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Nov 1, 2015

Star Sickness

In the Ekcolir Reality
cover art by John Berkey
Today I happened to mention (OK, it was more of a rant than a mention) to Gohrlay my opinion of Star Wars and so she told me about the analogue of Star Wars in the Ekcolir Reality. Apparently when George Lucas tried to have a science fiction author write a novel based on his movie's screenplay, nobody in the industry would sign on for the job. However, years later a kind of parody of the film surfaced and circulated among science fiction fans: The Star Sickness.

The science fiction genre never became a significant part of popular culture in the Ekcolir Reality. After a few money-losing efforts at science fiction film making, Hollywood abandoned science fiction. There was one long-lasting science fiction television network, but its low number of watchers was a good measure of the fringe nature of the genre.

Archive Worlds
In the Ekcolir Reality
original cover art by John Berkey
In my previous blog post I mentioned the archive world Taivasila, a rogue planet where Gohrlay lived an artificial life. According to Gohrlay, there was a long series of novels in the Ekcolir Reality that gave fictionalized accounts of Gohrlay's many lives, both the biological ones and the artificial ones.

The analogue of Cordwainer Smith in the Ekcolir Reality was a woman named Cornelia Linebarger who published science fiction under many names including Corey Smith. Her novel Norstrilia was part of the Taivasila Trilogy and it explored the apparent immortality of Gohrlay. According to Gohrlay, that trilogy was: "about 0.01% fact and 99.99% fantasy".

In the Ekcolir Reality
original cover art by John Berkey
Set in the same fictional universe, Secret of the Sunless World by Carroll Capps, was an account of Gohrlay's effort to return to Earth from her "exile" as an artificial life form. Gohrlay herself dismisses that story as, "a complete fabrication, but entertaining."

As told by Capps, apparently the "secret" was that Gohrlay could, at any time, escape from being an "archived mind" and return to her roots as a biological life form.

In the Ekcolir Reality
click to enlarge the image
original cover art by John Berkey
Given Gohrlay's disdain for many of the stories that were written about her life (or, her lives), I asked her if any fairly accurate accounts of her life were ever written in the Ekcolir Reality. According to Gohrlay, the analogue of Gregory Benford in the Ekcolir Reality was a woman named Grace Benford, who often published her science fiction under the name Gracy Benford.

Apparently The Stars Are Gods was heavily based on the Secret History of Earth. In the Ekcolir Reality, "First Contact" involved the arrival of a Fru'wu spaceship on Earth. The Fru'wu brought to Earth their understanding of how alien zeptites had long ago been integrated into every planet of the galaxy by the pek.

In the Ekcolir Reality
click to enlarge the image
original cover art by John Berkey
Gohrlay had her own role in humanity's initial interactions with the Fru'wu and was able to provide Earthly astronomers with clues for how to verify the Fru'wu claim that zeptite-based artificial life forms can live happily in stars like our Sun. According to Gohrlay, she knew Grace Benford and was able to make sure that her account of "First Contact" and Gohrlay's role during that meshing of cultures was accurate. Of course, when The Stars Are Gods was written, the "First Contact" event was still in the future. Gohrlay's largest complaint about the book was that the imagined biology of the Fru'wu was not a reflection of reality. I put "First Contact" in quotes, because when the Fru'wu arrived on Earth, space aliens had already long resided here.

In the Ekcolir Reality
original cover art by John Berkey
According to Gohrlay, another example of science fiction written in the Ekcolir Reality which was made possible by time travel was the Hierion Trilogy by Corey Smith. The second book in that saga, Spacetown Ladies, involved Gohrlay's grandchildren and their adventures on one of the space colonies that was built in Earth orbit. When I pressed Gohrlay for details she refused to provide any. Apparently my replicoid is currently controlled by my analogue from the Ekcolir Reality, Irhit, who was also a character in Spacetown Ladies. According to Gohrlay, I'm not allowed to know any details about Irhit's life in the future of the Ekcolir Reality.

ancient astronauts
After weathering my attempts to get information about Irhit out of Gohrlay, she changed the subject and mentioned one more prolific author of stories set in the "Taivasila Fictional Universe". According to Gohrlay, the analogue of James White in the Ekcolir Reality was Jaimy White, who wrote a large number of novels about the struggle of humans to adapt to life in orbital space stations.

Apparently there was a strong suspicion that Jaimy also wrote The Star Sickness.

Next: an experiment in fantasy and science fiction.

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