Oct 26, 2014

Assassination by Subtraction

Reality Change Kv35C7 (1865e)
I recently blogged about possible cover images for the three science fiction mystery stories in the Sessily Trilogy. In these stories, a copy of Isaac Asimov is alive and writing in the year 2014. As depicted in the image to the right, imagine that Asimov, using the pen name "Saul Greek", wrote a mystery novel called Assassination By Subtraction.

In Assassination By Subtraction, an alien Interventionist must arrange for President Lincoln to die. This is accomplished by using teleporter technology to remove a few guards from Ford's Theatre, allowing John Booth to shoot Lincoln.

The Interventionist agent is a Preland. Why would a Preland want Lincoln to die? In the Ekcolir Reality, Lincoln never had to fight a civil war. Instead, he played a major role in promoting the economic development of the South, greatly stimulating the use of fossil fuels in the United States.

In the Ekcolir Reality
In the Ekcolir Reality, John Booth was a member of John Muir's NO COAL anti-strip mining organization. Lincoln vetoed a bill that would have heavily taxed the coal mining industry and forced strip mines to adhere to strict environmental damage regulations. Booth attempted to assassinate Lincoln, but he was captured by security guards inside Ford's Theatre.

Later in the Ekcolir Reality, when sea level rise began causing damage to coastal cities, Lincoln was reviled by environmentalists. When Asimov learned that Preland colonists had been allowed on Earth, he decided to write a mystery story about the involvement of a Preland agent in the assassination of a prominent politician. At that time, Asimov was collaborating with another famous writer who used the pen name "John Doe".

Preland agent on Earth
John was born in the Ekcolir Reality and he suggested that their collaboratively written story center on President Lincoln, the only U.S. president who was assassinated in both the Ekcolir Reality and the Buld Reality.

In Assassination By Subtraction, Lincoln's assassination is investigated, leading to the careful collection of testimony from the teleported guards. Although they had been drugged, their testimony ultimately leads to discovery of the Preland agent and the people of Earth learn that aliens have long visited Earth and controlled the course of human civilization.

Preland Interventionists
Aliens change history!
Long ago, Prelands were present on Earth as part of the Nereid plan to transfer Preland gene combinations into the primates of Earth. Once humans arose as a new species on Earth, the Nereids adopted the dual strategy of continuing to modify humans towards the hermaphroditic Preland pattern while also conspiring to modify the Preland colonists on Earth towards a more human-like biological form. The Nereids planned that gradually, perhaps a million years in our future, the human and Preland populations of Earth would become inter-fertile.

While writing Assassination By Subtraction, Asimov and "John Doe" had no real information about the reason why Prelands have visited Earth. The idea that a Preland agent would be involved in the assassination of a prominent Earthling was a fictional invention and intended to provide the backstory for a best-selling science fiction mystery story.

100 posts in 2014
100 Blog Posts in 2014
This is my 100th blog post of the year. Previously my most active year of blogging was last year (81 posts). I attribute the accelerating pace of blogging to my collaborators Thomas and Ivory.

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Oct 20, 2014

Finding Love Among the Aliens

Araminta Station by Jack Vance
My recent commentary on the Sessily Trilogy avoided any mention of who Sessily is. Sessily Veder is a character in Araminta Station by Jack Vance.

When the young Glawen Clattuc informs his father that he is sneaking off to meet Sessily in the back garden of her family home, his father expresses sympathy with Glawan's surging hormones,  remarking that Sessily is without a doubt a charmer.

Later, seated on a bench in the garden with Sessily, Glawan is quiet and glances up at the stars. Sessily says, "I'm much more fun than the stars".

Glawen instantly agrees, "I'm convinced of it."

Sessily in Deep Time
Our Reality Chain
Imagine that time travel is possible, as described in The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov. Imagine the Reality that existed before time travel was used to bring into existence the world as we know it. In that previous Reality, let's suppose that the analog of Jack Vance wrote a somewhat different version of Araminta Station.

