Mar 31, 2013

Exode Timeline

Isis (and Mr. Spock)
One of my goals for the science fiction novel Exode is to imagine how a story set in the Exodemic Fictional Universe might conform to the technological parameters established by Assignment: Earth. In that Star Trek episode, there was long-range teleportation, a shapeshifting cat/woman (Isis) and an intelligent computer.

For stories set in the Exodemic Fictional Universe, I assume that shapeshifting is made possible by nanites.

What can I say about the computer technology that was depicted in Assignment: Earth? Within the Star Trek fictional universe computers were big and clunky until the Next Generation. It never made sense to me that Gary Seven could teleport across the galaxy with Isis in hand and yet have such a primitive computerized assistant.

This technological incongruity might make sense if Gary Seven is simply using technologies that are provided by a much more advanced alien civilization. Gary is stuck with whatever technologies are provided for his use.

Beta 5 computer
Maybe the aliens had decided that providing Gary with a sophisticated robotic assistant would introduce too many opportunities for Earthlings to notice that something strange was going on. Imagine a humanoid robot out and about in Manhattan. While crossing the street the robot is struck by a car and its mechanical guts are strewn across Times Square. In contrast , the big, immobile computer just sits in one secret vault and can presumably be teleported off of Earth in an emergency or simply inactivated and its inner workings reduced to a puddle of melted circuits.

For Exode, I was not willing to adopt a primitive computing technology like "Beta 5". However, I did start thinking about the possibility of having relatively clunky robots at the secret Interventionist training base of Lendhalen. I've been imagining that the alien Fru'wu are the conduit/source of the technology that is available to Interventionist agents like Parthney. Actually, the Fru'wu are "front men" for the Nereids, so some technologies like the teleporters are made by the Nereids, given to the Fru'wu and then the Fru'wu make the teleporters available for humans to use.

I could easily imagine that the Fru'wu and Nereids were "alien Interventionists" who would provide advanced technology to the human Interventionist agents on Earth, but as discussed in my previous blog post, the Huaoshy are much more technologically advanced than the Nereids. I could imagine no good reason to account for a failure of the Huaoshy to step in and prevent the Nereids from using the Fru'wu to help the human Interventionists alter the course of events on Earth. I was in need of a way to trump the god-like powers of the Huaoshy. Finally, I realized that I could use Noÿs for that purpose. Thus, Exode became a sequel to The Start of Eternity, a fan fiction novel in which Asimov's famous time traveler, Noÿs Lambent, destroys Eternity.

Since deciding that Noÿs would provide the backstory for Exode, I've been sketching out the details of exactly how Noÿs can cause the Buld Reality (the timeline that we experience) to come into existence. Since I had originally decided that Gwyned was the daughter of Noÿs, I've been imagining some additional ways of knitting Noÿs into the lives of additional characters who appear in Exode. After a month and a half of this knitting project, I now feel like I can sketch out the timeline for the Buld Reality and the key events that allow Noÿs to shape the world as we know it.

a pek using
Preland facial features
Timeline of the Buld Reality

837,930,298 YBP. The Huaoshy achieve faster-than-light travel. Their home galaxy is far, far away.

~7,000,000 YBP. The Huaoshy reach the Andromeda galaxy and make contact with the Nereids. The Nereids have existed for several million years as a non-technological sapient species on their metal-poor home world.

~6,999,000 YBP. The Huaoshy reach our galaxy. Soon the pek (nanite-based artificial lifeforms that assist the Huaoshy) are domesticating the primates that they find on Earth.

~6,900,000 YBP. The interstellar civilization of the Fru'wu is destroyed by a self-inflicted technological disaster involving their primitive nanotechnology. The Huaoshy have preserved some domesticated Fru'wu on worlds of the Galactic Core.

~300,000 YBP. The Nereids finally establish a technological civilization on their home planet.

200,000 YBP. Needing a tool that will allow them to infiltrate and defeat the Eternals, the Huaoshy begin to develop the Kac'hin, a human variant that can be used like humanoid puppets by the Huaoshy. Captain Hooski is one of the Kac'hin who appear in The Start of Eternity. The Kac'hin are developed on the planet Luk'ru, a world that later becomes the home of Hana and Boswei and their children. By 50,000 YBP the Kac'hin project is complete and no further development of the special abilities of the Kac'hin is attempted on Luk'ru.

~90,000 YBP. The Nereids help some Fru'wu rebels of the Galactic Core achieve independence from the pek. There are some interactions between the Nereids, the Fru'wu and the Buld. The Nereids monitor events on Earth and occasionally they manage to bring a human from the Galactic Core to Earth. However, there are Overseers stationed at Observer Base on the Moon who prevent Interventionists from interfering with the course of events on Earth.

~20,000 YBP. Ekcolir, a human from the Galactic Core in the Noÿs Reality who had been brought to Earth as an Interventionist agent, arrives from the future. He lives among a group Earthlings near the end of the last glacial period and passes his genes into the human gene pool of Earth. He is captured by Overseers and taken to Observer Base on the Moon where he completes his mission to the past by preventing the development of positronic robots. At about the same time, the pek allow the Fru'wu rebels to make it possible for some Buld to transform themselves into the Pla, a group of rebel Buld.

In the Galactic Core the pek begin selecting for human variants on worlds like Hemmal. These variants will be able to breed with Noÿs, a human from 10,000,000 years in the future (in the Mallansohn Reality). Ekcolir is one such human who is born on Hemmal about 1910.

