Apr 27, 2013

Cover Art for Vance Novels

cover art by Jasper Schreurs
This blog is full of descriptions of how the science fiction of Jack Vance has influenced me. The first novel by Vance that I ever read was Trullion. Vance's novels are now being sold at the Vance website where they are presented with new cover art. Nice high resolution images of the new cover art are available.

Most of the story for Trullion takes place in the Fens, a river delta with hundreds of channels and islands. The main character, Glinnes Hulden, grew up at his family home on Rabendary Island. Travel is accomplished by boat rather than along roads.

One night the fiery Duissane arrives at the dock in front of the house that Glinnes inherited from his now dead father. Believing that Glinnes has stollen a fortune of 30,000,000 million ozols, Duissane seduces Glinnes and suggests that they leave Trullion and go off to live in luxury on some distant world.

Visit the deviantART pages of Jasper Schreurs
At this point in the story, Glinnes has not yet gotten his hands on the money. Duissane, now regretting her mistake, runs down the dock and jumps into her boat. She falls over board and is soon struggling for her life. The water ways of Trullion are the home of Merlings, humanoid creatures who are constantly at war with humans. In fact, both the father and sister of Glinnes were captured and eaten by Merlings.
image source

image source
A short distance from Rabendary Island is the home of the Mentor, Akadie. Rising above Clinkhammer Broad are the towers of Arkadie's house.

This is where Glinnes first meets the Connatic, absolute ruler of Alastor Clustor. The Connatic is under cover on Trullion, disguised as the "wandering journalist" Ryl Shermatz.

The cover art by Jasper Schreurs does an excellent job of evoking the Fens and the setting of Trullion.

The Book of Dreams
cover art by David Russell
I previously tried my hand at making an illustration depicting the home of Dwyddion, the head of the Institute in Vance's novel The Book of Dreams.

The evil-doing Howard Alan Treesong has killed all the other leaders of the Institute. Kirth Gersen arrives at Dwyddion's house just in the nick of time and saves Dwyddion from the murderous Treesong.

Vance described Dwyddion's house at Airy Gulch as, "hunched to the attack of a thousand furious lightening bolts, reverberating to wind and thunder."

Related Reading:
Assignment: Marune.

Fanfiction Disease: ideas for a sequel to The Book of Dreams.

I showed another new cover for a Vance novel in my previous blog post.

More by Jasper Schreurs
I agree. It is not fair to only show one example of cover art by Jasper Schreurs. Below is part of another cover illustration; the full cover is here along with some biographical information about Jasper.

image source

Apr 11, 2013

Gynodioecy in Exode

Last year I decided to include religion as an important part of Exode. One of the great features of science fiction is that it allows for imaginative exploration of "alien" societies and imaginary religions. In Exode, the Prelands know that they, as a species, have been created and engineered to be a hermaphroditic primate variant. Preland religion includes the tenet that the Prelands are part of a great project of intelligent design by which the Creators are gradually transforming Earthly primates into a godlike artificial lifeform that will transcend primitive human sexuality and biological reproductive processes.

It is fun to start with a conventional religiously-motivated belief system like this and turn it on its head in a science fiction story. How could there be a human religion that includes the idea that heterosexuality is an abomination? In his Cadwal Chronicles, Jack Vance imagined a "freakish cult" that attempts to use cloning to maintain a population of asexual adherents to the "Monomantic Creed", a belief system that condemns heterosexuality and conventional human sexual reproduction.

In Exode, the pek promote a Genesaunt religion that, on planets such as Hemmal, can lead members of the Buld Clan to abandon human-like sexual behavior. The story shows that there are some Genesaunts who rebel against Preland-style religion. As the story Exode unfolds, these Buld rebels work to save Earth for we bisexual humans and thwart the original plan of the Huaoshy to phase us out and replace we humans with Prelands who can only reproduce using artificial means.

The Future of Reproduction
When I decided to introduce Noÿs into The Start of Eternity I played around with the idea that humans from 10,000,000 years in the future were not normal heterosexuals. Just how different is the genome of Noÿs compared to that of a typical human of our era? How far has sexual behavior and the reproductive system of humans 10,000,000 years in the future diverged from what we Earthlings experience now?

