Apr 30, 2016

Black Sun

cover art by George Wilson
Three years ago I mentioned that The Time Machine was one of the first "science fiction" movies that I ever saw. Sadly, the film did not feature a "hi-tek" flying time machine like the one shown in the illustration to the right! That film was not really science fiction in the truest sense. There was no account of how the time machine was built and even as a little kid I could not suspend my disbelief over the idea that a nuclear bomb might trigger a volcanic eruption in London.

For me, as a fan of science fiction, The Time Machine is little more than an annoying horror movie. However, I do enjoy fun time travel stories such as The End of Eternity. Let's look into Deep Time and discover the nature of The Time Machine in another Reality...
'The Time Machine' by Peggy Chung

image source
Last year, I learned that in the Ekcolir Reality the analogue of H. G. Wells was a woman (Hafren Wells) who actually became a time traveler.

Yvette Mimieux
Here in our Reality, for the 1960 movie, The Time Machine, 18-year-old actress Yvette Mimieux became the love interest of Rodney Taylor. For some reason, the TCM blurb about Yvette says that she played the role of a "cavewoman". Maybe that was in an alternate universe...

Yvette in The Black Hole
Robots and Rayguns
In 1979, Yvette appeared in the role of a space-traveling telepath in The Black Hole. I never saw that movie, but reviewers of the flick have not been very kind. At least Yvette got a cool double-barreled ray gun to play with in The Black Hole.

Black hole Ending by ToyOtter
The Black Hole is often described (my previous comments) as a kind of breakthrough film for Disney, a first step moving away from the land of G-ratings towards adult entertainment. The Black Hole looks like it emerged from the Disney sausage grinder as a twisted combination of Forbidden Planet and Star Wars. To this day, Disney's accounts of the movie entice us to embrace this "vast nothingness where time and space end". OK

the Yvette action figure (source)
As far as I can tell, the one person who helped write the story for The Black Hole and who had some previous experience in the science fiction genre was Richard Landau. It appears that the good folks at Disney assumed all you needed in order to make a science fiction film was a mad scientist, a fat marketing budget and some special effects. I wonder how much ca$h Disney made selling the hideous Kate McCrae action figure.

Disney's Death Star - The Black Hole (click to enlarge)
Vision of the future: holograms and three ring binders.
Apparently the screenplay for The Black Hole was created with the help of Gerry Day. At the time, Disney wanted to start moving towards darker and creepier films that would appeal to teenagers. With that goal in mind and as a Catholic, apparently Day could not resist inserting religious references into "her" Disney movie. Day seems to have honed her science fiction writing skills with a 1976 episode of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (watch). Lucky for me, I never watched the Electra Woman television show as a child. Seeing it now, Electra Woman brings back painful memories of Bat Man.

1960 in the Ekcolir Reality

Karli Schwarzschild
The Ekcolir Reality
In the Ekcolir Reality, the term "black hole" entered the scientific literature in 1921 when Einstein and Karli Schwarzschild collaborated to publish a book on event horizons. Schwarzschild had made use of an early analog computer to calculate the mass of a star that would form a black hole following a supernova explosion.

In the Ekcolir Reality.  Original cover art by
Ron Walotsky and David Mattingly
In the Ekcolir Reality, the black hole at the center of our galaxy was first detected by astronomers in 1952. According to Gohrlay, clues to the existence of that black hole were provided by Interventionist agents from Tar'tron and published in science fiction stories as early as 1933 in the Ekcolir Reality.

In 1955, Mary Pratt published a novel called Black Sun. In Black Sun, the crew of a spaceship from Earth arrives at a small black hole that was discovered by gravitational microlensing and located not too far from our Solar System. The Commander of the mission, Dr. McCrea, is led to believe that the black hole allows her to achieve telepathic contact with aliens who live on a distant planet in the Galactic Core.

