Welcome all, to another part of our Void trilogy readalong. If you’ve been keeping pace with our reading, you should now be waiting to start on page 426 and you will have experienced quite a large chunk of information as the novel ramps up the speed with the end in sight. From feedback on the last blog post, I’ll open this part with a little summary of the major technological and ‘other’ features of the Commonwealth and from within the Void.
The Living Dream Pilgrimage and the Gaiafield:
Many humans are linked into an intranet called the Gaiafield, which allows connections in various ways. Through this, the population experiences the dreams of Inigo who sees inside the Void and what life is like there. It is a simpler life, without bionomic implants that improve human capability. Instead, humans there have acquired natural telekinesis and telepathic thought.The Living Dream is a group of people, once led by Inigo and inspired by his dreams, who want to travel into the Void to live among the people there.
These are technological implants grafted into a human body to improve their existence. They can be weaponised, boost muscles and reactions or even medicate the body when needed.
ANA is a program in which humans download themselves into at the end of their lives and become post physical. ANA is a collection of these humans, which is broken into factions – they each want what the others don’t, which is clearly seen by how they each react to the news of the pilgrimage into the Void which could destroy the known universe.
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INIGO’S THIRD DREAM
In this third dream, we see Edeard as he is promoted by his master, Akeem. Akeem is to send Edeard to Makkathran in order to learn his new position. The fatherly bond between them is strong and Akeem hands out advice about love and life, then sends Edeard off for a night with friends. In a cave, the friends meet, talk and drink together, but Edeard gets the feeling that people are scared of his natural powers.
He returns to his room and awakens in a pool of vomit, filled with panic. Instinct tells him to open the window and there he sees the beginnings of an attack on the watchtower of his village. A mysterious man 'longtalks' to Edeard, hinting that revenge will be served against him for the fighting on the hunting trip. Edeard sends out a call to arms as the village is attacked. Akeem connects with Edeard, teaching him an ability to become unseen in certain situations. This enables Edeard to meet with Salrana and as they escape to hide in a well, the village burns down and the inhabitants are slaughtered.
The dream ends with Edeard and Salrana leaving the well and joining a trade caravan that is journeying to Makkathran. It’s Edeard’s hope that he can travel there and follow his path through the eggshaper guild.
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The chapter opens with Troblum inspecting his invention and finding a glitch that was entered into the blueprint by one of his own team. Removing the glitch, Troblum successfully finishes the machine - which can manipulate planetary objects and is called by Marius - to an unknown dwarf star to aid research on a project. It isn’t a request and Troblum soon travels with a person who seems to be monitoring him, to make sure he gets to the dwarf star. Troblum has attached his invention to his own ship with nobody knowing and travels to the star. Here it is revealed to him that ultradrive engines truly exist.
After a very information-heavy section, Araminta appears and through her eyes we see certain plot points fleshed out. Here we find out more about the second dreamer that Living Dream (see above for definition) are attempting to find. The second dreamer’s dreams are being seen in the Gaiafield, though Araminta has no Gaianodes and cannot see the dreams. As she doesn’t use the Gaiafield, she can only accept what those around her say. Araminta goes about her business of renovating apartments and in the process meets Mr Bovey, who runs a hardware store. Mr Bovey is a rather unique character in that he has cloned himself repeatedly – these are called ‘multiples’ – and they can live independently allowing them all to feel and experience life together.
It isn’t long before Bovey asks Araminta to dinner and woos her with the idea of his multiple lifestyle. It becomes clear that the goal for the evening is to have an orgy with Araminta and several copies of himself which allows for a new level of excitement and pleasure. As Araminta reaches orgasm we glimpse large celestial beings traversing the universe before she wakes in Bovey’s bed.
Meanwhile, Aaron and Corrie-Lyn are still hunting for Inigo. They journey to a planet to discuss the situation with an ex-government official who believes that higher culture is a virus within the galaxy, that is destroying what it is to be human. In this conversation it is revealed that Inigo is a higher, though his parents weren’t. We find out that this happened because an Angel (radical higher beings) seduced Inigo’s parents and as he was conceived, the sperm was loaded with bionomics, meaning Inigo was born with them implanted. This shows the higher culture to be a devious group wanting to convert humanity.
Elsewhere, Gore Burnelli, his daughter Justine and her son Kazimir come together to discuss the threat from the Ocisen empire who are opposed to the Living Dream pilgrimage. The Ocisen fleet is converging on Ellezelin in an attempt to stop it. It becomes clear that tensions are rising as Gore and Kazimir decide to send a threat to the Ocisens – back off or its war. After this, Gore meets with a member of the accelerator faction and hears their plans to fuse together the Void with ANA (see definition above) in the hope of a new stage in evolution.
