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I'm a little slow getting started today, but at least I can say I got a full eight hours of sleep last night (even if it didn't start until about 3 a.m.). I cannot even recall how long it's been since I slept eight consecutive hours. A while. I'm groggy as hell, but Spooky's pouring coffee into me, so we have some hope that by the time I finish this entry I will be at least half awake.

Congratulations to "papersteven" for his winning bid in the hand-corrected Silk auction. Thank you very much.

Yesterday, I wrote the first 1,107 words of The Dinosaurs of Mars. But it was a strange beginning, and I am very unsure of myself. I fear that single review of The Dry Salvages still looms large in my mind, and I believe it is leading me to hesitate and to uncertainty. I don't mean the standard to which I hold myself, my own constant self-criticism. That's harsh enough. This is something else entirely. This is what Steinbeck meant by the difference between writing and writing for someone else. Reflexively, some part of me will not stop trying to second guess the likes and dislikes, the prejudices and preferences, of that invisible editor of whom Steinbeck spoke. I know, consciously, that this is folly. That hardly seems to help. Anyway, yes, the first 1,107 words. The bulk of the text is written as the diary of a "civilian observer," a writer chosen to accompany an exploration of Martian caverns in 2132. What I wrote yesterday was the "editor's" fictional "note for the third edition" of the observer's diary, which was recovered near the entrance to a cavern at the base of Apollinaris Patera, a few weeks after the exploratory team lost contact with a nearby base camp. Her diary made it back to an acquaintance at a lunar base, and most of what the world knows about the mission's fate is contained therein. NASA/ESA has so far refused to release most other documents associated with the exploration and are not pleased that Babette Flanagan's handwritten diary somehow slipped through (there are charges of forgery). That's the general idea, and the "note for the third edition" is being written in (I think) December 2148, sixteen years after Flanagan's disappearance.

The idea of having a writer/poet along on a scientific expedition came, I admit, directly from the screen adaptation of Carl Sagan's Contact, when Eleanor Arroway says, "It's beautiful. It's beautiful. I keep saying that, but I can't...my mind can't...words...should've sent a poet." It's been so long since I read the novel, I can't recall if this line is in there or not, but it's something I always loved about the film.

Preparing to write this novella, I have so concerned myself with getting to know Mars inside and out, that, until yesterday, I'd hardly spared a thought to what, in this story, has happened to human civilization and the Earth since 2007. And all those questions came rushing up at me yesterday. What wars have there been? Plagues? Political upheavals? Technological advances (this is manifestly not a "post-Singularitarian future," as has been the case with all my sf)? Ecological degradation? Population growth or collapse? Will print have vanished and all "books" be published via some electronic means? Will the internet have been replaced or evolved into some new medium of communication? Etc., etc., & etc. And then there's the problem of language.

I have always felt this is something that most sf writers gloss over*, and mostly for the reason that however much the English language might drift and/or evolve, the book that's being read is meant to be comprehensible to a present-day audience. This, I believe, is a great flaw in most science fiction, even great sf. Only a few authors have a) been up to the task as linguists and b) risked alienating their potential audience and/or publishers. Anthony Burgess springs to mind as an exception to this rule. One of the (I thought very peculiar) criticisms leveled at The Dry Salvages concerned its occasional use of a sort of future slang (my tip of the hat to this very legitimate problem), which was described as a "facile use of shorthand TV-series lingo." It seems to me that one either a) uses present-day language and simply ignores the problem that language evolves, b) meets the problem partway, adding at least some unfamiliar elements to the vocabulary of the characters (as I did in The Dry Salvages), or c) goes all the way and creates a new and evolved language through which the first-person narrative is told (this problem is far less of a problem if one is writing a third-person narrative). I might add a fourth solution, which would be to employ a highly unlikely "retro" language shift, such, as, say, a 22nd Century Dickensenian vogue that has everyone speaking as though they were in 19th Century London. For whatever reason, it has always annoyed me that most sf writers ignore this problem, and it is one of the points I'm struggling with in the opening pages of The Dinosaurs of Mars (especially given the above criticism of my attempt to solve it in The Dry Salvages). How might people speak and write in the early to mid 22nd Century? All I can say for sure is that it will be somewhat different from how we write and speak today.

