Aug 9, 2014

The Storyteller

the wonders of Arisian brain power
I like to trace the origins of the Exode Trilogy back more than 40 years into my past, back to a time soon after I had read Edward Smith's depiction of the alien Arisians and their billion year-long effort to defeat the evil Eddorians. While reading the Lensman series, I was intrigued by the idea of creatures from another planet who had developed a technological society a billion years before humans existed, but I found Smith's Arisians to be biologically implausible, their ability to predict the future absurd, their interactions with humans to be contrived and I dislike the "good vs evil" story structure used by Smith.

I was stimulated to ask myself: if there were beings who had developed human-like cognition a billion years ago (call them the Huaoshy) then what would they be like and how might they actually interact with we Earthlings?

I suspect that the speed of light is a universal speed limit and practical time travel is impossible, so I originally began writing the story of the Huaoshy with the assumption that they could not travel through space at superluminal speed nor could they travel through time. However, my fanfiction disease eventually pushed me out of my conservatism and so the Exode Trilogy dances right past those barriers.

as told by Ivory (click image to enlarge)
While there is nothing intrinsically disruptive to story telling that arises from allowing faster-than-light space travel, time travel is a problem. I don't like military science fiction and time travel wars, with various factions fighting to control the shape of the future, are mind numbingly tedious. Thus, according to what I think of as Asimov's Time Travel Axiom, the only good time travel story is one that ends with time travel being made impossible. In The End of Eternity, Asimov explained how one particular time travel device was erased from existence, but in the Exode Trilogy I describe how the Huaoshy first accidentally made time travel possible then altered the dimensional structure of the universe so as to prevent any more time travel.

Thomas and Parthney (source)
Telling the story of Exode is a big task and it has grown into a collaborative effort. I've previously described the role of Thomas as a storyteller who became the first Earthling to begin telling the "Exode story". Similarly, Parthney played an important role as a "story collector", and those stories were eventually passed on to "the Editor". Needing another collaborator, I've also had fun thinking of Ivory Fersoni as playing a major role in telling the "Exode story" to the people of Earth.
Book one of the Exode Trilogy

The Editor
However, in the end, a fundamental truth about the Exode Trilogy is that the person who tells the story is part of the story. The decision to write myself into the story was just the beginning...I'm still struggling with the details of how to tell the story. Rather than write a conventional novel, I am trying to explore how online tools, particularly blogs, can be used as a medium for story telling. Currently, the Exode Trilogy is smeared out over various websites and the web pages of five blogs. Exactly what type of non-linear and distributed form this story must ultimately take and just how far I will diverge from the conventional format of a written novel are lingering mysteries and the answers to these questions are still being discovered.

Currently, I'm captivated by the idea that I can use the experiences of Ivory as a way to introduce readers to the Exode Trilogy, particularly the startling fact that there have been previous Realities.

Ivory and I are struggling for control of the narrative right at the start of the Exode Trilogy. Ivory is rushing to complete her business on Earth. She wants to escape this planet when the Buld arrive in the Solar system.

"The editor" is more than just a little irked when he realizes that he is being used by everyone from Thomas to Ivory. For a period of time, "the editor" is able to deceive himself and imagine that Ivory will provide objective scientific evidence that aliens have long been visiting Earth. Ivory's DNA is not only greatly diverged from the DNA patterns of other Earthlings, it is clearly not randomly diverged. Ivory's ancestors were genetically engineered. However, Ivory and her clones do not want to become living evidence of alien visitors to Earth.

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