Apr 15, 2018

Dynamic Equilibrium

In the Ekcolir Reality.
Original cover art by Reginald Rogers
and Edmund Emshwiller.
(blue Sedronite, image credits)
A key element of the Exode Saga is the dynamic equilibrium that exists between Interventionists and Overseers. Interventionists can't stand to watch primitive creatures like we Earthlings wallowing in our own ignorance when a small technological boost could easily eliminate vast suffering. Overseers have been positioned so as to prevent alien influences from giving us advanced technologies because the Huaoshy long ago learned that humanoid species have a talent for destroying their developing civilizations if they are given access to advanced technologies.

Extinction curve; technology is dangerous.

A major challenge for Grean, just before she departs from Earth, is finding a way to make sure that humans take on the responsibility of maintaining the Interventionist-Overseer dynamic.

Why Can't We Be Friends?
original cover art by Harold McCauley
Along with all other aliens, Grean (a Kac'hin) must soon stop exercising control over the course of human history. According to the terms of the Trysta-Grean Pact, humans must be allowed to take control of their own fate. Grean selects Sachiz and Nivsaham to be the representatives of the Interventionist and Overseer forces that will remain behind after she abandons Observer Base.

After millions of years of constant conflict between Interventionists and Overseers, Sachiz and Nivsaham don't like each other, but Grean needs to find a way to make them begin to work together for the good of Humanity. There are many barriers to Grean's well-intentioned effort to help, not the least of which is the fact that Nivsaham does not want the Overseers to know that nanoscopic interventionists secretly operate right inside Observer Base.

define 'human'
Rule Change
The other major change for Earth that is specified by the Trysta-Grean Pact is that the humans of Earth must now be made aware of the fact that alien beings have long visited Earth. There are two important caveats for this alteration to the Rules of Intervention.

On one hand, it is ironic that exactly when Earthlings must be informed about alien visitors to Earth, all alien visitors must leave Earth. In fact, an extensive effort is made to assure that there will be no physical evidence of aliens visitors remaining on Earth in the Final Reality.

The other odd twist is that the people of Earth are to be "informed" about the existence of aliens via a science fiction story. There will be no physical evidence on hand to support the story of alien visitors.

Technological Marvels
When Grean abandons Observer Base, she makes available to Sachiz access to teleporter technology that will allow the tryp'At Overseers to quickly remove Interventionists from Earth. However, there are Interventionists at Observer Base who also have access to teleporter technology, although the Overseers are not aware of that.

virtual reality
The other major technology available to both Interventionists and Overseers at Observer Base is only made available in what can be called "Gohrlay's Library". In particular, there is virtual reality technology that can provide access to detailed records of past Realities of Earth.

However, access to this "Reality Simulator" technology is restricted. R. Gohrlay took care when she designed the equipment at Observer Base that allows for teleportation and access to the Library. Not just anybody can use that equipment.

First Fiction
First Reality
In the First Reality, Gohrlay was friends with several science fiction story tellers. Through all of the Realities of Earth, R. Gohrlay maintained a special interest in the analogues of her friends.

Through carefully engineered temporal momentum, the Final Reality includes analogues of Gohrlay's friends. In particular, Isaac Asimov is one such analogue and eventually it becomes clear that Asimov's replicoid, Azynov, can access hidden information about the history of Humanity that is locked up inside the Asimov Reality simulator. Before she departs from Observer Base, Grean must make sure that everything is in place so as to allow Azynov to access that important information from the AR Simulator at just the right time, allowing it to be passed on to the Editor.

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Apr 7, 2018


Grean the Kac'hin (foreground) and a
whimsical depiction of replicoids.
Original cover art by Howard V. Brown
In my previous two blog posts, I've explored some ideas for a prelude to A Search Beyond. I've now written most of that prelude as an introduction to Grean and "the last replicoid", Azynov.

Double Agent
I made an interesting discovery while working on "Observer Base": Sachiz the tryp'At is the mother of Roz.

I've also been investigating the possibility that Roz is not actually the daughter of Ayash Shipdesqi and Sachiz. Zeta has suggested that Roz is actually a clone of Sachiz. I'm not sure what the implications are of Roz being a clone of Sachiz.

