Feb 7, 2015

Sentient Planets

About 11 months ago I blogged about the idea of "planetary intelligence". In that blog post, I provided three case studies of planets, entire worlds, that took action and revealed the nature and existence of their intelligence. Here, in this new blog post, I explore the idea that our own world, Earth, is another such planet, a form of artificial life that we humans mistakenly believe to be inanimate.

While editing the Exode Trilogy, I've come to realize that we humans are a form of artificial life: we are, each of us, a mixture of alien technology (sedronic endosymbionts) and biological cells. Just like we tiny humans, the planet Earth was also long ago "infected" by pek zeptites. We need to re-conceptualize the entire planet Earth as a form of life with its own memory, motion and senses.....all provided by our world's hidden endosymbiont.

Why not?
World goddess
Because that would be crazy. Right? Well, not too crazy for Isaac Asimov. He wasn't satisfied with a sentient planet so he had Daneel make Galaxia: a sentient galaxy. Sadly, it is difficult for mere humans to empathize with lumps of rock....we prefer warm and fuzzy things, like kittens.

However, the stories that are set in the Exodemic Fictional Universe attempt to position the planet Earth as a "Garden World", one of the rare and precious places in the universe that is well-suited for biological life. In the Exode Trilogy, I depict the human species (in particular, we humans who now reside on Earth) as a kind of disease: a version of the human organism that is quite capable of ruining this planet and destroying our fragile biological oasis in space.

Ingo Berg model
What if?
What if planet Earth is viewed as a sentient being and a key character in the Exode Trilogy? Can Earth protect itself from a tribe of rampaging apes? I depict Earth as balanced within a strange attractor, facing three catastrophic outcomes: 1) nuclear war, 2) fossil fuel use and rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and 3) some potential danger arising from use of hierions and other mysterious "future technologies". Trysta and Grean struggle to find a safe passage into a human future where all catastrophes are avoided and we Earthlings have a chance to reach the stars....all without destroying Earth's fragile ecosystem.

Hero or Heroines?
Should Gohrlay, Trysta and Grean be viewed as heroines of the Exode Trilogy? Sure, there's nothing wrong with adopting such a perspective, but their "heroic efforts" are not the point of the story. Then what is the point?

SciFi about SciFi
The Exode Trilogy is a science fiction story that self-referentially concerns itself with science fiction. I agree with Isaac Asimov that science fiction, as a literary genre, has a more important role to play than just entertainment, although, and at the same time, I don't fell it is wise to say "just entertainment". Fiction can be "just entertainment" if you don't learn from it, but I believe that science fiction stories both entertain and (because they are entertaining) connect readers to important ideas, ideas that might allow us to save ourselves as a species and save planet Earth as a "Garden World".

Science and Religion
The Exode Trilogy is a science fiction story that concerns itself with religion. On Hemmal, the Prelands have an interesting type of religious world view. The Prelands find themselves on a planet where they participate in terraforming, working long and hard to make their world suitable for life. At the same time, they believe that it is their destiny to transcend their physical existence and merge with the Creators, leaving behind Hemmal as a garden world.

NEXT: sapient books.
More book and magazine covers

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