David K. Scholes, Essential Reading in Science Fiction
Essential Reading in Science Fiction
Length: 249 pp., 304 kb
They only ever knew him by his posting name B Dub.
As a youth he hoped for recognition and perhaps even a modicum of fame.
It did not come, at least not then.
He posted his stories on various web sites on the internet, receiving occasional mixed reviews. His various offerings to assorted literary agents, publishers and magazines were singularly unsuccessful. Eventually, he stopped contacting them. Tired to his soul of rejection.
A bitterness developed within him that increased over time. Yet the writing did not stop. Rather it increased. He took to a hermit life, existing only to write and post his literary efforts on the internet.
For a long time he regularly checked the internet sites for the numbers of hits on his stories. They were only modest numbers and eventually he tired even of this. Though he kept on writing and posting on the net.
By the time the number of viewings of his stories became significant he had long since ceased to check them.
Somehow, somewhere along the line, the entirely self taught writer’s work had begun to improve.
In time a few people began to seek him out. A few fans, one or two literary agents, even a publisher. By then he had become completely non contactable.
A year later after submerging himself in his isolated cottage haven for many months B Dub finally came up for air. Taking a long, long walk in the surrounding countryside he came across a torn and dirty page of a magazine. He was half tempted to pick it up. Had he done so he would have been astonished. It was the front page of Time magazine itself that asked the simple question “Who is B Dub?”
Back again in his cottage retreat, B Dub fleetingly considered checking the number of hits against one or two of his recent stories. Had he done so, he would have been very surprised indeed. The number of hits on a story that he had written just one month ago was past the one million mark. Older stories of his were well in excess of this mark.
B Dub never knew the impact his electronic literature had on society. Later a phenomenon began to develop where people would take time off school and work to read his electronic offerings as soon as they became available. The phenomenon started with youth but spread to more the more mature segments. A hunger for the stories that could not seem to be quenched even with extensive re-reading.
One economist once calculated the resultant loss of productivity to the major economies but Government saw to it that the figures were hushed up.
Though he stayed almost completely out of human affairs B Dub, as he grew older, did not allow technology to completely pass him by. Fanatically he made sure that there was no intrusion on his privacy, electronic or otherwise.
Finally B Dub’s prodigious output of superb electronic literature ceased. Quite abruptly. Only death had been able to silence him.
The man known only as B Dub never earned a red cent, or as Australians would say “a brass razoo” from his many decades of writings. Almost paradoxically, neither did anyone else. Among his greatest fans were a large firm of pre-eminent lawyers who made sure of this.
The literary works of B Dub were available free of direct charge to anyone who could access the internet. Which later in his life was pretty much every literate person on Earth.
Just as in B Dub’s time the physical book yielded to the e-book, available on a myriad of small portable devices, so after that time the e-book yielded to further advances in technology.
For a time interest in the work of Dub, internet writer, deceased, seemed in decline.
That is until mankind was admitted as a fledgling member of the Galactic Federation and a new market for his works emerged.
The rest of the Galaxy!
The landscape was as bleak, and barren, as any he had experienced. Not a single strand of vegetation and just a small dilapated cottage located on the broadest part of the isthmus.
At least it had the shape of an isthmus. A long narrow neck and bulbous head. Yet there was nothing behind the isthmus or ahead of it, or above or below it. Not even the stars.
It just sat there in a sea of nothingness.
If the mighty Thor had encountered a more miserable place, in all of his vast travels, he could not recall it.
The cottage reminded him of a disused crofter’s residence in the islands of the Outer Hebrides of a world he had once protected.
A woman form, in rags, with long unkempt hair, and suffering etched in her face came out of the cottage. She was frail and slightly bent over. An equally ragged looking, boy child followed her out.
“Who are you stranger? and what are you doing here?” she mouthed in an unusual form of communication that was a mixture of audible sound and telepathy. “No one comes here,” she continued, unable to disguise her surprise, “no one can come here.”
“You seem like a sort of, well a ___, a sort of a man.” she finished. Then fell silent.
