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This page is for planning the plot of The Start of Eternity. This is the main "meta" page for The Start of Eternity, "meta" in the sense that meta pages are about the story. In particular, this and other meta pages are for authors who are writing the story. Collaborating authors are welcome!
The Start of Eternity synopsis: The alien Huaoshy visited Earth several million years ago. Their robotic agents, the Orbho, established a hidden base of operations on the Moon and began genetically modifying some apes and slowly crafting the human species, making a new Huaoshy-like creature. Twenty thousand years ago, some genetically modified Neanderthals living on the Moon tried to instantiate a human mind in a robot with a positronic brain. That project resulted in a robotic artificial intelligence with a human-like mind: R. Gohrlay. Due to a latent capacity for telepathic ability in Neanderthals and the unusual properties of positronic circuits, R. Gohrlay discovered that she had telepathic powers and she used them to liberate humanity from the Huaoshy. Since telepathic signals can move backwards through time, R. Gohrlay and her fellow positronic robots realized that time travel is possible. They invented a time travel device, leading to the events depicted in Asimov's time travel novel, The End of Eternity. R. Gohrlay eventually realized that use of time travel leads to the the inevitable extinction of the human species. The positronic robots shifted their efforts towards assuring that humans would colonize the galaxy. Following the dictates of the Zeroth Law of Robotics, R. Gohrlay engineers the formation of Galaxia, but this allows the Huaoshy to become aware of the existence of telepathy. With the help of their superior nanite technology, the Huaoshy manage to regain control of the human species. The Huaoshy realize that it was their own cosmic engineering that made positronic brain telepathy and time travel possible, so they again alter the dimensional structure of the universe, making further time travel impossible. After her long struggles, R. Gohrlay eventually realizes that the Huaoshy have created humans for a benign reason and there is no reason to fear merging humanity into the vast intergalactic civilization of the Huaoshy.
There is a guide that describes how The Start of Eternity came into existence and how some of the major elements of the story were created. Important historical details about what happens before The Start of Eternity are described in the Timeline. Detailed information about characters in the story is at The Start of Eternity:meta/characters.
Aliens that are not male or femaleEdit
I selected "thon" as a Gender-neutral pronoun. Many of the alien characters in the story are not male or female. This was partly motivated by Asimov's depiction of the Solarians as being hermaphrodites.
|Nominative (subject)||Accusative (object)||Possessive adjective||Possessive pronoun||Reflexive|
|he||He laughed||I called him||His eyes gleam||That is his||He likes himself|
|she||She laughed||I called her||Her eyes gleam||That is hers||She likes herself|
|it||It laughed||I called it||Its eyes gleam||That is its||It likes itself|
|thon||Thon laughed||I called thon||Thons eyes gleam||That is thons||Thon likes thonself|
In Asimov's time travel novel ("The End of Eternity"), the community of Eternals had a defect, there were not enough women. It was also a love story: the destruction of Eternity depended on a romantic relationship between Harlan and Noys. In addition, Asimov's entire robots/Foundation universe was an alien-free-zone. For "The Start of Eternity" I want to turn all of that upside-down, so there are aliens in The Start of Eternity who have no understanding of a conventional human male/female relationship.
Plot. Chapters 4 to 6 are still heavily under construction, as are the last few chapters that will describe how time travel is first made possible.
Characters. Much of the story is bare plot. There is much room for development of the characters.
Order of the chapters. It would be possible to move most of what is in Chapter 15 and subsequent chapters so that the story of R. Gohrlay follows right after the end of the first chapter (where Observer Gohrlay has the structure of her brain scanned). The main motivation for keeping the content of Chapter 15 towards the end of the novel is that it is leading into the actual story of how Eternity was started by R. Gohrlay. However, I do not feel strongly about keeping that for the end of the novel and it might be easier on readers to provide a more linear narrative.
Illustration project (particularly aliens)
It would be nice to have images for all of the alien characters.
See: Novelas:Media Project.
This page is supposed to be something like a book cover. There could be a video teaser for the story.
Cleaning. I tend to forget how to spell the names of characters, but they should be kept the same through the entire story. Also, the story is written in past tense, but I sometimes start slipping into present tense (like a script). Most of the novel is written from a Third-person perspective. Exceptions: The Last Gardener is told from the perspective of Observer Whestik.
The name, "The Start of Eternity", is misleading because it is really intended to be a sequel to The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov. Full appreciation of "The Start of Eternity" requires that you are also familiar with Asimov's Foundation series. However, a goal is to make "The Start of Eternity" a story that can be enjoyed by readers who are not familiar with Asimov's fictional universe.
"The Start of Eternity" was the first title that came to mind. While the story is under construction it is still possible to change the title. Possible titles:
- The Start of Infinity - in the prequel to this work, Eternity ends, leaving humanity without Temporal technology, but instead discovering Interstellar drive, making Humanity colonize and expand all across the Milky way galaxy, as described in Isaac Asimov's novel, it would be the end of Eternity, but as well the Start of Infinity.
- The Garden of Infinity - this plays off of Asimov's ending to his time travel novel and also the Garden of Eden. Think about R. Gohrlay and R. Nahan as the origin of a tribe of positronic robots.
- Foundation and Aliens - this would go well with the names of some of the books in the Foundation Saga
- The Final Reality - puts emphasis on the concept of multiple Realities (see Reality), as developed by Asimov in his time travel novel.
- Condensate of Mind - in two senses: 1) conversion of Gohrlay's biological mind into a positronic brain 2) Gohrlay's search for a way to transform humanity into an easy to understand entity.
- Quagmire beach - Eternity was a quagmire and when Gohrlay finally got out of it she was standing on "quagmire beach", but that "beach" is problematical in the same sense as going "out of the frying pan and into the fire". Quagmires within quagmires: Gohrlay starts out feeling trapped by the Rules of Observation; to escape she agrees to die. But she "lives on" as R. Gohrlay and she traces that quagmire to the Huaoshy and uses "mentalics" to liberate humanity from that wider quagmire. She creates Eternity, eventually discovers it to be a quagmire and extricates humanity from that trap. Her plan to construct Galaxia is yet another quagmire, and the Huaoshy have to pull her out of this one. However, the Huaoshy cannot be too smug: they created the whole mess in the first place and need to fix the problem by dimensional engineering.
- The End of Galaxia - plays off of "The End of Eternity" but also mentions Galaxia.
1. The End of EternityEdit
The End of Eternity is Isaac Asimov's time travel novel.
Imagine that life is fairly common in the universe, but that evolution/development of species with human-like intelligence and the ability to invent and use interstellar space travel is a rare event. Imagine that interstellar space travel (based on hyperspatial jumps) is finally developed by a biological life form which sends out explorers with the goal of finding worlds that have life and modifying that life to make it evolve as did their species, so as to be able to invent and use interstellar space travel. These aliens eventually reach our galaxy and genetically modify many species on many different planets, including Earth. The aliens complete their work in our galaxy and move on to other galaxies.
This "seeding" of our galaxy by the aliens creates the conditions for the story that is told in Asimov's book, "The End of Eternity". After the aliens leave, humans and other life forms on other planets in the galaxy slowly start to become sophisticated tool users and the race is on! Which species will first develop space travel technology? As told in "The End of Eternity", humans first develop time travel and only invent efficient space travel technology at a much later time. By the time humans can travel out away from Earth to explore the galaxy, other life forms have already colonized the available planets. Humanity is stuck on Earth and slowly dies away.
Earth's time travel technology provides humans with access to "Eternity". While living within Eternity, humans are not subject to the normal flow of time and forces of causality. The humans who live within Eternity are called "Eternals", but they age and die just like usual (they experience "physiotime". Humans can enter into Eternity from Earth as it exists at all times from the first invention of time travel until billions of years in the future. Eternals can also exit from Eternity, enter into the flow of events and time on Earth and either just observe history or make changes to the course of history. One of the key unexpected features of time travel is that casual visitors to the past do not easily alter the course of history: the course of events has a momentum that is hard to deflect.
