Interlude: Oræl Rides to War

I have actually got a couple of bits of The Myconet almost ready to go, but I’m keeping them under my pre-write belt so I can post them on the weekend.

In the meantime, and in the absence of any new entries to the aki’Pedia today, I want to introduce you to the Oræl Rides To War series.

The first book of this, aside from the short story anthology I’m putting together, will be the next thing I publish. I won’t tell you much about the series itself, but the first book will incorporate some of my earlier and semi-published[1] works as part of my ongoing project to unify my fiction into the unified urverse we all love spitballing about. You may even recognise the series name, as it is referenced in The Final Fall of Man. Oh yeah, this shit all comes together.

[1] By which I mean, some bits and pieces have appeared here on the Hatstand, and some other bits and pieces have appeared on even older websites I’ve participated in, but you’re not likely to find them. Wouldn’t be likely to find them, in fact, even if I did tell you which bits and pieces they specifically were. Which I’m not gonna.

So, as a special treat and exclusive sneak, I am going to paste down here the Prologue to Oræl Rides to War, Book One, Part One. The In the Thirty-Ninth Century, great men and women of the human race strode among the stars and trod the jewelled thrones of the universe under their sandal’d feet of the next series, if you will.


PROLOGUE

It was the crest of the wave, the highest pinnacle, the tipping point. It was the last great golden age of human unity, before which the scattered tribes wandered and warred, and after which the bickering nations turned in earnest to snarling junkyard dogs for the profit of their bet-laying masters. Population, technology, attitudes and historical impetus coincided in a way they never would again. Never could, until another great and terrible slaying swept away the chaff of the world.

Perhaps not even then.

It was still a dark time for many. There were wars, there was injustice … but there was also optimism. The more fortunate human cultures made great advances, learned and shared. And more important than that, they played. It was a time of joy, of games and innocence for the general population of the Earth’s great nations.

The dominant communicating cultures labelled the march of centuries AD, marking the years since a mythical saviour-figure had reshaped the world with a message of peace that they’d been striving to live up to ever since. Anno Domini. The year of our Lord. It might as easily have meant the year of our dominion. The year we ruled the land and the sea and the beasts of the field. A golden age in truth.

The great unions of nation and politics and enterprise, of commerce and cooperation, swept across the face of the Earth. And – for a time – it almost seemed as though the shattered remnants who had survived the Fall of Rome and the rise and fall of the great empires that followed might become a single species, a unified race surpassing the arbitrary boundaries of malleable environment, conquerable geography, laughable cultural legacy. Surpassing, even, the limitations of their own brutal primate physiology and chemistry.

They didn’t, of course. It was the peak of the wave, not the pinnacle of the mountain. Even mountains grind away to dust, but waves … no. The fall, the roar, the churn, these things were inevitable. It was a golden time, but it was a gleaming and tragically brief one. The end was already beginning, and when it came, it would be awful.

The human condition was a boiling, seething ocean of fiery sewage. For a moment something, something that might have been beautiful, clawed its way to the surface and gasped for air and blinked in the light of an unattainable sun. And when it sank once again beneath the noisome skin of the swamp, it would never return. And the toxic formlessness that it left behind would seem all the more shameful for its fleeting presence.

But just for a moment – for a stretch of years, for a decade or two, for a mere blink in the eye of the vast spinning urverse – it looked as though humanity might succeed. It seemed as though the human race was destined to climb to its feet, to stand tall, and turn the crest of that wave into a bright and permanent mountaintop of diamond by sheer strength of will. The same indomitable spirit that had straightened their sloping backs and turned their muddy eyes towards the stars would carry them, bold and noble and glorious, into eternity as a grown-up and enlightened species.

The year was 1990 AD.

This entry was posted in Astro Tramp 400, IACM, Oræl Rides To War, The Book of Pinian and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Interlude: Oræl Rides to War

  1. stchucky says:

    In honour of the inauguration of the last President of the United States.

  2. dreameling says:

    This is depressing. Stop it.

    • stchucky says:

      You’re probably not going to enjoy the rest of the series…

      • dreameling says:

        There is only so much nihilism, pessimism, and misanthropy even I can take, true.

