Archive for the ‘The Big Aha’ Category

Cosmic Fairyland #2: The Third Eye.

In my current series of posts, I’ve mostly been discussing ideas for my novel in progress, The Big Aha. Recently I was been talking about a cosmic/robotic flip between two mental modes—see my October 24, 2012, post “The Two Mind Modes. Telepathy.” I’ll quote a bit of that post here as a reminder:

Open your (inner) eyes to your true mental life. Your state of mind can evolve in two kinds of ways that I’ll fancifully call—“robotic” and “cosmic”. The “robotic” mental processes proceed step-by-step—via reasoning and analysis, by reading or hearing words, by forming specific opinions. Every opinion diminishes you.

The “cosmic” changes are preverbal flows. If you turn off your endlessly-narrating inner voice, your consciousness becomes analog, like waves on a pond. You’re merged with the world. You’re with the One. It can be a simple as the everyday activity of being alert—without consciously thinking much of anything. In the cosmic mode you aren’t standing outside yourself and evaluating your thoughts.

And in my post of December 7, 2012, “Cosmic Fairlyand #1: How To See It” I was talking about a fairy/mundane flip between two reality modes. It would clutter my Big Aha novel (and beggar common sense) if I were to claim that these are two distinct axes, two distinct kinds of flips.

But I can’t just say that cosmic mode and fairyland are one and the same. Because when you can go into the fairyland state you disappear from physical view, and in the merely cosmic state you’re still around. When you go to fairyland, you physically cross a gap between the two levels. You can get off the floor and glue yourself to the ceiling.

The “explanation” for the first flip, that is the cosmic/robotic mode flip in The Big Aha is that my characters get into a so-called quantum wetware state. And they have access to a so-called “gee-haw-whimmy-diddle” brain switch.

By the way, I can’t stand to keep using my character Gaven Garber’s stupid name: “the gee-haw-whimmy-diddle switch” throughout The Big Aha. I’ll have my character Loulou begin calling it “the third eye,” which is the name they used in my novel Spaceland.

A 2D Flatland Character with a 3D Third Eye (from Spaceland). He can now see behind his wife and observe that she’s about to stab him.

So, as in Spaceland, we suppose that the third eye depends on an organelle that can stick up into 4D by a small amount. I’d considered having it be a macromolecule, but hell, let’s have it be bigger, like a lobster’s eye or crab’s eye on a short stalk. And we’ll say the gap between the mundane level and the fairyland level is fairly substantial, like maybe an inch. Forget about making it a mere atom’s width. I want some hyperthickness to maneuver in!

The third eye lives in your pineal gland of course. When the third eye is lifted or extended, you get unblocked access to a wider area—note that brainwave vibes pulse out into the full hyperthick space. With your third eye up on the alert, you can synch with more distant things. And that puts you into cosmic mode.

And—here’s today’s aha moment—if the third eye projects even more, if you really really stretch out the eye stalk, then your eye can bump into and adhere to the “fairyland” level of our hyperspace slab, and it can haul you up there, like a filament of web lifting a spider!

The 2D Being “A Square” with a 3D Third Eye Points Ana or Kata (from Spaceland)

Once you’re in fairyland, you can lie flat in it, or you can extend your third eye’s stalk back in the direction whence you came, as shown beloe. We’ll suppose that you can’t push the stalk out through the hyperspace box that contains our dual-level cosmos. I’ll explain about “ana” and “kata” in just a second.

In discussing the direction that the eyestalk points, it’s worthwhile to have words for the 4D correlatives of “up and down.” As in Spaceland, I’ll use “ana and kata,” following the writings of Charles Howard Hinton—see my June 8, 2009, blog post about Hinton.