I suppose this is one reason that so many sf writers seem addicted to conventions geared towards sf writers, where there are panels where these very problems are discussed. But I find such conventions to be prohibitively expensive, cliquish, and I just don't happen to particularly enjoy the company of other authors. Moreover, and this is the most important part, I want to find the solutions for myself. Art is not science. Even when art is about science, it is still art. There cannot be consensus, in the sense that science strives for meaningful consensus. And unlike science, art is not progressive. Personally, I have my doubts that science can be said to be genuinely progressive, but I'm pretty dammed certain that art is not. Which is not to say that it is not accumulative or accretionary. But the belief that sf writers are out there forecasting the future, that they have some social responsibility to do so, that's malarky, if you ask me. Writers of sf can only, at best, make educated guesses, and usually those guesses are wrong, and clumping together to form a consensus does not in any way insure against history unfolding in one of those other, unpredicted directions. People love to pick out the occasional instances where Jules Verne and William Gibson got it right; they rarely ever point fingers at their miscalls.

Anyway, I am going on, and it's almost 1 p.m.

I'm supposed to speak with producer D today, but I cannot imagine how I will extract myself from The Dinosaurs of Mars and all these questions and switch gears to "Onion," then switch right back to The Dinosaurs of Mars. No idea at all.

*Postscript (6:17 p.m.) — Reading this paragraph five hours later, I think I was indulging in excessive generalization and exagerration, exacerbated by grogginess and the side-effects of generic "Ambien." So, apologies to anyone I might have offended, annoyed, perplexed, etc.

Comments

( 26 comments — Have your say! )
guest_informant
Jun. 15th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
re futuristic lingo — Dick Lupoff's Space War Blues springs to mind immediately.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 15th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)

Dick Lupoff's Space War Blues springs to mind immediately.

Alas, I have not read it.
derekcfpegritz
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
Don't--it's horrible. If you haven't yet read Richard Paul Russo's amazing Ship of Fools, then definitely check that one out for a sci-fi novel that is clearly motivated by oldskool sci-fi principles of characterization, storytelling, and the like. It's one of the best pseudo-space-operas I have ever read. Imagine Event Horizon directed by Wim Wenders or Tarkovsky.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)

If you haven't yet read Richard Paul Russo's amazing Ship of Fools, then definitely check that one out for a sci-fi novel that is clearly motivated by oldskool sci-fi principles of characterization, storytelling, and the like. It's one of the best pseudo-space-operas I have ever read. Imagine Event Horizon directed by Wim Wenders or Tarkovsky.

See...I read Ship of Fools a few years back and was very unimpressed. It wasn't a terrible book, but, for me, it fell far short of what seemed to be its objectives. I certainly didn't find it disturbing. I didn't understand why it's gotten so much good press. This is, of course, my subjective opinion of the book and should be taken as such.
derekcfpegritz
Jun. 15th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
I believe I approached the book a bit different from the outset, and maybe that's why I liked it more: I expected it to be a space opera about a mutiny on an aging generation ship...and was surprised by the presence of the alien ship when it turned up (I was expecting to discover that Antioch had been attacked by Spaaaaaaaace Pirates). I was doubly surprised when the ship turned out to be an incomprehensible, truly-alien puzzle box--a starship-sized Lament Configuration, if you will.

I would've been teaching it this fall as part of my horror lit class if I hadn't had to give up teaching for the semester. Le sigh.
guest_informant
Jun. 15th, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
I'm with you here. Ship of Fools was OK, but I never understood what all the hype was about. The same goes for the previous PKD winner of his, Subterranean Gallery — a solid enough book, but not exactly memorable.
As for that Lupoff title back from the 70's — it's not just that he invented some futuristic lingo to better serve his (sorts of) space war plot, but it was quite a hilarious extrapolation of Southern speech. The core novella, later expanded into the SWB novel and called "With Bentfin Boomer Boys on Little Old New Alabama", was included in Dangerous Visions, Again.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 15th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)

included in Dangerous Visions, Again.