      • stchucky says:

        If it’s any consolation, you know the human race goes on being giant douchemonkeys for a solid ten thousand years after 1990AD.

      • dreameling says:

        Isn’t that just the normal human condition? When were ever better? We’re humans. No better or worse at heart or in potential than we’ve ever been or ever will be (until, of course, biological evolution or genetic engineering changes us sufficiently into something else).

        So, relax and smell the baseline.

      • stchucky says:

        You’re right, of course. I’ve often laughed at the idea that people somehow expect us to simultaneously accept that we evolved from ferocious primates, and stop exhibiting ferocious primate behaviours overnight. In fact:

        Yeah.

        So, okay. Very fair point. And if we think (in-urverse) that modern humans emerged arguably about 10,000 years ago, then our stability 10,000 years in the future is encouraging. Yes, a lot of that is because of Molran interference using biofabricators, but whatever.

        I subscribe, in my writing, to an idea of exponential evolution. As a species reaches physiological and psychological maximum levels, it stops levelling … or levels very slowly. Just like in many RPGs. Molren, for example, reached near-perfection a long time ago. The Bonshooni are a rollback, and the Blaren are just frosting.

        Humans, like I say, are occasionally magnificent bastards … but towards the end, we mostly get it right.

        Maybe, for Oræl Rides to War, you can be my voice of human optimism. That would be nicely weird, after our Rogue One discussions…

        *polite cough*

      • dreameling says:

        I subscribe, in my writing, to an idea of exponential evolution. As a species reaches physiological and psychological maximum levels, it stops levelling … or levels very slowly. Just like in many RPGs. Molren, for example, reached near-perfection a long time ago. The Bonshooni are a rollback, and the Blaren are just frosting.

        In fiction, that’s fine, since the rules are whatever the author wants them to be. For the real world, though, that’s probably too clean and neat. For one, “species” is always a somewhat arbitrary classification, since speciation is more a continuum, less a series of discreet steps. In short, where does one species end and another begin? Meaning “maximum level” is a moving target, and “perfect” is purely relative.

        And I’m sure even Molren could be smarter and stronger and faster, for example?

      • stchucky says:

        We-e-e-ll, you’re right, it is more complicated than just “this class of creatures emerges, then natural-selects itself towards max level.”

        There’s all sorts of tangents, setbacks, branches and mergings. And the Molren are one of ten races (Damoraks and Time Destroyers are two more) whose creation predates evolution and speciation as we know it. They were planned, as microbes, by the Infinites and the Firstmades, and they “evolve” specifically towards the fulfilment of those planned races.

        So yeah, it’s different in a story. I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but it’s certainly different.

      • dreameling says:

        Bloody hell.

        So where did the Infinites come from (do not say “infinity”) and who made the Firstmade?

      • stchucky says:

        Nine of the ten Infinites were created by the first Infinite, who existed as part of the starting conditions of the urverse. The Firstmades were created by the Infinites. The ten Elder Races were created by the Infinites and the Firstmades. The Second Generation Races were created by the Infinites, the Firstmades and the Elder Races. The Third Generation Races were created by the the Infinites, the Firstmades, the Elder Races and the Second Generation. And so on. After the Tenth Generation Races were made, the Infinites decided evolution was ready to start.

        Oh yeah, I’ve mapped all this. Illustrated most of the species, too.

      • dreameling says:

        Basically, your world-building runs from the sub-sub-atomic to the multiversal. You sure that’s enough?

      • stchucky says:

        *looks slightly nervous*

        You forgot to ask where the urverse and the original Infinite came from.

        Basic analogy at this point is that the urverse is a simulation of sorts, a game set in place by the Infinite who is actually an avatar or cursor for a guiding consciousness. The urverse, and others, exist in a mainframe or wider ur – sort of an Internet, while the urverse is just a single game inside Steam. It doesn’t really matter to the story … except I have taken us into that wider context too, because that’s one of the main points of conflict in The Book of Pinian.

        This is a segment of writing about entitites in the outer ur. It doesn’t necessarily preclude the idea that, in true fractal style, it’s bigger and bigger worlds all the way out … but this is as far out as I’ve gone.

