May 3, 2014

Imaginary Collaboration

A type B brain
Let's Pretend
Imagine that the world is populated by two different types of people. Type A people all have a defective brain that provides them with only five special senses: vision, hearing, smell, taste and the vestibular sense (balance).

The type B people have an additional special sense that allows them to experience God. The behavior of type B people includes:
1) talking to God (in prayer and other rituals),
Left: type A. Right: type B.
2) trying to explain events in the world as being the result of God's will and God's actions and
3) condemning type A people for their inability to perceive the existence of God.

Imagine that behavior #3 (above) is sometimes taken to extremes. For example, picture a long history of type A people being murdered by type B people because of their "defect". In order to protect themselves, the type A people try to avoid the Type B folk. Type A folk live in the City of Man while the type B people live in the City of God.

Recessive Disease
The brain defect that causes type A people to not experience God can naturally arise in children of type B people. This results in some type A children who grow up in the City of God. Since kids are adaptable, most type A children living in the City of God can pretend to talk to God and so their inability to experience God often goes unnoticed. Of course, when these "fake type Bs" grow up and have children, the inevitable genetic outcome is even more type A children being born in the City of God.

Some of the type A children who find themselves living in the City of God never figure out how to "fake it": they don't pretend to be a type B person. These unfortunate souls can have a devil of a time. If they are lucky, they discover the existence of the City of Man, escape from the City of God and live happily ever after.

"Parthney, when we reach the next millennium
I'll wear long pants and you can wear heals!"
The pek morph into purple creatures
with slimy tentacles for this whimsical
1940s pulpish adventure scene.
In my science fiction novel Exode, Parthney is a Type A person who finds himself growing up in the City of God. Parthney is an agnostic and gives little thought to the existence of God. However, since everyone he knows on his home planet (Hemmal, a world located in the galactic core) seems to believe in God, Parthney is willing to entertain the idea that God exists, even though he has never experienced God.

Parthney has a good imagination. He develops a healthy fantasy life in which he imagines a city full of people like himself: type A folk who, like him, do not experience God. As a young man Parthney finally meets another Type A person (Yandrey). Yandrey explains to Parthney that Earth is a world were millions of Type A people live. So Parthney leaves behind the City of God and sets off on a quest to find the City of Man. What a great adventure for the young agnostic!

Parthney's departure from Hemmal and journey through space lasts a few years but finally culminates with his arrival on Earth. "Earth" is what we Earthlings call the City of Man. Parthney is amused to discover that there are many type B people on Earth who fantasize about going to the City of God. As an Interventionist agent, Parthney actually has the technological means to teleport people off of Earth and he must resist the temptation to remove type B individuals from Earth and send them off on their own adventures in search of the City of God.

The Exode Trilogy
Exode is the third novel in a trilogy of books. The first two novels in the trilogy describe the events that lead up to Parthney's life. The events of Exode all take place in our Reality, the universe as we know it. Book I of the trilogy (Trysta and Ekcolir) takes place in the previous Reality. Reality Changes like the one that brings Parthney in to existence are made possible by time travel.

Plots involving time travel are a type of science fiction disease...for some of us, a kind of addiction. I also suffer from "fan fiction disease", an irresistible desire to complete the unfinished works of my favorite authors.

Book II of the Exode Trilogy (The Foundations of Eternity) is fundamentally classifiable as fan fiction; a tribute to the science fiction of Isaac Asimov.

The literary effects of mixing together time travel and fan fiction can be powerful, hallucinatory. Case in point: the Exode Trilogy.

I've been rather obsessed with Isaac Asimov's science fiction since the day I stumbled across his novel The Gods Themselves. If any one is counting, that was more than 40 years ago.  The type of experience provided to me by that discovery was documented in the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy.

After reading The Gods Themselves I soon found Asimov's stories about positronic robots and his Foundation Trilogy. Later, Asimov's decision to merge his character Daneel into the Foundation Saga was an act of genius. My path to writing Asimov fan fiction was paved by disappointment. I've never been able to accept that Asimov was taken from us before he wrote a sequel to his science fiction novel Foundation and Earth.

A few years ago I began writing a fan fiction sequel to Foundation and Earth. As it turns out, The Foundations of Eternity is also a sequel to Asimov's time travel novel, The End of Eternity. For The Foundations of Eternity, I could not resist making Asimov a character in my story. It is Asimov himself who terminates the Foundation Reality, the Reality that Noÿs Lambent went to a whole bunch of trouble to bring into existence.

Asimov claimed to have an astonishingly simple formula for writing a novel: think of a starting point and the ending and then begin writing at the start and just keep writing until you reach the end. In the case of The Foundations of Eternity, I only knew where to begin the story and for several years I could not find a satisfactory end point. My inability to finish the story was due to a plot hole in The End of Eternity.

One of the best features of The End of Eternity was that Noÿs and Andrew put an end to time travel. Or did they? "Eternity" was the time travel "device" of Earth and they put an end to it, but was that really the end of time travel? Of course not.

Thought Experiment
Imagine a universe in which humans develop the technology that makes time travel possible. How could you really, truly and for all time put an end to time travel? To answer that puzzler I have to go back a few years to when I first started writing stories set in the Exodemic Fictional Universe.

If the universe is about 14 billion years old then it seems possible that on some distant planet a technologically advanced civilization could have arisen a billion years ago. That seemed obvious to me when I was 12 years old and I had already read Edward Elmer Smith's story about the Arisians.

