Apr 14, 2015

An Asimov Reality

Mind Transfer
"May we all watch sunsets and create something, if only a memory of beauty in our minds." -Janet Jeppson Asimov

I've never read any of the science fiction stories that were written by Janet Jeppson. However, I've previously blogged about Janet and the imagined interactions that she had with several characters in the Exode Trilogy (see also).

I just wrote a new short story (The Asimov Reality; not too short, it is near 13,000 words) that features both Isaac Asimov and Janet living in a "failed Reality", a Reality that came into existence during the Time War, but was later erased. In this new story, which can be viewed as a kind of alternate history, I imagine that Isaac and Janet became scientific collaborators in the middle of the 20th century.

Svahr the Interventionist agent (source)
art work by Boris Vallejo
In real life, Isaac Asimov was trained in the scientific discipline of biochemistry, but he was a compulsive writer. For the new story, I pretend that he went to medical school and then ended up doing neuroscience research. His research interests were related to neurotransmitters and how they control brain function. Isaac's scientific interests overlapped with those of Janet and in the story they make a revolutionary discovery that allows a few simple chemicals to profoundly alter human brain function.

Also appearing in the story are Dennis McGee and Svahr. Svahr is a senior Interventionist who calls upon Dennis to go live on Earth and alter the course of Asimov's life. Dennis grew up on Tar'tron and he has some difficulty adjusting to the primitive conditions of 20th century Earth. Tar'tron is the planet of the Galactic Core that is known by the name "Trantor" in Asimov's Foundation Saga.

Svahr on Earth, 3,500 B.C.E.
art work by Boris Vallejo
Svahr has been carrying out missions on Earth for thousands of years, but Dennis is a junior Interventionist, having only previously completed a few brief training missions on Earth. Suddenly Dennis finds himself living on Earth continuously for a couple of decades. He becomes a kind of guardian angel for Asimov, helping Isaac get into medical school and obtain financial support for his neuroscience research.

Years ago, I decided to make Isaac Asimov be a character in The Foundations of Eternity. As told in that story, Asimov was abducted by aliens and taken to the Moon. There, Grean realized that Asimov could help find the last positronic robot on Earth and bring to an end the Time Travel War.

So, with Grean's help, Asimov became a time traveler and went back in time, into his own past. Asimov was not particularly interested in Grean's struggle against R. Gohrlay, so he hatched his own plan to mentor his younger self as a science fiction writer. Asimov's meddling in his own life ends up changing the entire shape of the future. Spoiler: changing Asimov into a famous science fiction author turned out to be a key aspect of the complex Reality Change that created the universe as we know it.

The Reality Chain that leads to the world as we know it.
The time traveling Asimov helps Grean terminate the Foundation Reality. I've usually referred to the new Reality that next came into existence as the Asimov Reality, but sometimes it is called the Grean Reality.

In the Foundation Reality, Daneel guides the Galactic Empire towards Galaxia. Just like Golan Trevize, I was appalled when Asimov suggested that the fate of Humanity is to form a galaxy-spanning group mind. Thus, in The Foundations of Eternity, Asimov himself causes a Reality Change that removes Galaxia from existence.

Origins of a Time Warrior.
However, the Asimov Reality itself is a disaster for Humanity. Within the Asimov Reality (as told in the Exode Trilogy), a devastating nuclear war takes place on Earth. So, I've always imagined that the Asimov Reality was quickly replaced by the Ekcolir Reality.

In my new short story (called The Asimov Reality), I indulge myself in the fact that during the Time Travel War between R. Gohrlay and Grean there were many additional Realities sandwiched between the Foundation Reality and the Ekcolir Reality. I portray Svahr as one of the prominent warriors of the Time War who is trying to engineer the future of Earth. Poor Dennis McGee is only a foot soldier in the war who must follow all orders issued by Svahr. Since The Asimov Reality is meant to be a stand-alone story, I toss in the Buld, even thought that is an anachronism.

The Foundations of Eternity
In the end game of The Asimov Reality, McGee must make a fateful decision. His self-sacrifice gives Svahr the opportunity to correct her errors and help bring into existence the Ekcolir Reality. That Reality Change knocks the Earth out of the influence of the strange attractor that kept causing the Realities of Earth to repeatedly involve the surface of our planet becoming dangerously radioactive. However, the Ekcolir Reailty had its own problem: melting ice caps and catastrophic sea level rise. Ultimately the Time War had to be ended and the Buld Reality brought into exist.

The Buld arrive on Earth.
The most interesting feature of the Buld Reality and the reason for its name is that in the 21st century a spaceship arrives at Earth. That Buld spacecraft has traveled all the way from the Galactic Core, a journey that lasted 15,000 years.

The story of what happens when the Buld reach Earth is told in Exode. An alternate version of First Contact provides the climax of The Asimov Reality.

2017 update: The Asimov Reality
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