#476: Versers Deduce

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #476, on the subject of Versers Deduce.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first nine Multiverser novels,

  1. Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel,
  2. Old Verses New,
  3. For Better or Verse,
  4. Spy Verses,
  5. Garden of Versers,
  6. Versers Versus Versers,
  7. Re Verse All,
  8. In Verse Proportion, and
  9. Con Verse Lea,

in serialized form on the web (those links will take you to the table of contents for each book).  Along with each book there was also a series of web log posts looking at the writing process, the decisions and choices that delivered the final product; those posts are indexed with the chapters in the tables of contents pages.  Now as I am posting the tenth, In Version,  written in collaboration with Eric R. Ashley, I am again offering a set of “behind the writings” insights.  This “behind the writings” look may contain spoilers because it sometimes talks about my expectations for the futures of the characters and stories–although it sometimes raises ideas that were never pursued, as being written partially concurrently with the story it sometimes discusses where I thought it was headed.  You might want to read the referenced chapters before reading this look at them.  Links below (the section headings) will take you to the specific individual chapters being discussed, and there are (or will soon be) links on those pages to bring you back hopefully to the same point here.

This is the first post for this novel, covering chapters 1 through 12.  There is also a section of the site, Multiverser Novel Support Pages, in which I have begun to place materials related to the novels beginning with character papers for the major characters, giving them at different stages as they move through the books.

These were originally written entirely third-person, that is, both Eric and I were “he”.  Since the viewpoint characters were also always “he” in this book, that became very confusing, so I attempted to shift it back to “I/me/mine” for my contributions and “he/him/his” for Eric’s.  This was a rather late decision in the process, and hopefully I got them all.

History of the series, including the reason it started, the origins of character names and details, and many of the ideas, are in earlier posts, and won’t be repeated here.

Return to Top

Quick links to discussions in this page:
Chapter 1, Slade 214
Chapter 2, Beam 158
Chapter 3, Kondor 223
Chapter 4, Brown 246
Chapter 5, Beam 159
Chapter 6, Slade 215
Chapter 7, Beam 160
Chapter 8, Kondor 224
Chapter 9, Brown 247
Chapter 10, Beam 161
Chapter 11, Slade 216
Chapter 12, Beam 162

Chapter 1, Slade 214

The title problem resolved itself before I had even chosen whose chapter was first.  I recognized that I was starting with a continuation of the story of the parakeet people facing an alien invasion, started with Bob and Shella Slade, Joe Kondor and Zeke Smith, and Derek and Vashti Brown, in In Verse Proportion (the Slades actually arrived in Versers Versus Versers, but barely started in that world), and that I could use the title In Version to suggest that this was a return to that story.

Meanwhile, there were good reasons to want to bring someone else into this.  The big one was that if all three of my viewpoint characters were going to be in the same universe for a while, I was going to need a way to get another story going, and that meant another character.  I had decided to keep Lauren’s location a mystery for a while, partly because I wasn’t certain what to do with her myself, partly because I was considering retiring her, so it wouldn’t be her.  I similarly was uncertain what direction to go with Tommy, but didn’t see much excitement in her story.  Beam, though, was definitely at a cliffhanger, and although I had failed to find answers to a lot of questions about his world, I had finished his character sheet from the last book, and was progressing rapidly with those of his companions, so I felt ready to tackle it.

That left the question of which character should start this.  I wanted to delay Beam for the second chapter, partly because it would give me another couple days to finish the character sheets for his companions, and partly because he had been the main spotlight character in the previous book Con Verse Lea so an extra chapter’s delay would be good.  Slade was commended, not merely because he was the character longest out of the spotlight, however briefly (In Verse Proportion ends Slade, Kondor, Brown), but because his expectation of battle would probably give more tension to start the book than the hopes for peace his companions had.

The critical parts of this first chapter had to be to bring readers up to speed on what had been happening at the end of In Verse Proportion, including introducing the central characters and their situation.  Doing it from Slade’s perspective once again enabled me to create the expectation of the war.