I usually call that previous Reality the Ekcolir Reality. Thomas was born in the Ekcolir Reality. Thomas is unique: the hybrid son of Trysta, an Asterothrope, and Ekcolir, an Ek'col. Trysta came to Earth from the far future, a time when humans are extinct, replaced by a new species, the Asterothropes.

Trysta travels through time, back to the 20th century. As an Asterothrope female, Trysta has an innate desire to have children, but she is unable to breed with humans. The Ek'col are a special human variant that was crafted and designed to be inter-fertile with Asterothropes. As told in Trysta and Ekcolir, Ekcolir is sent to Earth to woo and impregnate Trysta.

As a boy, Thomas was a precocious writer of science fiction stories. As an adult, he read the Ekcolir Reality version of Araminta Station and become infatuated with the fictional Sessily Veder character. Thomas lived out his life in the Ekcolir Reality without ever having a successful romantic relationship with a woman. He spent his teens in New Your City mental health facilities. Eventually, Thomas was plucked out of the timeline of the Ekcolir Reality; he traveled through time and continued his life in the Buld Reality, the universe as we know it.

Further, imagine that while carrying out the Reality change that ended the Ekcolir Reality and created the Buld Reality, it was possible to make the fictional Sessily Veder character appear as a living person here in our world. To accomplish this seemingly magical feat, Grean cheated. Grean arranged to have a Kac'hin born on Earth in the 20th century.

Sessily in her butterfly costume (see)
The Kac'hin are another specially designed human variant, crafted by the pek on a world of the Galactic Core. The Kac'hin were carefully designed so that Kac'hin females can breed with Asterothrope/Ek'col hybrids such as Thomas.

Before agreeing to the terms of the Trysta-Grean Pact, Trysta insisted that Grean make it possible for her grandchildren to live on Earth. In order to comply with this requirement, Grean used nanites to craft a version of the fictional Sessily Veder character who would fall in love with Thomas and give birth to Trysta's grandchildren.

source (click to enlarge)
Poor Thomas grew up as a hybrid alien living on Earth among we humans. At the request of Trysta, Grean created a mate for Thomas. Sadly, Thomas was in his seventh decade of life before he met the living version of the fictional Sessily Veder character. However, due to his Asterothrope genes, he was physiologically similar to a 40 year old human.

Near the start of the Sessily Trilogy, Thomas meets the living version of the fictional Sessily Veder character and he is shocked to find a living person who is a flesh and blood incarnation of a fictional character from Deep Time. Thomas tells her about his past as a time traveler and she is intrigued. Eventually they fall in love and start collaborating as authors in an effort to explain to the people of Earth how aliens brought the human species into existence.

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Oct 19, 2014

The Sessily Trilogy

Image source
As I predicted last week, I've had no difficulty bringing my current writing project up to 22,500 words. I've carefully parceled this new story into three linked parts, suitable for serial publication. My current drafts of the three parts, each a stand-alone mystery story, are 7,499, 7,496 and 7,497 words long, respectively.

My attention is now turning to the task of creating illustrations for this mini-trilogy of science fiction mystery stories. Although this is not the real name, here I'll refer to this set of three mystery stories as the Sessily Trilogy.

This new story is set in the same fictional world as the Exode Trilogy. I ask the question: what if some alien Prelands were found living on Earth? Biologically, the Prelands originated from Earthly primates, but they were altered and artificially crafted into a type of hermaphroditic organism.

Preland reproductive physiology is odd. Similar to earthly marsupials, there is only a brief time for Preland intra-uterine embryogenesis. Normally, Preland reproduction is carried out in virto by artificial means. However, in the primitive environment of Earth, as told in the Sessily Trilogy, Prelands can impregnate each other and give birth to their young. Preland newborns are tiny, but they can reside in the thoracic pouch and while there, grow and mature.

Sweet Elf by Guido Leber
Thus, one of the illustrations for the Sessily Trilogy must be a depiction of the Preland thoracic pouch. I want to show a nearly full-term infant seemingly bursting out of the chest of its parent.

