Sep 26, 2015

Full Circle

Fanciful movie poster (source)
Isaac Asimov invented and developed an interesting "theory" of alternate Realities for his time travel novel The End of Eternity. In one of my favorite parts of that novel, the protagonist, Andrew Harlan, is in a library located inside Eternity. Asimov invites us to contemplate the idea that in different Realities, a famous author would write different books (Eric Linkollew, 1, 2, 3).

I've adopted Asimov's concept of a momentum of Time for use in my own Exodemic Fictional Universe. I imagine that R. Gohrlay and "her" tribe of positronic robots created an inertial amplifier for Earth. The basic idea is that the momentum of time is a natural phenomenon arising from the existence of the Sedronic Domain. In some sense, "an echo" of every Reality exists within the Sedronic Domain and that "echo" constrains the shape of any new Reality that is brought into existence.

The End of Eternity
I imagine that when the positronic robots began experimenting with time travel, they soon discovered the momentum of time and R. Gohrlay soon began trying to find ways to amplify that naturally occurring phenomenon. Since R. Gohrlay was programmed to protect and defend humans, "she" invented a technology that could automatically "amplify" the momentum of Time and make humans a fixture in all possible Realities. This amplification process involves making many "copies" of each human individual within the Hierion Domain. The existence of those "copies" insures that following a Reality Change, the same people will tend to exist in the new Reality.

In The End of Eternity, Asimov forces readers to consider the possibility that one tiny "chance" event might completely derail the flow of time. The particular example of a small chance event that was used by Asimov was as simple as Twissell's decision whether or not to ride upwhen in the time kettle with Harlan to find Noÿs. Here is how Noÿs herself describes it:

Our Reality Chain
"You were to have come back to the far were to have come back alone...but you came with Twissell, a chance variation."

For the Exode Trilogy, I like to imagine that R. Gohrlay carefully designed the Mallansohn Reality so that Noÿs could quickly terminate it and put an end to Eternity (the time travel "device" on Earth) and bring into existence the Foundation Reality.

When Asimov first introduces us to Noÿs she is in the role of a note-taking secretary for Computer Finge, director of the section of Eternity devoted to the 482nd century. Noÿs appears 40 pages into the novel, after Asimov has explained that Eternity is male-dominated. The Eternity time travel "device" exists in a kind of parallel universe that is outside of the normal flow of Time on Earth. Almost everyone who lives and works in Eternity is male because, for some reason not ever explained by Asimov, extracting women from the timeline of Earth is usually too disruptive.

So when Harlan lays his eyes on Noÿs, they are rather hungry eyes, simply due to the paucity of females within Eternity. However, Asimov provides some extra spice to this already provocative situation. Harlan is from the 95th century, a point in Earth's long history where women are expected to be loyal wives and good mothers. In contrast, the 482nd century is one in which women lead independent lives with no expectation that they be part of a family as devoted moms. In fact, Noÿs is depicted as a recent arrival in Eternity from the 482nd century, where she lived alone as a single woman and where the custom was that men and women routinely have casual sexual relationships, purely for pleasure. If a woman wants to be a mother, she can simply pass an egg cell on to the local Ovarium and have a baby manufactured for her.

Thus, when Harlan first lays his eyes on Noÿs, he is stunned. She is dressed as a woman of the 482nd century, "which meant transparent sheathing above the waste and flimsy, knee-length trousers below that hinted delicately at gluteal curves." Harlan can't keep his eyes off of her.

The End of Eternity
Unable to quell his fired-up emotions, Harlan flies into a rage directed at Finge. The idea that Finge might need Noÿs as his "secretary" strikes Harlan as absurd. Eternity has sophisticated recording devices and advanced computers. Harlan suspects that Finge has brought Noÿs into Eternity from the 482nd simply to be his mistress. Also, according to the customs of Eternity, under the rare conditions when an Eternal is granted permission to have a sexual "liaison", the relationship is expected to be conducted with discretion and not flaunted before the majority of Eternals who are supposed to be so busy with their work that they don't have time to think about sex.

For the poor suffering Harlan, things go from bad to worse. Noÿs tries to casually chat with him in a hallway, but he is so flustered by her, all he can do is hurry on past. Finally, Harlan must go with Noÿs into Time on an Observation mission and live with her in her house in the 482nd century. For a while, Harlan tries to ignore Noÿs and just do his job of collecting observations on the society of the 482nd century, but soon enough he ends up in bed with Noÿs. Later, Andrew is embarrassed to learn that women of the 482nd think that they can attain eternal life by having sex with an Eternal.

