Aug 31, 2013

Grean and the Kac'hin

Within the Exode Trilogy, Grean first appears in The Foundations of Eternity, literally popping into the story as the first clue to readers that the Huaoshy can travel through time. Grean is the third Kac'hin who appears in the story: everyone else mistakenly believes that they are members of the "Huaoshy species". In fact, the Kac'hin are a human variant that was designed and crafted to function as an "interface" through which the Huaoshy can deal with the unusual situation that exists on Earth.

In Trysta and Ekcolir, the second book in the trilogy, Grean and Trysta use advanced Huaoshy Reality viewing technology to search for an alternative Reality that both Trysta and the Huaoshy can agree upon.

Thomas left, Parthney right
When viewing Realities, Trysta can see her son Thomas with Kach together at Observer Base on the Moon. They are making plans to terminate the "Nereid mission" on Earth. Putting an end to Nereid Interventionism on Earth is a major historical event that must come to pass according to the terms of the negotiated agreement between Trysta and the Huaoshy.

Grean realizes that he and Trysta have actually seen "two copies" of Thomas on the Moon. The "second Thomas" is actually a clone of Thomas.

Hilde at the Space Energy
Missions headquarters.
Grean must travel back in time and initiate a program by which clones of Thomas are created and trained for missions on Earth.

Eventually, Parthney becomes the last in a series of "Thomas clones" who are sent to Earth as Interventionist agents.

Kach and her clone
While viewing Realities, Trysta sees Kach die in a raid on the "Nereid compound" on Earth. Kach appears to die in a teleporter accident while she acts to prevent agents of the Nereids from teleporting away to safety.

Grean realized that what they have seen in the Buld Reality is actually the death of a clone of Kach (Lycaun). Grean makes arrangements for Kach's grandson, Izhiun, to go to Earth with a clone of Kach. The clone dies, but Kach is transported off of Earth.

Grean's galaxy - art by Boris Vallejo
When the Buld spaceship arrives at Earth, the Overseers at Observer Base on the Moon discontinue their efforts to prevent Interventionist agents from operating on Earth. However, some of the Observers are "promoted" to form a new Overseer team that will operate according to new rules, allowing the Buld to interact with humans on Earth. Further, the new Overseers of Earth will not attempt to prevent Earthlings from becoming aware of the fact that the human species was designed and created by the pek.

The Foundtions of Eternity
Hooski, Ayoost, Grean, Kach and the Kach clone Lycaun  are the Kac'hin that I've already written into the Exode Trilogy. I'll need to introduce one more Kac'hin who can interact with Izhiun on Luk'ru. I've been tempted to also have this additional Kach'in be present on Earth, possibly piloting the spaceship that takes Izhiun from the Andromeda galaxy to Earth.

However, I've also been trying to decide on the nature of the communication that Kach has with the Huaoshy when she is in the Solar System. It might be that the Huaoshy can use Kach as their "bimanoid interface" during the end game climax on Earth. If so, then Izhiun and the "Kach clone" could simply be teleported to Observer Base with no need to arrive in the presence of the "fifth Kac'hin".

My major concern about having Kach and her clone being the only Kac'hin present on Earth during the end game of Exode is that Kach is a "false Kac'hin". I have not yet come to a decision about just how efficiently a false Kac'hin can communicate with the Huaoshy. It might be asking too much of Kach to have her "channel" the Huaoshy during the end game, but I like this option.

Related Reading: 2015 update on Grean.
Video teaser for the Exode Trilogy:

Aug 30, 2013

Asimov and Robots in Time

The Exode Trilogy provides a rather broad perspective on the origins and ultimate fates of human-like robots, humans and other stray forms of life that find their way to Earth. Really, it all started with Asimov's positronic robots...

End Game
Isaac Asimov had fun creating stories about humanoid robots and left his Foundation Saga hanging by a thread (Foundation and Earth)...would Daneel's 20,000 year-old positronic systems last long enough for him to bring Galaxia to completion?

In the 20th century, when explorations of machine reproduction and artificial life began, the concept of a "robot" began to shift from

1) a machine that came out of a factory, fully programmed to produce human-like behavior,


Giskard and Daneel
imagined by megaduce
2) a form of artificial life that grew and learned like we humans do.

