I got the first of three ideas for the Para-Imperium universe while planning for NaNoWriMo in 2013. I wrote a short novel titled The Pride of Parahumans, about anthropomorphic biotechnological constructs designed for asteroid mining and now attempting to build their own civilization out in space following their unexpected liberation. In 2015 I self-published the novella on Amazon, to admittedly abysmal reception. Currently I am having it reviewed by Thurston Howlfor publication in hopes that their network will help to get it out there.
At a convention in early 2015 I entered a writing contest, I wrote a six-sentence cosmic horror story in which an unstoppable force slowly crept up on Earth. Much to my surprise I won. This gave me the second idea for the universe, and conveniently allowed me to “reset the playing field” in concerns to Earth and humanity.
Finally, at some point I decided that I wanted to write a serial fiction about interstellar merchants. Not quite like Traveller though, these guys wouldn’t have the benefit of “FTL drive”, they’d have to take the slow path to the stars. Of course, to make it through such trips they’d have to have some way to delay the aging process, and I wasn’t sure about relativistic speeds so they’d have to be effectively immortal. And in my professional opinion immortality is perfectly feasible with advanced enough nanotechnology.
The problem though with nanotechnology is that it takes the scarcity of pretty much any material good, even those that might be costly enough to be worth decades of shipping time, down to practically nil. Pretty much the only thing that could still be valuable would be data, and it would be easier to transmit that by radio. But that fed back into my previous idea, what if this interstellar civilization of immortals didn’t use radio because they knew it would draw the attention of the things that destroyed Earth? And maybe there’s a bunch of colonies that don’t have nanotechnology for some reason?
Together, those three ideas merged together to form the Para-Imperium, an interstellar empire of ageless half-human-half-animal beings whose ancestors fled the Solar system and just barely survived its’ destruction by inscrutable mechanical entities. Where those who can “play along” with the established rules of society can live indefinite lives of luxury while dissidents are banished to the frontier and forced to eke out a more basic existence.