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“Dreamers Are Us.” Planning Hylozoic Chap 7.

It rained a lot last week. The rain is good. It’s a sign that we’re nearly at the end of our country’s painful eight years under the whip and lash of those who hate us. The flooding is a living I Ching sign: Overflow.

This morning I woke up very early; it was still dark; I was awake because my wife was bustling around packing for a trip. I laid low with my eyes closed for about forty-five minutes, and in my head, I went over all of my as-yet-unwritten Chapter Seven, scene by scene. It was like dreaming while awake. I thought of a propaganda phrase from my novel, Spacetime Donuts, “Dreamers Are Us!”

When I was done, I told my wife what I’d been doing, and she was like, “Poor Rudy, that sounds like so much work!” And I said, “But I like doing it!”

And then, brushing my teeth, I wondered if I could remember all the thoughts I’d had. Odd to think that I can remember such intricate scenarios by means of—what?—circulating patterns of excitation in my neurons? Bulked up synapse connections? Biochemical trails?

I always feel safer after I’ve written it down. I forget so many things.

Later that morning I went to the physically whipped, but very congenial, Caffe Pergolesi (“The Perg”) in Santa Cruz and typed in my already fading memories of dawn’s lovely waking dream.

And then I went to Four Mile Beach with my old pal Jon Pearce. A lot of seagulls standing around on the beach. Jon agrees it would be great to be reincarnated as a California brown pelican.

Several nice new reviews of Postsingular came out lately, see the excerpts and links on the Postsingular page.

Here’s today’s outline for Hylozoic, “Chapter 7: To the Gibbet!” This chapter will be from the point of view of good old Thuy Nguyen.


When Thuy and Azaroth leave Jeroen “Hieronymus” Bosch’s house in the Hibrane (the local year is 1496), they go out the back door, get his boat, and row to the Muddy Eel. Thuy really wants a bath. She meets Anja in the bathing area. Anja is a cute, lively prostitute, formerly a housemaid. She claims she’d slept with Bosch—but only once—as he insisted on pouring out the contents of his chamber pot upon her naked body before they had intercourse.

Thuy is savoring how it feels to once again be in a world without telepathy. Enjoying the low hubbub from the marketplace. The old-school hive mind. She has dinner with Azaroth, they sit around talking to some jugglers and conjurers. An older fortune-teller woman reads Thuy’s palm, she has a weird prefiguring of Thuy’s impending trip beyond infinity. Magic is real. The seer tells Thuy she’ll be give birth to Mother Earth.

Wine is passing around; Thuy begins dancing on the table top. She’s enjoying the spoken-word medieval hive mind. Groovy, the aktual pitchfork, shows up and hangs around a little. He tells Thuy that the beanstalk where he took Jayjay is actually in the subdimensions. Thuy says a little about the trip that she took to Subdee back in the first volume. The pitchfork says that if she’d gone deeper, she’d be a zenohead capable of ten tridecillion thoughts in a second—or maybe even an aktual, capable of infinitely many thoughts.

Groovy talks about how to think of the subdimensional land of Subdee as underlying the Lobrane, the Hibrane, and the interbrane Planck sea between them. He says to think of a city with two buildings on either side of a street: the buildings are the branes, and the ground level is the Planck sea. Although we see the sea exposed in between the buildings, this dividing interface continues under the buildings. And in the underground is a continuous maze of passages and carnival-like spook stuff: Subdee.

Bosch’s ill-tempered, drunken, alderman neighbor, Jan Vladeracken arrives late in the evening. He grabs Thuy—who’s one-foot tall compared to him—and shoves her doll-like head and shoulders inside his smelly, baggy trousers; she wrestles her way out, giving him a solid punch in the stomach that doubles him over. Azaroth smacks Vladeracken on the side of the head, knocking him to the ground, and the worthy says he’ll see them all dangling from the gibbet. Anja cools things out, calling him Mijnheer and leading him off to the baths.

Thuy crosses the square, enjoying the bustle. People are getting ready for the procession; actors are rehearsing tableaux of bible scenes; musicians check their instruments. Jugglers practice in the dark.

Thuy beds down in Bosch’s basement, wondering where Jayjay is.


In the morning she awakes to yelling and then she feels lazy eight unfurl. All the Hibrane objects are waking up and everyone is getting omnividence, telepathy, and endless memory—although the locals don’t yet realize they’re capable of teleportation. The bricks on the floor talk to Thuy. The silps aren’t so verbal as in the Lobrane, as they aren’t incorporating the knowledge of any ambient orphids. They speak in images rather than in words.

Reaching further and further out, Thuy contacts Hibrane Gaia, the newly accessible planetary mind, but this Gaia is quite inchoate and non-verbal, something like the traditional notion of God as a numinous glow.

