The Power of 10 - Preface
The Power of 10 - Illustrated Novel
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Illustrated Novels:
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Power of 10

Power of 10 Text:
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three

© 1999 Tobin James Mueller, Steven Hägg Ståhlberg, John Spirko, Danny Falch, Ian Brand, Fred Simmons and Kim Vanderhyden.
The Power of 10:
A Collaborative Illustrated Novel

The Power of 10

Power of 10 - Preface

Intro: Witherferd Fehlter Hardling III is a normal 16 year old boy from a small town in the Midwest, USA. He is slight, shy, gawky and very intelligent. His best friends are his desktop computer and the school janitor (who happens to be sort of a geek mentor with a mysterious past). Witherferd's only other acquaintances are online nerds whose names and genders remain virtual mysteries. Witherferd has no idea what is about to happen to his life...which makes him sort of like you and me.

Witherferd has been having weird dreams lately. These dreams turn into quirky, adventurous, ribald reality when a beautiful leather-clad Asian woman suddenly materializes in his bedroom, changing his life forever.

Witherferd gets caught up in events far outside the confining boundaries of his undimensional daily existence. If you want to wait to read about these events in the actual Online Illustrated Novel, you should skip the rest of this page and tune in later, because some of these things are plot secrets. But they make up basic "premise" information that the authors need to air, so we're posting them here. 

Chapter 1: Trixi and the Idd

Witherferd Fehlter Hardling III has been having weird dreams. Unusually vivid, recurring dreams. Dreams so potent that, well, he's decided to spend more time asleep just to see what will happen next. Like most 16 year olds, his dreams are a lot cooler than the stuff that actually goes on around him (the stuff he notices, anyway). And, like most teens, he doesn't need much of an excuse to fall asleep, especially in the middle of class or in the orthodontist's overheated waiting room. But there's something more fundamental going on: Witherferd's dreams have involved the most beautiful girl he's ever imagined in his entire post-pubescent life. Needless to say, Witherferd has been spending lots of expectant moments laying in bed, waiting for something very special to happen...

But it's early Saturday morning, he's home all alone (he thinks his parents are off on a getting-in-touch-with-their-lost-youth weekend retreat at some ex-hippies' resort... he remembers the brochure saying something like, "Count Your Spiritual Stock at Woodstock U" or something, but he's not sure that wasn't a dream, either) and he can't sleep. Can't sleep! This is making him very annoyed. And stiff jointed. And embarrassed. One more reason to feel like he's just not normal.

Of course, Witherferd spends much of his time embarrassed, so this is actually kind of comforting. You see, Witherferd is the school egghead, the very paragon of teenage nerddom. Of slight build and high intelligence, with just enough niceness to be mistaken for a coward, he's an easy mark. Baring the name Witherferd Fehlter Hardling the Third doesn't help, either. "Ferd the Nerd." "Withered Witherferd." "Hardly Hardling." "Feelly Fehlter"... you get the idea. He also stutters, has a lateral lisp, wears braces, is terrible at ball games, and he's a bit shorter than the other guys. This has made him shy, but resilient. And, in a way, it's made it easier for him to pursue his own interests, like computer programming and cyberpunk novels. He's learned to put a neutral expression on suffering. He's also learned the value of being a good guy, and the evil of causing others pain.

His best friend is his computer, stuffed to it's silicon gills with all the latest software games. He has other friends, people he's met in online chat rooms with nicknames like "Termin8U" and "BlasterBalls", and a whole file with names like "Hot4Luv" and "WetNWaiting",but he tries not to think of them in any concrete terms because, after all, he doesn't even know what gender they really are. The community of the future...

Which is why he's not too bummed when he rolls out of bed, flops in front of his favorite monitor, and hears that delicious ping of the computer booting up fill his safe and quiet room. A satisfied smile forms as he absentmindedly sets to stroking his mouse across an open Playboy magazine.


