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Subdee, the Subdimensional World

I remember when I was about 13 I read a horror book about a dream that you could have that would kill you. And the dream was spreading from person to person in a small town. For a few days or weeks, I was scared to dream.

I’m thinking about this because I’m considering some SF ideas relating to some possibly menacing beings who live in Subdee, the subdimensional land whence come our dreams.

Could it be that every time someone dies in their sleep of heart attack or stroke, they in fact had a special dream that offed them? Maybe there’s two different dreams, the heart attack dream and the stroke dream. This reminded me of a dream-related disease which William Burroughs described under the name “Bang-Utot” in Naked Lunch.

Searching on the web, I found two amazing articles about imaginary diseases in Wikipedia. The first was Penis Panic, which is akin to Bang-Utot. The second is Fan Death, which I myself suffer from, in the sense that being closed up around electric motors makes me feel horrible.

Compressors are even worse than fans; have you noticed how every little corner store or cafe has hulking coolers that fill the room with shuddering noise? The coolers a “gift” from the bev distributors. Purveyors of fan death!

Last week, trying to describe Lazy Eight to Rudy the Younger while on a drive down jammed freeways to get four gallons of Substance D in San Leandro, he seemed not to get it at all, neither why lazy eight nor what it is.

“Maybe I’m writing a novel that nobody can understand,” I said.

No path but onward.

I’m coming back to that scene of Thuy facing Luty and the beetle in the subdimensional Egyptian temple.

Note that some string theorists think that “the physics within the Planck length is identical to the physics outside the Planck length”.

The Subdee zone lies below the Planck length. To get down there it’s like trickling through cracks in the sidewalk of spacetime. I’ll call the interface the Planck frontier.

Let’s suppose that if you shrink to the Planck size level, it’s easy to hop from one brane to the next. Perhaps because uncertainty is so great at this size scale. I’m visualizing the branes as being, like, soft swimming-pool flotation noodles that meet down at the low scale level.

I need to think out the subdimensional world a bit. First some terminology. I’d like to call the world Subdee. Sub-D? Subdee is easier.

And I’ll call the inhabitants—what? I think I’ll go with subbie. Subber has the connotation of doing something to be that kind of being, while subbie sounds more like being in a static condition.

I’ll resist taking a fantasy/psychedelic route and calling them elves—as in DMT elves. Subelves. Delves. The Hibraners already call us gnomes, yes, but I can relate to, from our point of view, Hibraners being angels and subbers (subbies?) being elves. I already wrote a story along these lines with Paul Di Filippo for Flurb, actually.

Speaking of fantasy/SF, some guy in the latest issue of Locus was reviewing the stories in the September Asimov’s, where my “Postsingular” story appears, and he chided that my story deviated (degenerated?) into fantasy. Like, duh, doesn’t he understand that the aliens from a parallel brane will of course seem like angels, elves, gnomes? That’s why those archetypes are in place.

Subbies poke heads/tentacles/hands through the Planck frontier up into our zone and grab things. They’re like scum living on the underside of the wall and they send through root hairs to suck energy or mass or information.

They like the idea of Earth being eaten by nants because then our planet’s information is all flattened out into quantum-level patterns, that is, into the brains of the nants. Rarely do they get a macroscopic information (like Luty’s body) to chew on. Although they do get the tendrils from dreamers’ minds. But I think better to leave out dreaming for now. I don’t want to start too many hares a-runnin’.

Suppose they want to gorge on our world’s high-level information.

I’ll suppose they’re not very technical, so their only hope is to flatten us out is via the existing nant plot, which they can further via their zombie version of Luty.

Normally they just do a little harmless low-level pilfering of mass/energy/information by probing across the Planck frontier.

That beetle that’s about to bite Thuy, what’s up with that?

Suppose the beetle is an individual subbie that ate Luty. Actually the beetle is holding Luty, rather than Luty holding the beetle. The Luty-thing’s arm flows out of the beetle’s underside.

And the other subbies on the scene, the bird-men and jackal-women? They’re separate beings, they’re pals of the beetle. Thuy is gonna strike the harp and make the illusion disappear and we’ll see the subbies for what they are.

[Early Yves Tanguy: “The Furniture of Time,” 1939]

The whole scene is a dreamy illusion that they’re feeding Thuy. After she strums the harp the illusion peels away. She sees the real world of the subbies. It’s dusty, dull, stark, beige, parched, rusted-out, whipped-to-sh*t. Like Tonopah, Nevada. The end of a long decline. I see it resembling a Tanguy painting (I snarfed these two images from this site).

[Late Yves Tanguy: “Multiplication of the Arcs,” 1954]

Back in the late 50s and early 60s, it seemed like half the SF books I saw had ersatz Tanguy covers.

