The site is full of 'spoilers' for the book

Living Labyrinth

by Ian Stewart and Tim Poston

If you can't read St Matthew's Gospel because St Mark gave away the resurrection, don't explore further.

I like background on books:
let me in, and do not warn me again

or Go to where I can get the book.

The geography of Qish

The planet Qish is the third planet of a star (long neglected on Concordat star charts as SQL7812, standard pronunciation scheme giving 'Squill') slightly bluer and heavier than Sol, orbiting in the 'Goldilocks zone' at about 1.07AU, with orbital eccentricity 0.18. Squill's higher fraction of blue light may explain the evolutionary selection of a chlorophyll analogue that absorbs and uses the shorter wavelengths, while reflecting the red and green components that make Qishi vegetation appear yellow and orange to the human eye.

The solar year of Qish (the time it takes to circle Squill once) is 314.159265358793 times the length of its solar day, a fact in which only the Cave Dwellers of Wevory find mystical meaning, and comfortably compatible with human circadian rhythms. The Qishi sidereal day is longer by a few minutes, a fact which nobody on Qish has noticed or measured. The Qishi year lasts about 0.91 of a stanyear (which the Magog crash left the colonists unequipped to measure), or about 33 Old Earth days shorter.

The axial tilt of Qish is 21.7893°, which in combination with its orbital eccentricity causes some seasonal weather variation, though the Endless Ocean causes more smoothing out than in the continent-blocked climate of Old Earth. There is no polar land to anchor the formation of icecaps.

Continents of Qish
The land masses of Qish

In order of size, the four continents are (by their local names) Samdal. Shaaluy. Lamynt and Wevory. But the world of Qish is mostly ocean.

Samdal ('Aleph' in Valkyrie's maps)


Largest continent, colonised soon after the first-landers spread out over Shaaluy, discovering syntei and the archipelago between the continents. Island-hopping required only short water crossings, with only 70% casualties overall. Even without wyzands, only oriels, establishing a syntehead means that you never need risk that stretch of water again. Full of barriers like mountains and deserts, but unlike the European incursion into the Americas, each barrier had only to be overcome once — as if Lewis and Clark dragged a chain of easy transit behind them. Population grew soon and quickly in the Northwest, leading to the famed voyage of Wevor and the colonisation of Wevory.

Samdal is ruled by a unitary empire based in the Tenchur Plateau (being both high and fertile, this produced large tough armies early on). Fairly relaxed, long established rule, to the point where Elza and Marco don't confront it in the pages of The Living Labyrinth. (Elza dealt with its officials in her engineering project.) Some entities are less directly administered, like the 'native states' of the Raj, but they are more likely to be guilds or kin groups like the jatis of classical India than geographical holdings.

Significant localities and administrative units
Heights in brackets (for towns) are of the highest and lowest syntei in use.

Armazem Azul (8075m), peak in the Blue Ramparts, important centre of the syntelic arms industry.

Clona (210m–1632m), a town in in the south-eastern Promensel plains.

Paiol Branco (7764m), peak in the Blue Ramparts, important centre of the syntelic arms industry.

Piggott (5532m), a semi-autonomous peak at the tip of the Andilleras.

Scythery, in the Southwest, where toilets are unusually private.

Sensifoy (3251m–4112m), high above Sinda, connected by a narrow track: location of the only wyzand leading to Shaaluy (specifically, to Two Mountains).

Sinda (2512m–3103m), city at the Eastern end of the White Ramparts, where most of the rainfall of Tenchur drains through natural syntelic fountains.

Swelt, north-east, mostly 1km–2km. an area known for beautiful women.

Tenchur Plateau (3449m–5100m), centre of the Tenchurian Empire ruling all Samdal.

Trupine (3485m–3721m), north of Sensifoy and a little higher.

Vervant (5623m), a Western peak of the White Ramparts.

White Ramparts, Southern wall rising above the Tenchur Plateau.

Shaaluy ('Beth' in Valkyrie's maps)


First colonisation area, Colony Vessel touchdown, now ruled by the theocratic Church of the Undivided Body. Only limited areas are fertile for Old Earth husbandry.

Significant localities and administrative units
Heights in brackets (for towns) are of the highest and lowest syntei in use.

Grossest Midden (altitude 500m–1600m: no human habitation), largest marsh on the planet, site of Magog and Valkyrie squelchdown.

Golden Mountain (peak 2872m), core of the city of Low Feoff, Eastern Vanduul.

Hardane (1887m–1963m), town on the Little Yandoory.

High Feoff (2752m–2803m), town near source of the Little Yandoory. Height would make it more useful if it were connected to Low Feoff by more than a narrow path, chipped out of a cliff face by a century of labour (and seventeen casualties). Social contact and trade is mainly with Quantry, at the same height with easier vertical connections. Principal economic activity: quarrying.

Horgun (1520m–2015), southernmost large town, renowned for skilled astrologers.

Low Feoff (1985–2112m), town near source of the Little Yandoory. A major hub, because the peak of Golden Mountain is at a height shared by many population centres (in particular, in the foothills of Two Mountains), whose downhill access is more difficult.

Onyx (1923m–2108), in the Wembet peninsula, birthplace of Augustus Sadruddin.

Raven's Tooth (1870m–1912m), artificial oasis in the Deserts of Wesh, birthplace of Drusilla Sybilschild. Not known to the authorities in Two Mountains.

Sackbane (1840m–1872m), village on the Yandoory River, near Grossest Midden. Oldest surviving human settlement on the planet.

