Family Lines

rattraveller's picture
March 25, 2016 - 9:11am
Stick with me a minute. My wife's family is planning a family reunion cruise for 2017. It is a little tricky since she is part of a yours, mine and ours family. She and her twin brother are the youngest of twelve but Mom had five kids and Dad had five kids when they got married. My wife wasn't born until after her father retired from the Army. Some of her nieces are older then she is.

What does this have to do with SF? Well currently we have a life span of about 72 years and only about thirty of those years are really good for reproduction. But our SF Humans live 200 years. So if we expand their reproductive years accordingly we can see some pretty large and extended families. Your character can have a Great Aunt who is 50 years younger then they are.

With your family tree now looking more like a plate of pasta how would this effect relationships, inheritances and other aspects of family life?

Could a new colony be much like the State of Rhode Island where all long time residents can trace themselves to one or more of six family lines.

Also wondering about schooling. 150 years ago most people did not go to school much past 6th grade since they usually learned all that was thought they needed to get along by then and women were considered old maids if they did not marry by 25. Those things have changed partly because people are living longer. BUT how would this affect SF characters? Do they graduate secondary school at age 30 and college at 40? Is the voting age 32? When can you get your gyrocopter license?

Sure I missed some things just fill in.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

TerlObar's picture
March 25, 2016 - 9:40am
Well I keep the maturity times for humans about the same and have it be a bit younger for the other races.  I assume that there's about 10 years or so of "elementary and secondary" schooling and most beings have a GED equivalent at age 14--16 (better pedagogy all around and starting earlier for the other races).  After that it's a few years to get your starting skills and then you're off.

So "adulthood" starts about the same as now.  I agree that the childbearing years are probably stretched out for humans and yazirians as compared to earth humans.  I see drals and vrusk actually being able to reproduce longer.

It would definately scramble family trees for the humans but I don't see the other races actually caring that much.  And even if you didn't have your first kid until 30, with a 200 year lifespan you will often know your great, great, great, great grand parents when you're a kid.  Now that's a big family reunion.
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Bio-Social's picture
March 25, 2016 - 9:48am
I imagine people get started in independent life in their early twenties.
Late teens for some.
That's because I assume physical, psychological, and reproductive maturity happens as it does with Earth humans.
The extended lifespan is presumably the result of much better healthcare, possibly including genetic modifications.

Marriage age varies.
We have a typical family size listed in the book. I think it was one father, one mother, and one through ten children. That suggests and average of five kids. So fairly big families by contemporary US standards, but if women enjoy extended fertility , those kids might be spaced out along a good chunk of time.

What is really delayed is retirement. With a long lifespan, it's quite probable that some people have century-plus  careers. A person can stay productive for a very long time.

That suggests younger people who are ambitious and enterprising would do well to get a spacesuit,grab a blaster, and zoom set off in search of new frontiers. Because waiting for Gramps to retire so you can move up the chain may be a long wait.
Ditto waiting around for an inheritance.



Just saw the post above this. I generally agree. That all makes sense.

Bio-Social's picture
March 25, 2016 - 9:49am
Note that  I hold to the GSY position. I seem to E all that means the 200 year lifespan comes out closer to 180 (Earth) years.

ChrisDonovan's picture
March 25, 2016 - 11:28am
I too favor keeping the "reproductive years" more or less as they are now.  If you'll notice all the work done on anagathics in the real world is focused on prolonging the end of life, keeping old people alive longer, not about slowing the aging process in general.

So yeah, we fixed that 150 year-old woman's arthritis, removed her tumors, cured her diabetes, prevented her Alzheimers, and gave her new artificial eyes when her old ones just plain wore out.  Her biologial clock still wound down by around 40, just like it did for her 20th century ancestors.

KRingway's picture
March 25, 2016 - 3:24pm
I think the opposite. If humans have a long lifespan I'd say their health in general over that span is likely to be for a longer period than ours. Problems of age, if they've not been handled by the technology of the Frontier, manifest later in life.

One way of seeing it that humans have a prolonged period in which they are generally considered healthy, can reproduce, work, etc. They can potentially get more things done, and they have more time to do it than we Earth-based humans do. So, our period of age 20 to age 60 for them is 20 to 140+.

This may sound odd to us, but then again they're not us Wink

iggy's picture
March 25, 2016 - 9:58pm
I prolong the work years and have the people mature at the same age for adulthood.   I use GSY so the real age is about 180 for humans.  I figure the health care is better so age related degeneration is delayed by preemptive care.  This makes for prolonged retirements or second careers for most.  I figure education is a revered second career as people now value experience to go with that PHD.

