The belief that the world can be represented in a symbolic form, and that by manipulating those symbols, while following a strict set of rules, one can both understand and manipulate the world itself. Yes, yes, very clever, we see what you’re doing, you’re making a clever reference back to your piece on Logopolis, which was structured this way. You’re so sharp you’ll cut yourself.

Ancestor Cell, The
Subversive propaganda by the enemies of Faction Paradox. This attempts to argue that Grandfather Paradox is an evil future incarnation of the Evil Renegade. We may call this the Valeyard heresy. Luckily, the book is a transparent tissue of lies.

Anchoring Of The Thread
The moment at the beginning of History when the Great Houses gained the power to control the Narrative, harnessing the power of a Black hole and using it to create the Caldera.

An expansion of the idea of ‘biog-data’ which originally appeared in the Evil Renegade story The Tautologous Assassin, biodata, often thought of as one’s “time DNA”, is the information which defines an individual’s place in history.

The concept, though not the name, also appeared in the Evil Renegade story The Name Of The Evil Renegade. (See Valeyard heresy).

Black hole
A star which has collapsed in on itself and no longer shines. Within the event horizon of a black hole, the direction of gravity is actually equal to the direction of time (and entropy) — movement toward the singularity is inevitable, and the same thing as movement forwards in time. Once inside, you can’t escape your destiny, which is to fall, helplessly.

Or did I already say that?

Book Of The War, The

A book, edited by Lawrence Miles, providing facts about the War and its participants. The Book Of The War has a curious status, in that the book itself clearly exists diegetically in the universe to which it is referring (and as such we may wonder if everything in it is entirely accurate, or if there is a bias — or multiple biases — among its authors), but that at least in parts (especially those parts dealing with Conceptual Entities ) there is more than a little reference to events in our own universe, and to the reader yourself.

The book is arranged as a series of alphabetical ‘factual’ entries, like an encyclopaedia or a role-playing sourcebook, but is closer in feel to a series of very dense, intertwined, short stories.

Other than Miles, the authors involved were Simon Bucher-Jones, Daniel O’Mahony, Ian McIntire, Mags L. Halliday, Helen Fayle, Phil Purser-Hallard, Kelly Hale, Jonathan Dennis and Mark Clapham, many of whom had previously written for the Evil Renegade novels, including some of the best books in the series.

The source of the Great Houses‘ power, a hole in the universe, an absence in creation itself. Possessing this allows one to rewrite History to one’s own specifications. There are hints, scattered through The Book Of The War, that while this is currently a hole in the Homeworld it may not always have been there — and that the history in which it is elsewhere would be a very different one.

“Canon”, in the sense by which it is used by geeks, is a theological joke. Father Ronald Knox, a Catholic theologian, wrote a joke essay in which he attempted to reconcile discrepancies in the Sherlock Holmes stories by assuming that they were accounts of real events, as accurately described by Doctor Watson. This essay was a parody of modern theology and Biblical scholarship, and in particular of attempts to search for a description of a “historical Jesus” in the New Testament.

Geeks didn’t get the joke.

This has resulted in more, and more vicious, arguments than pretty much any joke in history, as fans of Star Trek, Star Wars and the Evil Renegade have argued over which made-up stories are more real than which other made-up stories.

Wikis devoted to the Evil Renegade and Faction Paradox have gone so far as to each declare the other “non-canon”, despite both being deliberately contradictory, open, texts which reference each other. Intertextuality and context are as nothing to the geek mind.

A group of conceptual entities, living in a realm outside of space-time. They were originally members of the Great Houses, specifically those who advocated for greater intervention in the outside universe to further the Houses’ political aims, but like all chickenhawks as soon as The War started they removed themselves from existence rather than fight.

Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de
A Catholoc theologian and paleontologist, who is best known for taking part in the discovery of “Peking Man” (an early Neanderthal example) and of Piltdown Man (a notorious fraud), as well as for developing the concepts of the noosphere and of the Omega Point.

Teilhard argued that humanity was evolving towards a point of minimum entropy and maximum complexity, which would end with humanity evolving into God, and that this eventual evolution into God was retroactively the cause of history.

In the City Of The Saved, Teilhard is Pope Peter of the Human Catholic Church.