Return to Top

Chapter 2, Beam 158

I expected this to be the most anticipated story continuation, as I had left Beam fleeing from some unknown pursuer in what was from a publication standpoint about three chapters back at the end of Con Verse Lea.  Although I had had some time to consider what to do, I hadn’t come up with much yet.

I decided that the next step was to get Beam’s party to a building they could fortify and defend, and to give more exposition on the nature of the enemy.  I was about to write more about how the idea that they were biological zombies would give Beam thoughts on what to do, but decided to push that to the next chapter to give the feeling that Beam had thought about it for at least a few minutes before reaching conclusions.

Return to Top

Chapter 3, Kondor 223

I chose Kondor next mainly because Derek had been the viewpoint character of the last chapter written about the trio, but also because I figured he might have a breakthrough that would advance things and make anything I could at this moment think of for Joe somewhat moot.

As I developed the thought about Zeke detecting radio transmissions but being unable to decipher them, the idea of radio guidance systems came to mind, and I went forward from there.

Return to Top

Chapter 4, Brown 246

I wasn’t sure how far or fast to move this.  Understanding the alien communications is the first step, but it’s not going to be a simple one.  On the one hand it shouldn’t happen too fast; on the other hand, it shouldn’t hold up the story.

Return to Top

Chapter 5, Beam 159

I had several notions for this chapter, and moved through them quickly.

When Beam says “I wish I was that clever” I had originally and correctly typed “were”, but decided that Beam’s use of English is not precise enough to know that the subjunctive is the proper form there, and in the vernacular people would say “was”, so I changed it immediately.

Return to Top

Chapter 6, Slade 215

I decided that the best next step for Slade was for him to teach his fighting students how to use the newly-developed firearms.  I had to determine two things, one was how many students there were, and the other was what kind of firearms were available.

On the first question, I was sent back to re-read multiple chapters of In Verse Proportion to see what had been said about the class.  It was sketchy; they had been referred to as a group.  Because they easily paired off, there had to be an even number.  Slade once commented that getting through all of them but the two best would take a long time, but he intended to spar against them individually until about half way through when he took them two at a time.  My feeling was that twenty would mean ten pairs, but when you want things to appear random you avoid round numbers not because they don’t happen randomly but because they aren’t expected to.  That meant either eighteen or twenty-two, and I went with eighteen.  Adding Slade and the combat professor to the group would make it twenty, and twenty guns made sense.

As to the types of guns, I sort of wanted automatic pistols, but decided they were probably a bit too complicated for the birds to have developed so soon.  They could do revolvers, and some kind of automatic reloading rifles.  It made sense to do both, but one at a time.  I decided on a revolver comparable to the Smith & Wesson.

I also realized that they wouldn’t have ear protection at this point, but they would have something like cotton.

Return to Top

Chapter 7, Beam 160

I had marked this as a Kondor chapter, but couldn’t get started on it.  Part of that was I was still finishing the second stage character papers from Con Verse Lea, but part of it was simply that I didn’t know what to do with Joe and Zeke at this moment.  So I changed it to Beam, since his story was moving forward.

I decided that there would be too many windows to reinforce all of them, but that if the previous residents had survived any length of time they would have taken reasonably effective measures to protect themselves.  At the moment I thought that they ran out of food and the last of them went for provisions and never made it back, but might revise that.

Return to Top

Chapter 8, Kondor 224

I sat on this for a couple days partly because I was otherwise occupied, but also because I couldn’t quite figure out how to move the story forward from Kondor’s perspective.  The answer finally came, that since the trio are working together Derek’s story could move forward, which was really the main moving piece at the moment, by having Joe at a meeting of the versers.

The story unfolded from the starting point of the versers meeting to compare notes and specifically to learn what Derek had accomplished.  It immediately became apparent that there would be birds there, and that Derek would probably have arranged to have a room suited to small meetings.  It would mostly be the tension between Slade’s and Kondor’s views of the situation at this point, with the complications of learning to communicate fitting into that.

