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On a tidally locked planet, a refugee population of humans has landed and walled off a large section of the world’s habitable zone, the region between the night and day side that encircles the planet. I imagine this wall to be preposterously high, smooth and relatively unblemished by time's passing. It has a footprint roughly the size of Australia, reaches...1?...2? Kilometers into the sky. At this point, it doesn’t really matter. All we need to know is it doesn’t look natural and it would be impossible for the native population to get over it or around it...at least until they’re able to build rockets…

The native population has evolved to a caveman level. There has been no contact beyond the first few years of landing and constructing the wall. Humans have sequestered themselves behind the wall to ensure no further cross contamination between the two ecologies. The humans unpack all their junk and set themselves to building a new earth within the wall/compound/reservation. The myth of the wall begins to permeate the native culture/religion/political structure etc,

I imagine the chapters structured around 1000-100 year snapshots of both the human and native populations evolving together separately.

The main question or thought experiment I’m trying to imagine are various hurdles a thinking species would have to overcome while rationalizing a giant wall they can’t get through or over no matter how hard they try.... (That is until they eventually launch a rocket and finally take a peek) What I’m interested in is the “enlightenment” snapshots, The intellectual turning points that propel them to an early 20th century understanding of the world.

The answers I’m interested in on this forum are questions I need to be thinking about. Such as: Is the land surrounding the wall sacred? Or is the native population concerned there is a void in the knowledge of their planet’s topography even though it’s impossible to visit the polar regions do to vast temperature differences? Would there be different aspects to the native populations enlightenments? Such as the discovery of flight, and how it would probably come pretty early in their evolution because of the walls cultural driving force.

Again, I don't really need answers just questions to posit

I fear this question may still be too broad or not fit this forum :/

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closed as too broad by Mołot, Alexander von Wernherr, Azuaron, James, Mindwin Feb 8 '17 at 16:12

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ It's interesting question and I'd really like to read a story about the wall. Sadly, I believe it's too broad and opinion based now. Please see Help Center (link is on the top right on desktop browser). And last but not least, welcome to Worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 8 '17 at 7:39
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    $\begingroup$ Walls walls walls. What stops the natives from getting over the wall? Under the wall? The colonists use guns and bombs to kill the uppity natives who try? Then the interaction between the colonists and the natives is quite important, isn't it? Not to mention that Guns, Germs and Steel, while entertaining, is obviously ideologically motivated propaganda. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 8 '17 at 8:19
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    $\begingroup$ I love the idea, but agree with @Mołot that as presented, this question is too broad to be suitable for the StackExchange format. Maybe split it into several more specific questions? Example for some sub-questions: "What is the most low-tech solution to peek over an impenetrable wall?". "How will <insert technological advancement> evolve differently on a tidally-locked planet?" (e.g 'agricultural revolution', 'industrial revolution', 'marine navigation'...), "What hurdles will a cavemen culture walled-in inside a small 'reservation' on a tidally-locked planet will face?" etc. etc. - Good luck! $\endgroup$ – G0BLiN Feb 8 '17 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ Finally, you may find the information about Cargo Cults relevant - as it also describe the creation of myth and religion based on brief encounters between modern western culture and tribes 'locked-in' on small islands $\endgroup$ – G0BLiN Feb 8 '17 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ Within 10 years of our arrival, this alien species has developed the ultimate in ladder technology... $\endgroup$ – cobaltduck Feb 8 '17 at 15:51
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It could be seen as boundary for "heaven". They are on a planet so close to the gods, but the only reason they can't get through or over is that they are alive. The gods, being indestructible and immortal have the technology of the same level to allow them to build a structure of that scale to keep mortals out.

The political and legal side could prohibit interacting with the wall, or being within X yards of it, lest they anger the gods. Exceptions given for when the wall appears to need cleaning, weeding, or otherwise in keeping with a heavenly wall.

Culturally, their houses/huts could have their walls modelled to look like the wall to help bring them closer to their gods.

The launch of the rocket could wind up showing that it is nothing more than a very large cliff face on their side, but has a steep mountain leading to the ledge, but an otherwise vast area of land on the other, which doesn't contain gods at all.

It could have houses and huts of a much different construction to theirs which may make them think about larger, grander buildings. The quest to be the best would then drive them, both building teamwork to manage the building of different structures, but also rivalries which could divide them.

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    $\begingroup$ to add a twist: it could also be seen as a boundary for the "real world", while the culture itself believes to already be in hell $\endgroup$ – Franz Gleichmann Feb 8 '17 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ These are great ideas to think about. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – Casey Curran Feb 10 '17 at 4:49
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So, if I can understand the question right... Humans from Earth landed on a planet that has sentient life at a primitive level. The Humans walled off a large zone for themselves to live and to the caveman like species native to the planet, the wall becomes a part of legend, religion, and other aspects of life. How high is the wall?

I would imagine at some point a tree would fall on top of the wall angled so that a curious alien might be able to climb up. With little to no contact from the other side, they may even hold the wall as sacred because gods may be living on the other side. I don't think that a wall that involves with religion would simply allow a group to shoot a rocket at it. That alone would cause huge issues as some may find that act blasphemous.

The society would grow fairly naturally just like we have. You can put it into this perspective. We are on this Earth. We have always looked up into our "wall" or the stars and space. Made it a part of religion, culture, science, politics (space race, ancient wars because gods said so, NASA is a branch of govt.). We slowly evolved to reach "over it" or explore space. we created telescopes to get a closer look and observe. Put observatories at the highest peaks for the best angles. Once rockets became a technology, the race to the moon became completely political as a race between USA and the USSR. With a population fearing of what the "commies" may find out or do with that kind of technology, it helped drive the funding and innovation to speed up the process of "getting to the other side of the wall". Some people to this day claim that whole era was staged and faked. We can't know because 99% of us won't have the ability to go to space... at least not yet. Depending on the political atmosphere, some may claim their discovery of the other side to be fake in your story too.

I don't think there would be any more or less hurdles in their evolution than there would be without the wall. If anything, the wall will help speed up technological evolution as curiosity grows to find out what is there.

EDIT: A couple of things I forgot to add.... Politically too, some tribes/societies may try to claim the area around the wall. Claim it as their own. Think of the issue with the Crusades. Catholics believed Jerusalem was theirs, Muslims believed it was theirs and fought over that area for hundreds of years. Now, we have the Jews fighting the Muslims over territorial rights of almost a similar concept. Almost certainly, heavily religion based societies who worship the mysteries of the wall will try to claim the area as theirs and create armies of templars or jihadists as used as an example of our world versions.

Culturally, scientifically, they cannot gain too much technology from a wall. However, depending on what kind of wall you mean (like the great wall of china or a wall more futuristic with force shields involved too), they may be able to get some advancement. Assuming you mean a wall like the great wall of china, it is possible that as the society develops scientists, they may try to scrape off some materials from the wall to analyze how it was made. Of course this would be done in zones not protected by religious groups or other means who defend the wall to clarify. The humans may have brought with them cement mixture that is not made of anything found on this world. If technology is part of the wall, they may try to come up with a way to steal it. Lots of possibilities really and definitely a fun thought to entertain.

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    $\begingroup$ I really like this idea of tribes trying to claim space around the wall, and those zones becoming sacred, possibly city states sprouting up from them each with a different dogma. I've been imagining the wall as an impenetrable barrier, almost 2(?) kilometers high. It messes with the weather patterns. $\endgroup$ – Casey Curran Feb 10 '17 at 4:47

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