City Of The Saved

A setting created by Phil Purser-Hallard, and used in (so far), The Book Of The War, the short story A Hundred Words From A Civil War , the novel Of The City Of The Saved… and two short story collections: Tales of the City and More Tales of the City.

Purser-Hallard was inspired to create the City by the work of Frank Tipler, but it reflects the eschatological themes to which Purser-Hallard has been regularly drawn in his work. Quite simply, it is an imperfect Omega Point — a point at the end of time in which the whole of humanity has been resurrected, to live out eternity however they wish, incapable of being physically hurt or killed. Bigger than you are capable of comprehending, and possibly watched over by the godess Civitata, the City of the Saved is the final resting place for every human from the first Australopithicene through to the final posthuman.

And not a single alien or other sentient non-human has been brought back there…


The benevolent Godess (of the Roman pantheon) worshipped as the personification of the City Of The Saved. Her true nature is revealed in …Of The City Of the Saved.

Conceptual Entities
A conceptual entity is created when time is rewritten to remove the existence of a conscious entity from the timeline. If done carefully, this leaves the removed entity as a living idea, parasitic upon the thoughts of those who believe in it. While they can have no influence on the physical universe, they can often manifest themselves in people’s minds by distorting their perception. For example, you might be reading a piece of text and suddenly find that the words are telling you something different from their apparent meaning. Sometimes there might even be an interjection that is clearly in a different voice, and completely derails the piece of writing. When that happens, a Conceptual Entity has hijacked the part of your brain that is processing the writing…

Enemy, The

A measure of disorder, the amount of entropy in a system is a measure of how chaotic that system is. Another way to look at it is as a measure of the amount of missing information — the more information it takes to specify something’s state, the higher its entropy is.

Evil Renegade
A member of the Great Houses who rebelled against them, travelling the universe breaking the laws of time, often kidnapping members of the Lesser Species and forcing them to travel with him on his ‘adventures’. He is absent from all Faction Paradox material, except for a brief mention in Dead Romance, which may not be an entirely accurate book. But he’s there in the gaps — an absence, rather than a presence, but an important one. Clearly he is too evil even to speak his name.

Some of the propaganda put about by the Faction’s enemies had it that the Evil Renegade and Grandfather Paradox were one and the same. This is clearly ridiculous.

Faction Paradox

A time-travelling voodoo cult, to the first approximation, a splinter from the Great Houses, created by Lawrence Miles in his novel Alien Bodies, and since used with varying degrees of success in other stories featuring the Evil Renegade, before this book saw them get their own series of novels (and along with them audio dramas and comics).

Faction Paradox are not, as some of the propaganda put about by their enemies in later Evil Renegade novels would have you think, simply villains. Rather they are aware of the power that comes from transgressing boundaries — whether those boundaries be the rules of History created by the Great Houses, or the taboos around death — and they are very aware that the controller of the narrative controls reality.

Ghost Point
In The Book Of The War it is clearly stated that human beings, thanks to their tendency to believe that their minds and bodies are two different things, were destined from the very beginning of their use of tools to evolve into beings of pure mind — not because evolution itself is teleological, but because people are.

But then, suddenly, at around the start of the twenty-first century, that progress more-or-less ground to a halt, and instead of advancing to its destiny, humanity just did a lot of boring stuff like having Galactic Empires and so on.

It is strongly implied that the Great Houses stole our singularity.

Grandfather Paradox
A criminal from the ranks of the Great Houses, a one-armed man (he cut his arm off to remove the prison tattoo that had been placed there by the Houses) who founded House Paradox, which later became Faction Paradox. He later erased himself from history, and no trace of him remained except his shadow.

The Ancestor Cell claims that Grandfather Paradox is a future incarnation of the Evil Renegade. But The Ancestor Cell says a lot of things.

A force that acts on any two bodies, attracting them to each other in proportion to their masses and in inverse proportion to the distance between them. This means that, for example, OK, this is more repetition, so let me interrupt here, and just say a few things. Hickey is imposing his own interpretations on the text, and if anyone knows about doing that, it’s me. I am an imposition of my own interpretations on the text. There’s nothing about gravity in The Book Of The War at all, and most of this is just Hickey working out ways to reuse material from his Grant Morrison books. Honestly, it’s blatant, and sadly pathetic.

Gravity, as a universal law, was first understood by Isaac Newton as a result of his researches into alchemy.

