Offer of trial balloon for Earth-Shimmer tale
by Robert Gibson
Kaor, Zendexor et al. I wonder if I might offer an on-site excerpt of my next novel, "Man of the World". I'm reasonably confident - well, say 60-40 confident - that it will be accepted by my publisher; nevertheless some advance feedback might strengthen my hand in any arguments that could arise with Netherworld Books. "Man of the World" is very much a one-off, while Netherworld prefer me to stick to series; also, its subject matter, in marketing terms, is (shall we say) unpredictable... What I'm thinking is, if you, Zendexor, display the excerpt and get lots of hits and some positive comment, all well and good; while if it flops, well, we can all maintain a discreet silence and pretend it never happened, and that will be all right too, because I'm fairly sure that Netherworld don't monitor Solar System Heritage.
"Man of the World" is set in the universe prior to our own and, in a sense, a mirror image of it. Ours, Universe Seven, is a space universe where worlds are globes of matter floating in the void; Universe Six by contrast is largely solid, with worlds as bubbles of space englobed by Outer Matter, like holes in Gruyere cheese, and "levity" prevails rather than "gravity". Some of these bubble-worlds are linked by cracks in the Matter between them.
Life is as rare and lonely in that universe as it is in ours. In one of the bubble-worlds, a million-mile-wide cavity named Korm, lit like Pellucidar by a central sun, there exists a small oasis of life, Sycrest, and a city, Serenth.
The Serenthians are human, foreshadowing ourselves. But they are subject to different natural laws. The key to life in Universe Six is a kind of geyser of energy known as the Fount, which is the source of Complexity. The people don't understand it much. They don't know that it's the pull of the future - that its advance ripple of future reality explains, for example, the differences between men and women and the existence of romance, all an utter mystery for a people who don't reproduce but are born ("complexified") from the rock. They just accept the diurnal rhythm of the Fount, a rhythm which provides the Serenthians' equivalent of our night and day. But in addition, there is a far more long-term fluctuation which threatens to bring about a Winter of Simplicity...
This is where the great foreshadowing of Earth comes in - what you, Zendexor, would call the "Earth-Shimmer" of the tale. For the Serenthians have built a huge training-box in which to defend themselves against the Winter. In that box, the next universe begins to be anticipated in a big way...