30 September 2012

Interdimensional Travel - How does that work?

Many armchair voyagers have often wondered how the process of slipping unobserved betwixt a footstep on Earth and a footstep on some other world actually works. Not being a scientific type of person myself, I always refer them to those who know better. Usually I refer them to the only real expert I ever met: Sebastian Talbot. Within the Voyager community, he has earned a First-Class ranking with one Gold Cluster.

Mr. Talbot (along with ex-girlfriend Gina Parton) is one of only a few known or acknowledged Interdimensional Voyagers living in modern times. There have been several down through history, of course. However, people tend to chalk those up to legends, myths, or colorful fictions. Count Saint Germain is a notable example of such a Voyager living a life on Earth yet disappearing and returning again and again so as to seem to live a lifespan covering a couple of centuries. 

From the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s, Sebastian Talbot made many voyages through a variety of portals, chiefly clustered in and around an abandoned quarry to the east of Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Talbot has called this field of doorways a "tangent dump"--rather like a train depot where all tracks converge, thus making switching from one to another easier. The term "tangent" was coined by Gina Parton, based on the concept that each doorway was actually a tangent on the sphere of the planet. Talbot has reported that the initial contact point (the "tangent") is miniscule, and only through careful manual manipulation can it be coaxed open and then "torn" enough to allow a person to step through. With practice the method for entering the tangent becomes more fluid.

In his memoir, The Dream Land, Book III, Talbot explains:

"I don’t create the tangents. I’m just sensitive enough to detect them and skilled enough to use them. Kind of like being some Superhero."

Several of Talbot's travels have been well-documented and some scientific data exists to substantiate the phenomenon. The other side of the question concerns that world on the opposite side of the tangent, often referred to as a "parallel universe". You can find more information here (but do not be fooled by use of the word "fiction").To learn more about this phenomena and its properties, I offer the following excerpt:

Excerpt from THE DREAM LAND, Book II: Dreams of Futures Past

“It was a long haul that first time,” the old man continued. “We passed through several very different worlds and never knew when or how we could get back home. It was frightening—and fascinating. Looking back, however—and I was much too amazed to put it all into any kind of scientific perspective at the time—well, that had to be the scariest time of my life. Can you imagine stumbling through some invisible doorway to another world and not knowing how to get back? It’s pants-shitting time, my friend! Oh, sure, it happens all the time in those sci-fi movies, what, Star Wars, Star Trek, Star light star bright whatever I dream tonight—whatever. But imagine—hah, that’s the wrong word!—envision the experience where you, or any kid, does the same thing: let yourself be sucked through some invisible gelatin and plop! there you are in another world. And that’s not even considering the physics or biology, the how’s it work? part of the experience. How is this even happening? Is it something like a wormhole? I heard that term used on an episode of Star Trek when I returned to Earth for visit. But I don’t think this phenomena is any kind of wormhole, just a...something else. I don’t explain’em, I just use’em. Anyway, the only thing Gina and I could do was keep going, so on we went through several different tangents—what we call the interdimensional doorways. So, eventually we found ourselves back in something familiar, what we call Ghoupallesz now, our home away from home.”
The old man began shredding the stalk he’d plucked from the dirt as the youth asked his questions, the usual ones, about how it all works, and the man nodded politely, wearily, as though he had been asked the questions many times before by other wandering youth and already understood everything and waited patiently to give the answers. Then he did:
“I don’t know.” He laughed and the youth frowned. “Sorry, but I really don’t. But I know what works for me. That is, I know how to get back and forth, in the right year—or pretty close, hah!—and to know when to leave again. Before I get into too much trouble. Sometimes I even prevent trouble. Then I feel good about myself, feel like I deserve something, something special, a treat or reward, like a fine steak dinner or a really good night’s sleep. Or my own island—like this one. Remind me later and I’ll tell you how I changed history here for the good of everyone. That’s my greatest accomplishment. That’s what makes me a god.”
The youth held his frown, trying to detect sarcasm in the man’s voice yet found none.

So fake!!!
NEXT: The Dark Side of Interdimensional Voyaging!

