Category Archives: plot

author’s note: a short while

i’m going to take a week’s break and hang with family.  i’m only bringing a notebook, and several books i’m reading.

Galileo’s Dream, by Kim Stanley Robinson, where he tackles quantum physics for a lay audience (good explanation)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, where he goes inside a videogame (high score)

several books by connie willis, kage baker, and other similar writers whose names escape me.

i’m also bringing my paints so i can do a few paintings, which is my other life.

the books are research.  every one of them has to do with consciousness, time travel, quantum physics.  so i’m learning and changing as i read them.

for instance, after reading about a bunch of ingame assassins in ready player one, i went and discovered a bunch of men in black interacting with all the key players in the wilderness chapter.  they all try to influence events, and all their little schemes backfire, and some of the backfires function as turning points for the very characters they were designed to neutralize.  so now the story is that much richer, and it’s because i read what other writers have to say about what’s currently going on in the world.

i read in one of the quantum physics books i studied, where the quantum physicist in question felt betrayed, hurt, when another quantum physicist published a book on quantum consciousness while the quantum physicist in question was still in the outline stages of his book on quantum consciousness.  and my ex the computer genius, a sagittarius, is constantly coming up with genius ideas that he never follows thru on, and then gets mad when someone somewhere else goes ahead and develops it.  me, i take picasso’s attitude, and just steal it.

disclaimer: with artists, stealing is not a bad thing, because it always comes out uniquely you when you state it, and therefore it’s your own original creation.

i’ve spent this last little while messing with my chapter outlines.  i went thru and ordered each chapter, a little desultorily, putting like subjects together, eliminating duplicates, moving some things to more appropriate chapters.

i’ve been visualizing the actual book.  the front and back covers, the typography, the page design.  the cover at this point is mostly white, or a very light antarctic blue, with our players in some sort of quasi-star wars pose with the mountains of antarctica in the background, and QUANTUM ANTARCTICA splashed across the top in an indiana jones font.  and a nice map of antarctica without ice slap in the middle of the back cover.  as for inside the book, the actual text, taking a page from gallileo’s dream, i’m thinking of using a half-page chapter heading, with a chapter number and title.  i don’t think i’m going to do a drop cap.  i want quotes in the heading in some cases.  then there’ll be major subchapter sections, which will also be half-pages, but with no chapter number or title, and maybe a quote, depending.  and within these there’ll be small breaks, which will be the usual *** separators.  and then wee tiny breaks which are just an extra line between paragraphs.  that should cover it.

i want to make each chapter distinctive, according to whether it’s in the game or not.  chapters set inside the game should have a different look, maybe even a different typeface, rather than just using italic text, for instance, which i find harder to read.

and then there are the illustrations.  i’m doing all the maps and diagrams, for sure.  jim is doing all the figure pieces and the graphic novel portion.  i’m not sure who’s going to take care of the landscapes.  we’ll see when it comes time for it.  months down the road.

all sorts of shit has happened to cut into my work time in these last couple of weeks, so i’ve spent it reading, which is work, and doing other things.  and now i’m taking a complete stop for a week.

and when i come back, i’m going to start writing.

the look of the blog has to change, but i don’t want to start another blog for this.  not like i have a dedicated core of readers or anything, but i’m lazy enough to just want to keep it all one thing.  so even tho i don’t have anything other than a provisional title yet – quantum antarctica! – the blog can stay my pirate novel.  but it needs to have a three-part top level (outline, draft, final), and all the rest can go in as second level (research, author’s notes, etc.).

i don’t yet know the exact tone of the first chapter, but i can pretty clearly see the rest of the story, at least the tone of it, the level of franticness.  like the assassins i put in last night, i don’t know all of what goes on in the chapters, and i have left it vague deliberately, because what i actually write will determine what i actually write, not my ideas, not my research, not my stolen plot devices.

anyway.  because one of the premises of the story is that everything is inside of you, i have been relying on this as a method for figuring out the plot of the story.  for instance, when i was reading about the ingame assasins of ready player one, i thought, hey there’s an idea, and rushed downstairs to make sure i wrote it down before forgetting it.  but immediately an objection occurred – so what if the layers were threatened inside the game, there’s nothing the men in black will be able to do to them.  so i sat there, and rolled the situation around in my mind.  how do the men in black interact with each character?  and as i looked at the girl, i asked what was her vulnerability, and where could they actually interfere with her path?  that’s what they should have done.  i did this for each character.  and then i went back and decided what the men in black would do if they were incompetent, and made a list of these mistakes.  they were simply the actions that were most appropriate (or in-) to my main characters, given a push from THEM inside the game.

it was a very passive thing, finding out how these men in black affected the characters, and how that affected the progress of the game.

this afternoon i started thinking about THEM.  there is a bright young thing that tries to sell all the panicked people the classical solution to all their quantum problems.  after every new quantum marvel, there’s a voice that remarks, ‘we can deal with that, we already have laws/devices on the shelf, just a small mod and we’ll have it taken care of.”  so there’s someone in there talking to the higher-ups.  it’s not snake; he’s got enough to do.  but it’s someone close to snake, and he and snake figure it out, and then this person goes and represents the plan to the higher-ups, sells it to them.  i guess i’ll write it up before shutting down and unplugging the computer JIC.

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author’s note

more progress, steady and slow.  now that i’ m working in the union documents – the 6 sections of 7 chapters each – i’m dealing with the material that will become my story.  and getting used to the tone of each section.

every section is different, which duh, but i’m surprised to see the differences.  for instance, the themes of three that i found in the first section dissolves quickly in the second section, and by the time they’re actually in the game, it’s totally irrelevant.  instead, in the game we concentrate on the players playing the game, and don’t include all the other realworld stuff.  i had piled up all sorts of development in the game chapters, but when i got to the boy and girl in antarctica, which is chapter 14, the end of the second section, i decided that there would be no other sounds outside the game.  in the regular chapters, the dragoncon chapters and the realworld chapters both, there is a cacaphony of different characters and happenings, but i want silence in the game.  this happens in the fourth section, and the difference is striking, because you go from a concentrated slice of a fantasy videogame to an increasingly bizarre and unpleasant reality, and the change is jarring.  but when you get to the fifth section, the videogame and the realworld are blending, and the cacaphony bleeds thru.

the sections are all distinctly different from each other.  i wonder if that means typographical differences, since there are many things i can do to make visual differences, even if the primary published version is a blog post.

*  *  *

i’m wondering how the breaks in narrative will look.  i could use the splats, or something similar.  or i could use a font change to introduce sections.

meanwhile...

i’m working on a different look to the blog.  i need to feature the actual story as i’m writing it, with maybe the daily version and the final draft chapter as well, but the research and the other stuff needs to go into the background.  having some trouble finding the right features in the various themes that wordpress offers.

first section breakdown

for the past couple of days i’ve been doing a lot of work with my eyes shut, going thru the chapters in slow detail, with frequent reviews to make sure i had everything and that i wasn’t drifting off to sleep.  this may sound like a trivial part of the work i’m doing, but i’m taking it very seriously.  creativity is all about drifting around the edges of sleep until you get a tug on the line of your consciousness.

the work i’ve been doing with my eyes open hasn’t been a lot different.  i’ve been going thru just the first section, the first seven chapters, marking things, moving things, ordering things but only by general subject.  once i do that, the things that don’t belong in that chapter stick out, and it’s not a problem to move them out.  and when i’m done with this simple task, the whole thing looks so much better.  the whole thing seems like it’ll be manageable.  miracles need to happen, but it feels like they will happen on schedule.

as i was arranging chapter 3 by subject – chapter 3 is where the boy and girl talk to kurt about actually making a computer game – i noticed that there were three main themes in that chapter.  and as i continued to tackle the chapters one by one, i continued to discover mostly themes of three.  i’ve been noticing repetitions of 3s and 7s all the way to this moment, and don’t suppose i’ll stop now.  it’s what helps make it a fairy tale.  i’ve got research to support it…

with the themes included, here are the first 7 chapters in short.

chapter 1, dragoncon 1, the vision.
gifts, lessons, obligation
this is the fairy tale, where the girl and boy go off and fight the evil angel to win a free world.

chapter 2, dragoncon 1, brainstorming the game.
levitation; lessons; videogame; news w/family; report
in this chapter the boy and girl share their vision, wow the audience, and explore what they need to do to fulfil their mission.

chapter 3, quantum programming.
quantum computer, quantum computer game, quantum training
the boy and girl go see kurt, who is building a quantum computer.  they want his advice about creating a quantum videogame for instant enlightenment.

chapter 4, designing the game.
specs, ingame, work
the design team figure out what they want and how it’ll work, and then devote every waking moment to doing the things.

chapter 5, quantum kernel.
kernel, discussion, tablet
kurt creates the kernel in a fit of drug-induced genius, then sits down with the team to talk about consciousness.  kurt hacks an interface for the kernel, and builds enough quantum tablets for the design team.

chapter 6, cre8y the game’s prototype level
tablet, work, peripherals, argument
the team gets their tablets and creates the game with only minimal effort.  kurt knocks together player peripherals, and there is a snitty argument among team members.

chapter 7, testing begins on level 4 clouds
peripherals, playtesting, crappy results,
kurt introduces the game gear, the team tests their game and are disappointed with the results so far.

i’m about ready to start in on the next 7 chapters.  i’m kind of tired right now, or i’d look them over before shutting down for the night, so i can meditate about them.  but i know i’m not going to be spending much conscious time once i get back upstairs…

first section synopsis

i hit a milestone this weekend.  i finally finished sorting and distributing all the research, and all the notes, and all the comments, and all the character traits and arcs.  that was a gargantuan task, with about 500 pages all told.  and now all of that is junking up my chapter structure.  at this point i have 6 primary documents, called the union documents.  each of these documents has 7 chapters, so it’s 1-7, 8-14, etc.  the first 7 chapters is 60 pages long.

right now i’m going thru the first 7 chapters, which i guess is section 1, and i’m beginning to make sense of what i’ve done.  when i can identify that a particular quote or piece of research has to go in some other chapter, i move it, but basically i’m tagging each piece with a keyword – brain, consciousness, quantum – and shuffling them all together with like articles in the same chapter.

my main trouble with this first section are two chapters where kurt does a lot of work.  the first chapter is 3, where the boy and girl ask kurt if he can make a quantum computer that can run a videogame that simulates a quantum world, in order to teach quantum thought so people can use the force luke.  the second is chapter 5 where kurt makes a quantum computer and then hacks a quantum tablet, and builds a videogame engine to simulate a quantum world.

in these two chapters is a lot of research.  my categories are quantum, qubit, theory, time, computer, hardware, software, peripherals, brain, consciousness, training.  some of these things need to be moved either to chapter 4, designing the game, or chapter 6, creating the game.  for example, the peripherals get built in chapter 6 but all the research was stuck in the bowels of chapter 5.

i’m still deciding where things go.  i removed all the research from chapters 3 and 5 to an empty document, and sorted them all according to topic, and right now i’m going thru the list putting numbers on each entry.  then of course it’ll be divided up and reinserted into the union document.  i suspect this is going to go on for some time.

when i’m done with this, and ready to write, i will separate the first section into individual chapter documents, because i need the room to completely tear each chapter apart and build the story from the rubble.

***

i was lying in bed trying to meditate myself to sleep (oh so easy except those nights when my head won’t stop spinning and it’s useless to try to concentrate on anything, or to expect my mind to shut up, and if that’s not bad enough my legs twitch until i just get up and come down here), and running over the first 7 chapters in my head.  i wanted to go on, but drew back and started over again on the first 7 chapters.  but that got boring so i thought i’d write down what i’d been figuring out in my head.  because of course by tomorrow it’ll be gone.

so.

chapter 1 the vision, fine – i’ve done that too much lately.  the boy and girl drop acid and become gods.

chapter 2 they tell everybody at dragoncon about it, cause a stir using their new powers, find out what people would like to see in a quantum videogame, and discuss what exactly quantum training would look like.

chapter 3 the boy and girl go to kurt, a genius programmer, to find out if he can make a videogame to simulate a quantum world and train people in quantum consciousness.  they talk about quantum computers, quantum mind, quantum videogames.

chapter 4 the team design their quantum game using all the tools at their disposal, and the result is well meant but amateur.

chapter 5 kurt works late into the night inventing a quantum computer, then creating a quantum programming kernel, and then writing a quantum game engine.  then he quickly hacks a tablet computer to run as a game editor, and presents it to the team.

chapter 6 the team uses the quantum tablet to quickly create a videogame generations ahead of anything they’d ever seen, and they build everything they want into their game. kurt invents cool new peripherals and everybody feels better.

chapter 7 the girl and boy test the game, and are disappointed at how cobbled together and weak it is, more the product of their squabbles and ego battles than a faithful attempt to make the game they were shown in their vision.  but it’s the eve of the game’s debut, and there’s no time to change course now.

i’m not sure about when exactly kurt invents the peripherals.  they’re the highpoint of the debut, and whenever they are introduced they will attract all the attention.  so do i get kurt to invent them while the team is busy designing the game, or do i have them invent them while the team is busy using the quantum tablets to create the game?  the 6th chapter is much more  high energy and upbeat, and to bring them out while the team is doing such a crappy job of designing would just demoralize them, damping their enthusiasm for the tablet.

besides, does kurt invent the tablet first?  or the peripherals?  the tablet, of course.  even tho that’s the hardest thing.  and he’s exhausted when he’s done, but busy hands etc, and while he’s got nothing to do while they’re creating the game, and has to be there to instruct them on / figure out the finer points of quantum game editing, so he tinkers with game controllers and remotes.  that’s chapter 6.  fine.

at this stage of writing the plot i can make these adjustments following only the logic of what happens next.  but by the time i’m at the end of the story i won’t have that luxury.  i will have to do enormous things to get myself out of holes and corners.  i count myself lucky at this point.

author’s note: tertiary and quaternary characters

at first, when i conceived of this story, it was all about the girl, and the boy, their vision, and how they changed the world with a video game.  the others were always there, and soon kurt, fairy and snake became the secondary characters, and they did a lot of work making the game and playing roles in the game and influencing the story’s overall plot as well as acting out development arcs specially made for each of them.

as for tertiary characters, at first the masses of game players, and the whole rest of the world, were summed up by ‘players’ and ‘they’ and ‘society’.  then i was introduced to a plucky band of players, a random adult player, an everyplayer type, and a typical teenager.  they know nothing of the overall principles the central characters were so concerned with, or interested in the struggles to create and manage the game and its consequences.  they just play the game, and have their lives outside of the gameworld.  in imagining the lives thru the 7 years of the story, it was really easy to envision the quaternary players, the teenager’s family, dad mom and sis.  i just took a classically dysfunctional family and ran with it.

originally, i wrote keywords for what goes on during each dragoncon for the family as a whole, from the point of view of the dad.  then i separated out a bunch of research into abusive character types and put them into the various chapters, from mild expressions of abuse to the very worst.  so when it came to stretching everything out over 42 chapters, i had to spread these abusive traits around, using one chapter to illustrate emotional abuse, and one to illustrate economic abuse.  there’s so much of this in this story.  so many lists of traits, of methods, of how things work, of progressions.  at times they were immediately associated with a character, or with a stretch of chapters.  but at times they sat there looking for expression.  that’s where the quaternary characters came in so handy, because each one could express a development of personality and situation that would ring true because it’s how many people have experienced it.  whatever it is, whether it’s a good character development or an evil one.

the backstories of random and everyplayer are only now coming clear to me after weeks of thinking, receiving, fantasizing what their lives had to be like in order for them to do the strange things i had for them to do.  this is what i have discovered, much to my surprise. random is from india, which good thing i’ve seen a bunch of bollywood movies and read some recent indian crime fiction.  and everyplayer is a piece of work who popped into my life recently, just long enough for me to take their character for this story, and knock on wood they won’t be back.  this is how i find characters.  fairy literary staffing, how may i direct your call.

this last week, i have been refining the story arcs of the teenage boy’s family.  i’ve been calling the dad an armchair authoritarian, because he embodies on a personal scale what is happening in society.  originally i wasn’t going to mention the teenager or his family, or any of the tertiary characters, until the game went live, in the 15th chapter (a third of the way thru the story).  but their involvement spread and spread, and finally he has something to say when the levitation is reported on the news in chapter 2, and got an after-school job at the very food court where the main characters work out the details of the game in the 4th chapter.

so he and his family are in it from the beginning of the story.  this is a surprise to me.  i didn’t know that about these characters.  and another surprise, he and his dad go all the way to the end of the story, 42 chapters.  in effect, the story will be told from the viewpoints of these characters.  i hadn’t thought about that before.  i was expecting to center it on the girl, and gradually transition the point of view to the plucky band, who do the hard work of bringing about a quantum revolution.  it may end up being a much stronger voice than i have been anticipating.

you just never know in a story like this. it may have something to do with why i can’t figure out how to start the story.

here is a sample of what i’m working with, a quote from the document i’m working in at the moment:

chapter 23 game banned. round up quantum terrorists and sympathizers. random becomes part of the network, joins quantum working groups, uses quantum to ferret out spies.
c3ll3r! beaten by dad for quantum. Refuse to accept abusive behavior. Demand reasonably predictable and rational actions and reactions.  demanded to get job at factory alongside dad.
dad
traits: self centered, exclusive, zero sum. rigid, punishing. might makes right.
events:something that calls in outside attention.
work: upgraded to light industrial, closing boxes, if good can label, if real good maybe forklift.  warned by local militia about quantum infractions. faces debtor’s prison. needs son to join work.
abuse: colonial civilized versus savage thinking. class divisions. numbers, commodities, rules, laws and penalties. there is one objective reality, subjectivity is an error. witch hunt, scapegoat, punishment. Saying the abuse did not happen, or wasn’t that bad. Minimizing, Denying and Blame Shifting. Using visitation to harass your partner. Using Children. Silent or overt raging. Using Intimidation.
anecdote: It’s difficult to argue against criminal justice fees for those who can pay, but for those who cannot– and most criminal defendants are poor–such fees can be a personal and public policy disaster. Criminal justice debt drags people further away from reintegration with civil society. A person’s life can spiral out of their control when interest, late fees, revocation of a driver’s license and ineligibility for public assistance, mean that unpaid criminal justice debt snowballs.
mom wasn’t home when son beaten, is threatened by militia when she returns, has crackpot theories, not getting much sleep,  always has flulike symptoms.  dad blames her, accuses her of drug use, assures her he’s her only protection from antiquantum lynchmobs.
sis moves in with boyfriend, more peaceful at home but sis and dad always texting. intimates mom’s flulike symptoms due to drugs.

chapter 24 wilderness plucky band: pursue convergent paths in the wilderness (troubador, soldier, merchant),
c3ll3r! angry, victimized.   =p advises her. react in kind. Let him taste some of his own medicine. advises c3ll3r! how to deal with dad. 5Fight Him in Court
dad n/a
mom n/a
sis n/a – playing teh gema at boyfriend’s house

chapter 25 indefinite detention. contradict inflated perception.  (pointing out classical weaknesses direct action) you’re not so special.  do not give second chance.  people pop right out of confinement, doors don’t stay locked, computers don’t stay passworded.  building infrastructure for new society, somewhere during the oppression in the real world they surface as quantum irregulars.  see them fight trolls/infiltrators.  deal with objections and use anti-abuse techniques.  translate facebook and twitter into quantum? then outreach recruiting education and training, =p stands up to snake, arrested, pops over to c3ll3r!’s house, confesses. tells dad she’s a spy investigating his son’s cell, reveals c3ll3r! is a girl.
c3ll3r! banned from internet use, has to go outside house to do schoolwork, has to sneak to play.  recognizes realworld, heads for own house, thinking to stop dad.  =p pops in as he’s fighting trolls, hides =p (dad likes, uses against wife) disenfranchised groups operate within a system owned by someone else, and can’t just take because the system will take back.  they have to work under the radar, subverting the way things are to suit their own needs, like the mexicans under spain. Never show your abuser that you are afraid of him. Do not negotiate. Do not succumb to blackmail.
dad
traits: generosity of oligarch, treat family like slaves.
events: likes =p, uses against wife.  decides son is gay. wants vengeance for drug dealer attack on daughter
work: thinks he can control them with =p’s help, plans to turn them in for reward
abuse: Prohibit disconfirming information and non supporting opinions in group communication. Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled. An “in-group” language is usually constructed. abuse – then they oppress you.  emotional abuse – create strong aversive emotional arousals. Heap blame/put to shame.
mom supposed to be worried about =p.  too busy working to notice, =p does good deed.
sis boyfriend home invasion pistol whipped, troll.  held and tested but not charged.  bail, =p like her.

chapter 26 hinterlands. revolutionary grafitti, beginning to leak thru to real world.
c3ll3r! conscripted into army, not recognized (kernel), plays along and is sent as scout to suburbs of elizabeth.  meets girl (again). makes it to his neighborhood, sees dad and =p having sex.  sees mom zonked out, looks for sis and sees her zonked out, tries to wake her but zaps back into game with her, to her location.
dad sex with =p
mom zonked out, dad medicated her.
sis zonked out, c3ll3r! stumbles across her in the landscape, wakes, explained as low blood pressure (but caused by opiates). she’s been making deals with trolls in hinterlands, wakes up sitting around the campfire.

i’m going thru the entirety of the story on this level, over and over, fiddling here and there, following threads thru this strand and sometimes going back to the union document to follow the threads thru other strands in the same chapter.  the whole is tremendously more complicated than the tales of three little people, and sometimes keywords are all the indication there is of what’s going on in the outer world.  and oftentimes it doesn’t jibe at all.  i had the hardest time adjusting what happened to the dad in his career to what was happening in society and what his son was going thru in the game.

but i’m mostly finished with that now.  now it’s almost time to put this document back into the union document, a chapter at a time, clearing up the old version as i insert the new one (because threads appear in the arcs of more than one character in each chapter).  it sounds like writing computer code.  debugging.  and when i finish debugging the entire program, then i can start fleshing out all that shorthand, all those keywords, taking all those indications of themes and turning them into conflicts between this character and that one that spans however many chapters before it resolves into conflicts with other characters based on the growth that occurred in the last conflict.

and then i’ll start writing.  i keep saying that.

i’m finding that i’m less anxious about all the apparently extraneous research quotes and dead end ideas and musings in each chapter.  i’ve been starting to see how all of these things could influence the progress in that chapter, as stages in one character’s thinking or in diverse stances taken by a variety of characters.

i guess the next thing i’ll look at is the interactions between the primary and secondary characters and the tertiary and quaternary characters.  with the armchair authoritarian and his family, i have found surprising links between these two camps, like when kurt and the teenage boy become friends and influence each other thruout the story.  when i go thru random and everyplayer’s arcs, i will find more ties to the main characters.  and the more filled out these links, the richer the story becomes, and the more possible it is to think of telling the whole thing from the teenage boy’s point of view.  as well as everyone else’s, that’s the point of quantum – every viewpoint is valid.  this way i’m strengthening every viewpoint, because every one is beginning to run right the way thru the story, making a view from anybody’s position possible at any moment.  online i might be able to do this with links, so you could follow the story once, from anybody’s point of view, or a million times, from everybody’s.

and then i’ll start writing.  i keep saying that.  i keep getting really antsy to begin, to get into the soup i’ve created.  but i know from bitter experience that whatever ingredients aren’t on the counter aren’t going to get into the pot.  so i have to make sure all the wholes are filled, all the changes are indicated, all the blank spots on a continuum between what happens in the chapter before and what happens in the next one beyond.  so i keep plugging away at reconciling the character arcs of even the quaternary characters (even maybe thinking about quinary characters in a vague way, what i could show here, what could develop there).  i keep going thru the 42 chapters, envisioning each one from the point of view of whatever story arc i’m working on.

once i get the current detail document integrated with the main 6-section outline, i can take each section and break it down into its 7 chapters, and start writing.  after i’ve gone thru them to make sure they’re developed consistently.

this recent process, of filling out the life of the armchair authoritarian’s family, and the youngest member of the plucky band, has made me very happy, because it’s been a wonderful creative experience.  a whole family’s entire life parading before my eyes, developing as if in a bath of photochemicals.  before that, it was getting tedious.  there was too much to deal with once i had combined all the individual character threads into 6 sections of union outline.  and now i’m going to have to go back to that, to finish tying everything together and filling holes.  but i’ve come a long way in this week of work, as i do in every week of work, as it turns out, and tho i spend all my time on the computer (when i actually have a piece of paid work to accomplish), i feel like i’m doing what i need to be doing, and i’m happy with my progress in it.  and look forward to starting to write…

author’s note: closer? farther?

it’s hard to tell in which direction i’m making progress.  i’m working 6, 8 hours a day, sitting at the computer, doing research, adjusting the plot.  it’s the same old thing, except every little bit of it is different.

the big change in the same old thing, in this last week, is the lack of research.  the lack of new research.  it seems i’ve got some research on most aspects of the story now, because all i’m coming up with are new twists on the same information.  there’s only so much you can learn about abusive personalities.  there’s only so many ways to repress a people’s drive for freedom.  there are only so many ways to reach enlightenment and change your life.

so, i’m ending the research stage and moving on. i have taken my 42 chapters, and over the last week i have separated them into 6 sections of 7 chapters each, and am busy filling out the chapters with all the information i had previously separated out into all the different characters.  with each shuffle, i filled out the structure with new thoughts, new research, new observations, and then reshuffled and did it again.  i like this way of doing it.  it made me look at every little bit in several different ways.

i know that when i do a painting i have to do a good drawing first.  and my drawing is just as good as i can make it.  but in the middle of painting i will notice that there are bits i didn’t understand when i was drawing it, bits that need to be corrected now that i understand what i’m looking at better, now that i’ve been looking at it for many more hours than it took to draw.

it’s the same in constructing a plot.  there’s the overall 2-page summary that tells you nothing about the individual actions of the well-rounded minor character, and there’s what i have now, which is individual chapters containing every character in the story, everything that might be happening to that character, and every bit of research that pertains to the topics developed in that chapter.  which is to say there’s a lot of extraneous material in these chapters, and absolutely no sense of how the chapter will look once it’s written.

i still, this late in the preplanning, don’t know how any of the chapters will actually turn out.  will i use first person or third, will i be omniscient, will i take multiple character points of view, will i be cheeky or serious, will i be addressing the reader directly?  i’m only beginning to get a sense of how it’s going to be.  i am unable to plan it.  i don’t have a voice on it yet.  it’s all still just images and scenes in their entirety.

the stage i’m in now is as close to ‘ready to write’ as i know how to do.  here’s the basic structure:

chapter number, keywords
setting (dragoncon, real world, or inside the game)
narrative  (all the versions from all the different shufflings)
the girl
the boy
kurt
snake
fairy
the plucky gang (random,  =p (pronounced ‘everyplayer’), and c3ll3r! (sorry, ‘celery’))
quantum shit that happens
they
the media
the authoritarian culture
an armchair authoritarian
quantum advocates

i had gotten all the information down to a single paragraph per chapter a few weeks ago, and then broke it down again into individual actors and events, and now i’ve piled it all back together again, and now i’m adding all the research.  i’ve got 125 pages of research, consisting of quotes taken from various sources on the internet.  and now i’m taking these bits and pieces and inserting them into the chapters they relate to.  they won’t end up like they are when i get around to writing the chapters, but they will be the information i rely on to build the scenes, the background, the examples.  you can see this research, copied and pasted into blog posts i’ve put up in the last week.

