Date: 2017-05-02 05:12 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
"At this point, an SF novel where the humans were not spitefully nasty to their creations might come as a pleasant surprise."

Brin's "Existence" has a society with a non-nasty approach to dealing with the sentient robots among them (the section of the novel that deals with that issue is an older Brin short piece "Lungfish" grafted into the novel).

Well now.

Date: 2017-05-02 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
From your description, I may actually want to read this book. And after all, it should be a plus for a book to be on an award shortlist - even an award that has an idiosyncratic preference. I haven't read a lot of Macleod. I recall one lead character who was extremely sure that their initially courteous encounter with the potentially opposing force would turn bloody, and so it did - but that was the author's decision. So the author could be just grumpy. Robert Carnegie

Date: 2017-05-03 12:53 am (UTC)
mindstalk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mindstalk
IIRC it's not the first time I sympathized with the genocided AIs in a MacLeod novel, though my bias leaned that way anyway. Of note, from Usenet discussion, Ken doesn't believe "sapient AI" is even possible.

Non-nasty: humanoids not human, but the Culture. Brin's "Lungfish", as mentioned. Questionable Content.

Arguably Schlock Mercenary, though that could be more an aspect of "we'll be nice as long as you obey us". OTOH the protagonists have unleashed multiple rogue AIs on the galaxy, from Ennesby to Petey. But even for the obedient AIs, people generally aren't spitefully nasty to them.

Date: 2017-05-03 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ba_munronoe
Wait, MacLeod doesn't believe sapient AI is possible? And yet he's writing a series about an AI rebellion? Does this make it fantasy rather than SF?

Date: 2017-05-03 03:44 am (UTC)
mindstalk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mindstalk
More than one series about AI. I think his argument was that a SF author doesn't have to believe in FTL to tell FTL stories.

Date: 2017-05-03 04:57 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ba_munronoe
Me, I'd say you can have an SF story with FTL even if you don't believe in it, if the FTL is needed for the rest of the story to work but otherwise isn't a big plot element - the one free "gimme", so to speak. But if the whole story centers on the FTL drive and it's effects, or if the story centers upon AIs and the main character is an AI (what else are you going to call a copy of a human mind downloaded onto a computer?), it's getting a bit iffy - it's like setting a modern day story in Pellucidar.

Date: 2017-05-03 09:58 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
There's no requirement for SF to be scientifically plausible.

Date: 2017-05-03 02:59 pm (UTC)
del: (Default)
From: [personal profile] del
Is it necessary that Mary Shelley believe in reanimating corpses for Frankenstein to be SF?

Date: 2017-05-03 07:09 pm (UTC)
austin_dern: Actually predating the Tron sequel.  You can tell by how the chest patterns look. (Tron)
From: [personal profile] austin_dern
I would only expect an author to think there's an interesting (or salable) idea to come from a premise, regardless of whether she agrees the premise is possible. Especially if the story ends up being an argument about consequences of a premise; a good argument can be endlessly fascinating regardless of what side you take, or whether you have any side.

Date: 2017-05-03 07:19 pm (UTC)
mindstalk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mindstalk
Ken did write what might be the most sympathetic description of anarcho-capitalism not by an actual anarcho-capitalist or US-libertarian, and generally seemed able to provide sympathetic portrayals of various political or philosophical viewpoints he disagrees with. Except for animal rights activists, they never get love.

Date: 2017-05-08 12:04 pm (UTC)
butsuri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] butsuri
Depending on when this usenet discussion was, MacLeod may be more open to the idea now than then. In a 2011 interview with, he described his longstanding disbelief in the possibility of AI consciousness as based on "wrong understanding of dialectical materialism".

Date: 2017-05-08 01:21 pm (UTC)
mindstalk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mindstalk
Interesting! Yeah, the last time I saved any posts from Usenet was 2009, and I suspect my use had dropped off before that.

Date: 2017-05-03 02:03 pm (UTC)
dsrtao: dsr as a LEGO minifig (Default)
From: [personal profile] dsrtao
I quite liked this, and the sequel (which suffers a little from middle-book-itis). Hoping for a big finish.

Date: 2017-05-09 02:39 pm (UTC)
jbwoodford: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jbwoodford
"At this point, an SF novel where the humans were not spitefully nasty to their creations might come as a pleasant surprise."

It's not humans, but the latest installment of the Starcraft PC game franchise features an alien ruler trying to right a wrong done by his predecessors to a group of uploaded intelligences.

To be sure, his interests are not entirely unmercenary.


james_davis_nicoll: (Default)

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