1963 in the Ekcolir Reality
In the year 1960 of the Ekcolir Reality, Black Sun was turned into a film called The Black Hole featuring Yvette Mimieux and Rodney Taylor.

blog posts in April
Three years later, the television series Galactic Core launched on the Science Television Network.

In Galactic Core, Dr. McCrea was depicted as traveling to the planet Tar'tron by way of a Hierion Tube.

Related Reading (funny): The Stogie From Beyond Time!

Next: the discovery of sedronic matter in the Ekcolir Reality
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Apr 24, 2016

7 Collaborators

time travel
The Wikifiction Blog is now seven years old. Back in 2009 I began this blog as an exploration of how to use blogging to support collaborative fiction writing. Being a huge fan of hypertext and having previously explored how to use wiki software for collaborative writing, I was destined to make heavy use of hypertext links here at this blog.

In addition to hypertext, I like to include images in my blog posts. In 2009, the Blogger platform was not very convenient for adding images to blog posts. Blogger still has a primitive interface for creating blog posts. Maybe nobody at Google has ever heard of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Well, as they say, you get what you pay for (Blogger is free). Thank you, Blogger, for 7 fun years during which I found an amazing group of science fiction writing collaborators.

Time Travel
Moon Hammer
One of my favorite science fiction plot elements is time travel. Back in 2009 I was still working hard to expand my Sci Fi comfort zone so that it would include time travel, telepathy and faster-than-light space travel. Since then, I've successfully accommodated myself to these three seemingly magical "future technologies".

Another measure of my innocence in 2009 is that, back then, I felt very daring for having written Isaac Asimov into one of my stories as a character. At that time I never imagined the extent to which the science fiction genre itself (and a large number of science fiction authors) would become central to the Exodemic Fictional Universe.

Dr. Shella Wye
In 2009 I had fun writing Moon Hammer. It is safe to say that I was then in the middle of a loooong love affair with the idea that there might be a hidden alien base on the Moon. Back then I never suspected how that simple idea might be a misleading distraction that concealed a more interesting and complex truth [ya, that's a teaser].

Fan Fiction
At the end of the first year of blogging I was rather desperately trying to find a collaborator who could help me with my great Sci Fi adventure: my investigation of the secret history of Earth. Going into the second year of this blog, my struggling investigation was derailed and I was suddenly much busier in the real world. I did not really get back to my science fiction sleuthing until early in 2012.

Promethean Rorschach Test
In 2012 I fully realized that writing fan fiction is a golden opportunity; it provides a convenient superhighway to the land of collaborative fiction writing. I allowed myself to fully surrender to my Fanfiction Disease. I started dabbling in Jack Vance fan fiction and I outlined a fan fiction sequel to Carl Sagan's Contact.

Another new direction for me in 2012 was the initiation of my Search for Interesting Hollywood Aliens. This led to what is the most visited blog post at the Wikifiction blog.

Another important blog post in 2012 was Adding Rooms to the Bottom. I was finally able to appreciate the implications of hierion and sedronic physics for artificial life in the universe.

In 2012 I started a major new project, Exode. At first, I did not imagine that Exode would grow into the Exode Trilogy.

Additional events from 2012.

In 2013 I realized that my "new" writing project, Exode, was actually part of a larger Sci Fi project that I had begun previously. Suddenly, I was forced to knit together the old and the new. In order to successfully pursue my investigation of Deep Time, I began thinking seriously about Reality Chains.

Gohrlay's Brain
In 2103 I found an important collaborator, Thomas Iwedon. I'd first met Thomas back when we were in college together.

At first, I was not fully aware of how Thomas had returned to my life. I now know that he passed some infites into my brain, allowing me to gain important new insights into how alien visitors to Earth had long worked to guide Humanity towards the stars. [yes, I wrote myself into Exode]

In 2013, I was still struggling to understand the role that Gohrlay played in our Reality Chain. It would be  another two years before I realized her fundamental importance from the First Reality right on to the Final Reality (the world as we know it).