(Sedronite, image credits)
With her connections into the Writers Block, Yōd confirms that Ayash Shipdesqi published some science fiction stories in a past Reality, just before the Final Reality. Those stories were apparently based on a mysterious manuscript, written by Sachiz and left behind on Earth after she was taken to Observer Base in 1947.

Buld Reality
For many years I imagined that the Buld Reality was the Final Reality. However, there is evidence of some "microchanges" that were made to the Buld Reality just before the Final Reality came into existence.

According to Yōd, stories written by Ayash Shipdesqi (using various pen names) were all removed from Earth's timeline just before time travel ended and we became trapped in the Final Reality. Stories such as "The Replicoid Intervention" and Ayash's novel, The Azynov Touch, simply revealed too much about Grean and how the Final Reality was brought into existence.

Zeta does not believe that Sachiz, as a tryp'At living on Earth in 1947, could possibly have known about the existence of Azynov the replicoid (Azynov was created in 1971). However, I must believe that at some point in time, both Grean and Trysta viewed the future of the Final Reality. Would either of them have told Sachiz about the future? Maybe not.

That leaves R. Gohrlay as the remaining possible information conduit to Sachiz. However, there have been no confirmed reports of R. Gohrlay continuing to operate on Earth or anywhere in our galaxy since the time when Grean took possession of Observer Base.

However, I like the hypothesis that R. Gohrlay created the tryp'At, so it may be that Sachiz came to know the future because of her connections to R. Gohrlay. Did R. Gohrlay have a chance, just before the Final Reality, to use her rather primitive Reality Viewing technology to peer into the Final Reality?

Next: Grean's final tasks at Observer Base
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Apr 1, 2018

Return to Eternity

As a science fiction story, Exode had a single goal: by writing it, I would discover some of the features of Genesaunt Society, features that are normally not revealed to mere Earthlings. That mission of discovery began with Hana, an Earthling who "won a ticket" for a trip to the stars. I imagined that Exode would be a fairly simple account of Hana's travels and the Genesaunts she would meet on several planets of the galaxy.

Parthney: clone of Thomas
But then a small complication arose. I felt the need to explore the life of the secret Genesaunt agent stationed on Earth who removed Hana from her Earthly existence. That secret agent was Parthney. Examination of Parthney's origins on the planet Hemmal was a fortuitous diversion that quickly led to important revelations about the Kac'hin, the Buld and the Prelands (three human variants of the Galactic Core) as well as the mysterious pek. Investigation of Parthney's origins in the Galactic Core raised far more questions than it answered, but that was a good thing.

Foundations of Eternity
The Prelands are a genetically engineered human variant that had been crafted by the pek as a replacement for we Earthlings. The Buld are a remnant of a past age when humans had been given access to advanced space travel technology that allowed the Buld to travel between the stars at speeds close to the speed of light. The Kac'hin were designed to be a human variant that could efficiently use the Bimanoid Interface and allow the alien Huaoshy to monitor and guide their humanoid agents while they worked here in our galaxy.

Fan Fiction
Investigative science fiction
When I began writing Exode, I had just completed a major fan fiction writing project: Foundations of Eternity. When I began writing Exode, I intended my new story to be an "all original" story that was set in my Exodemic Fictional Universe, not the fictional universe of Isaac Asimov, Jack Vance or Chris Carter. In fact, I was feeling some shame over having written a fan fiction sequel to Asimov's two novels, The End of Eternity and Foundation and Earth.

Trysta and Ekcolir
Then something strange and wonderful happened. I realized that Exode and Foundations of Eternity were really just two parts of the same story. Parthney's mother turned out to be another secret agent who used the name Trysta Iwedon while working on Earth during the 20th century. She was another human variant, an Asterothrope, also known as Noÿs; a time traveler from 7 million years in our future.

Of course, there was much to be said about the Asterothropes and Trysta's mission the 20th century Earth. The Asterothropes were the creation of R. Gohrlay, the first positronic robot. R. Gohrlay had become the "queen of time travel" and had allowed Noÿs to believe that there was only one time travel device in the entire universe: the one located on Earth and described as "Eternity" in Asimov's time travel story, The End of Eternity.

First Reality
However, even after Eternity was destroyed by Noÿs (as described in The End of Eternity) other time travel machines continued to be used, both by R. Gohrlay's tribe of positronic robots and by the Huaoshy, specifically, their Kac'hin agents. Thus, Exode became a kind of sequel to Foundations of Eternity in which Trysta would have to confront a new problem: a raging time travel war between R. Gohrlay and the Huaoshy.