it’s still not over; i still don’t know how it’s going to turn out; i still only have some faith that what i’m doing is important or even desirable.  i’m just proceeding because that’s what my little voice is telling me to do, and i’m quite confident that the fairies will write this story for me while i sleep, as they have a hand in all my creations.

author’s note: almost there

after that last, incoherent author’s note about what exactly i do with my workdays, i thought i would try to be a little more forthright.  i find i self-censor when i’m writing on my blog, and that’s not going to get me very far.  i’m understandably paranoid about them coming to get me for saying things some people don’t want to hear, since it’s not a free country anymore.  so i find myself couching my words, using vague descriptions and rambling around instead of saying what i really mean.  and why am i pulling my punches?  it’s not going to make for a very entertaining story.  but i’m afraid of speaking my mind in this political climate.  it’s stupid, but there it is.  and i know i can’t let it silence me, the fear.  it just takes working up to.  forgetting my fears in the enthusiasm of what i’m doing.  i guess a period of self doubt and questioning is good as long as you’re not in the middle of creating the actual piece you’re working on.

this past week, with all the stuff happening around me, it’s seemed as if i’ve turned some sort of corner in this work.  i’ve rearranged a bunch of goals, like that professional development workshop i was going to do in june, and maybe even that artist residency in the fall, things that seemed so inevitable and important a few weeks ago.  i’ve lost a bit of passion and interest about my characters and plot development.  i’m still teasing out who did what when in the individual character documents, but it’s with a sense of detachment.

so i’m letting that sit.  i know my emotional makeup changes all the time, as does my health, and the shit hitting everybody’s fan in this year of great changes.  and i’m being flexible, because you don’t want to be fighting great change, you want to go where it bats you and try to keep from having your extremities torn off in the turbulence.

having arrived at the place where i had all the characters separated out and all their chapter outlines filled in, which is where i was the last time i wrote a post, i started recombining them this week.  chapters 1-7, the first section, have been added back into a new document, and i’ve been going thru it over and over, making all the chapters structured the same way (the same character order, basically, the same format conventions).

so now i’m going thru it over and over, reading it now, trying to see how it works as a chapter, trying to figure out what’s missing.  i still don’t have the tone of any chapter yet, or the point of view, or the descriptive voice.  i still don’t know how it’s going to work.  letting that bubble up is the next step.

actually, the next step is writing.  i’m as close as i’m going to get to writing the story as i can get without actually writing the story.  it’s as if i have done a bunch of preliminary sketches and some pastel studies, and am now ready to take charcoal in hand and start marking up my gessoed board.  the real painting.

i’m tempted to start now, without building any of the other sections.  why should i bother?  let them come together when i’m done with this section.  i could do that.  in fact, i started to this evening, and stopped after a sentence or two.  because i don’t know what tone to take.

the first chapter is a fairy tale, so it’s going to start ‘once upon a time’.  i guess.  unless something hits me and it all comes in a flash.  but i still don’t know how the story starts.

common advice is to start in the middle and get your voicebox clear and get your mind moving in the rhythm of the story.  and i could do that, i suppose.  i never have before.  what happens to me is that i rewrite whole sections.

once upon a time…

…there was a boy and a girl, and they partied a little too much at dragoncon, and went up on the roof to search for stars and wait for the good drugs to kick in…

…there was a vision, where a boy and girl went to paradise and played videogames…

…there was a huge game just for them, and they played all of creation…

…there was a bunch of stuff they were supposed to remember, important stuff…

…there was a strange message on the girl’s phone…

the interesting thing about this story is that each chapter is its own piece of work.  the tone of each of the first 7 chapters is very different from each other; each covers different things, and has a different pace, and reveals and points up different aspects. and i can sense that as i go thru the chapters over and over.  i get something like a tune going thru my head as i scan the notes for each chapter.  a melody maybe, or particular voices or a beat.  i’m sure i’ll hear it louder and more clearly when i start to write.

which will be any old time now.

author’s note: catching up

shit has been happening this week, so i took a break from my work.  and now i’m edging back into it.  we have a houseguest who, tho charming, takes up a great deal of time, and what little opportunity i have to work is instead frittered away on facebook or reading the various newsfeeds.  and i’m not getting enough sleep.

i haven’t been posting much, even tho i’ve been working steadily, 6 or 8 hours a day, sometimes at night.  i peruse the newsfeeds. using a google page full of widgets, i read 50 or more feeds from all sorts of sites, from reuters, nyt, the guardian and the times of india, with fox news for fair and balanced reporting, to science daily and space news.  and then my facebook feed has tons of news, much of it passed by friends, some from pages i’ve liked, ranging from alternet to gizmodo to inhabitat and lifehacker.

a vital part of the work at this stage is combing the newsfeeds for relevant research material.  terms i search for are quantum, consciousness, gaming, psychological, political, spiritual, historical et cetera things.  i do this for several hours thruout the day, finding interesting sounding titles, clicking on the links and setting the articles aside to read later.  when i have a good mess of tabs open i stop clicking on links and open up my research document.  then i copy and past anything that’s relevant onto the end of the document (i’ll be posting some random research soon), capture the url for reference in case i’ve missed something, and save my document after every addition because the program is unstable and crashes at random.

once i’ve gone thru the newspapers with my scissors and tacked the clippings to my bulletin board, i go thru and sort them by character, opening up my main or secondary character documents, and cutting and pasting the relevant bits in the back.

for information concerning the plot, there’re 3 documents worth of storyline, the 3 acts, which are the same number of chapters (i think, still, at this stage).  based on 7 of course, the major theme of the book (not the story but the book, if that makes sense to you). 42 chapters, 6×7, 3 acts, 16 chapters per act.  all very orderly.  and i didn’t plan it that way.  it just came that way.  everything i thought up or researched came out in 7s, until the chapter structure was built.  and it continues to be 7.  which is really cool.  rarely do things announce themselves to me with such insistence.

such things fit into this scheme of 7s:  illustration style, videogame level, version of reality, special quantum power, quantum discipline, quantum  lesson, midway rides and physics, carneytown job and physics, quantum abilities in the cloud level, the game’s antarctic ring, human age, basic skill, type of religion.  that’s 13, so there’s maybe one missing from the list.  i’m sure it’ll occur to me.

a few weeks ago i made a chapter list, just the number and keywords, and put a copy of this list in every character’s document, and since then i’ve been separating out all the notes i’ve taken and character sketches i’ve written into their proper chapters.  i started with the girl and organized everything, then moved to the boy, and each one took a couple of days.  kurt, fairy, snake.  then i did the secondary characters, who i call the plucky band – random, everyplayer, also known as =p, and (i apologize in advance) c3ll3r!, which you can read as ‘cellery’.  they are people who play the videogame and get caught up in the storyline.  they introduced themselves to me as i was working out the broad plot structure, and i’ve been finding out so much about them, often by complete accident.  and there are other characters, tertiary sort of characters.  c3ll3r!’s family, for example, and =p’s boss.  i actually have no idea what random does when he’s not playing the game, but i will by the time i sit down to write it.

i had some difficulty dealing with the document for THEM.  them is not only the shadowy hands of oppression, but also the media, the overall culture, and c3ll3r!’s family, especially the dad.  as i said, i had some difficulty organizing this document, because they do the most horrible things to peaceloving quantum types, and i really don’t enjoy dealing with realworld oppression and what’s going on around the world right now, because inequity and iniquity make me mad.

my solution to this was to work on both the plucky band and the thems at the same time.  so i would copy from my research document, and paste at the end of the relevant side’s document, then go figure out which character that particular trait or act belonged to.  there were many lists of character-developing stages in this part.  i would come across a reference about abusive people, and would trim it down to its essentials and use it for any of the thems, and thereby built up a bunch of character-developing stages for my characters.  in effect i’m looking at the same kinds of behaviors as seen in individuals and in cultures and in organizations.  they all look similar but some things stick out more than others to illustrate the type.

with every new article i abstracted the essence from to stick in my research document, my story got more rich, more detailed.  it began to make more sense.  even in places where i distributed traits at random (like a long list of disinformation tactics, or a long list of abusive traits) thru the chapters, once i’d distributed a bunch more things into the chapter structure, i began to find that it made sense to have these random traits here because some character could easily progress from the traits of the last chapter and thru those of the one to come.  these random collections of character traits and experiences fleshed themselves out into real, plausible characters, and in some cases, the apparently random trait explained parts of the character’s temperament in a way i would never have expected, answering questions i had about how the development was going to work.

all very synchronous.  these last few months have contained loads more confirmations that i should continue with what i’m doing.  vehement objection by my daughter, for one thing.  but other things, from outside, long in the works, also say i’m on the right track, the hunger games, for instance.  and all sorts of scientific studies and discoveries are all being announced just as i’m getting to that particular chapter’s difficulties.  things like that.

but then again, shit happens.

author’s note: snafu

this seems like a good time to write an author’s note.  my word processor blew up on me.  and it will take several hour to download a new one.  which i already know won’t solve the problem.

see, my word processing program has been blowing up a lot lately.  it’ll quit in the middle of a keystroke.  so i’ve been saving early and saving often, just like in old fashioned video games, the ones back in the mid-80s.  monster bash.

anyway, i got tired of saving after every operation, which slows me down a little bit…so i downloaded the newest version of my word processor program, and installed it.  which worked fine.  i always feel a little proud of myself when i can actually download and install something on my computer without begging my ex to come and do it for me.  which always takes him 24 hours, and i have to hang out with him while he does it.

so i had the next version, with cuter icons in the toolbar tray.  but it still blew up in the middle of a keystroke.  so i sighed and went back to saving early and often, wondering if maybe it wasn’t a short in the keyboard or something.  maybe a virus?

and then around 6 this evening the word processor blew up and wouldn’t come back up, not even after rebooting.  not even after a cold start.  so i uninstalled the upgrade, and downloaded a whole nother word processing package, only to be totally unable to install it.  so now i’m back to trying to reinstall the word processor that i upgraded to, but i’m having ttrouble getting to the proper directory so i said fuck it, and now i’m redownloading the upgrade, and will do it all over again.

but it’s still better than having my ex do it.

i needed a break from the work, but not by having a broken computer.  be careful what you wish for…

the work is agonizingly slow and painful.  i’m still doing the character arcs, and am in my least favorite part of the story, which is what happens in the outside world.  them.  i am far more interested in what happens in the video game, which is pure transgressive fantasy, than in what happens in the realworld, which is dystopian and evil.

as it turns out, there are a lot of them.  THEM.  there’s the agents of the dominant culture bent on keeping the status quo and eliminating dissent.  there’s also the media, not only their tools but also their voice and in a certain sense their consciousness.  there’s the authoritarian culture as a whole that prefers the status quo even if it’s a bad one, and there’s the armchair authoritarian who heads up a dysfunctional family.  i haven’t included them yet, but there’s the anti-plucky band who is the face of THEM on the street and in the game.

in every chapter, i have listed the shit that happens, the quantum newness in the world.  and then i go thru and say what THEY think about what has just happened (like when the universal constant changes), and give the media response, which is always more shrill and febrile, and shows a particular tactic of abusive or sociopathic types, and then i fill in what this illustrates about the authoritarian culture we’re living in, and then i’ll list what level of abusive traits i want to show in the armchair authoritarian’s makeup.

altogether it’s a love fest of abusive tendencies.  and i’m repeating myself a whole lot, sort of.

what i did was to go around and collect a bunch of different research on psychopaths, abusive people, authoritarians, disinformation artists and infiltrators, and i ranked them all from bad to worse traits within their category, and then split them up and assigned them to the chapter structure according to the plot that’s already in place.  and now i have to make the progression of each of these parts make sense, both together and separately.

well, it’s such a hodge-podge that my eyes glaze over just scrolling from chapter to chapter, and by the time i get to the en d of the story it’s a bunch of blank placeholders.

so the last thing i did before my word processor crapped out on me was to split up the different agents of THEM into their own chapter progressions, so i have 42 chapters of THEY followed by 42 chapters of Media and 42 of authoritarian culture and 42 of armchair authoritarian, along with 30 tactics and 25 techniques and 17 abuses.

once i get my word processor working again, i’ll be going thru these lists over and over again, cutting and rearranging and filling out, until i can sum up all the information i’ve gathered and spread out into a single paragraph per chapter.

and once that’s done, i have to do the same thing to the plucky band.

and when i’m done with this, i have to put all the character arcs back together again into a chapter structure.  and then i have to make them all smooth and working together.

and only then can i think about writing, and all i’ll be writing is a better version of the synopsis i’ve already written.

then i’ll be taking a break to attend a workshop (i hope) that will help me with the business side of actually publishing and marketing a book.  and after that, maybe i’ll be able to start writing the actual fiction that this is going to become.

because no matter how much preparation i’ve done, no matter how much research, how much character arcing, how much plotting, i still don’t know what’s going to happen in each chapter.  i still don’t know what the characters will sound like, what they’ll say, what they’ll even really do.  or what’ll really happen.  or how i’ll even write it.  i have no idea.  i won’t know until i’m a few chapters into it.  if you’re reading along, you’ll be able to tell when i hit my stride.  and even then it’ll only be the first draft, and it could come out completely different in the second draft.

but first i need a working word processor.

synopsis

part 1

the boy and girl party too hard at s/f*fancon1 and pass out on the roof, where they have a vision: they fly to the garden of eden, which is located under the ice of antarctica, and are sent on a quest by a fiery angel. they play a vividly real civilization-building game set in antarctica without ice. it’s the best game they’ve ever played, and they are dismayed to reach the end. they fulfill the angel’s quest, and then wake up in the stairwell of their s/f*fancon hotel, where the girl gets a text message from the angel: a new quest.

at s/f*fancon1, the boy and girl demonstrate the quantum superpowers they learned in their game/vision. they reveal their new quest: to make a quantum videogame and change the world. lots of people are interested, and they brainstorm elements of the game in ad-hoc panel discussions. the couple’s use of unusual abilities is noticed and reported by the goodguys(tm).

the boy and girl tell their programmer friend kurt about their game idea. kurt points out how easily a quantum universe could be simulated. they discuss quantum computing and quantum mind, the angel’s quest, and relevant disciplines and teachings that could be incorporated into such a game.

the boy and girl and their friend fairy design the game in detail but run into problems with the details. their friend snake animates an early version. the result is klugy.

kurt invents a quantum programming kernel, causing a power drain which nobody connects to the game. kurt hacks an interface for the quantum kernel.

kurt introduces the quantum tablet, and the team abandons their work to date in favor of its elegant gamebuilding features. their efforts result in a flash thaw and refreeze of realworld antarctic ice sheets. snake delivers a quantum tablet to the goodguys(tm), who are perplexed.

kurt introduces special quantum gamegear and the boy and girl test the game, but don’t play well together. the quantum kernel is so efficient that it makes instant bug fixes; improving the gameworld before their eyes. several universal constants change slightly in the realworld. the goodguys(tm) receive the bug database and correlate anomalies, but officials dismiss the evidence.

***

demonstrating the game at s/f*fancon2, there are lots of glitches and the presentation is poor. but the gamegear is a big hit, and quantum exercises and philosophy really take off after another show of quantum superpower. the goodguys(tm) acquire the gamegear for analysis; officials are suspicious of quantum philosophy. the media makes fun of the quantum game and criticizes videogame culture.

kurt is embarrassed by the game’s lack of sophistication and works in the kernel to update it. he falls asleep while programming, and sets himself on fire with a fallen cigarette. meanwhile, the boy and girl are testing the game, traveling thru the wormhole that connects two levels. kurt’s death throes are reflected in the game, and are shared by the boy and girl. they are saved by exkurt, a ghost, who appears, rescues them, and returns them to the realworld, where the sun is blinking. kurt’s body is found at the bottom of a sealed-off pool, with smoke in his lungs. fans assume foul play. critics charge drug use. officials are puzzled by the evidence; experts are alarmed by the sun’s behavior. the media condemns s/f*fancon for promoting dangerous activities; attributes the sun’s activity to a solar storm, and ignore it once the effect fades.

the team is devastated, and work stops on the game for several months, but they finally feel compelled to finish it. they discover kurt’s regenerated antarctica, covered by 2 miles of ice. they rebuild the game without the antarctica level, and try to incorporate quantum practices into a classical frame, but the girl has trouble dumbing down the lessons. the goodguys(tm) increase surveillance, and prepare a backup plan. teh media links the videogame industry to badguyism. fans promote quantum thought as progressive.

alpha testers distort teh gema to make violence and cheating easier; testers are damaged. bug reports are shallow and disregard the quantum lessons. testers appear in the realworld. the goodguys(tm) infiltrate and report on testing. the media ridicules quantum practices and minimizes quantumists. fans claim quantum thought as a right.

beta testers cause further alterations in the game, with more lawlessness and violence. the quantum lessons are ignored. alpha testers take advantage of beta testers. teh gema becomes a dark shootemup with stolen car races and group shootouts. players do learn to cooperate, but with a mob mentality and wartime morals. the goodguys(tm) notice quantum effects in large-scale systems, and prepare for an outburst of quantum activity. the media suggests quantum thought is a mental illness, and is indignant about the dangers of quantum practices.

at s/f*fancon3, the gaming community is enthusiastic about the game, which spawns a new quantum culture. the boy and girl are stars. the boy is approached by investors, the girl wants to remain independent. final testing of teh gema is chaotic: alpha and beta testers capture and enslave final testers as they land, throw bolts of lightning at lower levels and rob players as they come thru the wormholes. exkurt materializes in the game and scares them into behaving. his face appears in the clouds all over the realworld. the goodguys(tm) announce that the anomalies are being caused by the game. the media accuses gamers of being quantum badguys(tm) seeking chaos and lawlessness, and calls for action to stop it.

in the game, exkurt melts the ice and exposes the antarctica level, then transports the boy and girl into it. players begin to enter antarctica and immediately get into trouble. at s/f*fancon3, fans create the kernel/exkurt legend. statistical impossibilities occur in the realworld – homeless people find winning lottery tickets, aspirin is responsible for widespread spontaneous remissions. goodguys(tm) debate whether a mere videogame could be responsible, and become spooked about the possibilities. the media reports on the quantum threat to an unchanging classical universe, debates whether quantumism is a disease or a choice.

***

part 2

at s/f*fancon3, the game is magnificent because of the quantum kernel’s effects, and grows more realistic as the kernel becomes interconnected with the world. chastened by exkurt, the players practice quantum skills. a plucky band form and go thru the levels helping each other and outwitting traps. in the realworld, the game is suddenly worth more money than many countries. there are spontaneous demonstrations of quantum superpowers. the goodguys(tm) note the activity, and discover the kernel’s entanglement with realworld networks. they execute project antiQ. the media discusses the threat of quantum annihilation, focuses on damaged testers, calls for immediate action. fans try to explain quantum reality, call for a new enlightenment. critics insist that there is only one universe and that quantumists endanger it.

in the game, exkurt counsels dead players on their gameplay before respawning. players become stuck in the wormholes; the boy and girl intervene. sabotage by snake affects the game. exkurt notices certain inefficiencies in realworld networks and begins to tinker, making them less rational but more quantum-efficient. the goodguys(tm) notice the changes in overall system performance, step up monitoring and infiltration, consider quantum weapons. the media calls for emergency powers, impugns the motives and reports disinfo about quantumists. fans spring up everywhere, show off quantum superpowers, spontaneously organize.

in the game, players arrive in the barren western islands of antarctica, and freeze and starve until the boy and girl step in and show them (again) how to use quantum skills to warm the environment and make things grow. players continue to take advantage of others, and make demands of the boy and girl, who run from the attention. snake sabotages the game’s non-playing characters. fairy has her dark night. the plucky band build a settlement together.

in the realworld, there are suddenly millions of players, and the quantum exercises and philosophy become popular. the boy is ambitious, while the girl is dogmatic about teh gema’s purpose. the southern circumpolar winds shift, alarming scientists. teh goodguys(tm) criminalize quantumism. religious goodguys(tm) condemn quantumism as the apple that led to expulsion from the garden of eden. the media condemns quantumists and calls for punishment, dismisses evidence of benefit, goads quantumists and emotionalizes classicists. fans hold demonstrations, form encampments.

in the game, players become ocean raiders or live in small mountain or fishing villages. the boy becomes a pirate king. the girl forms a quantum school. snake creates a classical religion. the girl has her dark night. the plucky band are separated and experience different gameplay, but keep in touch.

in the realworld, the boy and girl are approached by the goodguys(tm). the boy decides he can use them for his own ends, and makes a deal. the girl refuses and is sidelined, doublebound. the ocean currents change. the goodguys(tm) announce emergency powers to fight quantum badguyism. the media announces a report your local quantum badguy(tm) program. fans offer to share quantum secrets, hold quantum demonstrations to spread superpowers. critics demand submission to authority.

in the game, players build a life in a medieval society of serfs and lords. the boy becomes governor of an entire region. snake’s religion teaches that using quantum skills is heresy, and makes many converts. the girl and fairy spread quantum teachings. more of snake’s sabotage impacts the game, requiring ingame vigilantes. diseases and invasions occur to move the population forward. the plucky band crosses paths but pursue separate quests.

***

at s/f*fancon4, teh gema is a cultural phenomenon. the girl stresses out and fairy takes over the teachings. the boy and girl have a big public fight over following the original quantum goals versus getting rich. the players split between adolescent classical gamers and hardline quantum zealots. the boy discovers snake’s sabotage and confronts him; they join forces, blame kurt for the sabotage and criticize the kernel. the boy and snake work for the goodguys(tm) to alter rules and missions, twist lessons, identify and neutralize certain players. the goodguys(tm) establish control with quantum suppression laws, prohibit quantum information/propaganda, disempower quantumists. the media presents false evidence, and exposes quantumism using backwards logic. fans flaunt their quantum superpowers, mirror goodguy(tm) behavior, openly train quantum activists. the plucky band finally meet in person, and perform random acts of kindness.

in the realworld, the boy decides to take control because of threats to teh gema. the girl is focused on seeing the world to a quantum critical mass. anomalies in worldwide ocean circulation destabilize the gulf stream. the goodguys(tm) permit indefinite detention for quantumist suspects. children are arrested for quantum tricks. fans demonstrate; there are arrests and beatings. the cultural identity goes underground; fans develop resistance tactics. religious goodguys(tm) identify the boy as satan. the media calls for quantum detectors in the schools, urges roundup of all gameplayers. the plucky band plays quantum tricks to mock the goodguys(tm).

in the game, players journey thru a vast wilderness on various internal and external quests. the boy originally goes on a crusade, and ends up pitting desert tribes against each other and taking over. the girl organizes the quantum heterodoxy working for the original purpose of teh gema. the girl and snake discuss the game’s purpose. fairy loses it with snake. the boy and snake have their dark nights: the boy reforms, snake hardens. the plucky band’s gameplay converges and they regroup.

in the realworld, the game is banned, the goodguys(tm) enact classical regularization laws and arrest demonstrators. fans use action at a distance to point out the vulnerability of the classical world, and begin to organize a quantum infrastructure. antarctica’s icecaps turn slushy, endangering antarctic bases. the goodguys(tm) demand more powers to neutralize the quantum threat. the media blames quantumists, stirs up intolerance and hostility. the plucky band are defiant but hide evidence of gameplay.

in the game, the environment is squalid and harsh, set in industrial cities and joyless suburbs that resemble players’ realworld neighborhoods. the boy, his faith in the quantum teachings restored, helps the downtrodden and hopeless masses. the girl confronts snake for his pollution of the quantum purpose of teh gema, but grows dispirited at her lack of general support. snake’s religion claims quantum miracles of its own, and becomes official. snake starts an inquisition. fairy raises an army against him. the plucky band harasses him.

in the realworld, the boy and girl go into hiding. the world’s sea levels rise. the goodguys(tm) round up known quantum badguy(tm) suspects, sympathizers, and possible sympathizers, appointing special prosecutors. the media demands a return to the status quo. fans stage a general strike, perform miracles in public, teach quantum gameskills, work to fill in the new quantum infrastructure. the plucky band are almost caught in a quantum action.

s/f*fancon5 is subdued; with spies and cameras everywhere, and a lot of grumbling and harassment. the boy and girl make an appearance and are mobbed. the boy issues an open challenge. the girl flees. fans secretly practice quantum exercises, engage in private gameplay, use signs and codes based on game principles. snake does something despicable, fairy overreacts and is detained. the goodguys(tm) notice that the realworld and the gameworld are becoming more entangled. there are orders to shoot quantum badguys(tm) on sight even tho quantum abilities are invisible. the media report on the latest quantum badguy(tm) sting. fans cooperate to raise public buildings off their foundations. the plucky band openly plays teh gema.

*****

part 3

in the game, snake becomes the emperor/pope and makes quantum skills an official church mystery. fairy is burned as a witch. snake blackmails the boy to subdue quantum opposition thruout antarctica. there is civil war. the girl leads the opposition, insisting on nonviolence. the plucky band fights a similar plucky band from the classical side in their realworld neighborhoods. the game begins to merge with the realworld.

in the realworld, the boy calls for the kernel’s confiscation because of its vast power, intending to steal it himself. snake dampens the girl’s dream; she starts second-guessing herself. fairy’s supporters are voluble about snake’s many transgressions. coastal evacuations begin because of rising waters. there is an outcry over the shoot-to-kill policy, the goodguys(tm) introduce dequantumizing chips to lobotomize quantumists, and begin forced sterilizations (chip-and-chops). the media grows hysterical about global warming, silences critics and threatens doom. fans erect quantum seawalls. the plucky band decorates the walls with quantum messages.

in the game, the boy and girl open the previously locked gamburtsev mountains, face off and fight each other. they realize they were both wrong, and make up. a great deal of pent-up energy is released, which opens an exit to the heaven level of teh gema. this can be seen on all levels of the game and also in the realworld. the game experience becomes an order of magnitude more real. snake spins the event; exkurt corrects him. fairy and snake fight. players exit thru the new wormhole, but many stay in the gamburtsevs, and it becomes a very popular game location with mob rules and high stakes. the plucky band establishes a hideout and stage raids on the realworld.

s/f*fancon6 happens on the heels of the quantum spectacle. fans gather with quiet expectation; ignoring the goodguys(tm) with the power of their numbers. fans begin to think in tandem. the goodguys(tm) move in and arrest them all. the boy is captured and beaten, the girl is disguised, but is swept up with the others. the goodguys(tm) consider cutting off the internet to stop the game’s quantum effects. there are tanks in the streets, armed resistance, and brutal attacks on quantum protestors. fans are taken to fema camps. the media shows no empathy, uses catastrophe rhetoric, promises extermination. fans mock their superiority by making the sun not rise. the plucky band empowers emergency heat and light where needed.

in the realworld, the boy is forced to cooperate with the goodguys(tm). the girl is forced to play teh gema with exkurt, trying to open a back door into the quantum kernel. snake taunts the boy, the girl, and fairy. the goodguys(tm) introduce the quantumvac(r), and are working on a nanoweapon to target anyone who is quantum-positive. the media announces greater rewards for informing, and is overwhelmed with calls. fans make an exasperated and overwhelming quantum response, but are interrupted. the plucky band is apprehended.

the kernel is destroyed by a decoherence device that the goodguys(tm) insist on using. the game breaks. the girl collapses and is trapped inside the game. the world defocuses for a timeless moment and resembles the game’s cloud/limbo level. the planet shudders and the sun dims, and antarctica instantly begins to refreeze. the boy’s disconnectedness buffers him from the worst effects, and he is able to escape with the comatose girl. he sleeps for a week while she lingers close to death. snake is now the only quantum expert available to the goodguys(tm) and uses it to his advantage, but they decide to use fairy against him and retrieve her from the camps. the goodguys(tm) begin chip-and-chops in schools and at traffic stops. the media panics about the effects of the kernel’s destruction. fans are damaged by the shock and lay low to recover. the plucky band uses the confusion to escape custody.

the girl freezes into a coma when the kernel blows up. exkurt revives her, fixes the damage and rebuilds her connections, making quantum improvements. exkurt has his dark night and the girl talks him out of it. then the girl has her dark morning, and exkurt tells her she’s been right all along. they get their mojo back.

