Apr 14, 2017

200K Visitors

Early last year this blog reached 100,000 visitors. Over the years, the chances of people stumbling upon this blog has gradually increased, but a few months ago there was a sudden increase in daily "pageviews" as tracked by Google. I suspect that most of these "new visitors" are bots, but as counted by Google, the wikifiction blog has now passed 200,000 pageviews.

In the Ekcolir Reality. Original Cover
art by Edmund Emshwiller and ? (Azazel)
I like to honor arbitrary numerical blogging milestones by reflecting on the past and speculating about where this blog might go in the future.

In the March 1991 issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Asimov published a short essay called "Suspense I". I read that essay when it was later published in Gold.

In that essay, Asimov described how his science fiction stories (such as his Foundation saga) go beyond a simplistic "balance between good and evil". Asimov was happy to write stories about protagonists in which the reader is never sure if the "hero" is good or evil, never quite sure exactly what the "problem" is that the hero is dealing with and for which the reader never really knows if the hero should "win". Asimov felt that all this uncertainty created suspense and kept readers reading and turning pages.

A Search Beyond
I originally (back in the 1970s) learned about science fiction as a literary genre by reading Asimov's science fiction stories. It should come as no surprise that I also make no attempt to depict the characters in my stories as "good" or "evil". In my current writing obsession, the Exode saga, I bring a "copy" of Asimov "back from the dead" and I make Asimov himself a character in the story.

In A Search Beyond, Asimov's replicoid returns to Earth 25 years after Asimov's death. Asimov's replicoid is being used as a tool by Many Sails. I present the reader with an artificial life copy of Asimov who is being used by an alien sentient spaceship. I make no serious effort to explain to readers the mission that Many Sails is trying to accomplish on Earth and the reader is challenged to figure out exactly what is going on and if Asimov's investigative science fiction mission exploring Earth's past is a good thing or a danger to we Earthlings.

The Exode Saga depicts the human species as a kind of cosmic mistake and a sort of ethically questionable experiment. I believe that the human species evolved slowly by natural selection, but within the confines of a science fiction story it is more fun to imagine that we were created by aliens, for a purpose. By making this assumption in the Exode Saga, I shift readers away from the conventional "alien invasion" plot in which evil aliens invade Earth.

Asimov wrote a short introduction to Invasions. That essay was also reprinted in Gold. In that essay, Asimov gave an historical account of some past invasions on Earth, such as the Mongol invasion of Europe.

The cover for Invasions includes assorted weird aliens and a futuristic soldier with a (ray?) gun. Through the decades of my life, I've been tremendously bored and dismayed by all of the silly alien invasion stories that have been endlessly written and rehashed. In his introductory essay for Invasions, Asimov makes the point that if alien beings were to arrive on Earth, they might be friendly.

I like to imagine that in the Ekcolir Reality, science fiction was crafted as a literary genre for the purpose of preparing humans for First Contact with the alien Fru'wu. I have fun imagining that we humans would only notice First Contact with some alien creature like the Fru'wu while we could be entirely unaware of the fact that an alien artificial life form like the pek has been here on Earth for the past 2 billion years.

From the perspective of the pek, we humans are a kind of disease. The scheming bumpha have given we humans a chance to leak out from Earth into the surrounding galaxy, but from the perspective of the pek, it is only a matter of when, not if, we humans will destroy ourselves.

Next: Collaborative Science Fiction

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