Ah ha! A book I have actually read/own! :-)
stillsostrange
Jun. 15th, 2007 05:48 pm (UTC)
Speaking only as one of the unwashed book-buying masses, I adored The Dry Salvages, and would love to read more SF from you in that vein. I understand, though, how annoying and distracting the critical voices can be, whether internal or external.
derekcfpegritz
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
If this is a very *near*-future piece, then sending fully-organic humans to Mars is certainly possible...but if the story is set further than twenty years into the future, virtually all of the characters (if not, indeed, all of them) will be cyborgs of some sort. Sending 100% organic humans to Mars would guarantee mission failure--they probably wouldn't even survive the trip out.

One thing to remember is that space travel of ANY sort is *incredibly* dangerous, mainly because organic humans are simply not built to survive in space. One, muscle mass, immune function, vascular health, and even neurological health all suffer greatly in micrograv conditions: some of this can be eliminated by, say, rotating a wheel-shaped habitat on the ship to prove spingrav...but that won't stop the immune system, peripheral nerves, and capillaries from collapsing. Two, radiation is a massive concern, and unless a Mars orbiter would have six-inch-thick lead plating to protect the astronauts, they'll all be suffering from deleterious exposure levels by the six month of the mission. And three, providing air, water, and food for organic astronauts means TONS upon TONS more mass that needs to be brought along.

And let's not forget problems of boredom, sleep deprivation (a common problem in extended micrograv), sexual tensions, and plain ol' stress. Any can full of unaltered humans will never come home. The astronauts will either die of exposure, accident, violence, or starvation.

On the other hand...cyborged astronauts could do it. What tech would the need added to their bodies to increase their survivability? Well, to start with, nanotech immune/corporeal maintenance systems: microbots in their blood that would supplement or bolster immune activity, fix muscle atrophy and bone loss internally, ensure proper fluid distribution, safeguard the brain and nervous systems, and--most important of all--protect against radiation damage by detecting and removing damaged cellular material. Neural implants can also be used to alter perceptions so that boredom is not such a great factor (or to just allow the astronauts to enjoy immersive VRs), and can be used to shut off libido. Also, when on Mars itself, cyborged astronauts can interface their nervous systems directly to their suits, which would give them the ability to do a lot more than just waddle around in NASA-style hardsuits.

Give your readers at least a *taste* of the tech, so they can honestly feel like they're immersed in a real setting.

And as far as background goes: the United States will break up into separate nationstates within the next thirty years. The Northeast will be a fairly standard, European-style socialist democratic state; the South will be a Christian theocracy masquerading as a Republican paradise; the West will be a mercantile empire mainly owned by interests in China and Japan; and the Midwest...? A desert full of dying, hopeless people and refugees from various wars in South America. UN peacekeeping troops will be everywhere in North America keeping an eye on the destabilized remnants of the USA.

So who will be launching spacecraft to go to Mars? The European Space Agency. Private-industry concerns in the Pacific Rim nations, especially China and Japan.

Oh, and the Middle East/southeast Asia? Radioactive wasteland full of dying, fallout-poisoned leftovers from the Final Jihad.

I wish I could think of a *less* realistic future, but...hey. Humans. What're you gonna do?
greygirlbeast
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC)

If this is a very *near*-future piece, then sending fully-organic humans to Mars is certainly possible...but if the story is set further than twenty years into the future, virtually all of the characters (if not, indeed, all of them) will be cyborgs of some sort. Sending 100% organic humans to Mars would guarantee mission failure--they probably wouldn't even survive the trip out.

This is a fine example of what I mean by thinking that one can, with any confidence, actually predict the future. You're making too many assumptions — that solutions can not be found to make it possible for non-cyborg humans to venture as far as Mars, for example. You might think these assumptions are well founded, but they are merely thoughts put forth from your present 2007 POV. From all I've read and seen, it seems to me that a) sending robots (not even cyborgs) on interplanetary missions is much more cost efficient and safe than sending living organisms, but b) humans will at least attempt to go Mars, regardless.