Thuy teleports up to Jayjay in the attic. The harp says Jayjay and Thuy are supposed to become aktuals, too, pretty soon. She asks them to remember exactly what she looks like. And then she turns into a green woman with three eyes—Lovva from planet Pepple. She stretches out her arms and disappears, flying home to Pepple.

Moments later an identical woman appears, clueless. It’s Lovva, just arriving from Pepple. Her sojourn on the Lobrane and Hibrane Earths will be a closed loop. Thuy tells Lovva she is supposed to look like a harp and hang around here for 500 years.

“A long time,” says Lovva, then laughs. “Or not. I see, I see.” Apparently she has some kind of internal time control, so that she can psychically whiz through centuries, seemingly just sitting there. Embarking on her loop, she turns into the harp, copying its pattern from and Thuy, and learning the all-important lazy-eight-unfurling Lost Chord from Jayjay.

Bosch pokes his head up into the attic, he’s both delighted and terrified scared. He is wondering if he’s gone mad, or if demons have taken over the town. Is it the end of the world? Thuy and Jayjay reassure him. His wife Aleid and the maid Kathelijn are hysterical, inconsolable.

Alderman Vladeracken shows up from next door, angry, blaming Jayjay, Thuy, and Jeroen Bosch for the change, wanting to arrest them. Eager to escape this tedious bully, Jayjay shows Jeroen how to teleport. Nobody here knows this trick yet. The three hop to the market to enjoy the scene.

The marketplace is crowded with merchants, country people, city people, musicians, beggars, conjurors, magicians, acrobats, pickpockets, cutpurses, soldiers, guilds, images of saints, actors pretending to be biblical figures, floats, litters, canopies, painted banners. Everything’s talking, including the items on sale: sheets, shoes, stockings, leather shoelaces, hats and caps, pins, baskets, kettles, pots an pans, twine, vegetables, fruit, flour, meat, butter, cheese, cloth.

The locals are bewildered. They’re trying half-heartedly to carry on, glaring at the talking objects and shaking their heads, each person kind of wondering if it’s just them alone going crazy like the beggars who’ve eaten too much ergot-tainted bread.

Vladeracken is pushing through the crowd, yelling. Thuy remembers the art of teep camouflage—she shows Jayjay and Bosch how to do it. And now they look (via teep, but not face to face) like a hunchback with a cat and a dog. A group watching a cockfight disperses; nobody can handle the direct teep experience of the roosters’ pain. In the hubbub, Thuy, Bosch and Jayjay get out of Vladeracken’s direct sight and now he can’t find them by teep.

‘S-Hertogenbosch is known for knife making and for bell making. Casting a bell was a dangerous thing; the big bells for churches had to be cast on site, as they were so heavy. To kick off this year’s annual procession for the Virgin, the locals are casting a special bell.

Distracted by the burbling voice of the molten iron, a guy falls into it and is hideously burned to death during the casting. The guy and his body let out hideous juicy screaming. The silps of the molten iron and the charring human flesh sing an antiphonal anthem.

The crowd’s mood shifts to a mass freak-out. The superstitious locals begin flagellating themselves, rubbing ashes on their faces, and looking for someone to blame. The soldiers and monks are arresting people in droves: the beggars, the actors, the magicians.

An orgy of punishments springs up sway before town hall. Flogging, mutilation by sword, breaking on the wheel, beheadings by the sword. Jayjay and Thuy feel sorry for the victims, they start teeping them the secret of how to teleport away, and the docket empties out.

Vladeracken spots the cause and points an accusing finger at Jayjay and Thuy. “These devils have ensorcelled our town! Bosch and his familiars!”

Soldiers with cudgels descend, laying out the three of them unconscious before they can teleport to safety.


When Thuy comes to, they’re imprisoned inside the cathedral. The cathedral’s dour silp is willing to block teleportation and teep so that people can be tortured and executed in here. (A good symbol for religion’s dark side.) The incense-wafty, waxy-feeling, body-odorous air of the cathedral is blocking the teep and teek of whoever is inside. It’s like being packed in cotton wool.

The execution frenzy has been moved in here. The floor runs with blood. Azaroth, Thuy, Jayjay, and Bosch are to be hung from a makeshift gallows or gibbet above the pulpit. Thuy and Jayjay are shackled with heavy chains, the Hibraner-sized shackle rings around their waists. Even though they have the six-to-one brane-to-brane power advantage, they can’t readily break loose. And they’re scared to try, as two soldiers with cross-bows are standing over them, a fat one and a thin one, keeping the crossbow bolts aimed at their throats.

Azaroth actually does get hung before Thuy and Jayjay can think of any way to stop the horror. Some real sorry over losing this friend. And Jayjay is to be next. Thuy is shackled up next to Bosch. “Help me,” Thuy whispers urgently to the great artist. “Make a distraction.”