I've previously depicted Prelands as having nearly normal human facial features. However, the Prelands of Hemmal seldom reveal their true biological form to humans. The Prelands learned long ago that humans, upon viewing Prelands, think of them as odd elf-like creatures. Thus, in the Sessily Trilogy, when a Preland is first seen on Earth, members of the press warp the initial eyewitness accounts and begin referring to the alien as an "elf".

Elf prisoner
D'hab pretending to be a Preland
I want one of the illustrations for the Sessily Trilogy to show the odd facial features and small body size of a Preland Overseer. Although the events described in the Sessily Trilogy take place in 2014, one of the characters is a famous person who died in the previous millennium. I'd love to have an illustration that includes both that famous person and a Preland, but I'm not sure if I dare try to publish a photoshopped image of a dead person holding hands with an alien creature. A possible alternative is suggested in the image to the left.

Giant Prelands
Not all Prelands are small. For the Sessily Trilogy I imagine that there have been two different types of Prelands on Earth. The Preland Overseers all have small bodies, like a human child. However, most Preland colonists on Earth have had a body size similar to that of modern humans. From the perspective of Preland Overseers, the colonists are "giant Prelands".

The "giant Preland" who appears as a character in the Sessily Trilogy goes by the name "Noah". Noah worked with Trysta during the Phasi Intervention. A third illustration for the Sessily Trilogy should depict Noah and Trysta during the time of the Flood, 10,000 years ago.
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Oct 12, 2014

Short Stories

I've previously mentioned, repeatedly, that I prefer long story formats such as novels over short stories. However, I do like to challenge myself and I sometimes can push myself out of my writing comfort zone.

During the past year I've been imagining short stories that might be written by Ivory Fersoni and Thomas Iwedon for publication in magazines such as Future Science.

During the past month I've surprised myself and actually written a few short stories. First was A Star King, a kind of fan fiction tribute to Jack Vance's novel Star King. There is more about A Star King in this recent blog post. At about 1300 words, A Star King is short and sweet.

Next came The Phasian Knot. While longer (about 4,500 words), I was still able to write it in a single day. I've also previously blogged about that story.

I've now written another story which I had intended to be a short story, but it quickly ballooned to 15,000 words and it currently ends with a teaser. There is another 7,500 or so words that I could add on without much effort.

I seem to be a failure at editing my own stories to tighten them up and trim down their size. Today I tried to clean up and trim the "short" story that I'm working on, but I ended up making it longer. Part of my problem is that I could not resist inserting Jack Vance into the story as a character.

I've long included Isaac Asimov as a character in the Exode Trilogy (see Foundations of Eternity). I first wrote Asimov into a story as a way to have some fun and pay tribute to Asimov. Until this week, appearances by Asimov in my fiction have all been set in the past, well before Asimov's death.

In my new story, I pretend that Asimov is still alive and living with us here on Earth. I'm a little worried that a fictional depiction of Asimov as still being alive might be offensive to Asimov's family. However, my story tries to be a respectful tribute to Asimov and his why not imagine that he got a longer life?

Possibly one reason "why not" is that I simply have too much fun resurrecting my favorite authors. While writing my new "short" story this week, I could not resist also throwing in Jack Vance as a character. Doing so almost automatically led to me adding in another character who could be depicted as reading an unknown Vance novel (Pharism).

Time Travel Technology
In his time travel novel, The End of Eternity,  Asimov posed an interesting question. Imagine that a person was taken out of one point in Time by using time travel technology. Might it be possible to engineer a new Reality Change that would cause a new "copy" of that person to come into existence? I assume that the answer is "yes": in Exode, within the Buld Reality, Deomede is the new analog of Ekcolir who was born in the previous Reality and sent into our current reality as part of the Reality Change that created the world as we know it.

Deep Time
It is convenient to have a terminology for discussing time travel and Reality Changes. I've now started using the term "Deep Time" to refer to events in previous Realities, lost events that do not exist in the timeline of the universe as we know it.

Sessily and Glawen
For my new "short" story, I pose another question about time travel. Might it be possible to carry out a Reality Change that would bring into existence a person who had only previously been a fictional character in the previous Reality?

