Discussion Board

Topic: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 06/22/2009

Granted it was an over glorified on line fanzine...but I had to go pull a Harlan Ellison on one of the senior editors over the weekend (a semi big fish in a very small puddle) over his Obsession with the world coming to an end THIS Year...so my relationship with that bit-rag is over.

And the only place that was interested in running this one small fragment from my end of time Novel which crashed and burned (but is still intact on DVDs and in journals) last November.

Some of these concepts orginally came about in '86/87, and your discriptions of Kalpa and the Library spooked me some what last year...the two of us tuned into the same channel on Death's Radio across the decades...though my vision of the final City was more of sprawl, an unwalled Diaspar, instead of the Up and Upward nature of Kalpa.

Anyway, I doubt this is going to see the light of day anywhere any time soon, and may have to sit in the closet for decades...but my final personal words about my vision of the Other end of time for now.

And you might be the only other person on the planet who would appreciate it. Sigh...and Audience of one.



The Hidden Earth

By the time the Great Galaxy of Andromeda was coming around for its second pass through the Milkyway, before that final series of events that would lead to the merger of two great spirals into one stochastic elliptical galaxy of Milkomeda we'd managed to irritate two galaxies worth of interstellar civilizations.

When the first merger began things were already dicey for us in the Milkyway, as Earth was far too known for mucking about with the nature of Time, and manipulating history in its immediate region to its own benefit. With the establishment of Meta-Platonic Time in the 24th Century, extending all the way to the heat death of the universe and beyond, and our establishment of faster than light capabilities in the 556th Century, we had a pretty good gig going.

Though we decided to NOT set up any other series of Meta-Platonic Time on our interstellar colonies...we were able to guide them with news from the future centuries in dealing with other species.

Until those other competitor species discovered what wed been doing inside and outside of time.

Usually we'd set out to adjust history before their occurrence, dropping special Faster Than Light Ships several centuries back and then going out and tinkering with them before they became a threat.

After three billion years we had half the galaxy under our sway, the other half not wanting anything to do with us and often trying to destroy our colonies. The Weapon of choice: targeted pulsars aimed by dropping significant amounts of antimatter on to their neutron rich surfaces. An antimatter-neutronium interaction can be seen to the ends of the universe, and the aimer doesnt want to be in the blast wash of that flare, or any civilizations for 300,000 light years behind it.

When Andromeda came cruising through the Milkyway on its first pass we decided to move the entire solar system over into the other galaxy. Some stars were going to be exchanged anyway, and shuffling Earth's system over there should not have been a problem. We checked the up-now to millions of centuries into the merger and it looked like smooth sailing in the other galaxy. Humanity on Earth would go on having a reality of minimized fine tuned probabilities and maximum well being, and we could leave our colonies behind to work out their own fates.

All it took was a polarizing of the magnetic field-folds around our system. Oh we had to burn off the entire Ort Cometary Cloud to give that extra nudge Sol's orbit around the center of our Galaxy and flinging out on a perpendicular loop around the center of Andromeda's core. After less than a million years our solar system, stripped of comets, settled into a new orbit in a different Galaxy as we watched our old home stream of stars recede temporarily into the night.

But it wasn't until that time we noticed something was horribly wrong. The centuries toward the heat death of the universe were suddenly sealed off to us. And the past down-now of the 25th Century appeared to be subtly altering more and more, as if some one else was adjusting our history before we began to adjust it ourselves..

Having lost contact with our colonies back in the home galaxy we had to set forth again and explore our neighborhood. We found many empty and useful systems, and expanded out again for five hundred light years...until we started encountering the native interstellar civilizations.

They had a completely different means of experiencing and adjusting time. Instead of one endlessly manipulated reality, they had access and participation in a near infinite possibilities of outcomes: they lived in multiple time lines at simultaneously.

So began the long fight across this swirl of alien suns. In contrast to our usual mode of operations we set up new Meta-Platonic Times on our colony worlds, and spread out in a sphere 10,000 light years in diameter, creating a zone of controlled realities.

This lasted only so long&ten million, twenty million years& as the natives had weapons that could reach out of time and disrupt the Meta Platonic Time Continuum. And in some cases targeting stellar mass black holes at our colonies that had Meta-Platonic Time Establishments...black holes we could do nothing to shift around, being undeniable facts of the underlying reality.

As the second merger of the two galaxies approached, which would commence the fusion of the two into the new Galaxy of Milkomeda, we decide to position the sun outside the merger...detonating five near by stars into a false nova state: these systems were lost anyway as their colonies were destroyed by the guided blackholes of the hostile native civilizations. Four of these false novae created singularities and high velocity targeted stellar mass blackholes, aimed at the enemys blackholes that had just wiped out our worlds.

