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The Pekka Problem (Weirdness from His Writing Notes, #2008003)

I had my first full day of work after the holiday break yesterday. It felt so good to be tidying everything up, removing some of the low-level anxiety that nags me when I know there are still holes in my plot. And it was nice simply to be working, back in my own world of thoughts.

Hylozoic is nearing a manageable state. I’m looking forward to finally having the titanium skeleton of story in place—and then being free to mold the foam rubber bulges of characterization, clothe the creation in eye-catching garnishes of description, and polish up the dialog.

Alas, last night about 3 a.m. I thought of some problems with Pekka. Here’s the situation (the axioms, if you will).

(1) The invading Peng birds come from the planet Pengö, which has a planetary mind that’s orchestrating the invasion. I am calling this mind Pekka—she’s a counterpoint to Earth’s planetary mind Gaia.

(2) In the current draft, Pekka appears to Jayjay in the form of a Peng bird on a beanstalk leaf partway out towards lazy eight infinity. In order to enslave Jayjay, Pekka weaves her body’s particle strings with the strings of his body, forming a quantum entanglement that can’t be jammed or blocked out in the same way that lazy eight teep signals can be jammed.

(3) Not being humanoid, the planetary mind Pekka is not capable of teleporting or teeking (affecting objects via telekinetic mental powers) or vaaring (using runes to create new objects from thin air, also known as direct matter control).
The difference betwen teeking and vaaring, is that if you can vaar, then you yourself can figure out the proper quantum computational program—called a rune—which will convert some existing chunk of matter into your targeted form. Designing a rune is so computationally demanding as to require, I believe, an infinite mind. Pekka does indeed have an infinite mind so she can design the necessary runes. Her difficulty is that she can’t put the runes onto Earth atoms; she needs a local slave or stooge for that.

(4) Pekka has powerful teep (telepathy), and can mentally contact humans or Peng tulpas on Earth.

(5) We may suppose, if necessary, that Pekka has been to infinity and is an aktual and has mental Turing Evaluator abilities, therefore she can design runes to achieve desired effects. But she can’t vaar them into atoms herself.

Now to lay bare the contradictions in this state of affairs and to deduce some additional assumptions which will resolve the logical clash!

Question: How does Pekka project a physical presence through infinity and partway down the eighth dimension towards Earth? Isn’t this presupposing an ability to teleport to Earth, which is exactly the ability that she doesn’t have?

Answer: Pekka didn’t produce that body, Groovy the pitchfork did! He vaared it into existence and hooked it up to Pekka’s teep, and Pekka quantum entangled that avatar’s body with Jayjay’s. Why, then, doesn’t Groovy just vaar all the Peng invaders directly onto Earth? He could, but he doesn’t want to, it’s too much trouble, and he doesn’t like Pekka well enough to carry out a sustained campaign on her behalf. And neither Pekka nor a loyal Peng aktual can do the vaaring work themselves, as only humanoids can teek.

Question: When Pekka did her very first planetary invasion on Brux, did she need a teeker aktual like Groovy to help her?

Answer: Not necessarily. We might suppose that the teeker zenohead Bruni on Brux was voluntarily willing to help Pekka invade. There is no absolute need for a quantum entanglement between Pekka and some given teeker who’s acting as her runecaster on a target world. The entanglement is only necessary if the teeker is (like Jayjay) an unwilling slave. If the teeker is an eager cooperator, teep can suffice.

Question: Why didn’t Pekka just nose around for a quisling human (e.g. a benighted fundamentalist) to help invade Earth? Why bother asking Groovy to make her an onsite avatar that can enslave Jayjay?

Answer: At the start of Hylozoic, Pekka doesn’t yet have the Chu & Kakar’s Snake operator—which allows any teeker at all to implement a Peng ranch by teeking a rune onto one single atom. Pekka needs to find a native teeker who has also become a zenohead by dint of climbing (or descending) a considerable distance into the subdimensions along the axis of the eighth dimension. And, as the unfurling of lazy eight is still so very new to Earth, there are, at the beginning of Hylozoic, no zenoheads at all on Earth. Eventually someone would have found the way, but Groovy proposes that he initiate an Earthling to zenohead status. Perhaps Groovy could have chosen an Earthling who’d be willing to help Pekka without coercion, but he finds Jayjay to be congenial, and it’s no serious difficulty for him to vaar an avatar for Pekka onto the beanstalk leaf.

And, ooo, I just thought of something else. The Pekka avatar can come down off the beanstalk and do soemething on Earth, like, say, trying to disembowel Chu lest he learn to spread the reset rune. Like having Hera come down of Mt. Olympus to snapify your ass.

