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The idea of Curious Yellow, of surrender to a higher cause, seems to appeal to a certain small subset of humanity. These people manipulate the worm, customizing its payload to establish quisling dictatorships in its shadow, and the horrors these gauleiters invent in its service are far worse than the crude but direct tactics the original worm used.
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I believe modern SF needs to at least be aware of the singularity, if only so that it can dismiss it intelligently (or work around it). But I suspect the singularity is like faster-than-light travel for the IT generation. We may hope for it, and the rules don't forbid it, but we don't know how to do it yet (and it may not be possible).
I was raised thinking that moral and ethical standards are universals that apply equally to everyone. And these values aren't easily compatible with the kind of religion that posits a Creator. To my way of thinking, an omnipotent being who sets up a universe in which thinking beings proliferate, grow old, and die (usually in agony, alone, and in fear) is a cosmic sadist.
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Olga noticed Mirium looking at her blankly. 'Don't you pray?' she asked. 'Pray?' Mirium shook her head. 'I don't understand - ' 'Prayers! Oh, yes, I forgot. Didn't dear Roland say that on the other side everybody is pagan? You all worship some dead god on a stick, impaled or something disgusting, and pray in English, ' she said with relish.
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We are medium-sized mammals who only prosper because we've developed a half-arsed ability to terraform the less suitable bits of the planet we evolved on, and we're conscious of our inevitable decay and death, and we can't live anywhere else. There is no invisible sky daddy to give us immortal life and a harp and wings when we die.
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Annette sighs. Manfred's been upgrading this robot cat for years, and his ex-wife Pamela used to mess with its neural configuration, too: This is its third body, and it's getting more realistically uncooperative with every hardware upgrade. Sooner or later it's going to demand a litter tray and start throwing up on the carpet.
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Waaant equity, " hisses the alien intruder. "You can't be Pamela Macx, " says Pierre, his back to the wall, keeping the sword point before the lobster-woman-thing. "She's in a nunnery in Armenia or something. You pulled that out of Glashwiecz's memories - he worked for her, didn't he?" Claws go snicker-snack before his face. "Investment partnership!" screeches the harridan. "Seat on the board! Eat brains for breakfast!" It lurches sideways, trying to get past his guard.
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Your health is probably good if you have just been reinstantiated, and is likely to remain good for some time. Most diseases are curable, and in event of an incurable ailment or injury, a new body may be provided-for a fee. (In the event of your murder, you will be furnished with a new body at the expense of your killer.)
Helpfiles are traditionally outnumbered by no-help files, which superficially resemble a helpfile in form but not in content because they don't actually tell you anything you don't already know, or they answer every question except the one you're asking, or you open them and a giant animated paper clip leaps out and cheerfully asks where you want to go today. And wikis are worse.
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Don't you have any concept of individuality?" she asks, annoyed by its presumption at meddling with her internal states. "Individuality is an unnecessary barrier to information transfer, " says the ghost, morphing into its original form, a translucent reflection of her own body. "It reduces the efficiency of a capitalist economy. A large block of the DMZ is still inaccessible to we-me. Are you sure you have defeated the monster?
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Most people think spies are afraid of guns, or KGB guards, or barbed wire, but in point of fact the most dangerous thing they face is paper. Papers carry secrets. Papers can carry death warrants. Papers like this one, this folio with its blurry eighteen year old faked missile photographs and estimates of time/survivor curves and pervasive psychosis ratios, can give you nightmares, dragging you awake screaming in the middle of the night.
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There's a long-standing (50 year old) flame war within the field over whether it's "sci-fi" or "SF".SF has traditionally been looked down on by the literary establishment because, to be honest, much early SF was execrably badly written - but these days the significance of the pigeon hole is fading; we have serious mainstream authors writing stuff that is I-can't-believe-it's-not-SF, and SF authors breaking into the mainstream. If you view them as tags that point to shelves in bricks-and-mortar bookshops, how long are these genre categories going to survive in the age of the internet?
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I wanted an agent who would actually sell stuff. After two British agents failed comprehensively, I was reading Locus (the SF field's trade journal) and noticed a press release about an experienced editor leaving her job to join an agent in setting up a new agency. And I went "aha!" - because what you need is an agent who knows the industry but who doesn't have a huge list of famous clients whose needs will inevitably be put ahead of you. So I emailed her, and ... well, 11 years later I am the client listed at the top of her masthead!
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I reckon I can count on 30 more writing years, averaging a book a year (I can't keep up the 2-2.5 a year I used to do these days). And these days I've gotten round to wondering, for each new idea, "do I want to be remembered for this?" before I get to the point of spending a year on it.