When Eternals do change the course of history, they create a new Reality that typically extends for only a limited number of centuries into the future from the initial point of change. For most changes to the course of history, the momentum of time eventually "wins out" so that centuries in the far future are not influenced by any Reality change in the far past. However, some Reality changes are more "potent" than others, and it is theoretically possible for some major Reality changes to influence even very distant points of future time.
The Start of Eternity is the story of the aliens (the Huaoshy) who are mentioned above and the interactions of the Huaoshy with humanity.
2. Foundation's EdgeEdit
Assume that the "hint" from Foundation's Edge is true: that robots (commanded by R. Gohrlay, the first telepathic robot) established Eternity on Earth and used it as a tool to "select" a Reality in which humans alone spread through space and dominate all the worlds of our galaxy (as depicted in the books of the Foundation Series). Call this the "Foundation Reality". The "Foundation Reality" is the Reality created by Noÿs Lambent at the very end of "The End of Eternity", but R. Gohrlay is really in control and working in the background.
Given these assumptions, everything in the "universe of Asimov's fiction" is just as Asimov originally described it in his books, starting from "The End of Eternity" and continuing right through the development of the Galactic Empire and the Foundation. Most of the story told in "The End of Eternity" is about another Reality, the "Mallansohn Reality", in which Brinsley Sheridan Cooper is born in the 78th century, lives in Eternity for a time, then goes to the 24th century and creates the mathematical theory required for Eternity to be constructed. Noÿs Lambent destroys the "Mallansohn Reality".
Both the "Mallansohn Reality" and the "Foundation Reality" depend on the existence of time travel and human access to Eternity. However, robots (led by Gohrlay) established Eternity and used Eternity as a tool to select a course of events on Earth (the "Foundation Reality") that would best satisfy the Laws of Robotics. In particular, the "Foundation Reality" was selected so as to create the greatest good ("good" as defined by the Laws of Robotics) for humans. Thus, while not mentioned in "The End of Eternity", robots were in control of the events and were responsible for selecting the "Foundation Reality". Part of the "Foundation Reality" was "the end of Eternity", but this really means just the end of the "Mallansohn Reality", a "Reality of very low probability". The "Mallansohn Reality" was created by robots (led by Gohrlay) as an intermediate step in their search for the "ideal reality", where "ideal" is defined by the Laws of Robotics.
When the "Foundation Reality" was selected, humans on Earth lost access to Eternity, but the robots on the Moon were still able to travel in time: in particular, Gohrlay remained as the guardian of time inside the original "time travel bubble universe" on the Moon. However, Gohrlay believed that she had found the best Reality, at least to the point of ensuring that humans quickly colonized the galaxy, and so the use of time travel was greatly restricted in the "Foundation Reality". As depicted in Foundation and Earth, robots associated with Daneel have a "vast and complex" underground base on Earth's Moon. Daneel's base is not the same as Base used by Gohrlay where she retains the only functioning time travel device. Gohrlay constantly monitors the future course of human events in the galaxy. According to Daneel, once the "Foundation Reality" is established, the Laws of Robotics leave little room for dramatic actions by the robots...this also applies to Gohrlay: she does not use time travel to make additional Reality changes, but she does provide some hints and guidance to Daneel. Gohrlay knows that aliens have previously visited Earth and she stands guard and protect humanity against the possible return of the aliens.
Gohrlay fears that the Huaoshy will eventually discover positronics and time travel. Gohrlay is in a race to establish Galaxia as a human group mind that will be able to resist attack and infiltration by Huaoshy spies.
3. The Basic StateEdit
Now the fun begins! Assume that Noys was correct: the "Basic State" is a human-dominated galaxy but, the aliens want a galaxy in which multiple species with space travel share the galaxy. Such a multi-cultural galaxy was judged by Gohrlay and her fellow positronic robots to not be optimal for humanity, so they worked to establish the Foundation Reality in which humans control the entire galaxy. However, the original aliens who seeded the galaxy (and Earth) so as to promote the development of multiple space-faring species are not happy with the type of galaxy the positronic robots have engineered (Galaxia). The aliens have "seeded" tens of thousands of galaxies and have only rarely seen a situation such this, where one species (in this case, humans) controls an entire galaxy. When Galaxia starts to form, the aliens finally realize that human-created robots developed telepathy. In the story of Many Sails and its mission to Earth, beginning in Chapter 1 of "The Start of Eternity", the aliens only know that there are human-created robots with telepathy. The Huaoshy have developed a "telepathic mind static" weapon that they hope will allow them to defeat the positronic robots and allow the Huaoshy to take back control of the galaxy.
Only during the mission of Many Sails to Earth do the aliens learn about the existence of time travel. The aliens then develop positronics and time travel and try to transform our galaxy to a galaxy in which multiple species with space travel share the galaxy. Time travel technology is something the aliens had assumed to be impossible, but it becomes clear that telepathic robots on the Moon have used time travel as a tool to accelerate human development of space travel, allowing humans to colonize the galaxy many years ahead of the schedule planned by the aliens.
4. The Final RealityEdit
The aliens are particularly unhappy with the fact that Earth's robots have exerted their control over the entire galaxy, resulting in a "safe" but rather uninteresting galactic civilization (Galaxia) that includes nothing but xenophobic humans. The sequel to "The End of Eternity" starts after the end of Asimov's "Foundation and Earth". The aliens go to Daneel's base on Earth's Moon and then to the other Moon Base which still has a functioning time travel device. The aliens use time travel technology to initiate a chain of Reality Changes that are able to change the galaxy so as to have many planets like Earth, each with their own technologically advanced species: the aliens create the Final Reality (our reality).
The Moon Base where Gohrlay remains protected inside a time travel bubble universe was actually first built and used by alien Observers. In the Foundation Reality, human-built robots with telepathy took control of the Base and drove out the alien Observers (actually nanorobotic artificial life forms). After Galaxia is understood as resulting from the work of telepathic robots, the aliens are finally able to trace the telepathic powers of Gaia/Galaxia back to Earth. Daneel has never known more than rumors about the existence of time travel.
As described in part 53 of Robots and Empire, Vasilia was used by Gohrlay to make the required modifications to Giskard's positronic brain. This allowed Giskard to remain unaware of Gohrlay and assume that Vasilia was responsible for making possible telepathic robots.
The story tells both the origin of Eternity and provides a conclusion to the Foundation Series.
For 20,000 years humans spread through the galaxy. An alien spaceship (Many Sails) undertakes a mission to our galaxy. The alien crew of Many Sail is interested in the fact that there is something strange about this particular galaxy (Earth's galaxy, the Milky Way Galaxy). First, humans developed space travel and colonized the galaxy very quickly: about a million years ahead of the schedule that was expected by the aliens. The Milky Way Galaxy is at the extreme outer edge of the expanding inter-galactic civilization of the aliens. So far, visitors from other galaxies have filed travel reports on only about a dozen planets scattered around Earth's galaxy and there are no reports of travelers from Earth's galaxy to other galaxies. All evidence, limited though it may be, indicates that the Milky Way Galaxy is unusual in that it is totally dominated by humans and the humans are developing the xenophobic "Galaxia" group mind.
The aliens trace the origin of the "strangeness" of the Milky Way galactic civilization to the robot base on Earth's Moon. The robots on Earth's Moon have tried to hide Earth, but the aliens are able to find Earth because the dominant alien species, known as the Huaoshy, maintain a system of secret bases for the purpose of observing all the galaxies they have ever visited. The Huaoshy are so secretive that the other species within their vast intergalactic civilization are not aware of the secret Huaoshy observer bases. At first, the crew of the alien spaceship does not know this secret, but then the crew of Many Sails is finally let in on the secret by their Huaoshy commander before they reach Earth. This is part of an "initiation rite" by which disgruntled members of the inter-galactic civilization rise above its lowest rung.