We timed these to all merge simultaneously. The resulting gravity waves disturbed the orbits of our planets and set the sun into a path that would have it hurled outside the merger birthing the new larger galaxy of Milkomeda..

It took 50 Million years for the sun to climb to a point over galactic north of the rapidly merging galaxies, so we would be safely outside of the blast path of gravity waves and other radiation as the two super massive blackholes at the centres of the original galaxies merged catastrophically: setting off a Quasar event that would shine in all Forty Six Billion light years of the visible universe.

Unfortunately we did not calculate all the factors of our orbit, and when the holes merged one of our futures was just on the edges of the polar jet of the resulting Quasar.

The focused gravity waves unhinged most of Meta-Platonic Time. Some Centuries, their Meta-Platonic Time Sections, were ripped out of the artificial time they inhabited. Some of these we think fell into the deep past. Some of them simply ceased to exist. It became incredibly difficult to access centuries we had controlled for meta-temporal periods immeasurable.

Soon after this the citizens of Earth around the year 5 Billion picked up communications from the merging galaxies, some of them of formerly human origin, seeking the home system of the time meddling humans, giving out a description of the system and i's sun.

The planets were already in some confusion, and we had parked a ring of former gas giant moons out where the asteroids had once been. Mercury was long lost. Venus was cooling out beyond Saturn. Mars was habitable, warm and balmy and richly wet. We designed some new species to live there, including an evolving Ape and some slippery Cetaceans with an artificial civilization we had built them into.

Mars would be OK during the swelling of the sun...but what to do with the Earth?

We decided to leave it parked where it was. Using technologies developed during the reality wars with the Natives of the Andromeda Galaxy we were able to create a shell around the earth that would take the heat energy of the sun, radiation that would have crisped the earth, and used it to shore up our access to Meta-Platonic Time.

In the process we finally lost the moon. It actually went flying off at half the speed of light.

And so we hid inside the swollen sun, as our enemies and former colonies came up and out from the new galaxy looking for us. Searching the scattered stars of Milkomedas halo. We knew when they found Mars, but they never thought to look inside the Sun.

So under a red twilight smoky sky we waited. Occasionally small sections of the field would fail, and great heat would come down and steam an ocean or bake a landscape. It was during this period that we started gathering into fortified cities. After 600 million years, a period comparable to the emergence of advanced life forms and the evolution to man, we had all moved to one last city, hundreds of kilometers across. We hoped the universe had forgotten about us. We tried to forget about the universe.

There deep in the city of Dazeit we waited it out.

For a Billion years.

Until the sun started to shed his outer layers of unused gas and dust on the way down to being a white dwarf star.

Access to Meta-Platonic Time never returned to its former fullness. Travels through time became spotty at best.

When the sun finally settled down into its long white dwarf phase of radiating heat from a core of diamond the size of Venus we quickly had to huddle the planets up to the sun. For extra heat and light we stellified the jovians by dropping artificial atom sized black holes into them.

Thus we could sit out the long night between galaxies, and stay out of the way of races we had competed unfairly and cruelly against.

Then, just one thousand old years after we had the new solar system the way we wanted it, we had full access to Meta-Platonic Time again! Unfortunately access to the centuries was not a linear matter within its own continuum of artificial time, head for the 35678944th Century and end up in the 82,000th. We even made touch with some of the century sections that had broken free of Meta-Platonic Time and plunged past the down-now terminus.

And while those lost sections were in ruins, they had penetrated into real time. Primitive time. Before the establishment of Meta-Platonic Time. The Age old dream had finally come true due to accident and misadventure: a time machine that had traveled to a period before its own creation.

We had access to the primitive past. To the times of origin and discovery.

After much deliberation we decided to arrange all of the Past, starting with the Primitive Past so that everything would result in Dazeit. Into the ultimate Dazeit. The perfect Dazeit. Dazeit the Timeless and Eternal, with all of human history cataloged like books on a shelf in a library of time.
We started in on fixing the 20th and 21st Centuries, as these were the crux locus points in the development of humanity. It had been decided by complete consensus that the history of these periods could not be left in a wild and natural state.
Little did we know that we would encounter resistance to our adjustments&

οΎ© 2009 J. Michael Glosson

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/22/2009

Happy to post such Stapledonian vistas, Mike!

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 06/23/2009

Thanks Greg.

Just found out this morning that said "Senior Editor" doesn't have as much pull with that virtual mag as indicated, as the Chief Editor sent in an email last night.

So the version post here is iteration #2 of the Hidden Earth, my Editor over there still needs to make pass #2 thru it.

Glad you liked...this myth from the far ends of time covers the mere 10-20 Billion year period of the proposed novel, extending from 100 Million years before the present day down to Dazeit sitting under a cooling White Dwarf.