I have toyed with extending the reproductive years.  I've run population models with current reproduction spans and extended spans and it becomes quickly apparent that it doesn't hurt the population density of even the AD map worlds.  Assuming that all the AD worlds start with no indigenous beings and colony seed populations in the 1,000s or even 10,000s for all but the yazirians who could have come in mass and there is plenty of room for extended reproductive years and BIG families.   In fact it easily encourages large families.  

rattraveller's picture
March 26, 2016 - 9:28am
What about the social pressures on reproduction? The common and usual pattern is for agricultural based societies to have large families and to start young while in more industrial societies people tend to wait and get established before having children.

Currently we see this in agricultural societies where at age 45 people are grandparents while industrial societies 45 year olds are attending kindergarten PTA meetings. If we expand the reproductive years then these gaps would become much more wide spread. Picturing 100 year olds pushing baby hover strollers.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

iggy's picture
March 26, 2016 - 9:58pm
Societies create social pressures based on societal goals.  Our societies are concerned with overpopulation hence the social pressure to limit children.  A society wishing to grow and attract immigrants when the home world source of immigrants is severed logically turns to children because they are readily produced.  And with a longer life span and associated youth you can support more children from your extended labor years.  A 100-year-old SF human with their advanced healthcare knowledge looks and lives the life of a 50-year-old. 

Also without an external economy from the home world, wealth is derived from only your local labors and social standing.   Building a large family dynasty brings success.  That colony attitude easily persists after the founding of the colony because overpopulation is not a concern and the older generations are still around to press the large family social belief. 

Tollon's picture
March 27, 2016 - 1:15am
Good point iggy, never thought age as a factor before? 

KRingway's picture
March 27, 2016 - 3:32pm
But it's not always a given that the population will be large. A planet may have various useful accessible resources and seem like an ideal place to live, but that doesn't mean that people will automatically go there, settle down, have families etc.

I say this as similar things happen with various countries on Earth.

rattraveller's picture
March 28, 2016 - 3:49am
If you are increasing your population then who is raising the kids? Do you have parents who have kids of various ages for 100 years but since they are the raisers are their descendents out working and leaving the grand kids, great grand kids and great great grand kids with the originals to raise while they go out and earn the living?

Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

iggy's picture
March 28, 2016 - 9:02am
People work and raise kids at the same time.  PCs are not your typical citizen who works 9 to 5 and spends the rest of the time with the spouse and family.

Now I suppose it would be a common phrase for frontier humans to say things like, "my first kids" or "the children of my youth" and "my later children".  Kids to would speak of the brothers and sisters they grew up with and the brothers and sisters that came after they left home. 

Putraack's picture
April 1, 2016 - 7:15am
I'd see reproductive years (for women) edging up some: currently it's not a Good Idea to have kids after 35, and a Bad Idea to do it after 45, and it stops somewhen after 50. I could see advanced medicine pushing each of those numbers up by 5 years or so, but there's still a hard stop after 50 or 55. I'm told male reproductive capacity continues as long as men are breathing, can't really see that changing.

Also, I'd see education/adolescence extending to around 24 or 25-- some research now is indicating that human brains don't stop the adolescent turmoil until about then. Humans would still be moving out and going to college, but likely not marrying and having kids until later.

That's all biological, social stuff after that is opaque to me. I could see a lot of women postponing having kids (just a few) until 40+, and some having more than a dozen, and still spacing them out.

I think we're looking at a radical redefinition of "middle age", when humans are productive (in the workforce sense) for a long, long time. Not sure how the youngsters, eager for promotions and responsibility, are going to handle that, when your boss has been in a position for 40+ years, and won't retire for another 60+. There might be a lot more job mobility when one is younger-- I'll do this for a decade or so, then that, then I think I'll be a firefighter, then go to school for another degree, and maybe go into space for a while.

Might there be more than one retirement phase? A First Retirement, say from 30 to 50, to have and raise children, then 30+ years of working, a Second Retirement of 20 years, and so on? It could vary across planets (and megacorporations).

iggy's picture
April 1, 2016 - 11:12am
Also look at all the health guys that are in their 50s and still doing the adventurous stuff they did in their 20s and 30s.  That would be the norm in frontier humans.  They would have their youthful viggor for many more years before the middle age waining of their sgtrength and vitality.

rattraveller's picture
April 1, 2016 - 5:09pm
Read a novel once (forgot the name and author) where humans lived a long time. One thing this space society did was after working 20 years you were entitled to a 5 year sabbatical. Generally the "professionals" pursued new degrees or long term educational adventures. Others did what they wanted. You usually lived off your savings for that time. Of course alot just kept working.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?