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Matthew De Abaitua
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David Duffy
2019-08-20 04:14:18 UTC
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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?
D B Davis
2019-09-08 16:14:02 UTC
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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."

*spoilers*

^L

First Impressions and Associations

This thread, along with Other People's generally positive reviews [1],
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
Singularity.

"It is also the only intelligent book ever written about
the technological singularity." [2]

"The Rapture of the Nerds" (Doctorow and Stross) [3] 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
obsolescence." [4]

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
readers)?
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. [5] 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. [6] _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. [7]
Instead, an angry robot outdoes Tasso. Unlike "andy" Rachael Rosin's
belated feigned horror over the implications of "Babyhide ... One
hundred percent genuine babyhide." [8] 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 [9] 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." [10] 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. [11] 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." [12]

Contemporary zeitgeist apparently applauds such wordy advice. [13]
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
words.


In the end, De Abaitua's story's worthy of my time.

Note.

1. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26067554-the-destructives

2. https://www.angryrobotbooks.com/2015/08/simon-ings-praises-if-then/

3. Download "The Rapture of the Nerds" for free
https://craphound.com/rotn/download/

4. The Destructives Might Be the Most Mind-Boggling SF Novel You'll Read this Year
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/the-destructives-might-be-the-most-mind-boggling-sf-novel-youll-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)

11. http://www.harrybravado.com/books/self-i-reviews/

12. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13791.Matthew_De_Abaitua

13. https://tjamesmoore.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/what-a-million-words-will-get-you/



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Robert Carnegie
2019-09-08 16:39:48 UTC
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The idea keeps coming up in so-called real life
of a cruise liner where detestably rich people will
live their whole lives outside the reach of terrestrial
taxation. I don't know if anyone has got around to
doing it? As opposed to doing it in a yacht of your own.

I gather it's quite difficult for detestable living
in international waters to be actually cheaper than the
taxation that you're avoiding.
David Duffy
2019-09-11 00:18:08 UTC
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Post by Robert Carnegie
The idea keeps coming up in so-called real life
of a cruise liner where detestably rich people will
live their whole lives outside the reach of terrestrial
taxation. I don't know if anyone has got around to
doing it? As opposed to doing it in a yacht of your own.
I gather it's quite difficult for detestable living
in international waters to be actually cheaper than the
taxation that you're avoiding.
I think that depends on how much tax you would owe. There is "the world's
most luxurious private passenger ship...The World ship is a tax haven -
for everybody willing to spend most of the year at sea, away from home...
Two Bed (Ocean Residence) apartment cost - USD 2,95 million...service fees
...start from USD 60,000 to USD 300,000 a year."

https://www.cruisemapper.com/ships/ms-The-World-1119

Returning to the De Abaitua, it is decent hard SF including the sociology.
I think I have been in one of those meta-meetings.

I was just rereading Stanislaw Lem's essay on PKD where he complains
about the general lack of "work which would reflect on the place that
Reason can occupy in the Universe, on the outer limits of concepts
formed on Earth as instruments of cognition, or on such consequences of
contacts with extraterrestrial life" - Dick being one "visionary among
the charlatans". There are lots more now - visionaries that is. Maybe
percentage wise they are not that different?
D B Davis
2019-09-22 18:24:40 UTC
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David Duffy <***@qimr.edu.au> wrote:

<snip>
Post by David Duffy
Returning to the De Abaitua, it is decent hard SF including the sociology.
I think I have been in one of those meta-meetings.
I was just rereading Stanislaw Lem's essay on PKD where he complains
about the general lack of "work which would reflect on the place that
Reason can occupy in the Universe, on the outer limits of concepts
formed on Earth as instruments of cognition, or on such consequences of
contacts with extraterrestrial life" - Dick being one "visionary among
the charlatans". There are lots more now - visionaries that is. Maybe
percentage wise they are not that different?
Philip K. Dick: A Visionary Among the Charlatans (Stenislaw Lem)
https://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/5/lem5art.htm


Apparently a Lem translation of a PKD created a rift between the two
authors. Although Bradbury and Sterling disagreed over artistic merit;
finances seem to lay at the heart of the PKD and Lem conflict.
Lem obviously possesses intellectual integrity, given his ability to
argue on behalf of his opponent, PKD. In order to obtain requisite
background, it seems prudent to read at least one Lem before commenting
on Lem's essay. _The Futurological Congress_ sat on my shelf for years
and it's now in the process of being read.


