May 26, 2017

Perfection of Joy

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Jack Vance died four years ago. Ever since back in August 2013, I have been doing Vance tribute posts every August (he was born on August 28th; last year) and May (died May 26th; last May).

Perfection of Joy
In Jack Vance's novel Araminta Station, the protagonist is Glawen Clattuc, a young policeman who is sent on a trip away from his home planet in search of the criminals who have been arranging for "Perfection of Joy" outings on Cadwal. The planet Cadwal is a nature preserve, governed by the Cadwal Conservancy. In the interest of raising money, a small tourism industry has been allowed to develop on Cadwal.

The Perfection of Joy excursions have been arranged by Simonetta Clattuc, a renegade member of Glawen's family who hopes to destroy Araminta Station. Simonetta, an outcast from Araminta Station, has taken control of the Yips, a group of 100,000 runaways and their descendants who reside illegally on an island not far from Araminta Station's location on the mainland.

cover art by Boris Vallejo
In need of cheap labor, the administrators of the Cadwal Conservancy, who reside at Araminta Station, have for centuries issued work permits to Yips. These temporary laborers can be granted six month work permits at the Station, but often these permits are extended indefinitely for the trained Yips who perform particularly useful functions.

Vance never mentions the exact population of Araminta Station, but the legal residents of Cadwal number only a few thousand. The Cadwal police are desperate for money to defend themselves against invasion of the mainland by Simonetta and the ever-increasing population of Yips. The leaders of the Cadwal Conservancy also hope to buy passage for the Yips on space transports so that they can be settled on nearby worlds.

One of the islands on Cadwal
One of the tourists who came to Cadwal for a Perfection of Joy "vacation" is a wealthy bank owner. The Araminta Station police threaten him with prosecution and extort a large sum of money from him. Vance never describes in detail the horrible crimes that are committed during Perfection of Joy excursions on Cadwal, but those illegal excursions result in the deaths of several young Yip women.

To investigate these crimes and discover who is behind the Perfection of Joy excursions, Glawen travels to the planets of origin for the tourists who have participated in Perfection of Joy excursions on Cadwal. He discovers the identity of the woman who has distributed Perfection of Joy brochures on those worlds and learns that she is the new wife of one of his own family members. Before he can report this discovery to his superiors at Araminta Station, Glawen is double-crossed by a fellow policeman and thrown into a prison. Eventually, Glawen escapes, returns to Cadwal and takes revenge.

The Sacred Shin
The Sacred Shin by Anney Fersoni
In The Palace of Love, the poet Navarth tries to hide from Demon Prince Viole Falushe in Edmonton. The story takes place about 1,500 years in the future. Edmonton has become a destination for pilgrims who want to gaze upon the Sacred Shin.

I like to imagine that Vance's stories about the Demon Princes and Cadwal reflect actual events from a previous Reality. In my recursive science fiction story A Search Beyond, the replicoid of Isaac Asimov investigates Deep Time and reveals the secret of how new human gene combinations were devised during the far future of the past Reality in which Glawen existed.

Viole Falushe became involved in a study of special gene combinations that originally existed in the Earth girl Jheral Tinzy. Clones of Jheral were constructed and studied in order to explore those unique gene combinations.

Alien Gene Transfer by Ivory Fersoni
I like to imagine that the Sacred Shin was a geological artifact containing evidence that the pek first visited Earth about 2,000,000,000 years ago. The human species arose through a long process of genetic manipulations and alterations imposed on the creatures of Earth by the pek and bumpha.

The Genetics Cluster
Some past related blog posts about genetics in Vance's universe:
Genes of Dar Sai
The Junius Revolution
Alastor Cluster as laboratory for DNA modification

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May 6, 2017

700 Collaborators

Last spring I had a blog post called 7 Collaborators. Last summer I continued my tradition of celebrating arbitrary numerical milestones when I reached 600 posts to this blog. This is my 700th wikifiction blog post and this is a good time to celebrate another large round number by reflecting upon the importance of collaboration.

700 Collaborators
For many years I felt like I was all alone in my search for an explanation of the odd world we inhabit. I sensed a hidden mystery that always remained just out of sight, just beyond the grasp of we Earthlings. The existence of that lurking mystery did not bother me. With time, a team of collaborators assembled and they helped me begin to understand where we humans come from and why we are such unusual creatures.