***

the boy is consumed with guilt, and turns to fight, even tho he can’t win. his team inflicts damage on the classicists, who are disorganized by the kernel’s destruction. the game still exists in the internet cloud, where fingers from the quantum kernel have taken root but have no accessible nodes. snake and fairy fight from a distance. the goodguys(tm) declare martial law and shut down the internet, and the game only runs on individual computers. the goodguys(tm) use quantum weapons; death squads with quantum detectors roam the streets, prisoners are exterminated in the camps. the media demands a scorched earth policy. fans are disconnected from each other because the game is broken, and grow depressed and fearful. their quantum superpowers fail, and they become passive victims awaiting the final blow. the plucky band turns quantum weapons on the goodguys(tm), encourage quantimists not to accept defeat.

in the game, players resume playing in their dreams. the girl welcomes them as they cross over into the heaven level from the antarctica level. exkurt conducts life reviews. non-playing characters teach advanced quantum magic, world design, and universe management skills. the heaven level fills with fanciful worlds made of solidified clouds. the parallel worlds begin to coalesce. players wake up feeling stronger, with a single purpose. snake and fairy continue to fight. the plucky band calls every player with a landline to announce the remort of the game; and hack unscathed tv and radio stations to deliver their message.

s/f*fancon7 is canceled. martial law is declared. goodguys(tm) detain the organizers, and anybody googling or writing about it. there is open warfare against quantumists, marches and massacres. quantum everything is punishable by death. the classicists celebrate, drop all pretenses and show their asses. fans quietly remember s/f*fancon from their cells and their parents’ basements and their minimum wage slavery jobs. they individually make small thoughtform minions (‘i want my game back’). billions of minions entangle and simulate a world where the game is not only played, but rules. the parallel worlds join and emerge into the realworld, which sends a shock thru the world before fading out again. snake versus fairy showdown. the plucky band helps the kernel to form new connections.

in the game, people continue to begin playing teh gema in their imaginations and dreams, creating more thoughtform minions. as players return to the game, the gameworld grows sharper and more substantial, until it’s more real and more dreamlike than before – more skills are available, and they’re easier to learn. players create parallel earths that they would like to inhabit. snake and fairy annihilate each other. the plucky band restores the internet themselves, and exposes the classicists.

in the realworld, critical mass is reached, and billions of parallel worlds come into being, all of them featuring teh gema. bottom-up organizations manifest in the realworld, overlaying and augmenting reality, while the old fear-based systems break and fade. the world rebuilds on principles of empathy and compassion, and institutions protect the weak and powerless. zero-sum, fear-based actions and rationales are seen to be wrong. the media debates banishing versus prosecuting classicists. the goodguys(tm) isolate themselves into separate classical universes and continue resisting the quantum universe, splitting into smaller and smaller parallel universes with each disagreement, until each classicist is in their own individual world. fans berate the goodguys(tm), and continue dreaming a quantum reality, waking each day in a slightly different universe. snake and fairy are stuck in their own parallel universe together. the plucky band find themselves changed in many ways.

a new quantum disorder manifests all around as the dream-rebuilding continues for a full lunar cycle as people create the world they want to live in. the boy wakens the girl with a kiss, they live happily ever after, and their kids grow up to be mighty quantum superheros in a new magical age of fairy tales. snake and fairy learn how to live with each other for ever after in their own personal universe. future s/f*fancons are held in quantum space, where the hotels are never booked up. the plucky band remain friends and become family.

eventually people forget about the struggle for quantum freedom, and grow lazy about quantum living, and seek to pass off the responsibility to others. others are more than happy to package and sell convenient realities in exchange for personal power. the classical/quantum struggle goes on as humans learn how to live without fear. but it continues also because good versus evil is a dynamic, and there can never be a final victory. but there’s hope, because the quantum universe oscillates in every direction at once, and can’t be made to follow any one way.

playing antarctica ring 3 – the lowlands

chapter 21, playing antarctica ring 3 – the lowlands
places: in the game.

kernel helps fairy find advanced players. millions of players and cities of only 50k (multiple universes)

npcs. snake replaces sprites with trolls that speak in riddles (3) (male) and take prisoners

rings. laws, plague, hordes, crusades (past life; ben the horseman with the swords and me the farmgirl)

fairy sex with random, quantum show popular, catchy tunes, but gets run out of town, goes on the road to adelie, preparing the way for the girl by seeding players, identified with kernel by which avatars and tarot symbols they pick and kernel-mined info.

exkurt. girl gets advice (from exkurt?) about what???)

random escapes pirates and settles on shore, works in shop, quits to join fairy’s show, runs off to adelie as singer/songwriter, learns quantum

snake crusader priest. teaches quantum is heresy. putting control of quantum skills in the hands of the church. meets boy and girl
boy – snake offers to make him constantine: convert and win; he runs from the life of an emperator.
girl- she can’t quite let people organize for themselves, her flying condemned as heresy

=p (everyplayer) warrior knights, fiefdoms, farming and fishing, small town life, itinerants. chases and close-up mayhem in quaint old fashioned port cities and market towns. eventually they settle and become established traders. overcrowding a problem. players grumble.
supposed to be where players carve out individual roles for themselves that are based on quantum philosophy
exit: raids from wilderness? crusade! and black death. players either join up and leave, are forced out by raids, scared out by plague, or killed and know enough to avoid this route next time.
all this forced togetherness is getting tiresome. can’t just take things in this zone, they put you in the stocks and torment you. then if you keep at it they put you in jail and you just sit there losing points. it’s a trade and barter economy and you’ve got to grind some sort of resource on a daily basis. there are steep penalties for outright theft, but gouging and cheating is okay, and there’s a rich black market in slaves and weapons. the network extends thru the pirates right back to the home islands. npcs trolls take prisoners of anybody can’t answer the riddles, put them to work grinding in the mines. mountain weapons work once again in tunnels. evidence of enemy attack. side game freeing captured players (taking the rest of their points and killing them to send them back to start again). rumors of enemies grow and vigilantes organize knights off to war and rumors of invasions, but the grind is farming and working in shops and workshops. pretty fucking bucolic. and not very clean. bedbugs and rats and flies on the food in the market, and my clothes itch and i get mud on everything walking in the streets. they keep hiking the tax, too, and i’ve got these kids to feed that won’t shut up. and now the price of ale is going up again and the wife wants me to quit smoking and spend the money on something for her. robin hood’s merry men live even worse lives until they rob the taxman, but the taxes just go up for everyone else and they’re just a bunch of shipless pirates with no respect for their fellow players i’d rather go enlist and look for enemies to kill, fuck being in debt and never getting laid..

boy enters this level as head of a flotilla of privateers, and raids rich coasts of the rift and inner sea, the boy finds himself acting as governor of a thriving colony. learns about legal piracy. laws taking everything for himself. he’s the sheriff. the lowlands is nottingham. oppressing people thru harsh laws and medieval systems of control, all the ways to beat them down materially, thru taxes and confiscations. then snake offers to make him king john and he declines, figuring he can do it himself. kills girl.

girl travels to adelie in search of insight, talking to healers and teachers, points out the benefits of organizing a network of independent farming and trading centers. the girl drifts with the seafarers and shepherds, and works as peers with the wise women and judges. (???the girl is robin hood??? makes small inroads against boy’s rapaciousness). introduces songs and stories to help teach quantum thought, affecting popular culture. preaching on the streets, building a following.
death: boy and girl meet in the middle of the ring and have a big argument. he ambushes her party, she yells at him, he’s not even pretending to be interested in their quantum mission. he kills her because he feels like it, it’s convenient and she’s annoying. he thinks it’s funny.  she incarnates over the icy sea and flies (seen by many, decried as heresy) until she falters and lands back in the third ring, but he’s already gone. so she is late in visiting the other rings, and as a result her people are more backwards and unaggressive, while the boy has been building an empire.

playing antarctica ring 2, the mountains

chapter 19, playing antarctica ring 2 – the mountains
places: in the game.

the mountains: kernel ???

the mountains: npcs. fairy replaces evil penguins with sufi sprites that speak poetry (female)

mountains – rings. piracy and vikings (past life, exiled healer looking out to sea (girl’s dark night/isolation))

the mountains: fairysex withexkurt, girl directs her to make wise npcs, works with exkurt to make sufi sprites

the mountains: exkurt. sex with fairy. works with fairy to make wise npcs sufi sprites. picking off players who are hunting aliens???

the mountains: random is shepherd, lives in an isolated settlement and tends flocks, but watches ships. then works to construct a warehouse on the docks and he hates such intensive labor. jumps at the chance to join a merchant ship. goes settlement to settlement selling necessities. meets girl. gets captured by pirates and becomes galley slave on boy’s ship, using what quantum energy he has to ease the task.

the mountainssnake starts a monastery and nunnery for classical quantum religion. meets boy and girl
boy – come away and be a pirate
girl – (dark night) runs away and then starts a center of learning

the mountains:=p(everyplayer)transantarctica, a mountainous with deep fjords, tiny farming and livestock outposts and small fishing settlements. area where players chase and battle aliens ???.
peninsula, heavily forested mountains ranging to lower and richer land with larger settlements, players learn to navigate a sailing ship using quantum skills, practice skills with the weather and the seas, and battle other ships for loot and stuff.  offset childish weakness with psychokinetic muscles, concentrating energy to build ships and buildings and make fires. schools are devoted to in depth study of quantum skills and ethics, also practicing weather and climate skills.  rather than battling aliens, they study their culture for valuable lessons.  players use basic skills in innovative ways and learn advanced skills involving props (kinetic, motivating the inner broom?).
supposed to be small communities isolated from others learning self sufficiency and smaller group manifestation of quantum energy
exit: by water, where many of them are preyed upon by pirates who take all their points and kill them or enslave them as rowers.
there really is some mysterious something back in the mountain reaches. tunnels, too. hidden weapons caches. weapons don’t work in the lowlands but you can trade them. high casualty rate, shadowy enemies (
exkurt picking them off?) and you’re basically in it for the thrill because you lose points. npc sprites are longwinded and obtuse (abstruse) rappers??? the mountain villagers are almost like npcs, they’re that monotonous. don’t see what they get out of living way up there with no neighbors and no connection to anybody. they’re studying quantum but not to use as weapons? i’d pay attention in school if i wanted to learn anything. playing pirate is fun, and raiding, but it’s boring working on a democratic ship, and on an autocratic ship i might as well be a slave.

the mountains: the boy and girl meet in the middle to discuss their growing differences. she wants to hide and let them do it all themselves in the beginning, while he’s all for flaunting it and letting them compete. (he looks for a drug (medication), she explores meditation and exercise) by the end their positions have reversed.

the mountains: boy now he’s captain hook, on the skua. he’s had to wrest control of his ship from a tyrant to institute democratic rule, and the pirate code holds for a little while, but when he’s crossed, he becomes a tyrant. the boy decides to transform the tendency to fear-based gameplay by using it, harnessing it and transmuting it to quantum energy, so he plays pirate and teaches quantum techniques used to dominate and gain loot.  he’s more interested in power, taking shortcuts (ethics), cheating (morals). choice is made between the intent of the game as a quantum learning tool and a zero-sum shootemup, and he gets hooked into the action. he isn’t feeding back ways to make the game more quantum-educational anymore, he’s distorting the game to make it more popular and studying ways to fight from the inside. boy’s gameplay turns into strategy game / brawler. raiding and fighting and killing and capturing and amassing booty.  kills girl. random a slave.

the mountains: girl the girl’s dark night is in the mountains, she runs away at the end of the home islands. meets a wisewoman after her dark night. who gives her sufi peptalk. wanders around bare to the elements and miracles happen, she’s more interested in oneness. willing to risk own safety. lives with the anchorites and fisherfolk and develops teaching fairy lore with the bards and musicians. learns all she can about expressing quantum /sufi skills so others can learn them. the girl decides to embrace the role of teacher. goes down to the port city and establishes a school for poor players that goes on to be world famous, writes a manual, talks to fairy about wise npcs.
death: the boy and girl meet on the high seas and confirm separate ways. she’s horrified and intimidated and offended by boy. being concerned with your own salvation is vanity. the girl notices that players tend to go for the shooter aspects and act more like extrovert conservatives than introvert liberals, and wishes she could figure out how to enforce the pixie dust effect so that they could understand what the game was about. (he will look for a drug, she will explore meditation and exercise), she asks pointed questions about the spirit of the game. he apologizes for being greedy before attacking and sinking her ship, and sending her back to respawn in the home islands. she laboriously returns to the school on ring 2 and consults others about his behavior, realizing she doesn’t understand him, learning the first tactics of dealing with bullies.

new chapter structure

i’ve been working for a whole week on the breakdown of playing the antarctica level of the game.  first i took all references to playing the game into a new document, then i broke it out according to ring, and filled it in as much as possible.

then i broke it out according to character and filled it in even more.  this is where i added several characters, and made a lot of adjustments to who meets whom when, and a lot of these adjustments surprised me.

and now i’ve separated all the character arcs back into their respective rings, and now i’ve put them all back into the main chapter outline.

now what i’m going to do is the same thing for the realworld chapters.  and these are in horrible shape at the moment, just as the game chapters were when i started this process.

when i’m done with that, then i’ll start to run it all together and see how it sticks.  i’m still staying awake at night trying to imagine what players (readers) will think of the game i’ve constructed for them.  it’s all still so hazy in my head, and there are so many ??? marks the further i get in the plot, and to me that means that there’s an awful lot of stuff that i’m not going to know until it comes pouring out of my fingers.

but that’s why i write.  i surprise myself.

here’s the revised chapter structure.

act 1

chapter 1, dragoncon 1, the vision.
places: dragoncon settings, realworld.
illustrations: whole chapter

chapter 2, dragoncon 1, brainstorming the game.
places: realworld, security room, dragoncon settings.
illustrations: first map of layout, 7 layer chart, taking suggestions from the crowd, when the lights go back on

chapter 3, about quantum programming.
places: kurt’s van
illustrations: kurt’s van

chapter 4, designing the game.
places: neutral place where they can discuss game, fairy’s computer, girl’s computer, boy’s computer, kurt’s van.
illustrations: levels 2-3 carnival as pirate map, level diagram, first character sketches, first backgrounds

chapter 5, quantum kernel.
places:
kurt’s van, in the game kernel, with boy girl fairy, realworld
illustrations: kurt at work late at night, the kernel

chapter 6, cre8y the game’s prototype level
places: neutral setting for all to discuss, kurt’s, boy/girl’s, fairy’s, snake’s computers, realworld
illustrations: each developer at their work w/quantum tablet

chapter 7, testing begins on level 4 clouds
places: in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 8, dragoncon 2
places: realworld, dragoncon settings, game room, security room,
illustrations: the boy and girl doing a demo with real effects appearing.

chapter 9, dragoncon 2, kurt dies, testing approach to level 4 – wormhole
places: realworld, dragoncon settings (hotel room, pool). security room, in the game.
illustrations: entire chapter

chapter 10, snake, teh game revised
places: realworld, dragoncon settings, boy’s/girl’s/fairy’s/snake’s computers
illustrations:

chapter 11, exkurt, alpha testing levels 2 and 3
places: in the game, realworld.
illustrations:

chapter 12, beta testing on levels 2 and 3
places: realworld, in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 13, dragoncon 3, final candidate testing, exkurt, boy and girl open antarctica,
places: realworld, in the game
illustrations:

chapter 14, dragoncon 3 boy and girl in antarctica
places: in the game, realworld quantum effects, security hq, government offices, media.
illustrations:

act 2

chapter 15 go live, dragoncon 3, real players on level 1 – tutorial, level 2 and 3 – carnival, more shit happens, they start to get scared, sabotage apparent
places: in the game, dragoncon settings (tv, panel) realworld quantum effects, security hq, government offices.
illustrations:

chapter 16, exkurt is in the game, real players on level 4 – clouds
places: in the game, realworld
illustrations:

chapter 17, playing antarctica ring 1- the isles
places: in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 18, then they watch you, game goes viral
places: realworld quantum effects, security hq, government offices, media, gaming community
illustrations:

chapter 19, playing antarctica ring 2 – the mountains
places: in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 20 outcry, sabotage, they approach boy and girl.
places: realworld, security hq, government offices, media, neutral place for boy/girl/them to talk.
illustrations:

chapter 21, playing antarctica ring 3 – the lowlands
places: in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 22, dragoncon 4.
places: realworld, dragoncon settings, strip club, neutral place for boy/security talk, girl’s apartment, girl’s computer, boy’s computer, gaming community.
illustrations:

chapter 23, then they ridicule you.
places: realworld, boy/girl’s computer, gaming community, boy/girl’s head.
illustrations:

chapter 24, playing antarctica ring 4 – the wilderness
places: in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 25, game banned.
places: realworld quantum effects, demonstrations, gaming community, media, security hq, government offices, girl’s / boy’s computers, girl/boy’s heads.
illustrations:

chapter 26, playing antarctica ring 5 – the hinterlands
places: in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 27, out of control.
places: realworld, realworld quantum effects, demonstrations, media, government offices, security, gaming community.
illustrations:

act 3

chapter 28, dragoncon 5, informers everywhere, gamers pass it on in secret
places: realworld, dragoncon settings, demonstrations, security room, security hq, gaming community
illustrations:

chapter 29, playing antarctica ring 6 – hell
places: in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 30, then they fight you.
places:
realworld quantum effects, demonstrations, security hq, government offices, media, gaming community
illustrations:

chapter 31, playing antarctica ring 7 gamburtsevs.
places:
in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 32, dragoncon 6, boy and girl captured
places:
realworld, dragoncon settings, spontaneous gathering, demonstrations, security room, security hq, media, government offices, fairy vs snake
illustrations:

chapter 33, hell to pay. playing level 6 (!)
places:
realworld, demonstrations, fema camps, security hq, in the game w/exkurt
illustrations:

chapter 34, kernel destroyed, girl trapped in heaven level 6 (!), defocus
places:
realworld quantum effects, boy/girl rescue-apartment, in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 35 playing heaven level 6 (!)
exkurt and girl and players
in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 36, despair and utter loss.
places: boy’s head, demonstrations, security hq, government offices, media,
realworld quantum effects.
illustrations:

chapter 37, dragoncon 7
places: realworld, no dragoncon settings, dreaming/gaming community, security hq, government offices, media.
illustrations:

chapter 38, playing earth (god) level 7 (!n)
places: in the game.
illustrations:

chapter 39 then a miracle happens.
places:
realworld quantum effects, government offices, gaming community, demonstrations, media.
illustrations:

chapter 40, then you win.
places:
realworld quantum effects, government offices, media, gaming culture.
illustrations:

playing antarctica ring one – home islands

chapter 20, playing antarctica ring 1- the isles

places: in the game.

physical description – arctic environment, cold and windy with snow and long nights, nothing grows. summers are short with long days and huge quickly growing things and millions of spawning animals. the game system map shows bedrock antarctica overlaid by 7 zones in rainbow colors.  the thumbnail resembles the figure of a human. two main islands, barren, one settlement on each. the background is dramatic and the effects are realistic and the avatars are way cool and mostly freshly from wardrobe.

neolithic: animism.

style: the isles are in grayscale washes with extremely thin or no lines.

things to pick up: tools from the boat, handmade implements, clothing, seeds, dried food, a handmade boat.

kernel: ?

npcs: penguins rescue the players as they drop into the ocean. they are not openly evil yet, but lose a large percentage of players (by dropping them to dive for fish), who must try again. this keeps the numbers actually there lower than they could be. surly penguin npcs insist on fish bribes before giving information. the girl zaps them in a fit of exasperation, but they respawn hostile instead of snarky.  snake spreads the rumor that she made them evil. when animals are asked to sacrifice themselves for food, penguins start up a black market in skua meat.

fairy: fairy’s dark night is in the isles, runs away at the beginning when it’s too much, gets it back by having great quantum sex with exkurt appearing as a dolphin?

exkurt: exkurt improves the game, doesn’t give a shit about players. boy and girl get him to open other zones on ring one. has sex with with fairy.

player: player on the edges of the first manifestation circle, part of group that builds small settlement. joins ship.

note: the boy and girl create level 5 antarctica as they play it, but they don’t realize this until later. they split up at the end of this ring and come together briefly at the end of each ring. he kills her and enters the next ring before she does every time, so her areas are backward and his become empire. all improvements are done by the players. these improvements spread thru the level depending on the skill of the creator (the improvements/places have health energy of their own, which they impart to the player who uses or gets near them).

snake’s religion – snake argues for the loaves and fishes trick. plays up the emergency, the threat to gameplay. argues against deputizing players the way they do it; wants more control, more orthodoxy. injects classical concepts into commandments.

boy – gardener; i’d rather be a tinkerer, it’s mechanical and you can depend on harnessed power (over). (peter pan?).

girl – she doesn’t want to be responsible for all those players

players: first a trickle then a flood of players washes up on the shoreline. players wander around not doing much of anything, kind of insubstantial and bewildered. among barren rocks they are like babies. players begin panic. they are cold and hungry and there is no food or shelter. a nascent movement toward violence and coercion that horrifies both boy and girl. and still the people keep dropping out of the sky. a team goes out to rescue them in large shells. players have very few props and few options in their personal environments, the grinds are to satisfy their basic needs: raising shelter, foraging for food, making tools, sharing, cooperating with the land, sea, weather, plants, seeds, animals. animals who help them and feed them until they can form weak bodies. soon they have gardens in front of every stone hut. a village rises. group-sufficiency is stressed. everybody struggles with developing their own energy, because it only works well in groups. as soon as trees grow players start making boats to leave the island. a warship comes by and recruits players to fight alien invaders (in response to his decision). players use their skills to help navigate the ship. if players decline this invitation, a storm blows up that casts their little boat adrift and they practice their skills avoiding hazards and navigating to shore. the two choices lead to different zones of ring 2

boy and girl: the boy and girl are little prepared for the influx. they stand around at first, watching to see what the players are going to do. they wonder why it’s all bare rock. then they realize there’s nothing for players to do because the level’s not finished. they dither. the crowd grows larger. the players are feeble and whiny, hungry and cold. they fear there’s not going to be enough to go around. they realize they are essentially gamemasters, swamped with players who need their help. the boy wants to let the kernel do the loaves and fishes thing in the emergency, but the girl wants to use the opportunity to teach them to fish. snake advises expediency. they talk about getting exkurt to make it rain hamburgers but he’s not answering. girl and boy have to do sleight of hand to feed multitude, materializing fire to make stone soup, asking the grass to grow and the fish to throw themselves out of the water, and growing a shell to the size of a cauldron. boy organizes hunting parties for food and she organizes building shelters. they witness new behavior in each other that sets them aback; he defers to her because she has the moral high ground. he soon develops a tendency to hoard, so she gives hers away and takes half of his, making him provide for half the settlement, for which he thinks he should be paid. more people. exkurt opens another zone. boy and girl fly to the island, causing a stir among the players, who can’t do this. get the second island all set up, using their real quantum abilities, as the first island fills up with people. they still interact constantly in their heads, but they’re now in different parts, so they split the leadership duties. the boy complains about having to be a gardener. the girl argues for prepping. what you value is what you learn – wisdom, power.

girl: when the problem grows frighteningly large, girl leads a group session of manifestation. snake objects. they invent a tradition to teach the best way to be mindful and together (living with fairies). she trains and deputizes this group to go out and pass the ability to all other players, along with ground rules (commandments) the boy develops in a hurry, with snake’s input making them more classically orthodox. she gets distracted handling this, taking time to interact with everything. without noticing, the boy and snake relegate her to a support role and organize around her they’re centralizing control, taking a percentage. she has a fit when she finds out (christ moneychangers). at first the girl enjoys the attention and acts like she deserves it, cavalierly accepting players’ last morsels and wasting them. surly penguin npcs insist on fish bribes before giving information. the girl zaps them in a fit of exasperation (they wither like the fig tree), but they respawn hostile. snake spreads the rumor that she made them evil. players react with fear. leading to spiritual crisis.

boy: he avoids things that require empathy and embraces action, reinforcing the macho father image. it’s more important to do what he’s doing and he thinks it natural that she support him. the boy decides that his role as tester is to find the weaknesses and exploit them. so he goes around trying to cheat. he vacuums up all the points and the health force and the energy of other players. he goes around hitting objects in case they have points. he feels like god, he feels like he owns the game. and since it’s only a game, he doesn’t care about his behavior. but since it’s not a game at all, he needs to test everything, to perfect it. the boy tires of survival and group-reliance and decides to go on a shootemup. maybe he finds infiltrators or them wandering around, and decides they’ve got to stop the enemy (but at this point it would just be helpful messengers from heaven) and everything follows from his fear of the enemy and his attempts to save the game by winning.

death: the girl dies in an accident (he’s negligent) and has to respawn in the water. the cheat codes don’t work anymore, so she has to physically travel to the portal of the second ring. he has already joined a ship with the boys (ridiculing the ideals) harnessed dolphins drawing it so they don’t have to use quantum energy, which is hard. she goes looking for him and gets swept away to the next ring.

progress

what i’m doing at the moment, in case you want to know, is working inside the game.  i went and copied all the chapters dealing with playing the antarctica level of the game, and pasted them into a new document, and now i’m standardizing it and fleshing it out.  when i’m thru with this i will separated it again by the characters, and run thru that to make sure character development is solid for all the various characters.  this is the main template:

chapter x, playing antarctica ring x
places: in the game
physical description:
religious tendency:
graphic style:
things to pick up:
kernel:
npcs:
fairy:
exkurt:
player:
note:
snake’s religion:
players:
boy and girl:
girl:
boy:
girl’s death:

i have inserted a player as a character.  i have to follow at least one independent of my main characters, so i’ll just pick a random character that has already introduced me and filled me in on his/her life in the game.  this character will be visiting both sides of each ring and play on both sides of the main conflict.

another thing i’m doing is making sure exkurt has a role thruout.  and that fairy develops from her very one-dimensional current incarnation.

the main thing i did yesterday was to build up what happens to the girl in this level.  i’ve got the boy’s patterns down pretty well, and he’s got all sorts of hero things he’s doing – he’s part bluebeard, part sheriff of nottingham, part genghis khan, part buddha, part christ.  but jim mentioned st francis of assisi the other day, and we researched the sufi influences of the man and his church, and i decided to write his life into the girl’s story arc.  so she’s going to be st girl the sufi as well as all the other things she’s going to be.

and when i wrote in the random player, it connected a lot of things between the girl and fairy.

and then there was a bunch of research i read about the brain, and that worked into everybody’s attitudes.

so things keep dropping into my consciousness, and they all fit, and they all improve the flow and the connectivity between threads, and i’m just working away getting it all organized.

last week i tightened up the plot structure of act 1, and this week i’m doing the same to act 2.  as i’m in each chapter, the story seems simple at that point, but i know the few paragraphs i have in the outline will translate to ten, fifteen pages of text, and it’ll take a long time to finish each chapter.

at this point my kid is hectoring me about how much time i spend doing this, and how little time i spend cleaning the house.  but this is where my value is at the moment, and cleaning has no value at all.  so here i am.

these are the thread elements of each chapter, rather than the plot.  i break down the plot into who does what where and insert it wherever it goes, and this way i pay attention to all the threads and don’t drop any, as i already know i have a tendency to.  writing the last 5 unpublished novels has really made me figure out how to do a lot of professional self development things that really help.  like staying organized, like figuring out your weaknesses and working around them.