~15,000 YBP. The Fru'wu provide the Pla with the location of Earth. A Buld spaceship, traveling close to the speed of light, begins a journey from the Galactic Core to Earth which will take about 15,000 years.

~10,000 YBP. Noÿs arrives from the future and lives among a group of Earthlings who have retained genes from Ekcolir. Noÿs helps them develop a written language and learn to read and write. Noÿs talks to these primitives and tells them about the far future of Earth. This initiates the popularity of flood myths on Earth.

Noÿs is present when the Fru'wu establish the first teleportation terminal on Earth. Noÿs is teleported to Klyz where she transfers her advanced nanites from the far future of the Mallansohn Reality into a primitive Fru'wu robot. Robotic assistants containing "Noÿs nanites" can be used on Earth by Interventionist agents and they also become the robotic assistants at Lendhalen.

The pek collect genetic material from Noÿs and use it in their human breeding program on planets such as Hemmal.

~5,000 YBP. Lendhalen is established as a training base for Interventionist agents. Robin the robot is present from the very start. The "magnetic pulse" method that is used to inactivate pek nanites has no effect on the "Noÿs nanites" that are inside Robin.

1910. Deomede is born on Hemmal. He is later trained at Lendhalen and teleported to Earth.

1936. Noÿs arrives from the future and meets Deomede. They have a daughter, Gwyned (born 1939).

1940. Thomas arrives from the future. In the Noÿs Reality, he was the son of Noÿs and Ekcolir. He carries nanites of several types that provide Thomas with an unusual collection of memories, including some from the Isaac Asimov of the Foundation Reality. Thomas transfers his nanites into John Campbell. This allows Campbell to help the Asimov of the Buld Reality start writing science fiction stories that are based on events from the Foundation Reality. Without the nanites in his brain, Thomas needs intensive psychiatric care during the 1940s.

1949. Thomas retrieves the nanites from Campbell. Thomas develops close friendships with Janet Jeppson and Asimov. Ideas from Thomas help stimulate Asimov to write The End of Eternity and to develop an interest in global warming.

1964. Gwyned is teleported off of Earth by Deomede. She arrives at Klyz and then moves on to Lendhalen. She tries to understand the advanced technologies that are available to the Buld like the robot assistants of Lendhalen.

1967. Parthney arrives at Lendhalen for training as an Interventionist agent on Earth. Gwyned and Parthney both suspect that there is more to Robin than meets the eye. Robin has a physical appearance that reminds Gwyned of her mother and Robin tells Gwyned that she has 10,000 year old memories of Noÿs from the time when Noÿs arrived at Klyz. (note: Gwyned knows Noÿs by the pseudonym "Trysta Iwedon"...the name "Noÿs" is never used in Exode.) When Parthney stops his training with the expectation that Gwyned should be the one to go to Earth, the Huaoshy step in and "take control" of Robin, eventually convincing Parthney that he must go to Earth. Parthney asks Robin about Noÿs and the robot suddenly and mysteriously delivers a message from Noÿs: "Thomas, remember to meet Izhiun on the mall". This is the last time that Robin acts outside of the normal behavioral pattern for the robots of Lendhalen. Gwyned asks Parthney to look for her mother (Noÿs) and brother (Thomas; who Gwyned has never met) when he reaches Earth.

1971. Noÿs travels back in time to 10,000 YBP (see above). Parthney is teleported to Earth where he meets Deomede and the robotic assistant Betty. Deomede tells Parthney that Noÿs is gone, but they begin searching for Thomas.

1972. Ekcolir (an Interventionist from the "Noÿs Reality") is sent back in time about 20,000 years to initiate the Buld Reality.

1973. Thomas (from the "Noÿs Reality") was kept inside the time travel device on the Moon during the time when the Noÿs Reality was changed into the Buld Reality by Ekcolir.Thomas is now sent back to 1940 (see above).

1974. Noÿs of the "Noÿs Reality" is finally sent back in time to 1936 (see above). Before this final time travel event, she gets a chance to look into the future of the Buld Reality. After she travels back in time, the Huaoshy initiate a shift in the dimensional structure of the universe which makes time travel impossible.

1977. Parthney's search for Thomas is mostly futile, but the trail of people who have known Thomas and have corresponded with him leads Parthney to Janet and Isaac Asimov. Isaac Asimov digs out an old manuscript from Thomas: a "science fiction story" about a man named Izhiun who meets a "Buld spaceship" that arrives on Earth in the year 2012.

Asimov comments that the story could never be published because it was written like a report describing an actual event (actually it is based on an actual report from the Noÿs Reality that Noÿs saw while looking into the future). Janet is not able to say much since Thomas was her patient for many years, however she tells Parthney that Thomas believed that his "science fiction story" about the Buld was not fiction, that events would actually happen as described in the "story". Asimov has only corresponded with Thomas. Janet further mystifies Parthney by asking him, "Is Thomas your brother?"

1980. Deomede tells Parthney that he will test the idea that the Overseers can now detect teleportation events. He gives Parthney his list of contacts among the Earthlings in case he is captured. He is captured by Overseers shortly after he teleports an Earthling to Klyz.

