David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

The Ending of “Geosynchron”

Ever since Infoquake hit the stores in 2006, I’ve felt this subconscious urge not to discuss the meaning and symbolism behind my Jump 225 trilogy. Perhaps there’s some Holy Writ which demands that authors remain mysterious about their own work. Certainly keeping mum encourages people to come up with their own interpretations — but why should discussing things discourage people from doing so? Are my readers really so obtuse that they’ll just stop reading if I tell them directly what I intended? Am I afraid that talking about the handwaving behind the curtain will dispel the magic onstage?

Since I’ve received a number of comments and emails asking me about the ending of Geosynchron, I’ve decided to open up about it and discuss it here. Oh yeah, in case you haven’t figured it out, thar be spoilers ahead.

Let me start with a comment by Jason in a previous post:

…[T]urning Natch into a deaf, mute, blind, retarded person did not seem to have a point. The explanation of the role of the autonomous minds felt like half of an explanation because no time was spent explaining how or why they function the way they do. They appeared to be basically, magical, especially in regards to their connection to the Pharisees. I thought the story of the autonomous minds held immense promise and I was hopeful to learn more about their role in the history of the world you have created, so perhaps this is why I feel so let down by the explanation you gave. I feel like I completely missed something either much earlier in the story or even within the last book that would have helped me understand your intent in telling this final part of Natch’s story in the way that you did.

Regarding Natch’s fate: if you think about possible endings for Natch using a(n almost MultiReal-like) process of elimination, you’ll see that there are not many other fates that work for the character. The whole point of the character is for him to go from a state of complete selfishness to a state of complete selflessness. He begins Infoquake callously threatening all of civilization with a fake black code attack; he ends Geosynchron sacrificing everything he knows and loves to prevent an Autonomous Revolt-style catastrophe that threatens humanity.

Natch is presented as a character of limitless drive and desire (see my Big Idea piece on John Scalzi’s Whatever blog for more about that). By the end of MultiReal, he’s achieved everything he ever wanted, or at least everything he always thought he wanted: freedom to explore his programming with virtually unlimited funding, without constraints of government or society. Not only that, but he’s got a program under his command that lets him find the best of all possible worlds with every decision. But he soon sees the emptiness behind these goals, and finds himself in the complete opposite position at the beginning of Geosynchron: trapped in the Patels’ dungeon, unable to move forward, unable to do anything except sit and wait for the world to do what it wants to him. Achieving everything he wanted has led him… nowhere.

Where can Natch go from there?

Clearly by the end of the trilogy, Natch has to pay for the suffering he’s inflicted on his friends and on the world. To make him a martyr is too easy (and not enough of a punishment). If he escaped unscathed, where’s the sacrifice? Clearly he’s got to give up something, and it can’t be something trivial like getting banned forever from running a fiefcorp. Besides which, what would Natch do for the rest of his life in a society where he’s already climbed the highest heights and plumbed the deepest depths?

So he takes responsibility for his mistakes and saves the world in the process, giving up everything he ever held dear to do so (his relationship with Horvil and Serr Vigal, his fiefcorp, his money, his ability to program or experience bio/logics, etc.). He’s stepped off that constant treadmill of boundless want and desire that he’s been on since birth — the treadmill that society has trained him to be on with its constant software “upgrades” and technological “improvements.” And as a result of his decision, Natch winds up at peace for the first time in his life. Did you notice that by the end of the novel, he achieves everything that the Surinas have laid out as the “path to Perfection”? Blind and deaf he may be — not sure I implied that he’d be “retarded” — but he’s also freed from the constraints of Time, freed from the constraints of Distance, freed from the constraints of Cause and Effect.

So is it a happy ending? Well, partially; it’s happy that Natch managed to find some way to achieve inner satisfaction in the end. But sad that he could not figure out how to do it within the bounds of society. Clearly the ending of Geosynchron isn’t meant to encourage everyone to toss away all their belongings, gouge out their eyes and trek out to the desert. But maybe it will help put our lives in perspective, just a little bit? I dunno, that’s up to you.