In The End of Eternity Asimov presented a description of the slow rate of evolution during the millions of years of Earth's history that were controlled by the time traveling Eternals. Humans from 3,000,000 years in the future were described as having 4 fewer teeth, but otherwise they were little different from you and I. Supposedly the Eternity time travel system prevented Humanity from evolving and diverging.  The Eternals, while trying to protect and perfect human society, prevented Earthlings from making full use of dangerous advanced technologies like nuclear power and "matter duplication".

But what of the "hidden centuries" and the far future human population that included Noÿs? I imagine that in the three million years worth of "hidden" time leading up to the "home when" of Noÿs there were both important technological advances on Earth and significant biological changes in the human species. For Exode, I assume that Noÿs was from a population of humans with gynodioecy. That reproductive strategy allowed for a fairly stable symbiotic relationship between humans and nanites.

The question becomes, if she is from a culture with no males, why would Noÿs select a Reality in which she falls in love with a male? There are many interesting questions about Noÿs and her biology that are important for an understanding of her motivations. For example, I've been struggling with the issue of just how long the human life span might be among the humans like Noÿs who live 10,000,000 years in the future. I toyed with the idea of allowing Noÿs to survive 10,000 years with the help of her nanites. That would allow her to have a son (Thomas) in the 20th century, go back in time 10,000 years and then live long enough to meet Thomas again (not to mention herself). However, I prefer to imagine that she "only" lives a couple of hundred years. How would a stable population be maintained when the average life span is 300 years? Isaac Asimov confronted this issue in his science fiction and he ended up imagining that the long-lived Solarians became hermaphrodites.

Sexual dimorphism
About 40 years ago I read an amusing science fiction story about a collapsed galactic empire. After a long "dark age" without space travel, the empire began to recover and once again spacecraft went out to the stars, often renewing contact with worlds settled long ago by humans. In the story, a lonely male spaceship captain makes radio contact with a long-lost planet. He is thrilled to arrange to land on the planet and meet the very pretty woman he has been talking to. Unfortunately, when he lands he realizes that the woman is more than twice as tall as he is.

For Exode, I assume that Noÿs and other women of the far future are twice the size of the hermaphrodites (there are no males). Noÿs is not unusually large: the hermaphrodites of the far future are small. Noÿs knows that in her future, females are eventually also engineered out of humanity then the remaining hermaphrodites become extinct. Noÿs is fascinated by the males of the far past and she selects a Reality in which she makes use of Andrew Harlan to destroy Eternity.

I've long been bothered by the unlikely prospect of Noÿs being fertile with males from 10,000,000 years in her past. However, the pek come to the rescue by studying the genes that Noÿs brings to the 20h century from the far future. The pek learn how to make "false" Buld who can father children with Noÿs. Parthney has an interesting combination of genes from Prelands, Earthlings of the far future and the Buld Clan. Parthney can pass himself off as a typical Earthling, but his brain does have some capacity to interface with the "Noÿs nanites" that come to him by way of Thomas.
Note. I later decided not to rely on the Buld population as the source of an Interventionist who would go to Earth and become Parthney's father. The Ek'col are another human variant that was designed and created specificically for this purpose. Also, Trysta is an Asterothrope, although made to look human by nanite-mediated developmental modifications.

Related Reading The role of androdioecy and gynodioecy in mediating evolutionary transitions between dioecy and hermaphroditism in the animalia

Apr 7, 2013

Q1 2013 Recap

During the first three months of this year much of the backstory of Exode has come together. As can be seen in the "word cloud" to the right, people and places in Exode have taken over this blog.

Cast and Locations
I'm currently in the middle of writing Chapter Three of Exode which describes the years during which Parthney lives at Lendhalen, a secret base for the training of Interventionist agents. Lendhalen is hidden away in the Koly star system, in the Galactic Core.

Gwyned is the only other false Buld at Lendhalen while Parthney is in residence. There are a few members of the Buld Clan who live at Lendhalen such as Leymaygn. All Buld are human, but only the "false" Buld are genetically identical to the humans who live on Earth. Most Buld, including Leymaygn, are hermaphrodites, a human variant that was engineered by the alien Huaoshy to be the crew on board spaceships that travel between settled worlds of the Galactic Core.

