In other, less magical worlds, current theories of physics include the concept
that gravity slows down time. If you have a sufficiently massive object and
can get a large enough difference in altitude, you can even compare two (very
accurate) clocks and find that the higher of the two has been running faster,
whereas the lower has been dragged into slower motion by the greater forces
The planet of Neopia, perhaps because it is intrinsically magical, appears
to take this phenomenon even further. In examining the assorted worlds or nations
of Neopia, I realized that there seemed to be a rough but noticeable correspondence
between altitude and technological development -- or in some cases between altitude
and historical era. In fact, in some areas, it appears that it may be possible
to travel in time by traveling in altitude -- going uphill or into the air,
or going downhill or underground.
The worlds with space-age technology are, naturally enough, in orbit; the worlds
that are supposed to represent previous eras of Neopian history (Meridell, Brightvale,
Tyrannia) are all low in altitude. Tyrannia has even been referred to as being
underground, although that seems a little unlikely given its apparently normal
access to sky and sun. With these in mind as reference points, I decided to
examine the rest of Neopia's worlds to see how well the correspondence holds.
Let's take it from the top.
The highest altitude worlds in Neopia are the moon Kreludor and the Virtupets
Space Station, both in orbit around the planet itself. Necessarily, both have
extremely advanced technology; there would be no way to survive in the vacuum
of space without advanced protective measures. In fact, because of their association
with Dr. Frank Sloth, these worlds have electronics and engines where the vast
majority of Neopia relies on magic. This may be less a result of time proceeding
faster with altitude than of association with off-planet technology; Dr. Sloth
is believed to have been on Neopia longer than most if not all species of Neopets,
but arrived from elsewhere, and he brought the Grundos from their own home planet
to serve him. On the other hand, it is unclear when and where Sloth developed
the technology he uses, and he may well have invented a great deal of it while
concealed in orbit.
The Alien Aishas are also quite technologically advanced, able to engage in
long-distance space travel and exploration as well as to mimic Faerie magical
technology, although their culinary tastes are... well... alien. Despite their
resemblance to the Neopian species of Aishas, however, they don't seem to be
primarily based within Neopia's gravity well, so they probably don't
really count as evidence.
There are also nations in Neopia that float within the atmosphere. While the
fact is not widely recognized, Faerieland, the thriving city in the clouds,
is actually one of Neopia's primary technological centers. A full exploration
of the matter would provide substance for another article, but in brief: technology
is, essentially, applied science; magic is part of Neopian nature and thus falls
under Neopian science. Faerieland therefore contains a high concentration of
magical technology, which it distributes to the rest of Neopia through games,
in exchange for quest services, and through outright sale.
The technological status of the Darigan Citadel appears to be moderately elevated
with respect to Meridell, over which it floats. The correspondence between altitude
and technology is somewhat complicated here by the fact that the Citadel appears
to have been uprooted (in itself an impressive feat of magical technology) and
moved from some unknown location to hover over Meridell instead. The original
altitude is unclear, and there is evidence that the height at which it floats
is adjustable. In any case, Darigan seems to have resorted to developing magical
spells and engines of war to compensate for the curse produced by the loss of
the Golden Orb. Darigan also seems to have thrown a fair amount of energy into
developing clockwork, although most of the applications are toys.
Terror Mountain! Atop and inside this lofty peak, we have two faeries and a
variety of interesting games and shops, including one where the available items
are disguised from potential buyers until after purchase, presumably by either
clever packaging or an effective illusion. There isn't anything that particularly
stands out to me about Terror Mountain's society/technology (except that they
are obviously well adapted to the cold); judging from clothing, I would guess
that they have a similar culture to Neopia Central right from the peak down
to Happy Valley, except not quite as busy and much colder. This doesn't exactly
support my theory. The Ice Caves lead to the long-frozen Bori and used to lead
to Tyrannia, but underground routes through Terror Mountain are still rather
higher up than much of Neopia.
There are several Neopian regions where the altitude can't easily be gauged
from their names. Neopia Central, where every human resident starts out, is
one; others are the Lost Desert, Haunted Woods, Mystery Island, Krawk Island,
and the mini-worlds of Kiko Lake and Roo Island.