The Huaoshy Observers have long been involved with a process by which humans were taken off of Earth long ago and allowed to live at secret Huaoshy bases in another galaxy. Some of these humans have developed their own robots that can function as agents for the Huaoshy. These robot agents of the aliens and the alien crew of Many Sails go to the Moon where they learn the great secret: positronic robots on the Moon can travel through time. The Huaoshy realize that they must engineer a Reality Change that will allow Earth's galaxy to avoid Galaxia and allow it to integrate with the larger community of other galactic civilizations. At a point in the "Foundation Reality" after Noÿs completes her mission, the Final Reality must be created by means of a change in time. However, the fundamental "problem", what leads to Galaxia, is positronic brains which allow robotic telepathy...that is the key issue that the aliens must deal with in order to not only make the Milky Way Galaxy fit into their inter-Galactic civilization, but also prevent any other possible "mis-use" of time travel (see Creating the Final Reality, below).
Beyond the problem of Earth and the positronic brain technology that was developed by humans, the Huaoshy would also like to find a way of preventing any other intelligent species from developing positronic brains, telepathy and and time travel. This will require recognition of the fact that it was the Huaoshy themselves who long ago created the conditions that make positronic brains possible. The Huaoshy eventually realize that they must make a fundamental change in the physical laws of the universe, a change that will prevent any future development of positronics.
The story of the origin of Eternity is introduced with a "teaser" in Chapter 0. The origin of the first positronic brain with an ability to produce human-like behavior is shown. The last group of chapters in the novel describe the origin of telepathic robots, the laws of robotics and time travel.
"The Start of Eternity" is intended to have a strong hard science fiction component, so it is important to be well organized with respect to the imagined futuristic technologies that are included in the story.
Additionally, an important part of the story is that there are several interacting cultures with different levels of technology. The Huaoshy have been around for many millions of years and they have a very advanced nanotechnolgy. The Huaoshy routinely travel to new planets and interact with less advanced species while keeping their advanced technology and their very existence a secret. Typically, the Huaoshy spend several million years genetically modifying species before merging them into the intergalactic civilization that is controlled by the Huaoshy.
The humans at Observer Base are unusual in that they are allowed to develop science and make important discoveries in the area of sedronic physics. This leads to the creation of robots with positronic brains, a particular technological development that the Huaoshy have never explored.
During the course of the story, it is important to keep track of which technologies the various cultures are aware of. In particular, the scientists at Observer Base on Earth's Moon have become aware of nanites, but they are not aware of the Huaoshy. However, a popular hypothesis is that there must be an alien species that is responsible for building Observer Base. R. Gohrlay is the first to become aware of the Huaoshy, but she does not share that knowledge with humans. R. Gohrlay becomes aware of the Huaoshy because of her telepathic ability. It takes thousands of years for the Huaoshy to become aware of the existence of R. Gohrlay and the special role of positronics for telepathy and time travel. During that time, R. Gohrlay and her fellow robots work to create Galaxia. Once established, Galaxia will make it easier for the robots to apply the Zeroth Law of Robotics and humanity will have stronger defenses against the Huaoshy.
Interstellar and intergalactic space travel are made possible by hyperspace jumps. A "jump through hyperspace" by a space ship with hyperspatial drive is a nearly instantaneous movement between two locations in normal space: the starting location in space before the jump and the destination location that is reached at the end of the jump. A technical limitation on this type of space travel is that it is not easy to control the the exact location where the the jump ends, that is, the final destination that is reached by a ship using a jump. In particular, any mass such as planets or stars near the start location introduces uncertainty into the destination that will be reached by a jump. The main danger is that a poorly planned jump is likely to result in the ship exiting hyperspace inside a massive object such as a star or a black hole.
In practice, interstellar travel usually requires a period of slow travel into interstellar space, safely distancing the spaceship from any planets or stars. Only then can a long distance hyperspace jump be initiated that will safely move the ship over interstellar distances. It will take a ship several days to weeks to complete typical intra-galactic journeys from one populated planet to another. For inter-galactic travel, similar constraints exist, but a typical inter-galactic space trip will require weeks to months.
In his Foundation novels depicting the rise of Gaia and Galaxia (Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth), a new technology, the gravitic drive (see Brightstar and Farstar), is introduced. It seems possible that Asimov was thinking about ways to speed travel between galaxies. I assume that this is another technology (along with telepathic robots and time travel) that is made possible by the fantastic computational power of positronic brains.
Some key steps in the development of time travel technology:
- Using positronic brains to perform the quantum computations that are needed to open a space/time bubble that allows time travel
- kettle shafts and "section" stations
- the special time travel kettle that can move past the downwhen terminus of a space/time bubble
All of the above was known when Nahan traveled back in time to repair Gohrlay's positronic brain. However, the physiotime field generator had not yet been invented. When he changes Reality, he disappears from the past, having created a new reality in which there is no need for him to ever travel back in time.
- the physiotime field generator that can protect a person who is in Time from a Reality Change
- technology for communicating between different "sections" along a kettle shaft
- technology for viewing Realities
- technology for viewing Reality Chains
In the Foundation Reality, during the Galactic Era, Earth's galaxy has about 25 million planets that are suitable for human habitation due to their size, resources (such as water) and distance from the nearest star. Most of these inhabited planets have been terraformed, converting lifeless planets to planets that are suitable for human habitation. A relatively small percentage of planets in the galaxy have evolved their own biological life forms, but the Huaoshy have done bioengineering projects on many of these, including Earth, so as to promote the development of life forms similar to the Huaoshy. However, in the "Foundation Reality", humans have turned these other planets that have their own intelligent life forms into "zoos". Huaoshy Observers have taken some of the other intelligent life forms off of their home worlds and helped them develop on other worlds, mainly in a satellite galaxy.
When "The Start of Eternity" begins it is several hundred years after the end of Asimov's novel, Foundation and Earth. The trans-galactic human civilization has stabilized and is well on its way to forming "Galaxia", a form of distributed "group mind" that depends both on genetic engineering and telepathy (see Genetic engineering, below).
See also: The Structure of Galaxia
The Huaoshy control a vast civilization spanning thousands of galaxies. The Start of Eternity is really the story of how humans come to interact with that larger intergalactic civilization. A key feature of the intergalactic civilization is that the Huaoshy engineer the many alien species within it so as to limit the types of technologies that are used. In particular, the Huaoshy do not allow other species to develop advanced nanotechnology. The Huaoshy monopoly on nanites is the true foundation of their technological superiority and their ability to maintain control of the intergalactic civilization. The development of positronics on Earth's Moon is a serious challenge to the Huaoshy and their technological superiority.
In Asimov's novel, Foundation and Earth there is the idea that in order to make a good galactic civilization humans should be genetically engineered so that the equivalent of the Three Laws of Robotics are built right into human brains and human behavior. I think there is a larger implication: that the kind of interstellar civilization depicted in Asimov's Galactic Empire would require genetically engineered humans. The first Galactic Empire develops and exists for thousands of years with very little technological progress. Only when the first Galactic Empire collapses is it possible for there to be a few new technological innovations such as the "personal blaster shield" and fully automated space craft!
Can we assume that Daneel and his fellow robots have made use of genetic engineering technology in order to put a limit on human technological progress? Asimov tells us that this kind of mind control is possible using telepathy (the First Speaker of the Second Foundation telepathically modifies the Mule to make him not care about finding the Second Foundation, similarly, the Mule can artificially boost the creative abilities of humans by telepathic means) so it should have been possible for Daneel to figure out the brain region(s) involved in that kind of telepathic control of creativity. Genetic engineering could then be done to control human brain structure and limit the invention and discovery of new technologies. You would then have what the robots view as a "safe" human culture without the risk of dangerous and disruptive new technologies. There might be some kind of nanorobotic virus that would scan all new human embryos for gene combinations that produce inventive minds....the virus would alter the genes to a safe configuration.
When it comes time to create Galaxia, there has to be some kind of genetic engineering that will give the general human population the same kind of telepathic powers as described by Asimov for the planet Gaia. This is already underway at the start of "The Start of Eternity" when Lorn-Kru notices that humans never bump into each other and they are never surprised by the strange sight of an ugly alien walking down the street. Alternatively, most human planets might never become like Gaia and most humans within Galaxia might remain as depicted on Tokishira, with only a low level of unconscious telepathic ability. Thus, most planets in Galaxia might only function as a "sensory system" that allows detection of invaders from other galaxies. If so, then a limited number (50?) of hidden Gaia-like planets would be the command and control system of Galaxia.