Mode:                   Eye Stalk:     Body Is On:
Robotic Mundane       retracted        floor
Cosmic Mundane       extended        floor
Robotic Fairy             retracted        ceiling
Cosmic Fairy              extended       ceiling

Thus we have four possible modes. Your eyestalk can be extended, that is, pointing ana or kata into the hyperspace box of our space. Or it can be retracted, that is, fully contained within your body. As I already mentioned, when extending the probe, you need to push it ana when on the floor and push it kata when on the ceiling. And we get the four possibilities in our table because your body can either be ana on the “floor” or kata on the “ceiling.”

Cosmic, Mundane, Robotic and Fairy Modes

You might cycle through the four stages in the order shown in the figure above, jumping ana running down the left column and jumping kata running down the column on the right.

I’ll post more about these topics before too long, also I’ll want to say a little about the practice of inventing detailed explanations for SF/fantasy effects.

Gubs and Raths

I want to write about some creatures called gubs in my novel The Big Aha. A gub is a small green pig from the Higher World, about the size of a football, with floppy triangular ears, and in place of a curly tail, a writhing bunch of purple tentacles. One of them might appear in your room, go gub-gub-gub-wheenk! Then streak across the room and disappear right before ramming into your wall.

Thinking about the gubs, I remembered that I wrote about small green pigs once before, in the Freeware volume of my Ware Tetralogy, where they were called raths.

[Find paperback, ebook, or CC versions of The Ware Tetralogy]

So today I’m posting a couple of passages from Freeware dealing with the raths. By way of introducing the material, let me give you a little background on Freeware. People have found a way to program lumps of soft intelligent plastic. The stuff can take on all sorts of forms, such as the large, smart descendents of robots who are now known as moldies. My character Corey Rhizome is making small programmed plastic toys that he calls Silly Putters. He’s family friend of a woman named Darla, and her twin daughters Joke and Yoke.

And now let the “reading” begin…

On the girls’ eleventh birthday, Corey showed up with a set of six brand-new Silly Putters. Chuckling and showing his gray teeth, he upended his knapsack to dump the lively plastic creatures out on the floor. “Remember Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, girls?” he cried. “Jokie, can you recite the first two verses?”

“Okay,” said Joke and declaimed the wonderful, time-polished words.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.”

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!

As Joke spoke, each of the six new Silly Putters bowed in turn: the tove, a combination badger and lizard with corkscrew-shaped nose and tail; the borogove, a shabby mop-like bird with long legs and a drooping beak; the rath, a small noisy green pig; the Jabberwock, a buck-toothed dragon with bat wings and long fingers; the Jubjub bird with a wide orange beak like a sideways football and a body that was little more than a purple tuft of feathers; and the Bandersnatch, a nasty monkey with a fifth hand at the tip of his grasping tail.

Joke and Yoke shrieked in excitement as the Jabberwocky creatures moved about. The Jubjub bird swallowed the rath and regurgitated it. The freed rath gave an angry squeal that rose into a sneezing whistle. The Jabberwock flapped its wings hard enough to rise a few inches off the floor. The tove alternately tried to drill its nose and its tail into the floor. The borogove stalked this way and that, peering at the others but not getting too close to them. And the Bandersnatch snaked its tail behind Yoke and felt her ass.

“Don’t!” said Yoke, slapping at the Bandersnatch’s extra hand. The Bandersnatch gibbered, rubbed its crotch, capered lewdly, and then seized the back of Joke’s leg, shudderingly hunching against the young girl’s calf.

“I better do some more work on him,” wheezed Corey, grabbing the Bandersnatch and stuffing the struggling Silly Putter back into his knapsack. “I put so much of myself into each of them that I’m never quite sure how they’ll react to new situations. Quit staring at me like that, girls.”

“Uncle Corey’s a frumious Bandersnatch,” giggled Yoke.

“It was so sick how that thing was pushing on my leg?” said Joke.

“Doing it,” whooped Yoke. “Oh, look, the Jubjub bird is going to swallow the rath again and make it outgrabe!”

“The present tense is outgribe,” corrected the literate Joke. “It’s like give and gave.”