And since Exode had its own long list of Genesaunt issues to reveal, a third novel, Trysta and Ekcolir was needed to tell the story of the Time War and how it was ended by the Trysta-Grean Pact. As the Exode Saga grew, I was confronted by the problem of how to provide a unified narrative across multiple novels.

A Search Beyond
After I had already grown comfortable with having Isaac Asimov appear as a character in Exode, I eventually realized that I should not stop with Asimov... why not bring in Carl Sagan and Jack Vance and even myself? So, "the Editor" was born as a character in the Exode Saga who could function as the device for revealing Genesaunt secrets to the people of Earth.

Starting Points
Thus, while Hana had been a starting point for Exode, the story grew far beyond that simple beginning. I slowly realized that more needed to be said about the origins of R. Gohrlay, so First Reality was added as an additional Exode Saga novel.

Most recently, A Search Beyond became the 5th Exode Saga novel, a place for the exploration of Jack Vance's fictional universe of the Beyond as a human future that existed in the Asimov Reality.

The Exode Saga now extends from more than 2 billion years in the past to several million years in the future. Parthney and Azynov travel as far as the Andromeda galaxy and the Huaoshy empire includes thousands of galaxies. While A Search Beyond was a late addition, I want it to be the starting point for the Exode Saga. Finding the correct starting point for A Search Beyond has not been simple. Originally, I was going to begin on the planet Tar'tron, but more recently I decided that the story should begin close to Earth, right when Azynov is created as a replicoid of Isaac Asimov.

The newly created Azynov will help Grean with part of the final Reality Change, just before the Huaoshy put an end to time travel. Azynov will also "meet" the 12-year-old Editor and introduce him to The Gods Themselves, beginning the Editor's obsession with science fiction.

Roz Shipdesqi
The day after the Editor "meets" Azynov, Interpol agent Roz Shipdesqi arrives at the Editor's home, asking questions about his grandfather's involvement in secret rocketry experiments with Nazi scientists.

The "blue alien" by Mel Hunter
Roz is half tryp'At, her mother being a tryp'At agent on Earth who knew the young Arthur C. Clarke and who was part of a secret technology development project aimed at toppling the communist government in Moscow. Roz "lost" her mother soon after being born in 1947 and she was raised by her father, who blamed the Nazi's for the early "death" of his wife. Roz's mother did not actually die in 1947, she was simply taken off of Earth after completion of her interventionist mission.

Investigative Science Fiction
Roz began working as a trainee at MI6 after graduating with a masters degree in computational physics in 1967. One of her mentors was Daphne Jackson. However, she was soon placed on staff with Interpol as part of an international team investigating former Nazis, war criminals living in nations around the world under cover identities.

2014 (blue Sedronite, image credits)
Roz also appears in Exode, after she has transferred to Europol and is investigating nanotechnology developed by Peter. Eventually, Roz became too knowledgeable about Interventionist activities on Earth and she was "killed" in a plane crash in 2014. Actually, she was simply removed from Earth and taken to Observer Base.

Next: is Roz a clone?
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Mar 31, 2018

The Last Replicoid

The End, again.
I enjoy science fiction that explores imaginary futuristic technologies. The most significant technological change in the Exode Saga is regressive: the actual end of Eternity as a functional time travel device.

At the end of Asimov's novel, The End of Eternity, Noÿs believes that she has put an end to time travel. However, she is not aware that both the "Queen of Time Travel", R. Gohrlay, and the Huaoshy, still retain the ability to travel through time. The Time Travel War is still raging!

However, the true end of time travel is near: it comes not in the 1930s but in the 1970s. The end of time travel occurs when the Huaoshy change the dimensional structure of the universe, making time travel physically impossible. It is not particularly hard for the Huaoshy to do this, since it was they who previously altered the universe so as to make possible faster-than-light travel, an act of dimensional engineering that (unbeknownst to the Huaoshy) also made time travel possible.
Overseer Sachiz

The Last Replicoid
Are there other consequences arising from the dimensional engineering that ends time travel? Yes. Some of the technologies that were developed by R. Gohrlay make use of sedrons and the physical properties of sedrons are altered by by the Huaoshy's final act of dimensional engineering. In particular, R. Gohrlay's system for creating replicoids is inactivated.

