World-building inspiration for Savi and Nar… National Geographic Photo Contest 2018. A cenote is a sacred sinkhole in the Yucatán Peninsula. The Chixulub crater. The ‘stone forests’ of the South China Karst (link). Lake Hutt is a pink lake in Western Australia. Southern Min dialects. Written classical Chinese, and how it differs as a lingua franca viz. Latin in Europe. Grimm’s law and pronunciation shifts in the Indo-European languages. Stepwells in western India for accessing groundwater in drought.

World building on ruins.

About 5 years after I destroyed my manuscript of the Homeworld Codex for complex reasons that I won’t talk about, I am world building again.

–Not that I stopped imagining in the meantime. Homeworld has always remained in my head, but because I ceased externalizing my ideas, its growth stagnated. One day I might attempt to rebuild this codex. But I don’t think I will. Too much has been lost in time, and I’m a different creator now. I can’t go back anymore to that time and space and person I used to be.

Nevertheless, not all is lost. The world that “Killing the Dragon” and Strange Music are set in is growing at a rapid pace and looks to be the descendant of the old world. Codex Savi is definitely not identical: it’s smaller in breadth and scope but greater in granular detail, but I can see similar thought processes undergirding its formation. In fact, I think it is the application and logical outcome of the broad, theoretical concepts I’d written about in Homeworld Codex.

Building Codex Savi has been very enjoyable, especially since I’m doing it concurrently while plotting out “Killing the Dragon” and developing its characters. (Weaving details and links in the characters and their relationships has been a whole exercise in itself… if this trend continues, the story is going to be much more complex than initially anticipated. And that is fantastic.) Haven’t had such fun for a long time. The NaNoWriMo discussion forums have been quite stimulating in this regard, and writing Strange Music has also prompted much thinking.

Wonderful. I don’t want to stop. And most of all, this world-building and storying could stimulate my art back into life. I know the answer is just as simple as writing for NaNoWriMo: just sit down and start drawing. Ahh, that is hard, but no excuses. If I can world-build and write again after 5 years, and to the same degree if not greater, surely I can pick up my art again!

Codex, iii.

An entity progresses within the global continuum along the line of time, according to the laws of the universe, driven by the primum mobile, primordial energy. On the other hand, any activity by a user within the imaginary plane is called an operation. Before a user can perform an operation within a local continuum, he must first predict the natural progression of the continuum. [[[needs work here]]]

Predicting progression: It is theoretically possible for a user to predict the progression of any entity from infinity to infinity with 100% complete confidence and accuracy — provided one had infinite capacitance for primordial energy (that is, infinite computational power). But, even if this were so, the wildcard sentience ensures that accuracy will never be 100%. Any observation, any operation, is a function of probabilities mapped upon baseline global progression.

This probability of 100% accuracy is dependent on a myriad of complex factors. They all centre around the user: proximity to the entity, cognizance of the imaginary plane and the energy and information gradients, size of the entity’s local continuum, extent of operation, and the user’s capacitance for energy transfer and, most critically, information transfer.

Every user engages in probabilistics when performing operations, and every operation influences the global energy and information gradients. This has profound consequences upon sentience.

Ability to predict progression manifests in precognition and prophecy – and similar descriptors – in users. Certain individuals amongst the People have exceptional precognitive abilities, are able to predict events in the global continuum with astonishing accuracy. This comes at a costly sacrifice: most of their sensorium is transformed into the imaginary plane, and they have little awareness of the real plane.

This section iii needs some clarification. It all makes sense in my head, but somehow the words aren’t coming out right.
Next: Capacitance and primordial energy, energy and information transfer operations and probabilities of success (vs. energy gradients), psionics. Probabilistics upon sentience – what is the terminology? check Kirkham novella again.

Codex, interrupted.

I wonder how I wrote the Codex in the past. Definitely meandered much and used too many words. I have less desire for unnecessary verbosity these days — but hang it, spending half an hour trying to write a three-sentence paragraph is ludicrous and frustrating. Even if I once knew how to do it, I don’t anymore.

Stuck on describing how probability theory feeds into the energy and information matrices at time X, and where the first law of thermodynamics factor in transformations. I can visualize how it works, and it makes complete sense. But how can you describe a moving image in one-dimensional, linear word? Can’t you just see what I mean? it’s self-evident!

Will keep trying.


