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Jan 30, 2017

Sedron Pods

Reconstructed from the Ekcolir Reality.
image credits
Today's news out of the Hierion Domain is that Asimov's replicoid has finally emerged from the AR Simulation. According to Yōd, Asimov's replicoid tried to "hack into" a concealed part of the Asimov Reality database that holds the secret to how sedrons were obtained for use in interstellar space travel.

Apparently the Asimov's replicoid earned himself a visit with R. Gohrlay. Zeta believes that under the Trysta-Grean Pact, we Earthlings are not allowed to obtain advanced technology from Interventionists. In the Asimov Reality, Earthlings were allowed to use sedron-powered spacecraft, but the alien science and technology that allowed humans to spread through the galaxy in Deep Time are not going to be shared with us here in our universe.

Reconstructed from the Ekcolir Reality.
image credits
These restrictions on alien-derived technology also include hierion-based technologies such as femtobots.

According to Zeta, in the Ekcolir Reality, Sam Jaqy wrote a novel called The Femtobot Paladins that explained the source of the femtobots that drove Howard Treesong to commit his monumental crimes.

In The Jarnell Sedron Pod, Sam Jaqy provided a detailed account of the method that was used to obtain sedrons for use in the Jarnell Intersplit faster-than-light spaceship drive.

Reconstructed from
the Asimov Reality. image credits
Kirth Gersen and Alice Wroke were able to obtain well-preserved tissue from the body of Howard Treesong. Otho Cleadhoe marmelized Treesong after his death. A team of scientists was able to isolate femtobots from Treesong's preserved brain tissue.

According to Zeta, the archives of the Writers Block mention a book called Blue Forest Camp that was written by Alice Wroke in the Asimov Reality. Although hierions were discovered in Treesong's brain, the first practical applications of hierions in human technology did not come until much later, after humans had reached Alastor Cluster.

Yōd believes that the Asimov replicoid had his memories "sanitized" before he was allowed to exit from the AR Simulation.

Next: forbidden knowledge from Deep Time
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Jan 29, 2017

The Asimov Reality

The Asimov Reality
Back in 2013 I had a blog post called "The Buld Reality".
In 2015 I made another post called "The Ekcolir Reality".
Now, here in 2017 it is time for "The Asimov Reality".

The Exode Saga
our Reality Chain
A Search Beyond is an investigation of future events in the Asimov Reality. Here in the Final Reality, most of what we know about the Asimov Reality comes from the science fiction stories of Jack Vance.

Before the Asimov Reality, further back in Deep Time, was the Foundation Reality. The spread of Humanity through the galaxy in the Foundation Reality was described in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Fictional Universe.

The Foundation Reality
Even further back, as described in Asimov's time travel novel The End of Eternity, was the Malansohn Reality. The Malansohn Reality had been carefully constructed by R. Gohrlay as a Reality in which an Asterothrope from 10 million years in the future could put an end to the use of time travel by Earthlings. That last of the Asterothropes is known to us here in the Final Reality as Trysta Iwedon.

R. Gohrlay tried to protect Humanity from the alien Huaoshy by creating Galaxia, a galaxy-spanning telepathic group mind. However, the Huaoshy technological advantage in sedronic technology along with the fact that the biological components of Galaxia were not human (according to R. Gohrlay's own definition) forced the positronic robots of Earth into a compromise.

The Trysta Truce
the tryp'At Overseers
During the Asimov Reality, the Trysta Truce was in effect. Under the terms of the Trysta Truce, the bumpha were able to develop the tryp'At, a human variant that could use the Bimanoid Interface.

Similarly, the pek were able to develop the Ek'col, a type of Sedronite that would allow Trysta's children to have descendants that could merge into the human population of Earth.

The prototype Ek'col was a man called Ekcolir. He was an Interventionist agent on Earth in the middle of the 20th century. His mission was to seduce Trysta and make it possible for her to agree to the terms of what we know as the Trysta-Grean Pact.

Trysta-Grean Pact
The Trysta-Grean Pact
The Trysta-Grean Pact allowed for an end to the Time Travel War between the Huaoshy and R. Gohrlay.

Today, Zeta, Yōd and I got into a deep philosophical discussion about the transition that took place when the Huaoshy altered the physics of the universe so as to make further time travel impossible. At the same time, the type of telepathy that R. Gohrlay had ceased to work.

