by Max Barry

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The Free Republic of Antarctica

The Free Republic of Antarctica is the southernmost continent and nation on earth, a parliamentary democracy home to 67 million people. The continent, entombed for millions of years under an enormous mass of ice, now stands entirely in the open air. The name of Antarctica today evokes thoughts of lush pine forests, picturesque lakes, towering mountains, beautiful cities, months-long days and nights, and, who can forget, adorable king penguins! Its human residents, meanwhile, are well known for their remarkable cultural and linguistic diversity, their cheerful and friendly attitudes, their unshakable faith in kindness, compassion, peace, and fairness; their strikingly beautiful appearances and fascinating fashion styles, and their keen love of baseball and animation.

Antarctica is governed by a legislative body called the Grand Council, whose Prime Minister serves as the nation's leader. The Antarctic Constitution, the founding document of the Free Republic, is applied in law by the High Tribunal, the nation's highest court. The waging of war and aggression by Antarctica is explicitly outlawed in the Constitution, and Antarctic foreign policy is instead built on principles of nonviolence, dialogue, cooperation, and altruism. Many Antarcticans follow a unique form of Hinduism that is notable for the humanistic bent of its philosophy. Today, due to the Free Republic's comprehensive and generous social safety net, as well as a private sector driven by a robust market economy, hunger and poverty have been very nearly eliminated in Antarctica. The tale of Antarctic history, however, is long and sad - a story of shocking and horrific crimes, years of shame and questions, and hard, painful lessons carried into the future. Today, above all else, Antarcticans dedicate themselves to inhibiting their worst instincts both individually and as a people, to making amends for the past, and to helping the world make its way towards a better life for all.