Mar 22, 2015

The Mariinsky Theatre

Ron Koertge
Are there some books that will never be published? Books that are so subversive, that so effectively lampoon conventional print book-publishers and conventional authors, that they would never be printed? I hope so, because we now have internet publishing as an outlet for such books. But, are there other books that are even more deeply subversive, possibly "so far out there" that no writer would even imagine them?

Heading in that direction.....     I'm captivated by certain oddball story concepts. One of the far-out story ideas that haunts me is one in which there is a complete inversion of our society's conventional thinking about sex and writing. In the world as we know it, human sexual behavior is not supposed to be performed in public and most people don't take part in the capitalistic free market where sex is bought and sold. In contrast, people who aspire to "be a writer" are openly encouraged and trained to sell their stories and market their written work for profit. However, in our world, few people can actually make a living by writing fiction.

Science fiction adventure
In an alternate Reality, it would be socially acceptable to sell sex. In that Reality, porn stars would dominate Hollywood and the New Your Times would maintain a list of the ten best selling sex acts currently sweeping the nation. In this alternate world, engaging in private sex acts with a partner would be frowned upon. Everyone would be subjected to slogans such as: if you're not selling it then you're a pervert.

At the same time, in this alternate Reality, story writing would be a daily activity that everyone routinely does. Few people would try to sell a story that they had written on the open market. Marriage would be built around finding a partner who is literarily compatible with you and it would be unimportant to have a spouse who is sexually compatible: sex would be an entirely commercial enterprise having nothing to do with love...more like the world's most popular sport. I'd make my novel, Sex World, be a science fiction story in which the people are partially-artificial nanorobotic constructs and essentially immortal, living in a society where the link between sex and reproduction is long forgotten.

Europe    1909 - 1911
Mariinsky Theatre
In Star Dance, Bet dies in 1909. She is sent to Saint Petersburg, Russia by Hortensia. Star Dance is set in the Ekcolir Reality, an alternate timeline in which Imperial Russia had a culture that is about as close to that of Sex World as would be possible for a planet populated by mortal humans rather than post-reproductive sexathletes. In Europe of the Ekcolir Reality, Christianity never attained more than glancing recognition as a mysterious middle-eastern cult.

Bet sets out to beguile
Nikolai Tcherepnin
In 1909, Bet introduces herself to Nikolai Tcherepnin and begins a nearly two year period with him as his mistress, often playing as a backup performer in the orchestras that he conducts during that period and sometimes being called upon to also dance on the stage during emergencies when a regular ballet dancer is injured.

Nikolai Tcherepnin is completely infatuated by Bet's artistic versatility, her beauty and the fact that she endlessly praises him and his musical work. Best of all, in the hedonistic society of 20th century Russia, Nikolai's wife, the quiet and reserved Marie, also falls in love with Bet and undertakes to publicize and promote the steamy romance that develops between her husband and Bet.

Poster for the Ballets Russes
in the Ekcolir Reality
Bet has a wonderful time touring around Europe with Nikolai, who finds himself at the peak of his fame, with a strong boost to his popularity arising from his well-publicized relationship with a flashy younger woman, Bet. Now in a care-free social environment more like that of Tar'Tron, Bet feels liberated after having spent seven years being shackled to the straight-laced Ghyl in puritanical New York.

Nikolai is so busy with Bet that he fails to take the opportunity to compose the score for a ballet that is commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev. This provides an opportunity for the relatively unknown and younger Igor Stravinsky to begin composing for Sergei and the Ballets Russes. With the help of innovative young artists like Stravinsky, the Ballets Russes becomes a major influence on the 20th century rather than simply fading away after a few years of limited success.

Technological progress was slightly accelerated
in the Ekcolir Reality, with film as a
well established medium by 1911.
In early 1911, Bet suddenly abandons Marie and Nikolai Tcherepnin and travels to Berlin. Nikolai, more than just a little exhausted by trying to keep up with Bet, is at first dismayed by Bet's disappearance, but then he resumes the quieter pace of his life with the ever-loyal Marie.

In Berlin, Bet adopts a new disguise, aging herself dramatically and adopting a middle aged appearance that is more suitable for the socially conservative German Empire than the flashy young avant-garde artist she played with Nikolai while they traveled back and forth between the liberal metropolitan worlds of Paris and Saint Petersburg.

Clara Immerwahr
Bet makes the acquaintance of Elsa Löwenthal, a divorced mother and cousin of Bet's grandfather, Albert Einstein. Bet often speaks to Elsa about her time as a youth when Elsa knew her cousin Albert. Those  conversations lay the ground work for Elsa and Albert to later become romantically involved and eventually a married couple after Albert's first marriage collapses.

After her time in Berlin, Bet briefly visited Karlsruhe in order to meet with Clara Immerwahr and support her work organizing the Third Hague Conference on the laws of war which, in the Ekcolir Reality, took place in 1913 and helped prevent a nuclear war from erupting in 1918.

Next: the origin of the name 'Siomha'.
Visit the gallery of book and magazine covers.

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