"THE SEVEN ERAS OF KNOWN SPACE" Edit divides the Known Space timeline into seven eras:[1]




1975 to 2040 Near future Stories concerned with the exploration of of Sol System, our own solar system.
2099 to 2135 Early interstellar era Using Bussard Ramjets, Humans establish colonies around nearby stars. Ramjets are very much Not faster than light and this is reflected in the types of colonies established. Wunderland, Jinx, We Made It, Plateau, and Down (planet). Sol System's main asteroid belt is colonized by humans known as Belters, and the human race in general is having its first contacts with alien.

Earth is increasingly crowded and birth control, mandatory birth control, is enforced by the UN (now a world government). Organ transplants, organs courtesy of the bodies of executed criminals, greatly extend human life span and the demand for transplant organs greatly extends the use of the death penalty. A major character in this era is Gil Hamilton of the ARM, the UN's police force. He investigates various crimes relating to organleggers (black market dealers in organ transplants) and newly discovered, dangerous technologies.

2322 to 2386 Intermediate era Advances in medical science has largely eased the problem of transplant organ availability. Other advances have led to a society where violence is almost unknown in Sol System - a "Golden Age". "Most of these advancements have been facilitated by the hidden influence of an unseen superhuman protector, one who sees a threat far beyond anything Humans can imagine."[1] The Golden Age does not extend to the colony worlds, esp on Plateau and comes to an emphatic full stop with the invasion of Sol System and the colonies by the Kzinti Empire.
2366 to 2505 Man-Kzin Wars The colony of Wunderland is occupied by the Kzinti. Sol System repeated fights off fleets of Kzinti warships. Humanity's decisive advantage is Hyperdrive technology, sold to Humans by the Outsiders, and it's this technology which - coupled with the "Scream and Leap" approach to warfare and life in general favoured by the Kzin - leads to the repeated defeat of the Kzinti Empire by humans. Most of the stores from this period are by other authors, see Bibliography
2637 to circa 2685 Beowulf Shaeffer era Over a century after the end of the Man-Kzin Wars, it is a pleasant period of easy interstellar tourism, using Hyperdrive starships. Each interstellar species in Known Space has its own independent sphere of influence, and interaction is mainly peaceful and based upon trade. These species include the technologically advanced Puppeteers, and a former Kzinti slave species, the Kdatlyno. Over half the stories from this era concern interstellar tourist (and accidental adventurer) Beowulf Shaeffer.
2850 to 2899 Ringworld era Human Space has started to expand and is establishing new colony worlds. Some technologies are more advanced. There is one fundamental change: and this is the spread of the so-called "Teela Brown gene," the ultimate in psionic power, which manipulates probability in a manner making its possessor appear incredibly "lucky." Early in the period it seems little else is different from the previous era. But in later sequels to Ringworld (novel), it seems that the UN central government has become somewhat oppressive, with significant restrictions on personal freedom.
3105 -  Thousand Worlds Known Space has expanded enormously. Protected by the widespread so-called "Teela Brown gene," Humans have entered an era of ubiquitous peace and prosperity. Such an era is pleasant to live in, and makes for rather pleasant, and dull, stories. Only one such has been published: Safe at Any Speed. Dull until some unexpected event occurs anyway, such as happened in a previous so called Golden Age and resulted in 200 years of war.


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