Trysta Iwedon
Before the final act of dimensional engineering was carried out by the Huaoshy, R. Gohrlay must have had some knowledge of the future and what might happen to Earth after time travel would no longer be possible. However, Zeta believes that it was the Huaoshy-induced dimensional shift that triggered the Final Reality Change and our future might be significantly different from any of the futures that R. Gohrlay could view.

Yōd suspects that the Reality Viewing technology that was available to the Huaoshy and Grean was able to access the Final Reality that we now reside in. However, there are always chance events that can overcome the Temporal Momentum system that R. Gohrlay created for Earth.

The Asimov Reality
Escape from the AR Simulation
Zeta and Yōd believe that access to information about the Asimov Reality is restricted because it would be dangerous for us to know exactly how much Trysta and Grean knew about our coming future in the Final Reality. However, the replicoid of Asimov has now gained access to the Asimov Reality database that exists within Eternity. That database is a type of virtual reality simulator of events that took place in the Asimov Reality.

Yōd began acting even stranger than usual last week, and now Zeta has informed me that the Asimov replicoid had been carrying out a series of missions inside the AR simulator. After each of the missions, he would be debriefed and plans were made for the next mission. However, the Asimov replicoid has not emerged from the AR simulator for the past week. Zeta is worried that the AR Simulator is a trap, designed to capture anyone who tries to gain access to restricted information about our future. Yōd is hopeful that the Asimov replicoid has "gone to the next level" within the Simulator and will eventually emerge with a full account of how humans were given the ability to use the Bimanoid Interface.

Next: the Asimov replicoid escapes from the AR Simulation

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Jan 28, 2017

Image Archives

Annoying links to Google+ automatically generated in Blogger.
Heading into the end of 2016, I kept getting warnings that the "new Google+" was going to be forced upon me. I've never asked for the old Google+, but I was forced to start dealing with it when Google took over and destroyed Picasa.

As of today, I'm stuck with the "new Google+" which lacks the old features that used to allow for managing photo archives. Now all the photo management of my Google+ photo archives must be done through Google Photos.

Gallery of Book and Magazine Covers
Picasa used to be user friendly and it provided convenient ways to control who could access your photos and the text that you wanted to associate with an image. Google has destroyed all of the user friendliness and replaced it with meaningless icons and bugs. I have two Google+ accounts, one linked to my Gmail and one linked to my YouTube account.

When Google devoured YouTube, it failed to make a smooth transition and somehow I ended up with two different Google+ accounts and two different Google Photos accounts. My main Google Photos account has some kind of bug: it never stops "loading". My best guess is they intentionally don't make their website compatible with my browser.

album of posters (image credits)
When Google started in on their forced transition to Google Photos and the "new Google+", they broke one of my favorite features of Blogger. For years, Blogger automatically archived all photos that I uploaded and gave me easy access to them on those occasions when I wanted to re-use an image in another blog post. Now that I'm using the "new Google+" that feature seems to be working again.

Back in 2013 I started keeping to Google+ "albums" with images that I had made for this blog. One was for book and magazine covers and the other was for posters.

Next: the Asimov Reality
Images from my Blogger blogs; there are now five "wiki fiction" subfolders.
The oldest wikifiction images
Blogger has been archiving my blog post images since 2009. The images for this blog (wikifiction) are now spread out over five different albums. It appears that the earliest album was closed after about 4 years (April 2009 - March 2013) and it has 901 images.

March 2013 - Sept. 2014 images
Since March of 2013, a new wikifiction image archive has been created each time I reach 1900 images in the current active archive. It took 18 months to put 1907 images into the second album.

Sept. 2014 - Dec. 2015 images
The third wikifiction image album was filled up by Dec. 2015 (1902 images in 15 months).

When I started blogging I usually had one image in each blog post. Now I tend to have many images in each post.

Dec. 2015 - Jan. 2017 images
The fourth wikifiction image album was filled up by Jan. 2017 (1912 images in 13 months).

current wikifiction image album
Now, here at the end of Jan. 2017 the fifth wikifiction image archive is the active one.

One source of amusement are the Google photo archive "assistants". Shown below are results from the Google artificial intelligence at work, trying to identify places shown in my photos.

