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Natarajas in Jellyfish Lake

Today Safia, one of our diving partners from Palau, emailed me some underwater pictures of Jellyfish Lake. Thanks, Safia!

I knew at the time that Jellyfish Lake was great SF material, but am only now figuring out exactly how to work jellyfish into my novel-in-progress, Mathematicians in Love.

My characters will tunnel through to a higher universe called La Hampa. La Hampa resembles Micronesia, but some of the islands will float in the air. That is, you’ll see the thousands of small muffin islands like you see off Palau, but some will be floating above sea level, up in the sky like clouds, and other islands are wholly submerged in the seemingly bottomless sea. We’ll also like to have little suns of all sizes, so there’s no determinate scale at all. Seas, islands, air bubbles, suns, endlessly nested above and below.

Our universe is but one sheet of many, which are stacked in a so-called hyperverse. The dimension in which our universes evolve matches the time dimension of La Hampa, called hampatime. The successive universes in the hyperverse are in some sense better and better, like successive drafts of a novel. So our universe is a single spactime sheet in a series of alternate universes which, taken together, make up a hyperverse. [I referenced the hyperverse idea earlier in the blog in terms of an answer to the EDGE annual question, although at that time I hadn't yet started using the word “hyperverse.”]

Each hyperverse is coupled to a single La Hampan organism called a nataraja (from dancer king, which is used in India as synonym for dancing many-armed Shiva). The natarajas resemble jellyfish.

As hampatime elapses, a nataraja jellyfish is beating its invisible spacetime veils, flexing them to make them lovelier. And as the veils get more beautiful, as their hyperverse evolves, the nataraja begins to glow. And at some point it begins to resemble a sun. And that’s when the cosmic novel is done!

5 Responses to “Natarajas in Jellyfish Lake”

  1. Mac Says:

    Posthuman Blues
    I guess I wasn’t aware, until this post, that “Mathemeticians In Love” was SF. Not that I don’t read non-genre books (far from it), but this picques my interest.
    Wonderfully weird photos!

  2. jher Says:

    palau via google maps
    Not a very high res satellite scan but I thought you might be amused.
    Cool related site:
    google sightseeing

  3. jher Says:

    palau zoomed out
    Forgot to zoom out first before saving that link for google maps. This one is better.

  4. JonO Says:

    heck yeah!
    Check it out: Radio Zumbido, Los Ultimos Dias Del A.M. has a track “El Hampa” which always makes me think of Lake Atitlan, both of which together constitute a tunnel to higher universe if ever there was one…
    a Radio Zumbido page

    JonO, Minneapolis
    burnunit@waste.org
    my lj

  5. Rudy Says:

    Thanks, JonO, for the “El Hampa” link. Cool sounds, I’m gonna play it a bunch of time.
    But now I’m confused. In Googling, I find both “La Hampa” and “El Hampa” in use. I don’t know Spanish, but I thought La and El were, respectively, female and male gender? Does hampa have two meanings depending on gender? Or can you use either article.
    My understanding is that “la hampa” means “the underworld” in the gangland sense of the word.


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