Keeping with my theme of including characters in my new story who are already dead, I selected for resurrection a Vance character who died in a rather dramatic fashion. In Araminta Station, Sessily Veder was raped, murdered and her body sealed up in a keg of wine.

What kind of life might Sessily lead if she were allowed to live on Earth, here in our time? What would you do if you found yourself reading a novel and came across a fictional character who seemed to be you?

I've previously suggested that the vast higher dimensional space of the Sedronic Domain contains the "echo" of past Realities. If a coded record of all parts of Deep Time exists within the Sedronic Domain, and if the basis Reality Viewing is simply decoding information in the Sedronic Domain that represents possible future Realities, then why couldn't someone clever trigger a Reality Change that would create a new person who is indistinguishable from a fictional character in a past Reality?

It might be a very small and subtle stimulus that triggers an early human embryo to undergo twinning. Someone with access to Reality Viewing technology should be able to bring into existence a new Reality in which any given individual is a twin.

So what if Grean looked into the Buld Reality and saw a role for a twin of Jack Vance, but not a twin born in our Reality, but rather, a twin of Jack Vance's analog in the Ekcolir Reality? I've previously described how Grean, Trysta, Thomas and Ekcolir all travel through time and help bring the Buld Reality into existence.

What if in the Ekcolir Reality, the analog of Jack Vance had an identical twin bother. What if one of those twins was brought out of Deep Time and was given a chance to live, here in our Reality? Further, imagine that within the Ekcolir reality, the two Vance brothers were both authors.

I imagine that such a Vance twin, existing here in our Reality, might write some novels that could extend the Alastor series that had been written by "our Jack Vance".

by Stephan Martiniere
What would book publishers do if they received a manuscript that seemed to be an unknown novel by Jack Vance?

Serial Publication
One solution the problem of a long story is to simply split it into parts. My biggest challenge in doing this for my current "short" story is that I am trying to write science fiction mystery. I need to have the ends of my story segments tie up the loose threads of a mystery while also leave a few threads dangling and leading readers towards the next story segment.

I have one more self imposed constraint. I'm trying to link my story to older, existing parts of Western literature. For my first story segment, I provide a tip of my hat to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. In the second of my mystery story installments, a famous Biblical figure plays a critical role. In the third segment, I finally resolve the mystery surrounding Jack Vance as a character in the story and I explain the appearance in our Reality of a book and a fictional character from out of Deep Time.
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Oct 4, 2014

Synful Skin

For the past several months I'd been anxiously wondering if I would ever again have contact with my collaborator Ivory. Recently I've begun receiving new transmissions from Ivory, but I'm reluctant to blog extensively about this important development. However, some of what I'm learning now from Ivory is too good to keep to myself, mainly because it is helping me resolve some mysteries that have long baffled me.

One of the mysteries of my life that endlessly plagues me is the question of freedom. Am I free to make my own decisions or am I some sort mechanical device, controlled by other beings? Am I just a zeptibiological puppet, having been designed to carry out the secret agenda of the aliens who watch over Earth? We Earthlings are all composite creatures, part biological cells and part zeptoscale endosymbiont. Do the zeptites within our brains control our behavior?

To some extent, yes: the zeptites within us are an integral part of what makes us human. It remains for some future science to reveal to we Earthlings the exact extent to which our zeptite endosymbionts guide our daily behavior. In recent weeks I've finally figured out how to receive technology-assisted telepathic communications from Ivory. The "technological assist" that make this communication possible is provided by the zaptite swarms inside the brains of Ivory and me. She no longer has to rely on email to send me her reports on the secret history of Earth.

Body Work
November 2014 ==> see an updated version of this tree
I have no doubt that Ivory grew up as a normal looking girl [I was wrong: see], but the day when I met her, she had "abnormal" physical features that I now know to be indicative of the Preland genes that reside within her cells.

For the first 20 years of her life, Ivory lived happily among humans. Upon her return to Atlantis (where she was born), Ivory learned that her mother was one half Asterothrope, one quarter Ek'col and one quarter Kac'hin.