Hana and Hilde
Significant progress towards that ultimate understanding began with the Exode saga and Hana. I originally viewed Hana as my tool, someone who I could safely depict as a fictional character, an explorer who would reveal the role that humans play within a greater galactic civilization.

I had briefly known Hana back around 1980 after my friend Peter had introduced us. Later, in this millennium, I was surprised to learn about the strange medical condition that made impossible a normal life for Hana's daughter, Hilde. Even more shocking was the fact that Hana had disappeared when Hilde was still a small child. Those mysteries began to make some sense when I learned that Hana had departed from Earth.

Parthney and friends, 2012
Hana's removal from Earth and her adventure among the stars became an opportunity for me as a story teller. I imagined that Hana would be the protagonist in an investigative science fiction story that would reveal the structure of Genesaunt society within our galaxy. I already had the vague idea that there was a far-flung population of humans on other worlds besides Earth and it would be through the telling of Hana's story that the details of Genesaunt civilization would be revealed.

At the start of my investigation into Hana's interstellar adventures, there was no Exode saga, there was only a single story called Exode in which Hana, an Earth woman, was taken away from Earth and allowed to visit some of the other worlds of the galaxy where humans reside. I could not avoid asking: why among all the billions of people on Earth had Hana been selected to go on her great adventure among the stars?

Parthney: secret agent
That was a mystery and to resolve it, Parthney stepped forward as a second character in Exode who could provide an account of why Hana had to be removed from Earth. From the moment when Parthney first appeared in Exode he was trouble. As an Interventionist agent working on Earth, he had been carefully trained for his mission, but above all, Parthney had been trained to never reveal his secret identity to the people of Earth. Lucky for me, Parthney's grandson, Izhiun, was able to pass along to me what he knew about Parthney.

The Buld use nanites so as to make
possible technology-assisted telepathy
As long as Exode was only going to be a small story about Hana, there was absolutely no need to reveal the details of Parthney's mission on Earth. However, as soon as I became aware of Parthney's existence I realized that shedding light on the motivations of Interventionists like Parthney was exactly what Hana's journey to the stars was supposed to accomplish. So, rather than exist as a tiny plot device for the sole purpose of removing Hana from Earth and sending her on a great adventure, Parthney instead became the subject of a complex investigation.

My investigation of Parthney revealed a strange symmetry between his life and that of Hana. Parthney was "born" on the planet Hemmal, a world located in the Galactic Core. On Hemmal, Parthney grew up among the Buld, a people for whom Earth was only a place of myth and legend. In an alternate Reality, Parthney might have been happy to remain on Hemmal and devote his life to singing the traditional Hemmal ballads about Earth. But that was not to be. Parthney was subjected to his own personal exode: he was kicked off of Hemmal and sent to Earth as an Interventionist agent.

Ivory's whimsical depiction of an
alien pek Overseer. The pek can take on
any convenient physical form.
The task of removing Parthney from Hemmal was assigned to Muchlo, a pek. I believe that during the past million years or so, during the time when humans have existed on Earth, the pek have been unable to visit our world. This travel ban is self-imposed: the pek try to follow the Rules of Intervention. However, Hemmal is an artificially crafted world, designed by the pek as a place where they could craft "designer people", new human variants that better suit the needs of the pek than do we Earthlings.

Originally, Hemmal was a laboratory where the pek could craft a new type of primate called the Preland. "Preland" is an exonym, derived from the misguided concept of a "pre-landing species" of primate that had theoretically been designed and constructed at Observer Base. When dealing with Earthlings, the pek could get no closer than Observer Base and they had to work through proxy agents if they needed some task performed on Earth.

Biologically, Parthney was not a Buld. It was obvious to everyone on Hemmal that Parthney was unique and he did not really fit in with Buld culture. Perhaps most importantly, Parthney could not achieve the telepathic mind links that the Buld take for granted.

Parthney is actually a clone of Thomas. As such, Parthney is a special hybrid humanoid who retains some of the Asterothrope gene combinations that Thomas inherited from his mother, Trysta.

