The Early Days of a Better Nation

Friday, February 10, 2012

City of Lit does city of light

I'm very pleased to be a small part of the Edinburgh City of Literature Trust's imaginative project, enLIGHTen, celebrating the Scottish Enlightenment with light and sound. My contribution is a flash fiction inspired by a quote from Adam Smith:
‘Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition’
The quote will be projected near the Royal Society building in George Street, with my story as an accompanying audio download.

To tell you the truth, though, the story was just as much inspired by the nearby statue of James Clerk Maxwell, which shows the great man apparently contemplating a CD. No spoilers, but if I say 'post-singularity', seasoned SF readers will be able to take it from there.

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I've never been able to read any Singularity sf, because I find the idea too scary to have any fun with and too plausible to take lightly. It's a bit like how I remember it felt to discover Arthur Machen - the first few stories really hit the spot, then you think hang on, if any of this was even a tiny bit true... Except that in this case I've never read any of it, nay, not even Charlie's, not even Accelerando (which I did download) - I'm freaked-out in advance. What would you recommend?

A nice and cosy Christmas story...

Phil - there's always my novel The Cassini Division for an upbeat take on the theme ...

Going to the source, Vernor Vinge's _A Fire Upon the Deep_ and his collection _Marooned in Realtime_ are about ways of living with it, sort of, and good reads.

But all in all, you could do worse than read _Accelerando_, which is enormous fun.

On no account read my 'The Vorkuta Event'.

Accelerando, isn't Stross's best book, but it's probably worth reading just for the "So, you have just been ressurected into a post singularity society" PSA chapter.

Anyone ever find themselves bemused by the way that the people who are most vocal about the evils of science, don't actually know enough about it to be worrying about the really terrifying bits?

Anyhow, isn't this enLIGHTen thing likely to end in bloodshed when the anti light pollution people find out about it? :-)

Hey Ken,

FYIOA, Engines of Light gets a mention in Kevin Carson's latest C4SS post.

Thanks Roderick - seen it, took me a moment to think of the connection between that series and 'Christopher Hill country'. I guess he must be thinking of Joanna Tain and her followers. (I was surprised to learn recently that the fine Commonwealth's lady and loyal mother of the revolution Lucy Hutchinson was the first to translate Lucretius into English, and in rhyming couplets at that.)

Congratulations, Ken - that's wonderful. I'm proud of you! xx

Aw - thanks, sis!

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