Great Houses
To quote from someone who should know:

On one side there’s a group of… I was going to say ‘people’, but in one sense they’re something closer to what you’d get if you crossed the Greek gods with the mathematics department at Cambridge University, while in another they’re more like laws of nature but with very slightly more personality. Imagine if gravity had a condescending sneer and you’ve got the basic idea. They call themselves the Great Houses and they are, more or less, in charge of everything.

The Great Houses are the architects of History. They didn’t create time, but they did create the rules which history follows, the basic rules of cause and effect, in a massive event they called the Anchoring of the Thread.

Since that time, they have mostly chosen to observe history from within their Homeworld, though occasionally some will venture forth in their Timeships.

History is not the same thing as time. Or, rather, it is and it isn’t. History is a matter of perception, and the Great Houses have effectively imposed their own perceptions on the universe, eliminating all alternatives. They have created a canon, and non-canonical material has been excluded from the universe…or so they thought, until the Enemy appeared…

Holmes, Sherlock

According to the Evil Renegade story All-Consuming Fire, Sherlock Holmes was a real person, but the stories of his adventures were fictionalised to change his name and some background details.

According to the Bernice Summerfield story The Adventures Of The Diogenes Damsel, which heavily references The Book Of The War and is a sequel to All-Consuming Fire, Sherlock Holmes was a real person, and that was his real name.

According to Erasing Sherlock, a Faction Paradox novel by one of the co-authors of The Book Of The War, Sherlock Holmes was a real person, who was entrapped in a plot by Faction Paradox.

According to Of The City Of The Saved…, a Faction Paradox novel by one of the co-authors of The Book Of The War, Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character.

According to The Homeworld Chronicles, an Evil Renegade novel by Lance Parkin, whose essays for The Book Of The War were deleted before publication, but who later wrote a Faction Paradox novel:

“Sherlock Holmes solved the case before I could, as I recall.”

“Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character,” Trix pointed out.

The Evil Renegade grinned. “My dear, one of the things you’ll learn is that it’s all real. Every word of every novel is real, every frame of every movie, every panel of every comic strip.”

“But that’s just not possible. I mean some books contradict other ones and -”

The Evil Renegade was ignoring her.

See canon.


The planet on which the Great Houses first existed, although thanks to the Caldera this is now so linked in with history that one can hardly call it a planet any more.

There are currently nine Homeworlds. We must assume that the one to which we are paying attention really is the real Homeworld, and that nothing of interest is going on on the eight fakes, which are definitely fake. One must also assume that the story in The Ancestor Cell about the Homeworld being destroyed by the Evil Renegade is apocryphal, as even the Evil Renegade wouldn’t go so far as to destroy a planet and wipe a whole civilisation out.

Lesser Species
Any species other than the species that gave rise to the Great Houses. If you’re reading this, you’re almost certainly one of the lesser species. The term is nothing personal — very little about the Great Houses ever is.

Another word for “idea”, coined by somebody who never had one.

Miles, Lawrence
The writer of the Evil Renegade novels Christmas On A Rational Planet, Alien Bodies, Interference and The Adventuress Of Henrietta Street, along with the New Adventures Down (featuring Bernice Summerfield ) and Dead Romance , the Faction Paradox novel This Town Will Never Let Us Go, the two issues of the Faction Paradox comic series, twelve Faction Paradox audio dramas and one Bernice Summerfield audio drama.

Also the author of a blog in which he commits the cardinal sin of speaking his mind.

One of the key ideas in the Faction Paradox books is that narratives matter. One’s biodata, for example, for all that it is described as “time DNA”, is actually a history of the past of its host. Conceptual entities are purely narrative-based creations, existing only as ideas, but able to work themselves into texts through the reader’s perception.

In the Faction Paradox universe, ideas have power. People can be erased from history while retaining a physical existence — the universe simply stops noticing them. And conversely, many of the most powerful entities (the conceptual entities in the Celestis, Grandfather Paradox) have destroyed all trace of their own physical existence in the universe, but have a memetic existence.

Whoever controls the narrative, controls the universe.

Omega Point
The idea of the Omega Point was originally conceived by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who believed in a teleological view of evolution, which saw the human noosphere eventually become sentient and become God. Teilhard argued that the God of the Bible was in fact this future sentience.