7 tests

7 tests for the boy
7 tests for the girl

i’ve got the tests for the boy all laid out.  he’s not a bad guy, just a little conservative (fear-based, favoring status quo, punishing and rigid), and he keeps going for the short-term goals and forgetting the non-violent principles.  so he has to go thru a whole lot of testing.

the girl remains steadfast to the principles of quantum thought (peace and love) but can’t delegate and suffers great stress and martyrness.

it’s the tests to her development i’m having trouble with.

jim suggested i might want to model the girl on st francis of assisi, who started out military but was captued and spent time in an arab prison where he was exposed to sufi thought.  and when he came back he talked the pope into letting him start up a new kind of church that was against all the wealth and power of the established roman state church.  more like jesus’s real teachings than the perversion the established church became.

that’s got a nice story arc to it.

so where’s her dark night of the soul?  she has no trouble choosing power-with and rejecting power-over, even tho the choice is constantly presented to her.  her temptations are to think better of herself, the typical angry liberal reaction.  of course, this doesn’t make her any more likable as a character…

as for the boy, he’s basically tempted again and again by the same choice – and chooses power-over rather than power-with every time, even tho he reawakens in the wilderness.  in each case he feels he has no choice.  in each case it’s snake who tempts him.

isles – gardener; i’d rather be a tinkerer, it’s mechanical and you can depend on harnessed power (over)
mountains – come away and be a pirate
lowlands – pope to constantine: convert and win
wilderness – devil appearing to christ; dark night of soul. buddhic enlightenment
hinterlands – state church persecuting boy for heresy
hell – pope making deal – clemency if he fights to stamp out rebels
gambutsevs – snake spins what ex-kurt says to players

perhaps what i’m looking for should be narrowed down to the iconic, or archetypcal.

a long time ago i realized there are two kinds of people – those who think people are basically bad, and those who think people are basically good.

later, i realized that those who think people are basically bad are also people who live in fear.  this produces all sorts of intolerant  behavior (xenophobia etc), rigidity of thinking and expression, neatness, resistance to change, the whole unpleasant 9 yards.

people who think people are basically good tend to be optimistic, outgoing, tolerant, a willingness to experiment, loose morals and a slovenly appearance.

A core premise of the growing movement known as restorative, or transformative, justice is that conflict is opportunity. This is where we have our greatest chance to grow: at the friction points, as our emotions are heating up. We just have to face the situation with openness, calm and courage. Once again, this is no easy task. But the more we work at this, the more we realize the value of doing so, and the less inclined we become simply to swat our difficulties, and the people we blame them on, out of the way.

I’m convinced that uncoupling our inclination to dominate others to get our way and embracing “power with” them as our prime approach to life is the fundamental emotional shift necessary for the creation of lasting peace.

from the fearful worldview we get wars, dictatorships, repression, bigotry and intolerance, a preference for the status quo, a desire to punish transgressions, a militaristic church, a violence-enshrined society, elitism and wealth disparity.

from the accepting worldview we get a laidback, partying, fun kind of everything-goes society where everybody’s more or less equal.

it’s plain to see the traps of the fearful worldview, but what are the traps of the accepting worldview?  one of the main ones is that people who expect good from others don’t expect evil.  and that’s where the fearful worldview has the advantage – because they won’t hesitate to crush the opposition to ensure their dominance, while the accepting worldview just wants everybody to get along and never sees it coming.

how does this translate to the story?  the girl has a big blindside when it comes to wickedness.  she rejects violence and the ways of those who want power-over, ignores evidence of it, believes the lies without looking beneath it, ends up being victimized, and then closes down and becomes suspicious and demanding.

so her problem is that inside she becomes the same fear-based person that tends to cling to classical reality inside, while being the spokesmodel for quantum reality, which is love-based.  and because she’s been hurt, she has no love in her.  there’s nothing sustaining her except her energy and drive, and so she exhausts herself, becomes a real bitch, and does everything herself while making everybody around her feel bad for not doing enough.  she’s never happy.  and she’s got self-pitying excuses for anything anybody cares to point out to her.  so she’s a big hypocrite.

that was easy.

so what are her tests?  where does she continue to choose the self-righteous angry reaction to the world?  why, at every turn, of course.  but we need to have 7 points of testing, in 7 different ways, just like with the boy.  the 7 stations of the cross, so to speak.

does she keep shirking her responsibility?  does she keep hiding her powers and pretending to be just a regular person?  does she secretly hate all those people who look to her for guidance?

her tests are all variations on this theme – she can’t bring herself to commit totally to the love-based reality she espouses.  and she can’t admit to her doubts.  she feels she has no choice.

isles – she doesn’t want to be responsible for all those players
mountains – she starts a center of learning and then runs away
lowlands – she can’t quite let people organize for themselves
wilderness – she really loves being alone and has to be dragged to the next ring
hinterlands – she punishes others for not being good enough
hell – she totally exhausts herself and becomes the bitch from hell
gamburtsevs -???

thru all the boy’s tests he has to face his temptation to use his power over others to force victory and decide to choose love.  thru all the girl’s tests she has to face her temptation to force her will and choose surrender.

these are the same choices.  just split into male/female, conservative/liberal.

descent

thinking how it works that the game descends into the kind of game nobody wanted, and how they help, and how it gets worse and worse from alpha to beta tester and what it looks like in the final candidate.

when kurt makes the new version of the antarctica level and then dies, the level is locked away where they can’t get to it, and so they revise teh gema’s scope downward.  it is no longer an epic tale of self-mastery and saving the world.  it’s an amusement park where, if left to their own devices, players would soon find a way to rob and kill other players.  so the boy and girl set out to make the carnival levels into a game that appeals to the masses, and plan to release the antarctic level in a future upgrade.  this means they add elements of first person shooters, melees, strategy games and races, and remove the safety elements of the previously well-balanced physics rides.  and the testers do their part by perverting gameplay and organizing gangs and wars.

and i have the end of the first act to do this.

ch 10 – they finish creating teh gema without kurt
ch 11 – the boy and girl test the cloud level and meet ex-kurt
ch 12 – testers on level 2 midway
ch 13 – testers on level 3 carneytown
ch 14 – they notice in the realworld
ch 15 – testers on cloud level
ch 16 – dragoncon 3 boy and girl open antarctica

this is kind of clunky.  and right after this the real players go thru these same levels for real, so why am i doing it twice?  and to tell the truth there is a realworld THEY notice part in each chapter now, while the overall structure dates from over a month ago and shit has happened since then.

so i need to rethink the chapters.  perhaps if i visualize it, then the chapter structure can be seen and not forced.

the game is finally rebuilt without the antarctica level and is ready for testing.  it’s got a lot of new features, expanded architecture, new threads and choices.  they’ve been testing it bit by bit as they’ve installed pieces, but when it’s assembled they open it for testing.

11. the boy and girl stand around inside the game while the testers go thru.  the alpha testers find bugs and there are art adjustments and several actual geometry adjustments as they suggest new activities and the kernel accommodates them.  the girl and boy direct the kernel to do this.  they facilitate it somehow.  so the alpha testers distort the teachings of the game, change the parameters to make the games violent, find ways to cheat.

12. when the beta testers get there the alpha testers take advantage of them. but the beta testers themselves interact with the kernel, which turns the games even more warlike and unfair.

13. at go-live the boy and girl open antarctica and are alone in it for the moment.

14. when the real players get to the carnival levels, the alphas have taken over and made rules, the betas are an underclass, and the real players are slaves following rules that were never thought up by the boy and girl.  when the real players get thru to the cloud level it’s a madhouse and things are leaking thru to the realworld all the time.

15. and then they’re all in antarctica.

so i think i need one fewer chapter.

seven quantum skills

if you take all the magical or miraculous powers of all the enlightened and heroic figures of myth and history and imagination and dreams, then you have a list of all the things that are possible in a quantum universe.   altho i knew this, it was very interesting to see all these various aspects of human higher consciousness coming together in support of the quantum essence.  and i was very amused to find that they broke out into 7 categories.

training to master your mind
meditation, mind control, obe, magic, bene gesserit truthsayers, simulflow, jedi enhanced empathy

exercises to master your body
(breathing exercises, yoga, tantra, dance, martial arts, bene gesserit prana-bindu and weirding way, jedi reflexes for speed strength accuracy

practice thinking quantumly
zen koans, newage affirmations

practice with the subtle bodies
healing, reiki, auras, thoughtforms, action at a distance, entanglement, tunneling, telekenesis, jedi force abilities and lightsabre

developing esp
group meditation, sending and receiving, akashic records, jedi precognition and telepathy

learning to fly
jedi levitation, astral projection, time travel, lucid dreaming

manifesting
loaves and fishes, two places at once, directing weaker minds

***

some of these are in the wrong places and some of them need to be broken out differently and i’m probably missing one which is why i’m finding it so awkward to arrange.  perhaps someone’s got a suggestion?

immediate repercussions

in this same chapter as i was revising last night – designing the game – they’re discussing the details of the various economies and population centers and historical technology details that need to be in each ring of the antarctica level of teh gema.

we’re talking about an economic and technological progression from stone age to current time, and beyond into quantum future, in 7 rings.

perhaps it’s something they plan for and it ends up really clunky as a prototype level before kurt wipes it clean and starts over.  or maybe it actually works that way once they’re playing the gema – like they’re in the lowlands and there’s a problem getting the technology to work and they have to bring in a kluge from the hinterlands, or there are too many people to support on medieval fields and they have to import a tractor and gasoline.

7 periods for 7 rings:
isles          neolithic
mountains          hunter/gatherer
lowlands           medieval
wilderness          nomadic horde/wild west
hinterlands          20th
hell city         2012
gamburtsevs          cloud of future choices

***

so how clunky is it when they build the antarctica level before kurt’s epiphany changes everything?

nothing works right.  the quantum kernel is there, the bugs are being fixed before their eyes while the boy and girl test, fairy’s going nuts trying to deal with all the bug reports because she’s afraid of the kernel – she has funny thoughts when she gets on the cloud level and prefers not to go as far as antarctica, so she spends all her time tweaking the carnival levels.

they’ve got all this elaborate stuff in the 7 levels of antarctica, with cities lovingly laid out because this is someone’s specialty, the girl’s background details gorgeous, but (whosie’s) foreground slapped down in repetitive chunks with cracks in them.  (is their architecture grid or hexagonal block?)  they want it to be the perfect social world, but it’s easy to get lost, the missions are unclear, there are no gameworld-typical landmarks, and they would have to be fascists to get the players to learn their lessons, because people will just want to run around and shoot things.

the big problem is how to get the players to learn the 3×7 quantum lessons voluntarily, to leave the wild action for a reclusive life of study and solitary practice.  or do they turn the game into hogwarts and force them all to wave their hands in the air as if they were actually doing magic, when it’s all just scripted, no better than learning to shoot an assault rifle at anything that moves?

remember, when kurt rebuilds the antarctica level right before he dies, it’s sealed off, and it takes them until the next dragoncon to unlock it.  plus snake’s sabotage.  they will abandon the antarctica level and concentrate on the carnival levels as the new, and greatly reduced, scope of the game.  and when they finally unlock the antarctica level, it’s real.

so the problems in this first part are all technical.  bugs.  and the boy and girl and fairy and kurt are the only testers.  they build the prototype level, that’s the cloud level where everything is quantum.  and that works fine.  they build the carnival levels on themepark areas made to look like the east and west antarctic ice sheets.  they build the antarctic level with its 7 rings.

first there are endless problems getting the games and rides to work on the carnival levels, not just adjustments in the variables, but when their own fuzzy understanding of physics results in unconvincing gameplay.  the girl is continually looking for ways to put the quantum lessons in, and finding it really hard to do because it never seems relevant and the others grow resistant in their concentration on the minutiae. they spend all their time getting the carnival levels to work, months longer than they expected.

so they are running out of time when they turn their attention to antarctica, which is 7 rings that might as well be levels in their own right.  they take up as much space and more in the world diagram, and are the whole point of what the angel showed them.  the carnival levels, which they’ve spent so much time on, are just remedial, as basic and irrelevant to the true gema that they’re really just advanced tutorials.

they’ve been working on antarctica the whole time, and it’s fine in a basic placeholder way.  it’s got photoshopped backgrounds and rough edges and missing objects, the npcs are little leprechauns who stutter and speak in over-the-top brogue, a parody of a badly made, cheaped out videogame someone made in their bedroom.  the cities are impeccable, but empty.  there are no skills to develop because the boy and girl have already developed their skills and aren’t really concerned about that, figuring people will pick it up.  there’s nothing to do there without players.  all they can do is test objects and task npcs to test things, meaning they run around managing a small army of droids who work all the technology and try all the doors and tend practice farms.

the problem isn’t with kurt or the kernel; it’s that the level they’ve designed is clunky, inelegant, and stupid.  it’s boring.  there’s no quantum anything on this level because they don’t know what they’re looking for and don’t know how to get there from ordinary reality.  the boy and girl have made the breakthru personally, but they’ve lost an important piece and can’t quite get back there again so they can teach it from the inside.  it’s all mumbo jumbo.  they can still talk to each other in their heads and all that; they’re entangled in themselves, but can’t transmit quantum anything to anybody else except physically, and while the boy thinks setting up shop as a newage sex coach would be fun, the girl isn’t having any of it.

so the big problem is that no matter how they try, they can’t think of a good way to teach the quantum lessons.  are they arguing about it?  because the lessons are there to be learned, all laid out and accessible, whether couched in math and physics, which i can hardly do, or hidden in occult teachings that can be transliterated for the masses. and they know how to make the quantum thing work on the cloud level, because it’s energy produced by concentration in the player’s body that is them directed to manifesting things inside teh game.  simple enough for a good program and sensitive inputs even now, without a quantum computer.  and so what it’s just a simulation?  if you put your feet in those footprint thingies in time with the music long enough, you WILL learn to dance.

so what’s the problem?  it’s not coming clear to me.  what’s wrong with the antarctica level as they have built it?

okay, i went and asked jim.  he nailed it for me.

the boy and girl are working against each other, like me and my ex when we tried to work together.  each thinks they know what something needs and so they both do things unilaterally, mainly without telling the other one about it.  and then, right or wrong, they defend their actions when confronted.  the boy doesn’t like confrontation so always expresses his displeasure with passive aggression, and the girl was raised with conflict and gets in his face to point out the obvious.  that’s one thing.  the other is that they’re way too focused on the details of this overbearingly complicated game and have totally lost sight of their mission, which is to raise the consciousness of the player to quantum levels.

so, a lot of time is wasted in pointless arguments, and in redoing each other’s work, and not talking to each other.  their relationship cools some, they ignore each other in their heads at times.  and at dragoncon 2 when he soaks up the attention and she only feels drained, they begin to sour on each other.  after kurt’s death they come back to a good working relationship, and they repress growing irritation with the game and each other as it becomes a burden, but by dragoncon 3 they’re hostile toward each other, and feeling trapped. they have a big fight and split at dragoncon 4, teh gema is banned for dragoncon 5 and they’re working on opposite sides, a big protest and brutal repression at dragoncon 6, when he is forced to betray her, and a miracle happens for dragoncon 7 and all you need is love.

so, i’ve got that.  cool.

okay, to sum up, what have i written today (this is the part i’ll cut and paste back into my document)…

7 periods for 7 rings:
isles          neolithic
mountains          hunter/gatherer
lowlands           medieval
wilderness          nomadic horde/wild west
hinterlands          20th
hell city         2012
gamburtsevs          cloud of future choices

fairy’s afraid of the kernel – funny thoughts on the cloud level, tweaking the carnival levels.

their own fuzzy understanding of physics results in unconvincing gameplay.  the girl is continually looking for ways to put the quantum lessons in, and finding it really hard to do because it never seems relevant and the others grow resistant in their concentration on the minutiae. they spend all their time getting the carnival levels to work, months longer than they expected.

antarctica basic placeholder.  npcs are little leprechauns who stutter and speak in over-the-top brogue, a parody  videogame.   cities impeccable, but empty.  boy and girl have already developed their skills and aren’t really concerned about that, figuring people will pick it up.  there’s nothing to do there without players.  they run around managing a small army of droids who work all the technology and try all the doors and tend practice farms.

me and my ex.  unilaterally, without telling.  defensive. passive aggression, in his face.  forest for the trees.

plot problems

it’s the first time that the plot has probed problematic.  i knew it would, because i’ve just got placeholder chapters until i figure out what really has to go where.  but this is the first time when i’ve seen a real gap in the flow.  the way it goes now, they design the game at dragoncon 1, then kurt creates the kernel, and then all their designs are for naught because of the way the quantum kernel, and especially the quantum tablet, change the way the game is created.  and kurt only creates the antarctica level at dragoncon 2, at which time he’s almost done making the game architecture.  and they go live close to dragoncon 3.  so there’s almost a year where they design the game and adjust to creating the game, and almost a year of finishing and testing the game.  but it won’t take all that much time.  and i’m not sure the chapters i have set out aren’t way too long for what’s happening.

do we spend an entire year tweaking the intro, carnival, and cloud levels? because we can’t touch antarctica (because once we do then the other players all appear on that level too, so it’s got to be live).  does snake fuck things up so it takes a year? or do we have to change chapters around – do they take a year to design the game, and then meet kurt at dragoncon 2? and the kernel takes awhile, and the cre8tion takes awhile, and they’re only testing at dragoncon 3 when kurt dies? and snake finishes it and they test and go live at dragoncon 4? more than halfway thru the story?  i don’t think so.  i’ve been watching movies latery with an eye on the clock.  the significant event or  person doesn’t tend to happen until around 35-40 minutes in, at i guess the beginning of the second act, and way before the 2-hour end.

antarctica is only built once they start playing. it’s an empty antarctica without ice archipelago of rocks, inaccessible, with carnival overlain on top of the ice sheet. so what takes all the time to build once kurt’s finished with the kernel? the quantum tablet makes actually creating and finishing the game a snap, so why would they wait to create antarctica? because even with the quantum kernel it’s not right until kurt gets there the night he dies at dragoncon 2 and makes it all over the right way.

so when they do a demo at dragoncon 2 and it’s less than stellar, it takes them a moment to recover, after thinking they should get real jobs and give it up. but then kurt goes off and thinks about it, and does some tinkering, and finally completely wipes antarctica and starts over from the kernel out.

and then he dies the next day. because snake has to take over between the completion of antarctica and go-live so he can plant all his bombs. snake already has a minor role, and has wormed his way into the administrative meetings. and this process takes a year? half a year?  we take half a year to tinker and test everything but antarctica? i can see taking most of a year to design a game and then have to start all over again when the technology changes, but how can it take even six months when things happen so much more quickly thanks to the quantum tablet and kernel and now ex-kurt. and he’s already built antarctica and it still takes them half a year?

can’t they figure out how to get to antarctica in the game? did kurt leave it unattached altogether? and nobody can create a link because that’s architecture in the game engine which is locked inside the kernel.

so they vastly scale down the scope of the game and turn the carnival level into the violent corrupt social parody of modern consumerism that it ends up as, the girl fighting it all the way, in order to make up for the drastically reduced functionality of a locked-down kernel. snake and fairy develop a great antipathy to each other, and the boy and girl show distinctly different styles in testing and applying the essence.

the special feature of dragoncon 3 is the final candidate and go-live right there at the show. the boy and girl are in the game watching from the cloud level as beta testers work on the final candidate when ex-kurt shows up and creates a portal to the antarctica under the ice (essentially encasing the carnival levels in clouds, melting the ice sheet, and finally shoving them thru the portal.  suddenly they’re falling into ice-cold water only yards from the stony shore of a barren and mountainous land.

go-live, some hours later, sees first a trickle then a flood of players washing up on the shoreline.  players aren’t expecting this and are surprised and pleased at the additional playability. the game is a sensation overnight. players appear as dopplegangers in the marriott/midway hub.

i think that’s a much nicer flow, with a few more twists than i had before.  tomorrow i’ll have to go back into my document and alter the chapters between designing the game, which i’ve been working on for a few days now, and go-live, which is the rest of act 1.  i’ve been revising act 1 for a few days, concentrating on trimming the reference material into a comments document and putting various things that have to go in the chapter into some sort of order, moving some things to other chapters, making collections of things to discuss and expound upon.

in all this i’m trying to visualize how it will play out, and the visuals race between cartoonish splash pages to whole cinematic scenes.  my mental conception is like a still picture that becomes sharper and more detailed and more involved the longer i think about it, like the photos in blade runner only moreso.  it’s like i’m the director wading thru the filming of these scenes, moving actors and props around, showing them how i want to see them do it.  that’s more like what i see in my mental images.  with narration, like a documentary.  the making of.

which i guess is what this is.  not that anybody wants to know the agonizing details, but sometimes i put them in, and sometimes i polish it a bit.  i was reading some videogame designer’s page today, god knows which one, and i really loved how he would ramble and discuss  his thought processes.  because this is what he does, and i could watch him do it, and learn how he thinks about what he’s doing.  it was very helpful.

i’ve been doing such good work the last few days.  even with all the shit happening.  today it was mostly research about videogames, and the day before.  all in the name of fleshing out the designing and creating chapters in act 1.  my working document has all sorts of hyperlinks to the reference documents.  some of it i pots here, but most of it goes into the comments document.

anyway, it’s getting late, and i tend to get out of bed in the morning anxious to get down here and work.  it’s actually exhausting, but i’m really productive and very happy in my work.

7 religions

i’ve just figured out a strange story arc involving the boy and snake.  quantum consciousness becomes a religion of sorts in the game, partly by choice when the boy and girl are designing the game.  they don’t see how they’re going to get around it, so they allow for religion in the game.

anyway.

in the isles ring of the antarctica game, the religion or philosophy is animism, where even the rocks and wind have souls and intelligence.  the boy is talented, but no gardener.

in the mountains, the goddess rules.  the boy tires of this and runs off to be a pirate with other lost boys.

in the lowlands, it’s like early christianity, only it’s quantumanity, and snake is an apostle with a growing church.  the boy transitions from pirate to governor, when snake tries to make a deal with him – you join my church, and i’ll make you emperator with my fanatical minions. we’ll conquer the world.

into the wilderness, the boy runs from snake’s offer, and wanders alone, like the buddha, an ascetic recluse monk.  he rediscovers quantum consciousness and remembers his mission.  he gathers the wandering tribes for an assault on the citystates of the hinterlands, to spread the new way.

in the hinterlands, he spreads quantum consciousness like a prophet, performing many miracles and making many converts.  snake’s church, now the state religion, finds him upsetting to the status quo, because the church controls the quantum things.  as a great military leader he organizes all the citystates, which takes more control from the church, who benefited from mediating between the quarreling citystates.

in hell, snake is the pope, and uses the inquisition to persecute snake for his so-called miracles.  he’s on trial for heresy, but the rulers of hell make a deal – help stamp out quantum insurgency and we’ll make you ceo.

in the gamburtsevs, he walks away from the bargain and faces the consequences of his actions.

revised first chapter outline

as promised, i revised the first chapter into comic book form, and now i’m going to print it out and show jim.

 

sword and feather. book 1, volume 1 (tale)

cover

front matter

 

page I (3 panels)

1. longshot of atlanta at night, centered on a dragoncon hotel roof with 2 small figures lounging on top…

2. medium shot of boy and girl admiring view. dragoncon. atlanta is overrun by fans…anything is possible. the late-night revelry of 10,000 partiers 45 floors below can be felt and heard on the roof, but a couple of stars are visible, the wind is cool, and the boy and girl are alone, relaxing and talking casually before the large quantities of various recreational substances they ingest kick in…

3. closeup on boy and girl as they slump into a vision together:

 

II (7)

4. medium shot: the couple asleep on the rooftop. a wireframe hand with fairy wings (monty python joke) comes out of a tiny cloud and sprinkles the boy and girl with fairy dust (peter pan joke).

5. medium shot: groggy but not surprised, they wake as the hand (khalil gibran joke) points them toward the second star on the right (peter pan joke). “straight on till antarctica.”

6. closeup: boy and girl look at each other, appalled by the joke references.

7. medium shot: boy and girl discover they can fly…

8. medium shot: stumble once…

9. longshot: and flutter feebly into the sky..

10. longshot: monochrome image riffing off john and michael combined with ET over the moon.
III (7)

11. medium shot: flying thru space approaching star.

12. longshot: star resolves into a ball with a fractal-looking outline on it, resembling a logo.

13. longshot: closer still, it becomes a white planet with colored stripes, the details obscured by clouds.

14. longshot: even closer, and they can see islands and a small continent. the colored stripes suggest the figure of a person.

15. medium shot: they land on a cloud.

16. longshot above the garden of eden/antarctica, the boy and girl looking in awe, a fiery angel (with a wireframe hand) descending to the cloud

17. medium shot: the angel gives them powers just like his, powers of an expanded will.
IV (6)

18. closeup: they don’t feel any different.

19: longshot: lounging in the garden of eden. the angel watches in dismay as multiple versions of the boy and girl spend all their time playing games with multiple universes they have created.

20. medium shot: the angel turns off their games and multiples,

21. tells them that they’ve got better things to do with their powers,

22. and promises they can have the key to the garden

23. if they can answer a simple question…

 

V (8)

24. closeup on the angel. “what is the essence of the game?”…

25. medium shot: they look at him and say, “huh?” and offer a shallow response….

26. closeup: “to win,” says the boy… to learn practical strategies

27. closeup: “to learn,” says the girl… to practice being human, to share, to communicate

28. medium shot: the angel clarifies, “what is behind that curtain?” they look at each other this time. “what?”…

29. closeup: the angel tries to be more specific. “answer yes or no.” they are baffled. “huh?”

30. extreme closeup: the angel loses his temper …

31. medium shot: and kicks them out of the garden with his fiery sword.

 

VI (5)

32. medium shot: at the gates of the garden of eden. the boy looks back to see the angel quenching the fiery sword in a rock,

33. closeup: the girl notices a feather dropping from the angel’s wings

34. medium shot: they steal back to get them.

35. medium shot: they leave thru the gates together, out of a lush sunny garden…

36. longshot: into a barren wasteland full of gray rocks, under an angry sky.

 

this next section has a different style and looks different than the previous section.

VII (9)

37. longshot: neolithic: among barren rocks

38. medium shot: they are like babies and have to coax the environment to help them.

39. closeup: they interact with winds

40. medium shot: and water

41. closeup: and seeds

42. extreme closeup: and finally with great effort

43. medium shot: establish contact with animals

44. longshot: who help them and feed them

45. closeup: until they can grow weak bodies.

 

VIII (7)

46. longshot: viking: in harsh mountain forests

47. longshot: and on cold deep seas

48. medium shot: they compensate for their childish weakness

49. closeup: with psychokinetic muscles,

50. medium shot: concentrating energy to build ships

51. long shot: and buildings

52. closeup: and make fires.
IX (8)

53. longshot: medieval: in pastoral villages

54. longshot: and small port towns

55. medium shot: they attain their full strength and opacity,

56. closeup: and develop the ability to manifest,

57. longshot: as other players appear

58. medium shot: to fill out the other roles.

