Sep 9, 2009

Tanihwa

This week I'm reading a fun alien invasion space opera - Taniwha. "Taniwha" is a New Zealand Maori word for the monsters that inhabit their pre-European myths and legends. The story features a love affair between a hunky Russian Cosmonaut and an American Marine, as well as kinky alien reptilian sex with a Maori boy, so fun for the entire family!

One of the cooler parts of the story is when the reptilian Vanguard scientist explains inter-stellar travel to Earthlings. He draws a picture of two universes, a sphere within a sphere. Like this:

The outer sphere represents the universe we inhabit - "the Known World". The inner sphere is called "subspace", and when they wish to travel to distant planets, they rend a hole in the fabric of the Universe, submerge into subspace, travel a bit, and then surface in a new location. The travel only APPEARS to be faster than light because the subspace sphere is geometrically smaller in circumference than the outer universe sphere. Any movement below only appears to be faster than light to the denizens of the outer universe.

The reptilian Vanguard have a decidedly demonic appearance, and since demons are denizens of the underworld, It *finally* dawned on me that "subspace" = "subconscious"! (Yea, I know, I'm kinda slow) I had to laugh when I realized how often this concept is expressed in my favorite works of science fiction. From subspace traveling Borg to Captain Nemo's submarine, all my favorite monsters (wink) live just beneath the surface.

In actual fact, submarines travel much faster underwater than on the surface. Surface vessels create energy absorbing gravity waves that slow a ship down to a fraction of its true potential. Bigger engines just create a bigger hole in the water, not more speed. But dip just below the surface... and the burdened vessel becomes a freely swimming fish - a bird in flight. So perhaps this idea of "faster-than-light" speed in the subconscious realm has a certain merit. Perhaps 20,000 leagues under the sea is good for 60,000 leagues on the surface, maybe more?

Is there a "wave drag" law of consciousness? Are we somehow chained to a concept of "reality" that holds us back, like the gravity waves of a ship - the wave drag increasing exponentially with the effort applied? Perhaps that is the subconscious reason why I am strangely drawn to multihulls... vessels capable of escaping the inexorable wave drag law.

Esperanto Grrl has a recent rant about unscientific cranks which include proponents of "Hollow Earth Theory". This is the charming notion that the earth is actually hollow, with the inner sphere lit by an internal sun. It was an idea popularized in the 19th century, but one of the earliest proponents was Sir Edmund Halley, who published his theory about the hollow earth in 1692. My favorite spelunker of the era (Jules Verne) wrote Voyage au centre de la Terre (A Journey to the Interior of the Earth), which visualizes the interior populated by ancient flora and fauna, long extinct on the surface. The deeper our heroes venture beneath the mantle, the more primitive the life forms, with the adventurers traveling through the strata like geologists traveling through the great epochs of our past.

Perhaps Verne is presenting the Interior of the Earth as metaphor for the human subconscious... a descent into the consciousness of our ancient past - cambrian, pre-cambrian, etc. A consciousness that lies mostly buried, even now.

This is one of Jules' tales that didn't age very well, as the mounting scientific evidence against Hollow Earth Theory soon overcame the necessary "suspension of belief" that good myth-making requires. Interestingly, Hollow Earth Theory was brilliantly re-imagined by Arthur C. Clarke in Rendezvous With Rama. Rama is an enormous and extremely ancient spaceship that enters our solar system and is then explored by human astronauts. It is a hollow cylinder containing an inverted world, lit from within. Clarke named his underworld after an ancient deity (the seventh avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu), just as the author of Tanihwa named his. New Zealand (like Manhattan/Gotham City) was discovered and named by the Dutch (people of the Netherlands, Underworld). The Gods of Hades... ya gotta give them points for consistency.

12 comments:

Anadæ Effro said...

(Smiling Beatifically) My first sentence was going to be something like, "Hey Michael, hey, there's so much going on in this excellent piece here, that I'll have to come BACK to this & give it the proper attention that it deserves", and what's my wv? ….backr.… you just cannot escape the interconnected Web of the Synchrosphere, once It ack-Gno-ledges you. LOL

Thank you for raising this subject. As you must Gno, I can talk with you endlessly on it. I'm nothing if not a BACKER o/t Hollow Earth perspective, although, now, decades after my 1st introduction TO it, I think that there're OTHER possibilities other than purely geophysical ones FOR it, as in this lovely subspace explanation in the "Taniwha" adventure you've been immersed in. Nifty.

That's my pal Max Fyfield's basic attempt at a Hollow Earth map, BTW. He hand-tinted it for me after years of it having only just been a line drawing. It has been copied so many times, most notably in professor of music theory @ Colgate University Joscelyn Godwin's ARKTOS, except there w/o credit. He'll be psyched you put it up.

I'll come back to this again, m8. My acrylic paints just arrived yesterday from Binder's, the best art supplies shop I've yet found nearest me online. I'm gonna paint up a storm.

All the Faery best wishes to you & Var' from your Hollow-headed Virginian friend here him(s)elf,
Anadæ Effro (•8-)}

Devin said...

Hehe:)-I am ack-Gno-ledging you Michael-very very much enjoyed this(wink) in fact -my place is really really slow these days-but b4 the end of the day I will "thumbs up" this along with Autumnforest-I admire all you bloggers who do your own original work-rather unlike yours truly!! mucho hugs and love to you and Var and Anadae!! Esperranto also ps Anadae and Esperranto are so smart they scare me sometimes-really:)

Michael said...

