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May 27, 2014

Enlightenment

I've been struggling to construct a space in my brain for fantasy. As part of that struggle to expand my writing beyond the confines of science fiction, I recently blogged about belief in supernatural non-material consciousness as a natural component of fantasy stories. Here, I want to explore enlightenment as a supernatural element of fantasy and relate it to both the Exode Trilogy and my imaginary fantasy novel, Daveed the Luk'ie.

The human brain constantly synthesizes and integrates a lifetime of experience, quickly providing us with an answer to the endless question: what should I do next? Brains are good at white-washing gaps in our knowledge and understanding. A brain is constantly making estimates that are good enough to get us through life, just good enough so that we need not be distracted by our own ignorance.

In the Exode Trilogy, I imagine that the pek have designed the human brain so that it is a trivial matter to regulate human ingenuity and the pace of technological advancement. The pek use nanites to regulate human brain activity, switching off human creativity whenever the pace of technological change on Earth becomes too rapid.

A fantasy story can adopt a supernatural perspective on human enlightenment. Here, I'm using "enlightenment" in the sense related here: "many fantasy novels are simply loaded with existential and/or spiritual enlightenment".

My logical perspective tells me that there is a formula for enlightenment: question everything. Or, as Carl Sagan put it: just combine Skepticism and Wonder.

If stories in the fantasy genre interest readers because "excitement and wonder can be found in imagining impossible things" then does that mean that fans of fantasy prefer to skip skepticism and simply accept anything that a fantasy author sticks in a story, no matter how nonsensical?

Grean the Traitor
In the fantasy novel Daveed the Luk'ie by Thomas Iwedon, Daveed is an analog of Grean, the Kac'hin who puts and end to the Time War that has raged between the Huaoshy and R. Gohrlay. Since R. Gohrlay's positronic robots are programmed to defend Humanity, by siding with the aliens isn't Grean a traitor to the human cause?

Daveed, and indeed, all the Kac'hin, are brought into existence by the pek. Daveed is simply the individual who is selected to be the one Kac'hin who negotiates with Trysta over how to end the Time War. In the fanciful cover illustration to the left on this page (above), Thomas shows Daveed being magically brought into time from out of the Hierion Domain.

Since Grean (re-named "Daveed" in Thomas' version of the story) makes use of the Bimanoid Interface to "channel" the Huaoshy into the Hadronic Domain, how can a reader of the Exode Trilogy know whether or not Grean is just a puppet, forced to to the bidding of the aliens? Teasing the reader with such doubts is about as close as I can come to making Exode a horror story.

dimensional
engineering
If there is a deep literary point to Exode, it is getting readers to question whether we are puppets, whether we Earthlings are unable to conquer our addiction to fossil fuels and prevent global warming and a coming ecological disaster. The Huaoshy follow an ethical code that aims to protect "Garden Worlds" like Earth from ignorant technology-wielding primates. If so, then why do the Huaoshy hand we Earthlings an opportunity to develop a technological civilization on Earth, particularly when they know very well the mess we are likely to make of things here on this fragile little planet?

Part of the answer to that question is that while dealing with primitive primates in the Exode Trilogy, the Huaoshy undergo their own enlightenment. They realize that the discovery of time travel by the positronic robots of Earth is a blessing in disguise. After fighting a long Time Travel War with R. Gohrlay, the Huaoshy finally realize that they can put an end to time travel by altering the dimensional structure of the universe. In so doing, they inactivate the capacity of the "Eternity Device" on the Moon to function as a time travel machine, but it will remain forever as a generator of sedronic matter.

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Image Credits. My image search for "enlightenment" turned up Brad Warner's book (see the pulpish book cover to the right).
by Roman Snytsar

The new version of a cover concept for Daveed the Luk'ie (above, on this page) makes use of a photo by Roman Snytsar. 

The pek are composed of zeptites that confer seemingly magical powers. In this latest conceptual sketch of a fantasy book cover for Daveed the Luk'ie, I try to depict a pek walking on water.

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For the pool I used an image from this blog.

The guy (Daveed) was made using an image from the Serene Dreams website.
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The next round in my attempt to craft he fantasy cover for Daveed the Luk'ie.
More imaginary book and magazine covers.

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