On the His Dark Materials series
The Field Naturalist's Guide to Daemons
Congratulations; if you are in this room you have passed your assessment examinations and been accepted as Trans-Reality Field Naturalist Cadets. In the weeks ahead you will not merely be sent into other worlds, but into other realities of this world. These worlds, also known as alternate universes, have been the subject of intense study over recent decades. They are a source of invaluable technologies, ideas, lifestyles and even historical precedents, and we may have them for no more than the cost of training cadets like you and sending them to assist the observers already in our covert “embassies.” At first you will not stay for more than hours, or at best days, because you must prove yourself able to play roles and live lifestyles quite alien to ours. On the other hand, you have been recruited for your skill in role playing games, so you should have no problems. Remember, however, that this is real: if you die in this game, you stay dead. You have been assigned to Pullman’s universe because you were the best of this induction of cadets. Though it is one of the more challenging trans-reality environments, the rewards of working there are correspondingly great.
Ever since the discovery of Pullman’s universe, the implications of having d¦mons living in symbiosis with humans has been the subject of much research in the scientific community. Any number of questions are posed by the human-d¦mon symbiosis, including the possibility that humans in our universe are capable of sustaining d¦mons …