Just before the end of time travel, Grean creates the last replicoid: a copy of Isaac Asimov. Grean immediately begins to call "him" Azynov. Before Azynov is sent off to Tar'tron, he gets to meet the future tryp'At Overseer,  Sachiz, and the Editor.

The Adventures of Azynov.
Azynov's "meeting" with the Editor takes place under strange conditions. While the Editor is sleeping, his thoughts are able to be "ported" into his own replicoid in the Hierion Domain. The Editor is not able to efficiently use the Bimanoid Interface, so what he experiences is like a dream, albeit an intense "dream" unlike any other.

This "meeting" between the Editor and Azynov provides an opportunity for Grean to prepare Azynov for his "mission" to Tar'tron and to inform the Editor about that mission. After the meeting, Grean puts restraints on the ability of both Azynov and the Editor to remember what they were told by Grean during the meeting. Only later will they be allowed to remember Grean's words.

In the Buld Reality.
Original cover art by Jack Gaughan
Special thanks to Miranda Hedman
for "Black Cat 9 - stock" that I
used to create the green "sedronite"
who is in the image, above.
The immediate effect for the Editor in having met with Azynov is that he seeks out and reads a copy of The God's Themselves. This begins his fascination with Asimov's science fiction stories. Six years later, while at college, the Editor has the opportunity to meet Asimov, just days before Asimov has a heart attack. Only 40 years later is the Editor allowed to remember what he was told by Grean about Azynov's mission to Tar'tron.

Immediately after meeting with Grean and the Editor, Azynov becomes a time traveler. Grean makes use of Azynov to make a small adjustment to Reality, making sure that Jack Vance will live to a ripe old age. This allows Grean to demonstrate to Azynov that time travel is possible. However, Azynov is told that soon, time travel will become impossible.

Original art by Alexey Kashpersky
and Hubert Rogers
Azynov decides to use time travel to warn "himself" about his own death and the HIV virus. He goes back to 1951, but only passes a rather garbled message to "himself", resulting in the story "Hostess".

Finally, Azynov is taken away from Earth by Many Sails. Azynov is taken to the planet Tar'tron where he begins to learn about Genesaunt Society and the fragments of Humanity that are scattered around the galaxy.

Azynov and his first experiences in the Hierion Domain might be the perfect beginning for the Exode Saga.

Next: Return to Eternity
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Mar 25, 2018

SIHA Watch 2018

Ringworld (image source)
Now 25% of the way through 2018, it is time to scan the horizon for possible SIHA nominations (see the Search for Interesting Hollywood Aliens, 2017). For me, one of the big questions surrounding The X-Files Season 11 was if Chris Carter would have anything interesting to say about aliens. I'm not really surprised that Carter seemed to forget about aliens at the end of Season 11. I'm disappointed, but not surprised.

"Good space movies understand that both art and aliens should prompt an experience of wonder" (source)

Here in 2018, rumors continue to circulate about Larry Niven's Ringworld being turned into a movie (why not a TV series?). My only reservation: Niven, as a physicist, did not invent biologically plausible aliens.

I'm thinking that there could be real advantages for me in watching science fiction films that are made in languages other than English. I would not have to cognitively process the absurd blather in the script and I could imagine that I am watching an interesting story. In that spirit.... to Japan...

Before We Vanish
Before We Vanish (source)
This movie came out in 2017, but I did not notice it last year. It was reviewed in the New York Times this year.

In general, I don't like alien invasion movies because they are usually portrayals of human history warped into some imaginary futures where aliens travel across vast interstellar distance to make a stupid war movie in Hollywood. Before We Vanish seems a slightly more cerebral than your average American film and might have some interesting aliens.

Foreboding (image source)
I'm confused, but apparently Foreboding is another version of the same story (originally a play) that inspired Before We Vanish. Hopefully I'll be able to watch one of these two films. Apparently this story was originally seen in Japan as a 5 part television show, then it was spliced into a film, shown this year in Europe.
SIHA 2018

Side Show Shills
I've read all of the webpages proclaiming lists of "must see" science fiction for 2018. These films are what the folks in Hollywood imagine as science fiction. As usual, there is nothing there that interests me.

I have a sense of foreboding: maybe aliens invaded Earth and zapped the brains of movie makers, turning them into zombies who keep re-working the same tired plots, again and again. Is there anything that can be done before the science fiction genre completely vanishes from our screens?