_The Futurological Congress_'s sarcastic stream-of-consciousness style
nearly caused me to bounce off of it early on. Until this passage piqued
my interest:

... In just the last issue of /Science Today/ there had been
an article on some new psychotropic agents of the group of
so-called /benignimizers/ (the N, N-dimethylpeptocryptomides),
which induced states of undirected joy and beatitude. Yes, yes!
I could practically see that article now. Hedonidol, Euphoril,
Inebrium, Felicitine, Empathan, Ecstasine, Halcyonal and a
whole spate of derivatives! Though by replacing an amino group
with a hydroxyl you obtained instead, Furiol, Antagonil,
Rabiditine, Sadistizine, Dementium, Flagellan, Juggernol, and
many other polyparanoidal stimulants of so-called phrensobarbs
(for these prompted the most vicious behavior, the lashing out
at objects animate as well as inanimate - and especially
powerful here were the cannibal-cannabinols and manicomimetics).
...

The Futurological Congress takes place at a Hilton Hotel in Costa Rica.
After a disturbance the government drops Love Thy Neighbor (LTN) bombs
on the hotel grounds. The story echoes _The Poison Belt_ (Doyle) when
Futurologicists who are in-the-know don oxygen masks to keep their wits.
Soon thereafter, the story straps on jet packs and morphs into a thing
that resembles _The Airlords of Han_ (Nolan). It's one thing after
another. ...


Here's some PKD floobydust until my thoughts are fully collected on
Lem's essay:

..."I knew you when you were a twerp fan," Phil broke in.
"Back in 1954. I gave you a story for your fanzine."
"And a crummy story it was," Harlan said with a smirk.
Falteringly, Phil murmured, "But you said you liked it."
"I liked the name of the main character," Harlan corrected.
"Waldo. I remember exactly what I said; I said 'I always
admire people named Waldo.' I threw the story away."...

Untitled 1978 (Very) Short Story by Philip K. Dick
https://philipdick.com/literary-criticism/untitled-1978-very-short-story-by-philip-k-dick/




Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
David Duffy
2019-09-23 09:39:00 UTC
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Post by D B Davis
_The Futurological Congress_'s sarcastic stream-of-consciousness style
nearly caused me to bounce off of it early on.
I would start with Tichy's adventures in _The Star Diaries_ - they are
more laugh out loud. I am not sure if the 7th is completely the best:

https://english.lem.pl/works/novels/the-star-diaries/154-the-seventh-voyage

But it is reminiscent of some of the excellent trialogues in _Homestuck_,
which I don't recall getting much discussion here ever, despite a fair
amount of written content.

I just noticed that Lem is slowly creeping up on PKD in the movie and
TV stakes. IMdb has "35 writer credits" for him, and 34 for PKD, but
I suspect PKD is still ahead on box office, since many of the Lem are
in German.

Cheers, David Duffy.
D B Davis
2019-10-04 17:37:02 UTC
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Post by David Duffy
Post by D B Davis
_The Futurological Congress_'s sarcastic stream-of-consciousness style
nearly caused me to bounce off of it early on.
I would start with Tichy's adventures in _The Star Diaries_ - they are
https://english.lem.pl/works/novels/the-star-diaries/154-the-seventh-voyage
But it is reminiscent of some of the excellent trialogues in _Homestuck_,
which I don't recall getting much discussion here ever, despite a fair
amount of written content.
I just noticed that Lem is slowly creeping up on PKD in the movie and
TV stakes. IMdb has "35 writer credits" for him, and 34 for PKD, but
I suspect PKD is still ahead on box office, since many of the Lem are
in German.
Shades of _The Man Who Folded Himself_ (Gerrold)! Lem's story at your
link reminds me of some of the mostly big city characters from my past.
They'd do something exceptionally stupid and then ask themselves why
they did such a thing in the first place. Substance abuse seems the most
likely precursor.

This Wikipedia page seems to enumerate most, if not all, of Lem's
adaptations:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_works_by_Stanis%C5%82aw_Lem_and_their_adaptations

There's an adaptation of _The Futuralogical Congress_ here:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1821641/videoplayer/vi892512537?ref_=tt_ov_vi

The 1:30 mark of its preview ties in with rasw's recent _Dr Strangelove_
thread.