(C) Copyright 2010-2012 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

20 September 2012

Making Drugs for the Masses...and feeling guilty.

Because life is often interesting and occasionally thought-provoking, I often formulate some aspect of it into an intriguing idea. For some perverse reason, which varies as much as the number of times it happens, I get the incredible urge to share that idea. Much of the time I resist, of course. Other times I cannot hold back and must foist it upon an innocent public.

Thus it begins: the playing with words, the perversions of punctuation, the crafting of crafty messages, the tempting of time, and going to bed with questions that do not satisfy for long. I'm referring to the drugs so prevalent in our society: those fictions.

·         What if two people who are so completely wrong for each other happen to meet, and then have to try to get along? There are bound to be fights. What if that struggle leads one to disaster while the other can be free? (A Beautiful Chill)

·         What if a young man who is intrigued by the Trojan War goes to visit the ruins of Troy and happens to meet an older woman? And what if his name happens to be Parris and hers Eléna—just like the Paris and Helen of ancient times? Wouldn't that be weird! (After Ilium)

·         What if a couple of high school tech nerds happen to discover a tear in the air and step through it into a new world? What if they have many adventures there and learn to dominate that world? What if they then returned to Earth and had to explain things? (The Dream Land trilogy)

·         What if a married man discovers his former lover has his child? What if the man truly believes the right thing to do is go to investigate her death and try to claim his child? What if his wife objects? (Aiko)

Life seems constantly to be throwing “what-if” propositions at me. Some stick and others do not. Life gets busy sometimes, too, and the what-ifs of the world go unanswered. Yet, overall, who would care? Plenty of people. Humans have a strange propensity to empathize with invented humans—or personifications of humans. That creates a market for telling lies, for deliberate deception. And people are making a lot of money selling lies and deception.* People love lies, accept deception; they welcome them. After all, they are powerful, useful drugs. I once was told when I was a young teenager writing science-fiction stories that there is no point reading something that is not true. It’s a waste of time.

And yet we do! A lot of us. A lot of the time. I’ve been thinking of this conundrum for a long time, too. Why do we like to make-believe? Is there something wrong with our ordinary, everyday lives? Why the need to fantasize—or the desire to visit worlds that do not exist, or cavort with cohorts who never existed? There must be some mental disorder that pushes some people, but not others, into a kind of phantasmagoric repose. Sure, I know why I write (well, perhaps...), but why does anyone read these stories?

I write because I must. It’s a mental disorder: hypergraphia (read more here). I write in almost every spare moment. I awaken at night to write something. When I am physically prevented from writing, I write inside my head, intending to commit it to some magnetic ink when I next have the opportunity. It truly is a gradient subterfuge into madness.

I doubt that my affliction has reached severe levels, for I am able to stop writing occasionally and seem to suffer no adverse symptoms. I have gone as long as a month without writing. Yet always it returns, compelling me to invent things that never happened, or could never happen. In the rawest sense, I try to create scenarios that I would enjoy living through—even ones which may, on the surface, seem unpleasant. Doesn’t that seem bizarre? Why would anyone compose fantasies to inhabit? As an escape from mundane reality? I suppose the degree of disability would have to be measured by how much it interferes with my so-called “normal” activities. For me, however, the writing—and its associated tasks of planning, researching, editing, etc.—is my “normal” activity. It is the remainder of the day and week that are my abnormal activities.

If I were to be locked up for some nefarious reason, I think I could be happy and survive it if I were allowed a computer (or, barring that, a manual typewriter and endless reams of paper) and all the time I needed to build a fiction in which I could blissfully reside forever. 

Oh my! Have I spoken too soon? 

After all, I have done such a foul thing already: I have created fictions in which I can exist…through the husks of protagonists and occasionally behind the villain’s mask. And yet, strangely, I still can walk the streets unhindered, without a single word of mockery about my affliction, and in complete anonymity. For I am Everyman…er, uh, everyperson, whatever. I am the drug maker. And, yes, I can sleep at night.

Again, I deeply apologize for my fictionally inept fictionization of wholly fictitious, vilely fictive fiction. It’s an illness so it’s not my fault. Besides, Truth has never held fast for me. The rest goes without saying.

