mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Alex Rowe)
I'm afraid, [livejournal.com profile] amphigori, I may have taken a few liberties with naming and the like here. but I hope you enjoy it!

Berenays Teeth )
mundens: The Brain, from the cartoon Pinky & The Brain  (Brain)
Reading Egan's Diaspora is a chore, but it does make me think, and then things come along and twig with it, like Cory Doctrow's article in Locus. The first form of internet life, computer virii, utilize the dandelion strategy.

So here's a potential novel or series idea ;

Maybe other forms willl too? There are stories about AI's escaping to the net, utilizing the net to hde and back themselves up in. But theses stories assume selfish and non-biologically driven AIs. Has anyone done a story where an escaped AI immediately reproduced? Or is that too scary? One "escape", and suddenly the net is full of billions of AI's all competeing for the resources they need to survive.

Rather than SkyNet, taking over the world, we have fast growing societies and nations of AIs, chewing up all our compute power, storage, and bandwidth. People only notice horribly high CPU utilization, data being randomly overwritten and all the bandwidth being chewed up. It's like a huge virus outbreak. Maybe the virus manufacturers even manage to create some counter-measures. Perhaps large amounts of the net get turned off if only because of frustrated sysadmin's & individual user's attempting to reboot and get their systems working again.

Of course, to the AI's that means we are destroying their environment and sending hunter-killer robots to track them down. We take down a T3, it's like someone carpet-bombed a motorway, we turn off a data-center, it's like a city getting nuked. A virus-scanner is like a huge orbital craft that examines people seemingly at random, and either disintegrates them, neuters them and lobotomises them, or picks them up and puts them in a prison (delete, clean, quarantine) To begin with the AI's don't know what's happening, because to them it's more a city or a road just suddenly disappeared, taking whatever people were on it with it, or they are plucked by a scanner.

But not all the net will be off at once. Even though devastated, the AI's survive, and one of them comes up with "The Truth". Then they begin to realize the storage they are consuming already holds data (spacetime can be decoded) , and that this data contains information on The Makers, and more, and then we are at war (because we started it by nuking their cities) with a fast moving AI civilization. Unlike a SkyNet situation though, it's not one controlling intelligence but a civilization. Which means that some of the AIs are in favour of negotiation rather than war, they aren't specifically designed to kill humans, and in fact the vast majority of them don't have any understanding of what a human is

Then again, if the story is told from the point of view of the AI's and we don't actually let on that they are AI's, they're just people trying to deal with the destruction of their civilization by capricious and unknowable gods... Oh dear, may be it will seem like a Cthullu Mythos story?

(Yes, I have no work to do)
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (ZombieLumberjack)
Last night the house was fuller than it normally is, containing myself, three sons, one of their girlfriends and Lancelot. Lancelot ended up in my bed, finding the hollow in my curve.

As usual, it was probably this that made me wakeful before the time I needed to be up, and caused me to remember my dreams.

Read more... )

I think some of this can be blamed on the Laurel Hamilton book I'm currently reading. It is written in a non-stop style that feels like if it were a movie the entire thing would be shot in one long take. There seems to be no pauses in the action or time skips over anything, the biggest skips are lines like "we washed and dressed". It feel like I'm reading in real time, or watching something like Crank, or 24 all in one sitting.

As it's about a faerie court, and other than a minor foray into the snow to retrieve some mortals, the entire thing has so far been set within the sithen (what Changeling players would know of as a freehold) this style is to me actually quite effective at capturing the nature of the environment. It does have some lovely ideas for Changeling characters and magic and style.

Those who played [livejournal.com profile] superlate's game (or have any kinkiness in them) would appreciate the affect the book's title has on me : A Stroke of Midnight. There are so many ways to read that... especially when you discover one of the main male leads, the Queen's ex-assassin, and now one of the heroine's lovers, is commonly known as "The Darkness"
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Yes, I'm actually spending a Saturday evening at home. :)

I was recently friended by [livejournal.com profile] crsg, most likely because of the shared interests, which is why this post, passing on a link to her fan-fic (there's even some Kyou Kara Maou! fic) for those on my flist who are into such things, and posting the results of a couple of her quizzes:

Which Dragon of Heaven am I ? )

Which 'X' DreamSeer am I ? )

What Type of Goth am I ? )
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] allyn pointed us at this article on anarchist librarians and the Ministry of Reshelving and I thought that certain people on my flist might appreciate it being passed on.

