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Dec 31, 2016

Hierion Femtotubes

Original cover art by Howard Brown;
Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1939
and Astounding Stories, September 1934.
I've been investigating the idea that Nivsaham is a nanoscopic artificial life form, well suited for tasks such as infiltrating Observer Base and spying on the tryp'At Council.

I've previously blogged about Hierion Tubes. If "Doc" Smith could play with hyper-spatial tubes then so can I. I originally imagined that a Hierion Tube allowed people to move between the Hadronic Domain (the world as we know it) and the Hierion Domain. Such Tubes are useful when characters in the Exode Saga need to go to and from "places" inside the Hierion Domain (such as Grean's workshop, Eternity, Observer Base and the Writers Block) and Earth.

For A Search Beyond, a lurking mystery concerns the connections between "places" such as Observer Base and the Writers Block.

In the Ekcolir Reality.
Original cover art by Howard Brown;
see Astounding Stories, March 1936
According to Zeta, it is possible to create Hierion Tubes that link "places" such as Grean's Workshop and Eternity, but it is also possible to create new "places" within the Hierion Domain and keep their "address" secret. For example, the tryp'At Overseers were able to use their "tracking nanites" to discover the "location" of the Writers Block. Ever since that discovery by the tryp'At, Irhit has been pestering the Dead Widowers while they try to work inside the Writers Block.

In the Ekcolir Reality.
Original cover art by Howard Brown;
see Thrilling Wonder Stories,
October 1940 and August 1940
The image to the left is a whimsical depiction of a single Hierion Tube. In some sense, things only really get interesting in the Hierion Domain when there is a network of Hierion Tubes. Before the Golden Age of science fiction, folks like Hafren Wells could content themselves to write stories about travel through a single Hierion Tube. Only later did the concept of a hierion tube network arise among select Earthlings.

Femtotubes
Previously, Zeta mentioned the idea of "picohieronics", and that is her preferred term for nanoscopic artificial life forms. Apparently tiny life forms such as Nivsaham are able to move freely from place to place in the Hierion Domain using 'femtotubes', a very narrow type of Hierion Tube. The poor tryp'At Overseers cannot detect femtotubes or Nivsaham.

The start of 2016.
Yōd believes that femtotubes were an invention of the Huaoshy. In fact, she suspects that it was only by using femtotubes that Grean was able to penetrate Eternity and "defeat" R. Gohrlay.

However, Zeta argues R. Gohrlay was the original inventor of femtotube technology and not only did she allow Eternity to be captured, but she made use of her own femtotubes to "disappear" and to personally escape capture by Grean. According to Zeta, only later did Grean even realize that femtotubes were a theoretical possibility. Zeta believes that femtotube technology is one of the technological advances that was made by positronic robots and never understood or replicated by the Kac'hin.

cover art by Edmund Emshwiller
Upon hearing Zeta's theory, Yōd simply shrugged and said, "There is a big difference between the Huaoshy and the Kac'hin. Under the terms of the Trysta-Grean Pact, the Kac'hin were not permitted to have access to femtotubes." According to Yōd, that technology restriction was intended to keep Interventionist Kac'hin such as Lili from being able to penetrate the various sub-sections of Eternity. As told in A Search Beyond, Lili was able to find a way around that restriction.

Next: special cover art for the New Year: 2017.

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