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Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




Technically a metatextual thing but it gave me a good laugh:

The Lathe of Heaven by Le Guin takes its title from a quote from one of the great philosophy texts of all time:

Zhuangzi posted:

Those whom heaven helps we call the sons of heaven. They do not learn this by learning. They do not work it by working. They do not reason it by using reason. To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven.

She used a translation by James Legge, from 1891, and that's taken from the header to chapter 3. What she didn't know at the time was that Legge was not the most...technical translator. Joseph Needham, one of the giants in the history of technology, one day told her that Legge had hosed up, lathes weren't around at the time. Still, sounds great in English.

In the actual content of the book it did hit me pretty hard and pretty good to see some real, serious philosophical discussion between the two main characters, who both had serious positions at play around "what do you do with power." They both have positions I've seen among my peers on the left and the book takes seriously those positions and how they'd react to superpowers.

muscles like this! posted:

Not exactly blew my mind but I do find it interesting how in the Murderbot book series it portrays a future where there is still pop culture and people still make and watch TV shows.

The thing that hits me in Murderbot is that the titular Murderbot has really no relationship to sexuality or gender and this causes some mild confusion from the people around them, but no real hostility. There are people who view the Murderbot as disposable for other reasons but people just deal with their total asexuality and agenderism and for some reason it kind of breaks my heart that that surprised me.

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Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




I always pronounce it like the pokemon and so far that's served me well.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




Most of Invisible Cities is pretty mindblowing but I think Zora is my favorite that's easy to explain, the city that compels all those who see it to learn all its details,

quote:

So the world’s most learned men are those who have memorized Zora.

But in vain I set out to visit the city: forced to remain motionless and always the same, in order to be more easily remembered, Zora has languished, disintegrated, disappeared. The earth has forgotten her.

Great stuff.


Cactus posted:

Wasn't that one of the whole points of it? It's been a while but (finale spoilers) doesn't the fact that there was a huge blind spot in the future of the Machines predictions that turned out to be caused by a character saying "gently caress what the machine says I'm supposed to do, I'm going to do something different instead! Universe, you're not the boss of me!" imply that anyone else could have done that at any time and caused the blind spot that broke the machine to occur, but they all chose not to because they wanted to believe the machine was omniscient, and that the Universe was deterministic?

Or maybe I just completely misinterpreted the whole thing lmao.

Devs is pretty dumb on those counts so I'd mostly say that the writers just plumb hosed up on making a thematically coherent story.

That said the smartest character is, to my chagrin, the Elon Musk stand-in: when he points out that using many-worlds as a means of reconstructing the entire universe as "infinite error," he's completely right: it doesn't make anything more precise, it just widens the window for what is considered an acceptable level of error to "anything that sounds fine to a human at first glance." It was frankly baffling to watch people who were supposedly educated in science miss this like a dog walking into a glass door.

As for why the characters in that room are freaking out while Lily calmly derails the prophecy she saw? Well, she's the main character and they're not.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




Cerv posted:

Devs


the other characters are all true believers who totally bought into Forest's religious mania for the project. Lily was an outsider who came into it with a critical detachment. That's why she could derail the prophecy but the others were instantly trapped by it as soon as they saw it.
Calling Forest a Musk stand in is so mean on him! he's at least a partially sympathetic character, and technically accomplished engineer. not a chump with too much inherited money and oversized ego


That's fair, I originally had "tech billionaire" but I wanted to properly convey how much I think it sucked as a decision that Forest and Stewart are the ones who get all the most insightful lines. And also in fairness, Forest was brilliantly cast. Introducing a character with them eating a salad with their hands ruled.


Cactus posted:

Wasn't it also implied that they themselves were probably a simulation inside a machine, that was itself a simulation in a simulation etc, and that reality is a nested bunch of simulations simulating each other infinitely in both directions? Yeah it was very naval-gazing tech-mogul-esque. Still liked it though, and the soundtrack was brilliant when it was being eerie.

If you find yourself in a simulation that is indistinct from reality, it's just reality.


sebmojo posted:

I love invisible cities so much
It's just so loving good, just incessant bangers

quote:

Whether Armilla is like this because it is unfinished or because it has been demolished, whether the cause is some enchantment or only a whim, I do not know. The fact remains that it has no walls, no ceilings, no floors: it has nothing that makes it seem a city, except the water pipes that rise vertically where the houses should be and spread out horizontally where the floors should be: a forest of pipes that end in taps, showers, spouts, overflows. Against the sky a lavabo’s white stands out, or a bathtub, or some other porcelain, like late fruit still hanging from the boughs. You would think the plumbers had finished their job and gone away before the bricklayers arrived; or else their hydraulic systems, indestructible, had survived a catastrophe, an earthquake, or the corrosion of termites.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




My favorite post apocalypse fiction is Yokohama Shopping Trip. Humanity is hosed, there's still some around but the climate apocalypse has completely doomed them. At least the humans that we see in the Japanese countryside have all pretty much gone, "welp" and are just trying to have a nice time and live out their twilight as pleasantly as they can. The main character is an android who runs a very, very low customer coffee shop and is trying to make as many good memories before humanity disappears and leaves her (and the other androids) to themselves forever forward.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4rgswnjpZg




The whole Endless setting is full of cool as hell poo poo (hello Kapaku), but the first 10s or so of this are some of my favorite storytelling from a scifi and has been stuck in my brain for years.

To give a little more context as to what the gently caress this all means - everything about the Endless series is about playing in the graveyard of giants. At some point in the medium-distant past, the whole galaxy was ruled by the hubristic "Endless," and by the start of whatever story you're in, they've utterly beefed it, usually attributed to a civil war between the Concrete and Virtual Endless (basically between "we want to be gods of the physical realm" and "gently caress you we want to spend all our resources uploading ourselves into supercomputers").

The Cravers are one of the repeat factions of the series - genetically engineered supersoldiers created by the Virtuals. Part of what makes them valuable is that they are, innately, hyperconsumptive. Sure they'll win a lot of battles, but they ALSO will just continuously eat and ravage any environment you leave them in. Their planets are super-productive for a while, but then fall apart as the Cravers tear up everything, making everywhere they touch less valuable and attractive to the Concrete. They're like sentient, sapient, grey goo.

So yeah. "We were already hungry when they created us."

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




Horatio is an incredible faction. The center of their strategy is taking minority populations and grinding them up into goo that boosts the power of all Horatio populations (as opposed to the Vodyani who just kidnap people for straight-up food). It's an incredible evil empire and they even made an entire dating sim about being a Horatio.

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Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.




JOHN SKELETON posted:



The descriptions of scale and power from the Culture series, and how the largest spaceships have no need for an actual human-visible hull - the GSVs are like giant continents floating in empty space, except three dimensional. I like to think to the naked human eye they would look like a rocky green boulder, except they host millions of souls and can effortlessly gently caress entire solar systems.

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