Apr 21, 2016

The Hugos

science fiction in Deep Time
In the Exode Trilogy, the science fiction genre itself is a major part of the story. How did that happen? I have two answers to that question.

My first answer is rather boring. When I wrote Isaac Asimov into one of my stories, I imagined that he had a "close encounter" with aliens. This life-altering event for Asimov occurred in Deep Time. Within the Exodemic Fictional Universe, "Deep Time" has a special meaning: it does not mean "long ago". Instead, events in "Deep Time" are events that took place in a previous Reality. And "Reality" means what Asimov intended it to mean within his time travel novel, The End of Eternity.

original cover art by Hubert Rogers
In The End of Eternity, all of the action takes place in the Mallansohn Reality, a Reality named after Vikkor Mallansohn. Here is how Asimov summarized the life of Vikkor Mallansohn: "He was born in the 78th, spent some time in Eternity and died in the 24th." Here, "78th" and "24th" refer to the 78th and 24th centuries. Vikkor Mallansohn was sent back through time to the 24th century in order to bring into existence Eternity. "Eternity" is the name of the time travel device that Asimov invented for The End of Eternity.

In The End of Eternity, "Eternity" is not simply a time machine, it is a constructed space/time bubble, a kind of parallel universe where the Eternals can reside and plan changes to Time without fear that those changes will erase or alter the Eternals themselves.

our Reality Chain
At the end of Asimov's novel, Eternity itself has been erased from existence, ending the Mallansohn Reality and initiating a new Reality, what I think of as the Foundation Reality. Within the Foundation Reality, Asimov had contact with aliens who were trying to end the Time War. In that Reality, Asimov was a pioneer of the new journalistic genre of investigative science writing.

With the help of aliens, Asimov became a time traveler and helped engineer another Reality Change that ended the Foundation Reality. In the next Reality, the time-traveling Asimov was able to mentor his younger self and boost his own career as a science fiction story writer. In that new Reality, the Asimov Reality, Earth suffered a devastating nuclear war.

A Second Answer
In the next Reality, nuclear war was avoided, but Earth went through global warming and catastrophic sea level rise. Within the Ekcolir Reality, the science fiction genre was used as a means to prepare the people of Earth for contact with aliens (the Fru'wu). At first, that contact seemed to provide the advanced technology that was needed to help Earth avoid global warming, but then everything backfired and the Antarctic ice cap was melted anyhow.

In the Ekcolir Reality, the science fiction genre developed along a slightly different track compared to what happened in our Reality (the Buld Reality). In the Ekcolir Reality, Helen Gernsback was an influential science fiction author who helped prepare the people of Earth to understand the role of artificial life forms in shaping the secret history of Earth.

Two Hugos
Gohrlay has been revealing to me some of the differences between science fiction in the Ekcolir Reality and science fiction as we know it here in the Final Reality. In the Ekcolir Reality, Hugo Gernsback was a major force for innovation within the science fiction genre. He started a science fiction television network (Imagination Science) and helped engineer many successful scientific collaborations such as that between Isaac Asimov and Phil Farmer.

According to Gohrlay, just as there were "two copies" of Asimov in the Asimov Reality, there were two copies of Hugo Gernsback working together in the Ekcolir Reality to shape and guide development of the science fiction genre. The "second copy" of Hugo in the Ekcolir Reality was known as Sidney Gernsback, Hugo's brother.

mathematics from Deep Time
The man known as "Sidney Gernsback" in the Ekcolir Reality was actually an artificial life replicoid of Hugo who had originated in the Asimov Reality. Sidney played an important role in developing hierion physics in the 20th century of the Ekcolir Reality in advance of contact with the Fru'wu.

When the Time War was finally ended, the Trysta-Grean Pact was built around the idea that in the Final Reality, the science fiction genre had to be altered. Unlike the Ekcolir Reality, in the Buld Reality there would be no tight coupling between the scientific reality of alien technology and the stories told by science fiction authors. Instead, science fiction would play the role of a "safety valve" by which true stories about alien visitors and the secret history of Earth would be viewed by casual readers as fiction. This would allow a few select individuals such as The Editor to be tricked into staying on Earth.

Next: 7 years, 7 collaborators
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