Ivory's guide to Mayness
At the end of 2013 I began playing with the idea that there might be "multiple copies" of Asimov, one of whom could "jump" ahead into coming Realities.

Ivory Izhiun Irhit
In 2014 I began collaborating with Ivory Fersoni. Due to her connections to her clone sisters Angela and Anney, Ivory had vast knowledge of Deep Time and events in the other Realities of our Reality Chain. With the help of the Atlantis Clones I was able to make sense of the infites that I had previously received from Thomas. Sadly, Ivory was taken away before I made much progress interpreting the infites that I received from Izhiun. I now know much about Izhiun's life in the Andromeda Galaxy, but I seem to be actively blocked from understanding the role he played here on Earth leading up to First Contact.

My "third I" is Irhit, who originated as my analogue in the Ekcolir Reality and who now torments me by maintaining control of my replicoid. I must count Irhit as one of my collaborators even though "he" keeps very tight restrictions on my use of the Bimanoid Interface. It might well be that I would never have had any direct access to the Hierion Domain without the help of Irhit. I must put "he" in quotes because I've learned that women dominated the Ekcolir Reality and some hints from Gohrlay suggest that my analogue in that Reality might have been female.

Most recently, Gohrlay has been my collaborator. I should say "reluctant collaborator" because she thinks I'm wasting my time worrying about the details of Deep Time and how we humans got to where we are now.

Gohrlay and I continue to battle over her reluctance to provide an account of her first life back in the First Reality. Part of the problem is that the strange human society at Observer Base is difficult for me to comprehend. Gohrlay tells me incomprehensible stories about "Escapist" and "Numerist" factions among the Observers and I'm left with a spinning head and even more questions.

Next: science fiction from Deep Time: Black Sun.
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Apr 21, 2016

The Hugos

science fiction in Deep Time
In the Exode Trilogy, the science fiction genre itself is a major part of the story. How did that happen? I have two answers to that question.

My first answer is rather boring. When I wrote Isaac Asimov into one of my stories, I imagined that he had a "close encounter" with aliens. This life-altering event for Asimov occurred in Deep Time. Within the Exodemic Fictional Universe, "Deep Time" has a special meaning: it does not mean "long ago". Instead, events in "Deep Time" are events that took place in a previous Reality. And "Reality" means what Asimov intended it to mean within his time travel novel, The End of Eternity.

original cover art by Hubert Rogers
In The End of Eternity, all of the action takes place in the Mallansohn Reality, a Reality named after Vikkor Mallansohn. Here is how Asimov summarized the life of Vikkor Mallansohn: "He was born in the 78th, spent some time in Eternity and died in the 24th." Here, "78th" and "24th" refer to the 78th and 24th centuries. Vikkor Mallansohn was sent back through time to the 24th century in order to bring into existence Eternity. "Eternity" is the name of the time travel device that Asimov invented for The End of Eternity.

In The End of Eternity, "Eternity" is not simply a time machine, it is a constructed space/time bubble, a kind of parallel universe where the Eternals can reside and plan changes to Time without fear that those changes will erase or alter the Eternals themselves.

our Reality Chain
At the end of Asimov's novel, Eternity itself has been erased from existence, ending the Mallansohn Reality and initiating a new Reality, what I think of as the Foundation Reality. Within the Foundation Reality, Asimov had contact with aliens who were trying to end the Time War. In that Reality, Asimov was a pioneer of the new journalistic genre of investigative science writing.

With the help of aliens, Asimov became a time traveler and helped engineer another Reality Change that ended the Foundation Reality. In the next Reality, the time-traveling Asimov was able to mentor his younger self and boost his own career as a science fiction story writer. In that new Reality, the Asimov Reality, Earth suffered a devastating nuclear war.

A Second Answer
In the next Reality, nuclear war was avoided, but Earth went through global warming and catastrophic sea level rise. Within the Ekcolir Reality, the science fiction genre was used as a means to prepare the people of Earth for contact with aliens (the Fru'wu). At first, that contact seemed to provide the advanced technology that was needed to help Earth avoid global warming, but then everything backfired and the Antarctic ice cap was melted anyhow.