[My cousin (and godson) Brian with his friend Jane.]

I like these new ideas. It’s pleasing to me that I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of these ideas on my own, and that it was the process of logical deduction that led me to them. Ah, what a sweet science is logic! I say this to echo a story that my college roommate Greg Gibson loved to recount, about the painter Paolo Uccello, as described in Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Artists:

His wife used to say that Paolo would sit studying perspective all night, and when she called him to come to bed he would answer, “Oh, what a sweet thing this perspective is!”

You might say that for a novelist, particularly for a science fiction novelist, logic plays a role similar to that of perspective in the visual arts. It constellates the events into coherent patterns, and forces the artist into surprising acts of composition.

I’d say that movie screenplays and fantasy novels often turn away from logic. I can appreciate the value of sometimes abandoning logic—if this results from a deliberate artistic choice (rather than from incompetence or lack of care). Indeed, I’m thinking of pulling this move in Hylozoic’s culminating maelstrom scene.

On New Year’s Eve, my wife and I watched the second half of Ingmar Bergman’s supreme film Fanny and Alexander. There were these Jewish magicians who said something relevant. They said every pebble is alive (hylozoic!). They said that various realities overlay ours, the realities swarm around. And at the baptism at the end, Gustav Ekdahl says that we have our own “Little World” of peace and joy, even though ravening Evil has broken its chains and is on the prowl. All we can do is be happy while we’re happy.

In the very last scene, Grandmother Ekdahl is reading from August Strindberg’s notes to A Dream Play:

Everything can happen, everything is possible and probable. Time and space do not exist; the imagination spins, weaving new patterns on a flimsy basis of reality.

My point is that I could abandon logic and have some inexplicable things in the maelstrom scene. I could end the maelstrom scene in a blackout and start up again back on Earth.

[Image by Paul Mavrides]

On a different theme, there’s vibby new science fiction blog called io9, with Annalee Newitz, Charlie Jane Anders, Kevin Kelly (not the Whole Earth Kevin Kelly, but a younger one,) and others—all blogging their heinies off. The blog is owned by a group called Gawker, and according to an entry on io9, Gawker bloggers get paid by their wordage and hitcounts. Rude Boy sez check it out.

7 Responses to “The Pekka Problem (Weirdness from His Writing Notes, #2008003)”

  1. ethora Says:

    Speaking of own little worlds…

    My daughter, when she was 2, created a world called B.T. (the full name is impossible for humans to pronounce) which is mostly inhabited by rubber ducks whose worst fate is to fall victim to a disease called “The Quack” which leaves them speaking quack instead of squeak (known as “tutu” in B.T.). Another bird-like inhabitant of B.T. is a large ostrich-like creature called the “Pekkadoh”. I’ve been told that pekkadohs have gray, black, and white feathers which are often spotted with blue and orange, and that they have very long narrow bills, not beaks, that tip off in a ball-shape at the end. Pekkadohs are omnivores who live to infinity.

    My daughter is now the 8 year old Queen of B.T., and in the past 6 years I have indirectly learned a lot about this strange land. Today I read her your idea of Pekka, and she is highly amused. She particularly likes the term “lazy eight infiity” because she agrees that the infinity symbol looks like it is reclining in preparation for a nap.

    Planetary mind indeed!

  2. Rudy Says:

    Thanks for all the kind comments, Ethora. Funny that your daughter liked the “Rudy Loses His Glasses” video on Youtube. My granddaughter always makes her mother (who is my daughter) search for Youtube videos of penguins on her laptop when she tries to work at home. She calls them Peng, which was kind of an inspiration for the name of my rhea-ostrich-emu-cassowary-like race of alien birds. My other daughter is a jeweler too!

  3. Kelson Says:

    Is some sort of showdown/dance between Pekka and Gaia in the works?

  4. Rudy Says:

    Good suggestion, Kelson. Battle of the Titans! I’m thinking I’ll have Thuy craft an avatar for Gaia in the final chapter, and Our Lady will kick some bigtime tail feather. Or mabye they’ll make friends. We’ll see…

  5. Alex Says:

    Talking of great films. Check out “Stardust”. It’s great fun.
    Might be worth pitching Frek to the producers, as Stardust has a similar feel,
    albeit in Fantasy genre.

  6. Kelson Says:


  7. Gamma Says:

    me get confused year of Rodent coming up in a LEAP year -wanderlust – i understand that it is going all directions – coincidence?


    Ballad of the Lazy 8 – Suri Krishnamma


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