No where near as long a time Scale of CITY, and unless some one creates a novel out of the Final Section of STAR MAKER, I don't think anyone is going to be able to top the period you described...in temporal length that is.

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 06/24/2009

I think "The Hidden Earth" is great,! It should stay in development, not be filed away (I particularly liked the reference to the "556th" century--snicker).

I've got a (blatently) Stapledonian vista of my own...here's a snippet from my in-progress collection of cosmic horror-stories.

From "I Who Am Destroyed" by Bill Goodwin:

Ruination is a potent liquor. Be patient then with one whose thoughts ravel and unravel like Van Gogh brushstrokes: bright earthworms without wetness to heal them, vivid blue curtains of coruscating fire, tapestries of crimson and gold cast from looms of reverie into engulfing black, sighing softly, screaming out loud, even singing, alone or in beatific assemblage.

It's all a sham. This hallucinogenic opus--this dream of interwoven synaptic cascades and quantum superpositions of information-bearing matter--is in the end no more profound than the tiny sound, remote and regular, of my jailer's watch. The sun of sensation shines, I crack in its light but am not warmed. Cold, I bake

Dusk wanes. A faint star announces its mighty but inconceivably distant self through the tiny opening--not quite a window--that alone confirms a wider existence beyond my cold cell. If daylight still obtained I might spy from that aperture the very spot where logic was forever confounded, where love and hope were undone in a single instant of intercosmic confusion. By what perverse inspiration was this courthouse erected upon a hilltop?


The stars were only a recent nuisance when KLO-NAR set out into the heather on his errand. His name wasn't really KLO-NAR of course. Still less was it heather: it was a sprawling sheet of aborning galaxies, fifty million lightyears across! To later eyes, living quick lives on hard specks of congealed matter, the plasma field might have seemed dark and insubstantial, a hint of structure here and there promising future things but on the whole a place oppressive in its formlessness--dank even--and in any case too simple a thing to warrant more than a passing reflection (perhaps) on galactogenesis or fluid dynamics. Simple to simple minds, the nebular field! But to KLO-NAR it was wild, and lustrous, and sweet enough to bring tears-not-tears to his eyes-not-eyes.

KLO-NAR was himself fully two hundred light-years across. That a movement (say) analogous to the raising of one of our arms took KLO-NAR an age to accomplish is of course irrelevant, his metabolic and psychologic processes being correspondingly slow. I CAN tell you that his metabolism was greatly more intricate than the human. But of KLO-NAR's precise shape and anatomy it is difficult to give a coherent account to the layman. How strange still is the idea that all the richness and variety we know as life might emerge from nonlinear filamentation in conductive cold-quantum plasmas!

Cosmic in stature then, was KLO-NAR. That is what I mean to say. Cosmic, yet a clap of the hands would have dispersed him. The dawn of creation into which he was born was a spectral place, fragile and vast.

Yet if the cosmos had achieved little on the smaller scale, it was rampant, in its ghostly way, on the large--weaving from sibilant ripples, from playful eddies and coruscating interference-patterns of shockwave-gas, from endlessly diverse interplay of magnetic shear and transverse-filamentation, a tapestry more detailed, more fraught with significance, than any landscape of our own silly planetary mote! And if KLO-NAR's life was slow it was finer-grained in equal measure, his perceptions more exquisite. In that heyday of creation immense breadth of time and relative freedom from catastrophe were fortuitously combined to create an environment where beings of KLO-NAR's sort might accrue themselves with a craft and precision utterly impractical to later, vulgar forms such as we...we who in the end will no doubt swarm verminous through space--matter things, bacteria--disrupting the fabric of these godlike entities' existence with trivial radio-clatter, ionizing coherent light and foul streams of fusion radicals (and this without even knowing what we've done). Bah! The very thought of it, of human frailty and selfishness, fills me with an insatiable rage, an irresistible impulse to--No!

What I meant is...what I mean...

Say now! Did you know, do you realize, how dusty protogalactic environments can be?

Oh, yes! Dusty and contaminated with all manner of exotic compounds, some even far-wandered into furtive anticipations of organic chemistry! Here in my cell I've worked out a set of dimensionless parameters for no less than seven diffusive-convective impurity transports, which yield to dynamic ones where nonisothermia is a given. Seven!

I'd demonstrate the theorem to my jailers if they'd only sit still and let me. Once dynamic invariants are derived for particles moving in polarized electromagnetic waves of arbitrary time-dependence propagating transverse to a uniform background field, the rest of the parallel with biology is easy!

Ah, biology. How subtle its threads, how pervasive its strange need. Would that I had never been ensnared by it. Would that I had known that in the fullness of time even the crystal may become muck through the sly insinuations of biology. At least the Earthly sort--that horror practiced by shambling mechanisms of fat and brine. Give me KLO-NAR's life of light! Woe are we whose burning is slow, whose nuclei remain muffled in electron shells. Only in flame do we catch something of the true dance, we shameful planetary parasites whose biology is dark and furtive!