In the Ekcolir Reality, the science fiction genre developed along a slightly different track compared to what happened in our Reality (the Buld Reality). In the Ekcolir Reality, Helen Gernsback was an influential science fiction author who helped prepare the people of Earth to understand the role of artificial life forms in shaping the secret history of Earth.

Two Hugos
Gohrlay has been revealing to me some of the differences between science fiction in the Ekcolir Reality and science fiction as we know it here in the Final Reality. In the Ekcolir Reality, Hugo Gernsback was a major force for innovation within the science fiction genre. He started a science fiction television network (Imagination Science) and helped engineer many successful scientific collaborations such as that between Isaac Asimov and Phil Farmer.

According to Gohrlay, just as there were "two copies" of Asimov in the Asimov Reality, there were two copies of Hugo Gernsback working together in the Ekcolir Reality to shape and guide development of the science fiction genre. The "second copy" of Hugo in the Ekcolir Reality was known as Sidney Gernsback, Hugo's brother.

mathematics from Deep Time
The man known as "Sidney Gernsback" in the Ekcolir Reality was actually an artificial life replicoid of Hugo who had originated in the Asimov Reality. Sidney played an important role in developing hierion physics in the 20th century of the Ekcolir Reality in advance of contact with the Fru'wu.

When the Time War was finally ended, the Trysta-Grean Pact was built around the idea that in the Final Reality, the science fiction genre had to be altered. Unlike the Ekcolir Reality, in the Buld Reality there would be no tight coupling between the scientific reality of alien technology and the stories told by science fiction authors. Instead, science fiction would play the role of a "safety valve" by which true stories about alien visitors and the secret history of Earth would be viewed by casual readers as fiction. This would allow a few select individuals such as The Editor to be tricked into staying on Earth.

Next: 7 years, 7 collaborators
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Apr 17, 2016

Political Science Fiction

brain variants (source)
This is the second in a series of blog posts about continuing investigations into the secret history of Earth. This blog post started with the title "tryp'At Overseers", but I soon suffered pangs of guilt.

Why guilt? The fundamental source of my guilt is that I'm a picky science fiction reader. For example, I don't enjoy the insertion of horror elements into science fiction. Also, I am bored by real world politics and bored to tears by science fiction stories that expect me to read page after page of invented fictional politics. I'm thankful that one of my favorite science fiction authors, Isaac Asimov, rarely included horror in his stories. He tried to depict a world consumed by terror in his story Nightfall, but I could never take seriously the idea that a civilization would collapse because it suddenly got dark.

Asimov and Politics
interior art by Paul Orban
What about Asimov and politics? Unlike me, Asimov did not seem averse to including fictional politics in his science fiction stories. Here are three examples.

1. Asimov wrote a couple of stories ("Evidence" and "The Evitable Conflict") about Stephen Byerley, a robot who became involved in politics. These stories could be called "The End of Politics" because they depict how the rational calculations of machines could replace human politicians.

cover art by Oscar Chichoni
2. Near the start of Asimov's Foundation Saga, Mayor Hardin makes use of advanced technology to establish Terminus as a viable political force in the galaxy.

3. When he was nearing the end of constructing his Foundation Saga (in Forward the Foundation), Asimov explored an odd plot twist in which Hari Seldon was forced to become a politician. With Trantor crumbling around him, Seldon had to find a way to survive long enough to establish the First Foundation on Terminus and the Second Foundation on Trantor. Seldon was able to go toe-to-toe with the military junta that took control of Trantor and he helped Daneel guide Humanity into the Foundation Era.

I prefer fictional universes in which there is no mention of politics, but Asimov managed to bend his fictional politics to the needs of an interesting science fiction story. In the case of Asimov's fictional universe of robots and the Foundation, Daneel was secretly at work behind the scenes guiding Humanity towards the creation of Galaxia.

