Jul 15, 2017

Telepathy Time

Muldoon tangle-top "so named for the
squirming black tendrils at the top of its head"
I own a hard cover copy of Araminta Station by Jack Vance. It is a March 1988 edition.

There have been many different covers for Araminta Station, but I particularly like the cover art by Boris Vallejo (shown to the right) depicting the confrontation between Sessily, Glawen and a tangle-top (even though Vallejo seems to have left out the tangle).

Vance raised the possibility that Sessily and Glawen both had subtle telepathic powers. After the dangerous tangle-top runs away and allows Sessily and Glawen to escape in their flyer, Sessily tells Glawen that she used telepathy to tell the tangle-top to leave them alone.

We have to question the extent of Sessily's telepathic powers because 30 pages later into the story she is least as Vance tells to tale. However, her body is never recovered and I like to imagine that there might have been some tricky method for allowing her to live on. As Viole Falushe once said, "Life, death, these are imprecise terms."

Pussycat Palace, Yipton. The large, illegal and growing population of Yips
on the Lutwen Islands threatens the future Cadwal as a nature preserve.
It is almost as if the only reason for Sessily's existence is to make it possible for the planet Cadwal to be saved from exploitation by humans. When first discovered, the rich life of Cadwal was deemed worthy of protection and the entire planet was turned into a nature preserve. However, after a thousand years, forces are gathering that could alter the fate of Cadwal.

The planet Cadwal
click image to enlarge
"The first explorers considered it a world too beautiful and too full of natural wonders to be spoiled by human settlement, so they made Cadwal a Conservancy. Folk may come to visit and enjoy the natural conditions, but no one is allowed to alter the environment, or dig for volcanic jewels or bother the native beasts, no matter how savage and repulsive they are." -Wayness Tamm

From Araminta Station to the Lutwen Islands by ferry.
Sessily and Glawen are born on Cadwal at the critical time when action must be taken to save the planet. In Vance's telling of the story, it is only because Sessily must go out from Araminta Station into the wild (to collect decorative butterfly wings) that Glawen tries to defend her against a hungry tangle-top. Strangely, his gun has no ammunition in it. This leads to the alarming discovery that the Yips were on the verge of killing all the residents of Araminta Station.

Gateway Essentials
The residents of Araminta Station, originally a small group of about 100 legal residents on Cadwal, have become complacent and complicit with the forces that are gathering and threatening to open Cadwal to human exploitation of the planet's resources. Araminta Station now makes use of Yips as workers and participates in a lucrative tourist trade: visitors arrive on Cadwal, land at the Araminta spaceport, then take a ferry to Yipton in the nearby Lutwen Islands.

Here (image to the right) is another Araminta Station cover with a 2011 date. At the Gateway website, they say: "Owing to territorial restrictions, we regret that we cannot make this title available for sale in the USA or Canada."

Gateway functions as an ebook distributor in the UK. I don't see any evidence that they try to match their cover art to the novels that they distribute. The cover image shown to the left has nothing to do with Vance's story. However, a staple of Vance's future is the aircar (flyer) and in the case of Cadwal, there are no roads on the planet so travel is accomplished by boat (including a submarine), aircar and occasionally, a more expensive spaceship.

I've previously imagined that Sessily was an alien being who grew up at Araminta Station without realizing that she was an alien creature disguised as a human.

For the Exode Saga, I imagine that all of Jack Vance's stories about a future age of interstellar travel were inspired by actual events in the Asimov Reality.

Telepathy plays a major role in the Exode Saga because the story began as a fanfiction sequel to Isaac Asimov's great "future history" about telepathic positronic robots and how they guided Humanity towards creation of Galaxia. And besides, like space travel, telepathy has long been one of the core themes of science fiction.

Telepathy in the Asimov Reality
One of the first science fiction novels I read introduced me to the Arisians, aliens with giant brains and telepathic powers.

a Talosian
One of the most disturbing science fiction images from television viewing in my youth was the pulsing blood vessels on the large heads of the Talosians. I guess aliens with big heads makes for good T.V., but telepathy does not require giant brains.

