The Foam was no more. Its powdery relic, strewn in
dusty whiffs on city floor and plain, gradually reverted to gralm, by
adding itself to existing gralm granules, or, where no gralm granules
were in contact with it, by simply evaporating.
Its legacy, though, is still with us.
The Era of the Foam forms perhaps the greatest divide in
Uranian history, but the reason for this only gradually became apparent
during the following era (the 59th).
This was the colossal Praesodymium Era: 23,493,050
Uranian days; 957 Uranian years, equivalent to 80,400 Earth
years. During this immense span of time, Syoom was, objectively
speaking, a pale shadow of what it had been.
Physical reasons for the change are obvious
enough. Syoom had been debilitated as never before or since.
The Foam had left the land vastly less fertile,
which produced diminished ell-light yields; it would be a
long time before the familiar fields of glowing blue or golden plants
could once more symbolize Syoom. Praesodymium Era fields, smaller
in extent, glowed a dim orange, beautiful to look at but a
clear sigh of a great reduction in material wealth.
Yet in some ways the Praesodymium was an era of
unparalleled splendour. To understand how this could have been, we
must face the task of trying to explain a distinction between two types
of people, or two types of life-history, a distinction which (we
presume) does not exist on Earth - at any rate outside of fiction
- and, so far as we know, did not exist on Ooranye either, before
We have had our contrasts between rich and poor, between
talented and untalented, between good and bad, between handsome and
ugly, between lucky and unlucky. The Uranians from era 59 onwards
began to be divided between two kinds, the spotlit and the
It is as though life is a film-script which favours some
people with the status of major character, while leaving others with the
lower status of minor character or "extra". We don't wish to say a
lot about this strange phenomenon, other than to point out that any
student of Uranian affairs becomes aware of it after a certain while,
even though the Uranians themselves hardly ever mention it. It is
something felt rather than talked about.
Of course this raises immense philosophical and
scientific questions. What, precisely, is going on? Are
there really currents of fate, and do some people edge themselves into
them? Is the answer to be found somewhere in the uncharted domain
of "luck"? If any Uranian knows - and this is doubtful - nen is
Anyhow from now on the Uranians we know much of are all
by definition "spotlit". The unspotlit ones generally lead
happy enough lives, contented to play their roles as "extras" in
history; or maybe they see it differently, for after all the soul's
journey is of infinite importance, "spotlight" or no.
During the long stretch of the Praesodymium Era,
hundreds of millions of Uranians led lives reduced by poverty, to a
degree unprecedented in history, yet, because of their "background"
status they did not suffer the discontent which might otherwise have
tormented them and led to restlessness and attempts to find other ways
It is only fair to add that the account given here is
disputed by many ooranologists. They maintain that it is just a
different manner of talking about life that emerged in era 59; that to
assume there was anything real in it is pure superstition. In all
ages there have been the ambitious, charismatic, famous few and the
content, ordinary, obscure many; all that happened in the
Praesodymium Era is that the exploits of the famous few gave more
vicarious comfort than before, to the obscure many. Or that in the
straitened conditions of that time, fortune naturally favoured the bold
and the lucky, even more than had been the case before.
To this view we may reply with a "perhaps". Yet it
may be significant to note that some regimes in this era went bad, and
were sustained by what seems to us to be their exploitation of
We also cannot resist pointing out that the era ended
with the first adventures of the person who, if there is anything in the
term "spotlit", must be ranked as the most spotlit man of all: the man
destined to be the first Sunnoad of era 69 and the only person ever to
be Sunnoad twice, in two different incarnations: Restiprak Zentonan
[Return to top of this
[Return to front