While traveling from his home planet, Hemmal, to Lendhalen, Parthney met his first Pla. The Pla are a subgroup of the Buld Clan. The Pla don't have the usual swarm of pek nanites in their bodies, but they have different nanites that were provided by the Fru'wu. Nanites are one of the technological gizmos that play important roles in Exode.

There are two Pla who run Lendhalen, Pla'mak and Pla'kao. They believe that all residents at Lendhalen have no nanites in their bodies. A powerful magnetic field is used to inactivate pek nanites, allowing the residents of Lendhalen to remove pek nanites from their bodies. The Pla need their Fru'wu nanites, so Pla'mak and Pla'kao never enter in Lendhalen and they communicate electronically from outside with residents like Leymaygn.

The most numerous residents of Lendhalen are robots. Unbeknownst to Pla'mak and Pla'kao, these robots contain a third kind of nanite; nanites that originated in the far future of Earth. Those nanites were brought back in time by Trysta Iwedon, who is Gwyned's mother. Although not mentioned in Exode, Trysta is better known to science fiction fans as Noÿs, the famous time traveler from Asimov's novel The End of Eternity. Robin is the major robotic character in Chapter Three.

Robin, Gwyned and Leymaygn play important roles in preparing Parthney for his future life on Earth. Pla'mak and Pla'kao mostly operate in the background along with another Buld, Vozgrow.

Other important groups of humanoids in Exode are the Prelands and the Nereids. The Prelands live on worlds like Hemmal. They were crafted by the Huaoshy to be successors to humans on Earth. Just as we humans replaced earlier humanoids such as Australopithecus, the Huaoshy planned to replace we Earthlings with Prelands. The Nereids are an alien hunanoid species that originated on a planet in the Andromeda galaxy. They play an important role in Exode because they don't like the Huaoshy plan to replace humans with hermaphroditic Prelands.

Although Gwyned and Parthney don't realize it, genetically they share Noÿs as their mother. Parthney's paternal complement of chromosomes came from Ekcolir. Gwyned's paternal complement of chromosomes came from Deomede. Ekcolir and Deomede were both born on Hemmal, trained at Lendhalen and sent to Earth as Interventionist agents. However, they are two different people, analogs from two different Realities. Ekcolir lived in the Noÿs Reality where he and Noÿs had a son, Thomas. In the Buld Reality, Deomede and Noÿs have a daughter, Gwyned.

Ekolir had a major role in causing the Buld Reality to come into existence. Gwyned carries an important message from Noÿs to Parthney. Parthney is puzzled by the antagonism that develops between himself and Gwyned: he never guesses that that Gwyned is his half sister.

Quarter One, 2013
Noÿs visits the Klyz teleportation hub as passes the nanites that she has carried from the far future into a robot of Fru'wu design. Those nanites carry a huge amount of information, including the genetic pattern of Thomas. Eventually, the genetic pattern of Thomas is passed on to the pek. The "Noÿs nanites" eventually are present within Robin when Parthney and Robin are together at Lendhalen.

It is the pek who create Parthney using the genetic pattern of Thomas. Eventually, Parthney is working on Earth as an Interventionist agent when he is captured by Overseers. After being taken to the Observer Base on the Moon, Parthney in "infected" by the nanites that have long resided in Thomas. This allows Parthney to escape from Observer Base and return to Klyz. Thomas "takes the place" of Parthney and the Overseers never notice the switch since Parthney is a clone of Thomas.

Along with Hemmal, two other planets in the Koly star system have some residents. Oib is similar to Mars and is actively being terraformed by the Buld. Clu'ten'iun is the actual location of Lendhalen, but Parthney is tricked into thinking that Lendhalen is located on Oib.

As described above, Asimov provided the means (Noÿs) to give we Earthlings an advantage over the god-like Huaoshy. Only slowly did I come to realize that the main character of Exode (Parthney) is genetically the son of Noÿs. Similarly, Vance has influenced Exode.