50 recent covers
Also visible in the screenshot below is the endlessly spinning blue circle: the Google Photos web pages NEVER finish loading.

I also have another way to view the image archives, sets of "animated" views of the covers. These animated gif images are limited to a maximum of 50 images.
The Google "Places Assistant" at work.

Baron Boddissey

cover art by Edmund Emshwiller
I recently blogged about The Lani People, published in 1962, which mentions convergent evolution.
by Baron Boddissey

I wonder if Jack Vance read The Lani People and was dismayed by the shoddy science in it. It is fun to imagine that Vance was inspired to create Baron Boddissey, an imaginary biophilosopher who could react to the silly science that is contained in The Lani People.

Vance's description of Dasce
The Star King was originally published in Galaxy magazine with illustrations by Edmund Emshwiller. Emshwiller's portrait of "Beauty" Dasce is a great pulp science fiction icon.

Shown to the left is how Vance described Hildemar Dasce. Dasce is described by a colleague as being able to paralyze dogs with a glance.

Edmund Emshwiller's depiction of Smade's Tavern
The protagonist of The Star King and the entire five volume Demon Princes series is Kirth Gersen. He meets Dasce at Smade's Tavern.

Smade's Tavern is the only building on Smade's Planet, a desolate world in the Beyond.

Model 9b (left)
Vance's description of Smade's Tavern
I suppose Emshwiller felt the need to place some additional trees in his illustration of Smade's Tavern so as not to make the scene look too desolate.

Gersen arrives on Smade's Planet in his Model 9b spaceship. In my mind, I don't picture the spacecraft of Vance's Oikumene as looking like 20th century chemical rockets.

list of 5 Demon Princes
In the original version of The Star King, Vance refers to the first Demon Prince as "Grendel the Monster". In the later book version of the story, Grendel was changed to Attel Malegate (the Woe).

Gersen wants to find and kill the five Demon Princes who attacked his home in the famous Mt. Pleasant raid.
The Mt. Pleasant raid, illustration by Edmund Emshwiller.
cover art by Gino D'Achille
In the shift from Galaxy magazine to the DAW book printing of "Star King", Vance changed the name of Gersen's grandfather from Rolf Harpit Gersen to Rolf Marr Gersen. The original printing of the story also had typographical errors such as "Sarcoy" substituted for "Sarkoy".

Jan Holberk Vaenz LXII
Vance was audacious in his use of long quotations from imaginary books and magazines at the start of chapters in The Star King. The story is set about 1,500 years in the future and one of the imaginary authors of the future is Jan Vaenz.

linker text in Galaxy
In the Exode Saga, I have fun imagining that Vance's stories about the Oikumene took place in Deep Time.

Also, I imagine that the replicoid of the Vance analogue in that Reality "lived" into the future and witnessed the events that were eventually described by "our Vance" here in the Final Reality. Actual events in the Asimov Reality were transformed into science fiction stories in our Reality.

When published in Galaxy, The Star King was split in the middle, with some linker text apparently added by Fred Pohl to make a bridge between the two halves of the story. Pohl also added the following teaser on page 133 (image, below):
Page 133.

The Thrilling Conclusion
Galaxy was only being published once every other month, so readers had to wait two months for the second half of The Star King.

Poor Pallis Atwrode is abducted by Dasce.
Illustrations by Edmund Emshwiller also accompanied part 2 of the story. Shown to the right on this page is Emshwiller's depiction of how poor Pallis was kidnapped by "Beauty" Dasce from a parking lot near the Avante Esplanade.

In our universe, there was no cover illustration for The Star King in 1964, but in the Ekcolir Reality, the analogue of Jack Vance wrote a third part for the story about a later return of Pallis and Kirth to Tehalt's planet.

Reconstructed by Zeta from the Ekcolir
Reality. Original cover art by John Gaughan
I like to imagine that after killing Howard Treesong, Gersen became aware of the fact that there were alien nanites inside the Demon Princes. Pallis and Kirth returned to Tehalt's planet and attempted to isolate nanites from Grendel's grave.

