In William Gibson’s newest novel, The Peripheral (2014), wealthy elites from a distant future are able to contact their past via a quantum server. By doing so, they transform the contacted reality into a “stub”: a dimension whose future is no longer convergent with their own. The inhabitants of this now diverted time-line can then […]Read more "The Peripheral Also Rises"
Delusional Donkişot (Don Quixote), driven mad by books. Armed and armored with antique language and an the outmoded conviction that there is a space for adventures and a need for knights, that he can journey out from the symbolic into real, from chivalric rules to the immersive truth, from the way things should be to […]Read more "Windmills, Language, and the Magic of Taboo"
One way to interpret first contact stories is this: aliens are other people. The whole SETI thing is just a metaphor for making friends. Whether you conceive of extra-terrestrials as ruthless, bug-eyed conquerors or enlightened ambassadors indicates how you feel about other people. Space opera is merely psycho-drama on a galactic scale. Fermi’s paradox might […]Read more "Limits to Existence: Aliens, Birds, Robots"
I hate the covers of books, as much as I love what they conceal. On the second floor of the library, just as I was about to finish Shantaram (a wonderful, glowing novel by Gregory David Roberts) the thin plastic laminate wrapped around the front and back like a cognitive prophylactic began to peel away […]Read more "Cover Story: Life Gets Complicated"
The line runs between non-commercial and commercial, public and profit, what we grow for love and what we make for money. It divides (in my mind) society and capital, love and hate, play and competition. To trace this line, I will follow it here through an alien language in Mieville’s Embassytown, a secret brand in […]Read more "The Line Between Language: Embassytown, Zero History, and Continuity Drift"