      • dreameling says:

        So where did it all start? Where did the guiding consciousness come from?

        IS IT YOU THE AUTHOR?

      • stchucky says:

        Hah! No, I’m just a conduit, man.

        As for where the guiding Infinite came from, well. Is there a point at which it doesn’t matter anymore? So this urverse is a literally infinitely complex game for the entertainment (or such is our feeble interpretation and assignation of motive) of an Entity utterly beyond our comprehension. The game exists in a medium that is itself beyond our comprehension. The guiding entity might exist in a analogous urverse one level up. That urverse itself might be a game.

        Our urverse might be the ocarina that Link plays in the Zelda franchise. Itself a game within a game, guided by our hand … but what of us?

        And if that higher ur is a game, what does it matter? What if the one above that is a game? It doesn’t affect us until one or another of the infinite games in the fractal stops. And if there are infinite levels, surely the chances of that happening already are 1:1?

        Probably best not to think about that.

      • dreameling says:

        Fine. Simulation theory. I’ll buy it for your Urverse. (For the real world, meh.)

      • stchucky says:

        The “real world” is part of the urverse. So I’m selling it as a package. Buy it or don’t, sir.

      • dreameling says:

        By “real world”, I meant our actual real world, the one in which we’re having this conversation, not the real world as represented in your fiction (where it’s rightly and naturally part of the Urverse of everything).

        Wasn’t sure whether you were talking purely in terms of your Urverse fiction or extending the simulation discussion to apply to us as well.

      • dreameling says:

        I may need to change my position on the likelihood of us living in a simulation. Trump is president. How is somebody not trolling with reality?

      • stchucky says:

        I may need to change my position on the likelihood of us living in a simulation. Trump is president. How is somebody not trolling with reality?

        See, I know you’re joking but I think this is the problem most people have with the simulation theory. They’re incapable of seeing it from outside their own context and from the point of view of their technology and knowledge level. Like it is actually some sort of digital environment that someone is manipulating like a game of Civilization. It doesn’t need to be anything like that fathomable from our perspective. There doesn’t need to be any interference, any cheats, any discernible gameplay.

        The fact that God doesn’t answer prayers and good things happen to bad people doesn’t mean anything, except that we don’t understand the game and have made up our minds about it from our own place in the system.

        I’m not saying I have any particular knowledge or wisdom about it (except insofar as I’m making the whole thing up…), I find it difficult to grasp from any perspective other than my own as well. But your comment about the likelihood of it, well, it’s sort of the issue in a nutshell.

        And don’t get me started on “the world I’m writing about” and “the world where you and I are having this conversation”. To all practical purposes, for me they’re the same world. You can’t prove the negative, and I’m invested in telling a story rather than proving a scientific theory. So I don’t think it will go anywhere – interesting though it may be to discuss. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pissed or anything. I just think our viewpoints differ fundamentally.

      • dreameling says:

        This is just too interesting to let go. Fundamentally different viewpoints or not. (I may be grossly misunderstanding yours, but that just makes this fun.)

        See, I know you’re joking but I think this is the problem most people have with the simulation theory. They’re incapable of seeing it from outside their own context and from the point of view of their technology and knowledge level. Like it is actually some sort of digital environment that someone is manipulating like a game of Civilization. It doesn’t need to be anything like that fathomable from our perspective. There doesn’t need to be any interference, any cheats, any discernible gameplay.

        That’s also the main problem with the simulation theory. It’s pure speculation. (Hence the more common term, “simulation hypothesis”, I suppose.) What’s more, it’s pure speculation based on a sample of one: us. It makes universalists assumptions about technological development and the likelihood of different technological scenarios we cannot possible verify since we’re not there yet ourselves and we obviously have no evidence of other civilizations out there.

        Not to mention there seems to be no scientific way of proving that we are living a simulation or of even probing the possibility that our reality might be a simulation. At least not yet.

        It’s an interesting concept, for sure. It’s given us some wonderful science fiction, like The Matrix. But it might as well be fantasy. Or a religion. Intelligent designers writ a little differently.

