Follow TV Tropes


Literature / In Golden Waters

Go To

In Golden Waters: Stories from the Seastead is a crowdsourced collection of short stories written by the goons at Something Awful. It was born from this threadnote , which started out as a discussion of the Seasteading Institute, which plans to build artificial floating communities in international waters where potential leaders and visionaries could build new societies and experiment with new ideas of governance and social contract. From the start, discussion was dominated by the libertarian ideals that the project was founded upon, with people picking apart the Institute's plans from every direction and concluding that a real "seastead" built along such lines would quickly follow the same road as Rapture.


From there, one goon started posting dystopian fiction set in a world where a seastead was actually built, and soon descended into a hell of class warfare, stratification, and utterly amoral business. Other goons followed in his wake and wrote their own stories. Eventually, the stories were edited into a single collection with a loose continuity. The full story can be read here.


  • Action Girl: Tina.
  • Furry Fandom: The goons borrowed ideas from another threadnote  mocking a similar project called Malatora, which had a particular focus on transhumanism as a means of becoming dragons. As such, furries with modified bodies, and sometimes full-body transplants and exoskeletons, showed up on more than one occasion.
  • Advertisement:
  • Insistent Terminology: They're "captains of industry".
  • Irony: At least two stories, "Reinventing the Wheel" and "A Mirror, Markedly", chronicle seasteads that actually did succeed... by slowly evolving into social democracies with unions, worker protections, public services, infrastructure investment, taxes, and all of the "statism" that their founders had tried to escape. The latter story even has one of the Captains of Industry meeting a representative from a "mainland" government and realizing, to his horror, that the two of them are Not So Different.
  • Klingon Promotion
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: Of course.
  • Libertarians IN SPACE!: At sea, rather, and a Deconstructive Parody of the concept.
  • Mad Scientist: Many mainland pharmaceutical and biotech companies are happy to use the seasteads for R&D, what with their lack of laws regarding scientific ethics and their large, desperate underclasses.
  • Advertisement:
  • Made a Slave: Slavery has made a comeback on many seasteads, chiefly in the form of indenture (i.e. debt slavery).
  • The Mafiya: Russian "businessmen" were involved with at least one of the projects.
  • Meaningful Name: Lots of things in the various seasteads are named after Ayn Rand, characters from her novels, or laissez-faire/neoliberal economists.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The lack of safety measures and oversight on the construction of the seasteads gets a lot of people killed both during construction (mention of dead construction workers is frequent) and after it (when things inevitably start breaking down).
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Kevin MacDonald, a "debt collector" (read: armed goon) who calls himself Kashiro and idealizes samurai culture, using a katana as his Weapon of Choice.
  • Rule 34: When everything is completely legal, this is bound to rear its ugly head. All sorts of depravity goes on, with child pornography being among the least reprehensible. One story outright uses Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom as a comparison.
  • Sex Slave: A common fate for many women (and young girls) who aren't part of the upper class.
  • The Sociopath: Many, many "captains of industry" fall under this category.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Many cases, but particularly notable is the seastead in the story "The Ground Gained", which was powered by a nuclear reactor designed by a hack "scientist" who had little more than a bachelor's degree and a Crackpot Theory, and which was fueled by substandard fuel rods rejected from use in American power plants due to safety concerns. Not only did it end predictably, but as a bonus, the place was built around a fully-operational oil rig (its main source of hard currency was petroleum exports), meaning that the meltdown produced a radioactive oil spill.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The story originated from a discussion of a real-life seasteading project/advocacy group.
  • Wretched Hive: A common fate for many a seastead, with their economies dominated by the illegal drug trade, sex tourism, and slavery.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: