Path: physics insights > misc > Felix Resilleserre >

The Iemy Papers

If you don't know who Felix Resilleserre is, or what Iemy is, or why anyone might care, we suggest that you may do well to start with an excursion to visit Felix's biography and possibly glance briefly at the Book of Iem before reading further on this page.

Editor's Note

The reports, or perhaps we should say essays, which are linked to from this page were obtained from Dr. Johann Schnarchhund of the Miskatonic University anthropology department.

Dr. Schnarchhund has very kindly consented to share what he knows of recent events surrounding Felix and his family, and has in fact provided the information in rather dramatic first person "stories" or "episodes".  We have presented them largely as they came from him, with only light editing to bring the style a little more into line with the rest of this website, and to correct what seemed to be a few obvious errors.

In addition to the material regarding the ongoing events surrounding Felix and his family, Dr. Schnarchhund has also provided us with a rather surprising, and surprisingly complete, description of Iemyscript, about which we formerly had no information at all, as Felix left no notes on it in his office.

Dr. Schnarchhund is currently our only contact with Felix and his family; without the information he has so generously provided we would have no idea what had become of Felix.  Of course, this also implies that we currently have no independent verification of any of the reports from Dr. Schnarchhund, which would not be of any concern, were it not the case that he is known in some circles for his unusual sense of humor as well as his love of reciting entertaining anecdotes which occasionally turn out to have been heavily embellished if not entirely fictitious.  But we trust that in the present case, Dr. Schnarchhund has kept his inventive urges under control and provided us with purely factual representations of ongoing events.

Explanatory Preface  provided by Professor Schnarchhund

Perhaps a few words of explanation are called for here.  (And I really will try to keep it to a few words!)

After Felix took off (so to speak) we were, all of us, left in a rather bewildered state as to where he might have gone.  My own ... research, I suppose you'd call it ... led to a pretty outlandish conclusion, which was that Felix and family had left the local environs in an ancient starship, found buried in the desert sands of Africa.  In fact I, myself, didn't entirely believe it.  But that has changed recently, as a result of a discovery by my daughter, Taurina.

Taurina loves to talk (it runs in the family, I guess) and loves "old" ways of doing things, and that led to her interest in ham radio.  She loves searching the short waves for distant signals buried in the hiss, and loves using really "old" technology to communicate.  In fact, her room is filled with such stuff as hulking console radios dating from the 1940's, mouldering cartons of vacuum tubes, and ... and I said I'd keep this to just a few words and it's already gone past that.  So let's get back on track here, and get to The Radio.

Taurina often spends evenings at the university museum, helping with preparation and conservation.  Of course her particular interest is in the old electronic gear (of which they have tons), and she spends a lot of her time helping to classify and, occasionally, identify items found in their basement warehouse, which seems to be filled with such stuff.  And so it happened that it was Taurina who came upon a very dusty old crate labeled "Lot 51, Gridley Estate", and who first realized its significance.  In the crate, she found an incoherent mass of vacuum tubes and wires and assorted additional paraphernalia which nearly anyone else (such as me!) would have identified as a "Spare Parts Bin, circa 1935".  Taurina, however, apparently recognized this as Jason Gridley's original radio.  Don't ask me how she could tell it was that, rather than, say, the debris from a trainwreck involving an RCA delivery truck!  In any case, since museums are opposed to "restoring" things, which destroys their historical value, and Taurina wanted a working model (the thing in the box had been badly used, and most of its tubes were shot), she set about duplicating the radio, tube by tube and wire by wire.  Luckily there are enough retroverts -- er, I mean enthusiasts -- out there who still love vacuum tubes that she could obtain the necessary parts.  It took months, but it finally was done, and Taurina got to listen to another kind of static.  Since the radio was set up to receive on a band nobody uses, there was, of course, nothing else to listen to.

I asked her what this radio did which was special, and she tried to explain it, but I didn't get much out of what she said.  She said it operated below normal wavelengths, but when I asked if that meant it was very low frequency, she said no.  Then I asked if she meant it was very high frequency, but she said no, that wasn't it, either (followed by a long sigh).  I then groped around in my memory for any more words having to do with radio besides "wavelength" and "frequency", and finally asked if it meant the radio operated below the aether.  She sighed some more, and said, "Dad, where have you been since 1905?  There isn't any aether.  Just the same, that's as good an explanation as any."  So, I guess that means it's a sub-aetheric radio -- whatever that means, if there's no aether!

