Monday, September 24, 2007

"From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled . . ."


Who can explain the transient enthusiasms that grip a working writer? I vividly remember the time several years ago when I was working on three separate stories at once and suddenly realized that all three stories featured a protagonist who was already dead by the time the story began.

That was a creepy moment. It seemed like my subconscious was trying to tell me something. But if so, I still haven't figured out what.

Similarly, but in a less threatening vein, I seem to have something happening with the Tower of Babel these days. It features prominently in The Dragons of Babel, which for those coming in late is my forthcoming novel and the reason for this blog. And the cover story in this month's Fantasy & Science Fiction (the October/November 2007 issue) is "Urdumheim," which is a creation myth for that dread Tower, such as might be told by the characters in my novel (though it doesn't appear in it). And just now I've dropped into the mail to Asimov's the corrected proofs for "From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled . . ." Which has nothing to do with either of the other two works. It's a science fiction story set on the planet Gehenna, dealing with the aftermath of the destruction of a gigantic tower-city inhabited by intelligent giant millipedes.

Another telegram from the hindbrain. But the message is in a language I do not speak, coded in letters such as I've never seen before.

But take a look at the cluster of alien "speech" above. The millies have trilateral symmetry and a signed language, so that a single thought or statement transcribed into what I think of as an ergoglyph looks something like a verbal snowflake.

You have no idea how much fun that was to write.

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