Though she thought to herself “It could have sent him, or just possibly a random teleportation between the realities went seriously wrong.”
“Neither of those things,” came the response “I am Thor of Asgard and I have come here deliberately.”
The woman form was silent for a moment. “I have heard of you mighty one, who, either before, in, or after time has not heard of the son of Allfather Odin?”
As she finished, a storm not of Thor’s own making, began to gather in the nothingness that surrounded the small isthmus. The small cottage looked inconceivably frail beside it.
The woman form looked not at all surprised. “The storm is part of a cycle of torment to which we are subjected here,” she explained. “For all of Eternity,” replied Thor knowingly. “We are beyond Eternity here,” came the woman form’s response etched in inconceivable bitterness “beyond time, beyond any and all of the realities.” “I know that,” said Thor.
Yet the storm did not gather with the intensity that it always had. Something held it in check.
The woman form pointed to what appeared to be a deep well at the very edge of the isthmus. The god of Thunder had not noticed it earlier. “It is a limitless reservoir of mystical anti-energy,” she said “and will just go on fuelling the storm, giving it however much power is needed to overcome you. Best to the let the storm come now, if you persist, you will alert It and It will come here.”
“I intend to persist,” said Thor.
The son of Odin stepped closer to the woman form and boy child touching them both at the same time. With the merest caress he took from them all the pain, all the fear, all the infirmity, all the hopelessness, all of the endless agony they had endured.
The woman form stood to her full height. Thor saw that unshackled from the pain, and fear she was beautiful beyond even his experience. The boy child too now seemed less of a boy and more of a young man.
“The being known only as It will come now,” she said “you have done the unthinkable.”
“Let It come,” said Thor and she saw that he meant this
“I am known as Childuvgod,” said the woman. “All that you see here is a construct designed to imprison and torment me, us,” she corrected herself. “My father was It’s greatest enemy. My father’s demise was not enough for It. It’s desire for revenge is without limitation.”
“The boy child?” enquired Thor. “The boy is It’s child,” she replied “A part of It’s revenge.” She was pleased though at Thor’s question which revealed he was not entirely omniscient. That there were at least some things he did not know.
“It destroyed even Asgard,” she whispered in her strange form of communication. “The ancient histories say your father fought magnificently, coming close to defeating It”
“Asgard lives on through me,” said Thor. “Ever since Asgard’s destruction I have sought It out. In the end, I came here, where I knew It could no longer avoid me.”
“You are just one Asgardian god,” said Childuvgod though not unkindly “while It destroyed your entire race.” Oddly, unexpectedly to Thor, Childuvgod started to cry, the boy child, now man boy coming to her side.
“The power of Asgard can never be truly destroyed,” said Thor “though it may take different forms. When I said that my race lives on through me, I meant exactly that. All of Asgard’s great power, including the Odin’s is at my disposal.”
Childuvgod stopped crying and looked up at Thor.
The storm started again this time with far greater intensity.
It had come.
In all of his vast travels, through the Multiverse and through time, Thor of Asgard had never encountered such a storm. Even he and Odin combining together had not produced anything as fearsome as this. He wondered if here in this place beyond time he could control it.
It remained within the bowels of the storm that had preceded It. Even Thor could not yet perceive It’s chosen form.
“You have no place here little god!” came the mind shattering message using the same method of communication as Childuvgod. Thor had analyzed it. Part sound, part telepathic, part reaching to the soul itself.
“Where else was I to find you?” came the steely response from the Odinson “at every turn you have avoided the inevitable. Slinking away up time, or to some obscure dimension, or reality. I thought,” continued Thor “that you would at least stay to confront me in the Dark Galaxies, where I undid so much of your handiwork. Even when I fully restored the great race of the Tolden, doing for them what I could not do for my own race, still you would not confront me.”
It emerged from the centre of the storm. Though It could assume any form that chosen at this moment was the form that had most commonly been used by God. Humanities God.