But all of that was hence. If there were a single planet yet formed in the universe (there may have been) KLO-NAR had never heard of it.

He would scarce have been able to imagine it. The character of his mind was as artless before the idea of geology as yours or mine must be before his experience of that shining protostellar heather. In point of fact KLO-NAR's life was (and is, for he yet lives!) so alien it's hardly meaningful to say that his universe and our own are the same--so little do the circumstances of the one impinge upon the other (indeed it was some time before the parallel between KLO-NAR's experience and the facts of cosmology conjoined in my mind, so that his real nature became clear to me). Hardly meaningful, yet one thing demands it. That KLO-NAR and I were, for a time, friends.

What is this nonsense, you ask? How could minds as different as I have attempted to convey, minds at different times and on different timescales, achieve any sort of commensurate intercourse? Only this allows it: the fundamental affinity of pattern for pattern that underlies all natural law.

Glistening the hoary field, bright and musical! Cool the microwave breeze, sweet scent of muons evoking memory of youth and splendor, reckless clamors over shoals of helium and infrared, the sly new virgins shimmering, polymerizing! Slyest of all FLEYLA-RI, she whom KLO-NAR now went to confront!

This was his errand in the heather. Just as I went to confront the woman who'd betrayed me (the one you say is dead) out in the corn.

A great flux of dark energy in KLO-NAR's sky--in the sky over Oakbend a blinding Nebraska sun sudden-breaking through layers of dark cloud. A catch in my breath--in KLO-NAR's neutrino oscilation--at the beauty of the cornfield--of the rippling magnetoscape--then horror renewed at the prospect they held!

I'd intercepted a note from Flavia; that intoxicating student (of mine, at the university) who'd opened my lonely philosopher's eyes to the world of the heart, becoming my first, last and ideal lover! A note to her new paramour, a younger man she now believed she loved, the tiny loops of her dear, whimsical script affirming her (unimaginable) intent to meet him in that whispering cornfield, therewith to consummate their unholy lust!

I did not go to harm Flavia but only to reason with her, to confront the adulterers outright with the heinousness of their intended act and so rekindle Flavia's love for me by the passion and earnestness of my forgiveness. And KLO-NAR--high and transcendent KLO-NAR--went likewise to prevent the female who'd bewitched him from commiting her own hideous compromise of dawn-being taboo.

Like myself, KLO-NAR intended dialogue and not destruction, couching all his hope in a desperate appeal to FLEYLA-RI's higher nature. Obviously in the grip of some uncharacteristic madness, she meant to merge mentality with MAL-KRO, an upstart intellectual of low birth who'd beguiled her with the pompous vaguery of his speculations, and his insistence that only she possessed the requisite characteristics to (in union with him) unravel the perceptual axioma defining conscious individuality and open a portal into some unspecified higher plane of unbridled fulfillment.

Glistening the heather! Golden the corn! Vibrant the dark flux and brilliant sun! Crackling the leptons--and the hot wind that blew that afternoon up from the waters of the Platte. And in each of our hearts anguish, anguish...

Came the terrible moment, the strange attractor, the crisis of space and time! In that moment, we were one. On that afternoon the character of KLO-NAR's grief and mine coincided so closely that for an instant our experience fused.

I do not mean we were "as" one--understand me! We were ONE. The phenomenon was not additive but subtractive, peeling away the layers of confusion that conceal from mortal creatures the essential unity of all being. Vanishingly small the odds may seem, yet I beg the reader consider the scale of our universe! In a cosmos so vast and old such coincidences may occasionally occur, it must be granted. How many times (I am forced to wonder) has history turned on such an event?

Yet the profane and holy instant of which I speak--the instant that left a scribbling shell of a man weeping icewater in this tiny cell--though entirely unpredictable, was yet anticipated! Foreseen! Even this mockery of justice plays its role in the mad scheme woven across time by a perverse gestalt of flesh and fire.

Prepare your mind! Attend!

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Greg Bear
Date: 07/28/2009

I'm prepared, Bill! Now that I have a cosmic mind, what's next?

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 07/28/2009

Bill & Greg:

I will have to screen capture Bill's Piece and read it later.

The larger work "The Hidden Earth" seeped out of did get a restart a few weeks ago, so it's back on the active projects list, but with no definite delivery time.

And a fourth iteration of "The Hidden Earth" did see "print" elsewhere, but last time I'll be getting "paid" that way...

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 08/02/2009

Shucks, I dunno...a glowing, white hotel room?