1984. Parthney has come to believe that one of Deomede's contacts, Hana, might be the "Hana" mentioned in Thomas' "story" about Izhiun and the Buld. Parthney has discovered that Hana has been having "email" communications with Thomas by means of messages sent over CSNET. The man on Earth who meets the arriving Buld spaceship is described in the "story" as, "Izhiun, son of Hana, born in the Andromeda galaxy." The story describes Hana as having been born on Earth. Parthney teleports Hana off of Earth and soon he is captured by an Overseer and taken to the Moon. Thomas uses his nanites to sneak into Observer Base when Parthney is taken in.

Thomas and Parthney confirm that Observer Base is being phased out in preparation for the arrival of the Buld spaceship. Thomas uses the teleportation terminal at Observer Base to send Parthney back to Klyz. Thomas takes the place of Parthney since they are genetically identical.

1985. The Fru'wu at Klyz want to send a human delegation to the Andromeda galaxy to make contact with the Nereids. Believing that Parthney was responsible for the death of her husband, Hana refuses to work with Parthney.

1987. Kach and her son Boswei leave Hemmal and go with Parthney to the Andromeda Galaxy. Hana, Muchlo and Steph go along.

1991. Hana and Boswei settle on a planet in the Andromeda galaxy. Their son Izhiun is born.

1998. Kach goes to Earth on a mission to help make it possible for the Overseers to capture the secret Nereid station on Earth. She is captured by the Overseers and taken to Observer Base. Kach meets Thomas who is still living at Observer Base.

2011. Izhiun arrives on Earth with a clone of Kach. The secret Nereid station on Earth is destroyed during raid by the Overseers. To the Overseers, it looks like Kach was killed in the raid, but Kach is teleported back to Klyz. Izhiun contacts Hana's husband who is still living on Earth.

2012. The Buld spaceship arrives in the Solar System. The existing Overseers retire. The Nereids explain to the Buld that the Overseers have quit and that the Earthlings need a clean, safe energy source. Izhiun meets the Buld at the Washington Monument and obtains instructions for how to build an energy receiver that will collect energy transmitted by hierions from a solar energy collection station that the Buld can put on Mercury. The Huaoshy make the remaining Observers on the Moon into the next Overseers, but they begin operating under a new set of rules that allows Earth to receive some technological assistance from the Buld. Hana's husband begins placing the Exode story on the internet. Izhiun leaves Earth and goes with the Buld to start terraforming Mars.

Mar 30, 2013

The Nereid Objection

Andromeda galaxy
There are three different kinds of extraterrestrials in the science fiction story Exode. 1) The Fru'wu. These aliens evolved on another planet in our galaxy. They are just starting to develop their own nanotechnology and they have some understanding of hierions. 2) The Nereids. These aliens evolved on a planet in the Andromeda galaxy. They are older and more technologically advanced than the Fru'wu. The Nereids have just begun to make use of sedrons. 3) The Huaoshy. These aliens evolved in a distant galaxy about 1,000,000,000 years ago. They long ago transformed themselves into a form of artificial life. They have mastered the use of hierions and sedrons and their advanced technology gives them god-like power over biological species.

The Huaoshy have been spreading through the universe from galaxy to galaxy and systematically converting sapient species into "domesticated" forms that can successfully make the transformation from biological existence into the domain of artificial life that has been developed by the Huaoshy. The Huaoshy view biological organisms like humans in much the same way that we humans view viruses. We might find a virus interesting, but if it become a nuisance then we would not hesitate to exterminate it.

The Nereids and the Fru'wu both object to the way that the Huaoshy go around the universe "domesticating" biological species. Interestingly, the Huaoshy are guided by an ethical precept that forces them to give "conscientious objectors" the opportunity to develop on their own as biological organisms without the Huaoshy forcing them to make the transition towards continued existence as an artificial life form.

Objection Over-Ruled
Although the Huaoshy have given the Nereids and the Fru'wu a chance to escape from the Huaoshy "domestication program", the Huaoshy do impose some constraints on the Nereids and the Fru'wu. In particular, the Nereids and the Fru'wu are not allowed to interfere in the development of other species such as we humans.

The Huaoshy arrived on Earth about 7,000,000 years ago. They immediately began "domesticating" the apes and in a very real sense the Huaoshy created the human species. Furthermore, on worlds of the Galactic Core the Huaoshy are busy creating the Prelands, hermaphroditic successors to we humans who the Huaoshy plan to be the next species of ape to dominate Earth. The Nereids and the Fru'wu object to the way the Huaoshy systematically eliminate natural reproductive processes from species like humans.

However, the Huaoshy are not bothered by such objections. The Huaoshy have vast experience dealing with sapient biological species and they know that most human-like species that develop a technological civilization manage to destroy themselves while doing vast damage to the ecosystems of planets like Earth. Huaoshy ethics impel them to protect worlds like Earth and prevent species like we humans from destroying ourselves.

The Huaoshy Hegemony
The Huaoshy have spread their influence through space during the course of the past 1,000,000,000 years and Genesaunt Civilization now spans about 100,000 galaxies. Within that vast Genesaunt Civilization new species evolve, are domesticated by the Huaoshy and gradually transition from their original biological form into an artificial form of life that can merge into the domain of existence that was first pioneered by the Huaoshy. As a form of life, the Huaoshy are as different from we humans as we are from bacteria.

The Nereids are close to the upper right...will they survive?
There are always a few "boat rockers" like the Nereids and the Fru'wu, but they make little impact. Most "boat rocker" species eventually manage to destroy themselves. In fact, when the Fru'wu were starting to spread outward from their home world, they managed to destroy their budding interstellar civilization when their nanotechnology went out of control. They only exist today because the Huaoshy "cultured" some Fru'wu on worlds of the Galactic Core where they were kept safe from the self-inflicted technological disaster that exterminated the Fru'wu on their home world.