[This lithops photo is by Geoff Bailey, and can be found on the site, Au Cactus Francophone.]

Another idea about what the subbies “really” look like is these plants I saw in the U. C. Berkeley botanical garden on Sunday: lithops, a.k.a. “living stones.” They’re a relative of the ice plant.

Perhaps the subbies try to eat or stun Thuy with a fan death approach while they’re in the temple. A horrible buzz. A locust chirp, the beetle is stridulating. And she strikes the harp to drown out the noise.

I’d like to break up the action with a fight between two of the subbies, perhaps over whether to start eating Thuy right away or to let her play the harp first.

I managed to write a thousand words on the novel yesterday. First I had to clean off my desk, which involved selling my Acura to a used car lot, and replacing my expired cell phone with a new Razr. Lots of yoga in the back yard, pondering Subdee. Napping in the hammock for inspiration. Working on these notes. It takes all these various steps to get the spring water seeping forth again.

I have one bit I love:

Thuy now saw that Luty’s forearm blended seamlessly into the beetle’s abdomen. The beetle was part of Luty’s body—or no, it was the other way around. Ugh. The Luty-thing was an appendage the beetle was using to talk.

“Gthx,” said the beetle on his own. Sensing Thuy’s attention, he swelled larger, with Luty’s mass decreasing by an equivalent amount. “Glkt grx.” The beetle brushed his antennae slowly and intimately across Thuy’s face and head, as if palpating her brain’s emanations.

If I have this, then Luty is at this point a hallucinatory image projected by the beetle, who’s also projecting the image of the Egyptian temple? So Luty is already dead.

When you teleport, what’s really happening is that you are coming loose from your scale position, shrinking to just above the Planck length, using the uncertainty principle to spread out, and the re-expanding at the described locale. It’s a bit like yunching from Frek, although it’s the other way around—in Frek you get big, take a step and shrink; in the new order, you get small, fuzz out, and get big.

How is it that you shrink, by the way? In what sense? Well, suppose you become a single coherent dark matter particle, with all your particle wave functions overlaid. Maybe you’re a Higgs (wheenk, oink, squeal) particle.

Assuming this is so, when you teleport you are close to dropping through the Planck frontier and emerging into the subdimensional world. Luty ended up in Subdee because he entered a teleportation sender after the receiver was gone, so he fell into Subdee.

I’m supposing that jumping branes involves shrinking to Planck scale size. When you cross, you’re skimming across the Planck-foam sea. The Planck frontier. And for the sake of Occam’s Razor, it seems like I might as well suppose that ordinary teleportation works this way too. I think that means I have to retweak all my teleportation scenes.

Up until now, I’ve been saying:

teleportation = remote_viewing + quantum_fuzz_out + quantum_collapse.

Having an orphidnet vision of a remote location made it possible to teleport there. I want to keep remote viewing as a prerequisite for intrabrane teleportation. But I want to put in the shrinking thing, at least for interbrane jumps. That suggests that I want to have the perhaps too baroque recipe:

teleportation = remote_viewing +( shrink_to_particle_size + quantum_fuzz_out) + (quantum_collapse + expand_to_normal_size).

Suppose I simplify this by grouping as indicated by the parentheses above.

teleportation = remote_viewing + coherence + decoherence.

I suppose here that coherence means folding yourself up into a really intricate quantum state that is in fact no bigger than a particle. And that decoherence entails both the collapse to a new location and the blooming into a full-sized person again.

6 Responses to “Subdee, the Subdimensional World”

  1. Yann Says:


    The Lithops photo comes from my web site :
    You are using it without permission. Could you please :
    1. remove it
    2. indicate where it comes from, with a link to and the author name (Geoff Bailey)

    Thanks and best regards

  2. Rudy Says:

    Yann, I put in the fix you wanted. I’d thought that I myself took some photos of lithops, but, yes, it looks as if this one is Geoff’s. Sorry! And thanks for maintaining such a great cactus site.

    You guys might like to read my novel POSTSINGULAR to see evil subdimensional lithops-shaped aliens in action. If you don’t want to buy it, you can find it for free online at

  3. nasse Says:

    i’ve noticed a fault in your sources:
    Yves Tanguy’s second painting could’nt have been from 1956: he died in january 1955.

  4. Rudy Says:

    Right, Nasse, the Tanguy painting’s date is 1954, I corrected it in the post.

  5. george Says:

    I wonder: it seems like NCG and UP say there are no points in space— instead, planckons(not my coinage),a finite number of. If so, then no CY space at every point. What then? Calabicles (my coinage), floating in the planckons like raisins in oatmeal?

  6. boobs Says:


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