Big Name Authors ought not to tempt Fan-Fic Wannabes...but since you have--and at the risk of offending Mike by parasitizing his thread like a sphexes wasp implanting its young--here's the next installment:


Before you can understand why it is that I am innocent of Flavia's murder (or any murder other than my own) I must give you a glimpse of the shocking new science--I should say metascience--whose broad outlines were laid bare to me one night in our local railroad ravine.

I loved the young Flavia with a desperation I wouldn't previously have believed possible. I'd never been a passionate man but a scholar--it was in the whispering fields of mathematics I found fire: fire of a better, a cosmic, kind. Then--as if a dam had burst!--the advent of Flavia unleashed from me a torrent of unsuspected passion.

I'd been a solitary child. A broken home, an abandoned mother peering into her son's armored visage as if looking for answers there. Visitors to the dark house looked askance at me, some were doctors I think, I know not which. There were whispers of autism. But what joys the child they called "emotionless" knew! How I loved to gather the ever-accumulating thriftshop knick-knacks from mother's bookshelves and kitchen counters, arranging them in rows along floors and down halls, rocking back and forth, spending hour after hour devising secret systemizations of my own!

I was no fool. I knew I was different--I watched television, after all, and read and understood more than anyone could have guessed. But beneath the quiet exterior brewed a giant's soul, masterful and grand; full of life and swagger but biding its time (or so I told myself).

And time was bid! Forty years in the wilderness, spent I. Forty years in halls of academe, accumulating credentials like knick-knacks themselves, propelling my slim form through the aisles of libraries like dreaming brains, cultural cerebrums whose dendritic fibers wove only faded carpet and gray hair. Then, at last, Flavia! Bright cactus flower whose prickly exterior was but teasing preamble to the heady mescaline-juices within. An alkaline brew to shatter the thickening icepack of my long neglected inner ocean.

Oh, those delicate loops of fairy handwriting! Such dutiful craft, which even in her first hesitant proofs showed an innate faith in what is highest and most just. Surely our meeting was in fact reunion, surely we were met to synthesize our inwardly divided selves, even as each, externally, sought fitting and delicious completion in the other! Individuation through coalescence--proof of another kind against the implacable specter of entropy.

Oh, ivory skin and licorice hair! Features like a stellar cluster--dancing, shifting, ever unpredictable. Ample septum, generous lips curled in amusement or set in inscrutable resolution, bold mammaries, back like a muscled snake, toes like mushrooms new-erupted after predawn rain. The merry bells of laughter that probed, punished and celebrated. The shining eyes, whose understanding caressed the crinkled contour of my long-suffering intellect--to discover what was yet fertile there, and discovering, to me reveal. As what was fertile in herself was so frankly revealed.

What imp's impulse moved this vortex of life to descend upon her curmudgeon instructor, calling forth answering storm from within? I shall never know. A walk along the railroad tracks was her first sally: an escort needed, questions to be asked, an umbrella to be shared. The rain never came. With bees for companions we sucked from honeysuckle blossoms, myriad little suns in the leafy firmament that tumbled down the banks of the cut, a peculiar gully joining Oakbend with its sooty suburb Oakback (which the students call Smokestack). She was amazed, I recall--and for some reason amused--that I'd never known of the sweet drop that may be extracted from every honeysuckle flower. Why else the name? I'd never considered it. It was intractable, I explained. This convulsed her.

She displayed me the next day at the local dive of the avant-garde, a place of smokes and sly understandings.

There I saw the side of life denied to my early giant's soul. The red-maned proprietrix of OAKBEAN ruled her coffeehouse with a sparkle more formidable than either tattooed bicep of her sandwich-making beau, burning like a spindle of freckled fire at the axis of cyclones of cheesecake and java, casting forth nets of laughter and reeling them in full of men and money. She winked when Flavia introduced me, as if they shared some secret. From a little stage in the corner, a stubbly sixteen-year-old played blues riffs to hypnotize women twice his age. Clove-cigarette women with shoulders like white Dover cliffs, firm Aztec women--caterpillar-browed--with glossy brown breasts like loaves of egg bread, abundant reggae women like wide-hipped fertility fetishes from the dawn of time, they sipped coffee and listened and narrowed their eyes in unashamed appraisal, warm with desire for his talent-flame. In another corner a massive graybeard of an author scrawled pages which, falling away, were as flypaper to midge-swarms of nymphets: long-haired, pond-eyed girls who (I was told) cluttered his wake, different each time but always the same.

Had this world always existed? It was not the world I'd seen on television, these were not unions to be achieved by proper toothpaste and deodorant. I was taken away in a daze. Taken by Flavia to the garden-apartment lair where she pressed her own particular brand of grape into tangy feline wine.

And so I gave up the chastity that had served as rampart against worldly chaos, preserving within me a garden of philosophical delight. Was not that pruriance, that single-sidedness, also a perversion? I like some sterile shadow of Augustine's libertine youth had been a slave of appetite, albeit an intellectual one. Till the voice from over the wall bade me, "Take up and read!" And the book to be read was none other than Flavia's paper-white flesh, leaves all-to-quick seized in my trembling novitiate hands.