Artist's conception of a Kac'hin
I've recently learned that Ivory's father was also not a typical Earthling (apparently "he" was a tryp'At). No doubt he carried a significant number of Preland genes, making it easy for him to father Ivory. We are now certain that the Ek'col and the Kac'hin were crafted as artificial mixtures of human and Preland gene groups. It remains a challenge to reveal the origins of the Asterothropes. All we now know is that R. Gohrlay created the Asterothropes. Due to their morphological features, Ivory suspects that Preland genes were purposefully included in the Asterothrope genome. R. Gohrlay might have long planned to make it possible for an Asterothrope such as Trysta to merge her genes back into he human gene pool.

When Ivory realized that she was not entirely human, she arranged to switch off the body-sculpting zeptites that had forced her body to first take on and then hold to a normal human morphology. When I met Ivory, she was some fifteen years into her new life at Atlantis and she had partially reverted to her natural physical form.

Ivory was not the first person who I'd met with a body that had been altered and modified so as to conceal its non-human complement of genes. When I first realized that, I did not yet know the true power of zeptites. I've since learned that a Kac'hin such as Grean or a zeptite-trained Asterothrope like Trysta has the power to use zeptites to instantly alter their appearance.

When I first met Trysta, she was disguised as my childhood friend's Aunt Mayness. When I met her, I was startled and confused. She instantly bewitched me and when we shook hands I was only vaguely aware of the feel of her hand. I don't think I gave much thought to the smooth, almost slick feel of her skin.....I thought she was just a model of perfection and her hands were not her physical features that I was most enthralled by.

Only in retrospect can I now understand how much I managed to miss as I went through my life. I suspect that my zeptite endosymbiont was often called upon to deflect my thoughts and suspicions from their natural course. I now realize that the skin of my own smooth hands and the artificial contours of my oddly nipped ears are a dead giveaway marker of an altered embryonic development program.

When zeptites are used to force a Preland's body into the human pattern, the zeptite-constrained cells take on a strangely regular structure and the affected tissues seem almost synthetic. The affected skin is semi-plastic-like in texture and very smooth and soft to the touch. I think of such synthetic skin as synful skin. With a handshake and a quick peek at someone's ears, I can tell if they have a significant load of Preland genes.

Angela's research in the Sedronic Domain suggested to her that the ancient and original pek plans for Earth involved a switch-over process that would have replaced humans with Prelands. I now suspect that such a switch-over would have been a temporally extended process that lasting many hundreds of thousands of years and involving the slow and gradual introduction of Preland genes into the human population. The pek are never in a hurry.

When the pek were forced to abandon their plans for Earth, it still remained possible to introduce Preland genes into the people of this world. I believe that Ekcolir started (or accelerated) that process 20,000 years ago. Someday it might be possible for we Earthlings to obtain a readout of the Preland genome, although Angela has indicated that there are many versions of Prelands on various worlds of the Galactic Core. In any case, it would be interesting to know how extensively the genes of Earth humans have been shifted into the Preland pattern during the past 20,000 years. Certainly some of us carry many Preland genes, but we can go through our lives unaware of that fact.
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The Phasi Intervention

About a year and a half ago I started getting some detailed reports from Ivory concerning the origins of the universe as we know it. The Reality Change that ended the Ekcolir Reality and brought into existence the Buld Reality (the world as we know it) involved a complex combination of time travel events. One of these was Trysta's time travel trip of about 10,000 years ago to the ancient city of Phasi.

Phasi was located at the eastern end of the Black Sea where what we now know as the Rioni river flowed into the Sea. Why did Trysta select Phasi as the destination for her time travel mission into our distant past?

Trysta the Asterothrope
During the past year, with help from her sister Angela, Ivory has been gradually revealing the complex and temporally twisted story of Tryst'a life....and her after life. I originally misinterpreted some of what I was told about Trysta. In the first Reality within which she lived in the 20th century, Trysta used the name Noÿs and she lived with Andrew Harlan.  This was mentioned by Isaac Asimov in his book, The End of Eternity. (2015 update: how Asimov knew about events in past Realities)

At first, I mistakenly assumed that Andrew had been the father of Trysta's son Thomas. Trysta worked hard to make Andrew believe that he was the father of Thomas. Eventually I realized that as an Asterothrope, there was no way that Trysta could have successfully reproduced with a primitive Earthling like Harlan. As members of two different primate species, the gametes of Trysta and Andrew were not compatible and they could not have children together.