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
nuny@bid.nes
2019-09-25 08:19:32 UTC
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On Sunday, September 22, 2019 at 11:24:43 AM UTC-7, D B Davis wrote:

(snip)
Post by D B Davis
_The Futurological Congress_'s sarcastic stream-of-consciousness style
nearly caused me to bounce off of it early on. Until this passage piqued
... In just the last issue of /Science Today/ there had been
an article on some new psychotropic agents of the group of
so-called /benignimizers/ (the N, N-dimethylpeptocryptomides),
which induced states of undirected joy and beatitude. Yes, yes!
I could practically see that article now. Hedonidol, Euphoril,
Inebrium, Felicitine, Empathan, Ecstasine, Halcyonal and a
whole spate of derivatives!
These days we have Ecstasy...
Post by D B Davis
Though by replacing an amino group
with a hydroxyl you obtained instead, Furiol, Antagonil,
Rabiditine, Sadistizine, Dementium, Flagellan, Juggernol, and
many other polyparanoidal stimulants of so-called phrensobarbs
(for these prompted the most vicious behavior, the lashing out
at objects animate as well as inanimate - and especially
powerful here were the cannibal-cannabinols and manicomimetics).
...and whatever those guys running around naked and trying to eat people
were taking- "bath salts" was a name bandied about.

Not quite SF predicting the future, but pretty close.


Mark L. Fergerson
D B Davis
2019-10-25 13:39:38 UTC
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Post by ***@bid.nes
(snip)
Post by D B Davis
_The Futurological Congress_'s sarcastic stream-of-consciousness style
nearly caused me to bounce off of it early on. Until this passage piqued
... In just the last issue of /Science Today/ there had been
an article on some new psychotropic agents of the group of
so-called /benignimizers/ (the N, N-dimethylpeptocryptomides),
which induced states of undirected joy and beatitude. Yes, yes!
I could practically see that article now. Hedonidol, Euphoril,
Inebrium, Felicitine, Empathan, Ecstasine, Halcyonal and a
whole spate of derivatives!
These days we have Ecstasy...
Post by D B Davis
Though by replacing an amino group
with a hydroxyl you obtained instead, Furiol, Antagonil,
Rabiditine, Sadistizine, Dementium, Flagellan, Juggernol, and
many other polyparanoidal stimulants of so-called phrensobarbs
(for these prompted the most vicious behavior, the lashing out
at objects animate as well as inanimate - and especially
powerful here were the cannibal-cannabinols and manicomimetics).
...and whatever those guys running around naked and trying to eat people
were taking- "bath salts" was a name bandied about.
Not quite SF predicting the future, but pretty close.
The story's packed with pertinent neologisms:

A mimicretin is a computer that plays stupid in order, once and
for all, to be left in peace.

Postelection, politicians practice mimicretinism.



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
nuny@bid.nes
2019-10-26 07:44:06 UTC
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On Friday, October 25, 2019 at 6:39:41 AM UTC-7, D B Davis wrote:

(snip)
Post by D B Davis
A mimicretin is a computer that plays stupid in order, once and
for all, to be left in peace.
Postelection, politicians practice mimicretinism.
From what I see of the current debates and headlines (and not *just*
in the USA), near as I can tell they do it pre-election these days.

OTOH maybe they're not really faking it.


Mark L. Fergerson
David Duffy
2019-10-26 08:00:39 UTC
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The New Yorker published Lem's "Offering" in 1984, which is collected in
Imaginary Magnitudes, but there are bits here:

http://www.autodidactproject.org/other/lem_prognolinguistics.html

I only recently realised the hierarchy of metalangs comes via Tarsky.

Cheers, David Duffy,
D B Davis
2019-12-11 20:15:37 UTC
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Post by David Duffy
The New Yorker published Lem's "Offering" in 1984, which is collected in
http://www.autodidactproject.org/other/lem_prognolinguistics.html
I only recently realised the hierarchy of metalangs comes via Tarsky.
As you probably know, Alfred Tarski [1] used metalanguage to define
truth. Because "the truth for a system cannot be defined within the
system itself." [2]

Allow me to practically apply metalanguage to a current event. The Fed
wonderstands the economy.

Note.

[1] https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/tarski/
[2] http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=hb4d5nb20m&chunk.id=div00159



Thank you,
--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``.
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
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