The Assembling Terrania Cycle

The fantasist, whether he uses the ancient archetype of myth and legend or the younger ones of science and technology, may be talking as seriously as any sociologist—and a great deal more directly—about human life as it is lived, and as it might be lived, and as it ought to be lived.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

…Stories can be so healing; art is so healing; and I think that when you have a story that shows a picture of a utopian future…I think that having a vision of it can help you actualize it.
– Sonequa Martin-Green

The Premise:

The Assembling Terrania Cycle is a series of 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?

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.


Essay: “Assembling Terrania: Dreaming Up a Sane and Delightful Civilization”


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.

Leaving the Nest” (first century CE). Seti, Penelope, and Ezekiel of Alexandria converse about how to move the old sacred stories forward into new magical possibilities.

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 Case of the Hidden Author” (1900). While reading Dr. Watson’s accounts of Sherlock Holmes, his brother Mycroft discovers surprising errors he cannot explain.

Maturation” (1927). The spiral galaxy in which humans live suffered a tough infancy and adolescence. What is a galactic take on striving for maturity?

Whom Gods Restore” (1969). Garth of Izar, at one time the greatest Starfleet captain, confronts what he did while criminally insane.

Testing 1-2-3” (1973/2017). As the giant ship dubbed “Rama” leaves the Solar System, its inhabitants talk over what they learned about the curious humans who visited.

The Wizard’s Tale” (1980s). Sent by the Powers, Whitebeard the Disembodied 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). Hal Mayne initiates a final confrontation with Bleys Ahrens as the Dorsai defend Earth. 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.

“Pre-Eulogy” (2021). Faber the security officer interviews a man claiming to be an extraterrestrial sent to watch the final days of humanity.

“Norns” (2021). The Powers consider how three women poets from different times and places have enriched the collective human soul. A Transdaimonic League tale.

“Devil’s Due” (2021). Why does an orderly cosmos dedicated to the creation of consciousness require a trickster like Kluni? He has some thoughts about that. A Transdaimonic League tale.

“Fahrenheit 212” (2021). Montag learns that rebuilding from the ruins can involve a return to old and still-fiery themes in his life.

“The Magic Lighthouse” (2021). Firiel leads a team of Dreamvalers to construct a new kind of center for inter-realm communication.

“Ringside Seat” (2140s). A programmer gets pummeled by a virtual-reality boxer. Problem is, the program does not allow for that.

The Miracle” (2150s). What if they gave a marketing campaign and everybody came?

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 ignites on Firiel’s reluctant watch. A Transdaimonic League tale.

The Undaunted Dead” (2200). When the Terrania Accords to form a world government are signed aboard a fabled haunted aircraft carrier, others besides the signers show up for the event.

“Vigilance” (2300). Why is someone trying to undermine Terrania, the Earth-honoring society of justice, peace, and plenty? Sethos investigates.


Fables of the Cycle

Click the above link to read the fables of the long adventure into fully human becoming.


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.

Kaila: Power of healing and regenerating. Style: soothing, softening, supporting, containing.

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.