And I would caution you not make such bold, absolutist statements ("And as far as background goes: the United States will break up into separate nationstates within the next thirty years. The Northeast will be a fairly standard, European-style socialist democratic state; the South will be a Christian theocracy masquerading as a Republican paradise" and etc.), unless being proven wrong doesn't bother you. But, I think we're operating within very different roles. I'm not (and never claimed to be) a futurist, at least not when it comes to humans. I'm just trying to write science fiction.
derekcfpegritz
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sending robots is the cheapest, best, and easiest way--but also the least dramatic. :) It's better to have human characters Out There because terrestrial readers can identify with them. And I'm sure someone will attempt a Mars mission within the next twentyfive years--and they may even be partially successful: it's pretty certain that, even given contemporary technology, some group could get a number of astronauts to Mars. But they'll never be able to come home; and, chances are, they'll all be dead within eighteen months of landing on Mars.

The only reason I favor cyborging in terms of space exploration is that biology is just complicated carbon chemistry, and there's only so much that biology can be made to do even through heavy, heavy amounts of bioengineering. DNA will always be susceptible to radiation damage no matter how beefed up a cell's nuclear membranes, for instance. Inorganic devices are susceptible, too, but as they are almost always more streamlined, and less patched-together than anything biological, they are less susceptible to massive code alterations caused by a lucky stray energetic particle. Biology is not meant for space; inorganic life is. In order for humans to even make a viable attempt at Solar exploration beyond the Moon, they'll HAVE to have some manner of inorganic extras to keep their meat-sack bodies alive and reasonably healthy--there's no way to bioneer organic life to survive in space: it's too hostile an environment.

Oh, and as to making statements about the nation breaking up: I fully expect to be proven wrong. Nothing "wrong" with that! I'll be shocked if I'm ever proven RIGHT, to be honest--I just extrapolate based on trends I see, which are just as fictional as any other form of writing. As a major fan of hard sci-fi--and I like my sci-fi to read like technical manuals or scientific publications from the Year Zero--I just gravitate toward sci-fi that's as heavy on the science as it is the fiction. Even as a little kid I couldn't read stuff like, say, Heinlein's so-called juvenile books about aliens and explorers on Mars. I always thought that stuff was hokey. I fondly remember myself saying, "Why the hell is one Martian green and twelve feet tall while the other one is a white puffball with three eyes? This is stupid!"The only reason a Martian could be green, I reasoned, was if it was photosynthetic to a degree...which would kind of make sense since Mars is so arid; at least sunlight reaches the planet to put energy into the biosphere! And that's how I was when I was nine. It's a thousand times worse now. Hhhheheheh.

You should hear me and my friends dissecting the biology of the "martians" in Spielberg's War of the Worlds. We figured out every aspect of their evolution and primary planetary characteristics just based on the fact that they looked like frogs and had silver eyes. :)
stsisyphus
Jun. 15th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
Not trying to incite anything.
Factually accurate science aside at this point, I think there's some value to looking at what would make sense from a literary perspective. I think that Ms. Kiernan would have to write the story where the characters are fleshumans - her existing corpus and literary style sort of demand it. [Damn, I'm going to take it in the face now that I've said that] I am mostly relying on the work she has established outside of SF, as I really have not had the opportunity to read her SF stories (and here I suppose I must think "Bradbury Weather" and TDS), so let me declare that as a given.

What I mean to say here is that I think that it doesn't make sense in comparison to her other works to construct an scientific artifice simply to justify how or why the characters managed to trod the Martian soil. The point isn't to demostrate how it could be that a human could be exploring caverns of Mars, but rather what happens to them once they are there. I don't need to have a long infodump of exposition explaining the bioengineering of "Faces in Revolving Souls" and "A Season of Broken Dolls" to enjoy the stories. In fact, it would been distracting.

A great deal of Ms. Kiernan's fiction has dealt with the effect of otherness upon a humanity which is mostly organic in nature and composition. These are characters that cry, pump blood, puke bile, and occasionally piss themselves (probably one of my favorite details of the kill scenes in tFoC). Kiernan doesn't shy away from making her characters palpable and sensually whole. Her androids, monsters, and such have on the whole been deceptively humanish. Admittedly, there are a handful of stories that have been in Sirenia Digest & Frog Toes & Tentacles which ran counter to this. Even then, however, there is often an organic logic to many of Kiernan's "alien antagonists". While they may not be human in form or consciousness, they are often project the efficient cruelty and instinct of nature. While one could portray the explicit subversion/destruction of rational, technological mastery by nature-chaos or ex-conscious forces - I don't know if it would normally be a CRK kind of story.

