[FoRK] Douglas Adams: Is there an Artificial God?
<eugen at leitl.org> on
Fri Jul 13 09:52:35 PDT 2007
On Fri, Jul 13, 2007 at 11:12:09AM -0500, Jeff Bone wrote:
> Hmm, I do love Vinge, but I can't agree that his detailed
> extrapolations are any more (or even as) plausible than / as other SF
I love Vinge, too, but his scale assumptions (how much humans
you need to drive progress at a given rate) are really grating.
> writers in that same vein. He seems to make bold and provocative
> "large inferences" but the gritty minutia and the path from here to
> there just isn't his strong suit... (For example: despite all the
> trappings of very High Technology --- localizers, interstellar
> travel, FTL galaxy-scale data networking, etc. --- his characters
> continue to be largely human-scale intelligences, with the occasional
That's deliberate. You can't sell stories from a superhuman
intelligence POV, even if you could write them.
> Big Bad AI. Yet he doesn't convincingly explore why this is the case
> or how interstellar society functions w/o there being massive deltas
> in relative individual power levels.
Another grating thing: too much uncritical libertarianism.
> I'd have to say I prefer (among recent bright lights) Ian McDonald
Never read him.
> and Charlie Stross (in his better moments.) The undisputed if less-
Don't really like him. Readable, yes, but I much prefer Vinge.
> This of course brings to mind the old saw: "science fiction isn't
> about the future, it's about today."
Of course. You can't sell the unintelligible.
> On that level, the most prescient sci-fi author of the 20th century
> may well have been Frank Herbert. Dune is a fantastic discourse on
> the relationships between religion, power, and society --- and
> particularly the thorny problems and threats of Islamo-fascism,
I really don't like that word. What's wrong with radical Islamist?
> terrorism, monopoly, and resource-constraint economics.
Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
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