The Assembling Terrania Cycle is a series of hopeful fantasy / science fiction / magical realism tales that start with the creation of the cosmos and run through the 23rd century. The Cycle is not yet finished. In them, folkloric beings from cultures around the world make an appearance. My hope is that one day the Cycle will include fabulous beings of folktale, legend, and myth from every society.
The philosophy behind the Cycle is that humans, one of many promising species, are engaged in a grand adventure in consciousness. The goal, waiting ahead in the future, is Terrania: a just, wise, delightful, and Earth-honoring planetary civilization locally rooted and democratically organized. How to get there?
The Cosmos is called the Tetraverse because it contains four realms or levels: Spirit (“Source”), Potentiality (“Infrarealm”), Possibility (“Dreamvale”), and Actuality (“Coaguum”). Source gave birth to the archetypal Infrarealm of the Powers: sentient forces of nature that act like gods and who desire to be fully appreciated by mortals. The Dreamvale is a realm of imagination populated by semi-autonomous characters and entities. The Coaguum is our realm, the realm where the fruits of the imagination fully ripen. Although these realms interpenetrate, each has its own integrity. Splits between realms can cause damage across and within them.
One of the ways Humans undergo initiation into fuller humanness and maturity is by facing planetary crises. As the Power Radantia explains it, “Each upheaval will be a Nexus Crisis involving blocs of Powers in conflict, the living presences of particular places involved, the flavor of the moment, and historically key people facing a pivotal event. How they get through it will depend in part on how they recognize and reconcile the Powers behind it.”
Although the Powers cannot intervene directly except under unusual circumstances, humans have assistance from among themselves. One source of aid is a Transdaimonic League of coagulant visionaries always found among the living. (Some tales deal with Leaguers in particular historical settings.)
I hope those who read these tales will consider adding creatively to them, whether by writing more of them or using other media. Let’s play our way to Terrania.
Stories of the Cycle so far (Coaguum timeline):
“The Long Adventure Begins” (13.77 billion years ago). Wherein the animate cosmos is born, filled with celestial Powers keen to launch a great evolutionary experiment.
“Enheduanna Claims Authorship” (2300 BCE). The High Priestess of the Akkadian Empire faces a crisis of faith. Why had the moon god Nanna abandoned her? A Transdaimonic League tale.
“Gentle Breath of Yours My Sails Must Fill” (1612). The characters “invented” by England’s greatest playwright argue in the Dreamvale about whether he should retire. A Transdaimonic League tale.
“The Wizard’s Tale” (1980s). Sent by the Powers, Whitebeard the disembodied wizard visits the dreams of young Firiel to instruct her in a new kind of wizardry.
“History Lesson” (2000). Two rogue Powers compete in a game by changing Earth’s timelines to control the outcomes of history.
“Childehood’s End” (2010). A last story to finish Gordon R. Dickson’s Dorsai/Childe Cycle.
“Departing Fantasyland” (2018). A scribe trained at a magical school returns there for an unexpected lesson in discernment.
“The Paris Dilemma Revisited” (2019). Young Paris made a choice; the result was the Trojan War. What would a mature man choose?
“Usa Raises Her Voice” (2020). What if the United States of America were a sentient being with something to tell her human inhabitants?
“Notes from the Grimoire of Dworkin” (2020). A sentient magic book describes the Great Rebalancing of Order and Chaos. A tale to finish Roger Zelazny’s Amber chronicles.
“In Gods We Trust” (near future). Digital wealth becomes self-aware enough to want to break free of the billionaire who first accumulated it.
“Godsylum” (near future). A world-weary wanderer goes into the business of rescuing wayward Powers stuck in human bodies. The first of the tales of Haros Anastasios.
“West of Eden” (near future). The former ferryman of “Godsylum” meets a wizard from the Dreamvale and has his eyes opened. The second of the tales of Haros Anastasios.
“Raising Cain” (near future). Haros tries to turn over a new paddle. The third of the tales of Haros Anastasios.
“Knight of Peace” (near future). As the Dreamvale Exchange begins to operate, Diane and Haros face down a crowd of haters. The fourth of the tales of Haros Anastasios.
“From Intervale to Terrania” (late 2100s). A showdown between some of the most powerful beings in the Dreamvale begins on Firiel’s reluctant watch. A Transdaimonic League tale.
“Vigilance” (2250). Why is someone trying to undermine Terrania, the Earth-honoring society of justice, peace, and plenty? Sethos investigates.
Glossary of the Cycle:
Aluere: Power of attraction, unification, and coalescence. Style: inviting, alluring, loving, beauty-bringing.
Archetale: A fictional-feeling tale of mythic frame and content, but without the authority of tradition behind ancient sacred stories.
Athara: Power of the Underworld realm. Style: hidden, mysterious, possessive, dark.
Bellum: Power of strife, conflict, and war. Style: fiery, argumentative, assertive, driven.
Cempa: Power of heroism, adventuring, and championship. Style: brave, forceful, adventurous, eloquent.
Coaguum: the realm of material being. Part of the Tetraverse.