During the past year I've looked to Vance's fiction for inspiration in how to deal with another of the fundamental foundational issues of Exode. Along with Parthney, the second character that I wrote into Exode last summer was Hana. Hana is an Earthling, but Parthney teleports her off of Earth. Hana and Parthney's son, Boswei, meet, fall in love and have a son: Izhiun. Izhiun eventually goes to Earth and discovers that Hana was mistaken; her husband is not dead. Rather, he is alive and well on Earth and becomes the conduit by which we Earthlings can learn the hidden story of our origins as a species: that Humanity has been crafted by the Huaoshy.

I initially felt guilty about trying to introduce the murder of Hana's husband into Exode. Now I've gone a step further and now must point to Vance as my inspiration for writing myself into Exode. In a strange twist of fate, I was selected to be the one to put Parthney's story on the internet; I became Hana's husband!

Quarter One of 2013
Sorting out the backstory of Exode took me about 40,000 words spread over 26 blog posts from January through March. In my first blog post of 2013 I sketched out some details of the planet Oib, the world that I originally imagined as the place where Parthney would be trained for his mission to Earth. However, locating Lendhalen on Oib would have been too simple!

The Huaoshy make use of many tricks to control the rate of growth of populations within Genesaunt Civilization. In the case of the Buld, it is easy for the pek to switch the reproductive mode between two options: 1) the Buld can give birth to immature embryos that are then further gestated by the pek, and 2) the Buld can "reproduce" in a way that causes the new embryo to replace its parent. Rather than leave the parent's body, the embryo can aggressively replace the cells of the parent's body. The Buld on Hemmal refer to this as "going through the change".

At the start of 2013 I transitioned from writing Chapter Two of Exode to Chapter Three. Prison of Space described the Pla and the importance of "partial change", the means by which the Pla can sustain their independence from the pek. In Under Oib, I continued to develop my thinking about Oib. At that point I still imagined that Lendhalen would be located under the surface of Oib.

In When is Exode?, I finally decided exactly when the events of Exode take place. That allowed me start placing key elements of Fru'wu and Nereid interactions with Humanity into the timeline of Exode, including the trip of Parthney to the Andromeda galaxy.

Belinda, Gwyned and Parthney
As part of constructing the unusual culture that exists at Lendhalen, I decided that there should be robot residents at the Interventionist training base. I had already decided that Gwyned and Parthney would not develop a sexual relationship, so I started imagining how Parthney might exercise his young male libido with a robotic playmate.

At the end of 2012 I crafted a front cover for Exode based on events in Chapter One. Three weeks into 2013 I went ahead and made a back cover using images from Chapter Two. While thinking about how to cram several years of Parthney's life into Chapter Three, I wrote Time Warp. In that blog post I had some fun picturing Parthney as a James Bond-like character, but I was still thinking about Oib as the location of Lendhalen.

I next sketched out some of the backstory for Pla'mak and Pla'kao, the two co-directors of Lendhalen. That blog post also included my initial ideas about how Parthney would reach Observer Base on the Moon after being captured by an Overseer using the cover identity "Belinda Tement".

In my next blog post I described the Klyz Teleportation Hub. Given the importance of the Fru'wu Interventionists, I realized that I needed to include another Interventionist base in Exode. I also decided to write Jane Grey into the history of Lendhalen as a way of knitting Buld history together with Earth history.

At the end of January I finally realized that it made more sense to simply pretend that Lendhalen is "under Oib" while locating it on another planet. It is possible for Parthney to travel from Oib to Cla'ten'iun and not notice the shift of 100,000,000 million miles because of the availability of teleportation technology.

In February I finally realized that I could make Exode a sequel to The Start of Eternity. When I had begun writing Exode my thinking was that I would never write another novel that involved time travel. As it turns out, the time travel is all completed before the events of Exode, but time travel does play an important part in the backstory of Exode. Initially I was imagining Thomas as the son of Noÿs and Andrew, but I later developed roles for Ekcolir and Deomede as the fathers of Thomas and Gwyned.

In the middle of February I started seriously taking on the task of weaving Noÿs into the story of Exode. Initially I had imagined Noÿs as a convenient way to provide advanced technologies to human Interventionists, but then I kept finding amusing ways to link Noÿs to the other Exode characters. Going into the end of February I was still struggling with how to ensure that Parthney would find his way from Lendhalen to Earth. I had to confront the fact that Gwyned wants to return to Earth. I imagined that the Observers would easily notice her if she tried to sneak back to Earth. I realized that Robin could play a decisive role in first making Parthney comfortable at Lendhalen then ultimately convincing him to abandon Lendhalen and move on to Earth.

