This diagram, penned by Gilles Vorace himself, is a representation of his characters’ expedition down through to the titular mountains. Vorace would have drawn the diagram to help himself visualize the perilous journey better.
“The Mountains Upside Down” (1863)
a Gilles Vorace novel
Extract from Chapter III:
“Downwards And Upwards”
We had finally begun our climb down to the top of the mountain.
Dr Niemendorf had been right all along: the mountains upside down did exist!
Hektor Wiendelstein’s journal was not a fake nor was it a collection of demented ramblings which was certainly good news for the expedition. What lies at the peak of an upside down mountain, deep underground?
We were about to find out.
-“Dr Niemendorf”, I inquired, “What of the air down there?”
-“Young nephew, use your mind! Typically, a mountain peaks at the purest and lightest of its air. Therefore, since our journey already begins at the top, we should find a vast pocket of fresh oxygen right at the foot of the mountain. The freshest, most delightful air you could ever breathe. After that, it’ll all be downhill from there.”
-“Surely you mean ‘uphill’.”
-“Hush those mindless queries and corrections.”
-“But doctor”, our Finnish lumberjack friend Raskkattan started, “We five, we not enough. Maybe more people is better, no? Danger!”
-“Balderdash! A group of five abled bodies with working limbs and capable, functioning brains is more than enough to secure a safe and productive expedition.”
-“But we drop!”
-“Drop? Absurd! If my calculations are correct, and they are, once we have slid our way through to the mountain’s base, reverse gravity should kick-in just in time to guarantee a smooth upside down walk all the way to the top!”
-“‘But-but-but’, be quiet man! Keep your concerns to yourself and leave the science to those of us who are indeed qualified to discuss such intricate matters. Me, for example. Now carry this pig.”
Raskkattan should have known better than to argue with Uncle Niemendorf. He was as stubborn as an owl and, more often than not (by that, of course, I mean always), he was completely, surprisingly right. My uncle handed the bulky Scandinavian the pig and, after wrapping a long piece of rope around a nearby tree, started his descent.
Raskkattan followed, his porcine disciple firmly tied to his chest, like a real boy. Olaf was next, the weak-minded child was scared out of his wits, contesting throughout: “Why did he have to come?”, “Why couldn’t he go home instead?”, nonsense of the sort. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be part of such a ground-breaking discovery? I tied up the boy promptly, from neck to toe, filling his mouth with cranberries to keep him quiet, and lowered him down with the others.
The ungrateful tick.
It was to be Lady Seitenstreifen’s turn when she turned to me, her stunning figure in that all-too complimenting dress of hers, hardly suited to an adventure such as this one might I add, heaving towards me, like a bag of cherries, and asked:
-“Do they have napkins down there?”
Not knowing what she meant and for fear of sounding foolish, I immediately agreed with her. Puzzled, she nonetheless smiled and followed the rest of the group down the crack. Good thing I remembered to tie her rope to the tree in time, she had forgotten and a lesser gentleman could have lost himself in that magical smile of hers.
She truly was a special breed.
The climb down was torturous.
Impatient, Uncle Niemendorf intermittently yelled instructions back at us. The pig, no doubt deeply disturbed by the events, squealed uncontrollably, Raskkattan muttered what could only be Finnish profanities on and off, young Olaf crying hot, bitter, childish tear the entire time, Lady Seitenstreifen complaining about the absence of a working powder room (poor, sweet Lady Seitenstreifen, I could bury my head in her) and me, unsure about where this unsympathetic road would lead me.
Respect? Fame? Fortune? Death?
Time would tell.
-“My uncle, how much farther down until we reach the mountain?”
-“According to Hektor Wiendelstein’s journal, we should be approaching the base of the mountain somewhere between now and later.”
-“Later as in after some time has passed?”, interrupted Lady Seitenstreifen, with a voice so soft and cushiony I felt instantly wombed by its motherly comfort.
-“Precisely”, simply replied my uncle.
This was going to be one long climb.
-“You have water?”, Raskkattan asked the doctor with a thick Helsinki accent, so thick it must have weighed at least a couple of inches.
-“‘Vwahtier’? I suppose you mean ‘water’? Fool, you imagine I would undertake such a monumental undertaking without packing enough water for us all?”
