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Dec 28, 2012

Exode Cover

Ario, Reginal, Parthney and D'hab
With a tip of my hat to the traditions of print books, I finally started making a "book cover" for Exode. At the bottom of the front cover is Parthney's megepi in performance at Demon Lodge (see the image to the right).

From left to right, the kanen are Ario, Reginal, Parthney and D'hab. Except for Parthney, who is human, the kanen are pek: artificial lifeforms that adopt humanoid form. Their instruments are "homemade" by Parthney with the connivance of the pek and Pathney's friend, Yandrey, a member of the Buld Clan. For this performance, Ario and Reginal are shown in the form of typical Bulds, hermaphroditic humanoids who are neither male or female; they typically have the appearance of girls or young women. Reginal, a bothet, has adopted the form of a human female.

For the upper part of the front cover I used an image that I made last summer, but with one modification. In Chapter One of Exode,  a performance by Parthney's megepi is recorded and transmitted to the Prelands. During the performance a globe-shaped holographic recording device floats above the stage. I replaced the "O" in "EXODE" with that artificial globe.

The two different densities of stars in the star fields are meant to suggest different locations in the galaxy such as the position of Earth and the positions of other Earth-like planets located in the galactic core. For example, Hemmal, the planet where Parthney was born, is located much closer to the center of the galaxy than is Earth.

Instruments of the quartet
Ario is shown with an instrument that was designed to appear something like a ringed planet. This is a "wind" instrument, but it is not powered by the breath of the player. These instruments are all composed of nanoscopic components (nanites). Traditionally, the only instrument used in Preland musical performances is a simple drum. By tradition, Preland music is performed by a group of singers who must sing the lines of epic poems. On Hemmal, members of the Buld Clan sing these musical performances for the Prelands who are genetically modified humans who have almost completely lost the use of human speech.

Ario: Human vs. Preland
Reginal and Parthney are shown holding what Yandrey calls "Buld harps" that function similar to stringed instruments.

D'hab's instrument has a spiral array of many color-coded and pressure-sensitive contacts that function to produce sounds that are like those of several Earthly percussion instruments ranging from pianos to xylophone to drum sets. 

I'm still trying to decide if I should show D'hab and Ario with the typical Preland facial features. On Hemmal, most of the pek who live among the Buld adopt the distinctive appearance of the Prelands, particularly a small mouth and small jaw.

D'hab: Human vs. Preland
The pek are composed of nanite components and they can effortlessly morph their features. For this one occasion, with the performance being transmitted to the Prelands, Parthney attempts to be less provocative than usual. Parthney might ask Ario and D'hab to adopt Buld facial features so that the Prelands will not notice that pek are performing music. Ario and D'hab are positioned to the front of the stage so they are right under the stage lights and they stand on small platforms. On Hemmal, males and females are very rare mutants, the "false" Buld, and the Prelands would not be comfortable seeing humans so Parthney and Reginal position themselves to the back of the stage.

Change Your World
The "change your world" catch phrase is used by Parthney when he is living on Earth as an Interventionist agent. One of the Earthlings who he helps "change worlds" is Hana who leaves Earth and then starts to explore the Genesaunt civilization that exists on thousands of planets located in the galactic core. Hana finally ends up living on a distant planet in the Andromeda galaxy, but her son Izhiun later visits Earth.

Parthney's personal "exode" starts with the musical performance depicted on the cover. He begins the performance with the intention that his megepi will provide the audience with an unusual rendition of one of the traditional Preland epic poems, but only unusual because they will be using musical instruments. However, for the first time in his life the nanites in his brain are providing him with the type of interpersonal sensory feedback that "true" Buld continuously experience on Hemmal. Parthney cannot anticipate the consequences of there being another "false" Buld hidden in the audience. By the end of the performance Parthney is back to his usual tricks, improvising and creating his own personal interpretation of The Orchard of Maponus. By the time the megepi walks off stage it is obvious to all present that Parthney has certainly given a performance that will offend the Prelands. The next day, Parthney is invited to depart Hemmal and he starts his journey to the stars.

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