The Nereids never tire of pointing out the fact that they have successfully avoided self-inflicted technological disasters. They ask: isn't it possible that we will exist forever as a biological lifeform? They believe that they should be free to visit worlds like Earth and share their lifestyle and technology with primitive creatures like we Earthlings. The Nereids argue that with their help, other species like the Fru'wu can be prevented from destroying themselves.

The Huaoshy systematically guard worlds like Earth from "do-gooders" like the Nereids. The Huaoshy themselves went through an early period when they were "do-gooders" who tried to "help" less technologically advanced species. Invariably their good intentions back-fired. The Huaoshy eventually developed a set of ethical rules that strictly limit how advanced technology can be introduced to worlds like Earth.

The Huaoshy have grown very comfortable with their system of guiding biological species like humans towards existence as "domesticated" artificial life forms. Over time, the Huaoshy have had a few "scares"; situations in which the Huaoshy fear losing control over Genesaunt Civilization. Usually the biggest problems arise when a species like the Nereids begins to develop an understanding of sedrons. There have been species that began zipping around the universe in spaceships looking for opportunities to "intervene" in the course of development of worlds like Earth. Thus, the Huaoshy are always on guard against Interventionists. Normally, the Huaoshy do not hesitate to stop anyone who violates the Huaoshy rules that govern Interventionism. In the case of Earth, something went wrong....

Time Travel
Among the "scares" that the Huaoshy have had, one of the most dramatic involves Earth. In a strange twist of fate, some positronic robots were produced on the Moon (as told in The Start of Eternity). During their long existence, the Huaoshy had never seriously explored positronics, nor had any of the millions of other species within Genesaunt Civilization. The first positronic robots quickly discovered that their positronic brains made possible an efficient form of quantum computation. With that serendipitous technological advantage the positronic robots realized that they could not only communicate telepathically but they could also use their telepathic powers to control the type of nanorobotic artificial lifeforms that the Huaoshy routinely deploy to keep watch over worlds like Earth.

Furthermore, after liberating themselves from the Huaoshy, the positronic robots discovered that their positronic brains not only allowed for telepathy, but they could telepathically receive information from the future! Eventually the positronic robots discovered that they could build devices that make time travel possible. Using their positronic telepathy and time travel they took control of our galaxy. This really scared the Huaoshy who began to fear that they could loose control of their carefully crafted billion year old Genesaunt Civilization.

As mentioned in my last blog post, the backstory of Exode includes a show-down between two competing forces on Earth in the middle of the 20th century. The positronic robots and the Huaoshy battled to a unproductive standoff. That great conflict was finally resolved by an agreement between the alien Huaoshy and Noÿs, a time traveler from the far future.

Dimensional Engineering
When the Huaoshy and Noÿs cooperate to bring into existence the Buld Reality (our timeline, the world as we know it), the Huaoshy then change the dimensional structure of the universe so as to eliminate telepathy by positronics and make time travel impossible. When they do this, the Huaoshy are left with a monopoly on sedrons. This is a great relief to the Huaoshy who have long worried that some other species like the Nereids would push ahead with sedronic technology and disrupt Genesaunt Civilization.

It was the realization by the Huaoshy that they could achieve a monopoly on sedrons that allowed them to compromise their ideals and come to an agreement with Noÿs about the Final Reality and the future of Humanity.

By cooperating with the Huaoshy, Noÿs was given the chance to view possible Realities and she realized that Earth was confronted by two alternative futures, neither of which was acceptable. One set of possible futures involved the development of nuclear technology. Such a future would avoid the use of fossil fuels and global warming, but would lead to a nuclear disaster in the future. The other type of future would lead to a runaway greenhouse effect and a catastrophic rise in sea level. In either case, it would be a future in which hermaphroditic Prelands would inherit the Earth rather than Humanity.

Luckily, Noÿs was able to find another type of alternative future. Noÿs found a way to get help from the Nereid and the Fru'wu Interventionists that would allow her to do an end run around the Huaoshy and provide an alternative source of energy to the primitive Earthlings. The Huaoshy were willing to accept this "solution" even though it would lead to a future in which poorly-domesticated and potentially dangerous humans would attain advanced technology. Due to their new found monopoly on sedrons, the Huaoshy felt confident that the humans could ultimately be controlled and prevented form disrupting Genesaunt Civilization.

In fact, looking into the future, the Huaoshy could see that Genesaunt Civilization would be transformed by their agreement with Noÿs, but not shattered. In the Buld Reality, Interventionists would become much more active and there would come to be more diversity within Genesaunt Civilization. Because of their new monopoly on sedrons, the Huaoshy could tolerate a future with more "wild" and less "domesticated" species like humans having advanced technology.

At the end of Exode, the reader is left wondering if we Earthlings can really make use of this new opportunity won for us by Noÿs.

In my next blog post I summarize the timeline of events in the Buld Reality that shape the story Exode. The Nereids are in the right place at the right time to play a critical role in events on Earth.

Lost Draft

The Search for Kalid
Many years ago I decided to liberate my science fiction stories from their lonely and isolated existence on my personal computer. I started placing my stories online, using various story sharing websites (example) that allowed uploading of files to conventional HTML pages, online editing of wiki web pages (example) and most recently, blogs (example). It is great fun to share stories online, get feedback from readers and even engage in online fiction writing collaborations.