Near the beginning of March I started exploring how the Interventionists would be forced to change their ways after 20,000 years. Pla'kao is the main "counter-revolutionary" who sees the need to alter the efforts of Interventionists from 1) pushing for technological change on Earth to 2) making sure that the Earthlings do not unleash a technological catastrophe. Pla'mak and Gwyned keep pushing the Buld revolution onward, imagining that any problems confronted by we Earthlings will have a technological solution.

In the middle of March I started to sort out details of how to convert the Noÿs Reality into the Buld Reality. I realized that Noÿs needed to travel back in time once more, but it was not immediately clear what she would have to accomplish in our past. By March 22 I had come to recognize the basic topological structure of the Buld Reality: that there are three possible future outcomes for we Earthlings. I needed to find the way for Noÿs to make possible a "happy ending" for we Earthlings, otherwise our fate would be a quiet replacement of our primitive species by the more advanced Prelands. I was also deep into imagining how Asimov himself could be written into Exode.

In my last two blog posts of March I decided on the extent to which the Nereids would control the end game of Exode and I was finally far enough along in my thinking that I could put down in print a coherent timeline for Exode. Whew!

Related Reading:
Guide to Exode development during 2012
Topic Guide for Exode

Apr 6, 2013

Google’s Next Killing Spree

blog search engine
A few says ago I was looking back at an old blog post and I noticed that the font size changed several times in the middle of a paragraph. Of course, in Blogger's "what you see is not what you get" interface, using the "Compose" editing view there was no indication of the font changes. I clicked on the "HTML" button and found this:

3 months, no buzz
hear no evil
As shown above, the HTML code for that blog post was full of hundreds of bogus formatting commands. I don't like to complain about Google's Blogger software since it is free and mostly painless to use, but WTF?

Today I was suddenly logged out of Blogger. Upon logging in I was greeted with a message about "welcome to the new design" or some such "news" about the Blogger interface. Every day that I use Blogger I'm amazed that this service has not been terminated by Google.

Go here and read Ryan Tate's explanation of why Blogger is likely to be terminated by Google's current CEO.

Related Reading 

In 2013-2014 Google discontinued Orkut (2004 -2014), Google Schemer (2011-2014), Google Reader (2004-2013), IGoogle (2005-2013) and Google Postini Services (2007-2013). 

June 30, 2014 - "Over the past decade, YouTube, Blogger and Google+ have taken off. Because the growth of these communities has outpaced Orkut's growth, we've decided to bid Orkut farewell." -Google engineering director Paul Golgher

Apr 5, 2013

Clones in Exode

I previously described Hemmal as a planet "where knowing your parents can have no possible benefit". I made that statement in the context of receiving help from one's parents to "get ahead" in life. Kach and Parthney, two major characters in Exode were born on Hemmal and they do not know who their parents were. That is normal for Hemmal.

Kach and Parthney were raise by pek, artificial lifeforms that normally do all the parenting of false Buld who are born on Hemmal. I'm forced to say "normally" because Kach provides an exception to this general rule by having a son (Boswei) and raising him herself. Boswei becomes the first person born on Hemmal who knows his parents.

False Buld
Not very many false Buld are born on Hemmal. It is theoretically possible for false Buld to arise spontaneously, but on Hemmal such things are not left to chance. The pek generally monitor (and frequently control) Buld pregnancies. For example, Kach is the first female born on Hemmal. Prior to the need for Kach, all the false Buld ever born on Hemmal were males. Like Parthney, those false Buld were all intended to be trained at places such as Lendhalen for missions on Earth as Interventionist agents.

The pek keep great records. For example, they have "on file" the genomes of everyone who has ever lived on Hemmal. They also have the technological means to produce a cloned individual who is genetically identical to any of the previous residents of Hemmal (or anyone else for whom they have the gene pattern).