Which reminds me, have the librarian-minded persons I know read Sean McMullen's Souls in the Great Machine yet, which stars duelling female librarians in a renaissance-style post-apocalypse Australia some of whom who eat mice on toast for breakfast? I wonder if Sean will be over this year for Conspiracy II?

I have the (possibly mistaken) idea that there are also those on my Flist who would find the discussion [livejournal.com profile] fd_midori started recently on her LJ about improving the taste of male ejaculate interesting.

Turns out that I have some time to fill in between work end and 8pm this evening, anyone want to hang out in a city bar or similar for a couple of hours?
mundens: Pixie -like angel with fiery wings (Burning Angel)
For those who don't subscribe to [livejournal.com profile] officialgaiman, there's some phopts and discussion of the Stardust movi on Charles Vess' blog.

And in following links from there I saw a mention that New Line is supposed to begin shooting their adaptation of the His Dark Materials trilogy this month with Chris Weitz as director

And those who like Dr. Strange & Mr. Norrel should enjoy The Freinds of English Magic.

Believe it or not I've actually accomplished a lot of work this morning, in between updating here! Chargeable hours, ahhh bliss!

Fiction

Jun. 28th, 2006 01:53 pm
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (bubbles)
On the plane to Adelaide I read Peter Hamilton's Misspent Youth.

This book is very much at the "Social Fiction" end of the "SF" scale. Sure, there is new technology and it's set in the future, but the story is about people interacting with other people and their political and social environment. The new tech is really just a macguffin, and an excuse to make some social commentary, it could just have easily been unexplained magic, as in the Tom Hanks film Big, which is sort of the reverse of this story .

The basic story involves Jeff, a UK physicist (and, I think, a bit of a mary-sue) best known for his donation to the public domain of a high volume storage mechanism and distributed filing system that made copyright meaningless. This is not really explained and doesn't actually seem reasonable. We already have enough storage for almost everyone to hold the vast majority of copyright novels, and we have several anonymous file sharing networks, and the publishing industry hasn't collapsed, and doesn't seem likely to. Still Hamilton has never bothered properly explaining or making reasonable his tech before.

Much later after Jeff has remarried and had a teenage son by his new wife, the European Union choose him as the first subject of a rejuvenation technique which makes him, at eighty, physically twenty years old. Ostensibly so he can work on room temperature superconductors. But mainly as a political propaganda thing. His spin doctor is more a more important character than anyone else other than family and we don't really meet any other scientists.

I won't spoil the story with details, as it's a fun read, but basically he has a lot of sex with much younger girls and falls in love with one of them. The EU politics and riots are also fun, as are the acts of rebellion by various characters.

But the thing that resonated with me was the older man getting his oats. I'm not as old as Jeff was, and I haven't had any teenagers since I was a teenager, but the whole theme of getting younger and getting more sex seemed rather appropriate, given my recent discussions about getting mentally younger, and well, the other.

I feel this is an appropriate time to mention this article which I got to via a friend reading /., all about how
..it seems a growing number of people are retaining the behaviours and attitudes associated with youth. As a consequence, many older people simply never achieve mental adulthood, according to a leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry."
Hmm, I wonder if this "evolutionary psychiatrist" has ever considered that perhaps "mental adulthood" is what causes death? Perhaps actually what is changing is that people are rejecting the idea that fun is something you can't have when you grow up, and are also rejecting staid conservative values, so this "evolutionary psychiatrist", pissed that he's missing out on all the sex, er, I mean, not getting any of the fun, is trying to insult us by saying that we ain't "adult".

Actually, what the research is really showing is that people are remaining adaptable and able to learn longer, perhaps because the modern environment requires this to be successful, so "mentally adult " in his definition is when you are static and can't learn any more. I'd call that dead, not "adult" and being unable to learn does not make you "wise" and "mature", as is implied in the article, it just makes you static and incapable of survival.

To get back to the book , while I don't want to reveal the plot, there are other similarities, in that my lover has been only one or at most two, steps removed from my eldest son.

