Yggdrasil is coming to the end of its planned two hundred year lifespan. Instead of just going back to the land like the founders wanted the inhabitants are taking a different approach. Abandoning the Project they opt for implementing the Transformation. So what is the Transformation? Its basically they plan to enslave the natives on the land to work to mine and produce the necessary materials to keep Yggdrasil going indefinitely. Asa who is the Master of Norriya is one of the last in power to still believe in the Project. Yet he is old and has frequent delusions of talking to his dead wife. He eventually goes to the northern island of Jotunheim where the scholars still go on looking for the solution.
It may be too late thought for implementing the Transformation. Things are falling apart real quick. Many of the inhabitants who don’t like the new order become rens and hide out in underground passages where they are hunted down by the security forces. A message comes from an unknown civilization called Juhara. They offer their help in exchange for Yggdrasil becoming part of their empire. They arrive in a huge advanced ship and the Yggdrasillians are sufficiently in awe to agree. But it is an illusion as the Juharians are themselves falling apart. They soon start an oppressive rule in enslaving the natives. When they try to exterminate the Gerumbians a tribe of mutants this opens up a serious revolt that stretches their resources. It all ends in a big nuclear explosion courtesy of the old ones.
The final book in the Erthring trilogy. So in this one anything that can go wrong does. It seems to be just one big disaster after another. The Juharians are an arrogant lot. They believe in power at any price and are so confident that they will control the entire world and start colonizing space in a few years. It is obviously the author puts two complete opposing philosophies in conflict with each other. In the end both are failures. It is sad to see the scholars who continue to go on while being ignored in their belief they are going to find this magical solution to keep humans from being self destructive. In fact the tribes outside the Erthring seem to be doing fine without their help. Teperman and his friends that started Yggdrasil in my opinion come off as the ultimate narcissists in the project they started two hundred years ago. The little games of solving riddles to open doors. The third door is opened and there is only music. What kind of asshole withholds music. Oh and the last door was never to be opened because it had raw absolute power behind it. It was put their to settle an argument Teperman had with his colleagues. Teperman believed that people could avoid the temptation of power while some of his friends didn’t. Well opening the door sets off the nuclear explosion that destroys the islands. Yep a real asshole.
The author wrote a fascinating trilogy. He made his points without being preachy and seemed to admit that the problems at the time had no easy solutions. A high school teacher he was not a very prolific writer. Besides this trilogy he wrote a handful of other non-science fiction books and did some movie adaptations of such gems as Corvette Summer, batteries not included and Dragonslayer. He died in 1998. I would have liked to have seen him try some more science fiction but I will just have to settle for this series.
The young Asa joins the Yggdrasil project. He shows himself to be a smart man with an endless curiosity to learn. He moves up the ranks quickly as first a peregrinus those agents are responsible to monitor and control the tribes in the Erthring. He successfully manages to bring the Yuloks back to following the rules. Things though are starting to change. Yggdrasil is running toward the end of the two hundred years the founders gave the project. Supplies are dwindling. Tribes from outside the Erthring are assaulting the borders. There are those who want to abandon the project and turn to the old ways that destroyed the planet.
A riddle left by the old ones in the form of locked vaults is solved. It reveals that there is another Erthring in South America. The Erthring is called Xtaplacia. An expedition is mounded to visit. They find a gleaming city on top of a plateau. It is inhabited by people who have abandoned the project and live a life of decadence dedicated to music. Disappointed Asa returns and upon hearing of the location of his wife Persis he abandons his position and heads out to the outer wylds. He finds his wife in time before she dies and the son that he never knew he had. He is met at the end by his friend Alva who has come to inform him that he has been made the Master of Norriya head of one of the administering districts in the Erthring.
The second in the Erthring Cycle trilogy. In this one we learn more about Yggdrasil. It was founded by a rich man named Tuperman who recruited six other millionaires and formed the project. It is lavishly supplied with helicopters and submarines and a supercomputer. All to keep the local tribes down while scholars spend time to research how to make humans one with the Earth. Obviously the whole project is one big waste of time. Interesting the South American Erthring took the other extreme action and is destined to end at the same place as Yggdrasil. Tuperman seems like some crazy moonbat with delusions of grandeur. He devised these riddles that opened vault doors to parcel out information and named the place after Norse mythology. This is such an interesting well written book. You do want to find out how it ends even though you know its not going to end well.
Asa of the Alcheringians is a young seventeen year old on his first raid. Approved by the tribal elders and sanctioned by the gods it is a rite of passage for all young men. The raid is a success and many woman are taken including his future wife Persis. He also earns the enmity of Garm for humiliating him and leaving him bound. Life is good for Asa but things are changing. The young of the tribe are rebelling against the old ways. They want to change and stop the nomadic lifestyle. Start domesticating animals and planting crops. This is in direct violation to the Tabuly that was ordained by the gods.
The gods are actually a group of scientists and scholars on the island chain of Yggdrasil. Before the nuclear war destroyed civilization a group was formed and sheltered on these islands. There mission was to find a way for man to live in harmony with nature. So they formed the Project which keeps the tribes on the mainland a primitive society through the tribal traditions they instituted. Now to stop the Alcheringians they must consider wiping out the tribe to stabilize the Project.
The first book in The Erthring Cycle trilogy. This was by a Canadian author who is an English high school teacher. He didn’t write much and this was his only foray into science fiction. He is a very good writer. This post-apocalyptic society of some intellectuals determined to save the human race from itself is a unique idea with enjoyable characters and settings. It is a sad book as the Alcheringians are destroyed by manipulating the surrounding tribes to attack. So here we have this group that states life is precious but willing to wipe out a people to preserve their goofy project. At the end Asa is the only survivor and his wife is taken by Garm who organized the attack. He ends with Asa going to join the Yggdasilians at the end. I found it fascinating read.