This is my background post for all stories set in the Big Sky universe. World-building is an ongoing project, and I expect to be adding to this document both when I publish a new Big Sky story and between stories, whenever I explore this world further in my imagination.
Here are all the Big Sky stories published to date:
|A Little Trouble in Big Sky|
A missing person case brings a detective from the warrens into a partnership with a Federal investigator in Big Sky Country.
Tiny People, F/m, M/f, FM/f, M/ff, FF/m, New World Order, Gentle, Cruel, Handheld, Entrapment, Mouth Play, Body Exploration, Vaginal Insertion, Nonconsensual, Vore Mention, Watersports, Giant Cock, Breast Play, Anal Insertion, Crush, Fatality
I created Big Sky for my first size story ever, after reading others’ size stories for fifteen years and ruminating on what made them work or not (for me). I knew I wanted to write about a shrunken man meeting a full-size woman and proceeding to form a relationship, including (but not limited to) sex. I didn’t want them to have a prior, same-size relationship; I wanted them to always regard each other as differently-sized. Perhaps most importantly, I wanted to be realistic about the longevity of such a relationship, so I decided on a scenario that favored a one-night-stand.
At the time that I wrote this, I found it more difficult to conceive of a woman who might desire a sexual relationship with a tiny man than vice versa, so I opted to put the woman in the position of being “normal,” so that her decision to leave her comfort zone and enter into a relationship with the shrunken man would be more heartfelt. I also resolved to base their relationship on more than just the thrills of different-size sex, but you can read the story if you want to know more about that.
My own thoughts and observations pretty much dictated that giants and tinies would have to live in segregated communities for their own safety and order. In addition to the “natural” slight regard in which giants hold tinies I wanted another stigma, that tinies used to be giants but had somehow “deserved” to be shrunken. This was, again, to heighten the value of any different-size relationship that might form.
At the same time, I wanted it to be possible for giants to know someone who ended up shrunken, to plant the seeds of sympathy. Different-size relationships should be novel but not unheard of, the stuff of jokes and gossip. I didn’t want my characters recoiling from the concept as “unnatural;” I wanted them to have been secretly thinking about it for a while.
I don’t know if I was already determined to write a story before, but when I came across an early draft of what would become the screenplay for Downsizing, I saw the potential for creating a world where I could explore my fantasy, and I hope I rose to the challenge.
The Jedlina-Kuriyama Effect
Desperate to find alternative sources of clean energy, governments and corporations in the 21st century scrambled to fund any and all possible avenues of promising research. One such effort was organized by a European-Japanese consortium, focusing on capturing the energy liberated by releasing certain molecular bonds. This research ultimately discovered “the Jedlina-Kuriyama Effect,” named after its two principal experimenters. While not all applications of the J-K Effect resulted in useful liberation and capture of energy, it did have one consistent, remarkable result: all matter subjected to the Effect was reduced to 4-5% of its original linear dimensions and, following the Square-Cube Law, 0.16-0.25% of its original mass.
Applying the J-K Effect to (or “jaking”) living organisms yielded slightly more energy capture, but when they experimented on living organisms weighing more than 35 kilograms the amount of liberated and captured energy went up by orders of magnitude. Apart from the disorientation from being suddenly reduced in size, the animal test subjects seemed not to suffer from any other side effects.
Restoring a jaked subject proved much more difficult, not least by the fact that it required the expenditure of as much or more energy as was initially liberated. Restoration required constant monitoring and immediate recalibration by highly-trained technicians, and the rate of fatal accidents during restoration was never brought below 2%.
The project supervisors immediately escalated their information control protocols, and the whole line of research was quickly classified as secrets of the Japanese and European governments. Nevertheless, the research and technology required to apply the J-K Effect was eventually shared with, sold to, or stolen by most industrialized nations.
While experimentation upon human subjects undoubtedly proceeded in secret, it was the Chinese government that first announced that they had successfully reduced and then restored a living person. Officially, all of their test subjects were criminals who had been sentenced either to death or to life imprisonment. They soon launched a program of jaking all long-term prisoners both as more humane and as an energy-generating measure.
The Chinese success with human reduction and restoration was duplicated elsewhere around the world, and more was learned about how the J-K Effect affected people (“jakees”). Adults range in height from 6.3cm to 8.9cm and have a proportionate weight, but so far there hasn’t been any other demonstrated physical differences. Disease, aging, nutrition, and cognitive functions all seem to be comparable. Jakees are, of course, as physically vulnerable as any other mouse-sized creature.
Application of the Effect takes about six hours. Reduction clinics require facilities no smaller than a modest barn, and they need to be in close proximity to a robust power grid to effectively capture and transmit the liberated energy. Restoration centers are much larger and must have their own dedicated power plant to instantly deliver the necessary levels of energy. Restoration takes twelve or more hours, closely attended by highly-skilled personnel.
As jaking is almost never truly voluntary, clinicians find that it goes much more smoothly when the subject is under general anesthesia. As a result, it typically takes 24-36 hours to fully recover from application of the Effect. After millions of applications, most clinics have jaking down to an almost industrialized process. Restoration is much rarer and specialized, but subjects recover in less than 24 hours.
Jaked people have been able to successfully procreate. “Restoring” children who were conceived by jaked people was first officially successful in Brazil, although it proved even more expensive than restoring adults who had themselves been previously jaked.