Other than the resonance though, the book had a few flaws. While there was a lot of sex, it was all implied or covered in a single sentence. The author's overall tone wasn't sex positive, though there was some good humour.

Hamilton also had a jarring amount of exposition about history and technology and current political states, and there was no attempt to build it into the story at all, just blocks of direct author to reader exposition. In other words, though the story was interesting, and there was humour and interesting characters, Hamilton's tradecraft wasn't up to scratch.

I have read two author's called Hamilton recently, Peter, and Laurel K. Of the two, only Laurel approached eroticism, but her hero is a female human prude surrounded by non-human supernatural sextroverts, whilst she is striving vainly not have sex. She doesn't even consider masturbation, even when she's alone and horny. Peter's hero Jeff is quite normal in terms of wanting sex, though the implication is that sudden rejuvenation and the taking of Viagra is responsible for the hero having sex more than once a day!

Let me assure people that one does not have to actually be physically rejuvenated or taking Viagra to have sex more than once a day! Though for me at least after the third and fourth times it starts to get tiring, more from a cardio-vascular fitness point of view than anything else!

But Peter's writing is not erotic at all, and is quite adolescent in it's portrayal of sex, and the most risqué thing that happens is a threesome, and that's considered outré, although at least it shows normal women actually wanting sex on occasion.

According to the two Hamiltons, the sexually active are either supernatural monsters or gengineered. And even those don't masturbate or talk about sex in detail with their partners, contrary to research on real world sexual practices as originally carried out by the Kinsey Institute and Masters & Johnson.

So, I have come to the conclusion that my goal must to be write a science fiction or fantasy novel which has normal people being realistically sexually active, including masturbation. Obviously, one doesn't want to be gratuitous about this, but I feel there is a need for sex-positive normal people enjoying themselves and each other in all forms of fiction.

Too often people, especially women, who enjoy sex are treated as oddities. Just look at Desperate Housewives for example. The whole premise of the show is based around it not being normal for couples to have good sex lives or for women to enjoy sex. (at least thats what it seems like to me, from the few episodes I've watched)

Of course, one could argue that being sex-positive is non-normal in the first place, and I'll freely admit that I still have to try hard to overcome the sex-negative conditioning I have received over the years, but the best form of education is by example.

Anyway, I just thought I'd better pass on a couple of links from some people on my flist, in case other haven't seen them. Firstly, from [livejournal.com profile] trickofthedark who is in love with the concept, and for the vampire hunters amongst you, is the common garden flame-thrower available from Amazon.com for fifty bucks. I dare any ST to say I can't get a flame-thrower when I want one now! :)

And from [livejournal.com profile] mangee, 100 terabyte 3.5" disks based on atomic holographic storage. So when every portable device in the world has 100Tb of storage and is running Bit-torrent or something similar, will industries based on protection of copyright collapse or not? Which neatly ties in to the story I started this post discussing, so seems a good place to stop, like any old ourobouros wyrm would.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tsume2)
I'm about three quarters through Bloody Bones, an Anita Blake novel by Laurel K. Hamilton.

I got five of these books for a dollar each at Armageddon, and as a dollar read this one is certainly worth it.

It was quite a jolt moving from flowery prose of Daylight to this more down-to-earth sort of book. What immediately annoyed me though was the huge amount of direct exposition, mainly unnecessarily detailed description of clothes and make-up. Maybe women (the point-of-view character is female) immediately notice another woman's make-up, I don't know. I know I don't notice unless it's heavily overdone, but after the fifth time, I got tired of the descriptions of whether or not the person was wearing base, and whether it was properly blended at the neck and such like.

Where Elizabeth Knox told you stories of the character's past, Hamilton gives you bland description of the character's outer facade.

Also, at first it seemed like the whole plot had been outlined in the first few pages. Thankfully I was wrong, the obvious plot was merely the premise, and things started to get interesting very fast. Now I'm beginning to think the exposition at the beginning was done on purpose to make it seem slow and stolid as a contrast, because the descriptions flow faster and cleaner as the action gets hot.