-“No, but it’s good you have.”
-“I don’t ‘have’ it now, of course. I had to drop some weight on the way down in order to perform my leader duties to the best of my abilities so what I couldn’t drink, I discarded. But not to worry, as long as I am hydrated, the group should enjoy a safe journey with me, its leader, in top physical form. Besides, the water will no doubt be waiting for us down the mountain thanks to good old, trusty reverse gravity.”
-“Surely you mean ‘up’ the mountain, Uncle Niemendorf!”, I playfully jested.
-“I loathe the very fabric of your being and, furthermore, your face.”, was his, I felt, somewhat harsh, reply.
A sudden move by Dr Niemendorf sent all of us swinging and sent Olaf face-first into the rocky walls which surrounded us, cracking his skull on a sharp piece of granite. He died on impact. The blood pouring out of his little head angered my uncle but provided Raskkattan’s pet pig with enough fluids to keep it alive and squeal-less for some time.
The circle of life.
-“I tire, lets set up camp here!”, Lady Seitenstreifen suggested as Olaf’s motionless corpse hung puppet-like right below her small, delicate feet.
Suddenly, and without warning, the rope snapped and we started our long tumble down this mysterious, upside down abyss.
More extracts from Gilles Vorace‘s “The Mountains Upside Down” will come soon.
Only on WeTheMindThinkers.
Little known French science fiction writer Gilles Vorace was a contemporary of legendary author Jules Verne. Not only that but they grew up together in Nantes, went to the same boarding school and used to share stories, along with Jules’ brother Paul.
Their friendship, however, ended circa 1864 when Vorace vehemently accused Verne of stealing his novel “The Mountains Upside Down” to build his classic “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth”. Vorace never forgave Verne, whose take on the situation amounted to this quote:
“The man is unhinged.”
Finally, Vorace’s “The Mountains Upside Down” is seeing the light of day and We, The MindThinkers are here to bring you several extracts from this unique piece of work.
An extract from Chapter III is coming soon only on We, The Mindthinkers.
A piece of art from legendary science fiction writer Norman L. Brisbane, author of such titles as “Beware Their Killing Hooves” and “To Be A Blurgen”, was recovered this week.
The piece appears to be a rough drawn representation of the “Observatorium”, a location mentioned in his final short story “The Red Moons Of NeOrion”. The drawing was made on a scrap piece of paper and found in the inside pocket of the coat he wore when he died. It hadn’t been found until now because the pockets were sawn shut with beard hair, Brisbane’s evidently, and in order to preserve the authenticity of the item, no-one had dared tearing the pockets open.
Thankfully, a moth infestation in the New Jersey Science Fiction Museum opened up a hole big enough from the inside that the mangled piece of paper could be safely extracted.
Here is the powerful image it depicted:
(click on it to enlarge)
The structure conceived by Mr Brisbane looks every bit as imposing as it was described in the story. The vein-like detailing over the entirety of the pole suggesting the metal mentioned, “Expanseon”, had taken over it like a vine eating its way to the top of a tree. The dome looking very much grafted onto the pole almost organically.
The lack of detail on the surrounding “schlouds” would suggest Mr Brisbane was more enamored with the shaft at the center of the piece.
This truly is a major discovery for the world of sci-fi and one hopes that more artworks will be recovered from the legendary writer in time.
“The Rice Farmers Of Kryoc” (1965)
an Ebert E. Bert novel
Extract from Chapter I:
“Kryoc, World Of The Damned”
That most valuable of commodities. That sweet ivory nectar.
Men would kill for it, men would die for it. For a taste of its small, supple, pillowy bosom. For with rice, as with all things, a darkness shadows a valiant purpose.
There was a land, thousands of miles across the galaxy, a land where rice was all.
That land was Kryoc.
A minute planet far within the Tichbar system, in between Koryoc, Kloryoc and the Seven Moons, Kryoc was made of rice. Or, rather, its bumpy, white, shaft-like hills were. At the core of every hill, of which there were an infinite horizon, lay miles upon miles, tons upon tons of the milky substance. It was a peaceful land where the Kryokees lived without conflict. For the Kryokees, the hills were sacred, none would ever dare betray their purity.
Without them, the Kryokees were lost.
