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Dec 10, 2016

Nanomégas

original art work by Virgil Finlay
Today I was discussing the next chapter of A Search Beyond with my collaborators Yōd and Zeta. A fundamental problem in telling the story is that there are multiple "copies" of the major characters. The bumbling tryp'At Overseers who reside at Observer Base are tricked into thinking that they have foiled a major Interventionist plot on Earth, but in reality, they are being out-foxed by adversaries who they don't even know are on the playing field.

The Overseers have captured and imprisoned "the" replicoid of Isaac Asimov and a "woman" who they know as Mahasvin, a member of the outlawed Dead Widower Society. However, "the" replicoid of Isaac Asimov who is inside Observer Base (in Chapter 3) is not the same individual who was brought to Earth by Many Sails in Chapter 1. The Overseers have been tricked!

Nivsaham
Mahasvin
At the beginning of Chapter 4, "the" Asimov replicoid at Observer Base meets the copy of Mahasvin who brought an Asimov replicoid to Earth in Chapter 1. This copy of Mahasvin is an "appendage" of Many Sails and "her" body is composed of zeptites; ultra-small components that can assemble and form a humanoid body that the hapless Overseers are incapable of distinguishing from a true biological human body.

The Qaz Nanotropy
Mahasvin and "the" Asimov replicoid assume that they are under observation by the Overseers, so they are both quite careful to play their roles, pretending to be the other people who the Overseers believe them to be: 1) the Asimov replicoid from the Buld Reality and 2) the human being named "Mahasvin".

When taken to Observer Base by Overseer Sachiz (at the end of Chapter 1), Mahasvin was questioned about her presence on Earth. She told the Overseers that she had gone "back to Earth" while trying to convince "the" Asimov replicoid that unseen aliens had been secretly visiting Earth.

replicoids
The Overseers are amused to have as their guest prisoner an Asimov replicoid who seems skeptical about the existence of space aliens. They try to convince "the" Asimov replicoid of the existence of aliens by showing him a copy of a book from the Ekcolir Reality that is called The Qaz Nanotropy.

While playing their two roles, Mahasvin "explains" to Asimov (and the readers) what the Overseers believe is going on. When the Overseers decide that "the" Asimov replicoid has had enough time to read The Qaz Nanotropy, they interrogate Asimov, seeking information about the Retrofuturians (who the Overseers view as the chief trouble-makers now plaguing Earth).

Eventually "the" Asimov replicoid convinces the Overseers that he knows nothing about either the Dead Widowers or the Retrofuturians because he has been away from Earth for the past 25 years. This revelation from Asimov sets off a panic among the Overseers who worry that Genesaunts might be returning to Earth, which if true might mean an end to their "control" of Observer Base. The Overseers vow to hold Mahasvin under close observation, suspecting that she might be a Genesaunt spy. However, they offer "the" Asimov replicoid a chance to spy for them and infiltrate the Retrofuturians.

Hierion Domain
Asimov and Mahasvin are then "left alone" and they discuss the idea that Asimov might become a spy for the Overseers. At this point, they "meet" Nivsaham. Nivsaham is a nanoscopic "copy" of the "original" Mahasvin (actually a Selfie). Asimov, Nivsaham (who is invisible to the Overseers) and Mahasvin carry on a conversation which confuses the Overseers who can't hear Nivsaham's side of the conversation (which is delivered directly to Asimov and Mahasvin by technology-assisted telepathy). The Overseers believe that Asimov and Mahasvin are using the Bimanoid Interface to speak to a Genesaunt in the Hierion Domain. Nivsaham suggests to Asimov and Mahasvin that they should both stay at Observer Base and keep the Overseers "entertained" (confused).

Now, suspecting that both of their "guests" (Asimov and Mahasvin) might be functioning as Genesaunt spys, the Overseers decide to keep them both as prisoners at Observer Base.

Micromégas
The C-Laser
In 1752 the story Micromégas was published. In that story, a gigantic alien being visits Earth. I called this blog post "Nanomégas" because Chapter 4 of A Search Beyond introduces the nanoscopic artificial life form known as Nivsaham.

Yōd and Zeta and I each have different ideas about how to write Nivsaham into A Search Beyond. Unlike my two collaborators, I prefer a rather literal acceptance of the suggestion that Nivsaham is a nanoscopic life form.

In the Ekcolir Reality. Original
cover art by Edmund Emshwiller
Yōd would prefer that the very tiny size of Nivsaham be used as yet another way to trick the Overseers. When it comes time to "spring" Asimov and Mahasvin from Observer Base, the nanoscopic Nivsaham could be revealed to the Overseers, allowing them to abandon their belief that Asimov and Mahasvin have been using the Bimanoid Interface.

Zeta believes that it is not useful to even hint at the physical nature of Nivsaham, rather, that could be left as a mystery.

Next: into the Asimov Reality
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