Discussion Board

Topic: Eternity: alternate evolutionary branch?

From: David Markwick
Location: United Kingdom
Date: 01/02/2007

Greg, while re-reading Eternity at the moment I'm reminded of something I thought when I first read the book, that the physical description of the Jart was not a million miles away from an illustration I saw once of a branch of evolution that never made it to present times. It too had several pairs of straight legs with a head and an upturned tail (as I remember it), and I guess with a couple of millions of years of evolution could eventually grow into something similar to your description.

Did you resurrect this lost evolutionary branch or was the Jart conceived as totally alien? Or, as I might suspect ;) does it not really make too much difference? :)

Re: Eternity: alternate evolutionary branch?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/02/2007

I did indeed borrow the Jart's anatomy from the first Conway interpretation of a Cambrian explosion denizen called Hallucigenia sparsa. Since that time, many more specimens have been found, and Conway and others have re-shaped their interpretation, turning it upside down, making it a spiky worm rather than a strange creature marching around on spikes! So the Jarts are now COMPLETELY alien, unlike anything of this Earth.

Re: Eternity: alternate evolutionary branch?

From: David Markwick
Location: United Kingdom
Date: 01/03/2007

Ah, OK cool :)

Googling "Hallucigenia sparsa" brings up 2 pages of sites, probably the most informative (for a non-scientist) is the Wikipaedia (sp) site. It tells me that although the worm is now as you say generally regarded as having protective spikes rather than pointed legs, as the tentacle-like legs are not paired there is some argument still.

So, did you originally envision the Jarts as being from an alternate Earth? One quite far removed from our own? It'd be quite fascinating thinking about how totally separate branches of evolutionary probability could face off against each other, perhaps even affecting each other quite substantially. Boggling.

Re: Eternity: alternate evolutionary branch?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/03/2007

Jart design was made as a kind of coded reference to the Burgess shale--and an expression of outlandish evolution, as then conceived. They probably never had any real connection with Earth. But finding something like them out there--as Stephen Jay Gould might point out--is no more unlikely than finding something like us!

Re: Eternity: alternate evolutionary branch?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/04/2007

I did indeed borrow the Jart's anatomy from the first Conway Morris interpretation of a Cambrian explosion denizen called Hallucigenia sparsa. Since that time, many more specimens have been found, and Conway and others have re-shaped their interpretation, turning it upside down, making it a spiky worm rather than a strange creature marching around on spikes! So the Jarts are now COMPLETELY alien, unlike anything of this Earth.

Re: Eternity: alternate evolutionary branch?

From: Wayne Quernemoen
Location: Minnesota
Date: 06/09/2007

I am looking for a list of all books in the EON series. I have read EON (some time ago) and have both "Legacy", which is listed on the cover as a prequel to EON, and "Eternity", which I saw listed somewhere as a sequel to EON. Can anyone give me the total list of books written by Greg Bear in the EON series?

I am in the process of reading "Parallel Worlds" by Michio Kaku, and am intrigued by the links between Greg Bear's work in EON and Michio Kaku's discussion of M-theory. I wonder if Greg plans to add to the EON story line?

Re: Eternity: alternate evolutionary branch?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/12/2007

Thanks for writing, Wayne! The historical sequence would be: "The Wind From a Burning Woman," published in my story collection from Tor Books, then LEGACY, then "The Way of All Ghosts"--also in the story collection, and also in my collection SLEEPSIDE--and then EON, and finally, ETERNITY. No other books in the sequence for the time being! Though I will be dipping more into parallel worlds of a sort in CITY AT THE END OF TIME.

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