59. medium shot: they find themselves entraining other players,

60. closeup: hampering their gameplay with interactions.
X (6)

61. longshot: golden horde: over vast areas of uninhabited piedmont

62. longshot: and estuary

63. medium shot: they avoid the growing crowds for a time,

64. longshot: developing a sense of where all the players are.

65. extreme longshot: they become aware of everything in the game world.

66. closeup: their powers enhance their appearance and confidence, exaggerating their strength.
XI (8)

67. longshot: hinterland: in rich and productive lands

68. medium shot: being steadily encroached upon

69. extreme longshot: by the big city,

70. medium shot: they organize the adoring crowds

71. medium shot: and teach them how to harness their wills as best they can.

72. closeup: but the crowds are mesmerized by them

73. longshot: and can only be controlled imperfectly.

74. closeup: their appearance hardens and lumps up, shrinking slightly as they tire from the effort.
XII (6)

75. longshot: hell city: in dark, dirty and crowded city

76. closeup: of extremes

77. mediumshot: they and all the droids they command

78. longshot: are no match for the powers that be,

79. medium shot and they resist

80. medium s hot: as best they can,
XIII (7)

81. closeup: within the system

82. closeup: and against it.

83. medium shot: they continue to spread techniques for self-mastery / quantum powers,

84. long shot: even tho tptb are winning.

85. closeup: their appearance ages and weakens

86. medium shot: as their powers are exhausted by fighting tptb

87. longshot: and watching their people suffer.
XIV (6)

88. longshot: gamburtsevs:  in an electronic mountain range

89. medium shot: they stand alone to fight the boss enemy.

90. closeup: their appearance is old and weak,

91. closeup: but they are at the peak of their powers.

92. medium shot: they are surprised by the identity of their enemy

93. closeup: they face themselves as they were in the garden of eden – young, spoiled, innocent, stupid.
XV (6)

94. closeup: then they are those younger selves, facing caricatures of their old selves in ridiculous ill-fitting fantasy getup.

95. medium shot: both versions ready to fight to the death.

96. closeup on both as they

97. closeup: decide this is a silly idea,

98. medium shot: and put the weapons down,

99. medium shot: and embrace.
XVI (8)

100. closeup: the embrace makes them all explode,

101. medium shot: and they see that they are all one,

102. long shot: and there is no time or space,

103. extreme longshot: and they create the entire universe

104. extreme closeup: in their own minds.

105. medium shot: the angel appears to ask the meaning of what they’ve just been thru

106. long shot: and they answer with a koan-type answer that embraces the quantum universe.

107. extreme longshot: or not. fade to black.

 

back cover

author’s note

jim and i were discussing the characters this morning.  he’s got his own ideas as to their backgrounds. he knows where they live.  let me see what i can remember.

the boy is a military nut, and is in the sca because he likes medieval brawlers, but dragoncon doesn’t have an sca track, so he is into space opera military things.  he lives in midtown.

fairy works as a massage therapist and is into bdsm and altered states.  very middle class background, or hippies.  lives in little 5 points, of course.

snake is from real money; his parents live in country club of the south or better, and he’s got an apartment in buckhead and drives a bmw because he’s slumming.  ga tech and he works at emory in their computer department, but he’s more of a manager than a programmer.

and the girl?  he says her name is mary elizabeth, or beth.  i laughed, i’m afraid.  still, it’s better than eve…she comes from a church background, with her mom as a musical director and the dad as the holy preacher. she lives by herself in an apartment inman park, motorcycles or marta in motorcycle leathers, works in computer graphics in a corporation.

kurt: doesn’t matter where he lives.  maybe farm people for his parents.  was a dotcom millionaire and invested it.  works on side projects he’s interested in, but mainly works on his quantum computer, in his van, parked in a public lot on a monthly pass.

jim had a lot to say, but i interrupted him a bunch, so i forget most of these details.  but they’re not the point, and i can fill them in later. (which i did)

i’m going to have to redo the first chapter – the vision – because what happens in their vision is not a miniature of what they develop into a game, but what they’re supposed to do with the game, how they’re supposed to change the world with it.

when they go to translate their vision into a videogame they get sidetracked into making the midway and carneytown levels – they think they need to give remedial physics lessons to the players, and so they delay getting around to teaching quantum skills – and mainly this is because they don’t know anything about teaching quantum skills when they design the game.  they only get put back on track when the boy and girl land on antarctica and find all the other players arriving at the same time.

the game they design never gets built or played.  it’s all there on paper, but shit happens while they’re waiting to make the game.

how are they sidetracked?  could it be that they are already in their midst, sabotaging their every move?  in the case of abandoning classical mechanics for quantum mechanics, the saboteurs are already there inside even the most gung-ho revolutionary – even the people it’s happening to will deny and reject it once they’re back to their ordinary minds.  every one of them will edge away from the implications of a quantum daily life.  what happens in an altered state can’t, and shouldn’t, cross over into waking reality.  that’s what dreams and fantasies are for.  they’re not real.  if they became real, there’d be hell to pay.  so nobody really wants the things that happen in dreams to start happening in real life.  and so there’s no sabotage needed, no agents provocateur, no them.

the way it happens, the midway turns into a gambling parlor where lots of people make lots of realworld money and people learn all the rules of physics that can help them cheat, and all the skills get put to the wrong uses.  carneytown becomes a place of violence, a dark shootemup with stolen car races and group shootouts where players learn cooperation but also mob mentality and wartime morals.

this is how the real players see it once it goes live.  the beta testers only reported gameplay bugs, and started using the lessons to win games, the alpha testers didn’t really get the point of the lessons, and the bug reports were shallow, the boy and girl just ran thru making sure the lessons were in place.

but once they’re in the quantum kernel’s realm, which a real and persistent altered state, they can do anything they desire, literally.  the strength, force, and discipline of your desire is what causes things to happen in the game.  in quantum reality.  and when players get used to that, they naturally start using it in the realworld, and they pick up on it immediately.  but it has to be something small.

they’re doing open testing at the second dragoncon.  testers start popping up in two places at once.  on security cameras.  because…the hub of the midway is modeled on the atrium lobby level of the marriott hotel, yeah, one of the hubs of dragoncon.  right.  and when people are in the hub on the midway, they appear in the atrium of the marriott, in their avatars.  maybe as ghostly shapes, maybe as solid objects.  maybe practicing wacky things with gravity or acceleration.  when the boy and girl go to test the cloud level that night at dragoncon, they find open testers all over, building shit in the clouds.  okay, that’s good.  just popped out, just like spitting out another baby.

that’s not small, however.

jim said something when i asked this question earlier.  when the boy and girl are telling people about their experience and their quantum powers the next day, and they’re asked to demonstrate, they can’t.  no, that’s not it.  when they’re asked to demonstrate, they immediately do something spectacular, but very fast.  a lot of people miss it.  and they try again, and nothing.  it seems the more they try, the harder it is to do.  it’s not something that can be ordered, or that the left brain can make happen.  it’s spontaneous, linked to genuine emotions, flow.  you can’t cause flow with your rational mind, you can only relax into it and allow it.

so they realize they have to teach how to allow it, so they mash up magic and yoga and the force and the bene gesserit teachings and lots of newage stuff, and start teaching it as philosophy and martial arts and healthcare, as well as selling it as a comic book and a game.

so what really happens in the vision?  the garden of eden sequence is fine.  but once they go out into antarctica to make their game, that’s all different.  all my current version is doing is prefiguring the action to come, so i can just split it up and redistribute it.  but what they see in their vision is how the game is supposed to make people accept the reality of the quantum universe and take their places in it.

they go thru the lessons themselves, the 7 levels of physics/philosophy/reality from animism to god consciousness, the 7 quantum skills from mind-reading to manifestation, the 7 levels of civilization from the isles to the gamburtsevs.  then they can answer the question (what is the meaning of the game).

but how to tell this as a fairy tale?  in the first level they learn the first skill and the first mindset?  a long complicated fairy tale?

maybe their bodies don’t work, or go right thru things. they have to learn to make the grass grow and talk to animals so they can eat (consciousness, energy building ring 1 isles animism) then build shelter and make fire (levitation, concentrating energy ring 2 mountains goddess).  they become more real (manifestation ring 3 lowlands xian) with every lesson learned.  they look outward for something else to interact with (entanglement ring 4 wilderness classical).  they master their environment (action at a distance ring 5 hinterlands relativity).  they learn their limitations (self consciousness ring 6 hell quantum).  they accept themselves (god consciousness ring 7 gamburtsevs god consciousness).

this can be worked into a coherent little story.  but it was awful to present to jim just now.

so how does it go as a story? at each ring they ask themselves if they have the answer, and it’s a different answer each time.  they don’t split up in their vision.  they don’t fight.  there’s no violence, no cheating, no resistance to the message.  if they get distracted the flow fails and things get sick.  the colors gray out as the story goes on, with stark black and white in hell and wireframe in the gamburtsevs.

neolithic: among barren rocks they are like babies and have to coax the environment to help them.  they interact with winds and water and seeds and finally with great effort establish contact with animals who help them and feed them until they can form weak bodies.

viking: in harsh mountain forests and on cold deep seas they compensate for their childish weakness with psychokinetic muscles, concentrating energy to build ships and buildings and make fires.

medieval: in pastoral villages and small port towns they attain their full strength and opacity, and develop the ability to manifest, as other players appear to fill out the other roles.  they find themselves entraining other players, hampering their gameplay with interactions.

golden horde: over vast areas of uninhabited piedmont and estuary they avoid the growing crowds for a time, developing a sense of where all the players are.  they become aware of everything in the game world.  their powers enhance their appearance and confidence, exaggerating their strength.

hinterland: in rich and productive lands being steadily encroached upon by the big city, they organize the following crows and teach them how to harness their wills as best they can.  but the crowds are mesmerized by them and can only be controlled weakly.  their appearance hardens and lumps up, shrinking slightly as they tire from the effort.

hell city: in dark, dirty and crowded city of extremes they and all the droids they command are no match for the powers that be, and they resist as best they can, within the system and against it.  they continue to spread techniques for self-mastery / quantum powers, even tho tptb are winning.  their appearance ages and weakens as their powers are exhausted by fighting tptb and watching their people suffer.

gamburtsevs:  in an electronic mountain range they stand alone to fight the boss enemy.  they face themselves as they were in the garden of eden – young, spoiled, innocent, stupid.  then they are those younger selves, facing caricatures of their old selves in ridiculous ill-fitting fantasy getup. ready to fight to the death.  they decide this is a silly idea, and put the weapons down, and embrace.

the embrace makes them all explode, and they see that they are all one, and there is no time or space, and they create the entire universe in their own minds.  the angel appears to ask the meaning of what they’ve just been thru and they answer.

how’s that?

***

i’m working it all out on the blog today.  and then i’ll transfer the main chunks to my document where i usually do it the other way around.  i just started here today and never made it back to the outline, because i need to split it up again and amn’t really ready to tackle that.  plus these ideas came up this morning.

and then i’ll do some work on it, and come back here with it all chopped up into panels and pages for illustrating.

teh gema antarctiQ

i’m pretty chuffed.  i finally sat down and put the very first chapter into some sort of graphic-friendly form.  i’ve been ignoring the first chapter for awhile, because i originally saw it all at once, and it served as the metaphor.  but then today i saw it as a graphic chapter, and it all flowed out like this.

and i’ve got a provisional name, too.

Teh Gema AntarctiQ

part 1

chapter 1, the fairy tale
places:
realworld, at dragoncon, on the roof, in a vision of a videogame of the garden of eden in antarctica, in the stairwell.

note: this chapter should be entirely graphic, with as little narration and dialog as possible.

location: longshot of atlanta at night, centered on a dragoncon hotel roof with 2 small figures lounging on top…the late-night revelry of 10,000 partiers 45 floors below can be felt and heard on the roof, but a couple of stars are visible, the wind is cool, and the boy and girl are alone, relaxing and talking casually before the large quantities of various recreational substances they’ve ingested kick in…they slump into a vision together:

box – dragoncon…atlanta is overrun by fans…anything is possible.

sfx – noises of partying and commotion from below shake the building.

location: flying above the game of antarctica…a wireframe hand with fairy wings comes out of a tiny cloud and sprinkles the boy and girl with pixie dust…the hand (khalil gibran) sends them flying off toward the second star on the right. (monochrome image riffing off john and michael combined with ET over the moon)

box: second star on the right…straight on till antarctica.

location: in space approaching star. the star resolves into a ball with a fractal-looking outline on it, resembling a logo. closer still, it becomes a white planet with colored stripes, the details obscured by clouds. even closer, and they can see islands and a small continent. the colored stripes suggest the figure of a person. they land on a cloud.

location: longshot above the garden of eden, a fiery angel (with a wireframe hand) joins them on the cloud and gives them powers just like his, powers of an expanded will.

location: longshot above antarctica. the angel shows them game antarctica, a videogame played by the whole world, with infinite things to do and unlimited roles to play. the angel tells them all the hacks and cheat codes.
the angel shows them 7 levels of reality (animism, goddess, xian, newtonian, relativistic, quantum, god consciousness),
the angel shows them 7 quantum skills (movement, knowledge of all things past present and future, knowledge of thoughts and intentions of others, teleportation and time travel, action at a distance, manifestation of thoughtforms, consciousness),
the angel points out 7 rings that make up antarctica, each colored differently, where they will learn different ways to create, and name, and nurture, and guide, and share, and preserve, and pass on the essence.

boxes: where necessary

location: the garden of eden. the angel watches in dismay as they spend all their time playing games with universes they have created. the angel turns off their games, tells them that they’ve got better things to do with their powers, and promises they can have the key to the garden when they can answer a simple question:

bubbles:“what is the essence of the game?” they look at him and say, “huh?” and offer a shallow response. “to win,” says the boy, and “to learn,” says the girl. the angel clarifies, “what is behind that curtain?” they look at each other this time. “what?” the angel tries to be more specific. “answer yes or no.” they are baffled. “huh?”

location: at the gates of the garden of eden. the angel loses his temper and kicks them out of the garden. the boy looks back to see the angel quenching the fiery sword in a rock, and the girl notices a feather dropping from the angel’s wings, and they steal back to get them.

location: outside the gates in antarctica. they set out to wander antarctica and do what they like with it, and halfheartedly create a few superficial things, but the angel doesn’t notice, so they lose interest and forget their quest to figure out what the game is really about. the boy goes off to find the meaning thru striving (asserting his inner authority); the girl searches for understanding but goes off on tangents (accepting outer authority).

location: extreme longshot of the game as a big map of antarctica, with miniature figures. they boy fights everyone he meets, and wins because of his magical sword. he grows rich and powerful and becomes the king of the game. in time, because he takes everything for himself, his lands become despoiled and his people sickly. the girl helps everyone she meets with her magical feather, and grows beloved and respected as mother of all. tho she has nothing and gives of herself to everything, her lands and people grow rich, but because she is obsessed with her quest, her people become bloated and idle. the boy is detested behind his back and the girl’s endless search for meaning is belittled by her people. the boy begins making demands and conquering the girl’s lands and people. the girl gives him what he seeks and continues searching for meaning, ignoring him. he gets angry.

location: a windswept grassland border area in the game. he masses his armies on her borders, imposing and bellicose. finally taking notice, she grows frightened for her safety, but goes to face him alone. they talk; they disagree. they fight. he attacks her; she waves her feather, and his weapons grow heavy, bend, and root into the ground. his soldiers disappear among the branches. the boy and girl fly away, screaming at each other. the sky grows dark.

location: on top of a stormy mountaintop in the game. the boy and girl stand alone against each other in the howling wind and rain. they are old and tired. they feel ridiculous in their fairytale getup. they see beneath the masks to the young lovers they used to be and their hearts soften. they have missed each other. he is sorry for all the fuss. she’s sorry for not taking better care of him. they embrace, and energy builds up between them until their synapses overload and they explode in bliss.

sfx: explosions of bliss and synapses.

location: in the clouds above the game. they see the duality of all things, and the oneness of all things…in the light, as the feeling fades, the fiery angel appears and asks them the answer to the question…but during his wanderings, the boy did not find the answer to the question about the game’s essence. he concentrated on what he understood to be the essence of any game – winning…the girl did not find the answer either. she looked for the game’s meaning in symbols and analysis, and thought that the essence of a game must be the gameplay.

bubbles: after the bliss, he understands the essence as experiencing, not competing “(the essence is self mastery (I…))”, and her understanding comes from communion with others “(the essence is cooperation (…can’t do it without YOU))”. they answer, “binary/qunary/yes.” the angel asks, “what does it mean?” they answer that “they are really one person.” that “everything is one, or else it’s nothing.” and “love is all you need.” “everything/nothing/me/god/yes.”

sfx: they give voice to all possible meanings at once, and the answers combine to create light, which whites everything out in bliss.

location: the bottom of a stairwell at their dragoncon hotel. when they awake, it’s the next morning and they’re lying in a stairwell looking all the way up thru the railings, feeling sick…they find a feather. the girl goes to pick it up but the boy criticizes her because it’s from a filthy pigeon and is probably diseased. she pockets it when his back is turned. they get a text message from the angel:

box: “cre8 teh gema antarctiQ. t’ch hte Sns 3*7. fthr/sord”

location: a computer-filled basement in the realworld, lit by multiple monitors, a tech reviews a clip of security footage, showing the boy and girl materializing into a stairwell. he passes it on to his superiors.

 

author’s note – editing the chapter outline

first you build it up, then you cut it down.

my kid tried to quote me this:  editing is when you cut out all the good parts.

i think it was a misquote, but i thought it was funny.  if a part’s really good it will creep back in somehow.

so i had this long preliminary outline, which i published about a month ago (whatever), and have since then been filling out.  i’d sit and muse on an aspect of the plot, or the characters, or how they developed individually thruout the story, or how the background changed, or what level 3 looked like.  and when i was finished sketching it out, i would scroll thru the chapter outline until i found where it went, and put it there.

i am forced to save after every operation because i’m on a linux box and my libre office writer is unstable.

after doing this for a couple of weeks, i had a horribly unwieldy document full of conflicting sketches.

which i saved as chapter outline 2, and am now consolidating.  i’ve been doing it for about a week.  at first it was daunting.  and then i got used to the flow of it, and then i could begin to see how threads wound thru the story, and then i could see the beats and timing of the threads, and then i could see the parallels in action between the threads.  and now it’s starting to make sense to me.

i’m still a long way from being able to show it to jim and get him to think up visuals for it.

first i have to standardize the chapters.  where are they, in the game, in the realworld, in the development studio, at dragoncon?  what does this level of the game or realworld look like, what stage of development is it in (depends on the characters and the storyline), who is playing this level of the game, what scenes are there in this chapter?

right now i’m using color coding.  the various characters’ progress thru the game (the boy and girl, the alpha testers, ex-kurt, snake and fairy, the beta testers, the real players), the various levels of the game, the realworld, dragoncon.  the quantum (and other physics) lessons.

i’ve got placeholders for a lot of the things, like the lessons (which jim has asked me about.

the lessons are basically like teaching someone to fly in their dreams.  they’re the tube desire-thing in donnie darko.  the lessons are how to create thoughtforms (tulpas).  the lessons are how to meditate, how to be zenlike, how to do magic, how to love everybody.  jim thinks that this is better shown in pictures than it is written a bunch of prose about, and i agree that lecturing isn’t going to do it.  so the girl is going to become the teacher of the lessons, and she’s going to become madame guru like it or not (she doesn’t), and she’s going to try to pass it on to fairy but she’ll still have a heavy burden to carry around with her (all that devotion is very onerous).  it’s also how to be telepathic, how to do telekenesis, how to travel in time, how to create worlds with your mind.  all this is better illustrated.

and the thing about comic book illustration is that the script has to be a bare minimum of words, and each of those words having an unspoken subtext that helps to convey the meaning.  it’s very visual and very complex, and the words are clunky.

and you may have noticed that i’m not a concise person.  i go on a lot.  i’m going to cut the to-be-drawn scripts down to as small a chunk as i can, and then turn them over to jim, who will distill everything to fit on a 6-panel page.

i still have a long way to go.  yesterday i was only dealing with early act 2, and today i worked my way thru act 3, and now i’ve gone back and put placeholders for the categories i still need to flesh out.

and now i’m tired.

the game as a graphic novel

having just now decided to do the game as a graphic novel, while the rest of the story is in prose, i want to think about how that would work.  how to show the game.  the artwork and style will vary between the bare wireframe engine, the spartan alpha stage, the glitchy art-pass beta stage, and the final beautifully fleshed out game the players experience.  this is no problem, because both jim and i will be doing the artwork.

what does the kernel look like?  it’s a quantum object.  a superposition of possibilities for a start, so it’s probably fractured, the way an astigmatic sees the moon.  is it nut shaped?  does it look like cell division?  how could you see kurt’s presence in the kernel, does it resemble him?

when ex kurt is at home in the game, it’s in wireframe.  is he in wireframe too?  is he pixelated?

the development of the game is skewed from the beginning because of the kernel.  usually the art pass is made before alpha testing.  but in this case the art is delayed compared to the building of the game, and they have to catch up.

when the boy and girl test levels 1 and 2 they’re in block mesh without placeholders and keep changing position.

when the alpha testers go thru levels 1 and 2 the architecture is finished with placeholders, add disorientation (things like a special texture being used everywhere).  props are wireframe, the arcade games are rudimentary and need lots of tinkering and retesting by players, so sometimes they play the same thing over and over with tweaks.

when the beta testers go thru levels 1 and 2 the games have their final artwork but things are still being swapped out and adjusted, sometimes mid-scene.  the games have glitches.  they are very rushed and lots of bugs make it thru to the gold master.

the cloud levels are expansive flat areas with fog.  thumbnails of horizontal level / !n worlds can be visible in the background.

at go-live, the game is magnificent.  the kernel has been making adjustments to the final art and it’s spectacularly detailed and lifelike.  the walker and viewer (glove and glasses) give feedback that wasn’t designed but that comes from the kernel and the energies being produced by the entanglement of the millions of players that have join the game.

when the boy and girl join forces and leave the game thru a black hole, the game becomes an order of magnitude more real.  players can smell suddenly.  colors are brighter, images are sharper, sounds are more intense.  players get hungry.  sex is a blast.

when the kernel is destroyed, the game goes black and cold, and nothing moves.  it freezes over.  the girl, trapped in the game, gets so cold she lapses into a coma inside her avatar.

when the first players come back into the game thru sleep or meditation or imagination, it has a filmy, obscure quality, and sounds are muffled.  everything is fuzzy and unformed.  as more players return, the gameworld grows sharper and more substantial, until it’s more real than the game as hosted on computer, and more dreamlike, in that more skills are available and almost second-nature to learn.

when players build their own worlds on level !n, they are all different, in every different artistic style and scope, finished and neglected, created using varying levels of competence and variously stable substances.

***

antarctica. the boy and girl arrive in antarctica along with the testers and the live players.

ring 1.  they all arrive at once, and the background is dramatic and the effects are realistic and the avatars are way cool and mostly freshly from wardrobe.  they wonder why it’s all bare rock and fear there’s not going to be enough to go around, a nascent movement toward violence and coercion, and the boy and girl intervene to teach them about cooperative germination.  they invent a tradition to teach the best way to be mindful and together. players have very few props and few options in their personal environments, the grinds are to satisfy their basic needs.

ring 2.  taiga and tundra, meadows and birch forest.  the avatars are more in the spirit of the game, homespun and skin, fashion touches of fur and bone.  the boy and girl try to stay in the background, but players ask them questions all the time.  they have a glow about them.  the boy decides to transform the tendency to fear-based gameplay thru using it, harnessing it and transmuting it to quantum energy, so he plays pirate and teaches quantum techniques used to dominate and gain loot.  the girl decides to embrace the role of teacher, and acquires experience in all the ways to use quantum skills.  players use basic skills in innovative ways and learn advanced skills involving props.

ring 3.  gently rolling, fertile and well watered lands, shallow and fish-filled waters, rudimentary communication between isolated communities ready to be organized and connected.  the boy does this by conquering and then having to run everything, the girl does this by helping to build networks of independent centers.  players explore a few daily grinds and have to use props in multiple objectives.

ring 4.  vast plains with little arable land but an abundance of migratory wildlife and wandering tribes, at the end of which are impenetrable mountains and rumored fertile shores.   the boy foments a war between the tribes and eliminates one foe after another until he controls them all, at the expense of a way of life.  then he goes after the shoredwellers and their rich stores.  the girl builds another network of tribes and links them to ring 3’s network in the beginnings of a meta-network.  players explore lush but distant landscape with limited props, as well as limited and spartan personal environments.

ring 5.  mountains and fiercely disputed valley kingdoms offer mineral wealth but little food, and the boy struggles to control jealous and bellicose subjects and makes raids on the outskirts of ring 6.  the girl fails in her attempts to break thru the suburban stupor of the inhabitants, and has to settle for teaching the tactics of resistance to refugees from ring 6.  players explore a limited variation of personal environments and ‘mass-produced’ props, as well as alternatives to the daily grind.

ring 6.  a mega-city, with a vast port, endless industrial areas, massive skyscrapers, huge slums, dirty and crowded and expensive, loud and irritating, brazen and sleazy.  the boy owns vast corporations and vies to become the most powerful player ever.  the girl has a breakdown trying to rescue so many pitiful creatures by herself.  players explore all varieties of city life from homeless sewer dweller to penthouse ceo.  there is no end of zone configurations, daily grinds, textures and props in this ring.

ring 7.  the incomplete wireframe architecture of the gamburtsev mountains, a natural amphitheater in which the boy and girl act out their final drama visible to all players everywhere.  they explode and implode and leave a black hole in the middle of the ring, connecting it to level !, which kurt then explains is the new exit of the level.