Return to Top

Chapter 9, Brown 247

Eric Ashley had casually suggested to me maybe a week or so before this that he would like to collaborate on something.  I had asked what, and then the thread was dropped.  He re-initiated it at this point, and we agreed that he would join the efforts on creating this novel.  I was in the process of bringing him up to speed on where it was, how it got here, and where I thought it was going.

I faced the problem at this point that I couldn’t really have Derek contact the aliens yet, and it would be difficult to keep his thread interesting if he didn’t.  But as I pondered this, I decided that one thing in Derek’s character is that belief he has that The King–his name for God from the Sprite world–sends him places to do something, and to this point he hasn’t really thought that much about it here.  So I started in that direction.

In the middle of writing this, I checked an article to confirm my understanding of amplitude modulation and frequency modulation radio and to find out how digital broadcasting works.  What struck me is that somehow Derek has to make a copy of his ship’s radio, and it uses something that is not AM/FM, and something like digital is the only available answer at this point.  I don’t know whether it’s feasible, but he has Joe and Zeke to help him, so maybe.

Return to Top

Chapter 10, Beam 161

I stopped the chapter short because I wanted the cliffhanger.  I had some very specific notions of what happens next, but felt the need for the tension there.

Return to Top

Chapter 11, Slade 216

I needed the time to move, and the combat team to improve.  I looked up the names used for Stumbler and Clumsy, because I wanted one of them to be the best shot with a gun, making the team better overall; and I decided it couldn’t really be Clumsy.  Everything else grew organically from the setting.

Return to Top

Chapter 12, Beam 162

I came back to Beam immediately to deal with the cliffhanger, and I knew what was going to happen in several cases.  The important thing was to show that Beam’s people could deal a lot of damage, but the zombies could take quite a bit as well.  Even so, it was late so I went to bed and didn’t get back to it until late the next night.

After writing this, I ran some of the skills I had attributed to Sophia by Kyler Young, who had created much of the Beam party in Garden of Versers, along with the other attacks on the zombies, and he seemed to agree with what had been suggested.

Eric was getting up to speed on the stories not yet published, and the book was still moving forward without him.

Return to Top

This has been the first behind-the-writings look at In Version.  If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with more behind-the-writings posts and another novel.

#475: The Mother of Jairus’ Daughter

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #475, on the subject of The Mother of Jairus’ Daughter.

Our Christian Gamers Guild Bible study recently reached Mark 5:22ff, a peculiar passage which begins with Jesus agreeing to go with someone to perform one miracle, healing a dying daughter, and on the way being interrupted to perform another, healing a bleeding woman.  I proposed that the two miracles were more than simply together, that they were connected, and the connection appeared to be that the woman was the mother of the girl.  Someone rightly asked what evidence there was for this, and I realized that would require pulling together a lot of little bits and pieces that might not be significant in themselves but which seem to point to something.

The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter exhibited 1820 Henry Thomson 1773-1843 Presented anonymously 2012 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T13558

In this, it also happened by one of those intriguing coincidences that while I was posting the Mark passage I was simultaneously studying the Luke passage which should post in a couple years; the Matthew passage has already been outlined for posting, so I have been to some degree comparing that in the process.  I thus decided that I ought to put it all together and offer it to you.

I’ll also mention that I did not notice this myself.  One of the most intelligent people I know, the Reverend (now undoubtedly Doctor) David D. Oldham (whom I have known since high school) pointed it out to me.  However, our discussion of it was considerably less detailed, and he left it to me to examine those details.