While ICQ chatting [NOTE: It must be mentioned that he has hacked his ICQ code to work better, never crash, leave cookies with his messages, printout activitiy and chatting partners (cuz he can never remember their emails/handles otherwise), etc., to establish Ferd's ability as a hacker] with some people under the handle "AssKicker", he gets this strange message through his speakers about the Simulcra. He has a short, weird conversation with the voice. Then he realizes it's not his speakers, but a voice in the room. That's when the computer dies and a black lozenge shape appears in the middle of his messy room. The electric light goes, wind starts blowing, lights spiral and fold. Out of the dimensional vortex steps a tall, beautiful brunette all dressed in shiny black studded leather and chains, with strategic gaps here and there, and extremely high heel boots (Dominatrix). She steps into the room, expecting to find Aril, or at least hints of where aAril has run off to, or, if nt that, maybe Idd waiting patiently. She gets a scared and srwany human tennagerr instead.

Tobin James Mueller
The Title: "The Power of 10", comes from the idea that by expanding (or contracting) one's point of view by the power of 10, one's perspective changes to the point of being able to see "worlds within worlds". A solar system looks like an atom orbited by electrons - from far away. The inside of a cell can look like a galaxy when magnified. Also, a tiny black hole can actually provide the new dimensional time-space for an entire universe (as in Hawking's "Black Holes and Baby Universes"). In addition, it is accepted theory that our Universe is made up of perhaps 10 dimensions; all of which were "active" a moment after the Big Bang but have since "collapsed" into the 3 dimensions we now inhabit (plus time).

On a psychological level, there are other ways of changing perspective and opening up new worlds. As human beings, dramatic and startling experiences can completely alter our understanding, making us into new people, new beings. Sometimes the experience can be so overwhelming, it is as if we have shifted into a new dimension, as if our minds have expanded by a Power of 10. Indeed, this is what happens to the characeters in our story.

Our title, The Power of 10, combines these congruent ideas.

You see, the seven "extra" dimensions at the beginning of the Big Bang didn't exactly collapse. They curled - or spiraled inward. By expending great energy, they can be uncurled again. In so doing, space-time can appear to be "folded" or "warped", and, by stepping through higher dimensions, you can move great distances in space-time...if you know the right tricks (or "science," if you insist). By entering a new dimension, an entirely new universe would open up to us.

In our story, we discover a handful of beings that have been born in these "higher" dimensions who, by virtue of the accidents of their place of origin, possess unique abilities and perspectives. Beings who exist in the Higher Dimensions (4space and up) are called "Spiralists" and are thought of as godlike in their apparent power. Of course, some beings have also developed in the "lower" dimensions, and are called, "Flatlanders" (2space). They are rarely thought of at all; sort of the two dimensional doormats of the universe.


Tobin James Mueller
(with Steven Ståhlberg)

Click here to go to Chapter 1,
in which Ferd worries that his prayers have been answered.
NOTES: Witherferd's favorite music is now available from ArtsForge. As a teenagae genius and soon to be Inter-Dimensional Hero, his home burned CDs will most certainly become bootleg classics. Order yours now! Click here to learn more.

POWER OF 10 T-SHIRTS also alvailable! Click here to order.
T-Shirt Image

The Power of 10 is an Online Collaborative Illustrated Novel project, bringing together artists, storytellers, animators and musicians. See below for links to the virtual notebook pages used for this ongoing collaboration:

For a detailed Plot Discussion, click here!
For discussion of Flatlanders, click here!
For discussion of Feng Shui Chins, click here!
For a verbal Storyboard of upcoming Illustrations, click here!

For a list of Collaborators, click here!

See VisionForge for more collaborative visual arts projects.
See WordForge for more collaborative writing projects.
See MusicForge for more collaborative music projects.

All words and images appearing in VisionForge Projects
are the property of the creating artists.
click here for automatic updatesAll rights reserved.

"The Power of 10" © 1999 Tobin James Mueller, Steven Hägg Ståhlberg, John Spirko, Danny Falch, Ian Brand, Fred Simmons and Kim Vanderhyden.

(click here for automatic updates)