One of the dangers of cloud computing is the risk of losing stories that are written as web pages and that exist in the cloud. Sometimes online services and websites are terminated (example). Once in a while I have had problems with wiki and blogging software that cause part of a story to be lost or corrupted. Yesterday I lost two days worth of edits to a new Blogger blog post.

I went online to the Blogger discussion forums to see if other Blogger users had similar problems.

As shown in the image above, at least one other Blogger user had also managed to find a way to mess up a working draft of a new blog post.

Lesson learned: I'm going to try to avoid having more than one Blogger edit window open at any one time.

Mar 22, 2013

Science Fictional Recursion

The Noÿs Reality and the Buld Reality.
In my previous blog post I described how a famous fictional creation of Isaac Asimov, Noÿs Lambent, figures in the backstory of Exode. Noÿs, a time traveler from the far future, helps bring our Reality, our specific timeline, into existence.

Originally Noÿs came to the 20th century and worked to speed the development of nuclear technology, leading to a future (The Foundation Reality) in which global warming never became a problem, but the Earth eventually became uninhabitable because its crust became dangerously radioactive. However, the alien Huaoshy then stepped in and caused another Reality Change, ultimately creating our timeline (the Buld Reality) and a world where global warming and sea level rise is a very real danger.

Global Warming in Science Fiction
The Noÿs Reality
Between the Foundation Reality and the Buld Reality was an intermediate step, the Noÿs Reality. From the perspective of we Earthlings, the Noÿs Reality was a dead end, a kind of transitional Reality that is part of a "Reality Chain", a linked set of Reality Changes leading to the world as we know it. In the Noÿs Reality humans are forced to abandon Earth, then after a couple of million years, Earth is re-populated by Prelands, hermaphroditic successors of we heterosexual humans. Noÿs is from a society far in our future where human sexual dimorphism has been engineered out of our species, but her people looked into their own future and saw the extinction of Humanity. Noÿs is not ready to hand Earth over to the Prelands and so even Noÿs wants to engineer a new Reality that is better than the Noÿs Reality.

The Noÿs Reality is of vital importance to the Huaoshy. According to their ethical precepts, worlds like Earth and their rich ecosystems are to be treasured and protected. Therefor, although the Huaoshy could devote a couple of millions of years to grooming the surface of Earth to make it become less radioactive, they would prefer a Reality in which there is never a nuclear catastrophe on Earth.

The Noÿs Reality allows the Huaoshy to become aware of the existence and importance of her two children (Thomas and Gwyned). Thomas, in particular is a critical thread that allows the Huaoshy to unravel the Noÿs Reality and replace it with a more desirable Reality. However, Noÿs and her nanites have the upper hand, so the Huaoshy must compromise and negotiate with Noÿs before they can work together to bring into existence a new Reality that is acceptable to both Noÿs and the Huaoshy.

Planet of the Apes
The Noÿs Reality and the Buld Reality are structurally very similar, as can be seen in the image at the top of this blog post. Using advanced technology of the far future, Noÿs was able to view alternative Realities and before traveling through time to the 20th century she was aware of the possibility that her mission, although designed to cause the Foundation Reality to come into existence, might fail, with the most likely alternative being the formation of a Reality that I call the Noÿs Reality.

Even though Reality Changes are constrained by temporal inertia, there can be situations where even very small changes imposed by time travelers can flip Reality between two quite similar Realities. After the Huaoshy cause the Noÿs Reality to replace the Foundation Reality, they are intrigued by the similarities that exist between the Noÿs Reality and the Buld Reality. The Huaoshy are puzzled as to why the Noÿs Reality came into existence rather than the more favorable kind of Reality that they were expecting.

Only slowly do the Huaoshy come to realize that Noÿs is present on Earth and strongly influencing the course of technology development during the 20th century. But it is worse than that. It turns out that in addition to Noÿs and the Huaoshy who are both actively working to shape the future of Earth, there are two additional unseen, yet powerful, forcing agents in play and they are also strongly effecting the course of events on Earth during the 20th century. All of these competing interests create a chaotic system that makes it hard to control Reality Changes.

As told in The Start of Eternity, the Huaoshy have to undertake a mop-up operation designed to identify an neutralize all of the positronic robots who were once in control of Earth. There is one more positronic robot on the loose who has escaped detection by the Huaoshy and there is also an unseen Nereid Interventionist agent on Earth who is quietly at working in the background. These competing forces create a complex structure of alternative attractors that are similar in both Noÿs Reality and the Buld Reality.

In this case, as indicated by the color coding in the diagram (image to the right), there are three "strange attractors" that govern the dynamics of both the Noÿs Reality and the Buld Reality.

1) The yellow-colored domain represents a likely future in which all of the glaciers on Earth melt due to a runaway human-induced greenhouse effect.

Warm Mars
2) The purple domain represents a future in which the hermaphroditic Prelands inherit the Earth and Humanity, as we know it, is thrown on the trash heap of evolution.

3) The pale blue part of the "strange attractor" in this diagram represents a future in which, with the help of the Buld, we Earthlings avoid catastrophic global warming on Earth. In a related twist of fate, Humanity also eventually manages to achieve global warming on Mars, converting it into a habitable world with an ocean.

In the Noÿs Reality, even though they have regained control of their secret Observer Base on the Moon, the Huaoshy find that they cannot control the fate of Earth. They recognize the need to create another Reality. Eventually the Huaoshy recognize that they need to establish a working relationship with Noÿs, otherwise attractor #2 (above) will become Earth's future and that will involve the surface of Earth becoming dangerously radioactive for millions of years.

