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Nov 6, 2016

Whiff of Life

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Isaac Asimov's mystery story, A Whiff of Death, is an example of what some might call "lab lit", a story built around a realistic portrayal of scientists and their day jobs. In my previous blog post, I used the related term "scientific novel" to hint at the direction my thoughts have been taking me while planning the structure of A Search Beyond.

Backstory
Isaac Asimov died in 1992. A Search Beyond begins in 2017 with the return of Asimov to Earth. For readers of the story, there is the unavoidable mystery of how it is possible that Asimov is still going strong after his demise. The solution to that little mystery is simple: Asimov is now an artificial life form (a replicoid) that carries all of Asimov's memories that the biological Asimov accumulated while living on Earth.

A Search Beyond (image credits)
The second mystery that is quickly put on the plate of readers concerns the alien creature who Asimov is consorting with: Many Sails. As a character in A Search Beyond, Many Sails has a dual nature. Many Sails is a sentient spaceship, but she is able to manufacture "appendages" that are indistinguishable from humans. At the beginning of A Search Beyond, Asimov and Mahasvin (an appendage) are about to embark on an adventure that will take them to Earth.

For the past 25 years, Asimov's replicoid has been exploring Genesaunt society, which exists widely spread out through space on various worlds of the Galactic Core and other nearby galaxies. We Earthlings like to think of the human species as something that evolved on Earth, but Asimov has learned that many features of the human body can only be explained by the artificial selection techniques that were employed on planets such as Yrwerd and Tar'tron.

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Now, Mahasvin is about to immerse Asimov in a new mystery that will take readers along for a ride into Deep Time. When Asimov arrives on Earth in 2017, he visits New York City and one of the libraries that he new well during his first life as a biological entity. Asimov is intrigued by the internet and his internet searches quickly attract the attention of tryp'At Overseers.

Asimov is surprised to learn that Mahasvin is known to the tryp'At as being a member of the Dead Widowers. Asimov and Mahasvin are removed from Earth by the Overseers, but Asimov finds himself in the Hierion Domain where he meets a "copy" of himself. That "copy" is the replicoid of the Asimov analogue from the Ekcolir Reality, who (for convenience) I'll refer to as "A2". While visiting Earth, Mahasvin intentionally used the bodily form of a former resident of Earth in order to trigger a stereotypical response from the tryp'At Council and to help hide her true identity.

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A2 provides Asimov with information about events on Earth that have occurred since Asimov's death. During discussions of the Dead Widowers, Asimov learns about the special role of The Editor as an investigator of events in Deep Time. Asimov learns that the Editor is genetically a tryp'At and able to use the Bimanoid Interface.

The Asimov and A2 replicoids figure out a way to get past the Bimanoid Interface block that Irhit had imposed on the Editor. With the help of information provided by Asimov and A2, the Editor is able to complete the task of writing A Search Beyond and tell the story of how the tryp'At came into existence.

The League of Yrinna
The telling of that story must include The League of Yrinna, but soon the "two Asimov's"  reveal to the Editor some secrets about Deep Time that the tryp'At Overseers cannot allow Earthlings to know about. The Editor is given a choice: either leave Earth, of have his memories edited.

The Editor knows of other Earthlings (such as Hana and Ivory) who elected to depart from Earth, but he decides to stay and work within the restrictions imposed by the Overseers.

Another "appendage" of Many Sails is revealed to have been living as an acquaintance of the Editor, helping put together the Exode Saga. Many Sails departs from Earth, taking along the Asimov replicoids, leaving the Editor to continue his work exploring Deep Time and writing the rest of the Exode saga.

The Dead Widower Society
Whiff of Life
One of my goals for A Search Beyond is to include a kind of inverted mystery story. Rather than have a traditional mystery story plot that involves a murder, I want to have a mystery that involves the creation of life. Two years ago I devised a way to incarnate a fictional character from a story that was written in Deep Time.  Cecilie was "intantiated" as a human being living on Earth here in the Final Reality.

Last year I learned some of the backstory for Cecilie and how she came to be a member of the Dead Widowers. "The Dead Widower Society" is a 20,000 word story that can become part of A Search Beyond. Since "The Dead Widower Society" is told by Thomas Iwedon, and it will also introduce readers of the Exode saga to the idea of Interventionists (such as the mother of Thomas, Trysta) living and working on Earth.

solving the Cecilie mystery
Originally, I set the story of "The Dead Widower Society" in the year 2012, but I can easily have the story be "discovered" in 2017 when Asimov and Mahasvin arrive on Earth. In that story, Thomas meets the replicoid of Isaac Asimov (A2) who is on a special mission designed to help remove an alien (known as the "Arlesheim Elf") from Earth.

Lab Lit
I want to have Mahasvin deploy the replicoid of Asimov on Earth as a kind of sleuth who must solve the mystery of how Cecilie was brought to life and along the way he can stumble upon the mystery of Thomas' unusual genetic endowment. I want to make use of Asimov's training as a scientist, even if the story does not take place in a laboratory. Previously, I've written Ivory Fersoni into the Exode Saga. Ivory was trained as a molecular biologists. To aid in Asimov's investigation of tryp'At origins in Deep Time I might need to make use of Ivory's replicoid to help being Asimov up to speed with 21st century biology techniques.

Next: catching up with Westworld

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