Anadae - thanks muchly. Lots of IN sight attempted here, yet sadly the surface of my narrative seems barren. Is it just too obvious? My Hallowed pumpkin head is weening. Was it you who sent me originally on a look-see to find a hole in the poles? Would that be esoteric pole dancing? I LOVED hollow earth theory!! I also loved Pellucidar. I can only explain it like Plato: Agartha (Atlantis, subspace etc.) represent a concept - a deeper truth that lives as a shadow in our illusion of reality.

Amazing how you Gno all these peeps. You must be older than you look? ;-)

Devin - Thanks so much for your faithful comments. I hope my meandering musings mean something to somebody!

Michael said...

Oh yea, my favorite synch about all of this is that "Tanihwa" is amazingly close to Tahuya - the NW Pacific Coastal indian name for the small river that runs by by familial home. Tahuya is getting darn close to Yahweh, and maybe even Hawai'i. Something about those islanders...

Esperanto Grrl said...

I appreciate the shout-out!

To add a little support to your theory: caverns, generally in analytical psychiatry represent regression, a return to the womb. Many shamanistic cultures use caves for similar birth rituals. I doubt Jules Verne intentionally looked for parallels, as he's not exactly the most psychological of writers....which is understandable as "Journey to the Center of the Earth" was published 11 years before Jung was born and Sigmund Freud was nine years old.

Even though I don't believe a lick of it, I like Hollow Earth theory. It's got a plucky chutzpah, like a midget walking around a biker bar as if he's the toughest guy in the place.

What makes the Hollow Earth theory stand out all the more is how petty and denigrating to human capacity crank theories can be sometimes. Spacemen built the pyramids instead of hard work and inventive human beings. The crackpot idea we didn't land on on the moon is as meanspirited as it is false, and serves just to denigrate American innovation and achievement. In other words, the idea these theories are false is much more interesting than if they were true.

But Hollow Earth theory? It's the exact opposite. In science wishing for something does not make it so, but this stuff is just cool. I'd love to lead an expedition into mysterious and dangerous subterranean worlds, and rescue pretty boys from the mole men and the Sleestak armed with a Ferengi laser whip (or whatever science fiction heroes use these days). The stone age boys would then remove my extremely thick glasses and find me an irresistible plucky heroine, like a latina version of Nancy Drew or the Bionic Woman.

I don't know, maybe if there was a movement to teach the Hollow Earth theory in public schools, perhaps I'd feel differently about it.

Holy crap, what a map. It looks more like a diagram of Imaginationland from "South Park."

I see the map marked King Solomon's Mines and flying saucers to different galaxies. I am a little troubled the map left out the Hawkmen's floating city, the lair of the dragon Smaug, and the Ivory Tower of the Childlike Empress.

Esperanto Grrl said...

Are we somehow chained to a concept of "reality" that holds us back, like the gravity waves of a ship - the wave drag increasing exponentially with the effort applied?

Not really. Physical reality is objectively real by definition. It's as inarguable as gravity (though the Bush Administration would have had you believe otherwise).

Michael said...

Hi EG, glad you found the post. As you point out, the "map" of Agartha is exactly like the map of Middle Earth - a map of Imagination Land, the human subconscious. They look a lot like the early maps of the explorers... "here be dragons".

Of course, I am also drawn to moon hoax theory, so count me among the cranks, or the would be cranks if I gave that much of a damn. When ya think about it, the moon is a highly mythological "sphere", one associated with the Goddess. Perhaps on a subconscious level, the moon landing is akin to the rape of Diana, the virgin Goddess? Maybe the hoaxers are subconscious defenders of Diana's virtue? I suspect the divine feminine has moved on to Venus, another classically "veiled" planet.

Esperanto Grrl said...

I've always thought that Venus should have been named after Lucifer instead of the goddess of beauty.

What a horrible hell-world: hot enough to melt lead in the daytime, and the "beautiful clouds" of Venus are sulfuric acid. Venus has many times more volcanoes than earth, and they're always active. The air pressure is 92 times greater than our atmosphere, which is equivalent to a kilometer beneath the ocean. 300 kph winds regularly buffet the planet's surface.

Adding to the Venus = evil, while the most common term to refer to all things Venus is Venusian, according to Latin grammar it should be "Venerial."

When ya think about it, the moon is a highly mythological "sphere", one associated with the Goddess.

Not always. The Moon is male in German. Not to mention (ironically) Aborigine culture as well.

Though as Jerry Seinfeld pointed out, there was something very guy-ish about the Moon missions. Only a guy would travel a quarter million miles the Moon and then start to play golf. Only a man would bring a little car to the Moon just to drive around.

Christopher Knowles said...

Very synchronistic- you mentioned my bit on Invasion, but Robin Cook also wrote a Hollow Earth novel- Abduction. Weird, eh?

Michael said...

Christopher - That IS interesting. "Cook" is a strong synch name for me also.

LINCARD1000 said...

Hey Michael, firstly thanks for the comments about my story :-) Was a lot of fun to write, and there are some levels within levels in the story. I try not to take myself or anything else too seriously and hope that reflects in my writing.

You illustrated my 'theory' of the Vanguard method of FTL travel nicely. The only reason I use the term 'sub-space' was that it is a convenient term that is familiar to many who like sci-fi, but also sounds sufficiently 'sci-fi-ish' to those who don't. A lot of complicated explanations about technology and science should not get in the way of telling the story, hence trying to keep things simple.

I tend to try and use outlandishly extrapolated real science in much of my writing. It seemed logical to me that if you could access what is effectively another dimension that mapped onto ours, but had different physical properties then it would be a good method of 'cheating' Einsteinian limitations in the real world.

Anyway... thank you :-) Glad you enjoyed the story.

LINC

Anadæ Effro said...

….wait, then there's the Metal band.… (•8-)}

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