[Now we jump to five or ten years later. At this point, a kind of mind-virus is infecting such soft plastic creatures as the larger “moldies” and the small toy Silly Putters. You need to know that an uvvy is a soft plastic telephone. And Corey Rhizome is worried about a Silly-Putter-like toy dog called Rags that some enemies had sent to attack Darla. And now Darla and her daughters phone Corey.]

Joke told her uvvy to call Corey, and moments later Corey picked up. With their uvvies linked, Darla and her daughters could channel Corey together.

“What?” screamed Corey. “Who the f*ck is it?” Instead of using his uvvy, Corey was yelling at an ancient tabletop vizzy phone with a wall-mounted camera and a broken screen. The brah’s only incoming info was audio. The vizzy’s camera showed Corey slumped at a filthy round kitchen table with the rath and Jubjub bird on top of the table, scrabbling over mounds of tattered palimpsest. The table was further cluttered with ceramic dishes of half-eaten food, a clunky Makita piezomorpher, some scraps of imipolex, and, of course, Corey’s vile jury-rigged smoking equipment.

The Jubjub bird opened its mouth hugely and clapped it down on the rath’s curly tail. The rath outgrabe mightily, combining the sound of a bellow, a sneeze, and a whistle. Corey winced and leaned forward into his smoke filter to take a long pull from his filthy hookah.

“Corey,” spoke up Darla before Joke could say anything. “I’ve been worried about you.”

“Darla?” Corey drew his head out of the fume hood and, shocking to see, there was thick gray smoke trickling out of his nose and mouth. “What happened to Rags, Darla? They took my uvvy away. Things are f*cked-up beyond all recognition. How did you deal with Rags?”

“I killed him with the needler, no thanks to you. At least the two Silly Putters that I can see in your place look normal.” The rath extricated its tail from the Jubjub bird’s beak and reared back to drum its green trotters on the Jubjub’s minute, feathered cranium. The Jubjub bird lost its footing and slid off Corey’s table, taking a stress-tuned lava cup with it to clatter about endlessly in the low gravity. The rath outgrabe triumphantly, and the Jubjub bird let out a deep angry caw.

“It’s funny about those two,” said Corey. “Whenever the others try to infect them, they shake it off . They’re stupid, of course, but certainly no stupider than the Jabberwock or the borogove. I think maybe they’re immune because Willy used a cubic homeostasis algorithm on them instead of the usual quadratic one. It’s been a while. I made them for Joke and Yoke’s eleventh birthday, remember?”

“You and your gunjy Bandersnatch,” uvvied Darla nastily.

“The Bandersnatch is bad news,” said Corey. “I admit it.” On the floor, the Jubjub bird and the rath were vigorously playing a game of full-tilt leapfrog; repeatedly smacking into the walls and then bouncing around all over the kitchen floor, cawing and outgribing and biting at each other.

So that’s it for the reading. Check out the whole Ware Tetralogy if you like. And meanwhile I’m looking forward to having fun with my gubs. Raths redux!


SFictional Higher Realities

I like thinking about a higher or alternate forms of reality. In The Big Aha, I want to give my characters access to a more cosmic or far-out level. And then some of my characters learn to jump bodily into this higher world. And they find some creepy vermin living there. Creatures who do not have humankind’s best interests at heart.

So what is the higher world? So far I’ve thought of seven SFictional possibilities. Let’s start counting at 0.

(0) This is the traditional one. The “other” world is a physical place in our space. Either on our planet, as in mysterious voyage tales, like an island, an undersea cave, in the Antarctic, in a hidden valley. Or off-world, like on another planet. Or sort of on our planet, but not in an obvious place, like inside the hollow earth, or on a cloud.

(1) It could be a parallel sheet of spacetime, perhaps with a different kind of physics. But I used this option in Postsingular and Hylozoic, and I don’t want to recycle it here.

(2) It could be a higher-dimensional hyperspace. And then our world is a sheet inside this hyperspace, and the hyperbeings move about in the higher dimensions at will. They may dip into our world now and then. I used this model in Spaceland.