***

what’s this got to do with a graphic novel besides describing the background and not even the basic activities?

in the first ring we watch how people come ashore, we learn how little prepared they are for an influx of people, we see the boy and girl discuss the problem, we see the people panic, we see the boy and girl step in and explain, we see the girl teach, we see the boy consider the problem of fear and violence.  we see the boy and girl have an accident and watch the girl die and reincarnate back in the water before the first ring.  she swims ashore and looks for him, then gets swept away in a storm.

in the second ring the boy is a swashbuckling pirate, so we see raiding and fighting and killing and capturing and amassing booty.  we see the girl learning all she can about expressing quantum skills so others can learn them.  she writes a manual, she consults wise npcs.  we see them meet in the middle.  he attacks her ship and she dies, landing in the water in the beginning of the first ring.  she summons help and speeds to the second ring, where she asks pointed questions about the spirit of the game.

in the third ring, the boy is head of a flotilla of privateers, and raids rich towns, so we see chases and close-up mayhem in quaint old fashioned port cities and market towns.  the girl runs around to all the hamlets and points out the benefits of organizing a network.  they meet in the middle when he ambushes her party, she yells at him, and he kills her because he feels like it.  she incarnates on the leaky boat and flies for awhile until she falters and lands back in the third ring, but he’s already gone.

in the fourth ring, he hunts the mighty beasts, he conquers band after band of roving tribes, he subdues the rich shores, governing the whole region from horseback. she exposes and runs off developers and poachers and runs a whole ecosystem of wildlife being despoiled by overuse and pollution.

in the fifth ring, he runs a mob operation and gradually corners all the services and organizes a criminal underworld that works in the sixth ring.  the girl rides in a beat up car, works as a waitress, bangs her head against the wall trying to talk sense to the zonbies in this ring, struggles to pass on her message to the few who will listen.  she thinks maybe the boy’s methods might be better and questions love as a motivator.

in the sixth ring, we watch the boy run an empire in an expensive suit, witnessing ruthless displays of power and uncaring of the consequences or harm to others.  we watch the girl struggle and fail to make headway against the numbing conditions and incessant messages that run counter to the spirit of the game.  we see the boy and girl have a big fight, and watch the boy kill her in real anger.  the girl incarnates high above the first ring and flies straight back to confront the boy; they decide to spare the sixth ring, and create a way into the seventh ring.

in the seventh ring, it’s just the boy and girl in the wireframe architecture of the gamburtsev mountains.  the boy and girl are huge compared to the mountains.  they argue, then they fight, using their quantum powers.  they can be seen by everyone in the game – the ring hovers in the air above all the players, and can be seen in the clouds in the real world.  they see each other as they have become in the game – overblown, overwrought, too serious, real assholes in the name of their principles and zealots in their defense of what they want quantum to mean.  they realize the fighting is silly and put it aside for more tender feelings.  they embrace and experience a cosmic and sexual union that lasts for eternity and during which they become an explosion of light that contracts into a black hole.  kurt feels obliged to appear as the biblical god to reassure the players and reveal the level’s new exit.

then on level !, after the kernel blows up, we see the girl trapped and freezing.  then we see kurt helping, loosening the damage, rebuilding connections, giving the girl a way to continue her quest.  we see the girl greeting players as they awaken to a new manifestation of gameplay, showing them new skills, forging new links inside them.  we see players creating experimental objects.

on level !n, we see players creating worlds out of cloud and willpower, using their skills to manifest a unique reality.  we see myriad worlds coming into being, and a million games being played on them.  we see these worlds interacting with the real world, and manifesting in the real world.

we see a changing real world, with fear-based systems breaking and fading, pixellating and rusting away in real life.

***

okay, it’s the end of the day, and i’m going to trail off here.

the boy and girl: their differences

things they differ over ring by ring.

in general, you die and come back a lot in antarctica. he deliberately lets her die several times (when they’re hanging out in the latter part of ring 1 in an accident, and at the end of ring 2 when he sinks her ship, and she has to go back to ring 1 every time. so she is late in visiting the other rings, and as a result her people are more backwards and unaggressive, while the boy has been building an empire. so by the time she gets to ring 5, suburbia, the area is already overrun with the boy’s agents (quantum tunneling), people are already mindless and queuing up to become enslaved, and in hell they’re at the ends of their ropes.

when they make their way to the gamburtsevs (ring 7), they are in touch with the kernel, who shows it to them. they unlock a door into the impassable mountains that have cut off communication with the various rings (4,5,6), and enter into the wireframe area built by kurt.

ring 1. (they come together and witness each other’s behavior; he defers to her) self. (very sparsely populated) killing food, taking tools, sharing. he already has a tendency to hoard, so she gives hers away and takes half of his, letting him provide for half the settlement, for which he thinks he should be paid. (she dies in an accident (he’s negligent) and goes back to the entrance island, he joins a ship and leaves, she goes looking for him and gets swept way.)

ring 2. (they’ve split up and don’t witness, each develops willfully) other (sparsely populated) risking own safety, taking shortcuts (ethics), cheating (morals). he’s a bloodthirsty pirate and she’s a nun, horrified and intimidated and offended by him. (they meet in a sea battle, and he apologizes because he’s greedy before sinking her ship and she goes back to the entrance island. she laboriously returns to ring 2 and consults others about his behavior, learning the first tactics of dealing with bullies.

ring 3. (they’re split up, they meet again at the end. she dies again because it’s convenient and she’s annoying. she uses her willpower haltingly to fly back, gets advice (from kurt?)) agriculture (moderately populated). corruption, unfair rules, underclass. cooperation between diverse interests for basic survival, innovation and organization.

ring 4. (they’re split up) animals (sparsely populated) cattle and territory raids, endless plains wars, dongivafuck gang rule. managing ecosystems, equitable distribution, microloans, buying clubs. first appearance of organized religion teaches quantum is heresy. (quantum goes underground)

ring 5. (they’re split up. she dies because his minions kill her. she zips right back.) minerals (moderately populated with dense pockets) many mighty enemies and endless riches with massive loss of life and misery, fanatical crusaders. countering suburban apathy and brainwashing, teaching, swap freecycle. religion teaches quantum is for elite. (quantum for everyone)

ring 6. (they meet and argue. she dies because he kills her. she teleports back instantly.) industrial and corporate systems (densely populated with crowded areas) ruthless plutocracy ruling with hypocrisy, force and shitty attitude. active resistance, building replacement services, occupy. religion teaches quantum is for everybody thru priests. (quantum is self evident)

ring 7. (they fight. they both die and exit the level.) all. (unpopulated) bared emotions and motivations, manipulations and betrayals, judgments and projections. seeing thru division to the underlying unity. religion teaches god’s will / miracle. (quantum is everybody or nobody)

author’s note

i’ve just finished posting my notes on level design, which everything i know about it i’ve gotten from books and websites.  in other words, i know nothing.

so i’ve got lots of questions.

it seems that video games have lots of obstacles, skills, and enemies.  the obstacles and enemies part bothers me.

most of the game is based around learning quantum skills.  and these skills are needed to get thru the game, and they’re cumulative.

but enemies?  obstacles?  the book explained that enemies are obstacles that you fight, and puzzles are obstacles that you solve, and props are obstacles you go around or use, depending.

i guess the enemies are your habits of mind, the things that keep you from fully living in a quantum world.  as such, these enemies are endless.  and how do you fight them in a video game?

in typical games, you collect things, including skills, and fight enemies.  but i’m not fond of the fighting idea.  some sort of contest.  so, you collect things, including skills, and have contests with others that affect your score.  i can deal with it on those terms.

the book says most games like to keep you busy, and ten seconds won’t go by without having the player do or experience something different.  and levels are about 20 minutes long.  they make an exception for mmo games, because i guess of the multiplayer interactions which must take up some of the slack between missions and battles.  and in the reading of the playing of the game, it’ll be easy enough to eclipse the long boring bits when players are traversing the mighty spaces that fill antarctica.

as far as i can figure, the level design book talks about levels in a different way than i do, so maybe i’ve got it wrong.  my levels are massive compared to theirs, mainly because you can go anywhere in one big huge giant level, and your ring is a layer in that level.  so i’m probably being an order of magnitude off.

with that in mind, let me mess with the level diagram one more time.  this time i’m going to break it further down, and start to describe some of the features of each level.

players can interact at will with other players on every level.  there are no social rules.  the only penalties are karmic consequences.  there are a lot of opportunities to practice quantum skills.  every object requires quantum skills, and they seem repetitive (flying and swimming and navigation are all related) but they all activate the movement chakra.  and the practice, under various pretenses, is the point.  the descriptions of what players can do on each level is a sample based on the two protagonists.  there are unlimited options for player choice and game experience, and these options can be taken up at any point on any level, depending on the player’s score.

the tutorial level is level 1.  after picking and customizing their avatar, players learn the functions of their walkers (gameglove) and viewers (hud, mic and speakers for game i/o).  these include walking and other locomotion (feet), grasping and other manipulation (hands), whole body movement, verbal communication.  functions like eating, sleeping, peeing/pooping, and sex are either advanced training or can be figured out on their own.  finally,  players are taught the skill of flying, given a pirate map, and set out with others to find the Island Of Whatever.

players land on a carnival midway, level 2.  it’s a complex level, with 7 main zones, zone 5 being an entrance hub.  the decor is sideshow glitz.  at the hub the level’s lessons are summarized, and players can buy and trade consumer goods.  the other zones teach control of gravity, speed, momentum, angular forces, newtonian physics.  things to pick up?  prizes, stuff, skills, winning games.  after a certain score is reached, players are shown the exit thru a portal

into carneytown, level 3.  it’s a larger level, more freeform, with 7 zones (yet to be designated).  the decor is campground shabby.  the first zone is linear, a choke point with a dead end, maybe a maze, maybe platforming.  after zone 1 there are no obvious demarcations between zones and players are free to wander.  each zone’s lessons augment those taught on level 2.  level 2 is accessible to players on this level, and they return to take advantage of level 2 players for fun and profit.  things to pick up?  loot, stuff, skills, queering the games on level 2, contests with players on both levels.  at a certain score, level 7 is revealed as a wormhole exiting level 3.  gravity changes continuously inside the wormhole.  players struggle to use their flying skills, as well as their physics skills, in successfully navigating the wormhole.  all stuff and loot and riches must be left behind on this level, pile up around the wormhole, and earn a penalty score for the player.

level 4, the horizontal level.  this is an amorphous level, full of fog and clouds.  players use their flying skills to move around.  glimpses thru the clouds reveal many worlds (zones) below.  players learn how to manipulate the fog to create simple shapes, further developing their quantum skills.  they use their concentration and visualization skills in groups to transport themselves to the many worlds, practicing their new skills differently on each world but unable to bring anything back with them to the clouds.  when a certain score is reached, players become stranded in antarctica.  there are no things to pick up, only skills.

level 5.  antarctica, looking just like the layout of the midway and carneytown, but as large as a continent.  the system map shows antarctica overlaid by 7 zones in rainbow colors.  the thumbnail resembles the figure of a human.

ring 1.  zones 1 and 2.  the outer islands.  two main islands, barren, one settlement on each.  players enter the level in a leaky boat, and use their accumulated skills to keep the boat from sinking.  they are overwhelmed, and rescued by a seal who brings them ashore on an island where they recuperate among other inhabitants.  players forage for food and learn cooperation with the land, the weather, the plants, and the animals.  thing to pick up, tools from the boat, handmade implements, clothing, seeds, dried food.  at a certain score, a warship comes by and recruits players to fight alien invaders.  players use their skills to help navigate the ship.  if players decline this invitation, a storm blows up that casts their little boat adrift and they practice their skills avoiding hazards and navigating to shore.

ring 2.  zones 3 and 4.  the fjordsshooter/strategy.  a number of hermits, small livestock camps, and fishing outposts hidden away in the thickly treed coastal mountains.  players who joined the ship travel to transantarctica, a mountainous area where players chase and battle aliens.  alternatively, players learn to navigate a sailing ship using quantum skills, practice skills with the weather and the seas, and battle other ships for loot and stuff.  things to pick up include loot, tools from the ship, dropped weapons and other items from dead aliens.  players who were cast adrift by a storm land on peninsula, heavily forested fjords ranging to lower and richer land with larger settlements, where schools are devoted to in depth study of quantum skills and ethics, also practicing weather and climate skills.  rather than battling aliens, they study their culture for valuable lessons.  at a sufficient score, players depart on a mission to the other side of antarctica.  they go alone, and use their quantum skills to journey, tested as usual by the elements and other obstacles.

ring 3.  zones 5 and 6.  the great riftcivilization management.  peaceful and prosperous fishermen and farmers, organized villages with loose governance, rich lowlands and rolling hills.  players from transantarctica become pirates of the western coasts.  players from peninsula become envoys (missionaries) to the humpback islands.  pirates loot and pillage, and eventually settle and become established traders and governors.  envoys increase organization of scattered villages, eventually settle and become established healers and teachers.  the lesson is about waste, husbandry and management.  how to exit? 

ring 4.  zones 7 and 8. the dry landsecology management.  to the west the land is former shallow sea, now salt desert and steppe where vast herds of wildlife run unimpeded.  to the east the land is low and swampy, where vast flocks of wildlife cloud the sky.  players interact with the delicate balance between resources and demands.  pirates try to collect all the resources and win at the expense of extinctions.  envoys try to juggle conflicting requirements and keep all the species alive.  how to exit?

ring 5.  zones 9 and 10.  the hinterlandslive strategy.  pirates journey to the north, where lies a vast mountainous area inhabited by family tribes in fortressed strongholds.  their lives are hard, and filled with endless fighting between fiefdoms.  pirates aim to become powerful leaders, and unite the tribes for an assault on the rich pickings in hell.  envoys go east to the breadbasket and suburbs of hell, whose farmers are taxed and robbed by the marauders from hell, and whose commuters spend each day slaving away in hell.  envoys work to persuade and organize the downtrodden farmers and simple middleclass droids.

ring 6.  zone 11.  hellshooter?  between zones 9 and 10 is an enormous bay, surrounded by most of the resources of the continent, and a surfeit of inhabitants who’ve come to find their fortunes, or fail in slavery.  it’s an urban landscape with all varieties of situations, stuff, and challenges.  the boy comes to hell as a wall street corporate raider and financial powerhouse who singlehandedly corners the market itself.  his supporters run around and oppress people, being employers and bosses and entrepreneurs, thieves and predators, and winning is a matter of how much stuff a player has.  the girl comes to hell as a left-wing radical, preaching bottom-up powersharing and teaching resistance techniques to the hopeless droids and emphasizing connectedness and good karma as the way to win.  the two groups form political parties and vie for control of limited resources.  because the aliens are sucking the cream off the top, there is definitely not enough for everyone, and the pressure is on both sides to get theirs now.  the challenge is to join forces to fight the aliens, but it isn’t the most likely outcome, since most players are itching for some shooting.  as things get worse, and parts of the city burn, and the army is mowing down citizens, and the outcry can be heard all the way from the outer islands, the boy and girl decide that they cannot allow things to go on this way, and arrange a meeting far from the center of the fighting.

ring 7.  zone 12.  the gamburtsevsboss level.  kurt did not make a level exit, he only slapped something together modeled on log-scale(?) radar image of the mountains..  snake continued with level !, and the boy and girl skipped design and art on this ring.  it is totally wireframe with no textures and no sounds.  all the players can see this level once the boy and girl enter it, and they all stop gameplay to observe it.  the ring becomes visible in the real world at the height of their confrontation.

level !.  heaven.  another amorphous level, a copy of level 4.  players have much better skills now, and heaven quickly fills up with fanciful areas made of morphed clouds.  players practice making and changing, and learn the principles of building and running their own worlds.

level !n.  earth.  a world on the horizontal level, a parallel earth where quantum culture is the establishment and classical reality is considered quaint and misguided.  each player creates their own parallel earth according to their own choices, their karma points, and their abilities, and functions as the god of that world.  players remain in their parallel earths as long as they want, have complete power, and can create, alter, or destroy other worlds at will.

the reason the girl keeps working to organize them is because they’re all playing the game like it was some regular video game instead of the quantum teaching tool it should be.  so she spends all her time trying to educate the players and change the gameplay.  but everybody is more comfortable in a classical setting, so she faces opposition within the game from every side.

this ends up with two tracks, the boy’s track and the girl’s track.  because of quantum kernel, the entire game bends to support the choices they make.  so you end up with pirates versus robin hood.  gordon gekko versus the blessed theresa.  and players follow suit, choosing one side or the other.  whole ranks of character types are created by player choices, supporting one or the other or steering completely away or in another direction from either.

i’m going to have to write about the actual quantum skills to teach. they have to be unique for every level and every ring, and have to build on each other. so this will mean meditations, physical exercises, mental exercises, as well as special powers to develop.

game expierence

as creators of the game, the boy and girl play it as soon as the game engine is working. it’s a quantum kernel game engine, so from the beginning it’s more real than anything currently possible. since it’s so early, they’re playing mainly in their imaginations, and based on their mystical experience on the roof at dragoncon. they already see it as a physical thing, and the basic game engine is something that triggers off their vision all over again, so they don’t care how it looks. and the quantum kernel enables updating at a distance, so when they notice something wrong, it fixes it for them as soon as they add the bug to the database. compared to the other testers, who run around and try everything over and over again, the boy and girl mostly stand around and gaze at things, communicating with the kernel. they are entangled with the kernel. they felt it when kurt finally got the last qubit in place. so when the kernel is destroyed…the girl collapses into a coma. how does the boy’s stronger ego and sociopathology save him from the same fate? because he’s more detached? because he isolated himself by his betrayal and his guilt, and even tho he was opened all the way up when they finished antarctica, his current state is painfully self conscious and ego-driven, and he is acting as god in his own universe. thus when the quantum kernel is destroyed, his private universe buffers him. it pops around him, but does not disconnect him from the whole, the way the girl has been. so the shock is less. he just has a very bad migraine, so he takes the girl to a bolthole and he sleeps for a week using every drug at his disposal.

(ch 7) the boy and girl’s game experience is different than the players. when they start out it’s all wireframe, and most of the lessons and games are placeholders. the alpha role is to trod the paths, open the doors, make sure the walls meet and you can’t see thru the barrier vegetation. but theirs is more basic, where are the edges of the world, where are the doors and do the routes connect the way they should, and where are the hidden intersections with the other levels.

(ch 9) alpha testers see the game with its placeholder backgrounds and loads of bugs. npcs are disembodied voices.

(ch 12) beta testers see rapidly updating backgrounds and textures, and there are fewer bugs (and more malware). npcs are twinkly blurs.

(ch 14) players see a world that is very realistic, with no bugs only viruses, and the npcs are fairytale creatures.

(ch 33) the boy and girl’s exit from antarctica makes the game sharper

(ch 38) the remorting of the game makes it come alive.

the story in 7 dragoncons

this is the plot of a quantum fiction novel partly set in the dragoncon community.  if you’re here searching for dragoncon stuff, maybe you’ll stay and comment on my work.

i separated the story into a series of 7s, and one of them is the cycle of years attending dragoncon in atlanta, the finest gathering of minds in the universe and the golden kernel of the new quantum age.

chapter 2, dragoncon 1

the first dragoncon.  they’ve been going for years.  neither of them could go for the last couple of years, as the job, etc has gotten more onerous.  but now the boy is unemployed and living in his parents’ basement, and the girl just decided she didn’t want to be retail manager and stopped giving 110%.  so they’re at dragoncon, and it’s been awhile, and they’re excited to see so many different things, like how big steampunk has gotten, and so many familiar things, like the artshow stars.  their friends kurt and fairy are there, they know snake vaguely.  the girl attends the costuming and artshow tracks, the boy does armory and gaming, they get a tshirt each and lust after the big ticket items.  the weekend will break their budget for the rest of the year, so the t-shirts will be saved for xmas.  [they try them on once, take pictures.  then later she gives them away, and gives the pictures for xmas, thinking since they were on their bodies once, that is good enough in quantum thinking because you can always go back to that time.  he is pissed because he wanted the tshirt now and until it was stained and torn.  and she’d promised a quilt of old tshirts one of these days.  but she’s a serious quantum-moment head four months after their vision, and doesn’t want to know about heirlooms anymore.]

chapter 8, dragoncon 2

things are going along great, the game’s almost finished, just needs beta testing. interest has grown remarkably, and they have a table in dc-mmo. at dragoncon they’re swamped with requests from would-be beta testers, among which are spies. the alpha testers let everybody know, and hordes line up to be beta testers. the buzz about the game is enormous, and gamers pressure them to go live.  the boy talks to corporate sponsors, the girl gives workshops on the new quantum age, quantum panels appear in several tracks – costuming, silk road (dance), armory (martial art), artshow and market (dc3), science, paranormal, skeptic, eff, game programming, sff lit (dc3 ). kurt does a lot of drugs to clear his head of nonquantum space, and is found at the bottom of the covered hotel pool.

chapter 15, dragoncon 3

so many tracks, so much interest. famous physics speakers, consciousness speakers, new music, new slang, new clothing styles (nano), healing, all coming together in quantum-culture [quantum aesthetics, quantum art, quantum literature, quantum politics, quantum anthropology.] there is a qAnt track now. merchandising begins. the boy and girl get offers; he wants to be rich, she is against it. there is real pressure to go corporate, with tax and accounting and postproduction and licensing, localization, advertising. snake and fairy are for it, he wants to get rich, she wants to make everybody happy.

chapter 23, dragoncon 4

the boy is important and arrogant. he’s moved out of his parents’ house (and out of the girl’s apartment) into a trendy loft and hangs with strippers and singers and drug dealers and hiphop artists and gaming industry legends. he pretends to be running the game, but only sticks around to lead the battles, and leaves all the maintenance work to the girl, who is struggling to keep everything together in her personal life, and is beginning to have health problems. she spends too much time as admin, trying to keep up the testing, trying to fix things that are going wrong because of snake’s sabotage and the boy’s negligence, trying to organize people in the game, as well as being a cheerleader for the mystical and spiritual side of the game. the game is fast becoming an online live strategy game, with alien-hunts in the mountains of ring 2, and the boy’s infernal piracy along the western coasts.

they start to dictate policy, the boy changes things in the game, altering rules and missions, twisting the lessons, identifying and capturing certain types of players.

the boy and girl have a big public fight over the original intentions for the game, all the way back to the text message. she argues for spreading quantum consciousness inside and outside the game, he argues for getting rich so they can do it in the sequels. there is a split in the game.

chapter 30, dragoncon 5

dragoncon is subdued this year because the game has been banned. there are spies everywhere, cameras everywhere; there’s a new security rule that says no face masks, and a lot of grumbling and outright refusal (these are stopped and harassed). track participants are suspicious and quick to throw people out of panels. groups get together secretly to practice quantum exercises and to play the game. people wear symbols and develop signs and codes based on game principles. the boy and girl make an appearance together. they are mobbed, they call for action, the atmosphere becomes defiant, players march on legislative buildings, people openly play the game despite beating and detention. the boy compares himself to robin hood and issues an open challenge. the girl is terrified and goes into hiding.

chapter 34, dragoncon 6

dragoncon comes on the heels of the boy and girl’s spectacular level ending in antarctica, and people flock to dragoncon instinctively, compulsively, gathering with quiet expectation; the power of the gathered multitude dampening the repressions that so ruined the mood at last year’s con. the crowd grows elated as they begin for the first time to think in quantum tandem.

the moment passes and they begin to break up and go home, and the police and army move in to arrest them all. the boy is openly captured and beaten, the girl is unnoticed, in disguise, but is swept up with the others.

chapter 40, dragoncon 7

this year there is no dragoncon. the organizers have been detained, and anybody googling or writing about it on any electronic media is also detained. the game has been destroyed, quantum everything has been made punishable by death, fundamentalist classicists are viciously celebrating.

this year there are a lot of people quietly remembering dragoncon from their cells and their parents’ basements and their minimum wage slavery. because of their quantum game training, they all make small entangled thoughtform minions (that are the essence of ‘i want my game back’) and send them scurrying about their business. billions of minions congregate together and visualize the game. it is a weak thoughtform, born of thoughtforms. but it crackles through to the real world and sends a shock thru the game community before fading out again. and then people begin to actively play the game in their imaginations and in their sleep, hooking in thru their own thoughtform minions. quickly level ! begins to fill up. they still each meet the girl, who has made an infinite run of signed authentic prints of herself.

future dragoncons are held in quantum space, where the hotels don’t fill up.

revised act 2

this is where it begins to get complicated, with many people playing many levels of the game, and the game’s physics interfering with the outside world, which doesn’t like it.

act 2

chapter 15, dragoncon 3

the fans, go-live buzz, level 2 effects in the real world. changes to the game. additions to the team. the boy a rising star, the girl overwhelmed.

chapter 16, the kernel programmer is in the game

kurt lives on in the kernel, and appears in the game when he notices situations that go counter to the principles of the game. he is the mysterious enforcer who appears when they die and counsels them on their gameplay, and players know and fear him or love him, depending.

the press picks up on funny quantum things happening in the real world. the right picks up on it. there is an outcry. they start suppressing quantum things. criticism increasingly shrill, fear of game as it grows in popularity.

chapter 17, playing antarctica ring 1

the boy tires of survival and works to get off the island. the girl interacts with everything. they gradually move from testing to playing the game. at the end of this level they find themselves split up.

chapter 18, game goes viral

level 3 effects in the real world. the fans. changes to the game. additions to the team. spies.

players develop new cultural identity – fashion, slang, music, art, signs, rituals. more quantum events. the game goes viral, millions of online players.

they start suppressing quantum things.

chapter 19, first they ignore you

as the game grows, so do the boy’s ambitions. he is both pope and king of this new quantum universe. girl gets dogmatic and intolerant.

level 3 effects in the real world.

chapter 20, playing antarctica ring 2

the boy and girl work hard at their studies, he’s more interested in power, she’s more interested in oneness. he takes to a life of piracy. the girl studies with the anchorites and fisherfolk and learns about fairy lore from the bards. the boy and girl meet on the high seas and confirm separate ways.

chapter 21, outcry, they approach boy and girl

hysterical outcry, calls for banning the game.

cultural identity suppressed. new laws. demonstrations. beatings/arrests. culture goes underground, resistance tactics develop, more quantum events in the real world. quantum physics is demonized. laws are passed, or brushed off and creatively applied.

chapter 22, playing antarctica ring 3

the boy spends time invading the rich coasts of the rift and inner sea, but becomes involved in governing a settlement, and learns about legal piracy. the girl drifts with the seafarers and shepherds, and learns from the wise women and judges. they meet in the middle of the rift and have a big argument.

chapter 23, dragoncon 4

boy and girl approached by authorities – save game from being banned and surrender kernel. boy agrees, girl disagrees. the boy decides they can be used for his own ends, and cuts them in. big fight. split in the game.

chapter 24, then they ridicule you

demonstrations, police brutality. more people gather. the boy branded a devil. the girl is focused on seeing the game to critical mass and doesn’t care, but the boy decides that he needs to take control of everything because of the threat from them.

chapter 25, playing antarctica ring 4

the boy learns land piracy, cattle raids, train robbery, organizing a loose network of outlaws. the girl works with a rural agricultural population, organizing the healers and wise women, co-ops and markets. snake creates a religion putting control of quantum skills in the hands of the church. fairy and kurt do something, because ring four touches ring 7 and is a focal point. girl and boy’s positions harden.

chapter 26, game banned

game banned, many players arrested. mass arrests in china. informers everywhere. boy and snake work for authorities. suppression of quantum activities. gamers meet in secret, girl goes underground.

chapter 27, informers everywhere, gamers pass it on in secret

the real world and the game world become more entangled. because of the quantum kernel, the game alters itself as more and more people play it and the observer effect gets out of hand and the players continue to write the game.

girl goes underground. gamers meet secretly.

chapter 28, playing antarctica ring 5

the boy organizes the mountain strongholds into warrior state, making raids on hell’s hinterland. the girl organizes schools and alternative healthcare and an underground railroad from hell. the boy and girl continue to hold animosity toward each other, and positions grow bombastic.

chapter 29, out of control

the outcry grows shriller and more frantic. the repressions grow more brutal. the crowds grow and grow. quantum effects become more frequent. more laws, more crowds, more riots, more disappearances.

people use gameskills to challenge authority. they fall back in confusion.

revised outline

i have had the whole last part fall into place in the last couple of days, and it has affected my chapter outline a whole bunch.  i basically had to take notes of what i’d written, which came to me suddenly, and write out a new timeline, then break it into chapters.  i will continue to revise the outline as i begin to see what has to happen.

doing this is like a vision, with the scenes all there in a flash, and if i look closer, dialog and gestures.  it’s like a holograph, it’s like google earth, it’s like fractals, the detail just keeps getting more complex, no matter if you go large or small, backwards or forwards in time.  the simplest time is the here and now, because it’s only a conjunction of waves, whereas the past and future are changing all the time according to countless variations in reality.

