Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Open doors

To access the new realm in the domain-level game being run at Hill Cantons you'll need to pass through a portal. Yes, one of those portals. Not sure how I feel about that, or rather how that feels.

If a portal offers instant passage to another location - possibly another world or even dimension in the polycosmos - what can we assume about it? We know we can pass through, but what about our clothing and equipment? Does it need to be in contact, and if so, with what exactly? Because those quivers and scabbards - or magazines and firearms - might not be touching skin. Do we take with us more than the air we carry in our lungs? Grubs in food of course, and a buzzing fly maybe, but a flagstone? Or floor?

Even without us passing through, does the portal allow a mingling of air and temperature? Would we meet the scents or breeze of the other location before we come across the portal? If the pressures of the two spaces are not equalised, what would this do to equilibrium in each while the portal is open? Would elements on either side be sucked through? Might a portal become blocked with debris or the space around it fill up with alien matter? Could a flood be worse for the other side, or a fire find endless fuel?

How about sound, and of course light? Would we hear the sounds of the other space and see the glow of its suns playing on surfaces some way off? Would light be refracted as if passing through a prism? The strength of the barrier would determine whether the rays make it through and how fast they come. Perhaps the landscape seen through the portal is the landscape of the past? But how far past? If no light makes it through, the portal would be ominously lightless even if sunshine blazes on the other side.

It depends too whether the portal works in both directions. It might be that the media of only one space passes through to the other. Does one of the spaces then fill up with the inquisitive of the other, and that other become an uninquiring one, conservative in its mentality while its eager explorers are meeting in a land now filled with questions?

If there is a barrier preventing the passage of media, how strong is it? Would we feel it as we cross? Would it be as delicate a membrane as the surface of a soap bubble or stronger and tighter, so that we feel as if we are forcing ourselves through a fine sieve and our organs threaten to pop out of our bodies behind us? How much would it hurt? How much energy would it take? Could a body become trapped halfway, too little power in the muscles that remain to push the remainder of the way, or too little already there - wherever there is - to find a good grip and pull? Are there portals in which the deceased are suspended? Or could the mouth be fed and watered and the whole body live on?

If the surface is so taut - and even if not - are we filtered as we pass through? What gets removed? Hopefully the impurities, the illnesses diagnosed or otherwise, perhaps the imperfections in structure even? Maybe anything at all incompatible with the new reality, whether chemical substances, properties, memories or even ways of thinking? Would we be ourselves on the other side? If thought is not of matter but above it, would the tenuous link with the body be snapped or stretched? How long after the physical form would consciousness arrive and what would it experience in the meantime? Does a new soul wait to adopt a body coming through? Does belief system change if gods are other?

What do we leave behind? Do we pass beyond knowledge? Are memories of us in the minds of others lost? Promises, debts and consciences wiped clean? Are our works undone? What subtle bonds can span the gulf? What is the gulf?

To the wanderers setting off at Hill Cantons I bid the best of luck, good adventures and fulfilment! May your return - if ever it comes - see you greater than at departure.


The Angry Lurker said...

The stargate TV universe is a reference point maybe?

Porky said...

The Stargate idea is definitely the stand-out candidate, and it was a mention at Bell of Lost Souls that probably helped clarify the thinking.

There are plenty more approaches out there too, in fantasy as well as SF. The pools in the Narnia story The Magician's Nephew, for example, and even the transporters in Star Trek. It's a common subject, and no wonder when it's another escape route into other worlds - we all love escapism!

netherwerks said...

The Wood Between the Worlds by William Morris is worht taking a look at. Especially if you liked the forest with the pools in Magician's Nephew by Lewis.

G is for Gates come least for us...