Intellect, having rested, wakes refreshed. Enriched no less--the soil of the mind turned and infused with new and unexpected mineral wealth. I verily burned on my way home, drinking blue fire from the hosts burning overhead, scattered suns sleeting radiation down into the musty loam of the winding, nineteenth-century railroad cut.

Yet as I strode (and often stumbled, compelled for some reason to a speed unsuited to soft and uneven ground) my mood began to falter. Like a crystal snowfall shining in moonlight, my mental field had been. But now, as adreniline ebbed, the snow melted and became a slime.

What had I done? Where was the clean and sacred surface where I calculated my life in figures that never question or disappoint? I'd been made molten in a forge--of that, there was no doubt. But now, congealing, I was taking a frightening and unplanned shape.

What reason to live when one is no longer what one has been? Expansion I craved, but transformation? I'd been exiled from myself! Into a fascinating country, assuredly--a tropical clime, humid and rich--but forever?

Understand! I couldn't exist inconsistently! It was mathematically untenable. Oh, the torments I was made to suffer in that winding ravine, winding like a dark reflection of the Milky Way overhead, that river of unearthly fire. I wonder if I can convey--to those who've not known pure mathematics--the rich and proliferate nature of that matrix where my spirit had been kindled. Dry and lifeless, the abstract equations may seem. Yet in the Platonic realm I found more than mere escape from ambiguity. I found novelty and joy--indeed, all the latitude for zest and creation that others demand from the physical world, but without that world's hideous taint.

What taint is that? Call it uncertainty if you like, call it disloyalty, call it the gratuitous action of energy upon its own self-aggrandizing ends. Call it pleasure. Pleasure, that most insidious of narcotics, to which all living things are addicted, and in the squalor of addiction age and die before learning how to live. I lifted my face to the stars, and felt they shunned me as a traitor. I wailed aloud.

Deliberately, I mastered my despair. A choice had been presented. Cast from my lonely (but solid!) precipice, I must now either fall, or fly. To abandon the life of mind for the squalor of sensual reality, and to do this for sensation's sake alone, was of course unthinkable. Yet here, perhaps, was the opportunity for something more than mind or matter, singularly or together. Desperately I groped for some formula to tell me how I might return to myself, while yet moving forward...

I didn't know it yet, but the approaching instant of sympathy-fusion between KLO-NAR and myself was even then exerting its influence on the fabric of my thought. The dread paradox that is the mainspring of creation is revealed in all such singular events, calling the soul to audience as those events draw near just as surely as it demands interpretation when they recede.

In the matter of Flavia (as I saw things at the time) it was simply too late. The die had been cast. Now a man of the world, I might regain my former austerity only by embarking on a voyage transcending what the common herd understood that world to be. I must reconcile the irreconcilable, pierce through to a realm encompassing both astrophysics, in all its heavenly joy, and those base pleasures which, in Flavia, were somehow a sacrament taken in faith of that realm.

Sacrament--that was the key! The wafer had been eaten; in my shame and exile the return to blessedness was already accomplished! For I desired nothing more in that starlit gully than to be clean, and what else is desire but the retroactive shadow of achievement?

Something in the picture of the dark ravine dreaming under the Milky Way (moist blackness moving in tandem with fire-purged heavenly light) had been nagging at me. Just so may the subconscious occasionally guide us to locations suggestive of the wisdom it longs to reveal. Some dire intuition was trying to resolve itself--I actually stopped in my tracks, not wanting to frighten it away. I lowered my eyelids with exaggerated precision, till all was black. I inhaled a draught of cool night air.

Spiritual and sensual realities (I told myself) were related in the same way as coupled-functions in quantum mechanics. Each referred to and corrected the other; the dialogue was essential if either was to avoid becoming grotesque. Thus, if I truly cherished my spiritual life (for that is what physics was to me), I must not view my momentary venture into the sensual one as disloyal. Did not each provide necessary context for the other? Did not both share common foundation in the paradox of consciousness?


Paradox--not mere nonsense but true paradox, the actual Coincidence of Opposites! This was what consciousness really represented...a puzzle solvable neither by spiritualism nor neurology; a singularity like the ones in my equations, where terms are exacerbated to the point of infinity and logic leads beyond its own bounds.

Dry philosophy? Nay. These abstractions were infinitely relevent! Through paradox I might return at any time, so long as I kept this principle, Singularity Through Opposition, firmly in mind. The truth of it blazed in the cricketsong and camphor-scented air. True Being lay not in experiences that curl away randomly, like ribbons of shed bark, but in the main trunk that was ascendant, Eschatological Time! My eyes popped open. I'd entered one end of the gully human, I would emerge from the other superhuman.