I previously mentioned that in Exode, when Parthney finally does arrive on Earth, Janet Jeppson notices the close similarity between Thomas and Parthney. It turns out that Parthney is genetically identical to Thomas. How can that be?

Thomas is born on Earth and Parthney is born on Hemmal about 15 years later. When Noÿs is teleported to Klyz (see the timeline) she provides the pek with the genetic pattern of her son Thomas and shares with them a plan: when the Buld spaceship arrives at Earth, "Thomas", a carrier of the advanced nanites that Noÿs brought from the future, must be there to meet the Buld. The pek interpret this to mean that they must clone Thomas and have the clone on Earth when the Buld arrive. Parthney is a clone of Thomas and the pek make sure that Parthney arrives on Earth in the 20th century.

However, the situation is even more complicated than that, because Noÿs, as a time traveler, reaches Klyz about 10,000 years before Parthney is born. During the subsequent 10,000 years, the pek  produced multiple clones of Thomas and test how they respond to life on Hemmal. The pek discovered that these "copies of Parthney", like Thomas, are creative individuals who tended to have fun on Hemmal participating in artistic/cultural endeavors...and they never really wanted to leave Hemmal, even when told that they can go to Earth. When it was finally time to send Parthney to Earth, Kach was brought into existence as a woman who could efficiently push Parthney off of Hemmal and send him on his way towards Earth.

The Other Clone
One other clone figures in Exode. The pek are not the only source of clones. The Nereids have a fairly advanced level of technology and they can also produce copies of humans. When Kach arrives in the Andromeda galaxy she persistently investigates the Nereids, at first suspecting that the Nereids are the Creators. Parthney is "along for the ride" and he is carrying some of the special nanites that originated from Noÿs. I previously mentioned that some of the Buld develop a "Bimanoid Theory" which, in its form that appeals to Noÿs, says that the Creators are constantly lurking within every human. The Nereids have a similar theory and their history documents times when a few Nereids seem to have "channeled" the Huaoshy.

The nanites inside Parthney simulate such a "channeling" of information from the Huaoshy to the Nereids by way of Parthney. Noÿs, when looking into the future, saw the role that Kach must play in the Solar System. Parthney delivers a message to the Nereids that convinces them that Kach must be sent to Earth. Kach does not believe that she can learn anything useful about the Creators by going to Earth, but she agrees to go as long as she is given the "Parthney Option"...a way to escape from Observer Base. As was the case when Parthney made his escape from the Moon, the Nereids must arrange to "spring" Kach from Observer Base without alerting the Overseers to the fact of her escape. They make a clone of Kach and send the clone to Earth with Izhiun. When Kach completes her mission in the Solar System, Izhiun makes it look like Kach was killed, but it is the clone's body that is recovered while Kach is teleported safely out of the Solar System.

Avi Katz's Vision
What Makes Kach Tick
So, what makes Kach persistently seek contact with the Creators? I assume that unlike Parthney, there is nothing special about her genes. What is it in her environment that makes her special?

As mentioned above, Kach is the first woman born on Hemmal. For the unfolding plot of Exode, her experiences as a woman are important, particularly her desire to be a mother. However, Kach is on a quest to make known the unknowable: what makes her persist in that quest under conditions where nobody else around her can understand what drives her?

Part of "Bimanoid Theory" suggests that if a human does become intrigued by the mystery surrounding the Creators then the Creators can "step in" and suppress or terminate that curiosity. So, the question becomes: is Kach simply not subjected to any efforts to dissuade her from an obsessive desire to meet her makers or do the Huaoshy actively "step in" and encourage her to keep searching? Since Exode is told from the perspective of Parthney and Izhiun, this puzzle is never explicitly answered for readers.

Some Buld know about the evidence for biological evolution on planets like Earth. However, many Buld do adopt the religious beliefs of the Prelands. Even before leaving Hemmal, Parthney is exposed to "free thinkers" like Yandrey who are well aware of the fact that Earth has had an evolving biosphere for billions of years. Parthney is a skeptic: if there are Creators then why don't they show themselves? Parthney dismisses the matter from his thoughts, but Kach is not so easy to satisfy. Kach actively goes in search of the Creators while adopting the assumption that they have a reason for staying out of sight.

