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Sep 17, 2016

100x

In the Ekcolir Reality.
original cover art by Earle Bergey
and Rudolph Belarski
This is my 100th blog post of the year. Since I like to celebrate arbitrary numerical milestones, I'm going to take this as an excuse to continue my celebration of the first 100 years of the Vance Era.


As this current year moves towards its end, I'm also making preparations for 2017 and the 25th anniversary of the death of Isaac Asimov.

The subject of this blog post is a sparkling eclipse; the interface between Asimov's adventures in Deep Time and what Vance wrote about them in our previous Reality.

Retrofuturians
In the Ekcolir Reality, the replicoid of Asimov organized the Writers Block and made it possible for science fiction writers such as John Vance (an analogue of Jack Vance) to write stories that reflected events in the previous Reality: the Asimov Reality.

In the Ekcolir Reality.
Original cover art by Hannes Bok.
Zeta claims that she also had an analogue in the Ekcolir Reality. That "earlier version" of Zeta had extensive interactions with an "earlier version" of the Dead Widowers who carried out investigations of Deep Time.

According to Zeta, that team of historical investigators in the Ekcolir Reality had a formal name that they had borrowed from Deep Time: the Historical Institute. However, on a day-to-day basis, they usually referred to themselves half jokingly as the Retrofuturians. With our attention focused on Deep Time, soon, Zeta and I were discussing exobiology from the perspective of Ifness, an agent of the Historical Institute.....

Mount Pleasant on the planet Providence
The Historical Institute
I asked Zeta if there was any relationship between "the Institute" as described in the Demon Princes series and the Historical Institute of the Durdane series. She replied, "After Dwyddion took control of the Institute, he called upon Zodiac Control to launch an investigation into the hidden force that was behind Treesong's attempt to take control of the Institute. That investigation led to discovery that the IPX was close to taking control of the production of Intersplit space drive engines by acquiring the Jarnell Corporation.

During the early period of the "Trysta Truce", R. Gohrlay was content to explore ways to adapt humans to the Bimanoid Interface by doing experiments at isolated communities such as Mt. Pleasant. However, Grean had a much more audacious plan. After allowing humans to spread outward from Earth to thousands of nearby exoplanets, Grean wanted to halt further space travel, isolate each settled world and use those worlds as biological laboratories.

In the Ekcolir Reality. Original
cover art by Edward Palfrey.
The Institute had originally been created by R. Gohrlay as a way to find mutant humans who might arise and have an altered interaction with their nanites. The Institute claimed to act so as to put controls on the pace of technological innovation. "Behind the scenes", that control was already efficiently exercised by the zeptite endosymbionts inside each human, but the Institute could function as a "honey trap" to attract mutant humans who became free of zeptite control and who resented the publicized anti-technology goals of the Institute.

When Grean began to put restrictions on human space travel, R. Gohrlay shifted the mission and purpose of the Institute. It evolved into the Historical Institute, which retained a record of every human-settled planet and it deployed a group of agents who monitored those worlds, constantly searching for useful human variants. According to Zeta, R. Gohrlay had the ability to teleport her agents from world to world, so those agents did not need to bother with space ships. During that era, one goal was to create the Ek'col as a human variant that could be used to integrate some particularly useful Asterothrope gene combinations into the human population of Earth.

Roguskhoi. Cover art
by Edward Palfrey
Later, after about 10,000 years, when humans were again allowed to travel outward from Earth, the people of planets such as Durdane were brought back inside a unified human space-faring civilization. Asimov's Durdane Trilogy takes place shortly before members of the Historical Institute such as Ifness were finally able to openly interact with the people of Durdane after a 9,000 year period of that planet's isolation from Earth.

Emphyrio by Jack Vance
Somewhat later, the people of Halma were also "liberated" and fully linked into galactic civilization during the time of the second great outward migration of peoples. Humans of that time colonized more distant parts of the galaxy, including Alastor Cluster.

According to Zeta, the Retrofuturians were able to piece together a fairly coherent account of the genetic engineering and artificial selection steps that led to humans who could use the Bimanoid Interface.

Sci Fi in the Ekcolir Reality
The last steps in the long process of searching the human genomic statespace involved the Pheni and sending some of the finely crafted humans back to the 20th century from the far future of the Asimov Reality.

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