Aug 27, 2016


In the Ekcolir Reality
original cover art by Joseph Bergeron
and Oscar Chichoni
"Many people will be disturbed and distracted!"

cover art by Gino D'Achille
In Part III of The Face, Jack Vance told us about the origins of the Methlen, the apparent owners of planet Methel, third planet of the Corrane star system. The Methlen originated on the distant planet Stanislas as members in an exclusive club: Aretioi.

We never learn much about the Aretioi, but when they settled on Methel, they left most of the planet as a wilderness reserve.

In the Ekcolir Reality
I like to imagine that Vance once visited some delightful location along the Stanislaus river that inspired him to invent the nature-loving Aretioi of Zangelberg.

The most built-up part of Methel is near to the spaceport of Twanish. Not far out of town, twenty thousand Methlen reside in the wooded upland of Llalarkno where they have built their comfortable homes, each on a large garden-like plot of land.

Llalarkno and its residents, particularly the charming Jerdian Chanseth, greatly distract Kirth Gersen from his work. Gersen came to the Coranne star system in an attempt to hunt down and murder the Demon Prince Lens Larque, born Husse Bugold, a Darsh of the Bugold Clan on Dar Sai.

Part II of The Face takes place on Dar Sai, second planet of the Corrane system, a miserably hot and sandy world that only attracts human residents because of the presence of rare chemical elements. The residents of Dar Sai have evolved into the Darsh, whose main vocation is mining. The Methlen have grown wealthy by exploiting the Darsh laborers.

While on Dar Sai, Gersen meets Jerdian and they fall in love. Jerdian must watch in horrified fascination while Gersen kills Lens Larque's assistant, Bel Ruk. This hand-to-hand combat scene was depicted by Gino D'Achille for the cover illustration of The Face, shown above.

Gersen discovers that Lens Larque is on Methel, so he travels from Dar Sai to Twanish. Gersen tells himself that he should forget about Jerdian and devote his full attention to finding and killing Lens Larque, but he soon crosses paths with her on Methel.

Jerdian is still infatuated with Kirth, but she also knows that it makes no sense for her to try to sustain a romance with Gersen. The Methlen are a breed apart who seldom, if ever, welcome new members into their exclusive society.

Gersen discovers the odd connection that exists between Lens Larque and the Chanseth family. Lens Larque, previously denied permission to live in Llalarkno, has been devoting vast effort and substantial amounts of cash to a complex prank that will allow him to take revenge for his thwarted effort in social climbing. By the end of The Face, Gersen comes to share Lens Larque's motivation for the prank. Gersen manages to survive the powerful distraction provided by Jerdian and then, after killing Lens Larque, Gersen completes the last step in the elaborate prank.

by Ivory Fersoni
This summer I have been trying to deal successfully with my own distractions. During the past few years I've been tugged in several different directions by my collaborators Ivory, Trysta and Gohrlay. I was probably most distracted by my collaborators within the Dead Widowers when I allowed myself to believe that they would be allowed to share with me actual physical evidence of alien visitors on Earth.

The most annoying influence of my collaborators has been the way they have repeatedly changed my thinking about how best to tell the Exode story. I've finally come to the realization that their manipulation of my attitudes and beliefs is an integral part of that story.

There are at least two different versions of the Secret History of Humanity. Those competing versions have been revealed to me by the factions that I think of as the Interventionists and the Overseers. At some deeper level, further removed from my personal experience, these two competing factions can be traced to two political wings of the Huaoshy: the pek and bumpha.

Lately I've been asking myself if there is a good reason for me to favor one or the other of these two factions. Also, I must wonder if there are more than just these two different directions I might go while telling the Exode saga. In particular, is there a uniquely human perspective on human history that is more important than the views of either the pek or the bumpha?

Who Are We?
the planet Tar'tron
Exactly who are we Earthlings and how did we get here? According to Gohrlay, we humans have an interesting evolutionary history. Our species apparently evolved on both Earth and the planet Tar'tron in the Galactic Core.

By maintaining a constant high rate of gene flow between Earth and Tar'tron, the Grendels were able to make sure that their little science project at Observer Base was technically within the allowable bounds imposed by the Rules of Intervention.

In the Asimov Reality, two human variants were carefully crafted. One, devised by Interventionist forces, was a "proof of concept" for the type of "new human" that Trysta and Ekcolir could bring into existence by traveling into Earth's past. Gohrlay suspects that it was also in the Asimov Reality that Grean helped to bring into existence the tryp'At, a human variant that would be "loyal" to the Huaoshy.

Final Politics
I put "loyal" in quotes because I suspect that whatever loyalty the tryp'At have shown in support the goals of the Huoashy arises from some sort of unavoidable compulsion that is forced upon the tryp'At via the Bimanoid Interface.

Ever since I learned that I am tryp'At, I have feared that I have no real control over my own participation in the telling of the Secret History of Humanity.

The Final Collaborator
I've struggled to move past my guilt over the death of Ivory Fersoni. In some sense, Ivory sacrificed herself so that I could begin to understand who I am and why I was given the task of telling the Exode saga. I now feel guilt because I was happy to use Ivory and her sisters as a means to an end.

When Jack Vance wrote stories, he crafted them around particular "moods" that he strove to convey with his words. In The Face, Gersen was changing from a narrow-minded monomaniac into a man who could rationally contemplate the shape of his life as it would be in future times after he had destroyed the five Demon Princes. When he was younger and not very experienced with women, Kirth had effortlessly moved on with his life after meeting and romancing other women, but the seductive "mood" of Llalarkno penetrated to his soul and could never be shrugged off by Gersen.

in the Ekcolir Reality
In my own case, I've never allowed myself to believe that the end of my investigations of Earth's hidden past was within sight. Gersen eventually found a collaborator (Alice Wroke) who, like him, had a personal reason for destroying the final Demon Prince, but by the time he attained that goal, Gersen had discovered a deeper meaning and significance to his life.

Alice Wroke at Blue Forest Camp
I like to imagine that Gersen had begun to understand that there was a mysterious effort underway to shape and modify human nature. The Demon Princes were little more than pawns in a much larger game, a game that continued far into the future ages when folks like Ghyl and Glinnes lived.

I must wonder if all of my collaborators so far have really only been "distractions". Maybe I have not yet met my Final Collaborator, my "Alice".

Next: Celebrating the birthday of Jack Vance.
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