I’ve drawn the Homeworld universe from numerous sources of inspiration, but the bones of the Codex are built from a single source: The Morphology of the Kirkham Wreck, a novella by this virtually unknown author named Hilbert Schenck.

I first read it as a teen in the short story anthology Imaginary Numbers (I don’t know if it’s found anywhere else). I don’t use the statement “changed my life” lightly, but that novella single-handedly transformed the entire landscape of my imagination. My world-building was never the same since, and the Codex is my poor attempt to build a theory of the universe upon the concepts that Schenck introduced so masterfully in his story.

I haven’t read the story for some years, but last night I finally sat down and digitized my scans from the anthology, and will hopefully have it on my e-book reader soon. Re-reading it now, I’m seeing major concepts that I’d not noticed before, and new areas to consider. I also think my grasp of the math is much greater than it used to be, and some concepts are now clear when hitherto they were quite beyond me (but beautiful nonetheless). I guess now’s a good time to rethink things, see if those new concepts can be worked into the Codex. –And get me out of this current writing block.

Codex, ii.

Functions in the imaginary plane transform into entities on the real plane. Entities are defined by their imaginary functions.

Time is a line from infinity to infinity. The progression of all entities — all that exists — along time is defined as the global continuum. The global continuum can be broken down discreetly into local continuums. (How discreet is dependent on the user.) All entities are subject to time, because their existences are necessarily contained within the planes.

Sentience (self-awareness, consciousness, the soul) is the wildcard of existence, for it alone is not defined by the planes, nor is it restricted by time. Therefore, a user must be a sentient. Therefore, sentience has significant implications for energy and information transfer. While users have immense potential for influencing the global continuum, users also cannot completely account for sentience in activities.

Next: global continuum progression, energy & information gradients, probability, users, time travel & other uses, paradoxes (effect of energy/info transfer on sentience), the People, nodes and portals, psionics. What was my terminology for “activities” by users?

Codex, i.

In a previous life, I took after the Book-Writers of Myst and wrote a theory of the universe. The Homeworld Codex was some 10,000 words long — and that was just the theory and early history of the universe — when it was tragically lost, and for a number of years it only had existence in my imagination.
I’m unable to revive the original Codex. But the pang of loss has finally subsided enough for me to gather up some of the major ideas and set them down here.

All that exists, exists on two levels of reality: the imaginary plane where it is defined mathematically upon the foundations of the elements (the smallest units of information decreed), and the real plane which is reality as we know it. All that exists in the real plane, from a single molecule of water to the greatest galaxy, has a corresponding mathematical definition, or function, within the imaginary plane. Indeed, the entire universe and all therein can be defined in a single mathematical function of awesome complexity.

Functions undergo transformation from the theoretical imaginary plane to the real plane, which is reality as we know it. (An analogy would be the Fourier transform.) Primordial energy is the “force”, the primum mobile that enables this transformation.

The existence of the imaginary plane and primordial energy are generally beyond the cognizance of sentience, but there are particular individuals, called users, that have degrees of awareness. Energy transfer is the most instinctive manipulation, and is limited by the energy gradient within the real plane. Information transfer involves direct energy use within the imaginary plane, and requires cognizance of such.

Next: Time, the global and local continuums, the energy gradient, energy users, effect of energy/info transfer on sentience, the People, nodes and portals, psionics.

On maintaining a narrow depth of field.

Public transport is a reader’s best friend. If you have a long commute like I do, you have plenty of uninterrupted time to get lost in a book; what’s more, someone else is getting you to your destination while you’re enjoying yourself! The best kind of multi-tasking. So I’ve been making huge dents in my TBR list this year.

A long commute also allows uninterrupted thinking time. This is a long post for a long train of thought on books.

(I haven’t blogged for several years, and my voice is very rusty. I’m re-learning craft and polish; pardon the stilted tone and raw edges.)

The more books I read, the less tolerant I become of mediocrity, be it in books or film. It used to be simply poor authorship that gets me tetchy, but now the bar has increased to mediocre authorship. I may have been able to read Twilight (a decidedly mediocre book) 4-5 years ago, but I don’t think I could anymore. I used to adore China Miéville’s authorship; now, not so much, even though I still like his stories. I’ve now read enough to know what is good writing — and that has whet my appetite for even better writing. Nothing less will satisfy now. Continue reading “On maintaining a narrow depth of field.”