Merry Blissemas! Happy Holidays from the Future.

Christmas, at least in the US and UK, isthe chief of holidays, and no doubt you’ve seen a lot of Blissemas posts about it this year. Today I’d like to talk about Christmas’s smaller sibling, New Year’s Day.

People, as long as they are people, have holidays. As long as they measure time at all, then there will be a time when the meter clicks over and a new one of whatever begins. Even if they’ve gone all metric and instead of “years” they have “kilodays” they will still sit up and take notice when all the digits across the display are zeroes. And since it’s in the nature of humanity to reminisce about the past and make plans for the future, they will likely do it on that day when the time function ticks particularly loudly.

And for that reason, “New Year’s Eve” and “New Year’s Day” (by whatever name your people know it) will be present in any society that measures time with numbers. They may not celebrate it in ways we would recognize, but the fundamental commonality is there. People need to pay attention to time on that day, just to remember to change the number they’re putting on their business, and that naturally gets people thinking about time. New Years are always holidays, in every culture.

Creating a holiday for a fictional culture is an important way to highlight aspects of the culture. Think of how Christmas in mainstream american culture, with things like lavish light displays and expensive gifts, highlights the consumerism that’s so much a part of modern America. A fictional holiday should have similarly deep roots in the culture in which it is celebrated.

In my novel trilogy the Orgone Chronicles, there’s a culture known simply as “The Pirates” with a celebrity class known as “Worthies.” They are the crews of the raiding ships that form the economic backbone of the culture, but they are also players in what amounts to a twenty-four hour reality show. Essentially, they get paid for having high-drama lives full of passion and betrayal. Take everything you might see on “Big Brother” or “Survivor,” add in duelling, sex, and space combat, and you’ve got some idea of what their culture is like.

The Pirate version of the New Year’s holiday is ‘Election Week,’ which is held at the beginning of each new year. It recognizes the accomplishments of those who have done the most to support the community over the previous year. All the raiding ships from across the galaxy come together at the mothership, “Port.” The pirate crews engage in a week-long celebration of feasts, games, duels, and debauchery. It all culminates in a public vote to elect one of their number to recieve the title of “First Worthy”. Since the office has some real political power, the competition gets heated. This event figures strongly in the third book of the series, “Hunters,” which is planned to come out in May 2012.

21 Comments on “Merry Blissemas! Happy Holidays from the Future.”

  1. I don’t go wild for New Years Eve but it is certainly a time for reminiscing and thinking towardss the future. Thanks for joining in with Blissemas!

    Victoria Blisse on 19 Dec 2011, 12:09 am (Link | )

  2. I read Pirates in one night. It was a great story !

    Lucie Le Blanc on 19 Dec 2011, 12:58 am (Link | )

  3. How interesting! I’ve never thought about having to dream up some fictional festival before! Great food for thought!

    J.C. Martin on 19 Dec 2011, 3:30 am (Link | )

  4. Nobilis! I wish you’d posted an excerpt!

    You’re right, our festivals give insight into who we are and what we find important.

    Lisabet Sarai on 19 Dec 2011, 6:34 am (Link | )

  5. Lisabet: I didn’t have a good excerpt for election week yet.

    Nobilis on 19 Dec 2011, 7:50 am (Link | )

  6. This was an interesting post. Now I’m going to check out the Orgons Chronicles.

    Tracey D on 19 Dec 2011, 8:30 am (Link | )

  7. Pirates sounds really cool…kind of like a futuristic version of Pennsic – a medeival reenactment war i’ve been to a few times. Parties, battles, shopping, dancing, drunken debauchery (did I mention the men without pants party? guess how they get checked?) – lots of fun. I’m having fun imagining a futuristic event with my current experience. Sounds yummy fun. Of course you have to watch out for the drunken dumbos who like to wave their new fancy REAL weapons around accidentally stabbing their feet and stuff. Ah well, debauchery comes with some risk, yes?

    Kristen Barry on 19 Dec 2011, 12:19 pm (Link | )

  8. Sounds like you’ve done some serious world building in your trilogy.

    Anne on 19 Dec 2011, 12:44 pm (Link | )

  9. New Year’s is definitely a way to measure time. People often look to it as a time to turn over a new leaf and start fresh or a time to take on new challenges. Good thing it’s a time for celebrations in many cultures.

    Na S. on 19 Dec 2011, 1:29 pm (Link | )

  10. Tracey: I hope you enjoy it!

    Kristen: Yeah, there’s some similarities there…perhaps especially the Tuchux. I’ve been to Pennsic a few times when I was younger, I had a lot of fun!

    Anne: Worldbuilding is important to any science fiction novel. Some more than others, of course, but I daresay it’s always there.

    Na: Exactly!

    Nobilis on 19 Dec 2011, 3:05 pm (Link | )

  11. I always celebrate New Years with friends, staying up to toast the New Year in & playing games to pass the time. There is always something very special about ushering in a new year surrounded by those you care about.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at

    Kathryn Merkel on 19 Dec 2011, 3:40 pm (Link | )

  12. I’m not a big fan of the New Year’s celebrations now that I’m 40. Too much recovery time from the partying.

    I LOVE the sound of The Pirates and am adding it to my Santa list.

    Happy Holidays!

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

    Joder on 19 Dec 2011, 3:46 pm (Link | )

  13. Kathryn: I’ve never been to a wild new year’s party. I want to go to at least one while I can still enjoy them!

    Joder: Be sure to pick up the first book in the Orgone Chronicles, “Scouts” too.

    Nobilis on 19 Dec 2011, 4:06 pm (Link | )

  14. Great post! The Orgone Chronicles sounds great, I’m adding them to my wish list!

    Alicia on 19 Dec 2011, 6:53 pm (Link | )

  15. Great post. Very interesting. The Pirates sounds very good! Thanks for sharing!

    Shadow on 19 Dec 2011, 7:11 pm (Link | )

  16. thank you for the great post today,
    i thought it was interesting and the book sounds great. i look forward to reading it. i hope you and your family have a very Happy Holiday Season.

    tammy ramey on 20 Dec 2011, 12:02 am (Link | )

  17. I am sorry to say I am a party pooper, I am usually in bed before the ball drops on New Years. Interesting sounding book I will have to check them out.

    Debbie S on 22 Dec 2011, 8:02 am (Link | )

  18. I think of the New Year as out with the old and in with the new. It is also the time when we can start over for those resolutions that we didnt achieve… like dieting. You are so right as long as we keep time in years we will always have New Year Celebrations! Thanks for the wonderful post! christina_92 at

    Christy on 22 Dec 2011, 8:18 am (Link | )

  19. Very interesting. I like the whole pirates thing. Its different. 😉 Thanks! Merry Christmas!

    Tonya on 22 Dec 2011, 4:21 pm (Link | )

  20. […] the 19th Day of Blissemas we are joined by Nobilis Reed for a discussion on the importance of celebration in it’s many […]

  21. […] the great Nobilis Reed today, he’s getting in the mood for New Years Day and celebrations and…pirates. Yep, […]

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