Neopia Central and the Haunted Woods seem relatively modern, as do the mini-worlds,
although the Haunted Woods by nature seem to have ties to the past, the gone
(or not quite gone), and the deteriorated. Still, the carnival games at the
Deserted Fairground appear to be functioning as intended (as distinct, it should
be noted, from functioning fairly) and several have rather advanced construction.
Some of this may be influenced by external interactions, however; the exploding
clockwork Chia clowns in Haunted Carnival were apparently built by Dr. Sloth.
Krawk Island appears to be generally somewhat lower-lying than Mystery Island.
These two may be "reversed" from the overall theory, although the point is open
to some argument. Mystery Island has significantly more ties to tradition and
a more relaxed lifestyle, and there are still parts of the population that remain
very isolated. While perhaps appearing less "modern" in some respects, however,
this may easily be considered more advanced than the piracy prevalent on Krawk
Island and the neighboring Scurvy Island.
The Lost Desert's altitude is uncertain; it seems relatively flat, but whether
it's at or above or below sea level is unclear. The Lost Desert is very deeply
rooted in tradition and very advanced at the same time; it's a matter of building
on a foundation, I think, more than of either retaining a comfortable status
quo or getting literally stuck in the past. The level of communication and interaction
with the rest of Neopia is also unclear; there is definitely travel back and
forth and a certain amount of tourism, but according to the recent Lost Desert
plot it still isn't very common knowledge across Neopia.
Meridell, Brightvale, and Tyrannia all seem to be "low ground." Meridell
and Brightvale have names suggesting that they reside in valleys -- low
ground at least with respect to the surroundings. Tyrannia was originally discovered
(at least by non-residents) through a deep crevice in the Ice Caves. Evidently,
while not precisely underground, it lies low enough and in sufficiently prohibitive
geography that it was actually overlooked for several centuries, preserved in
its former condition -- or else that crevice actually opened onto the other
side of time. By now, it seems that these relics of both "medieval" and "prehistoric"
Neopia are in regular contact with the rest of the planet, though they retain
much of the previous culture. Tyrannia, in particular, somehow seems to have
acquired the largest concert venue in Neopia -- the only one that's widely publicized,
actually, although there must be minor local ones where such bands as Gruundo
and The Hikalakas get their start.
The correspondence between altitude and time, technology, or culture is something
of a rough one. Highly advanced, forward-looking, or even futuristic worlds
do tend to be high in altitude. Worlds from previous periods of history, with
a strong sense of history, or with a nostalgic, traditional, or back-to-nature
air do often seem to be around sea level or below -- but it isn't necessarily
linear. In many -- perhaps most -- cases, the differences in apparent era can
be attributed to factors such as necessity (one can't survive in space without
some technological assistance, whether electronic or magical depending on whether
you've been in touch with Sloth or the faeries), and there are in other cases
considerable effects attributable to the travel, trade, and other interactions
In short, it is true that "futuristic" worlds and those with exceptional magical
technology are high in altitude and that worlds "stuck in the past" or reflecting
previous periods of Neopian history seem to be low. In terms of general culture,
however, it seems likely that other factors -- communication vs. isolation,
climate, and so forth -- have an effect strong enough to obscure the magicophysical
effect of altitude on time, which may also require larger differences in altitude
to be observed reliably. There may also be a psychological tendency to place
centers of "higher" learning or accomplishment in a literally higher location
(e.g. Techo Mountain and the training schools, the Tyrannian Concert Hall on
a plateau, Lost Desert pyramids), though this is not invariable.
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As they laid her down on the deck, the Uni stayed
still, weighed down by the heavy net that bound her. Her breath came in ragged
pants, clouding in the salty sea air...
|Confused with Colors?|
Now, to choose the color of your pet (and this goes for petpets too) make sure
you know what kind of attitude, sense of humor, style and kindness you want
your pet to have.
|Of Kelp and Health|
Walking (or swimming, rather) to its entrance,
they met the reedy Maraquan Scorchio and said, 'We're with the Neopian Health
Also by czenko28