*

act 1

dragoncon year 1, cre8y the game

chapter 1, the fairy tale

chapter 2, brainstorming the game

chapter 3, quantum programming

chapter 4, designing the game

chapter 5, quantum kernel

chapter 6, cre8y the game, boy and girl begin testing (lessons)

chapter 7, alpha testing begins (playing themepark levels 1 and 2), shit happens, they notice

*

dragoncon year 2, testing the game

chapter 8, the kernel programmer dies creating antarctica

chapter 9, replacement programmer, finishing the game, clouds level 3

chapter 10, beta testing begins, they infiltrate

chapter 11, the horizontal level 4

chapter 12, more shit happens, they start to get scared

chapter 13, sabotage apparent, game goes live

chapter 14, the kernel programmer is in the game

*

act 2

dragoncon year 3, playing the game

chapter 15, dragoncon

chapter 16, playing antarcticaring 1

chapter 17, shit happens

chapter 18, game goes viral

chapter 19, playing antarctica ring 2

chapter 20, outcry, they approach boy and girl

chapter 21, playing antarctica ring 3

*

dragoncon year 4, shit hits the fan

chapter 22, game banned, protests

chapter 23, playing antarctica ring 4

chapter 24, informers everywhere, gamers pass it on in secret, boy joins them

chapter 25, playing antarctica ring 5

*

act 3

dragoncon year 5, fighting the good fight

chapter 26, fighting, playing in open defiance

chapter 27, playing antarctica ring 6

chapter 28, brutal repression

chapter 29, playing antarctica ring 7

the boy and girl meet in the gamburtsevs for a showdown, reconcile, and implode out of the game, leaving a black hole. the game becomes sharper, the planet brightens, the sun is affected.

*

dragoncon year 6, hell to pay

chapter 30,fema camps

the boy is forced to cooperate with them in their evil plot to take the kernel. the girl is captured and forced to play the game with kurt in a dangerous gamble to create a back door.

chapter 31, kernel destroyed

the kernel is destroyed. the game is broken. the girl is trapped in the game. the planet shudders; for a moment the material world defocuses and resembles the cloud world, level 3. even the sun is affected.

chapter 32, defocus

the world is defocused for a timeless moment, in which a lot of things happen. the girl enters level ! this timeless moment is where level ! is played out.

(the boy rescues the girl and takes her to safety. the girl lingers close to death. quantum things happen in earnest in the real world. people panic.)

chapter 33, playing heaven level !

players begin to play the game in their dreams. the black hole of ring 7 becomes a pilgrimage site and the link to level ! the girl welcomes players as they cross over from antarctica, and teaches them the final set of skills.

(the boy is consumed with guilt, turns to fight them. he cannot win, but they have suffered from the kernel and are disorganized. he assembles a band of crack fighters who can only hope to harass them.)

chapter 34, despair and utter loss

the boy fights valiantly with millions of others, but they are beaten and suffering, and can do nothing as they move in for the kill.

*

dragoncon year 7, then a miracle happens

chapter 35, playing god level !n

the players enter level !n and create the worlds they want to live in. they all feature a quantum reality, they’re all entangled, they all contain the game.

chapter 36, a miracle happens

a miracle happens, critical mass is reached, large scale quantum change occurs as reality shifts into a parallel universe.

chapter 37, epilogue

when the dust clears, they are seen to be weak and in error, and melt away for a time as a new quantum disorder manifests all around. the boy wakens the girl with a kiss, they live happily ever after, and their kids grow up to be mighty quantum superheros in a new magical age of fairy tale pirates. the end.

author’s note

while transcribing copious notes from the yoga of time travel (thanks fred wolfe, i’d like to talk to you if you’ve got a minute, please email me), i was also thinking about my story.  about how we’re all the mind of god and any separation into individual beings is only an illusion, a bit that’s embodied only so god can get outside and have a little fun

god is normally adrift in a spaceless and timeless nonspacetime where everything is possible but nothing ever happens.  then consciousness (god) acts, possibility-waves interact, and suddenly it’s all laid out in front of you (god), the past present and future, and in going along, you develop self consciousness and the ego.  you develop a history and strive for the future and become fully attached to the things you surround your material existence with.  and until you drop the ego, you don’t remember that you are god squeezed into a tiny speck of the illusion of matter.

this is what i really believe.  it all started when i was about eight, and realized that einstein’s theory meant that everything is relative, and that meant it’s not true that there is one right answer to anything.  and then after i was told dogs and cats don’t have souls, i just chucked the whole organized religion thing as a scam, and felt free to believe in reincarnation and magic.  which according to quantum physics is no problem at all and in fact preferable to thinking there’s a daddy god who will punish us if we don’t do it his way.

because we are gods.  in training, and badly trained at that.  but if we are all one, and we are all part of god, then we are all god.  and individually, we all strive to become as close to god as we can, thru whatever means we take,  including the ass-backward ones of failing to learn by your mistakes.  just that being human means having one hell of an ego, and that makes you persist in thinking that you’re apart from god, and that causes fear, and fear leads to error.

***

a note about the characters and the game and the plot.

they are both operating on ego.  they both create a game experience that sucks for them and fucks over their followers.  they both are guilty of leading their minions gleefully into perdition.

they both have to act selflessly toward each other for the magic to work properly, and they’ve both been resisting all along.  when they realize this, everything transforms.  first, it transforms them.  later about that.

this transformation has effects on every level of the game.  it filters out all sorts of patterns (player’s actions and movements have been leaving trails in the game, squared possibility waves which generate probability-curves.  huh?), and generates a clearer, sharper, more real game world.  skills are easier to learn, and seem more obvious, players experiment more and develop more concrete skills they then use outside the game in the real world.

the transformation also affects the real world.  a wave even hits the sun.

and the kernel, when it goes off it affects the game and the real world, and all the players.

do the two occur at once?

after they face each other at the gamburtsevs, they leave a big mark in the landscape.  this becomes a pilgrimage site as their followers cope with their illusions.  it’s also the exit to antarctica, but it didn’t exist until the boy and girl created it.  kurt hadn’t created and linked in level ! before he died.  levels ! and !n were thrown together by snake the replacement programmer from copies of level 3.

does that mean their transformation come before the kernel is destroyed?  once the boy ha’s woken up, he’ll no longer help them complete their dastardly plans.  maybe he’ll have no choice; maybe he’ll have to witness the evil that ego can do.

ah.  i know.  they‘ll be forcing her to contact kurt the now-dead programmer, inside the game, and persuade him to travel back in time and make a backdoor into the kernel, to make one tiny change, whatever.  and because they try to interfere, it sets off the kernel.  so she’s stuck in the game when the kernel blows up.

in the chaos, he’ll escape with her drugged body.  because they‘ll be incapacitated and he won’t???  that’s too simple.

but it means i can transform the boy and girl, and then destroy the kernel.

and then nobody’s playing the game because there are no working copies of the game, because the entangled kernel has blown up in each and every instance of the game.  and the girl’s comatose.  and they’re just about to move to sweep up the whole lot of quantum game players (once they get organized, which the destruction of the kernel has fucked up their operations too).

that’s right, the whole of real reality is now screwed up because the kernel blew up.  and all sorts of quantum things that had been happening – what – stopped? increased?

this is a one-two punch.  first the entire material universe is affected when the boy and girl are transformed.  and then when the kernel blows up, the entire material universe is again affected.  and then when critical mass is reached, the whole thing is affected again.  that’s three times.  i like that.

maybe when the boy and girl are transformed, the real world is made a little brighter and more hopeful, and people forget their differences for a moment.  and when the kernel blows up, there’s a moment when everything turns into the cloud world, or the xian conception of heaven.  but this is a timeless moment, and a lot of it can be held  here.  this is where level ! is.

so.  when the boy and girl are transformed, they leave antarctica.  and when the kernel blows up, they enter level !.  so this bit i’m describing is just one big cut scene.  hahaha.  the real world as a cut scene.

the girl is already on level !.  she meets everybody as they come over, as critical mass is reached.  i guess this happens in their dreams, when they naturally play the game and their fingers twitch and they talk in their sleep.

the boy is too ego-wracked with guilt to enter the game state.  he coordinates the fight against them, while she teaches players how to create the world they want to live in.  slowly the cloud level ! starts to look like antarctica.

while it looks darkest to the boy, as he gives his last strength and fails, and they go for the kill, players are creating their own parallel worlds on level !n, and they’re all linked to each other, and they all contain the game and quantum reality.

and this is when a miracle happens.

***

it’s really cool when the details of the plot appear to me just as i’m getting there.  it’s – i go along for weeks, with the same vague plot, everything just a few limited buzzwords, things like a miracle happening.

and then, after a lot of nonwork when i don’t think about it,  i sit here on the edge of it and just breathe, and wait until something hooks in.  and then i breathe it out, and it comes flowing into my mind in an image or a scene, something with every detail and yet it’s all in only a fleeting insight.  and then it goes flowing thru my fingers, and you read it here.  it’s really a kind of yoga.  and it’s the exact feeling i’m looking to generate in the reader, the timelessness and creative flow that is the hallmark of quantum consciousness.

in the book i just took notes from, the guy mentions how artists often have this flow of timeless time.  and i’m able to testify to it.  i’ve had moments, working on a painting, when i’ll put down my brush and walk to the sink for a drink of water, and when i’ve come back to the easel 25 minutes have passed just walking back and forth to the sink.  whitley striber calls it missing time, and blames it on the aliens.  i pin it squarely on fairies.

outline: chapter 3

chapter 3, quantum programming

they show the fairy tale to kurt, programmer who is working on a quantum computer in his bedroom. the programmer gets very excited and points out how easily their world could be brought to life.

an entangled kernel would use a minimum of space on any device, and would run on a browser, a cellphone, all standard platforms. a coherent entangled universe would exist both in the individual device and in the overall cloud of the internet. quantum encryption and quantum entanglement would allow for secure, cheat-free playing and transfer of information, potentially bypassing the internet, because the kernels transfer information at a distance –every copy of the game being entangled with every other. quantum syntax as part of a programming language, with equations. examples of geek writing.

quantum effects can easily be simulated on a regular computer, and a quantum computer would be something else again. algorithms can be written that take into account minute differences in keystroke pressure and the energy level of the player, even detecting patterns of thinking. the player exerts quantum effort that can be correlated with actions in the game – learning to fly in the game goes along with the cultivation of a certain gut feeling in the player’s body.

the internal AI determines the player’s real type, as opposed to their chosen type, and gives the player a point score for self-knowledge.

the passage of time differs from level to level and from world to world on the horizontal level of parallel universes, as does most everything else. the time the player spends away from the game will pass inside the game at a quantum-determined rate that depends partly on weather conditions and the positions of the planets, and partly on the wishes and karma of the player, as well as other factors. (an unintended side-effect of the quantum kernel is that avatars age as they play, and that the game changes itself.)

physics.
level 1 is
classical physics, where you learn how to physically control gravity and speed etc.
level 2 is relativity, where you learn the exceptions to and limitations of classical physics.
level 3 is where you start learning quantum physics, action at a distance, telepathy, etc.
the horizontal level is where you learn entanglement, astral movement, etc.
antarctica is where you learn how to change the world
level ! is where you learn how to manifest and create
level !n is where you learn how to be god

what are the general physics lessons from the three disciplines?
classical – amusement park rides and arcade games
relativity – winning for the house (the rudiments of capitalism)
quantum – mind over matter, connection = power

chapter 3, quantum programming
they show the fairy tale to kurt, programmer who is working on a quantum computer in his bedroom.  the programmer gets very excited and points out how easily their world could be brought to life.
an entangled kernel would use a minimum of space on any device, and would run on a browser, a cellphone, all standard platforms.  a coherent entangled universe would exist both in the individual device and in the overall cloud of the internet.  quantum encryption and quantum entanglement would allow for secure, cheat-free playing and transfer of information, potentially bypassing the internet, because the kernels transfer information at a distance –every copy of the game being entangled with every other.  quantum syntax as part of a programming language, with equations.  examples of geek writing.
quantum effects can easily be simulated on a regular computer, and a quantum computer would be something else again.  algorithms can be written that take into account minute differences in keystroke pressure and the energy level of the player, even detecting patterns of thinking.  the player exerts quantum effort that can be correlated with actions in the game – learning to fly in the game goes along with the cultivation of a certain gut feeling in the player’s body.
the internal AI determines the player’s real type, as opposed to their chosen type, and gives the player a point score for self-knowledge.
the passage of time differs from level to level and from world to world on the horizontal level of parallel universes, as does most everything else.  the time the player spends away from the game will pass inside the game at a quantum-determined rate that depends partly on weather conditions and the positions of the planets, and partly on the wishes and karma of the player, as well as other factors.  (an unintended side-effect of the quantum kernel is that avatars age as they play, and that the game changes itself.)
physics.
level 1 is classical physics, where you learn how to physically control gravity and speed etc.
level 2 is relativity, where you learn the exceptions to and limitations of classical physics.
level 3 is where you start learning quantum physics, action at a distance, telepathy, etc.
the horizontal level is where you learn entanglement, astral movement, etc.
antarctica is where you learn how to change the world
level ! is where you learn how to manifest and create
level !n is where you learn how to be god
what are the general physics lessons from the three disciplines?
classical – amusement park rides and arcade games
relativity – winning for the house (the rudiments of capitalism)
quantum – mind over matter, connection = power

plot line summary

here’s what i’ve been working on all day.

plot line summary

dragoncon 1. a boy and girl do drugs and have a mystical experience where they are shown a quantum videogame that will change the world.

the next morning, they tell all their friends and brainstorm the videogame.

they find a quantum programmer, and discuss quantum programming and hint at the possibilities.

they design the game around quantum principles, discussing the complexity and problems.

the programmer builds the kernel while the boy and girl finalize the design, discussing game making.

the boy and girl test levels 1 and 2 while the kernel programmer works on level 3. a technical chapter, discussing the bits and pieces of the levels rather than the aesthetics.

alpha testers start on levels 1 and 2. we see the lessons being illustrated. shit happens in the outside world.

dragoncon 2. lots of interest. the boy and girl test level 3. the kernel programmer dies. the replacement programmer appears.

alpha testers on level 3, the boy and girl test the horizontal level – they’re creating it. replacement programmer learns the ropes; sabotage.

beta testers on levels 1 and 2. we see the social interactions. infiltrators and spies. more shit happens. an outcry.

dragoncon 3. the game goes live.

new players. when the first players play levels 1 and 2, we see the experience. the kernel programmer is in the game, which now builds itself.

the boy and girl play ring 1. so do all the testers and the live players, all at once.  quantum baby steps.

the game goes viral. widespread shit. outcry

the boy and girl play ring 2. learning quantum skills

they approach the boy and girl for the kernel.

the boy and girl play ring 3. learning cooperation

the boy goes to work for them.

dragoncon 4. the game is banned.

protests, the leaders are arrested, new laws, hysterical overreaction.

ring 4.  committing yourself. boy and replacement programmer join forces, sabotage game.

dragoncon 5. open defiance

ring 5.  struggle for the paradigm

dragoncon 6. brutal suppression

level !.  having to be god

ring 6.  overwhelming odds

dragoncon 7. kernel destroyed, girl captured

despair and loss

level !n.  learning to be god

ring 7.  final battle

a miracle happens

dragoncon epilog

author’s note: the game

the quantum videogame

***

when the boy and girl test the first two levels.  it’s a technical chapter, discussing the bits and pieces of the levels rather than the aesthetics.

when the alpha testers test the first two levels, we see the lessons being illustrated.

the boy and girl are testing level 3, the clouds, when the kernel programmer dies.

when the beta testers test the first two levels, we see the social interactions.

when the boy and girl test the horizontal level, they’re creating it.

they go live.  when the first players play the first two levels, we see the experience.

the kernel programmer is in the game, which now builds itself.

the boy and girl play antarctica (ring 1), so do all the testers and the live players, all at once.  quantum baby steps.

game goes viral; outcry

ring 2 antarctica.  learning quantum skills

boy and girl approached

ring 3 antarctica.  learning cooperation

game banned

ring 4 antarctica.  committing yourself

open defiance

ring 5 antarctica.  struggle for the paradigm

brutal suppression

ring 6 antarctica.  overwhelming odds

kernel destroyed, girl captured

level !.  having to be god

despair and loss

level !n.  learning to be god

ring 7 antarctica.  final battle

a miracle happens

outline: chapter 2

brainstorming the game

they quickly write down what they remember of what the fiery angel showed them, and the details of what happened to them on their quest. and the point of it all, and the riddle. they draw a map. they show the text message to their friends, they explain their experience, and they all get together to brainstorm a quantum videogame.

an open source game, so anyone can add modules and make modifications. a combined game that caters to everybody – a free to play, online, massively multiple, emergent, shooter, strategy, adventure, driving, non-violent, exploratory, role-playing party and puzzle game. the idea is for as many people to play the game as possible to achieve quantum critical mass.

money to run the game comes from quantum skimming of transaction fees and stock market activity worldwide, so who cares about income except to keep up appearances.

skills are learned by the player, rather than belonging to the avatar, and possessions don’t transfer between most levels, so there isn’t much to trade or sell.

a voluntary set of guidelines instead of rules governing players’ behavior. a game that rewards cooperation and inclusiveness, and where your own karma dishes out the punishment for your sins.

karma is a hidden tally of each character’s actions and the other players’ reactions. karma can be good or bad (plus or minus) points. possessions are positive in the level, but count as a negative when you change levels.

players have unlimited lives, and the more advanced ones can choose when and where and even who to be reborn as.

karma/health is directly connected to empathy, things done for others, and connection to other players. the karmic score is decreased by unkindness, abuse, cruelty, cheating, theft, violence, waste, selfishness. karma is returned directly and down the line by npcs, who treat the player in a like manner, and adjust the mission difficulty to reflect the karmic score. karma can be increased by learning your lesson, moderating your behavior, doing favors unasked, helping other players. under these conditions, karma bonuses can alter the fortunes of the player, sometimes thru agents from levels ! and !n.

places also have karma/health points which affect players both directly and subtly.

players’ avatars change to reflect their karma/health status, as well as their social/political/economic status. quantum skills are invisible. karma shows in the characters’ avatars.

connectedness is a measure of good karma. evil people/actions are isolated to the point where they have to be god. connected people get to share the powers and duties and burden of being a god. a lonely god is a crazy god.

players’ knowledge of quantum physics is developed by graduated exercises, starting with a review of classical and relativistic physics. the exercises are designed to produce quantum effects in the game that must be learned and practiced by the player, and your knowledge is tested before you go to the next level. these exercises teach all the principles they were shown in their vision.

author’s note: revised plotline

so i did up another one today.  i took all the stuff i’d written and forced it to fit in the chapter structure, and then moved it around a bit.  there’s still a chunk that needs figuring out, but it’ll get there.

act 1

dragoncon year 1, cre8y the game

chapter 1, the fairy tale

chapter 2, brainstorming the game

chapter 3, quantum programming

chapter 4, designing the game

chapter 5, quantum kernel

chapter 6, cre8y the game, boy and girl begin testing (lessons)

chapter 7, alpha testing begins (playing themepark levels 1 and 2), they notice

 

dragoncon year 2, testing the game

chapter 8, the kernel programmer dies

chapter 9, replacement programmer, finishing the game, clouds level 3

chapter 10, beta testing begins, they infiltrate

chapter 11, the horizontal level 4

chapter 12, more shit happens, they start to get scared

chapter 13, sabotage apparent, game goes live

chapter 14, the kernel programmer is in the game

 

act 2

dragoncon year 3, playing the game

chapter 15, dragoncon

chapter 16, playing antarctica ring 1

chapter 17, oops

chapter 18, game goes viral

chapter 19, playing antarctica ring 2

chapter 20, outcry, they approach boy and girl

chapter 21, playing antarctica ring 3

 

dragoncon year 4, the shit hits the fan

chapter 22, game banned, protests

chapter 23, playing antarctica ring 4

chapter 24, informers everywhere, gamers pass it on in secret, boy joins them

 

act 3

dragoncon year 5, fighting the good fight

chapter 25, playing antarctica ring 5

chapter 26, fighting, playing in open defiance

chapter 27, brutal repression

 

dragoncon year 6, hell to pay

chapter 28, kernel destroyed, almost nobody playing antarctica ring 6

chapter 29, girl captured, fema camps

chapter 30, playing heaven level !

chapter 31, despair and utter loss

 

dragoncon year 7, then a miracle happens

chapter 32, playing god level !n

chapter 33, playing antarctica ring 7

chapter 34, a miracle happens, critical mass

chapter 35, epilogue

***

my real issue is the intertwining of levels ! and !n with the action on the outside world and while still playing levels 6 and 7 in antarctica.  i’d love to know what somebody else thought about it.

today i contacted the publisher of the author of delver magic, a web-published book of great reputation.  i’m not looking for a publisher, i’m looking for people who are interested in quantum consciousness as a new paradigm.  as i always do when looking for something, i talk to everybody about it.  that’s how i got most of my cool apartments, and loads of other things.  so this is just one more instance.

like they said in that reiki course i did once, the energy knows where to go, just put it out there and get out of the way.

 

author’s note: ta-dah one plot

i’ve got the plot down, featuring all the levels and rings and the many seven things.

 

act 1

dragoncon year 1, cre8y the game (level 1 – midway, ring 1 – islands, skill 1 – xxx )

chapter 1, the fairy tale

chapter 2, brainstorming the game

chapter 3, quantum programming

chapter 4, designing the game

chapter 5, quantum kernel

chapter 6, cre8y the game, boy and girl begin testing (lessons)

chapter 7, alpha testing begins (playing themepark levels 1 and 2), they notice

dragoncon year 2, playing the game (level 2 – carneytown, ring 2 peninsula / transantarctica, skill 2 – xxx )

chapter 8, the kernel programmer dies

chapter 9, replacement programmer, finishing the game, clouds level 3

chapter 10, beta testing begins, shit happens, they infiltrate

chapter 11, the horizontal level 4

chapter 12, more shit happens, they start to get scared

chapter 13, sabotage apparent, game goes live

chapter 14, playing antarctica ring 1

 

act 2

dragoncon year 3, xxx (level 3 – clouds, ring 3 – ronne, salt sea / adelie, skill 3 – xxx )

chapter 15, playing antarctica ring 2

chapter 16, game goes viral

chapter 17, outcry, they approach boy and girl

chapter 18, playing antarctica ring 3

dragoncon year 4, xxx (level 4 – horizontal level, ring 4 – gronning maude, mary, schwabia / wilkes, skill 4 – xxx )

chapter 19, game banned, protests

chapter 20, playing antarctica ring 4

chapter 21, informers everywhere, gamers pass it on in secret, boy joins them

 

act 3

dragoncon year 5, xxx (level 5 – antarctica, ring 5 – enderby, prince charles / elizabeth, margaret, skill 5 – xxx )

chapter 22, playing antarctica ring 5

chapter 23, fighting, playing the game in open defiance

chapter 24, brutal repression

dragoncon year 6, xxx (level 6 – level !, ring 6 – hell, skill 6 – xxx )

chapter 25, kernel destroyed, almost nobody playing antarctica ring 6

chapter 26, girl captured, fema camps

chapter 27, playing heaven level !

chapter 28, despair and utter loss

dragoncon year 7, xxx (level 7 – level !n, ring 7 – gamburtsev, skill 7 – xxx )

chapter 29, playing god level !n

chapter 30, a miracle happens, critical mass

chapter 31, playing antarctica ring 7

 

epilogue?

chapter 32,

the dragoncon cycle

i’m now figuring out the dragoncon cycle of the years here.  as i’m quickly finding, it has to be a seven year cycle.  there are seven levels, and seven rings, and seven islands on level 1 and seven lessons / quantum skills.  and there are loads of reasons for having seven as such a magic number.  in fact, its binary equivalent is 111, which is three levels fulfilled – so that the next thing after that is a brand new level a whole magnitude greater.

the first dragoncon is where they have their quantum game experience.

in the spring/summer before the second dragoncon, they built and test the kernel and start building the levels.  the first beta testers start.  realworld quantum events begin happening.  they  notice.

at the second dragoncon, the kernel programmer is found dead.  the replacement programmer joins.  the buzz about the game is enormous, and gamers pressure them to go live.  they realize the kernel is helping them create the game, and speed things up.

as pressure from them increases, they decide to go live in the months before the third dragoncon.

by the third dragoncon, there is a track devoted to the game, which is a runaway hit all over the world, spawning its own culture overnight.  the authorities ban the game and begin suppression of quantum activities.

i haven’t thought ahead of that.  how many years can the suppression go on?  just look at how long it went on / is going on / will go on in egypt and tunisia, syria, and russia, ireland, and here.

what would the fourth dragoncon look like?  the game would be banned, there would be informers everywhere, and secret gamers would meet to pass on the game.

by the fifth dragoncon they would be playing the game openly at dragoncon, defiantly, with brutal repression of players.

by the sixth one, all hope would be lost, and there would be practically be nobody playing at all.  the kernal would have been destroyed, and everybody would be locked up.

but during the sixth dragoncon, a miracle would happen, critical mass would be reached, and the power of the mighty would crumble to the dust as the power of consciousness stepped in to create a new and better world.

the end.

outline: chapter 1

the fairy tale

the boy and girl arrive together in the garden of eden. a fiery angel greets them and shows them around. he shows them antarctica. he shows them both sides of the amusement park. he shows them the clouds where things are created. he shows them the horizontal level and the struggle for antarctica. he shows them seven levels and seven rings. he teaches them seven quantum skills.

then, once they master all these things, the angel looks on in dismay as they spend all their time creating and playing in worlds on the horizontal level. he turns off their games, tells them he’s kicking them out, they’ve got better things to do with their powers, and that he’ll give them the deed to the garden if they find the answer to a simple question – what is the essence of the game – and kicks them out. the boy looks back and sees the angel putting the fiery sword into a rock, and goes back to steal it. the girl sees a feather drop from the angel’s wings, and goes back to get it.

they boy goes on to fight everyone he meets, and wins because of his sword. he grows rich and powerful and becomes a strict patriarch. the girl goes on to help everyone she meets with her similarly blessed feather, and grows beloved and respected as mother of all.

in time, his lands are despoiled and his people sickly, and he casts his eyes on her fertile lands and healthy people, and begins to take them, while his people, oppressed and suffering, begin deserting and joining her cause.

he amasses his armies on her borders. she goes to face him alone. he begins the attack, she waves her feather, and his weapons grow heavy, bend, and turn into trees. his soldiers disappear into the forest.

the boy and girl stand alone against each other. they are old. they have missed each other. he is sorry for all the fuss. she’s sorry for staying away. they embrace, and energy builds up between them until their synapses overload and they explode in bliss. they see the duality of all things, and the oneness of all things. in the light, as the feeling dulls down, the fiery angel appears and asks them the answer to the riddle. the answer is binary. and what is the meaning of this? that everything is one, or nothing. and all you need is love?

when they come back, they’re in a stairwell. they find a feather. the girl goes to pick it up and the boy yells at her because it’s a filthy pigeon feather and is probably diseased. she picks it up in secret. later they get a text message from the angel. cre8 th game, t’ch th Snce, th 3×7. fthr/sord.

jim heard this version of the fairy tale, and immediately thought of jacob and esau.