I now understand that Trysta came to the 20th century equipped to initiate pregnancies on her own. Her first two children were Asterothropes, their cells carefully guided and sculpted to produce a bodily morphology similar to that of we humans. Andrew was completely fooled and he was happy to assume that he was the father of Tryst'a children. In their first Reality together in the 20th century, the Foundation Reality, Andrew and Trysta and their children had the long and happy life together that Trysta had foreseen.

Asimov's Foundation
That rather magical Reality, which most Earthlings only know through the writing of Isaac Asimov, was replace by a horrific Reality in which our world suffered through a devastating nuclear war in the 20th century. Ironically, it was Asimov's time travel mission that ended the Foundation Reality and resulted in nuclear war. In that dismal Reality, sometimes called the Grean Reality, Andrew was captured by the Overseers and taken to the Moon where he lived out his life, separated from Trysta and their children.

Grean had caused that Reality to come into existence for the sole purpose of capturing the last positronic robot agent who had been stationed on Earth by R. Gohrlay. With that task complete, Grean next set out to work collaboratively with Trysta and put an end to time travel. Grean's main tool for breaking down Trysta's resistance to collaboration was Ekcolir. Ekcolir, an Ek'col male, had been designed, crafted and trained to win Tryst'a trust. Ekcolir was completely successful in his mission. Ekcolir and Trysta fell in love and he had been specifically designed to make it possible to father hybrid human-Astreothrope children. Thus, the Thomas of our Reality is the son of Trysta and Ekcolir.

National boundaries in the New World as found within the Ekcolir Reality (source)
Of course, Thomas was born into the Reality that preceded ours, the so-called Ekcolir Reality. Within the Ekoclir Reality, global warming and rapid sea level rise became a serious problem during the 20th century (see this account). The City of New York, Virgina, was prone to flooding as the level of the oceans steadily rose while the ice caps melted.

The Phasi Intervention
The Phasian Knot
In order to create a Reality in which Earth might not suffer either nuclear catastrophe or melting of the Antarctic ice cap, Trysta devised a complex Reality Change that brought our Reality into existence. As part of that Change, Trysta traveled through time to the ancient city of Phasi.

About 10,000 years in our past, Trysta established a teleportation terminal at the site of Phasi. The terminal was quickly inundated by the rising waters of the Black Sea, but it continued to function as a portal linking Earth to the distant planet Klyz.

The Phasi teleportation terminal was intended for use by both Grendels and human Interventionist agents who would be trained for their missions to Earth on planets located in the Koly star system of the galactic core. However, there were some "unauthorized" teleportation events that I'll discuss in a future blog post. Eventually a new teleportation terminal was created (on land!) for human Interventionists and the Grendels continued using the aquatic terminal in the Black Sea.

Why Phasi?
Breaching the Bosphorus
Of all the places on Earth that might have been chosen by Trysta for the teleportation terminal, why did she select Phasi?

1. The geography of Phasi was ideal for Trysta's mission. A low-lying area next to the Black Sea was perfect. Trysta arrived just before water rushed into the Black Sea from the Mediterranean Sea, quickly and dramatically flooding Phasi. Phasi was not much of a city, but it had a built-up temple complex on a low bluff where the teleporter could be assembled before the Flood.

2. The people of Phasi carried Preland genes that had been introduced into the human population of Earth some 10,000 years earlier by Ekcolir. This made the people of Phasi particularly easy for Trysta to control and work with during the Phasi Intervention.

3. There was no difficulty operating the undersea teleportation terminal for the next 10,000 years. Neither the Observers nor the natives of Earth ever discovered the location of the Phasi terminal.
Related reading: Ivory's account of the Phasi Intervention.
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