Kirth eventually brings Grendel to justice. Along the way, Gersen defeats Grendel's henchmen. Tristano is beaten in hand-to-hand combat, Suthiro is killed and Dasce faces a fate worse than death, being imprisoned by a personal tormentor (Rampold) on Tehalt's planet.
Suthiro's death (illustrated by Emshwiller)

Rampold was held as Dasce's prisoner for 17 years until until Gersen arrives to liberate Pallis from Dasce's evil clutches.

Gersen learns that Grendel is an alien who can disguise himself so as to appear to be human, one of the so-called Star Kings.

I like to imagine that the secret of how Star Kings can change their appearance is due to their use of developmental control nanites.

Next: archived blog images
Dasce's hidden prison on the surface of a "dark star". Illustration by Edmund Emshwiller.
Related Reading: A Star King and The Palace of Love.
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Jan 22, 2017

Unconscious

by Jasper Schreurs
"one of the most important tasks of the artist is to create a world of his own" -Hanna Segal

I'm comfortable with the idea that science fiction world building is an artistic endeavor when it is carried out by skilled writers such as Jack Vance and Isaac Asimov. Vance and Asimov each crafted a fictional future galaxy where they could play and exercise their imaginations.

Space Aliens
Fwai-chi
One of that classic science fiction plot elements that Asimov largely ignored was the issue of encounters between humans and technologically advanced beings from other worlds. Vance was much more willing to include alien creatures in his stories, but when he did so, he was usually taking an approach that was exactly opposite from that used by Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke often depicted aliens as being much more technologically advanced than humans. Vance's aliens were usually at a technological level that seemed quite similar to that of we humans, although he included artifacts such as the Rigel Concourse and the Star Kings that suggest a previous presence of advanced civilizations in our galaxy, beings who apparently long ago moved on to bigger and better things.

source
An ambiguous case of an alien creature found in Vance's work are the Fwai-chi. I like to imagine that various life forms in Alastor Cluster including the Fwai-chi and the Merlings of Trullion played important roles if shaping human evolution. Maybe most of the Fwai-chi and Merling species transcended their physical bodies and "moved on" to become artificial life forms in the Hierion Domain. However, devolved versions of both species might have been crafted as "devices" for putting environmental pressure on the humans who arrived in Alastor Cluster. Such "devices" might be "puppets" that are controlled by master programs existing in the Hierion Domain. The individual Fwai-chi and Merlings who appear in Vance's stories might not actually be independent, conscious beings.

source
In Chapter 8 of A Search Beyond, the question is broached: might some Earthlings also be unconscious automatons? This topic is raised by Anney who is familiar with the efforts that her clone sister Ivory made to reveal part of the secret history of Earth to the people of Earth in a published format that was not science fiction. Ivory had genetic evidence of her own biological uniqueness, but when she tried to publish that evidence in a science journal, she met with resistance and was quickly removed from Earth by the tryp'At Overseers. This matter is discussed in the context of the tools and methods that are available to the tryp'At Overseers for monitoring events on Earth.

source
Yōd and Zeta argue that it is not a matter of some Earthlings being unconscious automatons, forced to behave in a pre-programmed way. Rather, humans were originally constrained by their zeptite endosymbionts to only be able to use their brains for the generation of wish-fulfilling fantasies. In the First Reality, the bumpha carried out a human breeding program that was designed to reduce the ability of pek zeptites to constrain human thought in this way. At Observer Base, the first Earth humans who became free of their pek zeptites started the first human flowering of artistic and scientific creativity.

source
Of particular importance in the First Reality were 1) the members of the Escapist Clan who became the first human science fiction story tellers and 2) the first human scientists who devised the science of positronics. Yōd and Zeta believe that first flowering of human creativity was made possible by completely liberating a few human brains from their zeptite endosymbionts.

Later, when the Trysta-Grean Pact was being crafted, the pek insisted (and R. Gohrlay agreed) that a more elegant means was needed to "liberate" humans from the constraints imposed by their zeptite endosymbionts. Thus, during the Trysta Truce, a Phari endosymbiont was crafted that could work in parallel with human zeptite endosymbionts.

A Search Beyond (image credits)
Yōd believes that here in the Final Reality, only a subset of the human population on Earth has the special genetic pattern that is required to allow them to even host a Phari endosymbiont. In contrast, Zeta suspects that all Earthlings now carry a Phari endosymbiont, but only a subset of humans have a special gene combination that allows that Phari endosymbiont to modify the activity of the person's zeptite endosymbiont. These competing hypotheses are raised in A Search Beyond, but questions about the status of humans as being truly "free" or behaviorally constrained by their zeptite endosymbionts hangs over the entire Exode Saga.