Aaron and Corrie-Lyn have left the ranch behind and are docking at St Mary’s Clinic, in the hope that they can break in and find a memory cell which contains all of Inigo’s thoughts from before his first dream of Edeard. Using Corrie-Lyn as a decoy, Aaron breaks in, takes control of an advancer guard (in one of the goriest and best scenes so far). This will allow him entry into the vault via the guard’s DNA. An enormous battle ensues where Aaron is injured but overcomes the heavily augmented guards within the vault. He captures the memory cell and all is left to fade to black as Corrie-Lyn struggles with what to do to save themselves and escape the planet.
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INIGO’S FOURTH DREAM
Having left their village behind, Edeard and Salrana have arrived in Makkathran. We see the city through their eyes – an organic structure surrounded by vast walls which seem impenetrable. It is Edeard’s task to find the eggshaper guild and then escort Salrana to her own new life. However, as he tries to enter the guild, he’s told, unceremoniously, to leave. A squabble breaks out and leaves Edeard no choice but to show off his powers which attracts the attention of Grand Master Finiton – exactly as Edeard had wanted.
In the Grand Master’s Office, Edeard is told that without firm proof, in the form of a letter from Akeem, they cannot promote him as he’d hoped. Of course, Akeem perished before he could communicate with the guild. Edeard is told he’ll have to start from the beginning again, as a lowly apprentice. But he’s given a second option; to join the constables on recommendation from Finitan. After guiding Salrana to her new home and giving thought to the idea, he accepts a new life as a constable. He meets his new friends and begins learning a new trade.
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Back in the Commonwealth, an investigator called Halran is attending to the crime scene at St Mary’s clinic from which Aaron and Corrie-Lyn have just escaped. To his shock, ANA is represented by the appearance of Paula Myo who is now on the tail of Aaron. But Halran also notes the presence of Marius at the scene, which leads to the idea of several factions interested in Inigo.
Back with Araminta, she asks those around her about the second dreamer. She flirts with the idea of having Gaiamotes installed in order to see the dreams for herself. This would also bring her even closer to Bovey, who once again brings her home for another orgy of pleasure with his multiples. As Araminta relaxes and lets waves of pleasure overcome her body, we see visions of large creatures moving through space, above planets that are dwarfed in the creature’s shadow.
Aaron wakes on his ship inside a medical chamber from a vivid dream which seems to be from his life before. Corrie-Lyn talks with him about the dream and also the escape from St Mary’s. They need access to the memory cell and all the ways Aaron knows of doing this are too slow. An idea comes to him and they travel to High Angel (a Raiel ship which holds representatives from all races across the galaxy). There they meet a Raiel by the name of Qatux. Qatux can absorb the memories from Inigo’s cell and relay the information needed within only a few days. He accepts the task and we await the results.
Enter Conservator Ethan who is becoming tense as Living Dream are unable to find the second dreamer. He proposes a wormhole be opened on Viotia, which is where they believe the dreamer to be. Though he is met with reluctance, he gets his way and Living Dream begin a more detailed search for the illusive second dreamer.
In another corner of the galaxy, Paula Myo talks directly with ANA about the suspicious factions within ANA itself. Here we see how sentient ANA is, yet it has no control over the factions which create it. Paula soon gets a call from Justine Burnelli who has been to Troblum’s lab. In an attempt to see the machine he was working on, she enters the lab to find it has vanished. However, we know that the Delivery Man had broken into the lab first and used a secret weapon called the Hawkins M-Sink on the machine. The M-Sink opens a wormhole and sucks all of the targeted matter into oblivion, leaving no trace.
The chapter comes to a close as Troblum is seen living near the Dwarf star. He is involved with a new project from Marius and is totally engaged. That is until he sits down to eat in the cafeteria and sees the one person nobody wants to see, The Cat.
And we’ll return to the Commonwealth next week to find out who The Cat is, to see how Edeard gets on in his new life and to see if Aaron finds Inigo. We should all be on page 426 and we’re going to read up to page 546 – Inigo’s sixth dream. There will be one more part after that before we venture on in the trilogy toBook 2, The Temporal Void. I hope you are still enjoying reading along with us and it’s great to see the beginnings of discussion in the comments below.
Until next time, first-lifers
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THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS, the first book in a new Commonwealth series, published on 9th October 2014, and you can read an extract here
NIGHT WITHOUT STARS, the gripping sequel to THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS, will be published on 22nd September 2016.
Whilst you're waiting, check out the cover reveal post!
You can also catch up on the whole Void Trilogy Reread: