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Jan 19, 2017

Password

cover art: Ken Kelly
I own a copy of the DAW January 1981 printing of The Book of Dreams by Jack Vance. The Book of Dreams is the final book in Vance's five volume Demon Princes series.

cover by Ken Kelly
That DAW paper back has cover art by Kenneth Kelly depicting a scene where the protagonist Kirth Gersen quickly dispatches some of the body guards of Demon Prince Howard Treesong.

One other book with a cover by Kenneth Kelly that I bought was Waves by M. A. Foster. Most of Kelly's cover art was for fantasy books. It would be interesting to know how he came to paint Howard Treesong.

Looking beyond the cover art for that first DAW edition of The Book of Dreams, there is a drawing on page 172. Here is the same drawing as shown in a more recent edition of the book:
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In my copy of the book, the "Secret symbol" is printed up-side-down. That error was lamented by Vance as making the symbol look like a beached whale.

Secret Password
In Chapter 8 of A Search Beyond, the Dead Widowers are making a sustained effort to probe the mysteries of the Asimov Reality in Deep Time. They are frustrated by the fact that someone sabotaged the story database of the Writers Block, making it difficult to discover how information about the Asimov Reality was inserted into science fiction stories that were published in the Ekcolir Reality.

1985 Ken Kelly cover art
Working "behind the scenes", nonoscopic replicoids of Asimov and Vance begin assisting the Dead Widowers. One of these is the replicoid of Vance and he knows the secret meaning of "VLON": Vance Lives ON. That knowledge is one of several missing puzzle pieces: VLON becomes a password that allows Anney to achieve access to the hidden index of Writers Block stories.

Today I learned that there is a mysterious link between Vance and M. A. Foster. According to Zeta, the analogue of M. A. Foster in the Ekcolir Reality was named Mahasvin Foster.

In the Ekcolir Reality. Original
cover art by Brian Froud.
Know Matter
I've previously had fun with the idea that in the Ekcolir Reality the entire science fiction genre was guided by the Writers Block. Replicoids in the Hierion Domain were provided with information about advanced technology that the Fru'wu would soon make available to Earthlings. Using the Bimanoid Interface, those replicoids "put ideas into the heads" of science fiction story writers on Earth.

At the start of the Final Reality (the world as we know it), these kinds of Sci Fi Interventions were still being attempted, but then Grean was tasked with putting an end to the practice. During the Buld Reality, efforts were made to warn the people of Earth about the pending arrival of the Buld. After those attempts were all blocked, I ended up with latent memories of having been warned about the future. Those warnings were only allowed to be active in my conscious mind after the Buld had visited Earth and then departed.

In the Ekcolir Reality. Original
cover art by Michael Whelan.
In the Exode Saga, all of Humanity is engaged in a struggle to convert itself from a disposable species, designed to be replaced by the Prelands, into a life form that can avoid self-destruction and spread among the stars. Under the terms of the Trysta-Grean Pact, a small amount of information has been allowed to "leak" from Deep Time into the Final Reality, but all factual information about previous Realities must take the form of science fiction stories.

The replicoid of the Editor (Irhit) had carefully guided him towards being able to play an important role in releasing information about Deep Time to the people of Earth. Along the way, the Editor has been assisted by a group of collaborators. Currently Zeta and Yōd are the two main collaborators for the Editor. The replicoids of Zeta and Yōd are helping the Dead Widowers hack into the story database that exists inside the Writers Block. The nanoscopic replicoid of Vance is working from "inside", but the Editor must also help by providing a missing puzzle piece from outside.

In the Ekcolir Reality. Original cover art
by John Schoenherr and Paul Swendsen.
DAW Books
It is fun to imagine that DAW Books existed as a major source of "secret information" about Deep Time that was passed to the Editor in the Final Reality. DAW books came into existence right when I was in my personal Golden Age of discovering published science fiction. To some extent, for Sci Fi fans of my generation, DAW paperbacks were the functional equivalent of what the pulp science fiction magazines had been back in the original Golden Age of science fiction.

When the science fiction genre was "created" in the Ekcolir Reality, many artists who had illustrated fantasy fiction in earlier Realities were recruited to illustrate science fiction stories. Examples of such recruits are Kenneth Kelly and Brian Froud. Zeta has been investigating the mystery of how Brian Froud came to create the cover art for Don't Bite the Sun by Tanith Lee. According to Zeta, in the Ekcolir Reality the analogue of Lee wrote a detailed account of how the Fru'wu came to visit Earth and provide rudimentary hierion technology to humans. Zeta believes that Froud had actually been allowed to see the true physical form of the Fru'wu. Apparently there were many fanciful depictions of the Fru'wu by artists in the Ekcolir Reality, but somehow Froud "got it right".

Baa Bee Boo
cover art by Paul Swendsen
Back in 2015, Gohrlay made sure that I was aware of Vanth (the last Fru'wu on Earth) and the fact that Luri was a kind of specially crafted human. Zeta's replicoid is now working with two other crafted Interventionist agents in the Hierion Domain: Cecile and Mahasvin. Strangely, I know that I read both Don't Bite the Sun and Drinking Sapphire Wine, but only my memories of the later book remain in my mind. Zeta and I are sifting through Don't Bite the Sun looking for a hidden clue about Deep Time that were apparently erased from my mind.

Yōd believes that my memories of Don't Bite the Sun were erased and replaced by "parallel" memories about Clarke's story Against the Fall of Night. Yōd claims that I've been "crafted" so as to dream of space travel and avoid thinking about the main danger facing humanity: that our species could curl up into a self-generated virtual reality and never reach the stars. Apparently knowledge from Deep Time about that danger is even more important than information about the catastrophic global warming that took place in the Ekcolir Reality.

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