Muuh narrative art combining fact and fiction
|To human eyes, Muuh simulations are monocrome and have poor resolution; this is the climactic scene in The Three and the One, a tragic tale of betrayal|
Historifics are a unique genre of Muuh art combining characteristics of fiction and factual literature, most often in the form of a virch. In all Muuh subcultures creation of historifics is one of the most common pastimes, and the most elaborate ones are often considered to be an individual's greatest achievement. They are among the most influential Muuh contributions to Terragen and other xenosophont cultures, and are known and popular in large portions of the Terragen Sphere.
In order to understand historifics one must take into account the unique Muuh view of time and history. Like other beings, the Muuh often look to their history for inspiration and guidance. Information about the past is immensely valuable to all sophont life, and in fact it is one of the few characteristics common to all sophonts. However the Muuh perception of time leads to a sense of the relative irrelevance of all but the most pivotal historical events. Changes in memeplexes, fads and fashions in art or technology, or shifts in the politics of most other species are simply so fast that the Muuh are incapable or unwilling to keep up with them. Even the past borders of empires can become, given enough time, a rather unimportant subject.
Over the course of their history, the Muuh have witnessed the rise and fall of several MEECs, and had contact with civilizations rivaling the Sephirotic empires at various times in the past, and seem likely to do so again in the future. Researchers believe that this has caused the Muuh to consider a sufficiently elaborate and plausible fiction about the past to be just as valuable as information about real events. This tendency goes beyond mere simulations of possible events: from the Muuh point of view all adequately plausible scenarios can be considered to have actually happened. In fact the Muuh words for historific and history are the same. This aspect of Muuh culture is considered to be one of the main reasons for difficulties encountered when researching the Muuh's past. It is common for the Muuh to have several, often radically different, versions of events in their archives. Because of that, every account found in Muuh records has to be painstakingly cross-referenced, turning even simple inquiries into extensive and tedious affairs.
Historifics are not actually as unreliable as they might first seem. While only one account of events is true, others show what could have happened had the circumstances been different. Thus historifics often provide deeper insight into events than simple historical records. Further, there are ways to distinguish between history and historifics. Almost all authors provide subtle hints to help with this task. These range from slightly different positioning of the stars or altered atmospheric mixtures to much subtler things pointing the user towards the correct conclusion. In fact it could be argued that to the Muuh, hiding and finding these clues is a challenge and even game of its own.
Strict requirements must be met in order for a historific to be accepted. The author must spend a considerable amount of time researching the subject and even more time testing various versions of eir work in virches. The work is later scrutinized by other Muuh and subjected to a several-centuries-long review process, before it is even considered to be worthy of publication.
One of the most notable examples of Muuh historifics are the accounts of first contact with Terragen civilization. Several of them portray vastly different versions of the Terragen empires. Among others, Crystal Spires and Solar Radiance are vastly popular accounts among Terragens. Some researchers have noted that the Muuh seem to, rather uncharacteristically, provide only one or a few historifics of some events. Notably, records of first contact with Terragen civilization are in this category. Whether this is an example of Muuh taboo or simple wariness is unknown. When questioned regarding this, Muuh informants usually reply that sad literature is not for everyone.
Text by Dalex
Initially published on 15 March 2016.