In the case of Isaac Asimov, he imagined telepathic robots with positronic brains. Those positronic brains were about the same size as a human brain.

In the Asimov Reality, at least one robot with a positronic brain remains: R. Gohrlay, a refuge from earlier Realities in which the positronic robots who inspired Asimov's fictional stories actually existed.

In the Asimov Reality, R. Gohrlay is trying to genetically modify humans so as to make possible a Final Reality in which humans can inherit the Earth and not be replaced by Prelands.

Yerophet: Alastor 1083 (1975, Ekcolir Reality)
What about the telepathic powers of Grean and the other Genesaunts who have been deployed by the pek in our galaxy? And what about telepathy among the various species that have been genetically modified by the Phari? Do they have the power to use telepathy for the purpose of controlling the thoughts and behavior of humans?

One of my major concerns in the Exode Saga is that characters such as the Editor (and the Asimov Replicoid who explores the Asimov Reality) might be mere puppets, tools of the pek and the bumpha.

Replicoid Telepathy
Can replicoids exercise telepathic control of humans (or a tryp'At)? Are replicoids designed to be easily controlled by telepathic means, maybe by telepathic control signals originating in the hierion domain or the sedronic domain?

in the Ekcolir Reality
Original cover art: Edmund Emshwiller
According to Zeta, back in the Ekcolir Reality there was much more information available about the woman who inspired Jack Vance to incorporate the Sessily character into Araminta Station. We really need an organized exploration of Deep Time to help us get to the bottom of this!

The popular rumor says that both time travel and telepathy were made impossible when the Huaoshy recently altered the dimensional structure of the universe. Fixing the date of that shift in physical laws of the universe has proven difficult. Zeta suggests that 1972 was the year when time travel became impossible.

Wayness on the planet Nion.
I have become hopeful that investigation of the Asimov Reality might reveal clues to how telepathy once functioned and how nanites and Replicoids might simulate telepathic communication and mind control.

One planet described by Vance as a center for research into telepathic powers was Nion. "The Gangrils of the Lankster Cleeks are experts" at isolating active agents from the pold (soil) of Nion and using those agents to trigger latent capacities of the human mind such as telepathy. "The Gangrils not only subsist upon pold but transform it into mysterious new substances, with unpredictable psychic effects."

The Standing Stones
"Tanjaree is the single cosmopolitan center of Nion. The first inhabitants of Tanjaree had included a clique of biologists dedicated to the creation of a super-race through genetic manipulation." In Ecce & Old Earth, Vance described two children who had been subjected to the mind-altering effects of Gangril "drugs". One of those children developed astonishing telepathic abilities. "Gangril drugs ..... are able to reinforce certain functions of the brain and suppress others. Clairvoyance is ability they can enhance.” Strangely, Wayness Tamm witnesses the telepathy-enhancing effects of Gangril "drugs", but like other people described by Vance in his "future history" of mankind's explorations of the galaxy, Wayness seems to take the occasional appearance of telepathic powers among humans for granted. I hope to obtain a copy of the second book in the Sessily Trilogy; apparently some of the secrets of the Gangril "drugs" and the human genetic experiments that were performed on Nion.

Guiding Earth's history.
It is possibly not coincidental that in the Ekcolir Reality a story called "The Sessily Replicoid" was published. According to Zeta, that story revealed the alien aspects of Svahr, the woman who inspired Jack Vance to write the Sessily character into Araminta Station in this Reality. Zeta suggests that Svahr was a recipient of modified genes that originated on planets such as Nion.

Even if telepathy is no longer possible here in the Final Reality, there seem to be forces at work trying to obscure the ways that telepathy was used to shape human history. Replicoids and the Bimanoid Interface probably allow the tryp'At to exercise the functional equivalent of telepathy over the people of Earth. No doubt, the tryp'At do not want we Earthlings to understand the extent to which our behavior and choices can be guided and controlled by our Overseers.

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