Politics of the tryp'At
original art work by Virgil Finlay
I feel guilt over having introduced the tryp'At into the Exodemic Fictional Universe because the tryp'At play a fundamentally political role. For several years I imagined that after the end of the Time War and establishment of the Trysta-Grean Pact, the humans of Earth would be free to find their own path into the future.

Some readers of the Foundation Saga felt that Asimov made a mistake when he depicted Daneel as a kind of benevolent dictator who had created and controlled the Foundation. In the Exode Trilogy, I face the same problem with R. Gohrlay, who I reveal to be the meta-puppet master that controls Daneel. The remaining question is this: are the tryp'At Overseers also puppets of R. Gohrlay? Does it matter?

Why should we care?
cover art by Jim Burns
Martin Harry Greenberg was a long-time friend of Asimov. Not long before Asimov's death, Greenberg talked Asimov into a new project that required Asimov to create a new fictional universe that could be a playground for other science fiction writers. In "Isaac's Universe", there were exactly six planets in our galaxy that gave rise to space-faring species.

In Isaac's Universe these six different species are biologically quite distinct. In addition to we humans, there is a species that is similar to Earthly porpoises. Aquatic alien species have long been popular in science fiction. In the Exode Trilogy, the Nereids play a major role, but rather than transition from aquatic life to life on land, the Nereids originated on land and then engineered themselves to be able to exist in an ocean environment.

cover art by Martin Andrews (click image to enlarge)
Isaac's Universe also includes a species that can fly. I've never read any of the stories that are set in Isaac's Universe, but judging from the Martin Andrews cover art (image to the right), these flying critters have some serious wings.

In the Exode Trilogy, there are two species that can fly...sort of. One of these is the legendary Retair species. Their juveniles had vestigial wings that allowed them to fly in micro-gravity.

Michael Whelan cover art
Michael Embden cover art
The Fru'wu are an ancient client species of the Nereids. On worlds with a thick atmosphere, the Fru'wu can use their webbed limbs to glide through the air, but they really can't fly very well even under low gravity conditions.

Science fiction authors have always struggled with how to depict alien species. One approach is to simply make humanoid versions of various Earthly species such as cats or insects.

Martin Andrews cover art
If you diverge too far from familiar Earthly creatures then you are in danger of making them too alien. In some cases, there is no logical accounting for how some alien species achieved a technological civilization, but we are not expected to ask if technology is possible underwater or how tools could be crafted and used by a species without suitable appendages.

Martin H. Greenberg apparently wanted a fictional universe that was ready-made for politics. For Isaac's Universe, a group of competing species needed to be similar in the sense that they were each spreading their culture through the galaxy and colonizing exoplanets. I find it interesting that Asimov was not interested in writing stories set in "Isaac's Universe". I suspect he had no stomach for the imaginary intricacies of alien politics.

Here is how Asimov described the political terrain of Isaac's Universe:

insectoid cover art by Martin Andrews (click to enlarge)
"...since disputes may arise [between the six species] there must be some form of political/social machinery to settle them."

Life not as we know it
Just how different from we humans could biological organisms be? NASA has spent decades trying to "follow the water" in its search for life in our Solar System. However, the discovery of methane oceans revived the question: could there be forms of life that do not depend on liquid water?

Imaginary "methane bear" in a methane ocean
A recent theoretical investigation examined the possibility that a radically different type of biological cell might be crafted as an azotosome. It is theoretically possible that a non-polar solvent such as methane might hold organisms with "inside-out membranes". For organisms like us, a cell membrane is polar on the outside, but in a liquid methane sea, cell membranes might form with their polar parts in the middle of a bilayer cell membrane.

