Word count: 1164 Yesterday I had coffee with Mark Bourne and discussed the aliens. He came up with the idea that “seeing is believing” is the core of their philosophy and culture. If you don’t see something with your own eyes, it doesn’t exist; if you haven’t met someone personally, you have no preconceptions about them. Major transgressions are punished by the gouging out of eyes; less-major transgressions may result in “internal exile” caused by people refusing to see you. Minor transgressions result in diminished attention. Rather than “face”, their culture is ruled by attention, the fundamental coin of respect. Visibility equals attention; attention equals influence; influence equals power. No one can have direct influence over more people than can be gathered in one room at a time, but indirect influence can extend further (again, networks of small hierarchies). Theoretically, no government can extend beyond the limits of sight, which makes high places extremely valuable. The moon is the Eye of God, which sees all and is seen by all; this drove their space race, the race to literally claim the high ground and achieve the pinnacle of perception. My idea about the magnetosphere didn’t work for him, but then he’s not an expert in that area. He suggested, though, that perhaps they don’t use radio because communicating over the horizon is gauche. Hmm. Tonight I wrote a first draft of the Prologue. Woo hoo! Word counts from now on reflect only actual novel, not notes and outline.
David D. Levine is the author of Andre Norton Nebula Award winning novel Arabella of Mars, sequels Arabella and the Battle of Venus and Arabella the Traitor of Mars, and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. Stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Tor.com, numerous Year’s Best anthologies, and his award-winning collection Space Magic.