Toon, (1480m–1924m), a town in Crosswit Beyond the Mountains, only place with a connecting synte at the elevation of Sackbane: a brasure just large enough for a small child to bring through sunsyntei, falasyntei, dropsyntei, etc, that work without height matching. There was a wyzand, but it died thirty years ago and discussions of a replacement are continuing. Most Sackbane inhabitants thus have at most a five-year-oldõs experience of the world outside, and do not wish for more.

Two Mountains (2800m–4932m), administrative and religious centre, middle of the Scantle Range.

Vanduul, wine-grape region.

Lamynt ('Gimel' in Valkyrie's maps)


Last region colonised, due to the size and violence of the Promyrine Sea. This partly explains its divided nature.

Significant localities and administrative units
Heights in brackets (for towns) are of the highest and lowest syntei in use.

Bansh, water empire.

Blackpeaks, where the spindler flies create cocoons of fluorescent silk.

Dawling Village (1325m–1333m), a strategically important location in Bansh.

Dunelands, desert, contains secret slave farm (2012m–2058m) of the Vain Vaimoksi.

Funambus Head (0–493m), rocky peninsula north of Sumter: vigorous sea winds.

Esmion (1403m–1551m), central alluvial plain of Bansh, ruled by a Queen chosen from among the clanchiefs.

*Greywraiths, mountain range controlled by the Kuukau, source of the river Sumtry.

Nismolion Range, where the half-wheel was invented, so inhabitants known as 'half-wits'.

*Pardyle (782m), lake and original bazza-growing mudflats.

*Plegg (1210m–2107m), mountain town near the mouth of the Graydrear, with a cliff useful for glider launch.

*Spint, southern neighbour of Bansh and the Greywraiths, good apple country.

*North Quift, *South Quift, canyons where the North and South Sumtry were diverted by synte complexes to the distant continent of Wevory.

Vulcan's Anvil (0–600m), volcanic island off Wevory's plate edge, stands in abyssal depths.

Woolvayn (150m–1102m), major textile centre. Initially processed fibre from sheep on the plains of Larby (in Samdal), jute and cotton from Spint, but now dominated by linen: flax grown on the southern edge of Glostmadden.

* directly involved in the Lamynt-Wevory war.

Wevory ('Daleth' in Valkyrie's maps)


Colonised third of the continents, after the heroic voyage of Wevor. Not long after, it was discovered that palooms, a palm-like Wevor-native tree species, drop floating synted 'coconuts' that root where they wash up. Wevory and Samdal were thus already connected, but Wevorin schoolbooks do not emphasise this. Wevorin syndepts pushed oriel buds through many paloom nuts, waited five years, and wriggled through. Not many of them were eaten by aquasaurians, and synteheads were established at many points around the planet (including isolated volcanic islands in the Untwesh Ocean, which became major exporters of sunlight to the continental hemisphere's nights), and Lamynt.

Multiple political/social entities, each with at least one defensible mountain. No central government, but a regular Moot and occasional collective action.

Significant localities and administrative units
Heights in brackets (for towns) are of the highest and lowest syntei in use.

Mount Angrith (2293m–3522m), tallest habitable mountain, dominant power on Wevory and the SVA base.

Calysh Isle (0–1803m), independent island, separated from mainland by shallow water & kelp beds.

Caverns, throughout the mountains, and rumoured connected to mountains elsewhere. Occasionally surface dwellers (and enterprising miners) go exploring. They rarely return to the daylight.

Gloonts and False Gloonts, mountain ranges.

Krig Mountain (5266m), centre of cavern-dweller religion and the Sacred Egg: highest peak on Wevory, but exterior too precipitous for access without mountaineering equipment — and mountaineers don't usually come back. Snowbound all year above 3000m, making it much less attractive than even the taller heights on Samdal.

Luxly (432m–512m), main kantasynte to the Lamynt water transfer kasyntei, between Pentully and Telvet. Some of the water flowed direct (with great force) into the Pentully and irrigated Telvet automatically; some was synted on. Destroyed early in the War.

Pentully and Telvet, fertile plains for bazza cultivation — once given exactly the right irrigation.

Varynt (1012m–2534m), centre of trade with Lamynt before the War, now chief outpost and syntehead of the Kuukau on Wevory.

Vunt (812m–2672m), strategic peak in the False Gloonts, overlooking the plains of Pentully.

All above-ground localities are directly involved in the Lamynt-Wevory war.

Continents of Qish, in whole ocean
The oceans of Qish. Samdal and Wevory share a single tectonic plate and continental shelf, which is colliding with (and being subducted under) the plate of Wevory. The resulting trench is the deepest point in the ocean.
Lamynt is moving away from both these plates, with consequent mid-ocean ridges.

The massive, nearby moon causes tidal stress even on the rocks, affecting mountain building.
On the ocean, much less interrupted by continents than Old Earth's, its resonance creates large tides, fierce where they pour across the continental shelves. Also, the unlimited wave fetch allows storm waves to build to 70m high, so that where the land has a gentle slope, storms and tides can move the instantaneous shoreline (edge of exposed land) tens of km in a few hours.
This combines with the dangers of sea travel to make coastal settlements an unattractive proposition.
Conversely, storms are also dangerous to large sea monsters, which avoid the surface — and the shallows — except in calm water, lest their syntei be torn apart. Wevor's epic voyage had to be, for safety, in the foulest weather that would (probably) not wreck his ships.

Not much is known about sea biota, except very near shore, because investigators resent being swallowed. (Being spat out again, in a chewed or drowned state, does not make up for this.) Under the water, there are:–