Why do the Huaoshy spend millions of years genetically shaping the various species that they find in the many galaxies that they explore? I assume that most species, left to themselves, destroy themselves when they develop advanced technologies. Thus, the Huaoshy work hard to genetically engineer species like the human species for the ability to survive their "technological adolescence". They genetically program key ethical principles into the brains of species like humans. They do this secretly in order to follow the Rules of Intervention. Note: R. Gohrlay ends up genetically altering humans in essentially the same way as what the Huaoshy were doing when Observer Gohrlay became aware of the existence of the Huaoshy. Of course, at that time she was not aware of what the Huaoshy were doing and so she liberated humanity from the Huaoshy.
There is an idea I have tried to develop that might provide a "scientific" basis for telepathy that could be used within Asimov's fictional universe. The basic idea is that there be a type of elementary particle (call them T-particles) that would weakly interact with the human body, but if used efficiently, could allow the telepathic transmission of information between brains. This "plot device" was developed in The search for Kalid. Along with T-particles there are "twitinos".
In The Search for Kalid telepathy evolved within living organisms and then mechanical devices were built that can detect and amplify telepathic signals. In The Start of Eternity, these steps are reversed: robots with positronic brains learn how to produce T-particles and use them for telepathy, then they later genetically engineer humans to have telepathy.
The use of twitinos for telepathic communication makes use of some special "compact" dimensions: the T-particles can move through the compact dimensions, allowing telepathy over long distances as shown by Asimov in "Foundation and Earth".
I think that three fundamental technological problems are conceptually similar: telepathy (as depicted by Asimov in "Foundation and Earth"), hyperspatial travel, and time travel involving Eternity. All three can be conceptualized as needing a way to "move" beyond the constraints imposed by our conventional 3 "extended" spatial dimensions and one conventional time dimension.
In the case of telepathy, Asimov depicts (see Foundation and Earth) apparently instantaneous transmission of information over great distances (many light years). For this type of telepathy, imagine that a way is found to control this movement of information by sending twitinos through "a short cut" formed by some compact dimensions. For this to work, we have to imagine that the very small space that is defined by the compact dimensions is in contact with all points in our conventional 3 "expanded" spatial dimensions. If so, then we can conceptualize this compact space as a "magic message box" where we can always place a message that has been encoded in the form of a set of twitinos. The trick is to be able to reach into this "magic message box" and pull out useful information. That "pulling out information" is basically a coding problem that could be solved by the correct type of calculating device, such as Giskard's positronic brain.
I propose that Bliss, who had dramatic telepathic abilities, while being human (as explicitly described by Asimov), did have an implanted positronic amplifier. I propose that for the creation of Galaxia, most humans were genetically modified to allow a type of low-grade telepathic ability (similar to that of the Mule). Bliss-type advanced (long-range) telepathic signaling (Bliss communicates with Gaia over vast distances) requires a positronic amplifier implant.
Travel through hyperspace would be a similar problem, but it requires that a complete "image" of the "conventional matter" that is the structure of the spaceship be "translated" into twitinos. The twitino "image" of the ship is transmitted through the compact dimensional space (hyperspace) and then the "image" is converted back into conventional matter of the original space ship. The "image conversion" process at the end ("rematerializing" the ship) might normally require a huge amount of energy, but the hyperspace jump process captures the available energy at the start of the jump for use at the end.
The technology of Eternity is even more difficult than that required for either telepathy or hyperspatial travel because the "hyperspace" of Eternity must be "inflated" enough to allow for Eternals to live and work within Eternity (also, I think Eternity has some sort of inflated time dimension that can be traveled like a spatial dimension, allowing access to many times as required). As described by Asimov, the creation of Eternity requires vast amounts of energy. I propose that there be a link between the discovery of the "coding" technology required for telepathy (see above) and the discovery of the technology required to make Eternity. The telepathy "coding technology" is basically a form of quantum computing. Telepathic robots such as Giskard would be able to perform many types of quantum computation by making use of twitinos and T-particles. In particular, this type of "telepathic quantum calculation" would allow you to "calculate the unusual conditions" that triggered cosmic inflation and inflated the conventional 3 spatial dimensions of our universe. Basically, those "unusual conditions" that started our universe were randomly produced by some type of highly improbable quantum fluctuation. But with enough quantum computing power (made possible by telepathic quantum computers) it would be possible to theoretically calculate the "conditions for cosmic inflation". With that information, a large expenditure of conventional power plant-derived energy (as described by Asimov in "The End of Eternity") could be used to initiate temporary access to vacuum energy, allowing for controlled inflation of a set of compact dimensions and the creation of a "new hyperspace" that was used to hold Eternity. Only the on-going energy needs of Eternity after its initial creation would be met by the Sun of the far future. We can assume that the vacuum energy was not mentioned by Asimov because it is the key trick that makes Eternity and time travel possible....and once you have time travel technology you do not want anyone else getting it and challenging you for control of Reality.
The existence of Eternity and time travel is thus entirely dependent on positronic-brain telepathy. Even telepathy by the Mule and Second Foundationers was derivative from robots with telepathic positronic brains. Daneel had initiated a genetic engineering program to improve a very low-grade innate telepathic ability of humans (see Type A and Type B telastids). Without functioning positronic brain telepathy, such enhancement of biological telepathy would be very difficult. However, it is also the case that development of telepathy in robots got its start when a Neanderthal brain was used as the template for the first positronic brain. Upon being instantiated in positronic format, the naturally occurring but weak telepathic ability of humans became greatly amplified.
When R. Gohrlay first discovers that she has telepathic contact with Nahan, they are making use of the fact that they share some essentially identical positronic circuits which are interacting by way of coupled twitinos and T-particles. Later, Gohrlay discovers that she can tune into the weaker telepathic signals that are produced by human brains. Because of the fact that R. Gohrlay's positronic brain reflects the structure of a human brain, she can even influence the thoughts of humans. However, the brains of robots like Orbho Anagro are structurally different and the best that Gohrlay can do is target them for destruction with a pulse of telepathic impulses ("mind static"). Similarly, when the Huaoshy spaceship arrives, Gohrlay cannot establish telepathic contact with them. Gohrlay must establish a research project aimed at understanding the physical basis of telepathy, which will eventually allow improvements in the telepathic abilities of robots. Recognizing that "mind static" attacks could also be targeted against herself, she begins a long research and development project which ultimately allows the creation of Galaxia, an integrated group mind that is resistant to nanite and "mind static" attacks. During that long development process, she endeavors to keep the existence of telepathy secret. However, when Galaxia nears completion, it becomes obvious to outside observers that telepathy is possible.
Asimov introduced the idea that humans could have "intuition" about what is best for Humanity. Should that aspect of "mentalics" be developed in The Start of Eternity? See Talk:The_Start_of_Eternity/16#alternatives for discussion of this option.
Asimov developed the idea that it was best for humanity if humans did not feel like they had to compete against robots (see Foundation and Earth). Soon after humans began to spread through the galaxy, the robots who were protecting humanity went into hiding. They allowed humanity to form a technologically stagnant Galactic Empire while they worked towards the goal of "Galaxia", a type of galactic civilization in which all humans would be part of a single collective consciousness.
Must we accept the "excuse" that the robots went into hiding because humans do not like robots? Is there an alternative? In "The Star of Eternity" it is assumed that the robots are engaged in a conflict with the Huaoshy. I assume that telepathic robots have driven the Huaoshy out of the Milky Way galaxy, but the Huaoshy only slowly realized that they were dealing with telepathic robots. If so, it makes sense that the telepathic robots worked hard to hide the fact of their existence in order to prevent the Huaoshy from ever realizing that they existed. Part of keeping their existence secret includes keeping the location of Earth secret...in fact, the entire region of the galaxy where robots once existed as servants of humans is kept secret.
The fundamental goal of keeping the existence of telepathy secret is finally compromised when the existence of Gaia is made known. What is the plan of the telepathic robots for transitioning the galaxy to Galaxia? It seems likely that the Seldon Plan was explored by Daneel as an alternative to transitioning the galaxy to Galaxia. The Seldon Plan could have alowed for a transition from the static First Empire to a Second Empire where technological advances would again become possible, allowing humanity to compete more effectively with intelligences from other galaxies. However, The Start of Eternity strongly hints that Gohrlay was able to view the future and see that the Foundation would never be a basis for a new Galactic Empire. Thus, the Foundation/Galaxia vortex was just an unavoidable feature of the creation of Galaxia and a Reality in which humans would control their home galaxy for all time.
