Startup Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 A Prequel New Orbit 2010 A Sequel .
Superhuman World 2009 is a work of fiction. The characters herein and the commentary about them should not be considered "real".
SUPERHUMAN WORLD 2009
Tales of the New Orbit
As ever, I keep track of events. This is especially important now that the Earth's in a new orbit. For one thing, what's that other Earth doing up there in the sky? But first, we all need one last bit of warm December sun.
(signed) Wyatt Ferguson.
The Mayas Were Right! Commentator: Sylvester Morrow, World Journal Monthly.
Their Unliving Golem Delivers Their Message!
The tourists ran screaming as the wooden statue walked to the center of the platform, pulled a scroll from its chest cavity, and raised its dagger.
The statue was a Wooden Man of the Third Creation, from before the Corn Men of the current age. It drew its sustenance from wood, much as the Corn Men fed on corn. But Corn Men lived quickly like a stalk of corn. Like wood, the Wooden Man never slept, but it lived slowly over centuries.
The Wooden Man served the priesthood of the Corn Men. Though their priests no longer existed, the Corn Men did, so they needed its services.
Its job was to watch the sun every day. Every 400 years at the end of a Long Cycle, the Wooden Man would rise from its crypt, recalculate the holy calendar, and subtract or add a festival day as necessary.
In the 397th year of the 13th Long Cycle, the Wooden Man saw the sun jump closer. The sun had started a new course. The Moon had disappeared, as had Mercury, but two new planets replaced them. The heavens had changed, and the Wooden Man could calculate the impact upon the Earth. So it went out early.
At the end of the last Long Cycle, it had found foreign pirates upon its temple. It drove them off, of course. Its wooden body still held the metal slugs they'd fired at it then.
This time, foreigners again walked on the temple. They did not walk like priests or warriors, but they aimed box-like devices at the Wooden Man. It raised its ceremonial dagger in response.
The intruders fled, and the Wooden Man was left alone. It pinned its calendar to the altar with the dagger, then returned to its crypt to resume its watch.
Serge Reese came back to the top of the temple after the Wooden Man left. He saw the scroll, and recognized it... "My God, it's redone the Mayan calendar!"
Serge was an amateur archaeologist, on vacation to the Mayan ruins. He knew the Mayas observed simultaneous interlocking years of 260 and 360 days. The 260-day cycle marked the typical growth of crops and pregnancies.
The new calendar stopped the current 260-year period after only sixty-five days, so the next period would start at the 2009 winter solstice. From then on, two 260-day years would closely fit Earth's new orbital period. The 360-day year (plus the five Nameless Days each year, plus regular adjustments to fit the seasons) would continue as before, to mark Earth's old annual cycles. But the next Long Cycle would start three years early.
Serge knew the Mayas had not predicted an apocalypse in 2012. If they had, they'd have been wrong. Apocalypse had already come and gone, when the rogue planet Iv went through the solar system earlier this year. But the Mayan calendar was still prophetic, because it was ready for the new shape of the heavens. The Mayas were right after all.
The Warm December, or One Last Bit of Sun. Commentator: Wyatt Ferguson.
I've been told I dash about the landscape like a koala on speed. This is ironic because our world actually has a koala on speed, and I'm not it. But I still see lots of stuff. A few entries from my diary may therefore illustrate how our world is dealing with radical climate change. In some ways it's The End of the World As We Know It, but in others it's business as usual.
1 December: Ginny (a colleague of mine) and I are taking a crypto quiz for a class, with Death watching... yes, the actual real Personification of Demise. Hi, Boss.
1 December: Total Conversion (the world's most powerful superhuman team) is in tribal clothes and coming under attack. They're doing security for a landing site of The Trillions in the Ivory Coast! They're trying to look semi-native, but nobody's fooled; the locals are rioting. Still, it's nothing that a high-powered team of mercenary superhumans can't handle.
7 December: A certain superhero team from another Earth is looking for me. I suppose I was technically part of their support staff once. So they tell me, our Earth's appeared in their universe!
8 December: Gaah. That superhero stuff lasted just one day. Judy and I wind up in a farmhouse in Tennessee, waiting for Hitler to come downstairs so we can have some cake for his birthday. I really should take a picture, but nobody would recognize him.
11 December: I'm on my own, in New York City for Second Thanksgiving observance.
12 December: It's Tropical Replica Speedway Night!
21 December: My lady Judy says she saw The Trillions make a new friend.
22 December: Magic Johnson finishes an American Gladiators tournament. I try to see the action from inside a bus full of new heroes. Culture is the same as ever, but the guy who can cover Key West in cheez whiz might be worth knowing for the next world crisis - if only because cheez whiz is supposedly edible.
23 December: Judy and I have been invited to the U.S. Northwest. The waves are freezing into sculptures on the shore, but the sun is sparkling and the tropical birds and plants are thriving. Like I said, the weather is weird; really cold water is coming in from the sea, because the sea knows December shouldn't be this warm. But Judy turns to me and says, everything's going to be all right. At least someone has faith.
24 December: Our friend in Portland is a restauranteur; he has buildings he hasn't even used yet. As the sun goes down at 9:15 pm, a band is playing in the lounge. I can sleep on the restaurant side if I put up screens; it's open air.
28 December: I've gone into NYC for a meeting. The bridge into Manhattan is partly out due to rising sea level. Some of us try to row a raft across the gap rather than wait for the ferry. Fortunately my important stuff and I both dry off quickly... I'm in city for advertiser training. Apparently I'm really stylish and marketable now that I'm getting married.
29 December: We're up for 5 am exercise, but the clocks are wrong. Now that each day is fifteen minutes shorter, the clocks all have problems... I think I'll go back to bed and then watch TV.
.So... The weather is weird. The aliens are still coming. There's unrest among Earthlings. Other Earths are interfering. Death is watching.
... Yep, next year could be interesting.
The Book of Ends, or, What Have We Learned This Year? Commentator: Wyatt Ferguson.
There are giant tankers in the Atlantic, and swimming M&M-shaped robots that threaten to interfere with them. The Book of Ends uses the robots to instruct how to avoid injury, and it's funny.
This time of year, I usually try to tell us what we've learned. The Trillions and their enemies have tried to trump our species. But we've survived. Indeed, things have barely changed so far.
I'm much like The Trillions, because I have my own Book of Ends. Back in 2004 I saw a doomsday scenario where 2011 was important. The world has changed in ways we could never have foreseen, but doomsday seems to be on or ahead of schedule.
Now, how's the rest of the world reacting?
Next year we'll see how well Earth survives when it goes out toward Mars and the crops don't grow the way they used to. Let's hope we get some comic-book super-science going - and for once use it to save us all.
Starting this year, the Superhuman World website has accepted concepts from the Usenet group rec.arts.comics.creative, and responded with stories in their contests. The "constructed sleeping being" concept came from Dave Van Domelen; this led to The Mayas Were Right in Contest #5.
All characters in this fiction and the phrase "Superhuman World 2009" are copyright © 2009 - 2010 by Eiler Technical Enterprises. The map of the Superhuman World is based on one from Henry Bottomley's map software which is well worth a visit.
(signed) Scott Eiler