Ms. K - Quick question, do you want these kinds of litcrit comments/discussions here or over at species_of_one?
greygirlbeast
Jun. 15th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Not trying to incite anything.

Wow. Good comment. I wish I had the time right now to reply.

Ms. K - Quick question, do you want these kinds of litcrit comments/discussions here or over at species_of_one?

Nah. That place is a ghost town. Here's just fine.
sovay
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
It seems to me that one either a) uses present-day language and simply ignores the problem that language evolves, b) meets the problem partway, adding at least some unfamiliar elements to the vocabulary of the characters (as I did in The Dry Salvages), or c) goes all the way and creates a new and evolved language through which the first-person narrative is told (this problem is far less of a problem if one is writing a third-person narrative).

Have you read Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun (The Shadow of the Torturer, The Claw of the Conciliator, The Sword of the Lictor, The Citadel of the Autarch)? Written in the first person, the text purports to be the translation of a language that will not be spoken for millennia into contemporary English, while retaining many archaic terms; it's an oddly and successfully unsettling balance between language that evokes the distant past and imagery that evokes the far future.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)

Have you read Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun (The Shadow of the Torturer, The Claw of the Conciliator, The Sword of the Lictor, The Citadel of the Autarch)?

I haven't, but now I shall look for them. Thanks!
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
Re: "Every step we take thats synchronized. . ."`

Gibson, himself, said that if he were an actual prophet, Neuromancer would have had cell phones, and he'd have made a fortune.

I read that somewhere. It's a wonderful quote. I think Gibson has a healthy skepticism regarding his own prowess as a seer.

asanityassassin
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:13 pm (UTC)
Speaking as yet another member of the unwashed book-buying masses with little better than a diletante's education in biology, cosmology, and space travel, I still feel compelled to say that when I read sci-fi (and I truly adored The Dry Salvages), my primary concern is an entertaining story that allows my mind to wa/onder. I'll recognize most *gross* mistakes, scientifically speaking, but subtle nuances will escape my attention... as I'd imagine they would with most "average" readers.
While it's important to construct a "realistic" future (something that we could readily envision as the outcropping of the world we know), it seems that there's a legitimate risk of being so consumed by getting the exact science right that the story suffers as a result.
Just my unprofessional opinion, and while I'm at it, I like the idea of four to five nationstates or a series of sprawl-clusters al a William Gibson.
At any rate, I trust you of all authors to make it both believable and fascinating. Book reviewers be damned! ;)
jtglover
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
Another recommendation for language: Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker. It's a weird read, set a millennium after a global thermonuclear war, and with language that reads like Chaucer fed through a cross-cut shredder. Some of it's phonetic, some odd grammar, and a combination of allusions and elisions. Somewhere or other I read that Hoban had trouble returning to writing standard English when he was done with the novel; probably apocryphal, but I could buy it. Emory has a copy if you want to take a look at the first chapter.

I second sovay's suggestion of Book of the New Sun for language. I never finished the series, but it does a good job of portraying a distant future, and there is a kind of sonorous, foreign quality to the prose.

In re: Dinosaurs, I can't remember if you've said, but will this be Mars a la Bradbury or Burroughs? Something else? Not trying to snoop too much, just curious. I recently read a review of S.M. Stirling's The Sky People, which I think I'll have to read -- it's set on Venus, but at least one future book in the series will be on Mars, and it's definitely planetary romance.
stsisyphus
Jun. 15th, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
This is, of course, a completely disposable suggestion:
Perhaps, as the tale is another epistlatory narrative, Flanagan is writing a diary which is encoded in an archiac language (our contemporary vernacular) which is not easily understood by 22nd century readers. It is a rather cheap way of getting around the issue - but allows the narrative text to flow easily enough while allowing "reported dialogue" to be peppered with enough neologisms and futurespeak as will enhance the text & story.

By way of integrating geo/astropolitical elements, perhaps the observer on this scientific mission is a compromise between certain disparate social elements in this future civilization? Perhaps Flanagan is a covert dissident or whistleblower from some other political interest? Mind the framing note, mainstream editors would depoliticize Flanagan's associations in order to publish her work more broadly (editors/publishers will never change). Given that the editors themselves are attempting to discredit the manuscript through insinuations of forgery, there's already a seam of outcast politics at work.
corucia
Jun. 15th, 2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
If Flanagan is a poet, then fascination with words could lead her to write her diary using 20th century grammar and phrasing, as stsisyphus suggests. Perhaps this might also explain how the diary made it through the embargo on information about the exploration team - the authorities didn't recognize it for what it was, as it was handwritten (i.e. no easy computerized translation) and appeared archaic.