Asimov confronted the question: if a robot with human-like behavior got old, really old, would it be easy for that humanoid robot to duplicate itself, would it be essentially immortal? For digital computers, software programs can easily shift from one machine to another, but how can Daneel transfer 20,000 years of memories into the brain of Fallom, a human?

And another thing....
When I started devising a fanfiction sequel to Foundation and Earth I found it impossible to accept the idea that Giskard was the first telepathic robot to understand how to wire telepathic abilities into a positronic brain. And just how were positronic brains invented and built in the 20th century, anyhow?

Asimov sketched out a timeline for the development of increasingly sophisticated humanoid robots in the science fiction stories that he wrote in the 1940s. From the perspective of the 1940s, he knew that if computer-powered robots were going to be ever made that could haul around their brain circuits and produce human-like behavior then there would have to be a computer miniaturization breakthrough. To advance his robot stories, Asimov invented an imaginary technology: the positronic brain.

When the 1960s arrived, the microchip industry took off. Writing in 1964, just on the brink of the integrated circuit revolution, Asimov predicted, "Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence."

In his I, Robot compilation, Asimov set the story Reason in about the year 2015. In that story, Asimov shows us what he meant by a robot: a man-made device in the shape of a human that could reason and talk like a person. Sadly, no such computerized device that can think and talk like a person exists, yet. Why is it so hard to duplicate human language behavior with any existing computer? Why was it so easy for Asimov's imagined positronic engineers at U.S. Robots?

The secrets of positronics
In The Foundations of Eternity, I laid out my fanfiction version of the origin of positronic brains. I imagined that the key "trick" for endowing positronic circuits with human-like thought involved copying the pattern of neural circuits in a human brain into the functionally equivalent positronic circuits. If Daneel's positronic brain has a structure that duplicates human brain patterns then maybe that helps explain why it is possible for Daneel to transfer his memories to Fallom.

In The Foundations of Eternity I have fun with an explanation for how -in the Foundation Reality- positronic brains could be produced on Earth in the 20th century. Positronic robots were first produced at a secret base on the Moon, long before they existed on Earth. Development of a positronics industry on Earth involved a few secret agents who provided Earthlings with the means to begin a positronics industry: Trysta and Merion develop a working relationship with Rycleu, a positronic robot. Together they provided key technological clues that allowed positronics to flourish on Earth.

Eventually it becomes clear to Trysta that any attempt to quickly establish positronics on Earth has disastrous consequences: the surface of Earth will become dangerously radioactive. However, delaying the development of positronics on Earth has its own implications: global warming, ice cap melting and catastrophic sea level rise.

Trysta develops a collaboration with the Nereids. Actually, there are no Nereids on Earth, only a few Interventionist agents of the Nereids. Working through those agents, the Nereids make some useful technologies available to Trysta. Two of the most important technological assists provided to Trysta are
1) access to Nereid teleportation technology and
2) the Nereids help Trysta expand her rather limited capacity for viewing Realities.

Viewing Realities
Trysta is an Asterothrope, sent to the 20th century from a distant future after humans have become extinct. Disguised as a human, her mission was to bring the Foundation Reality into existence, but Trysta comes to view the Reality she has created as a trap. The alien Huaoshy have also started traveling through time, and the conflicting interests of humanity and the aliens has seemingly locked Earth into a strange attractor where all possible futures turn out badly for Earth.

Even with the help of Nereid technology, her rather limited capacity to observe alternative Realities does not allow her to find a way towards a better future. She knows that she is locked in a time travel war, but what can Trysta do? This is the dead end that Gohrlay and Trysta have worked themselves into by the end of Part I in the second book of the Exode Trilogy. Is there a future for the human species or is our species doomed?

The solution to this problem is technological. The Huaoshy realize that they have the power to put an end to their time travel war on Earth. They can alter the dimensional structure of the universe so as to make time travel impossible. Doing so will kick Earth out of the strange attractor and provide Trysta with the means to move Earth to a new, brighter Reality.

