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Aug 10, 2013

Cover Art and Backstory



Cover Art
Recently the good folks at YouTube provided me with a google+ page that is linked to my YouTube channel. There is now a gallery of cover art there for many of the stories discussed in this blog.

Many of the posters and covers for my science fiction stories appear in this YouTube video:





Miners of Earth
Here is a new teaser video for Miners of Earth....



The cover art that I imagined for Thomas' novel, Miners of Earth, is entirely fanciful. The story does not involve giant worms that eat people. Thomas' cover was designed to sell his first book, not provide a true depiction of the mysterious alien Clyte. In Miners of Earth, the human characters never see the Clyte.

The Clyte long ago "transcended" their original physical biological form and became artificial lifeforms composed of sedronic matter. Mary and Malin communicate with the Clyte via a kind of telepathic contact mediated by Clyte "nanite" probes that inhabit their brains.

Mary learns that the deep mine under Wenvoe penetrates platinum-bearing rock where sedrons are leached out of the rock and collected by a team of human miners. This is a frightfully inefficient method of obtaining "ron", and, in fact, the Wenvoe mine exists only as a training facility for educating ignorant humans about the existence of sedronic mater and about the fact that the Clyte have been here for billions of years.....and for breeding humans who can easily communicate with the Clyte.

Planets like Earth are relatively poor sources of sedrons. The only reason why the Clyte of 2,000,000,000 years ago concerned themselves with Earth was because it was clear to them that interesting forms of life might evolve there. The Clyte deflected a large asteroid and slammed it into Earth above an already existing mantle plume. Two billion years later, this provides Earth with its largest near-surface deposits of platinum and sedronic matter....a gift to humanity from the Clyte...one of the most valuable gifts in the universe: our species' chance for interstellar travel. (For an account of the relationship between platinum and sedrons, see The Legend of Uvadekoto)

Spock with a Horta.
Still, we can ask, how would the Clyte normally harvest sedronic matter were they not trying to involve humans in the process? Billions of years ago the Clyte became skilled at designing life forms that would serve specific purposes. Before they mastered sedronic matter, they designed many interesting varieties of biological lifeforms.

For Star Trek, Gene Coon imagined a silicon-based lifeform, the Horta. There are reasons why it is more likely that life would be carbon-based rather than silicon-based, but it was fun for Thomas to imagine that the Clyte designed a form of complex, intelligent life that could function at the high temperatures found deep inside the Earth: the Uxlith. In the imagination of Thomas these designed organisms were hybrids that were composed of a carbon-based core and a silicon-based surface.

The Horta's written message.
Able to survive in rock strata where the temperature/pressure is well above the boiling point of water, the carbon-based core of the Uxlith could be cooled by the high-pressure ejection of vaporized minerals. Coon imagined the Horta tunneling through rock using acid; Thomas imagined the Uxlith using jets of super-heated stone as their chisels.

However, by our time, the Clyte are experts in using sedronic mater, so beasties as primitive as the Uxlith had no major role on Earth. From the human perspective, the Clyte and their sedronic tools are essentially invisible, so Thomas had to invent a fanciful book cover to tantalize the publishers who he hoped would publish and market his book. The Uxlith make a brief appearance in Miners of Earth, but they do not look like worms.

Excalbian
Above, I described the South African sedronic matter deposits provided by the Clyte as "one of the most valuable gifts in the universe". What could be more valuable to we humans? Our very existence. For 2,000,000,000 years the Clyte have guided the evolution of life on Earth, slowly leading to...us.

Another gift to humanity from the Clyte is their system for extracting a few humans from Earth and sending them off to other worlds for intensive training in how to harness the benefits of sedronic matter. Mary and Malin, the main characters of Miners of Earth, are taken into that training program.

Of course, Miners of Earth is a story-within-a-story. The young Thomas only had a vague idea of the real history of Earth and even his mother did not know the true name of the alien Huaoshy. Thomas invents the "Clyte" and the entire story told in Miners of Earth. However, the parallels between his fiction and reality are clear to anyone like Parthney (who has been trained to function on Earth as an Interventionist agent) or the Overseers who constantly watch for external influences on Earthly culture.

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