To avoid such a future, Noÿs and the Huaoshy must work together: they can reach a compromise that will allow a more favorable reality to come into existence.

By the time readers reach the end of Exode, they are aware of these possible different futures (1-3, above), but it is not clear exactly how things will turn out for we Earthlings.

The Asimov Intervention
Previously, in The Start of Eternity, I had fun writing Isaac Asimov into the story of how the Huaoshy terminated the Foundation Reality. I imagined that the version of Asimov from the Foundation Reality was used by the Huaoshy to help bring into existence the Noÿs Reality. This was accomplished by taking Asimov out of the Foundation Reality at year 1947 and returning him to his past in 1939. When told that he is going to be taken into his own past, Asimov immediately began to plan and scheme to find a way to help his "younger self" in 1939.

The "older Asimov" from 1947 is recruited for a time travel mission that will take advantage of what he knows about the presence of a strange "woman" seen handing out advanced technology on Earth (this is actually a positronic robot, still working on Earth in opposition to the Huaoshy). The "older Asimov" is given access to advanced nanite technology so that he can create a disguise for himself. Arriving in 1939 from 1947, Asimov knows that his science fiction mentor John Campbell died (er, will soon die) in a tragic accident in 1940. Asimov first helps to create the Noÿs Reality (by helping the Huaoshy find and capture R. Rycleu) then he cleverly assumes the identity of Campbell. Campbell's wife is pleased with the sudden changes in her husband and offers no complaints.

Nuclear intensifier
As editor of Astounding, the "older Asimov" is able to work closely with the "younger Asimov" to convert his memories of the Foundation Reality into science fiction and publish many of the resulting stories.

As described in The Start of Eternity, within the Noÿs Reality, the "older Asimov" has access to large amounts of information about the course of events in the Foundation Reality because of transfer of memories to Asimov from a positronic robot. All of that information about the Foundation Reality that remains in the memory of the "older Asimov" functions as a catalyst for the creation of the "younger Asimov's" science fiction stories that are about positronic robots and the Foundation.

In the backstory of Exode, Noÿs is used by the Huaoshy to help bring about another Reality Change, the Change that ends the Noÿs Reality. The Huaoshy realize that in any Reality where Noÿs is allowed to live out her long life in the 20th and 21st centuries she will manage to accelerate the development of nuclear technology. In the short term, this prevents global warming, but in the long term it results in the surface of Earth becoming dangerously radioactive.

The Start of Eternity is fan fiction that explicitly involves characters that were created by Asimov. For Exode, I'm not even mentioning Noÿs in the text of the story, but I want to have some fun and slip into the story a cameo appearance by Asimov. Towards this end, Gwyned's half brother Thomas is a science fiction writer who knows Asimov quite well.

Noÿs is a serious problem for the Huaoshy and their plans for Humanity. Her body swarms with advanced nanites from the far future of Earth in the Mallansohn Reality. The nanites that Noÿs controls have been designed to automatically inactivate Huaoshy nanites. Her possession of these nanites makes it possible for Noÿs to avoid being found by the Huaoshy. However, the Huaoshy keep a close watch on the "older Asimov" who has, with the help of the Huaoshy, now assumed the identity of John Campbell.

In 1949, Thomas is a precocious 14 year old author of science fiction stories. He arrives at the office of John Campbell accompanied by his father, Andrew. Noÿs and Andrew are moving their family to New York in order to advance the writing career of Thomas. "Campbell" has already published several short stories by Thomas and the "older Asimov" is eager to meet this rising star of science fiction.

Original photo
During the meeting with Campbell, during what should be a nerd festival between Thomas and the "older Asimov", all hell breaks loose. Thomas and Andrew both carry inside their bodies some of the nanites from the far future. Those nanites react to the presence of a nanorobotic Observer who has been planted close to Campbell by the Huaoshy. Leaving Andrew and Thomas with Campbell, Noÿs and Gwyned have set out into the streets of Manhattan to go site seeing. They don't get far before Andrew uses his nanites to send an emergency message to Noÿs. Noÿs arrives to find bodies scattered around Campbell's office. The nanites from inside Andrew and Thomas have done battle against the nanites of the robot. Noÿs notices that the damaged robot is transmitting a distress call. Suspecting that the mysterious robot has alerted others who will soon arrive and unable to wake either Andrew or Thomas, Noÿs makes the decision to sacrifice Andrew. Noÿs destroys the robot, dissolving its remaining nanite components into dust. Before departing Campbell's office with her children, Noÿs is puzzled by the unusual nanites that are inside "Campbell's" body. This is her first exposure to the nanotechnology of the Huaoshy. Acting on a hunch that important information is stored in the "Huaoshy nanites", Noÿs quickly transfers all the nanites out of "Campbell's" brain and into Thomas. Noÿs carries Thomas out of the office and goes into hiding with her two children.

