Introduction: Welcome to Terrania
Tales of Terrania Rising
Book 1 in the Assembling Terrania Cycle
Copyright © 2021 by Craig Chalquist. All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events is probably intentional.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Welcome to Terrania 3
Terrania Rising 5
The Long Adventure Begins 6
The Namings 18
Enheduanna Claims Authorship 25
Leaving the Nest 37
Gentle Breath of Yours My Sails Must Fill 46
The Case of the Hidden Author 54
The Wizard’s Tale 65
Departing Fantasyland 86
Devil’s Due 103
Ringside Seat 107
In Gods We Trust 112
Ten Lamps 115
West of Eden 131
Raising Cain 140
The Magic Lighthouse 149
Knight of Peace 156
From Intervale to Terrania 168
The Undaunted Dead 192
Dreamvale Continuations 221
Whom Gods Restore 222
Testing 1-2-3 229
History Lesson: The Rematch of Blood and Dust 232
Childehood’s End 242
Notes from the Grimoire of Dworkin 266
Fahrenheit 212 292
The Paris Dilemma Revisited 303
The Miracle 304
Three Wishes 307
The Loss 313
The Marble 316
Golden Mean 318
Cycles Beach 319
The Assembly 320
The Test 322
Storied Practicality 323
Dinner Guests 324
Keepers of the Balance 327
Introduction: Welcome to Terrania
Although speculative fiction is as old as folktale, legend, and myth, today it speaks to a need of planetary consequence: that of imagining our way forward in the face of extinction-level catastrophes, including accelerating climate change. How will we not only survive, but mature? What kind of world culture would we most desire?
Hard to achieve it if we can’t imagine it first.
Some years back, while I mulled what a just, Earth-honoring, and delightful culture of abundance and peace might be like to live in, the word “Terrania” floated through my reveries. Around this fanciful word gathered images, intuitions, ideas—and the stories in this collection.
Between Terrania as a collaborative accomplishment of our genius and maturity and where we are now stretches a long gap indeed. I wanted to show how we got there. Not step by step, of course, but through the perceptions of key characters located in various points throughout human history.
Along the way, we had to renegotiate our relations to Powers larger than ourselves. Ancient peoples called them gods. Jung called them archetypes, although he spent most of his time showing how they show up inside us. But whether archetypes, gods, or God, we have tended to be stuck to them. They reappear in our ideologies and institutes, obsessions and beliefs, whether or not we recognize their primal influence. Some of us bow down to them; others ignore them and by doing so fall under their domination.
How might we eschew the extremes of regression and alienation and instead create a healthy adult relationship with these Powers? Upon this question hangs our chance at coming of age as a species.
The first section, “Terrania Rising,” features tales of our Long Adventure in consciousness in chronological order (by our time reckoning, that of the Coaguum) from Big Bang to the achievement of Terrania. Some of the characters lighting the way are historical; others are fictional, which is to say that they have their own kind of imaginal reality. Both move us forward toward fuller versions of ourselves.
The second section, “Dreamvale Continuations,” picks up and develops tales from other authors. In two cases, “Childehood’s End” and “Notes from the Grimoire of Dworkin,” my stories complete series left unfinished by the death of their authors. In theory, every fictional tale lives somewhere in the Dreamvale. The invitation is for authors and other creatives to add their own versions with an eye to enriching and deepening the grand tale of our Long Adventure.
“Fables” are short bits that fill out the Cycle. They represent experiments with a form of storytelling other than the short story, although all the stories offer their own strange and varying blends of science fiction, fantasy, history, and dream.
The “Glossary” lists the names and attributes of the thirty Powers and gives short definitions of other aspects of the world of the Assembling Terrania Cycle. Articles on the Cycle appear at my website: Chalquist.com/fiction.
For most of my life I’ve been followed around by imaginings and dreams of a better world waiting up ahead of us. It has gone by so many names: Datong, Ketumati, Shangri-La, Golgonooza, Ecotopia, Wakanda, 24th Century… Some of these images—or are they anticipations?—get suffocated by bucolic fantasies of endless leisure; others corrode thanks to cynicism or psychologism. But a key question lingers: What stops us from building, together and from the bottom up, a civilization of everyone’s delight?
As you read these tales, I hope you feel freed to dream into what your version of Terrania has to offer by way of entertainment, consolation—or even motivation to take a step or two in its direction. Perhaps we can walk together.