Next: Azynov the replicoid
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Mar 21, 2018

William's Woe

Daddy issue: this time for sure
Before The X-Files Season 11 finale, I wrote my wish list for how the Saga of William might play out. As a science fiction fan, my wishes were based on the hope that Sci Fi themes would dominate the finale, but this episode was light on the Sci Fi revelations. The coolest part of the show was when we got to see Mr. Y's hi-tek flying machine (see below).

My Struggle 4...
1. William's struggle. The ever-lying CSM told Skinner who told Scully who told Mulder that William was an experiment: a fetus carried to term by Scully, but who was not Mulder's son. All that Mr. Y would say was "You still don't get it, do you?" I suppose Chris Carter wants to do more X-Files, so we could not be told anything useful. We did get to see William's growing powers. He can explode the bodies of anyone who threatens him and he made the CSM believe that he (the CSM) was shooting Mulder.

William even made Mulder think that William had been killed by the CSM, but in the very last scene, viewers got to see that William is still alive.

The end of the Syndicate:
the exploding Barbara Hershey
2. Aliens. The alien tease continues. Endlessly. The whole meandering plot thread about a "Spartan virus" that can be countered by "alien DNA" died a quiet death during the finale. Was the "Spartan virus" just a lie from the CSM, just a trick aimed at allowing the Syndicate to find William? Will we ever see Mr. Y's cool flying machine again? Can you say "Season 12"?

The P-Files
3. The End of Scully. I was expecting a dramatic end point for special agent Scully. She and Mulder got fired from the FBI, again. And she's miraculously pregnant, again. Apparently, this time (for sure) Mulder IS the father. With everyone else dead, I guess Dana, Fox and the new baby get to live quietly in retirement... or maybe their adventures continue (see below).

the shape of alien water
4. Next. Skinner shot Reyes. Skinner got run over. Mulder shot Mr. Y and the CSM (and a bunch of extras). Barbara Hershey got exploded by William. If Mulder and Scully and baby are out of the FBI, then who will do Season 12 of The X-Files? I suppose it is like the Trump White House, there is no shortage of people willing to take on the assignment.

Half Time
Look, Ma, no hands.
"My Struggle IV" felt like it had originally been a two hour show, but it was seemingly cut down (spinning off what became the mid-season "Ghouli") so as to fit the finale into 50 minutes of non-linear story telling. Were the non-linear parts supposed to be William's view of future events? Who knows. I'm thankful that it was only 50 minutes. It seemed like half of the show consisted of loooong car chases and loooong chases on foot. Yawn.

He has a 2 hour head start,
but I'll catch up. Vrooooom.
In a previous millennium, the rule was "shoot first and then ask questions". For Chris Carter, there are no rules, so: "just shoot a lot and maybe everyone will forget to ask questions." Oh, and don't forget this: in Season 12 viewers might find out that this episode was all just a dream, too.

William is a superman. Given his super-powers, it is hard to understand how anything can really threaten him.

The endless alien tease: is this as close as Chris
Carter will let us get to an X-Files alien?
By running (seemingly endlessly) through the Sugar Factory, William was able to both: 1) have a moment to say goodby to dear old Mom and 2) arrange to give Mulder the satisfaction of killing the CSM.

I'd still like to see Mulder and Scully take Mr. Y's spaceship and depart from Earth and The X-Files. There can be some kind of X-Files: The Next Generation television show that includes a satisfying account of the aliens and how alien technology (and DNA) was deployed on Earth.

Secret Syndicate Space Shuttle
It would be fun if Mulder and Scully took Mr. Y's spaceship for a spin and ended up on some planet with aliens. In Season 12 there could be occasional messages sent back to Earth from Scully and Mulder as they work on the alien issue from a far star system. A computerized voice synthesizer could do better for voice messages from a far star than Anderson did in the last few episodes of Season 11 with her raspy voice.

Luke William, I'm not your father.
What about super-man William and the other people of Earth who have bits and pieces of alien DNA and various doses of telepathic ability? Maybe we could learn in Season 12 that William knew he could not have a future with his Mom, but he had a role in the "miracle" of Scully's second pregnancy. Maybe William used his special powers to give Scully and Mulder a child who would be their "replacement" for William.

Go to the Season 11 main page.
Next: SIHA 2018.