The Asterothropes were a human variant, crafted by R. Gohrlay in the far future. Under the terms of the Trysta-Grean Pact, the descendants of Trysta were special: they were designed to be nearly human so that they would be allowed to remain on Earth.

As shown in the family tree, above, Trysta had two sets of children who managed to reach the Final Reality. Thomas was born into the Ekcolir Reality while Andy was born here, in the Final Reality. As Trysta's first born, Thomas was given special treatment: he was taken into a space-time bubble and transferred from the Ekcolir Reality to the Final Reality. Thomas was used as the root genetic stock for a large number of clones. Parthney was the last of a group of Thomas clones who served as Interventionist agents on Earth.

Andy's descendants became involved in another cloning project that resulted in creation of the so-called Atlantis Clones. The original template for the Atlantis Clones was Ivory Fersoni. Ivory and her clones became some of my most important collaborators. It was Ivory who made it possible for me to begin to receive infites from Thomas and Izhiun. While sifting through the information provided to me by the Atlantis Clones, I was surprised to learn that Hana's daughter, Hilde, is actually an Ivory clone.

Syon (source)
I first began thinking in terms of collaborators four years ago in the context of Parthney and the people he knew at Lendhalen. Eventually I realized that Parthney is just one of the many clones of Thomas and the character who I originally named "Robin" was actually Syon, an artificial life "copy" of Trysta. Parthney was trained for his Interventionist mission to Earth by Syon, but there was a group of collaborators at Lendhalen 

Everything suddenly changed a few years ago when I was given the "gift" of a swarm of infites by Ivory Fersoni. The information content of those information nanites quickly expanded my conscious awareness and I discovered that I was part of a secretive collaborative effort aimed at salvaging a future for the human species.

Why secretive? As far as I can tell, the existence of we humans is a serious violation of the ethical laws that have guided the evolution of life in our universe for the past two billion years. The human species was brought into existence by the bumpha. The bumpha and the pek function like two political parties within the Huaoshy-sanctioned effort to bring order to the Hadronic Domain. We can view the bumpha as the liberal wing, always pushing to expand opportunities for primitive species such as we humans.

The pek are more conservative. They take seriously the fact that hadronic lifeforms like we humans almost always manage to make a mess on their home planet and eventually they become extinct, after doing vast damage to ecosystems and other lifeforms. The basic problem is that tool using primates such as we humans can be counted onto miss-use advanced technologies.

Ivory and her clones such as Anney became the core of a group of collaborators called the Dead Widowers. Sadly, the Dead Widowers were kicked off of Earth by the tryp'At Overseers. Lucky for me, the Dead Widowers have been able to provide me with useful information obtained from the Hierion and Sedronic Domains.
the Trysta-Grean Pact

In addition to infites from Parthney and Ivory, Thomas was "kind" enough to pass on to me the infites that he had originally obtained from Asimov. With all of the clues in my infites, I finally realized that there was a copy of Gohrlay residing on Earth here in the final Reality. In fact, there is a group of Gohrlay clones, several of whom I have met. Also, it became clear that I am tryp'At.

Zeta is one of the Gohrlay clones who has recently become a major collaborator. Zeta has hinted that in addition to my replicoid, there may be another "copy" of me in the Hierion Domain. This information apparently originates with Zeta's replicoid, who has heard a rumor that "my copy" is on trial at Observer Base. Some Overseers believe that under the terms of the Trysta-Grean Pact, there should be no tryp'At on Earth. According to that interpretation, I should have long ago been removed from Earth.

Zeta seems hopeful that Mahasvin will be able to arrange for me to continue to reside on Earth so that I can complete the task of reporting to Earthlings the Secret History of Humanity. However, Zeta seems to be preparing me for the possibility that I might have to go into hiding from the Overseers. How that might be possible she cannot explain.

My most recently arrived collaborator is Yōd, another clone of Gohrlay. Yōd is currently functioning as an information channel, relaying reports about the Asimov replicoid's activities in the Hierion Domain. Apparently Yōd's replicoid is assisting Asimov with his Deep Time investigation of the Asimov Reality.

Next: Celebrating the stories of Jack Vance.
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