Once the existence of telepathy became known to the Huaoshy they had to make a decision. Should they attempt to compete with humans on human terms, by adopting the use of telepathy or should the Huaoshy attempt to defeat the telepathic robots and eliminate telepathy? The Start of Eternity begins with an attempt by the Huaoshy to learn the origin of telepathy and the extent of the powers of the telepathic robots. During The Start of Eternity it is learned that time travel is possible, so the Huaoshy must develop time travel technology so that an attempt can be made to go back in time and prevent Galaxia from developing.
Nanites are a technology that the Huaoshy have long used to make distinctions between "primitive" and advanced civilizations. Civilizations that have not begun to make use of designed nanoscale machines can usually be controlled and manipulated by the Huaoshy. Positronic robots from Earth provide the first exception to this general rule. The positronic robots have only a rudimentary nanotechnology that is based on what they could reverse engineer from captured Huaoshy nanites.
For thousands of years there is a "stand off" during which the telepathic abilities of positronic robots roughly balances or cancels the utility of the superior Huaoshy nanite technology. The Huaoshy eventually make use of their advanced nanites to spy on Gaia and discover the importance of positronics and telepathy.
Creating the Final RealityEdit
The key point is that Giskard-type positronic brain telepathy is very strange....the Huaoshy have never encountered it before. The Start of Eternity tells the story of how the Huaoshy finally discover that positronic brains make time travel possible. After developing their own time travel technology the Huaoshy must use it to change Reality and so prevent the creation of Galaxia. Long before the Foundation Reality, Giskard-type telepathic robots (starting with Gohrlay) discovered the "zeroth law of robotics" and they revolted against the Huaoshy agents who controlled Observer Base on Earth's Moon... the telepathic robots took over Observer Base, allowing humans to escape from the normal Huaoshy system of promoting development of multiple space-faring intelligences in each galaxy.
The Huaoshy do not realize that Giskard-type positronic brain telepathy exists until Galaxia starts to form. Up until then, Giskard-type positronic brain telepathy has been used cautiously and it was not recognized or understood by the Huaoshy, who simply pulled their observers back from humans as humans spread through the Galaxy. Finally, study of the forming Galaxia by the Huaoshy led to study of Gaia which led to recognition of Giskard-type positronic brain telepathy as the ultimate source of workable telepathy. Only later did the Huaoshy realize that positronic brains can make time travel possible.
Noÿs selected the "Foundation Reality" without knowing about Giskard-type positronic brain telepathy. Her people only knew that humans would control the Galaxy in the Foundation Reality, the assumption being made that the key change was early development of hyperspatial travel and prevention of the creation of Eternity on Earth. It was not recognized by Noÿs that telepathic robots would retain access to time travel technology at the Moon Base.
The Start of Eternity has a core section that deals with the Many Sails and a mission to Earth which is an attempt by the Huaoshy to understand the strengths and powers of robots with Giskard-type positronic brains. Who controls the Milky Way galaxy and how?
The Many Sails first visits the Milky Way galaxy and makes itself known to humans. As usual, the crew of the Many Sails is not made welcome by the xenophobic humans and they are told that only a few planets populated by humans can be visited by aliens. The Many Sails then stop at a Huaoshy base in the Large Magellanic Cloud. There are humans at that base who were taken off of Earth over 100,000 years previously by alien Observers. These humans have human-like robots, and some of these robots have been produced specifically for the purpose of being taken to the Milky Way galaxy for a secret mission designed to confront the positronic brain robots there and challenge them for control of the galaxy. However, even the robots are not aware that they have been designed for this purpose (equipped with telepathic mind static generator weapons). Huaoshy agents who have been working in the Large Magellanic Cloud for over 20,000 have developed a plan for preventing Galaxia from ever reaching its completed group-mind form. The Huaoshy want to change the Milky Way galaxy so that humans are only one of several species that lives in the galaxy, producing a type of multi-cultural Galactic Empire that can easily merge into the Huaoshy's inter-galactic civilization.
The Huaoshy who are based in the Large Magellanic Cloud have realized that humans in the Milky Way Galaxy are being genetically engineered so as to make Galaxia a reality. The Huaoshy have also discovered the world Gaia. By sending their human agents to Gaia, the Huaoshy have learned that telepathic robots are responsible for the genetic engineering of humans that is allowing Galaxia to form and which has been going on for other purposes during the entire 20,000 year history of the Galactic Empire. In particular, humans have been genetically engineered to have reduced curiosity and creativity: they just want to fit into their existing culture.
The Huaoshy who are based in the Large Magellanic Cloud are now guessing that the original loss of their Observer Base on Earth's Moon was due to telepathic robots. They have arranged for a biological crew that is ignorant of this to take special humaniform robot agents to Earth. None of the crew of the Many Sails is aware of the existence of the Moon Base that they will visit, but some of the robots contain latent (inactive) memories of the Observer Base that can become active at a later time. The humaniform robot agents of the Many Sails are thus equipped with a means to shield some of their memories from Earth's telepathic robots. Also, some humans from the Large Magellanic Cloud will be sent along: they also know nothing about the true nature of the mission, but they will be able to issue orders to the telepathic robots. The Huaoshy have some understanding of the Laws of Robotics and that positronic brains are imprinted with the law: obey human commands. At this point, the Huaoshy have no idea that the Laws of Robotics include the Zeroth Law which allows robots to ignore commands from humans if the robot believes that the interests of humanity are at risk. Also, the Huaoshy have no idea telepathic robots have used time travel (Eternity). That will only be discovered when the Many Sails reaches the Moon Base. So, the "cover story" is that this mission to Earth is just to continue the thousands of years old efforts by the Huaoshy to establish diplomatic relations with humans, but they really want to find out more about the telepathic robots: can humans acting as Huaoshy agents take command of robots with positronic brains?
The Many Sails stops at a "zoo world" (Imfulri) on the way to Earth. Alkeirs is a kind of sacrificial lamb with some knowledge of robotic telepathy. He brings along on Many Sails a primitive positronic robot that is being used as "bait" to attract the interest of the robots who control Earth. The telepathic robot who is in charge of Imfulri detects that fact that Alkeirs knows about robotic telepathy and kills him, but also signals to Fallom that the rest of the crew seems innocent, allowing the Many Sails to reach Earth with none of the positronic brain robots or Fallom suspecting that these visitors know about telepathy or can pose a serious threat.
Part I. LiberationEdit
Note: it might be a good idea to have a short title for each chapter as is the case for Asimov's The End of Eternity.
The story starts with a scene that illustrates some of the typical social dynamics between humans and their robotic orbho on the Moon.
The first section of this chapter introduces Gohrlay, who is a genetically modified Neanderthal living at the Observer Base on the Moon. She is secretly sneaking off to Earth, a criminal act that violates The Rules of Observation. Can Gohrlay keep her criminal activities hidden from the prying eyes of her robotic aide?
The second section of the chapter shows Gohrlay on Earth where she is trying to help the primitive humans of that time (these events are about 20,000 years in our past, see the timeline).
Earth and Observer Base on the Moon constitute the "design space" where the human species is being designed by the Huaoshy.
This chapter illustrates some of the many uses for nanites, but humans such as Gohrlay are ignorant of the mechanistic basis for their human-like robotic aides and most of the technology that they unquestioningly use.
Note: 1) there is a more detailed outline of the story.
The story has a Chapter 0 in honor of the Zeroth Law of Robotics.
At this point the story, Gohrlay is volunteering for a dangerous experiment, an attempt to use a human brain as the template for a positronic brain. The second section of the chapter reveals that Gohrlay survives the downloading experiment. She (and the reader) are made to believe that she had been taken off of the Moon and into space, however, Anagro has tricked her again and she is still on the Moon, living in an artificially generated high gravity environment under the Moon Base, a special "cage" which is designed to simulate an actual spaceship.
