File this under "this was gonna bug me if I didn't make a post about it". :P
. This thing has a pretty cool premise and some interesting stuff. It's got cool storytelling techniques! It makes really great use of the medium! It's got space probes talking to each other without any lags! It's got suddenly the humans stopped aging! It's got terrible, terrible worldbuilding
Problem the First: The name of it.
See, the thing is, "1776" is an important/prominent year for Americans. If you then add another 7, to invoke 1776, that's like putting Chekov's gun on the wall. And then the gun never fires
. Dude, if you're gone called something that invoking of 1776, you need to do something with it. Otherwise it's an issue. A distracting issue.
Problem The Second: What football will look like.
The "football" makes no sense. And I don't mean in an "this has no relationship to current day American football except for the ball" way. I mean that in a no-human-being-would-ever-do-this way. It boggles the mind. Okay, so let's say football decided games don't have to have an end point. No one would play one football game for eight hundred or twelve thousand
years. That is not how things work. That's not how people work. That's not how time works.
Problem The Third: None of this makes any sense.
I don't mean the instantaneous communication across vast distances in space or humans living forever. That suspension of disbelief is the price of admission. No, I mean the humans. Because...
Problem The Fourth: There is no sense of scale.
It is 2017. To belabor the obvious: the year 17776 is very far from now. However, nothing has changed except football. Nothing has changed in 15,000 years
. Dude. No.
OK, ok, so technically, there's ~peace love and kittens~ and all that, which we are told about and never shows up as a thing at all. Especially since we're all post-scarcity and everything is awesome, but there are still beleaguered office workers? And general store owners and basically, enough signs that the current economy is still trucking along. Essentially the only difference is that football is now a game with states as end zones.
This would have worked better if this was fifty or a hundred or so years from now. That would be kinda cool. But 15,000 years?
Like, 15,000 years ago, I don't think agriculture was even a thing yet. And yet humanity has stagnated in such a way that nothing has really changed in 15,000 years except the coast looks different because some cities are underwater and we have magic nano robots to fix all injuries and everyone gets along?
"But this is just a clever little thing about how football could mutate?" okay well, then, why does he keep bringing it up and then going "lol no, that's just how it is now, no one knows why" and stuff like that? Why keep bringing it up just to dismiss it as irrelevant? Why does it spend so much time on it and Pioneer 9 asking about it?
There's any number of worldbuilding problems you can handwave off easily by just not pointing the sphere of attention in that direction. That is *not* what is being done here. It's more like "oh hey, I'll keep bringing up how bizarre and unlikely this is, just to dismiss it as a serious issue of inquiry". C'mon already. You put something under a direct spotlight and then decided to keep pointing at it and never doing anything about it. If you aren't going to explore this stuff or answer any questions, stop being a jerk about it. Going "oooh, oooh, oooh, I got a secret and I'm not telling" is probably fine for getting clicks, but it does nothing good to your story.
I mean, ffs, you don't just get to briefly sum up major accomplishments and then shrug it off with "you don't see any of those things because people didn't want them. If they advanced too much further technologically, those advances would inevitably intrude on their humanity. People wanted to walk. They wanted to take the bus that smelled like cigarettes. They wanted those precious three minutes between asking a question and knowing the answer.
". (also, a minor rage that that's in an image and not text). Again, we are talking about 15,000 years. Where is your sense of scale??? Where is your basic sense of what humans are like???
(also, the idea that we've reached the ~~peak of human achievement that humans actually want to achieve~~ right now is fucking goddamn bullshit that I'm not even going to engage with. Like, the idea that we'll just press freeze on how things are now for middle class America and somehow somethingsomethingworldpeace somethingsomethingpostscarcity and not change a thing and just sit around and watch football all the time? For 15,000 years
? This is such bullshit, I can't even begin.)
Like, the only way this makes any sense at all is if Pioneer 10 and JUICE are unreliable narrators and are making this entire thing up to troll Pioneer 9, except that is specifically addressed in the final chapter and denied. But I guess the question is, can we trust an unreliable narrator to admit to being unreliable? Because then there's also the title of the piece to take into account. It's just, it's such a massive part of the story, Pioneer 9 asking about this all the time. And then, no answers! Or, well, only answers that don't hold up at all. You have this mystery at the heart of it, but then you don't solve the mystery
It's just, it's really frustrating, considering how cool some of this stuff is. :(
Oh, and also...
Problem The Fifth: Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer
This is just a minor nit, especially since it has happened IRL yet, but I feel like it's safe to assume that JUICE is gonna get thrown into Jupiter or something like that to destroy it? Why didn't they just go with the Voyagers or New Horizons or something like that? What, does the Immortalization Of Humans and somehow the Stagnation Of Human Achievement mean that the JUICE mission doesn't end?