“You take my fathers form!” screamed Childuvgod
“He has no need of it” replied It.
It turned It’s attention to Thor and there was great anger upon It. “This is the most sacred place imaginable, where my lover and child live, and where, on occasion, I visit. No one, nothing may come this way, to disturb them here.”
“A place of imprisonment, of endless fear, pain and humiliation,” responded Thor, “a living monument to a desire for revenge that has transcended even time itself.”
“There need not be conflict between us, little god,” said It, It’s anger seeming to subside “leave us now, pursue me no further, return to time and live.”
Thor’s mind raced. He remembered so long ago returning to an Asgard not merely destroyed but physically totally obliterated. Though even then he saw the Odinforce reforming in the swirling debris. Thor remembered traveling far up time. Of discovering the then deep mystery of the disappearance of all humanity. Humanity that had spread among myriad galaxies and even into other dimensions. Humanity in all its wonderful and varied forms that seemed to have been totally expunged. He saw too that God himself had been killed. An essential prerequisite to sealing humanities fate. Realizations that had ultimately led Thor here.
It had been God who looked over far flung humanity that It had viewed as It’s greatest enemy. In the end It had resorted to lies, trickery and deceit to achieve It’s victory, since a more direct approach would have failed.
“Let me see if I have this right,” came Thor’s unfaltering communication. “You killed God; you removed all of humanity from the upper regions of time, consolidating them into a single entity, namely Childuvgod, which you then raped. Childuvgod had a child by you and to sustain your insatiable desire for revenge, you consigned both her and the child to imprisonment, fear, pain, humiliation, and suffering in this construct beyond time. Not to mention that you killed my father and destroyed Asgard, and you would like me to walk away from all of this?”
“The time for communication then is past,” was all It said.
Thor looked over at Childuvgod and the boy child, now man boy. He knew they were both inconceivably powerful entities in their own right. Only virtual omnipotence had kept them as they had been. In a conflict he knew who Childuvgod would side with. But what of the man boy? , the product of the forced rape of residual humanity by its greatest enemy. Would the boy child, now man boy have any allegiance to his father?
The battle between It, the embodiment of all the evil that ever was and the mighty Thor custodian of all the power of the greatest race of pantheon gods that ever strode the Multiverse, commenced on a purely physical level. But it could not long be contained as such.
Locked in an unbreakable embrace, alternating variously between physical and energy and other forms the two omnipotents traversed all known dimensions as their struggle took them down through all of time and to the time before time itself. They shone like two exploding super Galaxies. Neither showed any apparent weakness or loss of power. Then the struggle continued back up through time and beyond it, back to Childuvgod and the man boy and the little isthmus in nothingness where it had started
Only then did they pull apart from one another.
During all of this and whether he needed it or not Thor knew that Childuvgod and the man boy had supported him. Their souls had been with him bathing his own in their supporting energies. If perhaps he had momentary doubts, they had been there to support him. Their own vast strengths galvanized by what they had endured. The boy child, become man boy, had clearly made his choice. And yes, he had a soul.
“We have accomplished nothing by this,” said It. “All is as it was.”
“Not quite,” smiled Thor, holding out his hand to Childuvgod. “It is time for you to return to your origins.”
“What of my son?” she asked. “There is a place for him too,” replied Thor.
The being known only as It, that represents the embodiment of all the evil that has ever been, did nothing to prevent their departure.
Thor turned to It. “The power of Asgard, not least among that the power of my father can never be truly destroyed, though it may take different forms. A fact that you no more understood than any other of our enemies.”
* * *
As has ever been and will ever be, It will continue to seek to turn events to It’s favor. As, ultimately, do we all.
Yet if you are ever traveling far, far up time you will find the Multiverse replete with humankind in all its wonderful forms.
You will also find it under the stewardship of two mighty guardians.
One of them is Thor the Mighty, warrior god, lord of thunder, and son of great Odin.
The other, no longer a boy child, or even man boy, is the full grown son of humanity.
Copyright © 2012 by David K. Scholes