In addition to positronic robots, other types of robots are found in the Exode Trilogy. One of my initial goals for the Exode story was to allow both Interventionists and Overseers to make use of fairly sophisticated technologies while they are on Earth. I provided Parthney with a robotic assistant (Betty) and the Overseers make use of a robot to keep watch on the time-traveling Asimov after he assumes the role of Astounding editor John Campbell.

The Last Robot
I've also been toying with the idea that one of the positronic robots should remain in hiding on Earth, protected by a personal temporal field generator. What would such a robot do after R. Gohrlay and all the other positronic robots were erased from existence?

All of the positronic robots that were sent to Earth were working to accelerate technological progress and help the people of Earth rapidly develop robotics and space travel technology. Eventually, Trysta decides that it is a mistake to help with that cause. Fengtol and Rycleu are two positronic robots who I have placed on Earth in the 20th century. Fengtol is captured and so Rycleu could be the "escaped robot". Previously I had imagined Trysta escaping from the Huaoshy forces on Earth by making use of Nereid teleporter technology.

Maybe Rycleu should escape at the same time and in the same way. It might make sense to say that the Huaoshy forces on Earth were led to R. Fentol by Asimov. Before sweeping in and capturing Fengtol, it might have been possible to intercept communications between Fentol and Rycleu. That intercept would lead the Huaoshy forces on Earth to both Rycleu and Trysta, but they are both teleported to safety at the last second, frustrating Huaoshy efforts to win the "time war" by a conventional battle field maneuver.

Space Energy Missions
After their close call with the Huaoshy, Trysta can continue her life on Earth without much interruption, but Rycleu must carefully go into hiding, possibly taking refuge among the Nereid agents of Earth. I need to invent some progressive organization that would be this group of Nereid agents, agents stationed on Earth and working for social progress.

500 years ago the Nereid agents supported social change by weakening the Catholic Church and supporting the Reformation. I'm thinking that their main concern in the 21st century might be environmental issues. I'm imagining a think tank that supports space-based solar power development. Maybe called Space Energy Missions.

Possibly Rycleu could recognize that R. Gohrlay's plans were not working out for Earth, that pushing for development of positronic robots in the 20th century was too dangerous. R. Rycleu might decide to quietly help with the development of solar energy technologies.

I need to decide on the ultimate fate of R. Rycleu when the Nereid mission on Earth is finally terminated. It might be best if R. Rycleu, Hilde and the entire "staff" of Space Energy Missions is sent off to Mercury with the Buld after they swing by Earth for a quick visit. I've been thinking that the Buld could use hierions to transmit energy to Earth from solar energy collectors on Mercury, but it might be possible to simply use microwaves.

However, if I go that "low tech" route then I'd like some twist at the end such as constructing space elevators that would both carry power from space to the surface and provide a convenient way for people to go from Earth into space.

 R. Rycleu will no longer have any telepathic abilities after the Huaoshy carry out their final dimensional engineering project. I have to decide if any of the Neried agents at Space Energy Missions would even have a clue that Rycleu is something other than a human. However, after departing from Earth, there might be no further reason for Rycleu to hide the fact that "she" is a robot. In fact, she might be particularly useful in helping to develop the power transmission system linking Mercury to Earth.
Related Reading: the last Nereid agent on Earth.

Aug 27, 2013

Dé Jà Vance

Figure 1. Cover art: The Face
"...the most fun you can have without a vibrator..."

My copies of the Demon Princes novels by Jack Vance are worn and tired with pages falling out and covers falling off. To the right is a scan of the front cover of The Face. These old DAW covers are wonderfully evocative of events in the novels.

Having decided that there should be a novel called Trysta and Ekcolir, I've been thinking about possible cover art images for another Exode Trilogy book (Exode cover, The Foundations of Eternity cover).

Tristan and Iseult
Trysta and Ekcolir become lovers, and are part of a love triangle (with Merion) that was foreseen by the aliens who designed and crafted the human species. 

Fig. 2. source
In Isaac Asimov's time travel novel, The End of Eternity, Noÿs says to her lover Andrew, "I studied the Realities...I chose this alternative so that our love might be true."