Something snapped under the stress of my internal struggle. There was a tear and a rupture, and the sanctity I'd believed lost rushed back into me like liquid oxygen, an incandescent pleroma speeding outwards along the billionfold fibers of my being to flash and tingle at every periphery. All the threads of my mad existence were being gathered together, accelerating toward some overmastering synthesis inevitable for my newly awakened self.

Now I knew what destiny had brought me to Flavia. Across the bridge of flesh I'd not retreat, but rescue, rather, one whose glorious essence lacked only a focal-point (me) around which to assemble itself. And this would be my means--this new philosophy. There'd been no formal proposal yet, but surely Flavia's fervent undulations bespoke a need for permanence and purpose. My fame would insure this security. At a stroke I named my incipient system, dubbing it Inverse Emblemism.

Soon great books would flow from my fingertips, bringing in fortunes beyond all my previous underpaid imagining. Already the first took shape in my mind. In Relativity Reversed I would show how Einstein's equations, inherently solipsistic (though this was never discussed), may be inverted-through-consciousness into new understandings of self and society (which I would soon get around to formulating). Philosophy had just become an empirical science--what Kant couldn't, I would!

Fearful clarity. Profane and holy celestial sight.

And in that epiphanal instant a VOICE dawned. Yes, dawned. For the message was visual as well as auditory--or both and neither, or some sense-form wholy other. I can only tell you that my impression at the time was one of light, although a light which included everything that sound--deafening sound!--had always been. All the senses came into play, lit from within as if by a radiant body-knowledge proper to some other existence. The episode did not manifest instantly but began with a kind of premonitory quiver running through my nerves and mood...it smoldered softly for a few moments and then, like sunrise in the desert, mounted quickly to a scotomic brightness (or loudness) that galvanized every perceptual structure of my brain.

It was the voice of KLO-NAR, and the voice was KLO-NAR. A voice that was not a voice, but more like memory--or anti-memory perhaps--the very illumination missing from my every mental record presently in this, my ruination.

And the voice said only:


Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published/Klo Nar II: Dynoelectric Boogaloo

From: Mike Glosson
Location: Poway, CA
Date: 08/11/2009

Finally had the time time to sit down and read part I during my lunch break at work...first work Lunch break I've taken in a Month and a Half...

Part I appears to fall either between or some where in the neighborhood of Stapledon's NEBULA MAKER and Benford's THE SUNBORN.

Hopefully it won't take me another three weeks to get to part II...

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 08/12/2009

Sphex. Singular.

Always a thrill and an encouragement to see one's words here--thank you! It would be silly to go on...and the story of astrophysicist Clovis Newmar's decent into madness ("or is he?") is unfinished--a pile of overwritten nonsense--anyway. I'll leave off with a snippet from further in, should you choose to post it.

Apologies again to Mike for my stowing away. Re: The Hidden Earth--I can't tell you how much I groove on this stuff. The Earth hiding out inside the sun is fantastic. I'd subscribe in a moment to "The Meta-Platonic Times!"

From "I Who Am Destroyed" by Bill Goodwin:

The inphase periods (as I called them) were also more sharply defined, and more amenable to voluntary initiation, be it mine or KLO-NAR's. At first the distinction was obvious: KLO-NAR surprising me in the middle of explaining some nuance of orbital mechanics to a student, for instance, or me intruding upon KLO-NAR during one of his long, introspective "walks" on the feathery boundary between shear and compression wave-space where he liked to watch plasma-birds pick neutrinos out of the Cherenkov-radiation plumes.

Gradually, however, the difference between KLO-NAR's intrusions and my own seemed to fade and become irrelevant. We were simply We...a gestalt organism whose wakings were both unexpected and intentional.

KLO-NAR used this fact to illustrate the key principle of a plan I already half-knew was gestating in his protocosmic mind.

"There is nothing but information [he informed me]. Which individual is informer and which informed is ultimately an arbitrary distinction, as are their locations in space and time. In the end there is only the absolute, innumerate self in whom all possible arrangements of data coexist."

"A Self equivalent in its numerated expressions to Selflessness," I ventured hopefully.

"If you like," relplied KLO-NAR. "Be as may, all living things emerge from and return to this Self, their former individuality an but an illusion of temporarily-veiled understanding.

"Consider these things, books," he entreated. "You read from one whose encoder is long dead--yet in your solitude discover meaning appearing miraculously in your mind!"

"Perhaps," I mused, "the letters function as discrete sensations, specific enough in shape and character that the mind of the author and the mind of the reader are in a thousand little ways each moment fused, hence accessing the hypermental substrate from which all meaning upwells. Even as our own dialogue upwells from the hypermind that is We."