Nereid Intervention
When I wrote The Start of Eternity I was using a rather simplified conceptualization of the struggle between Overseers and Interventionists on Earth. A major goal for me in writing Exode has been to create a more detailed understanding of Genesaunt Civilization. In particular, I wanted to answer this question: where do Interventionists come from?

At the most fundamental level, the answer to that question is that interventionism springs from the natural desire of people to help others. From the time long ago when they were still biological organisms, the Huaoshy have always struggled to find just the right balance between 1) letting primitive species like humans solve their own problems and 2) giving a helping hand. Maintaining the continual competition between Overseers and Interventionists is how the Huaoshy allow "wiggle room" for some possible "interventionism" without allowing it to go too far and get out of control.

In Exode, the the story concerns an unusual situation where the balance between Overseers and Interventionists has been disrupted by a freak discovery: the invention of positronic robots by humans. Sorting out the implications of that discovery requires the Huaoshy to pay unusually close attention to events on Earth. Primitive creatures like we humans normally do not come to the attention of the Huaoshy, no more than individual blades of grass in a field are of concern to a horse rancher. However, if a poisonous weed starts growing in a pasture then a concerned rancher is likely to take action before all the horses are killed by the poison. In this analogy, because of the creation of positronic robots, we humans became something like a dangerous weed.

When positronic robots were created on the Moon, the Earth was left without its normal complement of Overseers, but some "backup" help could be brought in from outside the Solar System. However, the dynamic of cultural development on Earth was dramatically changed because there were no more human Overseers available for duty in the Solar System. Under these new conditions on Earth, the Nereid Interventionists were able to assure that the Earthlings began a slow climb towards development of a technological civilization on Earth. Essentially, what changed due to the loss of human Overseers was that important advances like the development of agriculture and use of writing could no longer be prevented from spreading on Earth.

In the Buld Reality, Noÿs negotiates a deal with the Huaoshy. As a consequence of that deal, time travel is used so as to make sure that the development of positronic robots is prevented and the Huaoshy are given back control of Observer Base on the Moon, but the Huaoshy agree to allow the Earthlings to rise from the stone age and establish a technological civilization, as occurred in the Reality when positronic robots existed. The Huaoshy agree to activate a "timer" that establishes a fixed point in time for Earthlings to begin making the transition from their long ignorance of the existence of Genesaunts towards having regular interactions with Genesaunt Civilization. Historically, such transitions only occur on primitive worlds like Earth when the Huaoshy feel that a young sapient species like humans can safely sustain a technological civilization. The Huaoshy do not feel that Earthlings are ready, but they agree to give humans on Earth a chance to prove themselves worthy of greater independence.

In an effort to increase the chances that Earthlings will survive their technological adolescence, the Huaoshy allow the Interventionists to start shifting Preland gene patterns to Earth. This process of genetically modifying the human population of Earth is complicated by the fact that the Huaoshy also obtain the genetic patterns of Noÿs and other humans from the far future. In Exode, the reader is never given a look at the far future of Humanity: the story ends with lingering doubts about our future.

When Noÿs is given the change to look into the future of the Buld Reality it is not yet clear exactly what form the future will take. As discussed previously, the structure of the Buld Reality is dominated by three attractors, three patterns that the future can adopt, but even very small changes in what people like Noÿs do can shift the course of the future between those three patterns. However, even given that uncertainty, the Huaoshy manage to "harvest" human genetic patterns from the far future.

The diversity of types of human genetic patterns available to the Huaoshy is never explained within Exode (however, see Kac'hin), but the presence of these genomes in the hands of the Huaoshy helps explain how the Huaoshy are able to improvise and work to convert Earthlings into a form of humans that has a chance to deal constructively with the powers and risks afforded by advanced technologies. The Nereid Interventionists are able to play an important role in facilitating the movement of useful gene combinations to Earth during the 15,000 year-long trip of the Buld spaceship from the Galactic Core to Earth.
Note: Ekcolir and Deomede are not clones, they are two versions of the same person in two different Realities.
Note: A clone of Gohrlay is subjected to destructive brain scan. I've also hinted that Gohrlay is a clone of a previous resident of Observer Base. I later decided to include additional clones of Thomas in Exode. Also, see The Atlantis Clones.