Wednesday, May 25, 2005

And ye shall be as gods ...

Weepee Zeta (as different from Weepee Prime) is a full-on posthuman universe, emphasis on post. The closest thing to humans is a collection of beings known as The Late. I'll leave their nature to your imagination.

Anyhoo, I would like to discuss posthuman fiction. Here's the problem: it isn't. Even Greg Egan's Diapsora/Wang's Carpets fall prey to what I will call the "ancestral" flaw i.e. having a lead character who is fascinated by or simply prefers the old ways. This is of course a writing mechanism to make the story comprehensible and engaging to us poor dumb present-dayers, understandable yes but still loathed. I very much want to see an entire book of characters that absolutely do not resemble us in any fundamental way.

I'm sure someone among our far-future descendants may look back and wonder about us; try to imagine what our lives were like, what it would be like to experience the universe as we did; in short, what it would be like to be us.

What a dumbass that would be.

Moving on, there's a theory that if we ever attain a benign Singularity, we will hit a wall and stagnate away into extinction. Why? Because without suffering, we have no desire to strive. That's true as far as it goes but hardly applies to posthumans that (I'm guessing) would have mastered motivation engineering.

Quite a few writers make their future characters miserable in their glorious future. Why? Because we have things so great? Of course, Transmetropolitan-style future-people would be just as miserable as we are. As we are. That's the key, you know. We have to change 'cause methinks it's almost time to hop off the gene train and become glorious tulpa. What comes after the meme? Damned if I know. Magic? The Magicalypse?

And no, I don't think going upload is the answer. That way lies solipsism; the whole point, after all, is to explore this universe not dive headfirst into our own behinds. I think extremely durable dirtspace bodies with supersenses would be much more promising. Look further ahead: do you see cosmological engineering? Figuring out ways, not to escape, but to postpone the end of the universe? I do.

Beat entropy and become God. Sounds like a plan.


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