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Apr 5, 2017

25 Years After Asimov

freaky cover by John Gaughan
This blog post marks 25 years since the death of Isaac Asimov. My personal introduction to Asimov came about 45 years ago when I discovered a hardcover copy of his novel The Gods Themselves in my local library. That was a mind-expanding experience for a little kid who was in his personal golden age of science fiction.

I like to imagine that in our previous Reality, Asimov wrote a different book called The Gods Thonselves. In that Reality, science fiction was carefully crafted and hyper-accelerated as a literary genre which functioned to prepare the humans of Earth for First Contact. In The Gods Thonselves, Asimov revealed the existence of the alien Huaoshy, creatures who long ago originated as biological organisms, but who now exist in the Sedronic Domain as artificial lifeforms.

1972 cover by Bob van Blommestein
Almost 65 years ago Asimov began writing the story that would become The End of Eternity, my favorite novel by Asimov.

I think of The End of Eternity as Asimov's time travel novel, although it is not his only story that involves travel through time. In that story, "Eternity" is the name of a time travel device, and at the end of the novel Eternity has been destroyed, seemingly putting an end to the time travel era. This is a good thing, because use of time travel technology was a dead end for Humanity.

Although Asimov wrote an amazing story about putting an end to time travel, I felt the need to tell the story of how time travel was discovered. How did time travel technology come into existence? That story is told in Foundations of Eternity.

interior art by Pagsilang Rey Isip
75 years ago Asimov published the first of his Foundation stories. Just slightly earlier, Asimov had begun publishing his positronic robot stories.

For 4 decades, Asimov's 2 fictional universes for stories about
1) the Foundation and
2) positronic robots
remained distinct. Then Asimov performed alchemical magic, revealing (in his novel Foundation and Earth) that positronic robots had been secretly at work, guiding the creation and development of the First and Second Foundations.

I view Asimov's act of linking his Foundation Saga to his fictional universe of the positronic robots as Asimov's greatest literary accomplishment. Then, after that glorious supernova of science fiction creativity, death.

Foundations of Eternity
Asimov was taken from us before he ever had the chance to write a sequel to Foundation and Earth. I feel that this is the greatest tragedy that has so far been inflicted upon the young literary genre of science fiction.

The All-Human Galaxy
As much fun as there is to be had in Asimov's Foundation and positronic robot stories, they have a frustrating flavor of incompleteness. Right at the end of Foundation and Earth, Asimov teased readers with the idea that aliens would soon arrive in our galaxy, zooming in from some distant galaxy.

For many long years I've agonized over Asimov's struggle with aliens. In my fan fiction sequel to Foundation and Earth, I imagine that in our Reality, Asimov was prevented from sharing what he knew about alien visitors to Earth.

the Trysta-Grean Pact
Tryst-Grean Pact
What had changed for the "Asimov Analogue" who lived here in the Final Reality? Our Reality, the universe as we know it, had been brought into existence as an expression of the Trysta-Grean Pact. In our Reality, Asimov could not be allowed to share with the world what he knew about alien visitors living on Earth among the human population.

In order to end the Time Travel War, Trysta and Grean had to learn to trust each other. Trysta was R. Gohrlay's secret agent on Earth, dedicated to winning for the humans of Earth an opportunity to reach the stars. Grean was a Kac'hin hermaphrodite who operated on Earth during the Time War as a hadronic tool of the Huaoshy.

viewing Realities
Trysta was also not strictly human: as an Asterothrope female from 10 million years in our future, she had been designed and crafted by R. Gohrlay to evade detection by the pek.

"Trysta" is one of the names that was used by Noÿs Lambent, Asimov's Eternity-destroyer from The End of Eternity. The Exode Trilogy was intended to simultaneously be a sequel to both Foundation and Earth and The End of Eternity. Trysta and Grean worked together using advanced Reality Viewing technology that allowed them to find the Final Reality.

During their time on Earth, Trysta and Grean disguised their non-human physical features and blended in with the human population of our world. In the fanciful depiction (above) of the signing of the Trysta-Grean Pact, Trysta and Grean are shown with the features of imaginary non-human Sedronites. Also shown is an artificial life form (pek?) observer of the signing.

Asimov on Stage
Asimov sent through Time to contact Vance. (see)
In the Exode Saga, science fiction is an important part of the plot. Alien visitors to Earth shape science fiction as a literary genre in order to prepare Humanity for the future. Several science fiction authors appear in the Exode Saga as characters including Asimov and Jack Vance.

In the first book of the Exode Saga,  A Search Beyond, Asimov returns to Earth in the form of an artificial life replicoid.

Special thanks to Miranda Hedman for
"Black Cat 9 - stock" that I used to create
the blue "sedronite" who is in the image, above.
Asimov's replicoid is brought to Earth so that he investigate the Asimov Reality, the past Reality that became the inspiration for the many stories by Jack Vance that are set in the Gaean Reach. Since time travel is no longer possible (and did even the Huaoshy ever have the ability to visit past Realities?), study of the Asimov Reality must be accomplished by sending Asimov into the AR simulation that exists within Eternity.

In A Search BeyondYōd's replicoid within the Hierion Domain acts as an information relay so that the Editor can become aware of how the Ek'col and tryp'At were crafted in Deep Time. In turn, the Editor is allowed to pass along some of the secret history of Humanity to the people of Earth.

Next: Star Trek Continues
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