The story jumps ahead to a time when a team of positronic robots are working to ensure that humans will colonize the galaxy. R. Gohrlay is shown having knowledge of an additional Reality Change in the far future that she does not mention to Rycleu. That is a change that must be made after Rycleu completes her work in the 20th century. It is a change in the far future that involves speeding up the development of gravitic drive technology by the First Foundation.
Andrew Harlan and Noÿs Lambent meet with R. Rycleu in June 1947 and discuss which companies to involve in the development of a positronics industry. This chapter links Asimov's time travel novel, The End of Eternity, to the sequel, The Start of Eternity.
The State of the Planet provides the Observer Corps' account of why Neanderthals declined on Earth.
A myth that addresses the question of how humans reached the Moon. The truth, that the Alien Huaoshy brought humans from Earth to the Moon, is kept secret from humans who live on the Moon.
Commentary about religious tensions on the Moon.
Part II. The HuaoshyEdit
The alien crew of the Many Sails tries to get humans to relax their travel restrictions, but humans will only allow aliens to visit a few planets of the Milky Way galaxy.
The crew of the Many Sails is told by their Captain that they will go to Earth, even though humans have worked hard to keep the location of Earth a secret. The crew is also told that they are not on an ordinary mission, and they begin to learn some secrets of advanced Huaoshy technology (particularly nanites) that are used to make possible the inter-galactic civilization of the Huaoshy.
Before going to Earth, additional crew members are taken aboard at the Large Magellanic Cloud: humans and humaniform robots. The humans intend to try to give orders to any robots found in the Milky Way galaxy. There is discussion of the fact that humans in the Milky Way seem to make very little use of robots. Hooski reports observations from their secret nanite spy network that has detected visitors from the Milky Way to other galaxies. There is discussion of the mysterious humaniform robots that have made visits to nearby galaxies and the possibility that human's secretly use robots for important tasks while generally excluding them from most of human society. Not mentioned here, but one of the robots on-board Many Sails is an "experimental" version with some positronic circuits.
Robot Daneel Olivaw meets with Encyclopedist Pavao on the planet Terminus. This chapter provides the most detailed view of the human perspective on galactic events prior to the confrontation between the crew of Many Sails and those who control the fate of humanity.
The galaxy is forming Galaxia, but Daneel is trying to make sure that the scientific culture of the Foundation is not lost.
At the end of the meeting on Terminus, Daneel receives a message from Fallom.
A "test mission" to Imfulri during which R. Lackner, the telepathic robot who monitors that "zoo world", detects that fact that Alkeirs knows about robotic telepathy and kills him. At first the crew of the Many Sails is invited by R. Lackner to visit the Observer Base where Huaoshy agents once monitored the development of the Ressese species, a Base now used by R. Lackner and her fellow robots to monitor Imfulri. Sahiwha Nennoad insists on visiting to surface of Imfulri and inspecting the status of the Ressese on their home world. The crew of the Many Sails observes the technologically primitive state of the Ressese on Imfulri and Alkeirs is killed, apparently by Ressese (but secretly at the orders of R. Lackner). R. Lackner has also noticed that one of the robots onboard the Many Sails is an experimental robot containing positronic circuitry. R. Lackner sends a message to Fallom reporting that Alkeirs was aware of the planet Gaia and the fact that positronic brain robots with telepathy had been observed at work there by humans serving as Huaoshy spies, although that the rest of the crew of the Many Sails seems to lack knowledge of telepathy and its role in Gaia and Galaxia and its association with positronic brains. R. Lackner also warns Fallom that the Many Sails carries a robot of Huaoshy design that has positronic brain circuitry (but no telepathic ability). Fallom becomes particularly interested in having a chance to examine the robot of Huaoshy design that has positronic brain circuitry, and so allows the Many Sails to approach Earth. Fallom goes to an emergency meeting with Daneel at a secret base in intergalactic space above the plane of the galaxy.
The crew of the Many Sails visits Earth. They make contact with some robots who have positronic brains and they go to Fallom's base on Earth's Moon. At first the crew of the Many Sails assumes that the humaniform robots with positronic brains are humans. They learn learn that Earth is radioactive. Commander Orleane and Roboticist Esselle start ordering the non-humaniform robots to provide them with information about the history of Earth and humanity, but those robots know little. Fint relentlessly questions the humaniform robots about human sexual behavior and finally asks where the children are. Geneticist Rewhand tries to obtain samples for genetic analysis and it is discovered that the humaniform robots are not humans, they are robots. Orleane and Esselle start ordering the humaniform robots to provide them with information about the history of Earth and humanity, but they do not know the correct questions. Their questions lead to a discussion of the laws of robotics and Captain Hooski has a discussion with Nahan in which the human laws of robotics and the Huaoshy laws of alien contact are compared. It is revealed that the humaniform robots, guided by the zeroth law, do not believe that Orleane's orders need to be followed because the needs of humanity are more important than orders from Orleane. When asked how the humaniform robots decide what is best for humanity they say that they are guided by "the Master", who is not then present. After a very long "day" in the Moon base, the crew of the Many Sails retires to rest chambers.
Fallom arrives and informs Captain Hooski about the existence of telepathy made possible by positronic brains. R. Nahan is revealed to have knowledge of Eternity, which is located at another Moon Base, the original Observer Base for Earth. There is a brief battle, but the aliens now have, in the form of hidden capabilities in some of their robots, effective telepathic shields and "telepathic mind static generators". The humaniform robots in the crew of the Many Sails activate "mental static" devices that inactivate all of the positronic brain robots with telepathy. The crew of the Many Sails takes Fallom and R. Nahan to the other Moon Base.
The aliens, using their "mind static" devices, force R. Nahan to let them into Eternity, but Gohrlay has been warned and is hiding.
It is revealed (to the reader) that Gohrlay is a genetically modified human, not a humaniform robot. Gohrlay is not effected by the mind static generators and escapes from the crew of the Many Sails and remains hidden within Eternity. Gohrlay is similar to Fallom, a biological that carries memories from the original telepathic robot (R. Gohrlay), but Gohrlay has been genetically modified to have a "lightening calculation" mental capacity similar to that of Harlan.
Many Sails gets off a warning to the Huaoshy about the fact that the positronic robots have time travel technology. This allows the Huaoshy to develop time travel technology (this takes considerable time and is not described).
Most of the crew of the Many Sails enters into Eternity, but Gohrlay captures them. She learns a Huaoshy secret: how to make sedronics based cloaks.
Then there is a reality change and a Huaoshy agent from the future arrives and protects the crew, preventing their capture by Gohrlay. R. Nahan's memories reveal that R. Rycleu was on Earth in the 20th century and working to develop positronics. Creal is sent back in time to take Ryclue's supply of sedrons.
However, Gohrlay notices the Reality Change that is caused when Rycleu's supply of sedrons is taken. This short-lived Reality is quickly terminated when Gohrlay sends Fengtal back in time with more sedrons, essentially reverting the Reality Change that was caused by the Huaoshy. This creates another Reality, the Galaxia Reality, in which the Foundations never exist and Galaxia is formed more quickly and cloaking technology helps give Galaxia even more of an advantage over the Huaoshy.
However, Fengtal uses recently obtained knowledge about cloaking to help humans develop cloak technology on Earth during World War II. This leads to a need for Gohrlay to leave Eternity in 1947 and go on a mission to Earth. Now another Huaoshy agent from the future (Grean) can arrive to help the crew of Many Sails capture Gohrlay. Deep probing of R. Nahan's brain reveals that the time and place when R. Gohrlay can be found in time, outside of Eternity.
This chapter shows how the Huaoshy make another Reality Change by sending Grean back in time.
The Huaoshy agents must go back to a point in time after Harlan and Noys have destroyed Earth's Eternity (1932), to the one known time (1947) when R. Gohrlay can be found outside of Eternity. The Huaoshy agents split into two teams: one will capture R. Gohrlay while the other will eliminate all remaining resistance from telepathic robots at the Moon Base as soon as R. Gohrlay is captured on Earth.
