the rationale for your answer. Just saying, “We all forgot our differences when we hit zero G” ain’t gonna fly!


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