Okay, I’ve said enough, time to retreat back behind the curtain of mystification once more.

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  1. Suzy Butterfly on April 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm  Chain link

    Two books and 270 pages and then
    Page 271
    There is a path towards Perfection. It cuts across time. It is a jump…

    But you do NOT sit in the dark and make this decision.
    The jump to the light is timewalking.

    Thx for a great read.

  2. Nalakitty on May 19, 2010 at 5:15 pm  Chain link

    At first, in the last few chapters, I started to see where it was going for Natch and didn’t like it. But then I thought what I read here: Nothing else would really work. The ending leaves some questions unanswered, but it’s still a great ending.

    Besides, I loved the ending line. Genius ^_^

  3. Kail on June 26, 2010 at 9:11 pm  Chain link

    spoilers ahead!

    on “not sure I implied that he’d be “retarded””
    ` “You’ll be functional-you won’t be in a vegetative state. Should be able to walk around, eat, pick up things. But you’ll have … cognitive problems.”
    “What kind of cognitive problems?”
    “I have no fucking idea. You might lose your sense of time. Or be unable to reason linearly. You might lose your emotions. There’s going to be a thousand microscopic pinholes in your brain. Absolutely no way to tell what they’ll hit.” ` maybe not retarded but certainty aspergers could fit

  4. David Louis Edelman on June 28, 2010 at 9:25 am  Chain link

    Kail: Fair enough. Certainly not fully functional in the cognition department.

  5. StLBill on October 26, 2010 at 11:53 pm  Chain link

    Finished Geosynchron minutes ago….This was out of my norm for sci-fi, but I really liked it. I have been involved with the Internet and taught its communications protocols since before most knew of it …I nearly went to medical school….Stories have to have a basis in reality and yours does it with fantastic imagination. Bravo!

  6. David Louis Edelman on October 31, 2010 at 12:08 pm  Chain link

    Thanks, StLBill!

  7. Steve on January 26, 2011 at 9:58 pm  Chain link

    I just finished reading the series and I have to say I loved every minute of it. Thanks for a great read!!

  8. David Louis Edelman on January 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm  Chain link

    Glad you enjoyed the books, Steve.

  9. max on April 2, 2011 at 7:10 am  Chain link

    Same for me, just finished the trilogy (first heard of it from Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
    blog) and it was a great piece of writing. I loved it! I’m looking forward to your next novel.


  10. Gordon on April 11, 2011 at 10:24 pm  Chain link

    Just finished Geosynchron today, I must say some of the most marvelous Sci-Fi I’ve ever read. I hope you continue to write stories in this setting you’ve created. Not only is it a very well developed world to play in, but I feel that there’s a lot more to explore here. Anyways, look forward to your next book!

  11. David Louis Edelman on April 13, 2011 at 9:46 am  Chain link

    max and Gordon: Thanks. Next novel is a ways out, I’m afraid, and it’s not going to be set in the “Jump 225” world. But you never know, I might write more in this world someday.

  12. max on April 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm  Chain link

    Will the new level be part of a series (trilogy…)?

  13. David Louis Edelman on April 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm  Chain link

    max: It’s probably going to be a stand-alone novel, but we’ll see.

  14. Alice Marshall on June 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm  Chain link

    Just finished the trilogy moments ago. I cried because it was over. I can’t wait to read whatever else you write! Great job!

  15. richard hannar on September 13, 2012 at 11:43 am  Chain link

    A fantastic trilogy, Thanks for the memories – I think these will stick with me for a while, as I can see a believable path from now to the society depicted in the future.
    Also loved some of the naming conventions, SeeNaRee & DR Plugenpatch were two of my favourites.
    There’s plenty more scope for material set in the Jump 225 universe, and (hopefully a compliment) I can see this being as popular as Ian M Bank’s Culture series.

    Towards Perfection

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