Post by David Duffy
Currently reading _The Destructives_ - very good so far.
"The emergences sought to solve man's existential crisis by combining
two questions underlying all soshul: am I going insane, and if so, what
should I wear?"
Anybody read his other novels?
This is my first exposure to De Abaitua. _The Destructives_ reportedly
belongs to a trilogy.
"Cruelty was easy and it was for the conforming weak. Kindness
was hard, and it was the preserve of true strength."
First Impressions and Associations
This thread, along with Other People's generally positive reviews ,
convinced me to obtain and read _The Destructives_. At least one
goodreads reviewer sees parallels between PKD and De Abaitua. PKD is one
of my favorite SF authors (and Hollywood's too - if the sheer quantity
of tinsel town treatments is any indicator). Allusions to The Bomb hang
over some PKD stories like a pall. De Abaitua trades in The Bomb for The
"It is also the only intelligent book ever written about
the technological singularity." 
"The Rapture of the Nerds" (Doctorow and Stross)  first introduced me
to the notion of the Singularity nearly a decade ago. Their jocular,
rough beast slouched towards the temples of my mind to take root. It
was necessary for me to suppress silly Singularity for the sake of the
serious variety found in _The Destructives_.
"De Abaitua treats the Singularity as a kind of end of
the world scenario, with most humans more preoccupied
by entertainment and culture from "before" than creating
anything new, a logical conclusion to be drawn from this
sort of technopocalypse, since humanity's last major
breakthrough resulted in societal collapse and
An event known as the Seizure serves as a marker for _The Destructives_'
emergent Singularity. Is the Seizure an allegory for Brexit (in the
minds of British readers) or the 2008 Financial Crisis (for Anglosphere
The story's preoccupation with its pre-Seizure period brings to mind
the Pacific States of America's low level obsession with storied, old
Americana.  William Pook creates pre-Seizure product in the manner of
Frank Frink. The "existential dread" escapism in the De Abaitua shares a
pathology with the Fiktiv-Spiele "spell" that complacency casts over
alien Arkonides in Perry Rhodan.  _The Destructives_ is hard science
fiction in the sense that it depicts a future that's plausible, perhaps
even partially inevitable; a malaise with a Singularity at its core.
Although the story's Totally Damaged Mother emergent projects an
aura of danger, she falls short of death-robot Tasso's treachery. 
Instead, an angry robot outdoes Tasso. Unlike "andy" Rachael Rosin's
belated feigned horror over the implications of "Babyhide ... One
hundred percent genuine babyhide."  the morality of the angry robot's
own actions never trouble it. The angry robot more-or-less eats you
alive, secretly enjoys it, and then wears your hide as a trophy.
PKD takes another bomb embedded robot to the Moon to shield the
Earth  while De Abaitua uses the far side to keep the Singularity in
the dark. "It reminded [the protagonist] of Vegas in the desert, a city
bounded on all sides by lethal land
PKD's "Substance D" is an "addictive amphetamine-like psychoactive
drug."  De Abaitua's "weird core" drug "flattens" an abuser's
emotional response. It cauterizes psychologically feelings and makes
people andy-like, unable to feel empathy or emotion.
The story explores fresh ideas from popular culture. There's a
floating city, known as a Lillypad, populated with wealthy executives.
It extracts concessions from local governments eager for the promise of
economic stimulus generated by the Lillypad when it moors.
De Abaitua does a soft segue from PKD to Clarke in Act III. He, or
rather she, figuratively wrinkles her nose in distaste at Hoyle's
presumptive patriarchal Panspermism.
De Abaitua self identifies as a amanuensis, or at least he did as a
younger man.  His advice to new authors is:
"Don't mess around with the first ten thousand words. Get
to fifty thousand words as quickly as possible. By then,
the plot will have kicked in, and the characters will be
interacting, and that's where you learn about more than
well-turned sentences. You're picking up the long game
of story." 
Contemporary zeitgeist apparently applauds such wordy advice. 
Although it starkly contrasts with "brevity is the soul of wit," as
exemplified by PKD's talent to tell the story in about eighty thousand
In the end, De Abaitua's story's worthy of my time.
3. Download "The Rapture of the Nerds" for free
4. The Destructives Might Be the Most Mind-Boggling SF Novel You'll Read this Year
5. _The Man in the High Castle_ (PKD)
6. _Unternehmen STARDUST Perry Rhodan Nr. 1 (ace #1)
7. "Second Variety" (PKD)
8. _Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep_ (PKD).
9. "Imposter" (PKD).
10. _A Scanner Darkly_ (PKD)
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tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'