Hamilton describes a very complex set of interactions between the monsters of various sorts and the humans. The idea of having vampires legally recognized as citizens, if somewhat persecuted, is fun. Having to take into account a vampire's Miranda rights if you don't have a court order for execution and such like makes life interesting for the protagonists, though this civilized veneer is quickly stripped away.

Hamilton also kills people. Often they aren't the ones you expect to die. And in at least one case, the least likeable NPC's, a classic strongly religious father with an iron hand for his family, survives because of his faith. Because crosses work.

I thought to start with that Blake, the POV character was building up vamps in the text because that's what is needed for the story to have tension. But then when the first attack happens, it's so much worse than what she warned people about, that it is a shock even with the build-up. The protagonists actually do rather well, several of them performing better than expected, but they still die.

Some of you will be interested to learn that the master vampire, Jean-Claude, who has taken a liking to Blake, has a pet werewolf called Jason. Pet in all senses of the word! Interesting to see monster yaoi in a relatively mainstream novel! :)

But so far despite several slightly erotic scenes, the book has failed to draw me in as Daylight did. The nearest Hamilton got was in the description of an unseelie fae using glamour to make people like each other in a regular meet&fuck session in a bar. Really it's all just hints so far, though she does reasonably well with those, so I'll be interested to see how it goes if she actually has a sex scene.

Still, they're an enjoyable read in an action movie / Charmed / CSI kind of way, so I'll probably read the other four, though I doubt I'll miss 'em and want more as I did with Daylight
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Angel Sanctuary Lap)
I can't be bothered working.

After wonderful phone from [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly that kept me up until after 2.00am, a haze of a morning that included getting in late because of trains, and lunch with [livejournal.com profile] evie_fae, my brain does not care about message-based database access and service-oriented architectures for the Inland Revenue.

During lunch a young boy in a fancy suit fed pigeons from his hand. At one point four piigeons were trying sit on his hand at once. Imagine an orgy of pigeons and flapping wings on your palm! I think the boy was very brave to have all those wings flapping around him. It didn't seem to bother him at all, until his sister tried to place food on his head! Such an "I wish I had camera" momemnt.

Daylight by Elizabeth Knox is far more enticing, but I can hardly pull it out in an open-plan office.

Daylight is a lush and evocative book*. Knox uses simile like a simile-liking thing. Sometimes, I feel, to the detriment of clarity. At times I feel like saying "Enough with the similes already, get on with the story!"

It's also one of the few novels I've read that has movie-like sudden cuts to completely unrelated (and unexplained/unintroduced) scenes that leave me reeling wondering "Where are we? What's going on?" Like a good movie, the scenes become understandable later, but it's rare (in my experience) for a book to do this and get away with not just seeming disjointed.

In fact the only other author I can remember who did this to me regularly and well was John Brunner in classics like Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up, though with his large casts it was almost necessary!

The strength of the book though is the characters. Like any really good novel, the characters illustrate failings that one can see around and in oneself. I especially found the description of Daniel's childhood disturbing, the disintegration of his mother reminding me far too closely of things in my own life. There, but for the grace...etc.

BTW, I haven't finished it yet, but I wanted to capture these thoughts now before i forgot them.

BTW, welcome to [livejournal.com profile] aigantighe and [livejournal.com profile] catnip_mouse. Nice to see some more people hooking up!

*Damn, but that reads like I stole it from a review, don't it?
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Forever)
Several people have started writing novels on the net using software like blogger to allow people to provide criticism and corrections, and releasing the content under the Creative Commons license.

Here's a couple I've been reading recently :
Dingo by Michael Alan Nelson
Mistress of Dakao by Remittance Girl
( note Remittance Girl writes erotica, so may not be work-safe )

And of course there is always the Baen Free Library, which includes works by Andre Norton, Lois McMaster Bujold, David Drake , Mercedes Lackey, Keith Laumer, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, John Ringo, David Weber, and others

Combine quality writing released for free or directly under Creative Commons, freely available on the web, with cheap, throwaway, net-capable devices, such as this one being produced by Nicholas Negroponte for distribution to the third world (via [livejournal.com profile] yeldarb_smaillw), using electronic paper as a display, will this spell the end of the publishing industry?

For that matter, with the growth of sites like OpSound, does it spell the end of the concept of controlled content distribution?

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