Postsingular - mindbending nanofuture galore

postsingularcover.jpgI have read a fiction book again. I have so little time that I am afraid to even start a nonfiction book normally because then I just loose days after days to get through it spinning out of this world into the one of the book trying to visualize it and make it a mind film. But this time was more an accident. I stumbled across the book two days ago as it was advertised as a new creative commons book somewhere on some website when I was searching for CC music. I have never heard of Rudy Rucker before nor of this book, but I thought as the november days are getting long and dark and grey and the watery goo creeps inside you it might be a good thing to have scifi book laying around to peek at at time of despair. Well yesterday when trying to sort it away into the filedungeon next door I made the "mistake" to open it and started reading the first page. - well I never put it aside except for the 6 hours sleep last night and I am through the 216 pages already.
The topic resonated with me as the whole postsingular world resonates with me as this is the wider topic of the one (vjlivecinemathingy) project that never got finished but might one day ;)

Here is my lowdown of the vibby book:

The book is grabbing and detailed yet the explanations are easy enough to understood by a nontechy person (I guess). The characters are great and its one of the few books that I read where I can somehow identify with more then one character at the time - you can become attached to some of the villains quite easily (and then eaten by inter-dimensional plants ;)
The books is not too long with its 218 pages so you not get the full out picture at points - I thought that this is better in todays world where I struggled a month to get through Neuromancer a second time.
I didn´t like the reference to a US president - note to US writers, mentioning a US president gets your international readers out of the loop(imagination) as some of them don´t think that the US will have such a leader role in a future where nanobots and singularity rules.
The ending for two of the main characters could have been a half page longer - the poor souls worked so hard the whole book through and then get chopped of with one sentence.
I didn´t personally like the metaphysical things - the worldly things and how the normal world changed into a singular world where grabbing and detailed enough to carry me much more uninterruptedly through the book but thats a very personal standpoint - I guess another person in this house will have a different take on this. Also I understand that at a point of singularity real and imaginative and spiritual all merge so yeah spirituality is a great thing - but a mirror world I personally never believed in and thought this made this book a tiny bit more unconvincing to me.

BUT in general this book is great - suspense to the end and more and more nitty gritty details of an unimaginable world unfolding before your eyes. If you like science fiction and a short two day mind trip that is better then sudocoke you might want to wish for this book to be under you christmas tree.

Amazon Hardover: Rudy Rucker "Postsingular"

CC Download (PDF, Text, and many more formats):

Update:> Rudy the author wrote an answer to some of my small nitpickies on his blog:

As for fALk’s remark that it might have been more interesting to stay on Earth than to gallavant off to the Hibrane—that’s a criticism that’s often leveled at me; there’s a similar pattern in FREK AND THE ELIXIR and in MATHEMATICIANS IN LOVE. I set up an amazing new world, then move off to another one.

Partly this stylistic quirk of mine is a product of the zeitgeist. We’re very distractable now, very prone to web-surfing to some thing new.

And I simply enjoy cramming a lot of stuff into each novel. It’s kind of like the heavy metal “turn it up to eleven” aesthetic. More!

Also, I’m a mature writer now, POSTSINGULAR is my 18th novel and 30th book overall. I’ve learned a lot of craft. So I can’t resist elaborating on the book by dovetailing in more than one world.

Yet another reasons why I hop worlds is that for me, each novel is transreally “about” my actually writing the novel. My getting into the novel is mirrored by having one of my characters get into a higher world. (In POSTSINGULAR I mirror this even more directly by having Thuy write WHEENK.)

As for Thuy and Jayjay’s love story, fALk—well, they DO get to have sex in the last chapter and IMHO, it’ s a fairly hot scene. And they’re still gonna be together in the second volume in this series, HYLOZOIC, which is “still a-building at Rucker Labs” (as Paul DiFilippo put it in his review.).


Natural Capitalism

Complaining without propositions for the better are very common these days and I plead guilty to that charge. So the more I feel better to discover strategies, concepts and ideas that show a way to the future - especially if it seems the concept are very founded and researched and the path they show is with a positive spin. Natural Capitalism might be one of such approaches. Neither is it groundbreaking new nor very radical what is presented in this half online readable half pdf downloadable and fully buyable book. Its rather a collection of current political and society observations and trying to fuse them together to a better whole then its ill contempt parts which seem to infuse us now. The fusion of the idea of the free market to sustain a certain live style with socialism ideas of society living together peacefully and the green ideas of a sustainable living are a good hint of what might be coming ones the world has woken up from the current industrial century nightmare of overproduction, destruction of the worlds nature and social splitting based on wealth. Its one of those theories where it could all lead to - if you take the human species out of the equation with its powergrabbing destructive nature.
A good read on a rainy winterafternoon.

Away from the shrill divisiveness of media and politics, people are
remarkably consistent in what kind of future they envision for their
children and grandchildren.The potential outcome ofnatural capital-
ism and sustainability also aligns almost perfectly with what American
voters are saying:They want better schools,a better environment,safer
communities, family-wage jobs, more economic security, stronger
family support, lower taxes, more effective governments, and more
local control.In this,we are like all people and they are like us.


Steven Wolfram - A New Kind Of Science

Since I had to do it for our school interface anyway I will make a duplicate here on the blog. I will probably review some more classic and not so classic design and culture books here in the near future but my review qualities are really bad so see it rather as a book exploration.

Exploration number one on this blog is about Steven Wolfram - the guy who founded Wolfram Research, Inc. a company that is better known for its flagship product Mathematica. Mathematica is a very simple programming environment for people studying mathematic functions.
The book is full of mathematics of course but the real topic are Cellular Automatons. If you are not familiar with Cellular Automatons you may have heard about John Conway´s Game of Life if not go check it out. Basically Cellular Automatons are a way to discibe how things (pixels etc) live in a world full of basic rules.
Steven Wolfram has taken this subject and made a whole new brand of science out of it - or so he claims. The book is a bible. It contains 1192 pages (yes your read it right) and has hundrets of illustrations. Steven Wolfram puts a lot of efford into making us believe that we are witnessing something truly new and unique. There are million of examples of how and where Cellular Automatons can be used to solve complex and less complex problems - even to make art. He shows every detail in thousands of mathematical equations trying to back up his claim. Yet the whole topic is so simple to understand that - if you are a bit familiar and have read the first two chapters - you have no problem to follow him along. And this is where the catch comes in. Since every page contains a lot of hyped sentences you start getting a feeling that he tries to sell you something. I still have no idea if it is because he truly believes in his findings - something I tend to do as well from time to time - or if something is fishy with the whole topic and just wants to justify the book in general. The funny thing is that just yesterday I have seen an article about nanoresearch that specifically points out that Cellular Automaton Rules where used to create the Assembly - something Steven Wolfram predicts in his three year old book.
So to sum it up - if you want to learn about Cellular Automatons this is the definite resource. If you are on the hunt for A New Kind Of Science its probably to light on hard facts WHY this could lead to a science revolution. I see as an evolution of mathematics on computer systems and would not be surprised if artificial life will be based on Cellular Automatons one day - until then an interesting book for sure.

A New Kind Of Science @