Sep 27, 2015

Final Reality Change

original cover art by Earle Kulp Bergey
In previous blog posts (example) I've meandered through the science fiction vortex of sex, a thought space where writers are free to endlessly explore imagined life forms (both biological and artificial) and their attitudes about sex.

Gohrlay has been telling me tales about the creation of the science fiction genre and how science fiction was different in the Ekcolir Reality. To understand Sci Fi in the previous Reality it is of particular importance to remember that most science fiction story writers in the Ekcolir Reality were women and Western Society was heavily influenced by the Etruscans.

Recently, I was startled by Gohrlay's claim that in the Ekcolir Reality, because of a "chance" genetic event, the analogue of Jack Vance was born as a female. At first, I'd made the silly assumption that Jackie Vance was a rare fluke, but according to Gohrlay, many science fiction writers who were male in the Buld Reality had female analogs in the Ekcolir Reality.

The Secret Galactics
If this is true, then I have to re-think my idea that a "rare chance genetic" event was responsible for Jackie's existence as a female. It now seems likely that someone (Grean?) tinkered with the system for Temporal Momentum that constrained analogues to be genetically similar in the Realities of Earth's Reality Chain.

Earth Factor X
I asked Gohrlay for another example of a famous male science fiction author whose analogue was female in the Ekcolir Reality and she mentioned Alfred Elton van Vogt, who was named Anke in the Ekcolir Reality. I've never read any of van Vogt's stories, but I certainly saw his books on display in the book stores that I prowled during my formative years as a science fiction reader. He published The Secret Galactics right when I was first discovering printed science fiction novels and Earth Factor X was published as a DAW paper back in 1976. That was right when I was discovering DAW editions of Jack Vance novels such as Trullion.

Back cover blurb: the 1976 edition of Earth Factor X
The cover of Earth Factor X provides a good tutorial on why I never read any of van Vogt's stories. The cover illustration of a klunky robot and its human brain was bad enough to deflect a budding science nerd whose idea of a science fiction author was a scientist like Isaac Asimov.

The blurb on the back cover of Earth Factor X is funny. It starts with what can be read as a tongue-in cheek statement: "A.E. van Vogt ... reality twisted ... slightly." One of his writing techniques was to incorporate his night-time dreams into his stories.

science fantasy
Some critics have slammed van Vogt's writing style and I don't know if the blurb on the back cover was lifted from the text of the novel, but the next sentence in the blurb is mind-warping: "Earth shivered in a momentary absence of vibration". Yogi Berra died this week, but this sentence on the back cover of Earth Factor X could be used as a kind of tribute to the linguistically fractured comments that he was famous for. When reading Asimov, you want to turn on your brain and think logically. When reading something like "shivering absence of vibration" you need to let your semantic processing slip like a poorly adjusted clutch. To this day, I still believe that it ain't really science fiction unless you are in Asimov's kind of logical story-telling mode.

Down through the years, stories of alien invasion have been popular in science fiction. It is tempting to mock most of the "reasons" given by Sci Fi authors for alien invasions, including the idea that alien beings with advanced technology and the ability to travel across vast interstellar distances would come to Earth for our gold.

Take us to your Women
Apparently the aliens who are trying to invade and control Earth in Earth Factor X are fascinated by human females. Here is a quote provided by van Vogt that comes from an alien instruction manual for their secret agents who are being sent to Earth: "It is agreed by all: women of earth have to be experienced to be believed." As guy, I can almost buy into the male fantasy that aliens would travel across great interstellar distances in order to "experience Earth women". Almost. Isaac Asimov brilliantly turned the whole Sci Fi fantasy of alien-human sex on its head in "What Is This Thing Called Love?"

original artwork by Malcolm Hadden Smith
According to Gohrlay, Anke van Vogt was an influential publisher of science fiction novels in the Ekcolir Reality. She managed what was often called "Anke's harem", a group of mostly female authors who wrote extensively about the Time War and Grean's plans for how to end it. Two members of that harem, from two different generations, were Jackie Vance and Samantha R. Delany who often collaborated and published under the pen name Sam Jacky.

In the Ekcolir Reality.
Original artwork by L. Raymond Jones
and A. Leslie Ross
In the Ekcolir Reality, Samantha Delany's novel Equinox told the story of Grean and how "she" (actually a Kac'hin hermaphrodite) took human form and, operating from a secret base "on" the Moon (actually, within the Hierion Domain) ended the Time War and planned the Final Reality Change.

Originally published in Future Science Fiction Magazine as Equinox: Tide of Love, Samantha's story began with the arrival of aliens on the Moon. The aliens were composed of a swarm of nanorobotic components that could assemble into any desired form. After learning to take on human form, the aliens began sending "humaniform probes" to Earth. Samantha wrote amusing vignettes about how the bumbling aliens learned the fine points of human behavior, including sexual behavior.

Next: The Earth-Spacer Conflict in the Ekcolir Reality.
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