thru trickery jacob gets the blessing, then is afraid that esau will kill him, so flees. he finds a wife and has to work 7 years. then is tricked and has to work another 7 years. he is very good at managing, and becomes very wealthy and decides to return home. meanwhile esau has taken care of all the things jacob would have done and would rather have spent the time hunting. so jacob prepares to meet esau who has amassed a huge army against him, thinking himself threatened. jacob is scared. he sends a good part of his flock ahead of him as presents, and scatters his family so they won’t all be captured. that night he meets an angel in his dream and they fight. even tho he can’t win, jacob refuses to give up, and in the morning, the angel makes a deal to bless jacob so he can leave. the angel changes jacob’s name to israel. then jacob meets esau, whose heart was softened by the gifts, and they made up, jacob bowing to esau’s leadership.

as to the jacob and esau idea for the basic fairy tale i’ll be retelling my way, it’s sure enough how i saw my two protagonists. even tho they’re enemies, they’re still one person, and the only way to live is to cut the bullshit and get along. that’s the moral of the fairy tale. but it’s not the game, and it’s not some angel showing them around the … oops.

okay. when they get to the garden, the angel shows them around. he shows them antarctica. he shows them both sides of the amusement park. he shows them the clouds were things are created. he shows them the six levels and the six rings (should it be seven? it’s always seven in fairy tales. is 6 more quantum than 7 maybe?) (6 is 110, 7 is 111 so 7 is preferable. there are 7 island groups on level 1…). he teaches them quantum skills. then, once they master all these things, he tells them they will become as gods with the completion of a simple task, and kicks them out.

how does that sound for a fairy tale?

the boy and girl arrive together in the garden of eden, and do a bunch of stuff together, but are soon split up and driven out, each with different tasks.  the angel with the fiery sword gives the girl a feather, and gives the boy a sword, and they’re sent to find the answer to a question (the answer is we’re all one or love conquers all).
they boy goes on to fight everyone he meets, and wins because of his sword.  he grows rich and powerful and becomes a strict patriarch.  the girl goes on to help everyone she meets with her similarly blessed feather, and grows beloved and respected as mother of all.  in time, his lands are despoiled and his people sickly, and he casts his eyes on her fertile lands and healthy people, and begins to take them, while his people, oppressed and suffering, begin deserting and joining her cause.
he amasses his armies on her borders.  she goes to face him alone.  he begins the attack, she waves her feather, and his weapons grow heavy, bend, and turn into trees.  his soldiers disappear into the forest.
the boy and girl stand alone against each other.  they are old.  they have missed each other.  he is sorry for all the fuss.  she’s sorry for staying away.  they embrace, and energy builds up between them until their synapses overload and they explode in bliss.  in the light, as the feeling dulls down, the fiery angel appears and asks them the answer to the riddle.
the reader chooses the ending.  could it be anything other than the boy and girl are one person, and all you need is love?  i can’t imagine another ending, one where strength and macho bullshit win the day, tho i’m sure there is one.
jim heard this version of the fairy tale, and immediately thought of jacob and esau.
thru trickery jacob gets the blessing, then is afraid that esau will kill him, so flees.  he finds a wife and has to work 7 years.  then is tricked and has to work another 7 years.  he is very good at managing, and becomes very wealthy and decides to return home.  meanwhile esau has taken care of all the things jacob would have done and would rather have spent the time hunting.  so jacob prepares to meet esau who has amassed a huge army against him, thinking himself threatened.  jacob is scared.  he sends a good part of his flock ahead of him as presents, and scatters his family so they won’t all be captured. that night he meets an angel in his dream and they fight.  even tho he can’t win, jacob refuses to give up, and in the morning, the angel makes a deal to bless jacob so he can leave.  the angel changes jacob’s name to israel.  then jacob meets esau, whose heart was softened by the gifts, and they made up, jacob bowing to esau’s leadership.
as to the jacob and esau idea for the basic fairy tale i’ll be retelling my way, it’s sure enough how i saw my two protagonists.  even tho they’re enemies, they’re still one person, and the only way to live is to cut the bullshit and get along.  that’s the moral of the fairy tale.  but it’s not the game, and it’s not some angel showing them around the … oops.
okay.  when they get to the garden, the angel shows them around.  he shows them antarctica.  he shows them both sides of the amusement park.  he shows them the clouds were things are created.  he shows them the six levels and the six rings (should it be seven?  it’s always seven in fairy tales.  is 6 more quantum than 7 maybe?) (6 is 110, 7 is 111 so 7 is preferable.  there are 7 island groups on level 1…).  he teaches them quantum skills.  then, once they master all these things, he tells them they will become as gods with the completion of a simple task, and kicks them out.

author’s note: i has a pifanee

this is repeated, before and after the break, because i lost the first post (on the bottom) and rewrote it (below).  just fyi

it came to me in a flash yesterday.  i can save myself a whole lot of level engineering if i have the same layout for as many levels as possible.  and i just saw a way to fit antarctica around levels 1 and 2..

so i’m in the middle of designing a map of the amusement park that looks just like antarctica from the air.  west antarctica, which has the peninsula and the transarctic mountains and marie byrd land, that’s all going to be the midway, where level 1 is.  and when it comes time to cross to level 2, you go thru a narrow little place and cross into east antarctica, where the carneys live.  and you play level 2 on both sides but mainly in east antarctica.

so that’s cool.

there are 7 island clusters in west antarctica, and i have to think of 7 classical physics lessons to learn there.

and on level 2 i have to figure out all the ways which quantum physics subverts these classical ways, or at least, how to rig all these classical ways, how to game them from another perspective.  which i don’t even understand at this point.  never having taken a classical physics course in high school or college.

anyway, i’m very excited, and now i’m figuring out all the things there are to do on level 2, like landscape gardening and grounds maintenance, surveillance, accounting, things like that.  there are a thousand jobs in a theme park.  which ones illustrate the classical / quantum frontier?

i’m working on the map now, but i just figured out the architecture of levels 1 and 2, the carnival.

there are two parts.  level 1 is the carnival midway, where players go on rides and play games.  level 2 is behind the scenes, where the carnival workers are.  there’s only one point of connection between the two, where you can cross from one to the other.

this is the map of antarctica.  tadah.

west antarctica is peninsula, the outer islands and whitmore, transantarctia and down into victoria and oates.  that’s 7 islands.  that’s all the areas where players can go.

and then the entire rest of antarctica is where the staff goes..  and there’s only one place where west and east antarctica is connected.  that’s going to have a sign saying you must be this tall.

this means that i only have to design one big room for the whole thing.  because levels 1 and 2 are antarctica, level 3 is up in the clouds, the horizontal level is antarctica, and levels ! and !n are up in the clouds again.  so all i need is to figure out what to put on each island, and where to put the various areas of the behind the scenes workings of the carnival.

so, west antarctica is the midway, and east antarctica is carneytown.

just like that, another piece of the puzzle slots into place.  i love this project.

testing level 1

this is what i’ve just written about the boy and girl testing level 1.

the boy and girl test level 1.  they choose avatars and fine tune them, then forgo the introduction and the tutorials and go straight to the level.  they fall thru the air from thousands of feet above the clouds.  they test their physical controls, learning how to slow their fall and starting to learn to fly.  they emerge from the clouds over the playing area, a group of islands in the middle of a round lake, surrounded by endless parking lots and pine forests all around.  it’s a theme park, and it’s split into two parts, west and east, and at the moment east is mostly cloudy.  but they can see small houses and trailers scattered about, and low buildings, and laundry fluttering in the wind.  they descend toward the western part of an obvious theme park.  there are booths and rides, a food court, lots of winding paths.  it’s empty but for a few npcs; they are the first to walk on the level.

they steadily comment on their experience, pointing out things to fix and improve.  they change the area into more of an antarctic landscape, with hugely exaggerated mountains on the midway and an almost icecap smoothness in carneytown, where in places you can see the original gridlines.

improvements happen almost as they speak because they are communicating with the quantum kernel.  it’s very convenient to be creating the level by playing it, and it changes the way they continue programming it (this has repercussions for snake’s job).

they split up and play all the games and go on all the rides multiple times, tweaking and getting the effects down.  they interact with the npcs and buy things and accumulate points and finally are invited past the ‘you must be this tall’ sign into level 2.

author’s note: chapter outline

okay.  the first chapter outline is finished, in just a day.  this is only the first of many revisions.

i’ve got 21 chapters.  the first thing i did was to write out in sentences what would happen as far as i knew.  chapter one the quantum experience, chapter two the next day, chapter three designing the game, chapter four finding a quantum programmer etc.

then i went back thru all my plot notes and i started attaching things a thread at a time to this structure.  i did this for the levels of the game, and for the outside world’s response, and for the boy and girl’s relationship, and for all the times i was able to set things into numbered lists, like the rings of the underworld and the ignore, ridicule, fight, win saying of gandhi’s.  i combined them all.

and now i have a thirty page outline sitting there waiting to be gone thru, cut and pasted, rearranged, expanded, written out.

and once i have a good detailed outline, like those you find on three hundred year old novels, then i’ll be ready to start writing.

and in the meantime, i lack names for these characters.  anybody care to suggest any?

okay, the one name i have is for the replacement programmer.  he’s known as snake.

micro-macro entanglement

Quantum cats are hard to see

International team of researchers explain the difficulty of detecting quantum effects

Public release date: 16-Dec-2011

Are there parallel universes? And how will we know? This is one of many fascinations people hold about quantum physics. Researchers from the universities of Calgary and Waterloo in Canada and the University of Geneva in Switzerland have published a paper this week in Physical Review Letters explaining why we don’t usually see the physical effects of quantum mechanics.

“Quantum physics works fantastically well on small scales but when it comes to larger scales, it is nearly impossible to count photons very well. We have demonstrated that this makes it hard to see these effects in our daily life,” says Dr. Christoph Simon, who teaches in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Calgary and is one of the lead authors of the paper entitled: Coarse-graining makes it hard to see micro-macro entanglement.

It’s well known that quantum systems are fragile. When a photon interacts with its environment, even just a tiny bit, the superposition is destroyed. Superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum physics that says that systems can exist in all their possible states simultaneously. But when measured, only the result of one of the states is given.

This effect is known as decoherence, and it has been studied intensively over the last few decades. The idea of decoherence as a thought experiment was raised by Erwin Schrödinger, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, in his famous cat paradox: a cat in a box can be both dead and alive at the same time.

But, according to the authors of this study, it turns out that decoherence is not the only reason why quantum effects are hard to see. Seeing quantum effects requires extremely precise measurements. Simon and his team studied a concrete example for such a “cat” by using a particular quantum state involving a large number of photons.

“We show that in order to see the quantum nature of this state, one has to be able to count the number of photons in it perfectly,” says Simon. “This becomes more and more difficult as the total number of photons is increased. Distinguishing one photon from two photons is within reach of current technology, but distinguishing a million photons from a million plus one is not.”

act 3

back in the real world, the game hits and people love it.  tho it has no corporate backing, it goes viral.  music and fashions change and a distinctive culture grows up right away.  as the game grows, so do the boy’s ambitions.  he is both pope and king of this new quantum universe.  funny quantum things start happening in the real world.  the press picks up on it.  the right picks up on it.  there is an outcry.  quantum physics is demonized.  laws are passed, or brushed off and creatively applied.  demonstrations happen.  there is police brutality.  more people gather.  the boy feels dissed when the dominant culture brands him a devil.  the girl is focused on seeing the game to a position of self-sufficiency (critical mass) and doesn’t care, but the boy is looking to the future, and decides that he needs to take control of everything because of the threat from the dominant culture.

inside the game, lots of players are learning social movement and resistance skills, and more players are working their way to level ! and going off to create their own worlds and recruit their own players.  the outcry grows shriller and more frantic.  the repressions grow more brutal.  the crowds grow and grow.  quantum effects become more frequent.  more laws, more crowds, more riots, more disappearances.

the boy is approached by the other side and decides they can be used for his own ends, and cuts them in.  people use the skills they have been learning playing the game to change the standing of the people.  the dominant culture falls back in confusion, but come back with more force and repression, isolating the rebels and cutting off vital supply chains.

they start to dictate policy, the boy changes things in the game, altering rules and missions, twisting the lessons, identifying and capturing certain types of players.  he discovers the sabotage the replacement programmer inserted into the game and confronts him.  they join forces, blame the engine programmer for the sabotage and call into question the intent and purpose of the quantum kernel.

the girl stands up to him and throws him out, but she is too weak and disorganized, and he returns with backup, leading the call for the kernel’s confiscation because of its vast power, only to try and steal it himself, and in a struggle over a decoherence bomb, sets it off and destroys the original kernel.
the dominant culture is poised to deal the final blow to the resistance, cutting off all outlets, all communications, all supplies, all power, so there is no more game except on individual computers running on batteries or solar, because the internet itself has been shut down.

then a miracle happens.  the quantum effects keep happening in the real world.  the game’s internal communications structures are still intact, and people are still using the quantum skills they’ve developed, and still coming out in force.  but the perception of the masses has changed, and the powers of the dominant culture suddenly shatter because they’re emperor’s new clothes.  so the remains of the dominant culture squeeze itself into their gated communities and fight among themselves for limited resources while the new dominant culture enshrines the new institutions it has developed in response to the repression of the old order., and people quietly create the world they want to live in house by house.

and the story closes by letting the reader choose the ending.

the game: level !n

level !n

players leave level ! when a master gives them their final quest, a three-parter.

players use their quantum skills to create a world with npcs and quests on the horizontal level.

players go thru all the levels helping create other level ! players, intervening in gameplay disguised as npcs.

players go into the real, nongame world and spread quantum thinking, acting as a virus.

the game: level !

level !

not everyone makes it to this level. and of those who do, the creation of a custom heaven is the end of the game. however, masters show themselves to anyone with sufficient mastery of quantum skills, no matter which side they played on in the horizontal level.

this isn’t the fog level introduction to the horizontal level. that was the pale shadow of this one. this level looks like heaven. it begins like fog, but players quickly sculpt it to whatever environment they choose, using their formidable quantum skills. everything is done with quantum skills at this level.

this is the metalevel. the masters live here. they are npcs of ultimate power and wisdom, and welcome players with promises of real and urgent work to be done.

first there is a review of each player’s progress thru the game. the early lessons from levels 1 and 2 are discussed. then the player observes from the clouds the antarctica they have been playing thru, identify themselves in their most crucial moments, watch their development and see how it fits with the growth of other players. masters and players discuss the lessons learned, and make recommendations and choices of lessons still to learn.

this is a training school for adepts. players are here to learn the mastery of quantum rules – advanced quantum magic. communication and storytelling and tv presence. rhetoric and cointelpro and psych speak.. rehistory. the masters teach them how to increase and broaden their game skills into the nongame world as fully realized quantum agents.

the game: antarctica

after a lot of work, i’ve managed to squeeze everything i want to say about the horizontal level into the following description.

players land on one of the islands of west antarctica – marie byrd, ellsworth, or alexander. these start as barren, rocky islands, and players quickly learn survival skills. as players learn to work with earth energies, the islands become habitable, with surprising lush areas. players work with the sun, wind, and rain as well as earth spirits, and develop rudimentary skills in managing weather and growth.

players are free to band with old friends from other levels, and to form any kind of alliance they choose in antarctica. there are no rules.

when the player has reached a certain level of development, it becomes possible to cross the sea to explore the rest of antarctica. various methods may present themselves, including a friendly trading vessel, a band of roving pirates, a volunteer expedition to hunt aliens, a natural disaster, an abandoned boat, etc, according to each player’s profile and proclivities.

players journey by sea to peninsula, whitmore, transantarctica, or victoria. willpower is used to control the vessel’s journey, and skills with weather and water are enhanced by practice.

here players learn how to use their skills to actively develop their chosen area. players that become pirates develop companies of pirates and conduct business with ports and negotiate with kingdoms and become powerful and strong. players that become shamans start clinics and schools and become healers and leaders and their network becomes large and supple.

the earth responds, growing more supportive of the inhabitants and their agendas. peninsula becomes spiritual and open, transantarctica becomes militarized and fortressed. whitmore, in the middle, becomes the great compromise between love and hate – religion, the seat of quantum religion, the utterance of the principles of the eightfold path.

there are the powers of mind of the shamans, and the rulers by force and commerce – the material – of the pirates. they do cooperate, because this is a seat of great learning, where even pirates learn about quantum things.

some shamans use their powers to gain control and power. this is easy in whitmore. some pirates look to share the wealth – be robin hoods. but in general, the two societies treat each other with guarded respect, as pirates grow mighty and shamans grow powerful. they don’t have to face off because each is equally strong in quantum skills. laws are based on verbal contracts and justice is tribal. in conflicts between pirate and shaman, something quantum is done to decide it – or both players get kicked out to their own worlds, something.

when players are finished creating the pirate-shaman civilization, they journey into the interior, either to oates and adelie, or to ronne and coats. here they learn organizational skills, either socialist or capitalist in orientation. they develop networks and negotiate positions and lead missions.

when the players are finished learning these lessons, they journey thry wilkes to elizabeth and mary, or thru dronning maude to martha and schwabia and enderby. wilkes is peaceful and independent; elizabeth and mary are in the hinterland of hell city and have been controlled by hell city for a long time and are struggling to maintain their way of life. dronning maude is desert and steppe with nomadic tribes which players can join, the mountains of martha and schwabia and enderby are full of fortress strongholds and fierce warrior kingdoms where players fight to unite the clans under the most powerful warlord. here both sides learn strategy and negotiation, mind-reading and manipulation, consensus and treachery. all things are allowed, justified only by the player’s morality.

when sufficient progress has been made, the players journey to hell city. from the fortress strongholds, players can ride into the city with their riches and their people and carve out a piece of the corporate pie for themselves, becoming captains of industry and financial market whizzes. from the impoverished countryside, players can move to the city to find work, becoming droids and servants and activists for social change. even those players with cushy jobs and great income are droids, however; tied to the system by debt, they find themselves working harder and enjoying it less. everybody wants more. the conflict boils down to tactics, to the use of quantum skills for a small number against a vastly larger number.

the game is slanted toward those who use their quantum skills for all. and this is a function of quantum rules, rather than simply by design. the more entangled an action is, the more real it is.

so in this ultimate antarctic conflict, the outcome depends on the square of conscious intentions involved. the results of this contest result in the creation of another world, linked back to the fog hub of the horizontal level.

players land on one of the islands of west antarctica – marie byrd, ellsworth, or alexander.  these start as barren, rocky islands, and players quickly learn survival skills.  as players learn to work with earth energies, the islands become habitable, with surprising lush areas.  players work with the sun, wind, and rain as well as earth spirits, and develop rudimentary skills in managing weather and growth.
players are free to band with old friends from other levels, and to form any kind of alliance they choose in antarctica.  there are no rules.
when the player has reached a certain level of development, it becomes possible to cross the sea to explore the rest of antarctica.  various methods may present themselves, including a friendly trading vessel, a band of roving pirates, a volunteer expedition to hunt aliens, a natural disaster, an abandoned boat, etc, according to each player’s profile and proclivities.
players journey by sea to peninsula, whitmore, transantarctica, or victoria.  willpower is used to control the vessel’s journey, and skills with weather and water are enhanced by practice.
here players learn how to use their skills to actively develop their chosen area.  players that become pirates develop companies of pirates and conduct business with ports and negotiate with kingdoms and become powerful and strong.  players that become shamans start clinics and schools and become healers and leaders and their network becomes large and supple.
the earth responds, growing more supportive of the inhabitants and their agendas.  peninsula becomes spiritual and open, transantarctica becomes militarized and fortressed.  whitmore, in the middle, becomes the great compromise between love and hate – religion, the seat of quantum religion, the utterance of the principles of the eightfold path.
there are the powers of mind of the shamans, and the rulers by force and commerce – the material – of the pirates.  they do cooperate, because this is a seat of great learning, where even pirates learn about quantum things.
some shamans use their powers to gain control and power.  this is easy in whitmore.  some pirates look to share the wealth – be robin hoods.  but in general, the two societies treat each other with guarded respect, as pirates grow mighty and shamans grow powerful.  they don’t have to face off because each is equally strong in quantum skills.  laws are based on verbal contracts and justice is tribal.  in conflicts between pirate and shaman, something quantum is done to decide it – or both players get kicked out to their own worlds, something.
when players are finished creating the pirate-shaman civilization, they journey into the interior, either to oates and adelie, or to ronne and coats.  here they learn organizational skills, either socialist or capitalist in orientation.  they develop networks and negotiate positions and lead missions.
when the players are finished learning these lessons, they journey thry wilkes to elizabeth and mary, or thru dronning maude to martha and schwabia and enderby.  wilkes is peaceful and independent; elizabeth and mary are in the hinterland of hell city and have been controlled by hell city for a long time and are struggling to maintain their way of life.  dronning maude is desert and steppe with nomadic tribes which players can join, the mountains of martha and schwabia and enderby are full of fortress strongholds and fierce warrior kingdoms where players fight to unite the clans under the most powerful warlord.  here both sides learn strategy and negotiation, mind-reading and manipulation, consensus and treachery.  all things are allowed, justified only by the player’s morality.
when sufficient progress has been made, the players journey to hell city.  from the fortress strongholds, players can ride into the city with their riches and their people and carve out a piece of the corporate pie for themselves, becoming captains of industry and financial market whizzes.   from the impoverished countryside, players can move to the city to find work, becoming droids and servants and activists for social change.  even those players with cushy jobs and great income are droids, however; tied to the system by debt, they find themselves working harder and enjoying it less.  everybody wants more.  the conflict boils down to tactics, to the use of quantum skills for a small number against a vastly larger number.
the game is slanted toward those who use their quantum skills for all.  and this is a function of quantum rules, rather than simply by design.  the more entangled an action is, the more real it is.
so in this ultimate antarctic conflict, the outcome depends on the square of conscious intentions involved.  the results of this contest result in the creation of another world, linked back to the fog hub of the horizontal level.

author’s note: random bits

i’m working away on describing the video game i’m creating for this story.  and it’s so complex and so actively developing that i’ve gone thru all sorts of stages.  i just figure i’ll cut and paste a few paragraphs from the mess it’s currently in now.

so many things to think about.

you travel not by getting in a physical boat and rowing across the sea, because it’s a computer game after all and you can’t get wet. what you do is concentrate and move along a map, so you have this tiny boat icon and it traverses the map with sound effects – gulls and waves and creaking ropes, or horse hoofs and groaning boards, or crunching gravel or swishing grasses, all the sound effects of a varied world. then when you arrive at your destination, there’s a cut-scene showing a zoom into the map, establishment shots of the area you’re arriving in where you can hover and learn about the place, and then you’re down in the street. what powers the boat is your concentration, as well as the horse and cart or flying or whatever. the icon doesn’t move unless you will it.

how about walking around in the landscape? it’s not just a keyboard or joystick move. can we invent a glove that functions as your body, with feet and hands and your pinky for something else, like jumping, or speed? then people playing the game tap and rattle their fingers all the time. so for the mobile gamer, a pair of sunglasses with hud, a glove, and earbuds. and the game console, which is your online connection of choice.

you can walk around using your pointer and middle fingers, but you can also develop the skill of willing movement, which comes from your middle, and is expressed with the glove as a bowing forward, an extension of the wrist, a leading with the knuckles.

in the first two levels the boy and girl are keeping in touch because they’re testing and giving feedback, and their main concern is how the lessons work. they’re not caring about the details in the two levels, the two tutorial levels and they never care how many people understand the real work. their main care is for the real work, and they let everything else be player-driven or leave it up to the new programmer or a team of fans.

so they make it thru the two primer levels together. what diverges them? and what happens in the outside world when they enter antarctica? no, it starts in foggy level 3. as they learn how to shift the fog, there begin to be outgame effects. first seen in the clouds and rain, then in mirrors and glass, dust and wind, smoke and flame.

it’s when they start to learn how to affect the world that they diverge. she wants to use it for all good, he wants to use it for themselves. and when they land in antarctica, they are alone, and separately rescued by seals. they find each other in the settlement, and they could be on peninsula or marie byrd or ellsworth, or any of the small islands in the chain. how they get off is instructive. the boy goes off to fight the aliens in transantarctica, and becomes a pirate. the girl joins the crew of a ship and goes to ronne and the inland seas. then he goes around to martha and works his way down to dronning and becomes a warlord. then he goes to hell and becomes a captain of industry. she goes around to adelie (passing him) and becomes a healer, and to vostok and mary and up to hell thru elizabeth. in hell she helps organize the resistance. they meet again in hell.

someone turns the npcs into fairy characters. someone starts drilling in amery bay. someone builds that big city. was there supposed to be a city? they didn’t design one like what they found, but by the time they get there, the city is an inevitability. the civilization is actually developing as they play the game, altho they’re not directly responsible for building it. but as our attention broadens past the peninsula and archipelago these things appear.

at first there’s only rocks and what people can coax to grow by asking the fairies. they help the settlement grow, and at some crucial point of development they have contact with the outside world, and hear about new things.

the outside world is the next level of development, with farming and trading, or fishing and piracy. they work to build and grow this into networks and spheres of influence. at a crucial point they journey to another part and find new things.

warrior tribes with city-state strongholds and contested resources, versus cooperative farms and shared resources. at a crucial point, they go to the city.

hell city is full of businesses and corporations all out to win, versus masses of downtrodden people helping each other and finding ways to even wealth out.

this is a natural progression – within the plot of the story as well as the development of the game as well as the development of the conflict between the characters.

i’m going to need to describe his path as well as her path thru this level. and perspective from the other two (at least). maybe every character in the outside world has a counterpart in the game.

what’s a society predicated on quantum principles look like? it’s all relative, there’s no center of power. non-locality, interconnectivity, entanglement, discontinuity

players – at first the engine programmer who built the kernel. he’s still in there as an npc. then the boy and girl as creators of the game document. and the replacement programmer / mole. the players show off the features of the game, learn the lessons, practice the quantum exercises, experience the drama. so how many do we need? quantumly speaking we only need to do this once, but since there are multiple outcomes, we need more. both the boy and girl go thru to the end. the spy goes similarly to the boy but gets caught taking the dark side seriously. and we need a fan who is on the girl’s side but gets caught up in it.

antarctica changes over time, from a barren rock to a huge city, developing into all levels of subsistence in all areas of climate from desert to glacier. it develops as we follow the two players around in it.

he takes one route and she takes another. he’s going for power, trading, mineral, then financial and military. she’s going for community, connecting, sharing, healing, growing, song, story, helping, building, resisting. she naturally goes for the underclass, he hobnobs with powerful people. he likes things, she gives things away. the spy wants to conquer antarctica too, but goes around gaming the system. with the knowledge that you’re supposed to learn about quantum things, he invents a church of quantum that keeps quantum a secret and charges to tell people they’re unworthy, spreads intolerance of the open practice of dangerous powers, tries to suppress it. stays in this level of the game as the boss and tries to shut down the quantum stuff, but ends up in his own world as the game antarctica bounces back toward its created version.

you travel not by getting in a physical boat and rowing across the sea, because it’s a computer game after all and you can’t get wet.  what you do is concentrate and move along a map, so you have this tiny boat icon and it traverses the map with sound effects – gulls and waves and creaking roaps, or horse hoofs and groaning boards, or crunching gravel or swishing grasses, all the sound effects of a varied world.  then when you arrive at your destination, there’s a cut-scene showing a zoom into the map, establishment shots of the area you’re arriving in where you can hover and learn about the place, and then you’re down in the street.  what powers the boat is your concentration, as well as the horse and cart or flying or whatever.  the icon doesn’t move unless you will it.