Similarly, the pek spend 200,000 years carefully crafting Ekcolir so that he can win Trysta's heart and accomplish his mission on Earth.

I'd like to hear the story of the origins of -and relationships between- the images shown on the right side of this page. In The Face, Gersen throws his blade into the neck of his adversary while his lover watches nervously from a safe distance. Neither of these images exactly matches the text of the story, but the upper image comes much closer to matching the fight scene and the novel's setting as written by Vance.

Tristan and Iseult
Trysta and Ekcolir
Of course, Trysta is not human. She is an Asterothrope. Asterothropes are a primate variant that was designed and crafted in the far future of Earth, after humans became extinct. However, Trysta's entire life was carefully planned so as to allow her to be sent to the 20th century. Here features and behavior were made to match those of a woman from the Primitive.

The dramatic "fight scene" in Trysta and Ekcolir does not involve swords, it involves invisible nanites. It might be possible to visually hint at the presence of the nanites in this scene by using odd clouds or strange lights, but there is no blood to indicate the dire nature of the struggle.

Figure 2 detail
Trysta isn't some passive maiden in distress: she is the winner of the "fight scene" in Trysta and Ekcolir. Both Vance and Asimov have been criticized for a dearth of strong female characters in their science fiction, but they had to work within the "old school" of male-dominated publishing...I can't fault them for writing stories through the eyes of male protagonists.

Vance and Asimov created some memorable female characters including Wayness Tamm and Noÿs Lambent. In my fanfiction stories, "Trysta" is the name used by Noÿs Lambent when she is living in the 20th century. Asimov suggested that Noÿs is "built like a force-field latrine", and in order for her to accomplish her mission she needed to be able to seduce and infatuate Andrew. Her mission involved time travel and the destruction of Eternity.

Wayness Tamm
Vance's character Wayness Tamm boldly goes off her own dangerous mission in search of the Cadwal Charter. Still, it is Glawen Clattuc who Vance depicts as the competent hero who must rescue Wayness after she gets into trouble. In the Exode Trilogy there is a series of major female characters (Gohrlay, Trysta, Kach) who, like Wayness, push their agendas to the breaking point. Even though all four of these ladies follow their ambitions into hopeless dead ends, eventually it is their spunk and persistence that helps make possible a final victory for their cause.

Possibly using the "fight scene" in Trysta and Ekcolir as the basis for a cover illustration has another serious drawback in addition to the problem of depicting the presence of invisible nanites. Unfortunately, Ekcolir is not present in New Your City during the "battle of the nanites". I'd like to have Ekcolir and Trysta both on the cover. In Figure 1 (above, right) the leering face of Lens Larque can be seen over Gersen's shoulder. This floating head in the sky makes sense only after you read the last few pages of The Face, but it nicely provides a way to show Gersen's adversary on the cover. I'm not clever enough to visualize a version of the key fight seen in Trysta and Ekcolir that adequately depicts the nanites and also manages to include Ekcolir. 

viewing Realities
David Russel's cover
Another Cover
Eventually, Ekcolir provides Trysta with access to an advanced device for viewing alternative Realities. In the past, I have tried to depict Trysta in the act of viewing Realities by showing the pattern of strange attractors that constitute the structure of critical decision points in the Realities.

Using the Reality viewer, it is possible for Trysta to "focus" on particular events in a Reality Chain and see the people and places involved. Some events fall at the chaotic core of strange attractors and they are very hard to observe and relate to other key events in a Reality. Trysta is able to view a scene in an alternate Reality in which her son meets the first Buld who arrive on Earth.

by Thomas Iwedon
This observation is hard for Trysta to make sense of because she believes that both her husband Merion and her son Thomas were captured by Overseers and taken to the Moon after the "battle of the nanites".

As a consequence of Trysta's vision of the future, a complex plan is devised that involves sending a clone of Thomas (Parthney) to Earth. The plan involves slipping Parthney into Observer Base and having him take the place of Thomas who is to be liberated so that he can welcome the Buld to Earth.

