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More Wraithy Questions!

A reader asks, "Do Wraith have any technological or scientific innovations? Aside from the refining of their feeding processes, the building of their ships and stun weapons, it doesn't seem like the Wraith do much in the way of scientific development in the last ten thousand years. Humans, for example. We can't go 45 seconds without trying to find a better, cooler, (and sometimes more wasteful) way to do something. The Wraith seem to have adopted the Ancients' philosophy of "that'll do, we're awesome," and haven't been shown doing much in the way of discovering things. Except Todd and Michael. But what about Wraith society as a whole?"

The Wraith have made massive technological advances! Can you imagine the biotechnology required to create a hive ship? To turn something the size of a mollusk into a living habitat the size of a football field able to live comfortably in deep space? To create hyperdrive engines compatible with biotechnology? To create an entirely parallel technology of weapons, propulsion and life support that is radically different from Ancient technology?

Especially when you're starting with a small population, none of whom have technical expertise?

I think one of the interesting things about the Wraith is how their material culture has to be completely different in emphasis from human because of the differences at the get go. For example, there is no need to put the enormous energy into agricultural production that human societies do, because there is no need for agricultural production on any large scale. There is no need to spend enormous amounts of energy building cities and coming up with ways to power them because there are no cities. No fossil fuel, no nuclear power, no dams or windmills -- none of that is needed because of the biotechnology. Yes, the Wraith have power systems, but they're self contained on hive ships and entirely different from human technology.

And to go from a population of about a hundred, none of whom have technological expertise, to a population of many thousand with the dominant technology in the galaxy in only ten thousand years? Is pretty amazing. Is a far larger advance than humanity has made in the last ten thousand years. Ten thousand years ago we had small farms and pottery, and today we don't have starships.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 28th, 2012 02:01 pm (UTC)
...no need for agricultural production on any large scale... Though I would imagine they'd have some, or at least, they would rely on hand reared humans to supply a number of the raw materials for their lifestyle. Examples would include leather, glass, metal (except they would require better grades than those available from some of the agrarian societies who seem **stuck in early Iron Age), fruit and veggies, wool (especially wool :P), paper (conjecture is they also have art because of sculpture), and so on. If they rely on their Worshippers for such items, then I forsee a far more symbiotic relationship than is currently projected.

But, I have never seen the tech as purely organic, simply because of what we've seen in the series. When a hive falls to pieces, as they often do, there is a distinct superstructure within it, and I've conjectured this would be metallic in nature, or certainly an alloy of some kind. Perhaps having a skeleton of this kind assists a hive to grow to such vast sizes.

So, the next question is, what about cruisers and darts. Do they bud off the parent animal, a la Moya?

**As in 'had the living crap beaten out of them to make certain no tech is developed that's worth a shite' :P

Edited at 2012-09-28 02:05 pm (UTC)
Sep. 28th, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC)
I'd always assumed that the hive provided at least some of the raw material used to craft things. I mean, if you've got a self-healing ship, couldn't you just have a patch of desensitized 'skin' on the walls that you could cut out and let the ship heal over? It's a heck of a lot easier than raising and slaughtering animals. The hives could also produce some sort of silk that could be woven into cloth or spun into yarn. Same results, but much easier to produce when you've got limited floor space.
Sep. 28th, 2012 05:59 pm (UTC)
Along those lines, I always thought the ship could "molt" these materials as needed.
Sep. 29th, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
They seem to enjoy hunting, and the variety of leather used in their outfits makes me think that the worshipers do some of their industry.

Also, about the kids, don't they also need protein? If they just eat fruits wouldn't that be kinda bad for them?
Sep. 29th, 2012 05:59 pm (UTC)
A wild Conveniently Timed Article appeared! Apparently the tech to grow leather (and meat) exists, but we Earthlings are still getting around to refining it. Given that biotech is the Wraith's expertise, it wouldn't be that hard for them to come up with something similar while we were stuck back in the Stone Age.

Though considering that Jo and Melissa have both said that different hives do things in different ways, maybe it's more of a mixed bag. You get some hives that import the real deal, some that grow it instead, and some that mix and match.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )