JOHN MEANEY

20.4.08



SINGULAR STROSS

Now you already know this man is brilliant, but when I met up with him at Easter (not pictured -- that's from Glasgow, 2005), and I pointed out a particularly unique achievment of his, he said no one else had spotted it, as far as he knew...

So look, you've bought Halting State, haven't you? Take a look at the cover, if you have the UK edition from Little, Brown, and see if you don't recognize one of the pixellated guys on the cover.

I mean, has any author of any genre, never mind SF, been the model for his own cover art before?

All hail Charlie, king of the posthumans.

6 Comments:

Blogger alan said...

I'm a huge fan of Stross and bought Halting State in hardcover as soon as it came out in the US :) Being a software engineer I grok his style well :) I've just finished Bone Song and loved it! Can't wait for Dark Blood to come out here.

April 26, 2008 at 3:28 AM  
Blogger Seraphim said...

I just want someone to let me know, does Dark Blood have a sequel? I sure hope so!

Seraphim

May 27, 2008 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger John said...

Hey, Seraphim....

The answer to your question is either no or not yet. If I were to write one, it might be called White Bones and involve a strange city called Rima, an even stranger place named TalonClaw, and more detail than the squeamish can bear regarding the nature of computational blood. (That's what the Archivist Bone Listeners manifest from their own bodies.)

There's a short story about to appear in the Best SF 3 collection, as you can see on the Short Fiction page here. I called it Necroflux Day, although it may simply be called Necroflux when the book is printed.

I'm glad you like Dark Blood enough to want to read the sequel... Um, unfortunately, White Bones won't be the next book to appear, because I'm starting a new trilogy and I've got to hand in at least one volume of that before returning to Tristopolis.

Perhaps you'll like that, too! I hope you do...

June 30, 2008 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger ChrisPhoenix said...

Hopefully-amusing question, dreamed up while reading Paradox far too late at night:

Can Penrose tiles exist in non-planar geometries?

It's tempting to think of making a Penrose polyhedron. But since the point of them is to tile space in non-repeating patterns, I think they don't work in such (closed? finite?) spaces... unless they are interlocking-fractal, and you can follow the pattern around indefinitely from a slightly different angle each time. I guess that's not really a Penrose tile, but more of a strange attractor. In fact I think it is a strange attractor; is there a class of strange attractor that can be broken up into tiles?

Back to non-planar Penrose... so what about a "saddle" geometry? Since the curve appears to change across the space (is that alway true?) perhaps it's meaningless to talk of tiling it... unless the tiles can be mapped somehow... ? ?

I hope that, even if these questions are not meaningful, they are at least amusing, and provide evidence that Meaney's writing has achieved its presumed purpose of brain-stretching.

Chris

July 17, 2008 at 3:32 AM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Well if you add MC Echer to Buckminster Fuller, then you will end up starting with a tetrahedron, then making a tiling via pushing in as you pull out on each face, via rotational symmetry or otherwise. But that's just periodic tiling in euclidean-type space, although it goes up to any dimensionality if you go up the simplexes. So a plane is tiled by a plane segment, a volume by a volume segment etc. To Penrose tile you probably chuck the phi ratio in there somewhere.
But asking someone to tile a space that is saddle shaped or otherwise non-isotropic is just mean! How is someone supposed to fill a space with regular shapes if the space itself is irregular? I'm guessing you'd have to play with the rules of tiling, so that the fact that the direction matters would be taken into account. Incidentally, it's not academic, as people want to build weird-shaped buildings all the time, and knowing how to make a weird manifold into an easily mass produced set of shapes is a godsend! Especially as you can cheat with the tiling so each element of the supposedly curved shape is approxed by a flat one.
I also loved paradox. I picked up the phrase "You use logic as a weapon", and encouraged myself to be as constructively awkward as possible in physics A level, which got me extra tuition!

November 20, 2008 at 10:15 PM  
Blogger John said...

***I picked up the phrase "You use logic as a weapon", and encouraged myself to be as constructively awkward as possible in physics A level, which got me extra tuition!***

That's terrific! Well done, Josh!

Me, I got vast amounts of mileage, during schooldays and the rest of my life, from the Korzybski saying quoted by van Vogt in his Null-A novels: "The map is not the territory." One corrollary is that just because someone says a thing, does not make it true -- even if the speaker believes it.

The two founders of neurolinguistic programming made that saying one of the basic "presuppositions" of NLP. A major NLP tool is the linguistic "metamodel", used identify ambiguous language and challenge the limitations (distortions, generalisations and deletions) in any utterance.

The way to annoy any NLPer without a sense of humour (although such a creature "should" not exist) is to ask "How do you know?" regarding any of the principles they use. That's using their own metamodel as a weapon against them...

On the flip-side, imprecision in language is also a "weapon", since real NLPers are also expert hypnotists, and deliberately vague semantics coupled with ambiguous syntax is at the heart of hypnotic language patterns.

Incidentally, the Korzybski quote added that the usefulness of a map lies in its structural similarity to the territory. I mention that because some NLP folk (and the late Robert Anton Wilson, whom I unfortunately never met) seem to regard all models of reality as equally valid, which I profoundly disagree with.

These are often the same people who claim that, according to quantum physics, anything is possible. No! Starting with the fact that electron energies are restricted to discrete values in a hydrogen atom, going on the interference patterns in the classic Young's slits experiments (note the bands where interference makes the intensity/probability go to zero)... to me, one of the most interesting aspects of quantum theory is the things it disallows. A photon is prevented from landing at a certain spot because of there was another slit it could have passed through, but didn't... That's the heart of the theory!

Keep your weapons sharp, my friend.

November 22, 2008 at 10:06 PM  

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