Of course, this great plan completely falls apart. In fact, Thomas is not captured by the Overseers when Merion is.  Thomas simply goes into hiding on Earth: it is only Trysta's mistaken assumption that he is captured after the "battle of the nanites" (this is a slight change from my original thinking about this scene).

The "great plan for Parthney" is worse than a failure. Parthney is captured by the Overseers and Thomas must sacrifice his own freedom in order to liberate Parthney from Observer Base. Thus, it is the incredibly complex plan that involves cloning Thomas and sending Parthney to Earth that results in Thomas being held captive on the Moon.

So, here (to the left) is a first draft of a scene for the cover in which Ekcolir watches while Trysta views Realities. In her view of a possible future Reality, there is a scene on the Moon. That "scene within a scene" is when Parthney has been living as a prisoner at Observer Base, but then he is rescued and teleported to safety by Thomas. For the version shown here, I've included an Overseer who is lying unconscious nearby while Parthney is teleported to Klyz.

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Aug 26, 2013

Xenon Zero, Gary Seven

Gary Seven and Roberta
Assignment: Earth is one of my favorite Star Trek episodes and I've even gone as far as to write a fan fiction story (X-Seven) using some of the characters from that Star Trek episode. It is easy for me to think of Gary Seven as an "Interventionist agent" in the sense of stories set in the Exodemic Fictional Universe.

I was recently reminded of the existence of The Special One, an episode of The Outer Limits, in which a "Mr. Zeno" arrives on Earth. Mr. Zeno, like Gary Seven, has a secret mission to complete on Earth.

the alien Mr. Zeno (left)
No! Not Again!
Isaac Asimov read many robot stories when he was a boy...and he was disappointed by the standard SciFi plot in which the mechanical man always did something bad: "Through the 1920s and 1930s...hordes of clanking, murderous robots continued to be reproduced story after story. I was an ardent science fiction reader in the 1930s and I became tired of the ever-repeated robot plot."

Asimov went on to write his own robot stories in which robots could be friends with humans and even guide Humanity towards a safe future. Luckily Asimov was not around to see the movie based on his robot stories regurgitate the robot rebellion meme.

Asimov and Sagan
Alien Invasions...yawn...
Just as Asimov disliked robot stories that were stuck in the standard "Frankenstein complex" plot, I dislike the standard alien invasion plot. Rule #1 for this often repeated SciFi plot is that the evil invading aliens are incompetent. We Earthlings, with our primitive technology, must successfully resist the invasion. Generally, after coming to Earth from across vast interstellar distances, the technologically advanced aliens do something incredibly stupid, dooming their invasion.

alien technology from Xenon
In The Special One, the invading aliens from planet Xenon have the technological means to convert the atmosphere of Earth from being only marginally habitable for Xenons, into an environment that would be more like Xenon. Mr. Zeno then foolishly gives that advanced technology to a school boy who turns the tables on the evil invaders. The boy uses the advanced technology provided by the aliens to make Earth an even less hospitable environment for the Xenons, thwarting their great plans to take over Earth and live here happily ever after.

The Special One is bad science (the aliens supposedly metabolize xenon, a nonreactive noble gas), bad science fiction and painful-to-watch television.

I'm intrigued by people who have made their living as a writer, jumping from one genre to another as opportunities arose. What might inspire someone who has a history of writing for television shows like Bonanza to try their hand at science fiction? I suppose there is not much difference between most science fiction on TV and shows that fall into other genres.

Gene Roddenberry
You can boil most plots from Hollywood down to a basic "good vs evil" core. Build up the "drama" by having the bad guy confidently stride towards victory, then in the last scene, allow the good guy to win. Then cue the voice over: "Tune in next week for more of the same..." If you happen to be writing an episode for a science fiction show this week, just be sure to throw in an alien invader or a robot.

Real Science Fiction
Thankfully, there have always been a few "real" science fiction writers who have been willing and able to think outside the box of Holywood's conventional dramatic formulae. Asimov brought us interesting robots and folks like Carl Sagan and Gene Roddenberry brought us interesting aliens who had motives beyond ravishing Earth and exterminating humans.