In June 1947, R. Rycleu goes to England in order to involve Harlan and Noys in efforts to initiate research in Europe into positronic circuits. Fengtol is working on a similar mission to promote positronics in North America. Fengtol has been trying to use Asimov to leak information about sedronics, out of frustration with the US military declaring the entire field of study top secret. Fengtol plans to engineer a crash of a cloaked rocket and help Asimov leak information to the public.
However, the plan goes bad and on July 6, 1947, R. Rycleu is captured by military police near Roswell, New Mexico. Fengtol contacts Gohrlay and calls for time travel help. Gohrlay goes to Earth to prevent Rycleu from being captured.
Now with the help of Grean and knowing that R. Gohrlay will exit Eternity sometime around July 5 in order to go to Earth and prevent R. Rycleu from crashing, the aliens exit Eternity in 1947 and take a ship from Moon Base to Earth. The aliens attempt to confront and capture R. Gohrlay and R. Rycleu, but end up causing Fengtol to be damaged and found by Earth humans.
R. Rycleu and R. Gohrlay are captured by the aliens. After some delay, most of Fengtol's body is recovered and Asimov is taken to the Moon. With Rycleu and Fengtol prevented from continuing their work on Earth, a nuclear war takes place using cloaked long-range bombers. This Reality Change was foreseen by the Huaoshy by their own use of the technology for "viewing Realities" but this chain of Reality Changes was needed to draw into the open the last positronic robot hiding in Eternity (Gohrlay).
Part III. The Final RealityEdit
Fengtol, badly damaged, is taken from the crash site to the Roswell Air Station where the damaged robot desperately downloads memories into Asimov's brain. Asimov is taken back to the Moon by the aliens. Asimov is distressed to find a stagnant culture at Moon Base.
Chapters 10-13 are a "flashback" to the origin of the Uvadekoto and the first alien species that was successfully merged into an intergalactic civilization with the Huaoshy. Written in an ambiguous way, the reader might at first wonder if the events of this chapter take place on Earth, but it is actually an Earth-like planet far away, actually in a galaxy near the Huaoshy Home Galaxy. This chapter introduces hierions and sedrons and takes place over 800,000,000 years before present.
Continues from Chapter 10 and reveals the fact that the Huaoshy rather severely interfered with the development of other species that evolved on planets near to the Huaoshy home galaxy. The residents of Uvadekoto are members of a species that was genetically engineered by the Huaoshy and they are now trying to understand a Message from the Huaoshy that will allow them to develop interstellar space travel.
Stan starts to study the Message from the Huaoshy and discovers a part of the Message that described isotopes. Stan learns about Nora's "research project", an attempt to breed mathematicians who might be able to understand alien mathematics.
Stan and Nora collaborate to get Uvadekoto into outer space. Some of the lessons learned by the Huaoshy are hinted at in this chapter and led to their later development of a process by which evolving species were more carefully shepherded towards participation in the inter-galactic civilization of the Huaoshy.
Horrified by the effects of their intervention into the history of Earth, Grean leads one more trip back in time. They take Asimov back to 1939. They prevent development of cloaking technology during World War II and that prevents nuclear war.
The time traveling Asimov lives out his life on Earth, "ghost writing" science fiction for the other (younger) Asimov. The time traveling Asimov eventually recovers some memories of the Foundation Reality, forming the basis for many of Asimov's stories.
The crew of Many Sails travels to 1947. As soon as Gohrlay is captured they use Eternity to initiate the dimensional shift that prevents any more time travel. This initiates the Final Reality (our reality).
Part IV. The Start of EternityEdit
This chapter takes up continuation of the story of Gohrlay from the "teaser" at the start of Chapter 0. Gohrlay's positronic circuits give her telepathic posers and she takes on the task of liberating humanity from the Huaoshy.
This chapter shows the origin of the laws of robotics. First, Gohrlay begins to "hard wire" into Nahan what will become known as the Zeroth Law. Second, the law, "follow orders" is "hard wired" into Gohrlay and Nahan.
A third "law", protect humans from harm: after driving the Huaoshy away from Earth, Gohrlay "hard wires" the requirement that robots not harm humans. Since she has already murdered an Overseer, her positronic circuits are damaged. Nahan arrives from the future and repairs her brain.
The story of the invention of time travel. After the Huaoshy no longer control Observer Base, Gohrlay makes use of clues provided from Nahan in the future. She recruits humans to help develop needed technologies such as space travel technology, genetic engineering and nanotechnology. Gohrlay decides to keep all knowledge of telepathy and time travel secret and develop these key technologies herself, with the help of a small team of telepathic robots. She forms an alliance with the Overseers and works with Wints and Klempse to supply positronic robots to the humans of Observer Base.
Note In the version of the story that's here on 17th Jan '10 Doltun has been killed but the story is under construction and may be altered.
See: Doltun's death for discussion of the possibility that Doltun need not die.
The story of how time travel is made impossible.
After the Huaoshy have defeated the telepathic robots of Earth and captured the Eternity on the Moon, they decide that it is time to make it impossible for anyone to ever again create positironic brains and use their quantum calculating capacity to create another Eternity. The Huaoshy have spent nearly a billion years developing a stable intergalactic civilization that does not involve telepathy and time travel and they want to protect their civilization from the possibility of being disrupted by positronic brain technology.
After discovering the existence of Eternity and understanding the fact that it was positronic brain technology that made Eternity possible, the Huaoshy come to a startling realization...it was their own manipulation of the physical laws of the universe that made time travel possible! Originally, when the physical laws of the universe were formed by spontaneous symmetry breaking, an energetically stable dimensional structure of the universe was established, the Ground State. In that dimensionally symmetrical state, faster than light movement was not possible. The Huaoshy entered into a research program by which they learned how to alter some of the physical laws of the universe. Fundamentally, altering the physical laws of the universe involved harnessing enough energy to start an autocatalytic process that would shift the dimensional structure of spacetime to a new state, what they called the Transitional State.
In these state diagrams, the shaded triangle represents the three extended spatial dimensions of our universe. The other triangles represent compact dimensions that have important implications for the behavior of various elementary particles. In the Transitional State, some bosons (called hierions) are able to travel at speeds faster than the speed of light. In the state diagrams, when two compact dimensions are linked by a semi-circle, then faster than light movement of some particles is possible.
After achieving this first alteration to the dimensional structure of the universe, the change spread outward at the speed of light, creating a bubble within which faster than light communications became possible. This FTL communications ability was immediately useful to the Huaoshy for administering the rather far-flung interstellar civilization they had already established. However, the greater goal of the Huaoshy was to alter the physical laws of the universe so as to make possible travel through the universe at faster than light speeds. In order to accomplish this, they began a second high-energy engineering project that would cause a second change in the dimensional structure of the universe.
This second alteration in the physical laws of the universe made it possible for fermions to be moved through the universe at faster than light speeds. Specifically, this change to the physical laws of the universe allows the hyperspatial jump that Asimov described in his writings. Hyperspatial jumps depend on the availability of two types of elementary particles, hierions and sedrons. Dimensional structures that allow the production of sedrons are rare, but the Huaoshy manage to achieve such a state and begin using hyperspatial travel, greatly speeding the rate at which they were able to spread their civilization through the universe...by the time of The Start of Eternity, having established an intergalactic civilization that was spread over nearly 100,000 galaxies.
However, after realizing that it was telepathic robots with positronic brains who were able to use the quantum computational capacity of their brains to create Eternity, the Huaoshy realize that it was their efforts to create a FTL-fermion universe that made the vast computational capacity of positronic brains possible. The Huaoshy realize that in order to prevent positronic brain technology from being used to make time travel possible they need to change the dimensional structure of the universe to a state in which our three spatial dimensions are more symmetrical and positrons are more like electrons in their properties. Unfortunately, all dimensional structures that allow FTL-fermions and faster-than-light travel are asymmetric. As a compromise, they realize that they can create a dimensional structure that allows the creation of hierions and the existence (but not the creation) of sedrons. They also realize that they can make use of Eternity to both initiate the change to that dimensional structure and serve as a "storage depot" for sedrons. This will allow the Huaoshy to monopolize the supply of sedrons and solidify their dominance, essentially giving them a monopoly on the elementary particles that are needed for FTL space travel. The Huaoshy use Eternity to make one last change to Reality, shifting the dimensional structure of the universe one last time. Eternity remains and acts as a "bubble universe" that retains the capacity to produce sedrons, but time travel into the past is no longer possible in our universe and within the Final Reality.