        Until the simulation argument yields itself to empirical scientific inquiry, I’m going to treat it as the pretty fiction it is.

        The fact that God doesn’t answer prayers and good things happen to bad people doesn’t mean anything, except that we don’t understand the game and have made up our minds about it from our own place in the system.

        Or that there’s no game.

        Except, of course, in your Urverse and other fiction.

        And don’t get me started on “the world I’m writing about” and “the world where you and I are having this conversation”. To all practical purposes, for me they’re the same world. You can’t prove the negative, and I’m invested in telling a story rather than proving a scientific theory. So I don’t think it will go anywhere – interesting though it may be to discuss. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pissed or anything. I just think our viewpoints differ fundamentally.

        I assume that’s some sort of writerly sentiment about fiction always reflecting the real-world context in which said fiction is produced (perfectly valid) or about humans being fundamentally narrative thinkers (also perfectly valid). Or you’re affecting some sort of philosophical attitude about art and life intertwining or everything melting into one inside your mind (still perfectly fine). Or maybe you mean that if the world’s a simulation than everything in it is equally un/real (debateable).

        But you cannot possibly mean in any literal sense that the world you write about, the fiction you produce, is a factual description or history of the real world in which we live, right?

        Because clearly the physical world and the imagined world of your fiction are not ontological equals. (Unless you reduce your fiction to the shifting particles that constitute it in people’s minds or store it in the form of physical and electronic media.) And it doesn’t even matter if this physical world is a simulation.

        So, let’s get started!

      • dreameling says:

        Btw., I’m not trying to annoy you. I’m like genuinely intrigued and/or baffled.

      • stchucky says:

        Of course.

        I’m curious too. I’m curious how you can justify saying the urverse version of Earth is “clearly” not the ontological equal of this Earth. Knowing what you currently do.

      • stchucky says:

        DISCLAIMER: I’ve never really tried to express these thoughts, so please do bear with me if they sound self-involved, arrogant, and/or crazy. I’m still sort of feeling my way through it.

      • stchucky says:

        All of the above. Most of all, because I can’t write about things that aren’t real to me on some level. Yes, I consider it a plausible explanation of our past, our present, and our future, considering how effortlessly humans can be blinded by their own arrogance.

        But like I said, you can’t prove a negative and I’m not here to prove anything. I’m just here to tell stories.

        I’ve taken the final step in considering myself an author now – a real one, and a good one. And maybe good authors need to be delusional, a bit disconnected, standing with a foot in each world. And when you stand with a foot in each world, it’s hard to express that they’re the same world to you.

        And that’s about as wanky and self-indulged and pompous as I want to get right now.

      • dreameling says:

        I assume that’s some sort of writerly sentiment about fiction always reflecting the real-world context in which said fiction is produced (perfectly valid) or about humans being fundamentally narrative thinkers (also perfectly valid). Or you’re affecting some sort of philosophical attitude about art and life intertwining or everything melting into one inside your mind (still perfectly fine). Or maybe you mean that if the world’s a simulation than everything in it is equally un/real (debateable).

        All of the above. Most of all, because I can’t write about things that aren’t real to me on some level. Yes, I consider it a plausible explanation of our past, our present, and our future, considering how effortlessly humans can be blinded by their own arrogance.

        Fair enough. I doubt anyone can write about people or places or events that are not real to them, at least emotionally or spiritually. Or maybe some can, but it’s not going to be their best stuff, or they’re hacks.

        But you cannot possibly mean in any literal sense that the world you write about, the fiction you produce, is a factual description or history of the real world in which we live, right?

        Because clearly the physical world and the imagined world of your fiction are not ontological equals. (Unless you reduce your fiction to the shifting particles that constitute it in people’s minds or store it in the form of physical and electronic media.) And it doesn’t even matter if this physical world is a simulation.

        I’m curious too. I’m curious how you can justify saying the urverse version of Earth is “clearly” not the ontological equal of this Earth. Knowing what you currently do.

        Please clarify. The Urverse is your fiction. Unless you’re God and our shared physical world is your fiction, the Urverse is clearly ontologically subordinate to our world. You’re probably drawing some metaphorical connection again, but you’re going to have to spell that out for me, because I can’t quite follow.