Miners of Earth; cover art detail
I've been trying to imagine the challenge of getting a science fiction story published in the 1940s. I tried to create a cover for Miners of Earth that might have helped sell the story, even though the cover art really has almost nothing to do with the story. The cover is a tease...allowing readers to imagine some horrible alien invader. While writing Miners of Earth, Thomas knew that there was a secret history of Earth. It is fun to imagine that a fantastic (and true) secret history of Earth would not sell as publishable science fiction simply because the story does not match the conventional biases of science fiction publishers and editors.

In the Exode Trilogy there is an opportunity for readers to adopt the perspective of R. Gohrlay and view the aliens as evil invaders, but I've been trying to leave the reader in doubt about the motives of the aliens who long ago came to Earth and created we humans. Why would the Huaoshy spend 10,000,000 years making us and then replace us with Prelands? Short answer: the Huaoshy just aren't that into us. The Prelands were designed and crafted to replace humans, to be an improvement over we primitive humans.

By examining his mother's memories, Thomas learned about the existence of the sprawling, billion-year-old intergalactic Genesaunt Civilization. What do the mysterious Huaoshy want? In his fiction, Thomas was able to exercise his imagination and invent an explanation for why an advanced form of life might come to care about the fate of primitive creatures like we humans.

A similar puzzle lurks within Exode. The Huaoshy honor an ethical principle that says they have no right to interfere with the natural course of life's development on worlds like Earth. However, in practice, because the aliens feared what might happen if some lifeform got out of control and became a danger to the Huaoshy, they put in place Genesaunt Civilization. Until humans came along, the Huaoshy had never faced a serious threat from another lifeform.

By spreading Genesaunt Civilization from galaxy to galaxy the Huaoshy had been able to spread their influence through the universe, guiding thousands of different lifeforms to a safe existence that did not threaten the Huaoshy. The Huaoshy are rather smug about their system since the evidence indicates that, left to develop on their own, most technological societies self-destruct, but within Genesaunt Civilization many technological species did manage to survive and peacefully merge with the Huaoshy. With the development and use of time travel technology on Earth, the Huaoshy feel threatened as never before. Suddenly they need to understand and regain control of Humanity.

For his story Miners of Earth, what Thomas imagined was that even if we humans are primitive and even if we might be worthy of being replaced, there could be some aliens who would value us, or even, after spending millions of years watching us evolve, simply want to help us, possibly because they had grown fond of us. Thomas imagined "collectors" who would be forced by the Rules of Intervention to collect samples of interesting lifeforms and take them to "zoos" for safe keeping.

I've imagined that according to the ethical rules of the Huaoshy, they permit some aid to primitive lifeforms, but only as long as the primitives remain ignorant of any help that they receive.

As mentioned in my last blog post, I've started thinking about the discovery of genetic evidence on Earth that would reaveal a secret history of Interventionism. Specifically, I'm thinking about the presence of a small sub-population of Earthlings, including people like Andy and Hilde, who have unusual genomes that show clear evidence of genetic engineering.

By the end of Exode, the Overseers have given up and they are no longer trying to protect we Earthlings from realizing that we were created by intelligent design. However, there is fear among the Interventionists that we humans, if free of Overseer protection, are a real danger to ourselves.

In Miners of Earth, Thomas imagined that aliens might actively suppress certain types of cultural advances on Earth in an effort to prevent humans from developing advanced technologies that could become a danger to the ecosystem or our species survival. In his story, the "Clyte" are trying to gather evidence of such interference in the development of human civilization.

Before Gohrlay came along, the Overseers of Earth were planning to prevent development of a technological civilization on Earth until the time when the hermaphroditic Prelands were ready to replace we humans. This state of affairs created an opportunity for R. Gohrlay to become aware of such organized "suppression" and that significantly strengthened her determination to protect Humanity from the Huaoshy. Only slowly could R. Gohrlay come to realize and appreciate the reasons for that "suppression" and the true danger of giving powerful technologies to apes.

