Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A New Eon VIII

Greg Bear, Eon (London, 2002).

When told that nuclear war has devastated Earth, the political officer of the Russian force that has invaded the Stone, says:

"'...then we must establish a stronghold of the revolution right here...'" (p. 232).

Come off it, Commissar! The priority has become cooperation for survival. Plus your brand of political and military dictatorship can only be described as "counter-revolution." "Revolution" can mean nothing but liberation which does not include a political officer telling anyone what they must do.

At last, Patricia Vasquez, a Stone explorer, meets one of the mysterious Stoners who live down the corridor, the Way, in the artificially created universe. Some of the details are confusing. The Stoner, Olmy, is accompanied by a strange looking being called a "Frant," who "...rose from behind the ceiling." (p. 208) Olmy sat, "...again touching his torque" (p. 210) - although I do not remember him either having a torque or touching it before.

Stoners are human beings from the future who have lived for centuries in the Stone and the corridor so their technology is more advanced. While in "Talsit meditation," Olmy is surrounded by "...carriers of Talsit data...," which cleanse his body of impurities and his mind of obstacles to clear thought. They perform the latter task by informing, reorganizing and criticizing mental functions. The carriers and their process resemble "...a net of twinkling blue and green lights...," with sparks passing between them, and a translucent green fog. While Olmy is in this "...kind of dreaming...," an "...assigned ghost...," not a recording but an insubstantial projection resembling Olmy and connected to his thought processes, converses for him but cannot act physically (p. 224). (Jor-El's personality persists as some sort of technological ghost in screen adaptations of Superman.) The Jarts, who traveled from gates hundreds of thousand of kilometers down the corridor, resisted the passage of the Axis City but were driven out and the gates have been blocked or regulated.

Clearly, the corridor has a history and we are given information that we will understand better later. It will make sense to reread the book at least once in the light of that later understanding. I want to read more about Patricia with Olmy and the Frant en route to the Axis City but first we must be told about American-Russian negotiations within the Stone. There is no need to continue fighting after what has happened on Earth. At last, some reason.

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