        I’ve taken the final step in considering myself an author now – a real one, and a good one. And maybe good authors need to be delusional, a bit disconnected, standing with a foot in each world. And when you stand with a foot in each world, it’s hard to express that they’re the same world to you.

        I don’t buy that, as a general thing. The whole idea of successful artists and other creative types being necessarily “unhinged” to some degree is just another myth, like the idea that you need to suffer (or simply starve) for your art or that true art flows from raw talent (no skill or craft required).

        But you specifically could be delusional. Maybe that is your secret ingredient.

        If you just think that you’re delusional, but you’re not, are you still delusional?

        I’ve never really tried to express these thoughts, so please do bear with me if they sound self-involved, arrogant, and/or crazy. I’m still sort of feeling my way through it.

        By all means. And they did sound a little crazy. But that’s probably just initial communications problems, like you say. You don’t seem crazy in real life. Meaning you hide it really well or you’re not. But please don’t feel that you need to be crazy to be a good author. I honestly don’t think that’s a requirement.

        And do not fucking go L. Ron Hubbard on us.

      • stchucky says:

        Fair enough. I doubt anyone can write about people or places or events that are not real to them, at least emotionally or spiritually. Or maybe some can, but it’s not going to be their best stuff, or they’re hacks.

        Right. All I’m saying.

        I’m curious too. I’m curious how you can justify saying the urverse version of Earth is “clearly” not the ontological equal of this Earth. Knowing what you currently do.

        Please clarify. The Urverse is your fiction. Unless you’re God and our shared physical world is your fiction, the Urverse is clearly ontologically subordinate to our world. You’re probably drawing some metaphorical connection again, but you’re going to have to spell that out for me, because I can’t quite follow.

        It’s like the creators of Fargo saying that it was based on a true story. And Tolkien writing that Middle Earth is our world in the distant past, and explaining that hobbits are still around, they just don’t often show themselves to the big people.

        I’m writing this as an explanation for why the world is as we see it now. I’m writing it as truth … but not necessarily fact. This is a distinction that I think is lost on more antitheist, literal-fact-based (less wanky?) minds. But I don’t know.

        Some place names and people’s identities have been changed to preserve privacy and copyright. In that sense, if it makes you feel better, you can consider my world and the one you live on to not be ontological equals.

        Sure, metaphor. It’s a metaphor.

        I’ve taken the final step in considering myself an author now – a real one, and a good one. And maybe good authors need to be delusional, a bit disconnected, standing with a foot in each world. And when you stand with a foot in each world, it’s hard to express that they’re the same world to you.

        I don’t buy that, as a general thing. The whole idea of successful artists and other creative types being necessarily “unhinged” to some degree is just another myth, like the idea that you need to suffer (or simply starve) for your art or that true art flows from raw talent (no skill or craft required).

        But you specifically could be delusional. Maybe that is your secret ingredient.

        If you just think that you’re delusional, but you’re not, are you still delusional?

        By all means. And they did sound a little crazy. But that’s probably just initial communications problems, like you say. You don’t seem crazy in real life. Meaning you hide it really well or you’re not. But please don’t feel that you need to be crazy to be a good author. I honestly don’t think that’s a requirement.

        Absolutely not. Part of what made me twitchy about what I initially wrote was that it smacked of trendy “I’m an artist and that means crazy, crazy is cool” bullshit. Crazy is a horrible psychological disorder and sick people are not cool, for all I admire their strength when they fight said sickness.

        I don’t equate living in a world of imagination with craziness. I actually rather pity people who do.

        And that’s absolutely not a judgement on you or an accusation that you do. I know I went there first in my initial thoughts here.

        And do not fucking go L. Ron Hubbard on us.

        I swear to all the Gods of the authorverse I will not fuck L. Ron Hubbard.

      • stchucky says:

        Oh, and Hell yes I just called you a delusion. You’re ontologically not identical to the real flesh-and-blood person I’ll be catching up with at the colloquium later today.

      • dreameling says:

        And R1 is still pending. Haven’t forgotten!

  3. Pingback: A different time | Hatboy's Hatstand

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