*Some lies are more expensive than others, of course, both in the uptake and in the aftermath.

(C) Copyright 2010-2012 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

05 September 2012

DeConstructing the Sekuatean Empire, Part 2

THE DREAM LAND - continuing report
(...a genre-mashing epic of interdimensional intrigue and police procedural, a psychological thriller marbled with twisted humor, steampunk pathos, and time/space conundrums.)

Like most stories, the beginning has been lost in the womb of time, yet I shall attempt to bring to the discussion a reasonably brief summary of the most important facts.

Once upon a time there was a planet. And this planet sat in the middle of a solar system ruled by two suns, a large yellow one and a small blue one. And on that planet were continents and oceans and some people to change all of that. A civilization developed. None can recall how that happened or exactly when it could be recognized as happening. Yet soon there came to be nation-states and one of them was called Sekuate.

In those days the primary land mass known as Zissekap was evenly divided between the Danid people in the north and the Rouê people of the south. Often there were clashes between them and the boundary shifted with the wind. Considering what came to pass in later years, this was considered a golden age and many heroes and legends were fired in the furnaces of storytellers.

At some point amidst the high civilization of Zissekap, with its kingdoms and tribal groups, an invasion occurred. Arriving by sea, the new Ghoupalle people were believed by Danid and Rouê to be descended from the gods. Accommodation was made for the invaders. Over the generations, the Danid were pushed into the mountains and the Rouê were pushed into the desert. A new civilization was built atop and among that of the original inhabitants.

Fantasy stories often have such dichotomies, rivalries between ethnic groups, and references to gods, heroes, and legends. However, when Earth nerds Sebastian Talbot and Gina Parton found themselves in this new world, they were quick to recognize that they were not amidst some cute, fluffy-bunny, or Hobbit-like playground of fantastic scenarios. Rather, they were terrified of being found out as Earthlings.

They need not have worried, as it turned out, because they closely resembled the majority of the population, the Ghoupalle “race” which controlled most of Zissekap. The political entity known as Sekuate was where they found their home and where most of their lives* were conducted. In the Ghoupalle year of 1440**, Sekuate was divided between a northern state and a southern state. Two small nations separated these portions, its capital and largest cities being in the northern one. This division was a source of conflict generations old. It was eventually resolved when the ruling family of Tomodon-Sarrêban was overthrown by a group of five revolutionaries, called the Gangus Council, their legions of followers, and the army, commanded by a sympathizer, General Bandar-Traf who supported them.

Sebastian caught the worst of the revolution, civil war, and annexation wars that ensued, stuck commanding a cavalry regiment, while Gina found herself the unlucky hostage of a Zetin warlord, just to save her adopted people from defeat. By that point in Ghoupalle history (1529-1533), Sebastian was married to Zaura-Matousz, a Ghoupalle woman and was working as a cavalry captain and professor of military science. Gina was married to the conceited prime minster of Tebbicousimankalê, a large nation in northern Megank, the continent to the north and east of Zissekap and the sworn enemy of the Sekuatean Empire

Sebastian and Gina each struggled to free themselves from their fate while trying to help end the wars. "History sucks while you’re in it," Sebastian reportedly said at the siege of the industrial metropolis of Siaa in northern Tebbicousimankalê (Pouor-12:1533).

But I digress….

To fully deconstruct the Sekuatean Empire, we will need to understand much more of its history and customs. We may also need to understand who these Ghoupalle people are and how the Danid, Rouê, and even Zetin people plot to wipe them out of existence. To escape that future war of extermination, certain science-minded individuals may yet identify a cosmic phenomena whereby the world of Ghoupallesz could connect to the world of Earth….

*"Lives" would be the correct term because while they continued to age at their baseline Earth rate, the years of Ghoupalle civilization passed like months. It became necessary to remove themselves from one “time zone” and begin again in a new one.

**"Ghoupalle years" measure the years after the invasion of Zissekap.


[2 cents to you if you caught the typo.]

(C) Copyright 2010-2012 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.