Physicist Frank Tipler later came up with a more daring idea, which he named after Teilhard’s earlier version. In Tipler’s Omega Point, humanity will send out autonomous artificially-intelligent probes to colonise the whole universe, and to make it collapse into a singularity. If the universe collapses in just the right way, it would be theoretically possible to perform an infinite amount of computation in a finite amount of time — the last minuscule fraction of a second before the end of the universe. Tipler argues that these sentient AIs would, functionally, be God — specifically the Christian triune god, and that they would resurrect all previous human life to live forever in paradise.

It is well known that the shadows of Faction Paradox members often act in strange ways, moving independently while their owners remain stationary. Many of them are armed. If you go into a dark room, remember that a shadow may be hiding in the darkness.

In mathematics, a singularity is a place where the normal rules break down.

The centre of a black hole is one such place in normal space-time, and so, one must assume, is the caldera.

There’s a second type of singularity, though — the prediction made by futurists that at some point soon in human history, we will create self-improving artificial intelligences, which will become so intelligent and powerful that they (and we, their masters) will obtain complete mastery over the universe of matter, energy, space and time. We will become as Gods. The Omega Point hypothesis, and thus The City Of The Saved, is a Singulatarian idea.

In The Book Of The War, though, the Singularity never actually happens. See Ghost Point.

Summerfield, Bernice
A character from the Evil Renegade novels, who has also had her own series of books and audio adventures. Mostly notable in this context because the story The Adventures Of The Diogenes Damsel, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche in which she appears, ties in with many of the concepts from The Book Of The War, and even mentions one of its authors, Simon Bucher-Jones, while a story in Bernice Summerfield And The Vampire Curse, by Phil Purser-Hallard, another co-author of The Book Of The War, provides background information for a character who later appears in Faction Paradox stories.

According to Evil Renegade fans, these stories are canon, but the Faction Paradox stories are not.

Time is the physical manifestation of entropy as perceived by conscious beings. Given any arbitrary position in configuration space, the probability is that any randomly-chosen position adjacent to it in configuration space will be more disordered, no matter how disordered the initial state. Thus if one draws a path through a configuration space, even as a random walk, that path will appear to progress from a more-ordered to a less-ordered state — it will appear to have a direction. That direction is what we call time.

However, the timeline, at least in this universe, is non-random. Rather, the choice of points in the configuration space was made by the Great Houses during the anchoring of the thread when they created History.

Not so much ships as complex space-time events, these are constructed from pure mathematics and allow their pilots — members of the Great Houses with whom they have a symbiotic bond — to travel through space and time.

More recent timeship models take on humanoid form, and have their own personalities. At least two of them are now arguably more important to history than their pilots, even though those pilots have both obtained the position of head of the Presidency of the Homeworld.

Tipler, Frank
An American astrophysicist, currently employed at Tulane university. Professor Tipler is best known for his Omega Point hypothesis, which takes its name from the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

In his book The Physics Of Immortality Tipler sets out a process by which at the end of the universe humanity (for he believes that no aliens exist) will create an infinitely powerful supercomputer which will resurrect everyone who ever lived to live in heaven forever.

Tipler’s idea was actually taken very seriously by some scientists for quite some time, as the idea as originally expressed was actually a hypothesis based on extending the current best views of physical law to their logical conclusions. Unfortunately for Tipler, his hypothesis relies on either the universe not being inflationary (it is), or on the Higgs mass being different from the experimentally-confirmed value, so we can safely call his hypothesis false.

Unfortunately for everyone, Professor Tipler did not stick with his (strange but scientific) prediction, and has since gone on to argue that, amongst other things, Barack Obama is evil because he doesn’t believe in the lumineferous aether and that the film Starship Troopers is a scientific proof that abortion is evil.

Valeyard Heresy
The idea that a two-dimensional leering villain suddenly becomes more interesting if the character is revealed to have a familial link with the protagonist. In extreme cases this can manifest as the leering villain being revealed actually to be the protagonist.

In the case of The Ancestor Cell, this was taken to the hitherto-unknown extreme of first turning an interesting character concept into a leering caricature and then turning him into the protagonist.

War, The

The War has no beginning and no end. Some call it the War In Heaven. Others call it the Time War. Some claim that the Homeworld was destroyed at the end of it, others that the Homeworld is eternal. Some claim that the Enemy are a bunch of defective screaming mutants in metal shells, other that the Enemy has no existence at all. The War is eternal and has lasted fifty years.

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