Bosch flips a painting rag into the air, tossing it with such kiqqie lazy-eight-mind-enhanced precision that it looks for all the world like a ghostly devil. The distracted soldiers track the rag with their cross-bows.

Meanwhile the executioner has shoved Jayjay off the pulpit; he’s arcing down toward the floor, with the slack of the rope about to run out. Thuy bursts her shackle, grabs a sword from a soldier, races across the floor, cuts Jayjay’s rope, kicks down open the cathedral door, and shrills the Hrull whistle. Jayjay and Bosch join here.


But there’s no sign of the alien manta ray for a moment. Just as the soldiers are about to recapture our three heroes, the pitchfork belatedly appears—he says he was in between the branes, scouting out the best path back to the Lobrane Earth. And now, blessedly, Chu and the giant manta ray Duxy glide in to save them, homing in on the beacon of Bosch’s upheld brush.

Duxy flies back across the Planck Sea bearing Thuy, Chu, Jayjay, Glee, Bosch, and the pitchfork. They’re drawn into a maelstrom, deep into Subdee. Partway down, Glee, Bosch, Thuy and Chu have become zenoheads like Jayjay, capable of speeded up thought.

Thuy looks out from Duxy at Subdee. Walls of it around them, like the walls of a tunnel leading into the Hollow Earth. Last time Thuy visited Subdee, it looked like ancient Egypt to her, but that was only because the subbies had recently eaten the Egypt-obsessed Jeff Luty. This time Bosch’s thoughts seem to be driving the subbies antics. For Thuy is seeing Boschian scenes, perhaps something like Bruegel’s Bosch-influenced The Fall of the Rebel Angels. Thuy is scared.

Suddenly the pitchfork shoves Jayjay, Thuy, and Bosch out of Duxy’s mouth. They’re free-falling towards the infinity at the base of the great whirlpool vortex. Due to Bosch’s influence, infinity looks like a triangle holding the eye of God. Looking upwards, Thuy sees Groovy, the pitchfork, jump free of Duxy, the manta. The pitchfork cackles, turns into a lanky hillbilly, and speeds home towards Pepple. Lightened and freed of Groovy’s influence, Duxy spirals upwards and wings towards Lobrane Earth, taking Chu home.


And now they pass through infinity, though the Eye of God. The interface is like a cotton candy cloud. And on the other side they see—Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, all three panels. Thuy, Jayjay and Jeroen are aktuals now. They can alter their bodies at will. Thuy forms herself into an egg—for womb (she’s pregnant), for incubation (she’s working on a metanovel called Hive Mind), and to act as a resonant gong. Jayjay becomes a corkscrew; Bosch a flying bagpipe.

The three stick together and carry out four tasks. Bosch, as squalling bagpipe, brings lazy eight to the paradise panel on the left and to the hell panel on the right. These prove to be Pengö and Hrullwelt a million years ago. Jeroen is blowing Last Judgment blasts. Sqwooonk! And, again, Sqwooonk! Two tasks down, two to go.

They focus on the central panel, which is Pepple. Thuy brings lazy eight to Lobrane Pepple a thousand years ago, she’s a gonging egg. Digging beneath the panel, she does the back side of it as well, which is Hibrane Pepple. It isn’t so complicated for her to unfurl lazy eight as it was for the harp. She has a better idea of what she’s doing. And she doesn’t have such a fuss about handing both branes. The harp didn’t even know about the other brane before she became an aktual. One more task to do.

Time waves are sloshing around them. Fish fly in the sky. Jayjay, as corkscrew, takes a stab at the central panel, at Pepple, he drills in and aktualizes Groovy and Lovva, bringing them here to the glowing white-light land of infinity. An infinity of mirrors, and multiple images.

Bosch says farewell and returns to Hibrane Earth. Jayjay and Thuy return to Lobrane Earth

2 Responses to ““Dreamers Are Us.” Planning Hylozoic Chap 7.”

  1. Wade Harrell Says:

    finished Postsingular last week, a home run, as per usual for you. Fun to read on the NYC subway, the characters were walking all around me…

    anyway, this was on boing-boing today:

    and as soon as i watched the video i thought of watching CA, which of course made me think of you…. I have never seen a real world example of something so similar to an on screen CA

  2. Tudgedelta Says:

    I really like the imagery of the 15th century folk freaking out at their unwitting mind expansion — I see a parallel with our current world! It’s cool you’re bringing in elements from your different stories as well. I’ve not read Postsingular yet (I’m a postsingular drip), nor as many of your books as I would like to, so I’m sure there are many more references I’m not getting, but I’m still enjoying the excerpys from Hylozioc. I recently finished Frek, so the brane concepts are still in my mind. I’ve been a fan since 57th Franz Kafka many years ago. Anyway, keep up the good work, and I will try to catch up to you!

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