  1. The fact that we have nested miracles at all is itself unique.  This is the only place in the New Testament where one miracle occurs inside the other.  We might write that off to narrative style, but that all three Synoptic Gospels include the account nested like this–not one of them separates this into two distinct events.
  2. The two miracles are connected by the statement of twelve years.  We are told that the girl was twelve years old in Mark 5:42 and in Luke 8:42; we are similarly told that the woman had been having this flow of blood for twelve years in Mark 5:25, Matthew 9:20, and Luke 8:43.  The juxtaposition in Luke of the two statements being in consecutive verses suggests that he recognized the significance.  Matthew omits the age of the girl, but he truncates the story significantly so although his omission weakens the case, it doesn’t negate it.
  3. The presence of this number is the more significant when you recognize that this story of the dying girl is the only occasion on which we are told the age of the person afflicted.  There were other occasions on which Jesus healed or delivered children, but their age was never given.  That it is given here suggests that it matters.  Yet the only obvious way in which it matters is that it matches the other number.
  4. It is also made more significant in that we are never otherwise told how long someone was afflicted, except in cases in which it was from birth.  Our woman has had this problem for the same length of time that the child has been alive–that is, she has had it since the birth of the child.
  5. The affliction itself probably escapes our attention, because when we, particularly we gentile men, read that she has had a flow of blood for an extended time we don’t immediately connect that to continual vaginal bleeding–yet that must be what it was.  Further, it is not at all uncommon for women to develop extended vaginal bleeding post-partum, and so if she had given birth twelve years ago and was still bleeding, that would be an ailment that would totally disrupt her life but would not be rapidly fatal.
  6. It is also noteworthy that we are told that the man is a principle leader of the synagogue, in Mark 5:22 and Luke 8:41 both of which give his name; the truncated Matthew account says only that he is a leader in 9:18.  However, the fact that he is named–another very unusual feature of the miracle accounts–suggests that the writers expect at least some of the readers to recognize his name.
  7. This fact that he was such a leader would mean that if this is his wife and the mother of his daughter she would have to have been put out of the house–contact with a woman with continual vaginal bleeding would make him continually unclean and unable to perform his duties at the synagogue.  Thus we find her living on the street, even though she once had the means to pay doctors in an effort to solve the problem.  The family has been separated for most of twelve years, the daughter growing up without her mother.
  8. On that, the story of the girl is split in two parts by the story of the woman, and in the first part only her father Jairus is mentioned.  The mother joins the story only after the healing of the woman when Jesus takes her inside with Him in Luke 8:51 and in Mark 5:40.  Luke 8:56 repeats the recognition of the presence of the mother by saying He gave the girl to her parents.
  9. Both of those accounts tell us that when Jesus arrived at the house and went in to see the girl, the mother entered the house with Him.  Why was she not already in the house, at the bedside of her dying daughter?  We might suppose that she had been waiting outside for her husband to return with news about the healer, but it’s a better fit if we see her coming to the house with Jesus and the others because she is the mother who has been excluded from the home for all these years due to her ailment.
  10. It is a very minor point, but all three accounts initially identify the woman with the greek word γυνὴ, which is a tricky word in Greek because of the culture of the time.  It literally means a “woman”.  However, it was the word automatically used to identify a “wife”.  Thus each time the word “woman” appears in the passage it could mean “wife”, that on the way Jesus met a wife, and healed the wife, and the wife told of her affliction and her healing.  It is not conclusive, but it is noteworthy.
  11. It might be argued that after the healing of the woman Jesus told her to leave–but the text does not say that.  In Mark 8:34 he tells her to “retire into peace”, which might mean that she should leave but might rather mean that she should leave her fears behind because she is now healed.  Similarly in Luke 8:48 the statement is “travel into peace”, which could have that meaning, or could mean that she should continue her journey without fear.  That journey might reasonably be taking her home.  Matthew has no statement telling her to leave, only reassurance of her healing.
  12. In all three accounts Jesus makes a point of identifying the woman who was healed.  It is very dramatic covering several verses in both Mark and Luke, but even Matthew makes the point that He found her in the crowd and identified her.  That might have been solely for her benefit, but it makes sense for Him to identify the woman if indeed she is the mother of the girl and her husband has to be aware that she has now been healed and can return to the home.
  13. The fact that Matthew 9:22 tells us that the cure was permanent strongly suggests that the woman did not vanish into the crowd, but that someone was still in contact with her over the years to come.  We aren’t told who she was specifically, but this detail suggests that she must have been someone known within the community, and someone for whom if the condition returned the community would know, which would apply to the wife of the synagogue leader.
  14. On the whole, if the woman is the wife of the synagogue leader and mother of the girl, then this is not one story tucked inside an unrelated other, but the story of Jesus restoring a family, bringing the mother back into the home and saving the life of the daughter.  It is a theory that gives us a whole picture here.