Kylias* provided the people of Kryoc with all they needed. Rice farmers would travel to Kylias and there, they would carry home a calculated amount of Kjii* which would feed their families for years. But the Hargyans, a race of rice-seekers from a nearby star system, whose planet neither needed nor deserved rice, had infiltrated Kryoc with the intention of extracting all the rice from the sacred hills to use as currency across the universe, for that rice, the rice buried deep inside the Kryokian hills, possessed a crystal-like fragility and a taste purer than the sky itself. It was also extremely rare and, of course, extremely valuable. Even more so than the rice the farmers grew.
When the Hargyans came, with their weapons, their advanced machinery and their greed, the Kryokees, not being a warring people, had no choice but to cooperate. The Kylias had been drained almost entirely and the rice farmers became rice miners, working to extract the rice from the very hills they worshipped and protected. Soon, the Kryokees would have no choice but to rely on that very rice but by then the Hargyans would have no doubt gained global control over it and it wouldn’t be long before a famin would hit the Kryokees, a famin from which there would be no escape.
A small group of Kryokian rebels, The Kryad, was believed to exist but what could they do? The Hargyans were fierce and their army was far superior (there was no such thing as an army on Kryoc).
Rebellion was futile.
Or was it?
The Talarians were peacekeepers, scouting the cosmos for conflicts in the hope of resolving them as best as possible. Their mission had been approved by the United Federation Of Space, Planets And Intergalactic Activities (UFSPIA) aeons ago and they were a respected race throughout the galaxy. The Talarian elders had prophecised the Kyokees’ doom and now their ship was approaching Kryoc.
In the Titanus*, the elders were seated.
A young Talarian soon entered.
To say young Hazar, son of Razar and Shazaria, of the 2nd Talarian Kingdom, was a beautiful soldier would have been an understatement: he was radiant. Like a star. His long, flowing blonde hair shone impressively and smelled like the finest Stign* in Glornar*.
“Young Hazar”, said the oldest of the elders, “You have proven your worth. Through rigorous training and exemplary displays of honor and intelligence in the face of battle, you have made us all proud. You are the son of your father who in turn was and remains the son of his. Your mother is your mother and you are her son. Hazar is your name. And now… rise.”
“You will be sent to Kryoc, where great evil has befallen its people”, the wise one continued, “We, the elders, have foreseen the most bleak of futures for the Kryokees. But, as you know, we only see what might be, not what must be. You will find The Kryad, guide them, share with them our ways so that a great injustice can finally be put to rest. Go now, young Hazar, and may the rice guide you.”
Kylias: A lake of white, milk-like liquid used by Kryokian farmers to help grow their own rice.
Kjii: The white, milk-like liquid found within the Kylias.
Titanus: A large meeting hall at the heart of the lead Talarian ship.
Stign: Flower creature known for its powerful, unmistakable scent. Stigns, when crushed, are believed to bear aphrodisiac properties (if ingested anally).
Glornar: Region of the 8th Talarian Kingdom. It is mostly populated by Stigns. Most Talarians who have entered the region, have never returned. Those who have returned, remember it fondly.
More extracts from Ebert E. Bert’s “The Rice Farmers Of Kryoc” will come soon.
Only on WeTheMindThinkers.
Forgotten writer Ebert E. Bert’s visionary science-fiction novel “The Rice Farmers Of Kryoc” may not have had the exposure it deserved but it’s slowly becoming a cult classic. Expect segments from the never-published epic soon but in the meantime, here’s what the critics have said about it thusfar.
“Better than fish”
Michael Merman, Aquazine
“In a word: a brilliant piece of work I would most definitely recommend”
Alan Landis, Science-Friction Monthly
“That Ebert E. Bert’s tour-de-force is not right up there with Madame Bovary and The Little Prince is weird”
Bernie Ramblar, The Saturday Post New Jersey
“Vintage rice-themed science fiction”
Tony Heston, Space Magazine
“I have never read anything like it but I’ve read other books”
Leland Falroy, Horses: A Guide
“Like reading but better”
Alicia Edelweiss, SciFiScent.com
“Not so much literature as it is genius with words”
Nadia Belarus, The People’s Republic Of Sci-Fi Weekly
“Way better than fish”
Michael Merman, Aquazine
Coming soon, only on WeTheMindThinkers.