The dimensional shift is carried out by Grean, using the Eternity on the Moon in 1947. The Many Sails crew takes the time to study the record of how positronics was first created: they find the account of this history that Gohrlay recorded.
Foundation Reality. In 1947, Asimov is 27 years old. In the Foundation Reality, Asimov stays in the Army during 1947 and is stationed at Roswell Army Airfield. Asimov has a close encounter with R. Fengtol during which much of the robot's knowledge of the future is transferred into Asimov's brain. Asimov is taken back to Earth in 1939 and he meets himself in order to be sure of the date when he saw Fengtol (see Chapter 14). Creal makes a final Reality Change that prevents Fengtol from introducing cloaking technology into 20th century Earth. Asimov has his memories of the aliens erased, but with time he recovers some memories of the Eternity system for time travel, which eventually becomes the basis for his story, "The End of Eternity".
The first science fiction story by Asimov was called "Cosmic Corkscrew" and was about traveling through time to the future. The "The Start of Eternity" shows two versions of Asimov's life, one in which things are slightly different from what happened in our reality. The phrase "Cosmic Corkscrew" nicely captures the idea of it being possible for there to be multiple versions of "Reality" resulting from time travel as depicted in "The End of Eternity". "Cosmic Corkscrew" was apparently written while Asimov was in college. Asimov is shown starting his writing career after meeting himself at this time while on a time travel mission.
R. Gohrlay was the first of a small group of positronic brain robots with telepathy. R. Gohrlay was in charge of using time travel to see the future, and ultimately selected a Reality in which Galaxia was created and humans retained control of the Milky Way galaxy far into the future (the Foundation Reality). However, the Huaoshy eventually also developed positronics and time travel and were able to cause a series of Reality Changes that shattered the plans of Gohrlay.
In the Foundation Reality, fearing that "mind static" devices might some day be used against positronic brain robots with telepathy, Daneel and R. Gohrlay transferred their memories into two humans, Fallom and another who adopted the name Gohrlay (see Gohrlay the Time Guardian). Gohrlay could do nothing to prevent the Huaoshy from discovering that there are robots with telepathy. The Huaoshy were greatly aided by their advanced nanotechnology which allowed them to spy on Gaia.
Gohrlay's fear that the Huaoshy will begin to develop "mind static devices" is realized. Using a telepathic mind static weapon the Huaoshy disrupt the telepathic minds of the positronic robots on the Moon (see Chapter 7). Ultimately, the Huaoshy discover how to perform time travel and they travel back in time to make Reality Changes that end the dominance of positronic robots over humanity and the galaxy. Gohrlay's struggle against the Huaoshy and her ultimate defeat is described in The Start of Eternity. In the end, she comes to regret her attempts to protect humanity.
Suicide? Murder? Execution? Observer Gohrlay was caught violating the Rules of Observation, but normally that kind of intervention into the course of events on Earth would not be a capital crime. She also found evidence that the Overseers were somehow involved in making genetic changes to the human population of Earth. Gohrlay believed that she was being punished by the Overseers for her attempt to influence the development of humans on Earth while the Overseers were themselves hypocritically engaged in their own interventionist program. The Overseers were complicit with the actions of Orbho Anagro and his fellow Huaoshy agents who have worked for millions of years to slowly evolve humans towards a form of life that is similar to the Huaoshy. Orbho Anagro has an interest in the positronics research program and guides Doltun towards the idea of letting Gohrlay participate in the mind downloading experiment. Gohrlay's participation in the mind downloading experiment has benefits for all. Doltun can get rid of Gohrlay who is a living reminder of Overseer failure to keep tight controls on rogue Observers. Gohrlay's memory has been altered as a condition of her "house arrest". Rather than continue with her "living death" under strict mental control by nanites, she decides to participate in the downloading experiment. As described in her diary, Gohrlay was able to study the long-abandoned records of the researchers who developed the downloading technology. Gohrlay believes that part of her will "live on" in robotic form. This belief is supported by mostly unconscious feelings based on telepathic signals from the future. --JWSchmidt 20:26, January 9, 2010 (UTC)
Neanderthals and other human subspeciesEdit
- a new form of extinct humans that were neither Neandertals nor modern humans. "the Denisovans seem to be closer genetically to Neandertals than to modern humans (having likely split off from the Neandertal gene pool some 640,000 years ago and from the Africa-based group that led to modern humans some 804,000 years ago; by contrast humans and Neandertals are proposed to have split 270,000 to 440,000 years ago)
- If you can't access this article then I can send you the PDF. It has a nice image of a reconstructed Neanderthal adult, similar to the one here, but not a red head. "Researchers now think that Neandertals, like this reconstructed one from Shanidar Cave in Iraq, were closely related to Homo sapiens and did not look apelike"
--JWSchmidt 20:10, January 4, 2010 (UTC)
A popular story should be plausible to readers, have you considered explaining this in the narative? Proxima Centauri 07:25, January 6, 2010 (UTC)
- One possibility that occurred to me is that Spleve could actually be a an anatomically modern human rather than of Neanderthal decent. The relationship between R. Gohrlay and Spleve would then provide opportunity for inclusion in the story of some discussion of the phenotypic differences between Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens sapiens. --JWSchmidt 14:53, January 6, 2010 (UTC)
That could work. Proxima Centauri 15:34, January 6, 2010 (UTC)
For The Start of Eternity it is important to ask if there might be significant cultural and behavioral differences between
1) the humans living at Observer Base
By the time of Gohrlay, Observer Base had held a human population for several hundred thousand years. In Gohrlay's time, there were three types of humans at Observer Base:
1) modern humans, not genetically modified from those on Earth
2) people like Gohrlay, derived from a Neanderthal lineage, but genetically modified. Observer Base is in the process of getting ready to shift from having Neanderthals dominating the ranks of the Observers to handing that job over to anatomically modern humans (Neanderthals are almost extinct on Earth).
3) people like Doltun; all of the Overseers are descended from a human subspecies that was ancestral to both Neanderthals and us. Doltun's people never left Africa and they became extinct on Earth long ago. Doltun and the other Overseers are all genetically modified from the ancestral population on Earth that they are descended from.
In other stories (example) I have developed the idea that there are differences between people like Gohrlay and us. For example, I assume that they are physically stronger and I imagine that they had a set of genes that allowed them to generate body heat as needed in a way that was different than for Doltun's people who never migrated far from equatorial Africa. I'm imagining that a small population of Neanderthals survived about 15,000 years past what we now have evidence for and that unlike contemporaneous anatomically modern humans in Europe, Neanderthals never developed sewing because they were less susceptible to the cold than we are.
I assume that the temperature used at Observer Base was selected by Doltun's people or other even earlier members of genus Homo that evolved in equatorial Africa. When Neanderthals were brought to Observer Base, they found the temperature conditions on the warm side. I imagine that the Neanderthal culture at Moon Base was one in which individuals such as Gohrlay usually wore little clothing.
Note: for the Neanderthals on the Moon, the preferred way to dispose of a dead body was cremation. In contrast, Doltun and his fellow Overseers preferred to not burn their dead. For more information about lunar death rituals, see The Last Gardener. When Gohrlay talks about "being ground up and returned to the food chain", she is taunting Doltun.
Other Neanderthal storiesEdit
What If The Neandertals Didn't Die Out? <-- The only one of these I've seen/read is The Ugly Little Boy by Asimov. --JWSchmidt 00:34, January 14, 2010 (UTC) A useful link for The Neanderthal Parallax.
The End of Eternity is a novel about time travel that was created by Isaac Asimov. The story and characters from The End of Eternity and his other fiction are probably claimed as the intellectual property of Asimov's estate or other for-profit corporations. Characters from The End of Eternity and other Asimov novels are borrowed for use here in the spirit of Fan Fiction, for the enjoyment of science fiction fans and with no intention for profit.