Thus I contend that the woman healed of her bleeding in the middle of the story of the healing of the daughter of the synagogue leader is the mother of the child, the estranged wife of the synagogue leader, being restored to her place in the home as the life of her daughter is saved.

There is a second issue in this passage worth comment (also pointed out to me by the aforementioned David Oldham).  All three accounts tell us that the people at the house believed the girl had died.  Interpreters generally conclude that they were right, that the girl had died and Jesus here restores her to life.  The problem is that Jesus insists that the girl is not dead but sleeping.  He is reported to have said this in Matthew 9:24, Mark 5:39, and Luke 8:52.  We, though, ignore what Jesus said and assume that He was being metaphorical.

Does the context otherwise support this?  It does not say that Jesus restored her to life.  In Matthew 9:25 the verb is that He lifted her, sometimes rendered raised but meaning no more than that He helped her to her feet.  In Mark 5:41 the statement is given in Aramaic but then translated to Greek, the verb here meaning to raise yourself, often used of awakening.  That same Greek verb is used in Luke 8:54.  Both of these verbs are sometimes used metaphorically for awakening the dead, and might be being so used here, but they do not prove the girl was dead rather than comatose.  It is also significant that the Aramaic verb used by Mark does not mean to awaken but to stand, which might again indicate that Jesus believed her to be alive.

Luke 8:55 uses the idiomatic phrase “her spirit returned”, which might be taken to mean that her spirit had left and she was dead.  However, Greek usage suggested that when someone slept their spirit went on a brief trip elsewhere, and that it returned when they awoke, so again we have something inconclusive.

Thus we cannot genuinely prove whether the girl was alive or dead when Jesus reached her, but as my friend suggests on this point we should probably believe what Jesus says.  After all, He seems quite adamant about it.

#474: Preliminary Temporal Thoughts on Paper Girls

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #474, on the subject of Preliminary Temporal Thoughts on Paper Girls.

Reader Scott Curtis contacted me to ask,

I am a longtime reader of your articles on time travel cinema.  My wife and I are watching the short lived show Paper Girls on Amazon Prime, and I was wondering if you have taken a look at it?  If so I was wondering if you have considered turning your analytical eye on it.

Quite a few years back I wrote an explanation of Why Not Analyze Time Travel Television Shows? much of which still applies.  Granted, it appears from the Amazon description that Paper Girls is only 8 episodes, but that’s quite a bit of material, and in my current circumstances getting the opportunity to watch a two-hour movie is challenging.

However, I did take a look at the blurb, and ran into an obvious problem.  It tells us that they have to interact with their adult selves.  Let’s consider this.

If they left from 1988 and arrived in 2019, they ceased to exist in time in 1988 and don’t exist in 2019.  Before they can interact with their future selves, they have to return to the past and create future selves.  That means they need an N-jump resolution which they’re not going to get, because the second problem is once they’ve returned to the past and so replaced themselves in history, the world changes drastically around them–let’s face it, four fifteen-year-old girls who live to be forty-six is going to mean some of them marry and/or have children, and we hit the genetic problem in spades.  Further, the selves they meet in the future are going to be the ones who made the trip they are currently making but didn’t find themselves in the future.  This then sets up the problem that they have to return to the past–we need a stable sawtooth snap–and we have to repeat history with versions of themselves who did make that trip, who then are different from having met their older selves when they were younger.  Getting this to stabilize is very complicated.

