Aug 24, 2014

False Dawn

cover art by Earle Bergey
I've previously mentioned The City and the Stars, the 1956 science fiction novel by Arthur Clarke. Actually, I think that I've only read the original shorter version of that story, Against the Fall of Night which was first published in magazine format in 1948. I read this story when I was first discovering published science fiction and I was vastly impressed by the way Clarke depicted the protagonist (unfortunately named Alvin) as being born into a society that he did not like, a society that lived with constant fear generated by its myths about the past.

The Alvin Experience
Through his persistence and his acts of rebellion, Alvin finds a way to leave the prison of Earth, eventually he learns the truth about his people's past and that realization provides a chance for his world to break free of its ages old stagnation and decay.

In a very real sense, the story of our species is a story built on the kind of plot used by Clarke in Against the Fall of Night. We humans evolved as a species with no real understanding of our origins. Over time, various human cultures invented and enshrined creation stories and myths about human origins, but it is only recently, with the rise of science, that we have gained any real understanding of our origins and our place in the universe.

From Hana to Ivory
When I began writing Exode, it was to be a story about Hana and her discovery of the secret history of Humanity. Parthney is the Interventionist on Earth who gives Hana her ticket off of this planet. But I soon realized that Parthney has his own "Alvin Experience". As do Iziun and "the Editor" and Gohrlay and Asimov and other characters in the Exode Trilogy. Eventually I realized that I was searching through all of these Exode characters with the hope that I could find one person who would make it possible for everyone on Earth to learn the truth about the secret history of the human species. I've reached the point where it seems that Ivory Fersoni is that character and as such, she can provide the starting point for the Exode Trilogy. So, Parthney has taken his place at the start of Exode and Gohrlay remains at the beginning of The Foundations of Eternity, but Ivory wants to be at the start of Trysta and Ekcolir.

Andrew,  the never wrong
The only real remaining problem is that I don't want Ivory to have all the fun. I'm finding it hard to step aside and let Ivory dominate the stage during the first act.

What Did Trysta Know and When Did She Know It?
I've grown comfortable with the idea that Trysta long ago knew the role that I would play as "the Editor". From within the Ekcolir Reality she first saw the end point that she wanted to reach but only later was she able to trace back and discover her full role in creating the Buld Reality. She selected the Buld Reality as a desirable end point, then she had the obligation to complete her share of the detail work that would assure the creation of the Buld Reality. Maybe it is a temporal engineering theorem: a rare and prized Reality requires an annoyingly complex process of  multiple carefully orchestrated interventions to bring about the desired Reality Change.

Syon of Urgark
In The End of Eternity, Asimov's character Andrew Harlan had the unexplained ability to achieve perfect instantaneous Reality Changes that were triggered by astonishingly simple interventions into the course of events on Earth. While establishing his reputation as a talented Time Technician, was he secretly receiving help from the Asterothropes?

The same question arises with respect to Ivory. If both Andrew and "the Editor" were puppets, being guided through the course of their lives by unseen forces (the meddling of a time traveler from the future) then what about Ivory? To what extent did Trysta guide Ivory in her efforts to help "the Editor"? Initially, the role of Ivory in creating the Buld Reality escaped the notice of Trysta. Only much later, when Trysta had been transformed into Syon (and she was receiving reports from late 20th century Earth) did she begin to understand the role of Ivory in the life of the Editor.

Puppet Parthney
Angela, Marta, Charlet, Cory and Anna.
I've long known that Syon made use of Parthney as a tool to make certain that Thomas would be aware of "the Editor" and that both Izhiun and Thomas would transfer memory nanites into "the Editor", allowing the Exode story to told to the people of Earth. Now I can't dispel the suspicion that Syon also engineered the flow of important information from Angela to Ivory to "the Editor".

However, I like to think that Ivory was able to live out her final days on Earth as a spirited rebel, never becoming aware of how her actions were shaped and controlled by Syon.

It is only now, by carefully sifting through the memories of Parthney, that I can begin to understand how Syon brought Ivory and I together. The big source of mystery in that process is the hidden role of Ivory's mother, Marta.

Marta, late 1960s
How did Marta stimulate and nurture Ivory's interests in biology and science fiction? Unfortunately, my search for answers to such questions is hindered by the fact that Ivory was always protective of her mother's privacy. I suspect that Marta is still out there, living her quiet life on Earth. I'd let that go, but for some reason, I've been haunted by the idea that Marta is known to me by another name and under other identity. Is she a well-known published science fiction author? Or, more likely, a little-known author who used her "fiction" to influence and guide not only Ivory, but me as well.

Mystery Author
Several years ago, after looking at this blog, Ivory spoke to me about a particular little-known author who I have mentioned in this blog. That author has an interesting publication history that includes a 20 year long hiatus exactly corresponding to the period of time between the initial development of Ivory's interest in science fiction and the start of Ivory's own writing of science "fiction" stories. Strangely, I have no memory of how I became aware of that particular author myself. For the other authors who have had an important influence on me, I can recall how I first became aware of their work.

I've written to this particular author and described the influence that her work had on both Ivory and me. I asked directly if she is indeed Marta, but I've received no reply. Unless she does reply, I'll have to respect Ivory's desire that Marta's privacy be protected. However, I am going as far as to post this and I have some small hope that there might be a third party who will come forward with useful information about Marta.

My next blog post: thoughts on the importance of Marta's brother, Peter.
Arthur C. Clarke in 2017.
Rain World; the home planet of Lili.

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