But something bothered me about that, and maybe it's bothering you, too, dear reader.  If this sub-aetheric business is so special, why doesn't anybody else know about it?  Why aren't there modern subaether sets available at K-mart?  Taurina tried to explain that to me, too, without much luck; I'm an anthropologist, not a radio engineer, after all.  First, it seems Gridley, who was an amateur, never published the working principles of his radio, never patented it, never did anything with it, in fact, except play around with it himself and tell a few friends about it.  (So how did Taurina know about it, and recognize it for what it was?  I didn't ask; I was already too far into stuff I didn't understand.)  And apparently nobody else got lucky and stumbled across the subaether band during the old "tube" days, and after transistors came along, nobody could stumble across it. I kind of goggled at her at that -- I thought transistors were better than tubes, so why would you need tubes for this?  Taurina explained:  "No, Dad, you don't need tubes for this -- tubes aren't magic".  I didn't feel enlightened, and said so -- she just said you needed tubes, didn't she?  If you don't need tubes, why couldn't people using transistor radios re-discover this?  The answer, as she gave it, was "You could build a Gridley radio using transistors, but it would be harder than using tubes, and if you were using transistors to start with you'd never stumble across it by accident", as Gridley apparently had.  She tried to explain why; as far as I could tell it might have something to do with clipping in the IF amp in transistor equipment, or maybe it doesn't; somewhere in her discussion of reheterodyning the soft-limited IF signal with partially unphased feedback modulated by multiple cross coupled pentodes I got totally lost, and I still don't know how Gridley could have found this thing even though none of the radio researchers after him ever got a clue to its existence.

Though I was never close to Felix, Taurina was good friends with Isis, and what I didn't know until Taurina explained all this is that Isis had promised to get in touch with Taurina, if she could, when they got to ... wherever they were going.  Of course, that was impossible; if they went where I thought they were going, they'd be totally out of radio range.  And, indeed, Taurina had heard nothing from Isis since the Big Disappearance.

That is, she had heard nothing, until she got her meticulously constructed copy of the Gridley radio up and running.  After a few days of listening to weird static, she ran across something "at the top of the dial" (her words!) that sounded like Morse.  It was hard to hear, very faint, and at the limit of the frequencies this radio could receive, but she finally picked out "CQ ... CQ ... CQ ... IR ... IR ... IR ... CQ TS ... CQ TS ... CQ TS".  This, she thought, could only be Isis Resillechat, calling for Taurina Schnarchhund!

And indeed it was.

The communiqu├ęs from Isis have been rather telegraphic, consequence of the limited format of Morse code (though Taurina is hoping to get voice communication working some time soon).  I've taken the liberty of fleshing them out a bit to produce the following essays, but other than adding a bit of narration and interpolating a little conversation these are very much as logged by Taurina.

 -- Johann Schnarchhund

And now, we present transcriptions of what text Professor Scharchhund has been kind enough to provide us with to date:

Takeoff -- aka Episode 1

The Shopping Trip, Part I -- aka Episode 2

The Shopping Trip, Part II -- aka Episode 3

The Shopping Trip, Part III -- aka Episode 4

The Shopping Trip, Part IV -- aka Episode 5

The Test Flight -- aka Episode 6

Back to Square 1 -- aka Episode 7

Back to Square 1: Contemplating the Cats -- aka Episode 8

Back to Square 1: Contact ... Part I -- aka Episode 9

Back to Square 1: Some Corridors and a Lot of Dust -- aka Episode 10

Back to Square 1: Dreams of Darkness -- aka Episode 11

First Pickup -- aka Episode 12

On the Road Again -- aka Episode 13

A Walk in the Dark -- aka Episode 14

What's in the Box? -- aka Episode 15

Goodbye -- aka Episode 16

And the link to the ol' Captain Rant story is no longer here, because it has finally been integrated into the tale itself, in Episode 13.  Yah hey!

Additional note:  The native script of Iemy, as we received it from Professor Schnarchhund, is described here.
[NB -- A more complete Iemy dictionary, including the words we've encountered in the episode(s) of the Iemy papers, will be posted here when I get the chance. -- editor]


Page created on 1/28/10