Imaginary silicone life form (Horta)
Asimov was a biochemist and he long ago considered possibilities for how life might exist without water as the fundamental solvent. See his life not as we know it article. Yes, we would feel foolish if we ignored another form of biology by too narrow a focus on worlds that have liquid water, but I believe that Asimov knew that the other possible biochemistries (such as life in liquid methane) are improbable long-shots. And even if there was primitive cellular life in some methane ocean, what possible implication could that have for we humans and our science fiction adventures in the galaxy?

Too Human?
Map of the Sedronite species
The problem that I face in my investigation of the tryp'At is that they are "too human".  Last year I accepted the hypothesis that I am tryp'At. The uncomfortable corollary is that I was "planted" here in the Final Reality as a kind of "sleeper agent". In recent years, all non-humans (such as Ivory and Thomas) have been evicted from Earth, but apparently the tryp'At were crafted so as to meet the definition of "human".

The green blob in the diagram to the left is my attempt to define a boundary that includes those Sedronites who we should think of as being part of the human family. It may be that only the "run-of-the-mill" humans who make up the bulk of the current human population of Earth and a few tryp'At are "human enough" to be allowed on Earth at this time.

tryp'At Overseers
I fear that under the terms of the Trysta-Grean Pact, R. Gohrlay was forced to agree to establish the tryp'At as a type of "police force" that would enforce the ethical laws of the Huaoshy. R. Gohrlay might have been given a choice: either you do it or the pek will do it.

Not only do I now find myself having to investigate the political motives of the tryp'At, but I fear that I am "on the wrong side" in that I'm apparently playing out my role as an agent of the tryp'At. My remaining hope is that the tryp'At have seen into the future and they know that their efforts to remove non-humans from Earth will have beneficial effects. My fear is that I'll be tricked into doing something that will have disastrous consequences for our world. Will the Exode Trilogy turn out to be a horror story after all?

Next: the Hugos
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Apr 13, 2016

The Femtobot Hack

How to change the world: introduce no-till tobacco farming
One year ago, I took stock of progress on my investigation into the secret history of Earth. This blog post is the first in a series of updates on important discoveries arising from continued investigations during the past year.

Gohrlay confirmed that exposure of human populations to nicotine has long been used by Interventionists to modulate the rate of technological advance. In the Ekcolir Reality, Cornelisza Mey learned no-till tobacco farming and leaf curing from the residents of an Andaste village located on the east bank of what we know as the Potomac river.

In the Ekcolir Reality, five economic zones
were merged (1686) to form Beverwijck en Nicotiana.
Sustainable tobacco farming on hilly terrain allowed for significantly greater production of tobacco and lower prices, resulting in greater use of nicotine in the Ekcolir Reality. Cornelisza Mey (daughter of Cornelius Mey) became one of the legendary founders of Beverwijck en Nicotiana.

Cholinergic Connection
According to Gohrlay, the Bimanoid Interface is the physical interface between a person's brain cells and that person's zeptite endosymbiont.

The pek zeptites inside our brains normally function to prevent humans from using tools. However, Sedronite Interventionists long ago provided we humans with a femtobot endosymbiont that was designed to allow a technologically advanced civilization to arise on Earth.

The physical connection between our brain cells and our femtobot endosymbiont includes a very important population of cholinergic neurons. Nicotine can modulate the activity of those neurons and alter the "balance of power" between the zeptite and femtobot components in our brains.

original cover art by Lawrence Stevens
That "balance of power" was originally skewed when positronic robots took control over Earth. Without continual monitoring by the pek, the femtobots inside the humans on Earth (Gohrlay explicitly describes those femtobots as being a well-crafted hack: the best that the Interventionists had ever devised and deployed on Garden Worlds) eventually subverted the zeptite endosymbionts, allowing a technological society to develop on Earth.

tryp'At Overseers
Later, R. Gohrlay devised a means (inertial amplifier) to impose a powerful momentum of Time on Earth and particularly, on the human population. This forced the Huaoshy to accept the rise of tool-using humans on Earth, a deviation from their Ethical Rules that they deemed acceptable because of the Sedron Monopoly they attained by ending the Time War.

Next: political science fiction

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