A Shrinking World
Climate change has continued to transform civilization, rendering many cities and regions uninhabitable, and massive weather disruptions have caused widespread famines and droughts. Consequently, millions of refugees have threatened to overwhelm the remaining habitable regions of the globe.
As nations scrambled to reduce carbon emissions, the price of clean energy skyrocketed, threatening to collapse the global economy. Power outages became commonplace even in well-developed nations, and rationing of electricity, food, and water were instituted in every city. Riots over both rationing and refugees occurred daily.
This crisis has led to desperate societies accepting more and more authoritarianism in their governments. In the United States, the FBI and related agencies were expanded, becoming a national police force known as the Federal Cohort. Domestic surveillance of political activity by the Cohort was assumed to be routine. Resistance to Federal authority from both the left and the right was met with increasingly brutal suppression.
The advent of the J-K Effect offered governments a novel way of dealing with thousands of dissidents and millions of displaced people. Once the Chinese had demonstrated that jaking people was safe and reversible, there was little opposition to jaking anyone who was disloyal to the state or who sought government assistance with housing or food, particularly when it generated clean energy while reducing the resource demands of those who were jaked. That restoration was exorbitantly expensive meant that it was effectively a life sentence, but that mattered little to a desperate planet.
The Chinese demonstration and the later applications of the Effect to dissidents established in the public imagination that everyone who was jaked was some kind of criminal. The vast majority of jakees, however, were people displaced by a changing climate and a volatile economy. The only generalization you could really make about them is that they were all unlucky.
The United States pioneered the practice of allowing people to discharge their debts via the energy liberated and captured by undergoing the Effect. The government never misses an opportunity to remind the public that they provide free housing and other services to all jaked persons and have assigned a portion of the Cohort (that portion that used to be the Department of Homeland Security) to the oversight and security of this housing.
Life Under Big Sky
Accommodation and provisions for jaked people vary widely around the world, from total incarceration to utter abandonment. Generally, more protection given to jakees corresponds to greater control over their lives. In most countries where jaked people live in separate communities, it is understood that they venture out into the general population (“Big Sky Country”) at their own risk. The climate crisis has made all life cheap, and jakees’ lives are cheaper still.
In the United States, almost all accommodations for jaked people are warrens constructed underground, “for the residents’ safety.” Federal law requires all jaked persons to remain within their registered warren at all times unless specifically granted permission to travel or reside elsewhere. Such matters are overseen by Warren Administration, a Federal agency with both jaked and full-sized staff.
The first Federal facilities for housing jaked people were operated by the Bureau of Prisons, and while these have all been transferred to Warren Administration, the carceral nature of the bureaucracy has persisted. Many consumer items have been jaked and provided to warren residents, including their phones, which everyone is required to carry at all times for tracking purposes. Jaked people who are granted permission to leave the warren are fitted with a location monitoring device affixed to the ankle.
Warren design has evolved over the years, but the overriding concern has always been secure underground containment, protecting the residents not only from the general population but also intrusion by vermin, arthropods, and water. The above-ground portion of the complex contains offices and workspaces for full-size WA personnel, Customs & Border Patrol, and usually an on-site reduction clinic.
Below ground, each warren consists of many levels, never fewer than ten and often as many as fifty. The entire complex must remain potentially accessible to full-size WA personnel, so it is built around full-size access ladders that extend to the bottom level. “Cross-streets” extend horizontally from the access ladders, across which removable flooring is laid, forming public “streets” between rows of residences, business, and offices. When full-size WA personnel need to access a particular street, any flooring that would obstruct them is removed, often without much notice.
All exchange of goods between the warrens and Big Sky is regulated, inspected, and processed by WA. With no soil or sunlight available, the warrens are wholly dependent upon imported food, much of which is subsidized by WA. A few industries have found uses for jaked employees in manufacturing or finishing miniature components, and such products form the bulk of warren exports.
Much more prevalent are jaked employees in the service sector, usually via telework. All warren residents receive free data services, although WA does not even try to pretend that they aren’t monitoring all internet traffic. Employers who require jaked employees to have greater bandwidth or local server space can subsidize these through WA.
A few jaked employees perform services outside the warrens. Typically these are jobs that require access in small spaces where the cost of deconstruction or disassembly is prohibitive. Such job excursions are temporary, often less than a day, and all jaked laborers are fitted with an ankle locator and assigned a full-size custodian.
Not every warren resident has a job. WA provides a Basic Minimum Income for all jaked people, including guaranteed housing and food rations, and many find this sufficient. Of course, such residents occupy the least desirable quarters of the warren, literally the bottom levels.
Social hierarchies in the warrens are quite explicit. Those residing closest to the surface enjoy the best food and consumer goods, owing to their proximity to WA. All wealth in the warrens is mediated through WA, so the more influence with WA you can purchase or schmooze, the higher your level. The lowest level is where loose wastewater and other filth collects, commonly called “The Bilge.”
In addition to criminals, climate refugees, and applicants for government assistance, a very few people have volunteered to be jaked and go into the warrens. Most of these follow one of the newer religious sects that preach a duty to minimize one’s burden on the environment. Others have been duped by government propaganda and rumors about how being jaked cures cancer or increases longevity. There have been a few celebrities who have tried to grab attention by being jaked, but almost all could afford to be restored and, ultimately, most have been.
In some other countries, jakees live under arrangements comparable to those in US warrens, while in others jaked communities are looked after by private organizations, often religious. States without many resources sometimes allow jakees to live freely in Big Sky, usually with their families. Predictably, many jaked people fall through society’s cracks.