RE: The hazards of writing fiction about post-humans

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue May 03 2005 - 10:38:34 MDT

> I agree with this objection to Greg Egan's, Charlie Stross's,
> even some of
> Vernor Vinge's stuff, and yes, your own recent work. (John C.
> Wright did okay
> in his first two books, haven't finished the third.) Despite all Vingean
> rules there is no good reason why transhumans, especially in a work of
> fiction, should not have strong emotions the reader can empathize
> with. If
> you need to explain why, tell your readers that Eliezer designed
> 'em or that
> they're outgrowths of humans.

Agreed, it is plausible to posit transhumans with humanly-empathetic

However, this certainly limits the scope of transhumans that one can write

While rationality doesn't contradict emotionality, it would nevertheless
seem that some of the most emotionally poignant moments in life or fiction
occur when the two DO conflict and a choice has to be made. This kind of
poignant moment just isn't going to exist in the context of hyper-rational
beings, who won't be as blatantly and dramatically conflicted and
self-contradictory as humans. This will be an aesthetic loss, in a sense;
but IMO it will be more than compensated for by other gains (including
aesthetic ones).

-- Ben

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