The Early Days of a Better Nation

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On with Annalee Newitz

On Thursday I did my very first webcam interview, for - I had to buy a webcam to do it. Now the world can see how tidy my workroom isn't. io9's Annalee Newitz and I talk about my books and about politics, Craig Ventner's synthetic organism, Scotland, The Night Sessions and The Restoration Game, near-future and far-future SF, and galactic princesses.

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I don't know enough SF to comment directly on Dark Lord Revisionism, but the pharase leads me to think about The Magic Flute.

Well, apologies, I seem to have killed your thread at birth by mentioning Mozart. Sorry about that. My I try to make recompense by drawing your attention to this current Crooked Timber thread.

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No worries ejh, I think the thread was killed by the prospect of watching a 40-minute video. I'll check out The Magic Flute - thanks.

It's too bad that your "Learning the World" was only named and not described. It is a delightfully optimistic book to. A local fan with a quadricultural background recommended it to me. He enjoyed it, he told me, because it shows how people can get along pretty well together if they simply act humanely--where "human" covers at least two species of sentients. A fine first contact story with a subtle take on anthropic arguments.

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Die, spammers!

Thanks, George. I suspect the actual argument implied by the story doesn't really hang together very well - it had something to do with Lee Smolin's hypothesis of cosmic evolution rather than anthropic arguments as such - but I like to think the mood music means it sort of works until after you've closed the book.

This is as it happens the first time I've noticed that every book since Learning the World has at least alluded to the simulation argument, which I don't take seriously at all. (The one I'm working doesn't repeat that trope, but it does have some oddities about the nature of reality, this time based on a completely different line of bullshit.)

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