Science fiction stories in which space ships zip between the stars at seperluminal speeds are great fun, but in my heart I can't escape the conviction that the speed of light is a speed limit that we will never surpass. When I started writing my own science fiction stories I stuck to the galactic speed limit. However, I could not resist the game of trying to imagine a trick of some kind that might allow science fiction heroes to travel between the stars as casually as we can now visit cities all around the world.

Assembling R. Gohrlay
In the Exodemic Fictional Universe my equivalent of the Arisian's are called the Huaoshy. Like us, the Huaoshy evolved on a watery planet, developed space ships and set out to reach the stars. After a long struggle they finally discovered how to break the speed limit: they simply had to change the physical laws of the universe. The Huaoshy carried out a great dimensional engineering project. When completed, they could finally travel through space at speeds faster than light. (see The Legend of Uvadekoto)

For all their technological prowess, the Huaoshy did not realize that their little alteration of the universe had the unexpected consequence of making time travel possible. In a strange quirk of fate, the discovery of time travel technology had to wait until about a billion years later after a Neanderthal woman named Gohrlay was born. That story is told in The Foundations of Eternity.

The Foundations of Eternity is also a prequel to Asimov's robot stories. The structure of Gohrlay's brain became the template for the digital circuits found inside all positronic robots. The Foundations of Eternity tells how the mentalic abilities of positronic brain first arose and explains the origin of the three laws of robotics. R. Gohrlay and "her" fellow positronic robots went on to develop the technology that made Eternity possible.

Eventually, after 10,000,000 years, R. Gohrlay realized that Eternity had to be destroyed and so Noÿs Lambent was trained to be the agent of that Change.

The original dimensional structure
When telepathic robots suddenly came into existence, they discovered that the pek had been visiting Earth for millions of years. Their battle with Earth's tribe of telepathic robots came as quite a shock to the pek. Never before, through hundred of millions of years, had a primitive species given any resistance to the pek. In the fullness of Time, the Huaoshy finally realized that time travel was possible.

It was their own meddling with the dimensional structure of the universe that had made both time travel and telepathy possible. The Huaoshy realized that it was possible to alter the dimensional structure of the universe one more time in such a way that time travel would no longer be possible but they would still be able to travel at super-luminal speeds.

As told in the Exode Trilogy, R. Gohrlay eventually learns that she cannot defeat the Huaoshy, but she does win for we Earthlings a chance to reach the stars.

The Thomas Collaboration
When I began exploring the details of Parthney's life I stumbled upon the strange fact that Parthney is just the last in a series of clones. The original template for those clones was Thomas Iwedon. Thomas was an author, so I began a collaboration with Thomas, taking advantage of his special relationship with Trysta, the only Asterothrope who ever lived on Earth here in the Primitive era.

Thomas was able to learn some of the secret history of Earth from his mother. Those hints and glimmers of the truth stimulated his imagination and his writing of stories like The Miners of Earth.

Thomas torments Asimov with Daveed
It was by way of the startling revelations in The Miners of Earth that I first became aware of the fact that the pek had been on Earth long before they first took a primate off to the Galactic Core. I'll always be grateful to Thomas for the insights I have gained through our collaborative efforts.

Early in his writing career, Thomas went through a phase in which he specialized in writing science fiction stories. He then suffered a damaging insult to his mind when his brain was infested by nanites that were dumped into him during a violent confrontation between Trysta and an Observer.

When Thomas finally regained control of his cognitive processes, he shifted to writing fantasy. It is only through my exposure to the fantasy stories of Thomas that  have been able to make any progress in my experimental efforts to write a fantasy story. Thus, my imaginary collaboration with Thomas has given me an appreciation for the creative power of imaginary collaborations.

The Editor's imagined Ivory
Me, Myself and I
After a few years of enjoying the fun of inserting Asimov into The Foundations of Eternity as a character, I decided to take the plunge and write myself into the Exode Trilogy. If R. Gohrlay had won we Earthlings the right to learn about the Huaoshy and the secret history of Earth then I wanted to be the one to tell that story.

In previous blog posts I've described how it became possible for me to function as a node of connection between Ivory and Thomas, a device by which their two collections of knowledge can be combined and integrated so as to reveal the secret history of Earth as told in the Exode Trilogy. Progress in the telling of that story depends on my collaboration with Angela, one of the Atlantis Clones. It is Angela who has the critically important skill with the Bimanoid Interface and it is her ability to tap into the information reservoir of the Sedronic Domain that will allow the Exode Trilogy to be completed.

My collaboration with Angela is complicated by the fact that I must work through Ivory as an intermediate. As reported in a recent blog post, I'm still struggling to fine tune my interactions with Ivory. I fear the Ivory might have taken it upon herself to begin experimenting personally with the use of nanites to facilitate her own access to the Bimanoid Interface. The proper way to go about that risky endeavor is to allow the nanites to shape and sculpt the developing neural networks of a human embryo's brain. It is not safe for an adult human to force her brain into contact with the Interface. I think of myself as the world's expert in that kind of dangerous pursuit.

This blog post is my plea to Ivory that she work with me if she wants to risk her sanity by trying to use the Interface. Also, there might be other such as Ivory's mother who could exercise some influence over Ivory. Please, let us work together.
More imaginary magazine and book covers.

Here is the original Startling Comics magazine cover that I modified to make the whimsical "Startling Collaborations" cover (above on this page):


ImaginariumLeague of Imaginary Scientists.

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