Hello Earth Dwellers, this is Mallory Leighyan. For you new folks, I’m the main character of Scribes’ Descent. Unlike Boxer, who hijacked this newsletter two months ago, I got Dylan’s permission to write this month’s newsletter. I hope you don’t mind. I just arrived last week–Dylan plucked me out of the Scribeverse and set me down in your universe. While I was sleeping!
Gaming update: Dylan added a feature to his game where I slide across the ground, which doesn’t look practical in real life. He’s got me sliding in my field pants across rough stone, but I’m gliding as smoothly as if riding a skateboard. And why is my head so big compared to my body?
Okay, Dylan’s telling me to move on…
How did Dylan transport me into your universe? He claims he used pure imagination, but this feels awfully real. The jump across spacetime gave me a massive ice cream headache without the ice cream, and I’m still suffering from jet lag. Not that I remember what that feels like–I don’t take jets often. Mag trains on the orbital rings are much faster. But your sky is brimming with jets. With over a million people in the sky at all times, your atmosphere is like its own little nation. We have sky dwellers, too, but they stay in orbital habitats.
Which reminds me, where are your orbital rings? You skies seem empty without them. I realize your carbon nanotube tech needs to mature before you can build these rings, but what are you waiting for? If it’s just a matter of know-how, have Dylan bring some material scientists from the Daishon Research Facility. They’ll show you how to wrangle the carbon atoms into the proper shapes. (And they’ll fix your standard model of particle physics while they’re at it)
I’m not used to seeing so many contrails crisscrossing the clouds and above-ground powerlines lining every street. Dylan tells me that wireless power transmission is still being developed here. Being on Earth feels like going back in time–no offense.
I never imagined a single planet could be home to so much linguistic diversity, but I’m told you have over 7,000 languages and over 300 writing systems! With a population of only 7 billion, no less. We have only a handful of languages between Imna and Daishon, and our populations number in the trillions. With so many languages, how do you communicate? I study languages everyday, but I couldn’t hope to learn that many, even with the extended lifetime that med nanos offer. I did some internet searches on Dylan’s ancient computer and saw some of your languages are spoken by 30 or fewer people! As Boxer would say, that boggles my boggler. (Don’t tell Boxer I quoted him, or I’ll never hear the end of it)
And then there’s the sounds you make in some of your languages. Dylan showed me this video of Xhosa, which uses clicks and pops: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcRykTbiva4 We have NOTHING like this on Imna or Daishon. I’m definitely downloading videos like this and taking them back to the Scribeverse to show my linguist friends.
I understand Xhosa isn’t exactly a major language on Earth, but Mandarin Chinese is, and it uses tones. None of our languages back home have tonality. Well, the Sendian dialect of Daishonic uses a pitch accent, but that doesn’t carry as much meaning. I can drop the pitch accent entirely and Sendians still understand me. It’s hard to imagine so many different ways to pronounce the same syllable, though, and for each to hold such wildly different meanings. For example, in Chinese, if I don’t say “ma” just right, I could be calling your mother a horse!
I went strolling in a farmers market where Dylan sells his books about me (yes, I feel my privacy is invaded) and saw the oddest thing. Some people had little paper sticks dangling in their mouths, and one end was lit on fire. These people would inhale and puff out rings of smoke! Dylan called them cigarettes and said those who smoke them get addicted to the nicotine inside. I’ve studied the molecular structure of nicotine in my chemistry classes–we have that back on Imna and Daishon–but only in trace amounts in our tomatoes and eggplants (about 3 micrograms/kg). We don’t have tobacco, though. And nobody smokes tomatoes. That I know of. At this point, Dylan wants me to add a smiling emoji, which is another thing we don’t have in my worlds. A digital smile? How odd. I don’t suppose your emojis smoke cigarettes, do they?
When I arrived at Dylan’s house, something curious came trotting at me: a set of four legs and two pointy ears connected by a furry, flexible body that pranced and prounced like a little cormit. He called it a cat. While I tried to decide what kind of look it was giving me, another climbed out from a random crevice, perched on the kitchen counter and hissed at me. These creatures know I’m not from their world. When Dylan got them settled down, they ignored me and went on their way, licking themselves in the unmentionables and proceeding to lick their fawning humans. These cats are cute, but unusually needy. The dark one seemed to kite Dylan along, taking a few paces and looking back to see if he was following. Now I see why the Scribes Series is taking so long to be finished. The author takes long breaks to serve these little masters.
That’s enough for now. I could ramble on about how interesting this world is, but you have cats to pet and virtual reality games to play and strange shows to watch. Have any questions about my universe? Reply to this email and let me know.
Writing update: Dylan has started the next revision of Scribes Emerge! Hopefully, he consults with me this time. He says you readers get amused by watching me stumble from one crisis to another. That’s not true, is it? Anyhow, I need to go back to my universe and see what dangerous animal Boxer is trying to observe now.
See you in Book Three,