"That WILL be we," KLO-NAR corrected. "Do not forget that our instant of union--although implicit in this conversation--still lies, in its explicit form, hence.

"And in this we come to the crux of the matter," KLON-NAR continued. And his tone grew sly. "In the instant of our sympathy, there shall lie concealed an even deeper instant, in which all conscious agency throughout spacetime dwells manifest. Indeed it is the point that all beings must soon or late discover to be both the origin of matter, and the culmination of spirit. In this instant, the particulars of the assignment of conscious agency may be modified."


"The situation at that instant is in principle infinitly malleable."

Situation was a word KLO-NAR frequently used to mean universe. But here I intuited a more personal connection.

"I am in love with Flavia," I stated bluntly.

"As I with FLEYLA-RI. And I perceive that your agenda like mine own is in jeapordy. Both sets of circumstances are in the midst of immoral and untenable modification. Do you not sense it?"

"Why...no!" I replied, unnerved.

"And yet I do. It is a characteristic and perhaps defining element of our resonance. This bodes ill in the matter of that approaching instant which draws our thought into harmony. But perhaps disadvantage can be turned to advantage."

Never had KLO-NAR's emmanation seemed so dry, so emotionless. Yet neither had I heard him, before that moment, venture a moral opinion.

"What must we do?" I asked.

"Wait," was all he replied.


Came the time I was scheduled to address an international conference of cosmologists, assembled without precident in our small Nebraskan hamlet.

The catalytic event was an eclipse of the sun. Presently the shadow of the moon would sweep across the farmlands nigh unto Oakbend; naturally a host of tourists and astronomers arrived to admire and analyse the spectacle.

What an atmosphere of carnival siezed our sleepy village! A bustle of rodent humanity generated, as it seemed, spontaneously out of the surrounding fields. Over amber waves the SUVs came sailing; the single airstrip used by crop-dusters became a crowded bottleneck for chartered flights shuttling theorist and thrillseeker alike from the larger hub at Kansas City.

All of this I missed, concealed in my dark apartment, mind awash with light. Almost I forgot my appointment. But a frenzied colleague called from the old theater in Oakback that had been secured for my talk, and bade me come (the campus facilities were taxed beyond limit and the abandoned vaudeville house had been unboarded and rented out as a venue for certain of the more speculative seminars).

I'd been discussing certain fine points of projective geometry with KLO-NAR, and now it seemed I was going to be late. With arms like oversized wooden forks, I tossed the salad of my flat, siezed a checkered hat from out of the jumble and jammed it over my head.

Perhaps the crowd--a crowd of twelve--was strained by the interlude. Perhaps joint and tendon distracted. I see this now, in hindsight. But I have no head for such things. At the time I made no apology, but simply ascended to the podium and began.

"Good evening. I have been invited to present to you various aspects of current thinking on the matter of the Higgs boson and its problematical cousin, the graviton--with special emphasis on work carried out by myself and my graduate team under the auspices of the University of Nebraska at Oakbend Laboratory for Deep-Sky Studies."

I cleared my throat and set aside my notes. "This however I now choose not to do."

A murmer from the quiescent sacks of saltwater, a slight alteration of their calcium-precipitate support apparati.

"I mean instead," I continued, "to correct certain deeply-ingrained notions that have become impediments to progress, both in our own discipline, and in science, generally. I will begin by explaining certain anomolies in the trajectories of NASA space probes in light of reveations recently recieved by me from fiery inhabitants of the early protogalactic environment..."

Please have a book published!

From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: France
Date: 10/01/2009

@ Bill Goodwin,

Why are you giving us the threads of your story line? Are you hoping that Greg will get you published somewhere? I'm perplexed.

The reality is whether Obama will disclose our involvement with ET's this year or next. Sword and magic stories can wait till later.I suggest that the greatest story of mankind will soon be revealed. Disclosure should be our prime motive right now..not fairytales!

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 12/07/2009

Andrew: More like bringing a homemade comic book to school, to show around the sf club at lunch. In this case the Starmaker/City At The End Of Time club.

Disclosure? Not fairytales?

No argument from me!

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Greg Bear
Date: 12/17/2009

Hey, I used to do that! Show comic pages around school, that is.

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 12/17/2009

Well of course you did!

Get this--in junior high I tried to market my own homemade Star Trek gumcards on the playing field. I've still got a few, somewhere, welded to petrified sticks of Wrigleys. I must have had a deathwish! Bound businees cards together in printshop and drew little animated flip-books, too.

Print Shop...*sigh*

Re: Well, this was ABOUT to be published

From: Al Brady
Location: st neots
Date: 06/21/2010

This is awesome, no one at my school like science fiction at all! Id've liked to have hung out with you guys comparing notes instead of smoking.
Here's my Stapledonian rip off, complete with dodgy discriptions of what a galaxy looks like from a distance; ouch.


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