Further, telling stories in this temporal morass means choosing which timeline, and the only one that will exist beyond their return to the past is the last one.  However, the blurb also says that they have to deal with warring time traveling factions.  Assuming these come from the yet further future, they cannot come into existence until our first anomaly is resolved–our girls have met their younger selves and remember having met their older selves–because only after that can there be a tomorrow.  Then time has to advance to a moment in the future when one of those factions travels into that history between 1988 and 2019, which again changes that history and forces a repeat of their anomaly, which happens again when the other faction arrives attempting to alter history again, and every time one of those future factions travels to any point in the past, even points after 2019, they create ripples in history reaching all the way back to 1988 (because if in 2050 faction A sends someone to 2030 who impacts persons in faction B, when faction B sends someone from 2040 to 2019 that person will be different, impacted by the 2030 visit, and so will impact our four girls differently, changing events flowing from 1988).

I see very little hope for a satisfactory temporal resolution to such a morass, and expect that it’s going to crash into an infinity loop at some point, the end, no future.

If it is not obvious, though, I need to caveat that I have not watched the show; this is entirely based on the descriptive blurb.

Much of this is covered better in the book The Essential Guide to Time Travel, available in paperback and Kindle formats.

Scott adds that the handling of time travel is unlike anything he has seen elsewhere, so I might try to catch a few episodes and that might inspire some additional thoughts on it.

I hope this helps.

473: The Song “In the Light of His Love”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #473, on the subject of The Song “In the Light of His Love”.

This might be the oldest song on the list; it’s probably also the shortest, at least so far.  (I have a couple of very short songs that I never sing, but might figure out how to record sometime.)  Working with a few others back around 1970 plus or minus a year under the name Genuine Junk Parts (with Art Robbins, my brother Roy Young, and Andy Nilssen handling the recording), I put together a collection under the title Genuine Junk Lives in Ramsey, but decided not to try to sell copies because I was worried about copyrights.  Yeah, I was a kid.  This song wrapped up the tape, and is, I think, the only song from that collection that I’ve ever sung publicly since forming The Last Psalm, although there is one other that I’ve tried to remember from time to time.

It was also the last song I recorded for the vocals-over-midi-instruments discs I created for Dave Oldham, because it was a song performed occasionally by The Last Psalm (and at least once before that by BLT Down when we did a church service).  I sing it occasionally to close concerts, and think of it as a benediction.  After all, it’s short–under a minute, forty seconds in this recording.

My wife always comments that she likes the way I rhymed “God’s Son” with “person”.  It’s a very simple song, but then, it’s not really long enough to get that complicated.  I don’t recall anyone else ever commenting on it.

In the Light of His Love.

So here are the lyrics.

The Lord will select you,
Direct you, protect you.
He’ll stay beside you
To hide you or guide you.
He’ll always lead you
And he’ll always feed you,
So stay in the light of His love.

You know that you need Him,
So hear Him and heed Him,
For Jesus is God’s son,
And no normal person.
He’s never far from you
Once He has won you,
So stay in the light of His love.


Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  The Song “My Life to You” | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice” | #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good” | #393:  The Song “Why” | #399:  The Song “Look Around You” | #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command” | #408:  The Song “Given You My Name” | #412:  The Song “When I Think” | #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me” | #428:  The Song “To the Victor” | #433:  The Song “From Job” | #436:  The Song “Trust Him Again” | #438:  The Song “Even You” | #441:  The Song “Fork in the Road” | #442:  The Song “Call to Worship” | #445:  The Song “How Many Times” | #447:  The Song “When I Was Lonely” | #450:  The Song “Rainy Days” | #453:  The Song “Never Alone” | #455:  The Song “King of Glory” | #457:  The Song “Greater Love” | #458:  The Song “All I Need” | #462:  The Song “John Three” | #464:  The Song “The Secret” | #466:  The Song “In a Mirror Dimly” | #468:  The Song “Present Your Bodies” | #471:  The Song “Walkin'”

Next song: Step by Step