First, everything that would become the universe was all in one place. One infinitesimally small point in the void forever contracting in on itself. Before that ever-contracting point, there was another universe. Or perhaps, it was not exactly a universe as we would think of it, but it was a sort of existence that had its own unique forms of matter and energy. This prior existence may or may not have contained what we would call ‘life’, but it did contain beings capable of sentient thought. When the last universe came to an end, collapsing in on itself to become a single atom of unimaginable gravity, the essences of some of these sentient beings remained apart to continue their existence on other dimensional planes where the force of gravity is weaker. The primordial atom eventually imploded to the point where it could only continue to exist by exploding (a.k.a. the Big Bang). Many of the sentient quasi-beings from the last universe took the opportunity of the newly available matter and energy to re-make themselves over time into forms that could better interact with this newly expanding universe. This is how the ghosts of the old existence became the first gods of the new one.
While the ghost-gods were re-creating themselves, the quantum dust of the new creation began to take the shape of the simple elements hydrogen and helium, which then collided, coalesced and combined into great balls of nuclear conflagration. These first stars gathered their own clouds of matter around them, which eventually took the shape of the first worlds of the new universe. Some of the early gods took the opportunity to create life on these worlds, though it was still not quite life as we know it today. Many of these pre-life entities attained sentience, however, they would never be able to attain the levels of advanced gnosis achieved by their creators. This was by intent, for the early gods, or the elder gods as we know them today, wished to receive the power of worship without the risk of ever being challenged by their creations.
The stars had their own plans. They had arrived into existence and achieved their power by the natural laws of this universe, and they resented the intrusions from a universe past. The stars realized that the things raised to sentience by the shadowy ghost-gods of an old existence were limited in their potential. Using their inherent knowledge of the laws of matter and energy, they devised a means to destroy and re-create the systems of matter that orbited around each one of them, by destroying and re-creating themselves. In doing so, they could form new, heavier elements, which could be used to create their own forms of life. More dynamic and chaotic life with greater potential to affect its own changes to the universe. Thus, millions of stars, each in their own time, underwent a supernova.
The gifts that the dying stars gave to their new systems differed wildly from system to system. Some of these gifts lead to more successful forms of life, some to less. Our own world, and our own form of life here on Earth, is marked by the gift of iron.
An immense spinning ball of molten iron formed the center of the Earth. Iron in the blood enables of mammals enables us to properly use the air of our world as part of our energy source. Iron is our connection to the star dust that we all originally come from, just as hydrogen is our connection to the Big Bang. The ghosts of the elder things that lived in the worlds before Earth, in the old solar system, are envious of it.
The elder gods would not allow their niche in the universe to be ripped from them uncontested. Some of them, as a means of preserving something of their creations, granted the gift of transdimensional travel to certain of their worshippers. In some cases, the elder gods were able to make war upon particular stars and ensure that their opponents expended too much energy to successfully undergo a supernova. And so, elder beings with ties to the universe-before still survive in the dark places of the current universe.
Hot iron can provide fresh connections, through dimensions we cannot see or hear, to the ever-turning core of our world, and to the stars. It can also attract the attention of the elder things, and some say, the elder gods. If one is brave, and most likely also foolish, hot iron can be used to compel or bargain with them. The iron in fresh blood is always hot.
Cold iron, if properly used, can repel such shades, such demons. It can also abjure or harm creatures from worlds where iron cannot be found. Hot iron, however, is the key to realizing sources of power beyond the three dimensions of typical human perception. That is why, sooner or later, it all comes back to blood.
* * *
This post was inspired by a combination of Tim Powers (especially his novel On Stranger Tides), Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman (of course), and Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, whose work I’m honestly only familiar with second-hand thanks to a friend of mine. Just the tiniest bit of Lovecraft too. To anyone with a complaint about my errors in astronomy, or geology or physics in this post, I would ask you to please re-read the title.
Alright, let’s just do this. Still around. Still writing. Really. Honestly.
A couple of weeks ago, I began to get back into the writing groove after something of a hiatus. I have good reasons for taking time off from writing. One of them was getting married.
That’s right, the Ninja-Fiancé is now the Ninja-Wife. Then of course, there’s the various things and activities that lead up to getting married when you’re having a giant wedding with loads of family and friends. Then there was the honeymoon.
And between the wedding and the honeymoon, my grandmother passed away. Don’t be too sad for me. She was 91, and had been in sharply declining health for a long time. The timing was inconvenient, but it was not a surprise. We had our time to mourn.
After all of that, it was a little hard to get back into the groove. As it is, writing often takes a backseat to the day job, and my social life, and now my family life (though my wife is wonderfully supportive). Then a couple of weeks ago, I finally started translating my daydreams into words again, and damn did it feel good. Only a couple hundred words at first. Then a couple hundred more. Now some blog posts.
Stay tuned, more to come.
Contrary to the denials of most modern-day governments, the Junta Virus exists, though it may be impossible to quantify the number of infected. The most common symptoms of infection are a sharp decline in a person’s faith in democracy, and a noticeable increase in one’s respect for military authority.