Just some more disposable suggestions following stsisyphus' lead...
stsisyphus
Jun. 15th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)
*Points up* Yeah, that's what I was trying to say.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 15th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)

If Flanagan is a poet, then fascination with words could lead her to write her diary using 20th century grammar and phrasing, as stsisyphus suggests. Perhaps this might also explain how the diary made it through the embargo on information about the exploration team - the authorities didn't recognize it for what it was, as it was handwritten (i.e. no easy computerized translation) and appeared archaic.

Again, that's a very interesting idea, especially if the recovered materials are processed by a computer programme/robotics system whose parameters for recognizing sensitive material might not include handwritten hardcopy documents in an archaic dialect. Thank you.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 15th, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC)

Mind the framing note, mainstream editors would depoliticize Flanagan's associations in order to publish her work more broadly (editors/publishers will never change). Given that the editors themselves are attempting to discredit the manuscript through insinuations of forgery, there's already a seam of outcast politics at work.

As presently envisioned, the book is being published by a politically friendly publisher, and the editor in question is arguing for the document's veracity. I'm not sure political is exactly the right word though, as I think in this 2148 NASA and ESA have merged and been acquired by an international conglomerate. Corporate politics, I suppose, and we know these have the potential to be at least as repressive as national politics (if these two things are even, now, seperable).

Perhaps, as the tale is another epistlatory narrative, Flanagan is writing a diary which is encoded in an archiac language (our contemporary vernacular) which is not easily understood by 22nd century readers.

This is a very interesting thought. Thank you. However, if leaves me with the very daunting task of presenting the preface and all footnotes, etc. in a "contemporary" voice.
stsisyphus
Jun. 16th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)
it leaves me with the very daunting task of presenting the preface and all footnotes, etc. in a "contemporary" voice.

I thought of that very problem while composing the suggestion, but didn't mention it since I figured it would muddle the comment. While inserting the footnotes might be an invigorating challenge, I concluded that it would probably take away from the tension of the story. On the other hand, you could always insert footnote indicators without actual footnotes if you were feeling saucy and wanted to release the footnotes in Sirenia. The framing narrative could suggest that the footnotes were expunged for reasons of security.

That might be making things a little too silly.
jason_brez
Jun. 15th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
Regarding future language and how to write it, here's how Peter Watts deals with it in Blindsight:

They never really talked like that, by the way. You'd hear gibberish—a half-dozen languages, a whole Babel of personal idioms—if I spoke in their real voices.

Some of the simpler tics make it through: Sascha's good-natured belligerence, Sarasti's aversion to the past tense. Cunningham lost most of his gender pronouns to an unforeseen glitch during the work on his temporal lobe. But it went beyond that. The whole lot of them threw English and Hindi and Hadzane into every second sentence; no real scientist would allow their thoughts to be hamstrung by the conceptual limitations of a single language. Other times they acted almost as synthesists in their own right, conversing in grunts and gestures that would be meaningless to any baseline. It's not so much that the bleeding edge lacks social skills; it's just that once you get past a certain point, formal speech is too damn slow.


He's put the entire book online here
greygirlbeast
Jun. 15th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)

Some of the simpler tics make it through: Sascha's good-natured belligerence, Sarasti's aversion to the past tense. Cunningham lost most of his gender pronouns to an unforeseen glitch during the work on his temporal lobe. But it went beyond that. The whole lot of them threw English and Hindi and Hadzane into every second sentence; no real scientist would allow their thoughts to be hamstrung by the conceptual limitations of a single language. Other times they acted almost as synthesists in their own right, conversing in grunts and gestures that would be meaningless to any baseline. It's not so much that the bleeding edge lacks social skills; it's just that once you get past a certain point, formal speech is too damn slow.

I like this, but fear it's not the direction suitable for me or my purposes.
( 26 comments — Have your say! )