Kamsii (2001)

The other line of comic book-sized GURPS Traveller sourcebooks were Planetary Surveys. This is the first of them and there are five more, which feels like a pretty good run. This one details the vacation planet Kamsii (2001).

Kamsii is a little unusual for Traveller, as it is in the Galactic Core rather than the frontier, and it represents a rich, stable planet thoroughly controlled by a corporate interest. As the subtitle indicates, Kamsii is a destination for tourists and pleasure seekers and is arranged around the safety and enjoyment of its guests. I feel like the playground planet is a pretty standard science fiction trope that often gets deployed without deeper evaluation. Not so here — while the fun bits are presented as fun (and are sights and services on offer are more robust than I expected considering the book’s brevity), behind the scenes Kamsii is dystopic: a whole planet under micromanaged corporate control, where all the residents are employees and where safety, or the appearance of safety, is of paramount importance. And that’s the neutral version — there are three other versions on offer, as well, one where the planet really is the happiest place in the galaxy (which is unsettling in a completely different way), one where it is old and dangerous (a la Action Park) and one where all the insidious rumors are true (which is downright terrifying).

There is, I think, some clear commentary on Disney here, or at least Disney provided a logical jumping off point. It is well before its time, too — the similarly themed film Escape from Tomorrow came out in 2013 and the weird fallout of Disney owning or subsidizing the utilities of whole towns was only just revealed in the real world a couple years ago.

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