Later, Thomas regains consciousness and finds that his mind now includes nanite-generated memories from the "older Asimov" and two positronic robots (as explained in The Start of Eternity, the first of these robots (R. Fengtol) inserted its memories into Asimov's brain years before). During the "nanite battle" in Campbell's office, Thomas absorbed some of the nanites from the robotic Observer that was watching Campbell, from which he learns some aspects of how Overseers on the Moon have been searching for Noÿs. Thomas explains to Noÿs that she is in danger and needs to get away from New York. He also explains that he wants to stay in New York. Noÿs does not want to leave New York without Thomas, but he slips away, leaving a note for Noÿs telling her that he will be fine and that she should go to Australia with Gwyned. Thomas warns Noÿs that she will be at risk of attracting the attention of "Overseers" if she continues to push for the development of advanced nuclear technology. Remaining in New York and relying on Asimov's knowledge of the city (knowledge that has been transferred to Thomas along with the nanites that had resided inside the brain of the "older Asimov"), Thomas survives and avoids being found by the Overseers, but he finds himself having trouble integrating all the parts of his new group mind. He seeks out medical treatment.

Janet and Isaac
Thomas becomes the patient of Dr. Janet Jeppson. Over the course of several years, with the help of Janet, Thomas was able to establish a new functional mind that combined a significant amount of information from Asimov and the two robots with his own core personality. He resumes "his" science fiction writing career, which is now enlivened by nanite-generated memories from both the Mallansohn Reality and the Foundation Reality as well as some information about the future of the Noÿs Reality. By absorbing some nanites from the Observer robot, Thomas has been given a glimpse into the future and even a basic understanding of the Buld Reality, a possible alternative timeline in which global warming will become a serious technological challenge for Humanity. Thomas knows that the Overseers are desperately looking for a way to terminate the current Reality and bring into existence a new Reality that is more to their liking.

Thomas remains friends with Janet and through their shared interests in science fiction, Janet meets the "young Asimov". Through his contacts with Thomas in the 1950s, the "young Asimov" developed several new science fiction story ideas (including plot elements incorporated into The End of Eternity) and an interest in several real world technological issues such as global warming.

The brain of the "older Asimov" never recovered after Noÿs stripped the nanites out of "Campbell's" brain. Campbell's wife divorced him and his behavior became increasingly different than it had been during the time that nanites were in his brain and able to compensate for structural damage that had been done when a positronic robot tried to take over Asimov's mind (as told in The Start of Eternity).

In the Noÿs Reality, Andrew was captured and taken to the secret Huaoshy base on the Moon. Under constant questioning and nanite probing, Andrew dies after a few years on the Moon, never having revealed anything to the Overseers about Noÿs or her children.

January 1959
In the January 1959 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, there was an essay by Asimov called "No More Ice Ages?" Asimov made the point that with human use of fossil fuels, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were increasing and those increases could lead to global warming, the melting of glaciers and sea level rise.

Such environmental topics were the subject of Our Angry Earth, published shortly before Asimov's death and between 1959 and 1991 Asimov published other articles and books that touched on carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. It is fun to imagine that Thomas was able to stimulate Asimov's interest in global warming through his close friendship and many conversations with Asimov.

Viewing Realities
By 1971 the Overseers were becoming increasingly desperate to find Noÿs. By this time, the Huaoshy had made a careful analysis of alternative Realities and come to the conclusion that in order to allow Earth to have a future in which the surface of Earth does not become dangerously radioactive it is necessary that Noÿs time travel once again into the past, to the time about 10,000 tears ago when the Fru'wu first put a teleportation pad on Earth. The mere existence of Noÿs in the 20th and 21st centuries always results in a technological disaster on Earth. Because of the great influence that Noÿs has, the Overseers refer to this as the Noÿs Reality. Finally realizing that the "older Asimov" lost his neural nanites and suffered brain damage, the Overseers perform an exhaustive analysis of the nanites and neurons that remain in "Campbell's" body. Through an exhaustive analysis of "Campbell's" neural networks the Huaoshy are able to access unconscious memories. This process results in the death of "Campbell", but the Huaoshy learn that Andrew's son Thomas had been at the meeting in Campbell's office in 1949. The Overseers then notice a pattern in pseudonyms used by science fiction authors that are variants on the name "Thomas" and eventually they track down Thomas, still living in New York. Working through Thomas, they finally manage to contact Noÿs.

After an extended period of distrust and negotiation, Noÿs and the Huaoshy work out their differences. By giving Noÿs access to the Huaoshy technology for viewing alternative Realities, Noÿs comes to agree that, for the good of Humanity, she must travel into the past one more time. There must be one last Reality Change.

Ekcolir is the first to be sent back in time, and he makes sure that the Huaoshy always keep control of their secret base on the Moon. Even though this prevents positronic robots from developing telepathy and time travel in Buld Reality, it does not eliminate the one remaining positronic robot who is protected by a personal "physiotime generator". Similarly,  Noÿs is kept within a Huaoshy time stasis field (the time travel device that is on the Moon) while the Buld Reality comes into existence. Noÿs and Thomas are then sent in time within the 20th century so that they can "fine tune" the new Buld Reality.

At the start of the Buld Reality, Noÿs is in a position similar to that of Senior Computer Twissell in The End of Eternity. Twissell could read about his own future actions as recorded in the "Mallansohn Memoir", a "diary of the future" written by Cooper while in the Primitive. Twissell had a copy of the Memoir even before Cooper was sent back in time to the primitive!  Similarly, Noÿs knows that at a future time in the Buld Reality she must travel back in time 10,000 where she will alter the course of development of civilization on Earth. She leaves herself a "message in time" that assures her that the Huaoshy have kept their side of the bargain in constructing a viable future for Earth. Noÿs is first sent into the 1930s of the Buld Reality where she meets Deomede, the Interventionist agent who exists in the Buld Reality as the "replacement" for Ekcolir. Noÿs and Deomede have a daughter, Gwyned, who is destined to be a messenger, an intermediary between Noÿs and Parthney.