If much of the development of human culture on Earth during the past 20,000 years can be accounted for by the removal of Overseer-imposed "suppression", then how much human development was due to Interventionists like the Nereids? There was a long period during which R. Gohrlay had cleared away the Earth Overseers and the Nereids were free to visit Earth. Eventually, R. Gohrlay obtained spaceship and time travel technology. What kind of a relationship did she have with the Nereids and the Fru'wu?

I imagine that Gohrlay was very distrustful of all aliens, but eventually, during the end game, with Trysta on Earth in the 20th century, there was a working relationship between Trysta and the Nereids.

I've imagined that the Nereids would mostly influence events on Earth indirectly by supporting the Fru'wu and the Pla. However, what if the Nereids played the game of taking some humans from Earth and establishing a colony of humans on a planet in the Andromeda galaxy? They could then train some of these humans for return missions to Earth.

The Interventionist training bases of the Pla such as Lendhalen took advantage of the carefully crafted conditions that existed in the Koly star system. Using data about cultural conditions on Earth that were collected at Observer Base on the Moon, the pek were able to manufacture and provide a cultural environment on worlds like Hemmal that was similar to conditions on Earth. It is not clear that the Nereids would be able to maintain a similar system. Their "agents" might not really fit in on Earth.

Under the terms of the agreement between Trysta and Grean, Trysta must help make sure that the Nereids back off and allow only the Buld to continue having contacts with Earth. I've imagined an intense episode, just before the Buld spaceship reaches Earth, when the Nereid presence in the Solar System must be forcefully terminated. I've been trying to imagine how the Nereid Base of operations for Earth might escape detection until that time. I'm imagining a small group of humans who live somewhere on Earth, people who are all rather like Gary Seven: trained by the Nereids and devoted to the Interventionist cause.

It is tempting to select some actual fringe group and write them into the story, but I'm thinking that I should invent from scratch the location and nature of the small Interventionist community on Earth that is sponsored by the Nereids. Right now, I'm thinking that the "Nereid Interventionists" might have been established, maintained, disbanded and reconstituted many times during the past 20,000 years.

I've previously decided that there was a major shift in Earth Interventionism starting about 500 years ago, corresponding to the use of Lendhalen as the most important Pla-run base for training Interventionist agents for assignments on Earth. Also, there was a known Intervention into English history at that time.

In keeping with that, I want to design a small community in Europe that could have an influence on cultural development in England during the early 1500s. Maybe there was a group of interventionists with connections to Marienthron (Mary's Throne) in Nimbschen, which is famous for its connection to one of the important women of the Protestant Reformation. It is fun to imagine a group of Interventionists reaching out to women across Europe and supporting social change. Both Trysta and Hilde might have had dealings with these "Nereid Interventionists" and in the end game Kach might not be happy to play a role in severing their connections to -and support from-  the Nereids.

Related: the Nereid-supported Interventionists in the 21st century.

Aug 25, 2013

Trysta and Ekcolir

The website for book 2 of the Exode Trilogy is now in place. I'm fairly satisfied with the transitions between the three novels.  

The Foundations of Eternity ends with Asimov in the heroic role of an intrepid time traveler, sent into his past to capture a meddlesome robot who, if unchecked, will push Earth into a disastrous nuclear war.

Trysta and Ekcolir begins with a brutal and efficient mop-up operation that seemingly puts an end to R. Gohrlay's interference in the course of human history. However, Trysta somehow manages a last second escape. Only then do the Huaoshy realize the full strength of R. Gohrlay's persisting influence on the fate of Earth.

Trysta is unlike any biological that the Huaoshy have ever had to deal with. Trysta is an Asterothrope, designed, equipped and trained by R. Gohrlay to beat the Huaoshy at their own game. Trysta is not human, but she is the tool that can carve out a place for Humanity within the vast intergalactic Genesaunt Civilization.

The Huaoshy notice that the fate of Earth is caught in the whimsical twists and turns of a strange temporal attractor. With the Huaoshy tugging in one direction and Trysta pushing in another, Earth cannot avoid a technological disaster: Earth either ends up dangerously radioactive or devastated by global warming and catastrophic sea level rise.

To engineer a third option, the Huaoshy do what they do best when finding a course of action that will ease them past their ethical qualms: they task the pek with designing and creating a new human variant that can fix the problem.