(2a) The hyperspace model can be adapted to a religious or spiritualist notions of incorporeal beings looking down on our world. Ghosts, spirits, demons, angels, gods, devils. Spaceland works somewhat along these lines.

(2b) An alternate use of a higher dimensional level is to suppose that the higher beings aren’t particularly aware of or interested in us, they’re simply rooting like moles or writhing around like lampreys, and if they happen to pass through our world it’s more or less an accident. Although then, of course, they might develop a taste for our hyperflat bodies. And then we’re flank steak. Cold cuts. I might like this. I do like the idea of there being stupid, unaware beings in the higher world.

(3) Another idea is to suppose that the “higher” world exists at very small size scales. In what’s sometimes called the subdimensions. I used this approach in Jim and the Flims, where the higher world could be found inside an electron. Lots of room at the bottom!

[Lowe’s Alef-Null-Plex from FUTURAMA, episode 19 or so, the “Raging Bender” one where Bender becomes a wrestler.]

(4) Or we can go to the “big” direction. That is, put the higher world at an infinite distance from Earth. Out past aleph-null. I used this move in White Light, and at the very end of Hylozoic.

[Our friend Ronna Schulkin with two of her paintings, one painted on the real level, one appropriated on the subtle level.]

(5a) Another angle is something more vague—a higher world that overlays ours in the same space, but which is, for whatever reason, generally imperceptible. Perhaps their quantum wave functions are perpetually 180 degrees out of phase with ours. Putting this differently, it may be that the creatures in the higher world are made of a “dark” or subtle type of matter which doesn’t interact with us. And it may be that each of does in fact have a subtle matter soul. You can learn to do a hyperdimensional somersault that twists your elementary particles into bits of subtle matter. That is, you can do a “chin-up” that lifts you into the subtle world. I think this one is the one I like best just now.

(5b) A traditional fairy-tale variation on the subtle world is that there’s a secret world right under our noses but we don’t notice it. Elves and fairies that most of us can’t see. What if we can see the subtle world simply by adopting a different way of looking at things? (E.g. by being “high” on some psychedelic chemical or bizarre physical process…such as “qwet teep??) See Joseph Zizy’s comment below and my response comment for a bit more on this idea.

(6) What about virtual reality? Could the higher world be a virtual reality running within—what? Way too boring if it’s in a digital computer, although I did touch on this possiblity at the start of Chapter 12 in Postsingular. It would be more interesting if the “virtual reality” computation was being generated by natural objects in the physical world. Air currents, flames, water waves. And this effectively takes us into Zizys’s variation, that is, (5b).

“Night of Telepathy,” oil on canvas, November, 2012, 40” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the image.

One way or another, you end up in the higher world with the archetypes and dreams and thoughts walking around! But! Look out for the subtle rats!

Joey Goes Chimera

Most of my writing energy is going into my novel these days, The Big Aha. It’s only when I’m in a special kind of mode that I manage to blog a lot.

Today’s offering? A short uttake from The Big Aha, involving a tool called a “geener” which sends rays into a living organism to change its wetware in real time.

Also I have some pictures. These days I have an oversupply of pictures.

“How I feel about reading minds!” cried Joey, aiming the geener at himself. “I’ll show you!” The geener hissed, and now Joey had a long rat’s tail. Hiss again, and flydino wings sprouted from his back. Another hiss—and his hips were those of a woman’s.

The security guard was almost upon Joey.

Oink,” said Joey, whirling around just in time to zap the man.

Artie the guard dropped to all fours—and became a spotted Gloucestershire pig, which was a breed the Trasks had been fond of farming. Pink with black spots. Calmly the pig rubbed his snout across the ground, maybe sniffing for acorns. Meanwhile Skungy, frightened by the chaos, had clambered back onto my shoulder.

Moving slowly, regally, as if fascinated by his own magnificence, Joey unfurled his leathery wings and made as if to flap into the sky—

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