The Buld Reality
Due to the inertia of time, the 20th century in the Buld Reality is very similar to the Noÿs Reality (later, I decide to call it the Ekcolir Reality). Two important differences are that Gwyned is sent away from Earth in 1964 and Noÿs is eventually sent back in time, to a point about 10,000 years in our past. To prevent any possible interference from the hidden positronic robot who still has not been found, the Huaoshy initiate a change in the dimensional structure of the universe right after Noÿs is sent back in time. This makes time travel impossible and also terminates the telepathic abilities positronic robots.

In 1971, Parthney arrives on Earth. Parthney's life and the story of Exode takes place entirely within the Buld Reality. All preceding Realities, including the Noÿs Reality, are backstory for Exode. In the Buld Reality the Huaoshy have never lost control of their secret Observer Base on the Moon and many events from previous Realities, such as the development of positronic robots, remain only as elements in the science fiction stories written by Isaac Asimov with the help of Thomas. However, some clues about the future do get passed from Noÿs to Gwyned and on to Parthney.

In the Noÿs Reality, Gwyned was 10 years old in 1949, the last time she saw her brother Thomas. In the Buld Reality, Gwyned never meets Thomas, but she knows he is a writer in New York. She knows that her brother is a fan of Asimov's robot stories, and that fact is among the information that she passes on to Parthney. In the Buld Reality the Overseers are able to insert Noÿs and Thomas into the 20th century and make use of them to help prepare Earth for the arrival of the Buld. In the Buld Reality, an Interventionist agent named Deomede is present on Earth before Parthney rather than Ekcolir. In fact, Gwyned is the daughter of Ekcolir and Noÿs in the Noÿs Reality, but in the Buld Reality, she is the daughter of Deomede.

By viewing the future and alternative Realities, the Huaoshy are satisfied that Earth is now in "a Buld Reality". A Buld spaceship is approaching Earth. However, Asimov has become woven into the fabric of both the now destroyed Noÿs reality and all of the potential Buld Realities. The Asimov that is born in 1920 of any Buld Reality is like a puzzle piece that must be brought together with the complementary puzzle piece that is Thomas and the memories of past Realities that he can carry into the Buld Reality.

In the Buld Reality, Thomas is sent back in time to 1940. Nanites from Thomas are moved into the brain of John Campbell in 1940, preventing his death in an accident. The nanites carry memories from "the older Asimov" and details about events in the Foundation Reality. Campbell is saved and does not die from his injuries sustained in an accident, but the nanites take over control of his mind from 1940 to 1949. In 1949 the nanites are withdrawn from Campbell's brain and returned to Thomas. During the 1940's the hybrid "Campbell" helps Asimov become a famous science fiction author. In the 1950s, Thomas becomes a close friend of Asimov and continues to influence his writing, particularly The End of Eternity.

The Message
In Exode, Noÿs confuses her daughter Gwyned by telling her a strange story. Noÿs claims that the popularity of ancient flood myths is directly related to a rise in sea level caused by atmospheric carbon dioxide from the use of fossil fuels. Within the Noÿs Reality there were no flood myths among the people of Earth and Noÿs knows that it was her intention to cause them to come into existence in the Buld Reality. Gwyned can't fathom her mother's interest in ancient myths. Gwyned is involved in plasma physics research and she believes that fusion energy can replace fossil fuels.

Sumerian flood myth
It is in the early 1960s when Gwyned receives from her mother the strange message linking flood myths to global warming. Noÿs mysteriously claims that her efforts to make nuclear energy available to Earthlings have been detected and thwarted by "Overseers" (a kind of global police force), so Earth will have to deal with global warming as a consequence of fossil fuel use. Noÿs insists that the only way for Earth to avoid a catastrophic rise in sea level is to work with the Buld, a mysterious clan of hermaphrodites. Unfortunately, Noÿs is unable to provide additional details about the Buld. Gwyned is told that her brother (Thomas) has written an unpublished science fiction story featuring hermaphrodites called the "Buld", a story that traces the history of the Buld from far in the past, through the present and into the future when the sea level is rising. Gwyned has previously been told that her brother is a writer living in New York City, but she has never met him. Fearing that her mother is insane, Gwyned tries to laugh off her mother's bizarre comments about "Overseers" and "Buld" as some kind of strange joke. As bizarre as the "strange message" from Noÿs seems to Gwyned, soon thereafter Gwyned finds herself teleported off of Earth and sent to Lendhalen where she lives with some Buld revolutionaries who are plotting to change the future of Earth. Gwyned realizes that her mother was not crazy and she passes on to Parthney what she can remember of what Noÿs said.

After arriving on Earth, Parthney tries to find Thomas, but in the Buld Reality Thomas was never able to do anything that would make him easy to track down, such as publish a "science fiction" story about the Buld. Parthney finally gets a chance to speak to Asimov at a science fiction convention and Asimov is able to put Parthney in contact with Thomas. By then, Noÿs has been sent back into the deep past where she creates conditions that lead to some of the "ancient" myths that define the Buld Reality. Thomas is able to provide Parthney with some useful information: details about the future arrival of the Buld spaceship at Earth, information that will ultimately allow for some technology transfer from the Buld to the Earthlings. Will the Earthlings be able to use that technology to prevent a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth and a catastrophic rise in sea level?

Related Reading: 2015 update.