What Harlan does not realize until the end of the novel is that Noÿs is not really a woman from the 482nd century. She is a secret agent from 10,000,000 years in the future who has been sent back through time on a mission that is designed to destroy Eternity and remove time travel technology from Earth. At the end of the book, Noÿs explains to Harlan that the mere existence of Eternity is bad for Humanity, leading to a future in which humans never travel to the stars and the human species eventually dies out on Earth.
Asterothrope hermaphrodite (left)
and Asterothrope female (right).

Role Reversal
In Western literature, there is a long history of stories about fringe societies where men are excluded and women play all roles including that of warrior (see Amazons). For the Exode Trilogy, I imagine that Noÿs was actually not a human being. By 10,000,000 years in the future, R. Gohrlay had brought into existence another type of primate: the Asterothrope. Biologically, the Asterothropes were either females or hermaphrodites. The structure of Asterothrope society and the details of their reproductive biology are only hinted at in the Exode Trilogy, but the basic idea is that the Asterothropes were designed to allow for rapid population growth on newly colonized worlds.

In the Exodemic Fictional Universe, the Huaoshy long ago evolved from biological organisms, but then they re-engineered themselves as artificial life forms. The pek were programmed and sent out into the universe on a mission to find planets like Earth and preserve them as "garden worlds". The pek are always watching and waiting for the development of technologically advances creatures like we humans. In the Exode Trilogy, the human species was almost driven to extinction and replaced by an hermaphroditic primate variant (Prelands) that was designed, crafted and planted on Earth by the pek.

Grean the hermaphroditic Kac'hin.
For the pek, their engineering of hermaphroditic primates is part of their effort to prevent over-population of Earth. The main goal of the pek is develop a type of primate that will quickly abandon its biological existence and willingly be transformed into an artificial life form that transcends its physical existence in the Hadronic Domain and takes up residence within the Sedronic Domain.

In Exode, Parthney lives among the hermaphroditic Buld on the planet Hemmal in the Galactic Core. Later, his grandson, Izhiun, grows up on the planet Luk'ru in the Andromeda galaxy. The residents of Luk'ru are descendants of the Kac'hin. In the Exode Trilogy, the Kac'hin were originally created for a special purpose and then they end up playing three different important roles in the story:

Lili the Kac'hin on Earth.
1) The Kach'in (particularly Lili) are used to help merge special Asterothrope gene combinations into the human population of Earth.

2) The Kac'hin (particularly Grean) are used as a special tool by the Huaoshy to make possible an end to R. Gohrlay's positronic robot insurrection on Earth.

3) The prototypical Kac'hin, Kach, is used as the means to provide Earthlings with an understanding of Genesaunt civilization.

Both Lili and Kach are Kac'hin females. Grean is a Kac'hin hermaphrodite. Anatomically, the Kac'hin females and hermaphrodites are difficult to distinguish based on their external physical features. Upon casual inspection, both the Kac'hin females and the hermaphrodites are similar physically to human females. However, both the Kac'hin females and the hermaphrodites have no external genitalia, only an anatomically simple genital groove.

Grean (source)
Sexually active Kac'hin have conscious control of a set of skeletal muscles that can either open the posterior part of the genital groove and allow access to the two Kac'hin vaginas or, alternatively, open the anterior part of the genital groove and allow the Kac'hin penis to become erect and emerge from its recessed socket inside the groove.

The Kac'hin do not have an alimentary canal that connects from the mouth to the anus. The Kac'hin are dependent on "feeding nanites" that shuttle nutrient molecules into their crop and remove waste molecules from the Kac'hin body. Instead of an anus, the Kac'hin have a second vaginal canal. In Kac'hin females, both Kac'hin vaginas provide access to the uterus and two Fallopian tubes.

Artist's depiction of a resident of Luk'ru.
Hermaphroditic Kac'hin only have one Fallopian tube and one ovary. Their second gonad develops as an organ for the delivery of egg-like gametes through the Kac'hin penis to the external environment by ejaculation. For the Kac'hin, reproduction in the absence of technological assistance is almost impossible since so few gametes are produced. The Kac'hin of the Galactic Core reproduce by in vitro fertilization.

The people of Luk'ru reproduce in the absence of any advanced technologies being available to support in vitro fertilization, but as long-lived individuals who are kept healthy by "medical nanites", babies are very rare and the population of planet Luk'ru is in no danger of exploding.

Trysta: artist's depiction #1.
The original Kac'hin and the people of Luk'ru have facial features that are very similar to those of human females on Earth. In contrast, the Kac'hin of the Galactic Core (on planets such as Tar'tron) have long experimented with alteration to their bodily features. However, since the Kac'hin from the Galactic Core (such as Grean) who have visited Earth can control their physical appearance using facial modification nanites, it is not clear what a "typical Kac'hin" looks like or even if the concept "typical Kac'hin" is useful.