Ekcolir is the result. A 200,000 year-long development program has brought into existence the Ek'col, a human subspecies with the best features of Asterothropes, Prelands, and the Kac'hin. Ekcolir is trained to slip past Trysta's defenses and make possible a new, brighter future for Earth.

Before Trysta realizes that Ekcolir is the tool of the Huaoshy, she finds that the impossible has occurred: she has been impregnated by a human. Slowly, Trysta comes to understand that her son Thomas is part of the means by which her mission in the Primitive era of Earth can be completed.

Trysta and Ekcolir tells the story of how Ekcolir provides Trysta with the one critical piece of technology that was never developed by R. Gohrlay: an advanced Reality Viewing device that allows examination of "reality chains". To her surprise, Trysta can now see that it was possible for the Huaoshy to select the Ekcolir Reality from among all possible Realities just because it provides Trysta with an opportunity to make a final Reality Change that will bring into existence the Final Reality, a timeline for the universe that is acceptable to both the Huaoshy and Trysta.

At the end of Trysta and Ekcolir that Reality Change is complete and the Huaoshy carry out a final act of dimensional engineering that makes further time travel impossible.

The final book in the Trilogy is Exode, which takes place entirely within our Reality, which is the Final Reality. Both Trysta and Thomas have slipped from the Ekcolir Reality into the Buld Reality where they pay important roles in preparing Earth for the arrival of a Buld spaceship. That spaceship is to be the "messenger" by which we Earthlings can become aware of the fact that there have long been humans living on other planets in the galaxy.

In the end, neither Trysta or Ekcolir is on hand to welcome the Buld to Earth. In order to complete their missions, they each had to travel deep into the past, abandoning their life together.

Remaining Question
One of the features of time travel as imagined by Isaac Asimov was that due to the "momentum of time", alternative Realities tend to be quite similar. For example, in both the Ekcolir Reality and the Buld Reality there is an Ek'col agent trained for a mission on Earth. In the Ekcolir Reality, the agent is, of course, Ekcolir. However, in the Buld Reality, Ekcolir has died 20,000 years in our past and there is another Ek'col agent who is sent to Earth in the 20th century: Deomede. Deomede is not identical to Ekcolir, but they are very similar: Deomede is the analog of Ekcolir in the Buld Reality.

Similarly, Trysta has children in both the Ekcolir Reality and the Buld Reality. In the Ekcolir Reality, Ekcolir is the father and Trysta names their two children Thomas and Gwyned. However, in the Buld Reality things are just a little different. Trysta is now almost four decades older when she has her third and fourth children. Also, the father of children #3 and #4 is Deomede.

I've been imagining that Trysta simply goes ahead and names the children of Deomede Thomas and Gwyned. I'm willing to allow child #3 to be another Gwyned because the first Gwyned is lost forever in the now non-existent Ekcolir Reality.

Thomas is another matter. I'm imagining that Trysta's fourth child is a boy, but I'm reluctant to name him Thomas. The original Thomas is from the Ekcolir Reality, but he lives out the end of his life in the Buld Reality. So, what should child #4 be named? Right now I'm tempted to let Trysta name him "Andy".

When Thomas is finally certain that his mother's mission has been successfully completed, he frees himself of his nanites and tries to live a more "normal" remainder of his life, although he is old by this time and does not live long after giving up his nanites.

I need to give some thought to the fate of Andy. Should he be a writer like his brother Thomas or have other interests? One possibility is that Andy develops an interest in biology and explores the genetic difference between himself and his fellow Earthlings. I'm thinking that it might be possible for Andy to discover that there is a simple means by which his Asterothrope-like genome can be "slimmed down" and made compatible with the human genome for reproductive purposes.

If Andy has several children in the 1970s then it might be possible to have an amusing scene at the end of Exode. My plan has been that there be a dearth of real evidence to support the claim by the editor of the Exode Trilogy that Exode is a true story. However, "the editor" of Exode might mention some recently discovered genetic evidence from Andy's grandchildren that supports a more complex history of the human species than is generally recognized on Earth.