I’m delighted to welcome D. Ellis Overttun to The Bookwormery today. David is raising awareness of his Terra Nova series. First, here’s some information about the background to the series….this instalment is Prophesy: Eve Of Darkness.
The Terra Nova series takes the reader on a journey of discovery to solve a mystery. Book 1, Universe: Awakening, suggests a universe on the verge of extinction when viewed through the lens of geologic time. Book 2, Genesis: Vision of the New World, suggests a safe haven.
But how to get there?
Through a series of seemingly disparate clues, this instalment, Prophecy: Eve of Darkness, shows us how. Along the way, the reader will encounter several themes.
One of the themes in the Terra Nova series is evolution.
Prophecy introduces us to the Nephilim, a clan descended from the Great Father and banished to the subterranean world beneath the planet. We see how this environment changed not only their physiology but also their ideology, culture and language. A universe away, we see how a genetically engineered species called “ProtoGendu” gain a foothold on a planet called “Terra Nova”. Finally, the Celesti themselves seem to be evolving as a new form of procreation called “life from life” offers hope to a dying species.
The Nephilim speak in a tongue called “clanspeak”, a form of communication that has devolved into a compact vocabulary designed to convey only the most basic information. What does this look like? I relied on the work of evolutionary biologist Professor Mark Pagel of the University of Reading. There have also been other physiological changes that have evolved that allow them to survive in this lightstarved environment.
Stealth, secrecy and deceit are suggestive of the concept of hidden or unrevealed. In Prophecy, we learn the Nephilim have adapted to survive in the harsh environment of the underearth by stealth and concealment. Now, they will use this skill to try to regain the position they once held. We think that language is a way to communicate.
However, Professor Pagel has argued that, in fact, one of the functions of language has been to keep proprietary knowledge within a defined group. It is language as a vehicle of secrecy. (How many times have parents lapsed into the language of their forefathers when discussing sensitive matters in front of their children?) The reader will see this demonstrated in the “tongue of Taru” and the “old tongue”. Finally, lies and halftruths abound, inspired by Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting.
Nativism is a philosophy of favoring the interests of incumbents over those of newcomers. It resists change. It is the ideology of “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke”. It is embodied in their philosophy of “purity and justice”. The antagonism of the Nephilim to the Celesti has been drawn from current events. Their response is not unlike the metaphor of the camel’s nose. The reader can see the parallels from today’s society as certain groups respond to their perception of being pushed out or already feeling they are outside the tent. Prophecy describes how this feeling can be exploited by one with his own agenda.
Who are the villains in the series so far? As author, I can tell you that it’s Theodor and the Nephilim. To me, their philosophies and motivations are reprehensible. But are they? (Yes, they are.) I read or heard an interview somewhere that a villain never really thinks he or she is the villain. (The only exception I can recall is the Operative from Serenity who said “There’s no place for me there…I’m a monster.”) Villains are motivated by what they believe is right, just like the protagonists of any story. This theme has been drawn from current events. Who are the heroes and who are the villains? It will be decided by history, and history is written by the victors.
Concepts from quantum physics feature as more of Auberon’s abilities are revealed. A quantum particle approaching a barrier can simultaneously pass through it (quantum tunneling) and bounce off it as long as no one is watching. This is referred to as “quantum nonlocality”. The concept of the connection between the observer and the observed was introduced to me when I read The Tao of Physics which explores the relationship between physics and eastern mysticism. Would this allow someone to walk through walls? This is sci-fi. So, the answer has to be “yes”. But how?
Prophecy finally explains the technology of the Intrepid/Phoenix. In Book 1, we learned matterantimatter annihilation powers the ship from particles that pop in and out of existence. Something from nothing also has its parallel in JudeoChristianity in the concept of “ex nihilo” from Genesis 1:1. We also learn the ship travels in subspace but we don’t know how. Book 2, tells us that subspace is opened by the convergence of two beams. Book 3 reveals more about this process and subspace itself.
The series draws heavily from JudeoChristian traditions. We learn the firstborn of the Great Father was a son named “Nephilim”. Clan Nephilim believe their birthright was unjustly taken from them by what was once Clan Artaxiad. There is a parallel in the story in Genesis of Esau and Jacob. The Nephilim, sometimes referred to by biblical scholars as “fallen”, has been directly reflected in their epithet in Prophecy as the “Fallen Ones”. The uniforms the Nephilim wear to protect themselves from the light and volume of sound of the surface world is reminiscent of the scales of a snake. This image was inspired by the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
Intriguing that’s for sure…..Thank you to David for providing all this information and pictures.