Trysta: artist's depiction #2 (source).
Similarly, it is difficult for we Earthlings to know what a "typical Asterothrope" might have looked like. Trysta was modified from the conventional Asterothrope body form so as to conform to the physical features of humans on Earth.

Even Thomas, Trysta's son, was uncertain about his mother's true appearance since she used facial nanites to alter her appearance. Over the past few years, I have used several different human models to depict Trysta in illustrations; none of these should be taken as providing a true representation of her physical features.

Most recently, I have been getting Gohrlay's perspective on many puzzling questions that remain concerning the secret history of Earth. Gohrlay refuses to comment on the question of her own true physical form and the extent to which she uses nanites to disguise herself. I get the feeling that Gohrlay long ago lost interest in mundane matters such as physical appearances.

The Man
Gohrlay and I spend much time discussing the differences between the world as we know it and the past Realities of our Reality Chain. I annoy her by asking questions like, "Did you look different in the Ekcolir Reality?"  and "What kind of science fiction stories did Asimov write in the Asimov Reality?" Most of the time Gohrlay never really answers my questions, but she does usually move our conversations in the direction of other topics that she thinks I should be more concerned about.

I've previously described some of the differences between the science fiction genre in our universe and in the Ekcolir Reality. Gohrlay claims that an extensive effort was made in the Ekcolir Reality to inform the people of Earth about the important role played by hermaphrodites in Genesaunt Civilization in general and the secret history of Earth in particular.

Tryst and Ekcolir
According to Gohrlay, there is an important connection between science fiction and certain gene combinations that are found in hermaphroditic primates such as Grean. When Grean started experimenting with ways to allow science fiction story writers to tell the secret history of Earth, "she" found that her ability to feed information to science fiction authors by way of the Bimanoid Interface was greatly facilitated by special gene combinations that are present in hermaphrodites like herself. Apparently, this "hermaphroditic fit" to the Bimanoid Interface is why the Huaoshy used Grean as their main "tool" and "interface" with humans during negotiation of the Trysta-Grean Pact.

According to Gohrlay, in order to quickly "produce" a large number of science fiction authors who could be influenced in their writing by way of the Bimanoid Interface, Grean used a virus to spread special "hermaphroditic gene combinations" through the human population of Earth.

1972 cover art by Dean Ellis.
Viruses play a special role in stories that are set in the Exodemic Fictional Universe. In Exodemic, I imagined that one stray virus could alter all of human history.

HIV has played a special role in shaping events as told in Trysta and Ekcolir and Exode.

According to Gohrlay, the 1918 influenza epidemic is the "analogue" in our Reality of a "trick" that Grean used to "amplify science fiction" in an Earlier Reality. If I understand this correctly,  Grean used a genetically engineered orthomyxovirus to insert a special "hermaphroditic gene combination" into the human population  of Earth. The result? Many science fiction authors became "susceptible" to having their story writing be guided by replicoids in the Hierion Domain.

in the Ekcolir Reality
I asked Gohrlay for a specific example and she gave me several. Grean's viral intervention allowed science fiction writers like Asimov and David McIlwain to be guided towards writing certain types of stories.

I don't think I've read anything that was written by David McIlwain. He published science fiction novels such as Alph, writing under the name Charles Eric Maine. According to Gohrlay, in the Ekcolir Reality there was an series of novels by McIlwain that quite accurately described the Kac'hin and, particularly, their ability to efficiently use the Bimanoid Interface. These stories were all set in the Galactic Core and extensively documented Kac'hin culture in which there were originally no males, but then a project developed with the objective being to create a man named Ekcolir.

original cover art by Reina Mary Sington
According to Gohrlay, a major science fiction author in the Ekcolir Reality was Reina Mary Sington. Reina wrote extensively about how viruses, replicoids and the Kac'hin were being used to prepare Earth for the Final Reality. Sington was particularly good at using the Bimanoid Interface and she had contact with many science fiction writers who were "recruited into the   "The Writer's Block".

original cover art by Reina Mary Sington
When I expressed skepticism that an RNA virus would be used to insert genes into humans, Gohrlay mentioned that my own biological origins are also linked to an "echo" of Grean's use of a flu virus to quickly insert genes into the human population of Earth.

According to Gohrlay, a member of my own family died in the 1918 flu epidemic. Sadly, she refuses to tell me how that led to my being "inserted" into the Final Reality and positioned as the Editor.

Next: more science fiction novels from Deep Time.
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