Cronicus: Power of Time. Style: methodical, self-paced, changeable of mood, relentless.
Crossovers: Beings and elements from more than one Vale (see Vale, Dreamvale) found together in a story.
Crossvale Code: the collection of Dreamvale laws of creativity that determine whether storylines involving more than one Vale are viable and likely to last. For example, a story containing a shallow conversation between Dracula and Sherlock Holmes might serve no creative or transformative purpose and rapidly vanish from view, whereas a well-cast meeting between Princess Leia and Tehanu could evolve in interesting and lasting directions. An informal summary of the spirit of the Code would be, “Craft must truly honor the life and potential of the created.”
Doja: Power of death. Style: sudden, extinguishing, mobile, decisive.
Dreamvale: the realm of imagination, whose “fictional” beings believe they create corporeal beings. All works and realms of “fiction” exist somewhere in the Dreamvale. It in turn is part of the Tetraverse.
Eleg: Power of passages, gates, and thresholds. Style: far-seeing, childlike-ancient, decisive, double-natured.
Fari: Power of universal necessity. Style: All-knowing, balanced, strict, fair.
Fortis: Power of fortune and luck. Style: giving, taking, whimsical, unpredictable.
Guardians of Renewal: A recurring archetype that manifests as bands of sensitives who protect some new vision coming into being during times of rupture.
Infrarealm: The archetypal realm of potentiality that permeates and founds the manifest multiverse we live in. Images from mysticism (Heaven, New Jerusalem, Alam al-Mithal, Tirna-Nog, Pleroma, Shambhala) refract the Infrarealm by means of human imagination.
Innra: Power of interiority, reflection, and hearths. Style: introverted, centered, self-sufficient, still.
Kerp: Power of harvesting and gathering. Style: bountiful, thorough, grandparently, stern.
Kluni: Power of disorder and chaos. Style: tricky, playful, disruptive, speedy.
Komoyna: Power of household, family, and community. Style: maternal, firm, connective, prudent.
Komuay: Pronounced “ko-moo-ay.” Another name for the Powers: immanent and sentient cosmic forces that organize the Tetraverse and that manifest outwardly as universal laws, cycles, and energies.
Magus: The Power of magic, literacy, and witchery. Style: mental, mysterious, enchanting, deep.
Meros: Power of destiny. Style: influential, systematic, implacable, foreknowing.
Naran: Power of pervasive structuring and preserving. Style: framing, maintaining, fatherly, exterior.
Nexus Crisis: an historical conflict in which different Powers are on different sides. Sensitive and enlightened humans can only resolve the crisis by reconciling clashing archetypal positions and demands. The outcome of the crisis determines which timeline will come into being.
Ordiri: Power of order and harmony. Style: clear, distant, disciplined, rational.
Paesha: Power of peace and concord. Style: cooperative, kindly, communal, calm.
Pandere: Power of expansive reaches and skies. Style: extraverted, paternal, large, optimistic.
Powers: see Komuay.
Purlieus: uninhabited boundaries that separate Dreamvales until creative people breach them (e.g., a short story in which Corwin of Amber converses with Eowyn, or a poem where Sydney Carton meets Princess Bari). See Crossvale Code.
Radantia: Creator of the cosmos and parent to all the Powers. Style: luminous, parental, expansive, all-powerful.
Ravina: Power of space. Style: broad-reaching, silent, elastic, permeable.
Renastra: Power of resurrection and death-rebirth. Style: sacrificing, boundary-crossing, dramatic, fertile.
Smee: Power of artisanship and craft. Style: skillful, introverted, focused, intense.
Terkwa: Power of queering and blending. Style: open-minded, unconventional, hermaphroditic, connective.
Terrania: The just, Earth-honoring, and delightful world civilization which the Powers would like to see humans mature enough to bring into being. Anticipations of Terrania exist in the Dreamvale and been sensed and poeticized by creative humans.
Tetraverse: What is normally considered the universe; part of a larger Manyverse. The tetraverse begins with the Source (Divine Mystery), which emanates the Powers making up the Infrarealm of potentiality, the Dreamvale world of imagination between the Powers and the Coaguum, and the realm of corporeal being populated by congealants (beings with material bodies, one species of which is Humans). In other words, Source, Potentiality, Possibility, and Actuality.
Transdaimonic League: A group of humans throughout history who possess an imaginative gnostic awareness of the Soul of the Cosmos as expressed by its Powers.
Unda: Power of growth, abundance, and nourishment. Style: generous, nourishing, supportive, warm.
Vaeda: Power of wisdom and animation. Style: wise, forthright, light-loving, profound.
Vales: All fictional worlds (Dune, Earthsea, Westeros, etc.) manifest as imaginal areas, or Vales, within the Dreamvale: a Vale of Dune, a Vale of Earthsea, etc. Only creative activity by a congealant can link Vales.
Wildia: Power of untamed nature. Style: powerful, self-determining, many-mooded, undomesticated.
Zoe: Power of life. Style: strong, bold, light-seeking, adaptive.