The virus’s existence first became public knowledge in 1947, shortly after the now-legendary battle between the supervillian known as General Nefarion, and the costumed vigilantes, The Human Fist, Commander Freedom, and the Commander’s ill-fated sidekick, Sergeant Stripes. General Nefarion had planned to unleash the Junta Virus upon Washington D.C. by means of a specially engineered V2 rocket. This rocket was designed to explode above its target area and deliver its payload in aerosolized form.
At the cost of his own, life Sergeant Stripes was able to redirect the rocket, causing it to instead explode in mid-atmosphere above South America, where the damage from its payload was considerably lessened. Reports that Commander Freedom had been exposed to the virus are generally considered erroneous, despite his documented actions in Nigeria and Thailand in his later years. The Human Fist has never spoken publicly about the events of that day, as is typical of him.
Approximately one year ago, the Agency began an official study on the risks of human-to-human transmission for the known strains of Junta. This study was canceled before it’s completion by order of the Department of Defense.
The other day when I was tired, I made something of Freudian slip and I typed “google.gov” into the web search box. That led to this little train of thought. So, in light of our federal government’s impending collapse here in the U.S.A. (thanks Tea Party!), let’s take a look at some of the possible dot-gov’s in the coming Dystopian Age we’re creating.
This is what happens when I haven’t blogged in weeks and I start writing around midnight after not getting enough sleep the night before. Happy Wednesday!
Following the dissolution of Congress, Google quickly declared both its independence as a sovereign nation and its intended “annexation” of all recently disenfranchised U.S. states. Google’s Android Army™ swiftly overpowered all resistance in the northwest and spread their sphere of domination eastward. Within months, the Great Lakes territories and New England region had all been assimilated.
Citizens of the dot-Empire have the right to unlimited free information, but this comes at the cost of being legally required to view all advertisements directed at them. Wealthier citizens may of course pay a premium user tax to avoid this.
iChurch of the Holy Apple
Though the Siri mother-brain proved to be no match for the processing might of Google’s Cloud Collective, the iChurch was finally able to mount a successful defense with the placement of the iPlasma Cannon into orbit above the contested territories. The Droid Army’s relentless advance was halted, and the Holy Council of Geniuses took advantage of the respite to establish the Doctrine of St. Steven as divine mandate among its citizens.
Though their graphical presentations may be nothing short of miraculous, outsiders often question the iChurch’s draconian policies towards non-Apple technologies. Some have even gone so far as to claim that adherents to the Faith have in fact had their minds enslaved by the “Jobs Virus”. Proof of the virus’s existence, however, has eluded the iChurch’s critics to this day.
The Microsoft Nation in Exile
During the iChurch’s five-year Purity Crusade to rid its borders of all Windows users , attempts were made by Microsoft devotees to organize a resistance. Unfortunately these resistance groups lacked organization and cohesive leadership. Entire resistance cells would often shut down operations for no apparent reason, only to slowly start up again in the same area. Ultimately, the Purity Crusade was quite successful.
Today, the few remaining Windows users, many of them refugees from Apple’s purges, live on reservations generously granted to them by wealthy Google Empire citizens. When leaving the reservation, these pitiable souls are required to identify themselves at all times by means of a Windows symbol pinned to their clothing in a conspicuous location.
China is still China.
It’s that time of year again, between the New Year and the Day of Atonement when we Jews are supposed to make apologies and pay our karmic debts. I owe a karmic debt of sorts to the subject of this post, which I’m attempting to pay by helping to promote his work.
I’ve written before about how I rely on music for creative inspiration. In fact, I initially described my current novel project in terms of the music that helped my brain give formulate the original ideas and characters. My musically fueled daydreams have always been an integral part of my creative process. And I’m willing to bet that they’re also an important part of the creative process for at least a few of you reading this. Possibly more important than you even realized.
Which is why you should go right now to the Bandcamp webpage for Maximalism, and immediately download his recently released “Soundtrack for a Greater Adventure”. It’s available for the low, low price of Pay What You Want. Also available at the same site are his “Soundtrack for a Great Adventure” (just as excellent as Greater Adventure in my opinion), and “Soundtrack for a Brief Adventure” (nearly as good as the other two, but shorter).
If for some reason Pay What You Want (for which $0 is a perfectly acceptable sum to want) seems too steep, you can also listen to these and other albums by Maximalism for free by streaming them at the site I just linked to.
These all-instrumental Soundtracks have been great for keeping my head abuzz with fresh new ideas ever since I discovered the original Great Adventure album last year. These tracks are also great for adding that epic feel to mundane tasks like your lengthy commute to work, or folding laundry. (I find laundry often tends to suffer from a lack of epic-ness.)
And if instrumental soundtracks to adventures that haven’t been written yet aren’t your thing, maybe some of the other musical work by Maximalism, real name Brad Podray, is more to your taste. His non-adventure work features some guests vocalists. If you check out Brad’s main webpage, you’ll see he’s got quite a diverse array of musical projects in his portfolio, including, not kidding here, a pirate-themed rap group.
So have a listen, and if you like what you hear, spread the word. It’s pretty much what independent artists depend on.