Next: Retroreading: The Star King.
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Jan 21, 2017

Anti-science Fiction

cover art by Mitchell Hooks
Many science fiction stories arise from a playful "what if?" game in which the author explores the possible implications for -and impacts of- some imaginary future scientific discovery or technological innovation.

Future Science
Part of the science fiction game is that after the author makes a leap of imagination and introduces some fantasy science, the rest of our understanding of science and how the universe works is respected in the story. Explorations of imaginary future science and technology are best accomplished by authors who have some scientific training and knowledge of modern science, technology and how the universe works. Science fiction story writers who, out of ignorance, ignore existing scientific knowledge or contradict the laws of nature risk alienating Sci Fi fans by making bone-headed errors and destroying the ability of readers to suspend disbelief and enjoy the story.

Jesse Franklin Bone
cover art by Donald Maitz (see this)
J. F. Bone was born in 1916, he graduated from college (1937?) and then served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. After the end of WWII, he completed his education, earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (1950?) and then he worked in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University. He started publishing science fiction stories in 1957. His first novel was The Lani People.

Thamber: The Gentilly Protocol
Although it was first published in 1962, I have no idea when Bone began writing The Lani People. I wonder if the story was constructed in stages: 1) pre-WWII beginning with mutant humans who have a tail, 2) early 1950's, the protagonist becomes a veterinarian, 3) late 1950's insertion of "spindizzy" spaceship drive technology and telepathy.

The story is set thousands of years in the future. The setting reminds me of Jack Vance's imagined future in which humans spread outward from Earth into the galaxy. Some early colonies on exoplanets became "lost" and cut-off from Earth for long periods of time, developing their own unique cultures. Then, at some later point, the "lost" worlds could be found again and brought back into the confines of a galactic civilization.
source

Lost World, Lost Genes
Seeds of Life (see this description)
What makes no sense to me is that The Lani People, written by a man with a doctoral degree, makes no mention of genes. We do hear about genetics, but not in a good way: "physical changes had already appeared—and it would only be a question of time before these would probably be followed by genetic changes". Is Bone trying to tell us that humans on exoplanets evolved by some Lamarckian process? Rather than use the term "gene", Bone used the old-fashioned term "germ plasm".

As Bone tells the story, the Lani people arose as the descendants of "Alfred and Melissa Weygand—a missionary couple with the idea of spreading the Christian faith to the heathen...they were a unit in a missionary fleet that had gone out to the stars with flame in their hearts and Gospel on their lips to bring the Word to the benighted heathen on other worlds.” (source) However, the whole story is built upon the absurd premise that nobody can tell that the Lani are humans.

The Man Who Evolved
Evolution in Science Fiction
There is a long history of absurd depictions of evolution in "science fiction" stories (example). I put 'science fiction' in quotes here because many of these stories read more like "anti-science fiction" in which the author was playing some other game besides the science fiction "what if?" game. When a writer intentionally violates a known principle of science then they might have an agenda that goes outside the realm of the science fiction genre. Or could a trained biologist who got his doctorate in 1950 simply have been unable to recognize the importance of DNA?

DNA in science fiction (source)
For the Exode Saga, I imagine that the fictional universe invented by Jack Vance (and used for his stories that were set in the Demon Princes series, his Cadwal Chronicles and his Alastor Cluster books) was a real part of Earth's Deep Time. The Asimov Reality was named after Isaac Asimov because he helped bring that Reality into existence, but Jack Vance was later (in subsequent Realities) able to write science fiction stories about events that took place in the Asimov Reality.

Magic Mutations?
Tall tail.
In the far future of the Asimov Reality, humans were allowed to settle on the worlds of Alastor Cluster where they could be "infected" by Phari endosymbionts and allowed to evolve. Under those environmental conditions, a set of genes were found that can allow humans to use the Bimanoid Interface. Creating the tryp'At and the Ek'col did not involve magical mutations like the one that gave the Lani a tail... it was all by means of a sophisticated process of artificial selection and directed evolution. A Search Beyond explores the question of who did that directing.

Next: which humans are conscious?
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