RE: The hazards of writing fiction about post-humans

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Tue May 03 2005 - 16:46:43 MDT

At 05:23 PM 5/3/2005 -0400, Ben wrote astutely:

>Anyway, I think you could change the impression your transhumanist books
>make on emotion-hungry readers simply by a change on the literary level:
>find a way of describing characters feelings and thoughts and *pathways of
>personality development* which matches in beauty and ornateness the way you
>describe "the majesty and brutality of all the Tegmark levels was being
>rehearsed in infinite miniature".
>Of course, actually doing this in a way that doesn't seem hokey and that
>fits in well with the themes of your writing -- well that's easier said than

Points well taken, Ben. To some extent this difference is intended, to some
extent it also derives from my assumption that we know what it is to feel
anger, we have feature detectors for emotions, whereas cosmological vistas
and mathematical insights don't automatically push our buttons. But I admit
readily that my attempts to press those default buttons tend to be
schematic; I suppose the extreme case of such schematism is Larry Niven's
writing. He almost always points the reader at an emotional reaction that
his rhythms simply fail to evoke. So literary readers regard him as a
barbarian pushing blank tokens around. I don't, because I understand what
he is doing -- but I do wish he were better in the evocation department.

Thanks for that.

Damien Broderick

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