Is a hamster not entitled to the seeds in his cheeks? No, says the man in Washington, it belongs to the poor. To the man in the Vatican, it belongs to God. Novelist, YouTuber and undersea exploration enthusiast Alex Beyman rejected those answers.
Beyman chose something different. He chose Hampture.
We spotted Beyman's undersea rodent utopia on Twitter earlier today, where he defiantly responded to a Vox article claiming they'll "never take [his] aqua hams". That's a hell of a line, accompanied by a photo of two submerged enclosures dolled up to look like Bioshock's undersea city—complete with phasmid dispensers and appropriate neon signs.
Further digging reveals that Beyman's been working on putting together this elaborate enclosure for almost a decade, posting regular updates on YouTube (opens in new tab) and occasionally running live Twitch "Hamcams" (opens in new tab). For now, the enclosure currently consists of two sealed rooms connected by a pipe, but Beyman has grand plans for his libertarian hamster nightmare.
"One day I awoke with the inexplicable desire to build underwater hamster cities," Beyman writes on his Patreon (opens in new tab). "But underwater living space is expensive, even when scaled down, so I've had to start small. With sufficient funding, the habitats will become larger and more elaborate."
Sticking pet hamsters into a cramped, homemade undersea enclosure does, of course, raise questions of animal safety. The pets might not have to content with splicers or turrets, but critics have pointed out that the enclosures are too cramped for the animals, lacking in the right toys and elements to keep the hamsters stimulated.
Beyman stresses that this isn't the hamsters' permanent home, normally living in a more traditional enclosure (opens in new tab). Hampture itself reportedly has numerous alarms and failsafes in case of leaks or depressurisation and is only used for short periods (though appears has been used for up to a month in some cases).
Besides increasing the scope of Hampture, Beyman's stretch goals suggest creating a hamster submersible, a time capsule to "confuse future archaeologists" with the complete lore of Hampture, and eventual plans to create a small, Human-scale underwater enclosure for patrons to come visit.
Perhaps mercifully, his actual Rapture is only 11% towards reality. In the meantime, we'll have to make do with Hampture. Perhaps he'll add a lobby greeting new rodents with the portent: "No gods or kings, only Hams."