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 The Society In Lyra's World
 Posted: Jan 17 2013, 02:52 AM

Why? You joking?

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The geographical map and countries of Lyra's World
The countries in Lyra's World are similar to the countries in our world, with a few changes. Europe seems to be the most developed region of all, while America (New England) does not seem to exist as the country they are today as they did not win the War of Independence. Asia and Africa are largely unknown, while Australia has barely begun as an independent country.

A map of Lyra's World is linked here.
A map of Lyra's Oxford is linked here.

There is one central government, the Magisterium, and they are in power over every country in the world, although their power is concentrated in Europe and New England. Democracy does not exist, and the monarch is a figurehead with no power. Every town has at least a Magisterium counsul and a Magisterium representative. All taxes are paid towards them, and they announce and police the law. For most of the common folk, this is where their physical involvement with the Magisterium ends.

The Republic of Heaven seek to overthrow the Magisterium and install a democracy, to live a life without oppression and tyranny. Some of the common folk do not know about the existence of this Republic, but everyone senses change, and they know something is going to happen, one way or the other.

Technology is consistent with the Victorian Era. Steam trains are everywhere, while Zeppelins provide faster, easier transport for the wealthy. Steamers sail on the seas, and Victorian cars move through the streets. Anabaric energy, similar to electricity, provides lighting and energy for the middle class. Rudimentary computers have been introduced and so have radios and gramophones. This is an exciting time, with new technological discoveries being rolled out constantly.

And yet the Magisterium is trying to stop this, suppressing technology which they deem to be heretical and unlawful. New technologies must first be approved by the Magisterium representative in the experiment, before it is forwarded to the Committee of Experimental Theology and Technology (CETT)

And all of this will be changed with the introduction of the windows to the Other Worlds, where technology is slowly being imported to Lyra's World although no one knows it yet.

Science (Experimental Theology)
Experimental Theology is a highly supervised field, and only the best of the best will be able to study and work in this field. The study of experimental theology is limited to Oxford in general and you will require a permit if you wish to study experimental theology.

Medicine is more advanced than the Victorian era with the discovery of penicillin. Blood transfusion has been attempted with success, and amputations have been recognised to save lives when necessary while broken bones have been set together easily. Personal hygiene has been recognised as key to proper health and surgeons are now washing their hands and sterilising their equipment before and after surgery.

Class Structure
The aristocracy exists, with titles awarded to those who have provided great service to society. They are hereditary titles, and can be passed down from generation to generation. With the title comes social standing and respect. Some doors can only be opened with a place in the aristocracy, and it is highly sought after although some have turned it down for various reasons.

Titles can be stripped once rewarded. This is considered to be the ultimate disgrace in society and is only used as the highest punishment for aristocrats.

Only Christianity exists, and it is the only religion approved by the Magisterium, although paying lip service to it is enough to go about your daily lives.

Children are everywhere, and if they are not at school, they are considered to be poor, and will generally be begging, stealing or working. Street urchins and orphans are everywhere in the slums, and when they gang up, they are not to be treated lightly.

Education is not compulsory, although most families who can afford it will send their children to a school. Private tutors are expensive, and are generally open to richer families. The Magisterium has a central committee devoted to the education syllabus, and only Magisterium approved books are subjects are allowed in schools. Mathematics, English, Geography, woodwork (for the boys), cooking and sewing (for the girls) and Physical Exercise are taught. Students can choose to specialise in certain subjects after primary school, and corporal punishment is the norm. It is not uncommon for adults to want to educate themselves as well, although special schools exist for this purpose and they are separate from schools for children.

There is one universal currency throughout Lyra's World. Gold dollars/sovereigns are the highest denominator, followed by silver pennies. 100 silver pennies make up one gold dollar.

Prices (A Rough Estimate)

An average middle class family makes 660 gold dollars a year.
Rent in a middle class area is 105 gold dollars a year
A loaf of bread is 3 silver pennies
A pint of beer is 4 silver pennies
An apple costs 1 silver penny
A ticket on the funicular train costs 5 silver pennies
A train ticket to Oxford costs 25 silver pennies
A voyage on a Zeppelin costs 25 gold dollars

A Zeppelin itself costs 25000 gold dollars
A car costs 5000 gold dollars

Buying a house in an upper class district of London costs 15000 gold dollars

Money is key. Those who are middle class will live comfortable lives, and take annual holidays, but they will never be able to afford the luxuries only open to those who are in the upper class.

If you are in the lower middle class or worse, the slums have an opening for you, complete with backbreaking manual labour or the exciting career of thievery.

The rise of Marisa Coulter to a position of power shows that women are increasingly respected, although there is still a bias towards men when it comes to job opportunities and society progression. Some forward thinking fathers are now educating their daughters equally and women are pressing for more education. Some jobs are now equal opportunity to both men and women, and women are campaigning for equal rights.

The Magisterium will punish homosexual couples severely. They are seriously frowned upon and mentioning it in public is a serious social embarrassment.

Drugs are not frowned upon, and opium usage is quite common, although addiction is a problem.

Law and Order
The police strictly adhere to the rules set by the Magisterium. They do not work for the Magisterium and rarely come into contact with them, but they carry out the Magisterium's version of the law. The police have the right to stop and search anyone and anything which they deem to be suspicious, and houses and buildings can be searched at anytime of the day without a warrant. Disrespecting and disobeying a police officer is a serious offence, although many go unreported as they are regarded to be trivial. Policemen wear typical Victorian era uniforms and are not relied on to protect high value targets and defend the city if necessary.

Not every crime is afforded a trial. In a recently enacted statutory instrument, people convicted of "highly dangerous" crimes will not be given a trial at all, with the category of "highly dangerous" crimes to be decided by the Magisterium on a case by case basis. Parties who flee the scene of the crime are immediately deemed to be persons of interest and will be hunted by the police immediately.

Censorship is rampant, and all publications, newspapers, books, or otherwise, must be approved by The Committee of Publications and Distributions before distributing it to the public. Possessing an unauthorised copy of a newspaper, book or magazine is a crime.

Which would make Lyra's World be ruled by a totalitarian regime if only the police and the judges were not so willing to receive bribes under the table...

Weather and Seasons

Lyra's Brytain has the typical four seasons - spring (February/March-June/July), summer(July-September/October), autumn(September/October-November/December), winter (November/December-February/March), with a high of 25 Celcius during the summer and a low of -5 Celcius during winter. It often rains, and snow occasionally falls during winter.

Temperatures can reach up to -30 Celcius in the North, and the sun rarely shines, no matter the season.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the four seasons are inverted - spring (September/October-November/December), summer (November/December-February/March), autumn (February/March-June/July), winter (June/July-September/October), with a high of 35 Celcius and a low of 5 Celcius.

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