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Posts for June 8, 2008

Newton’s Wake: A Space Opera, by Ken Macleod (books 2008, 7)

A scorching, searing cyberpunk space opera. It has everything in it: FTL starships, uploaded minds, nanotech, the Singularity, wormhole gateways… Absolutely stunning stuff.

Though on the downside, I did find it bit hard to follow some of the plot twists and turns. Specifically, it wasn’t always immediately obvious to me why some of the alliances and disputes between the various factions happened. I expect a more careful reading, or retracing of my steps, would have resolved those difficulties. But such was the pace of the plot that I didn’t want to.

I loved some of the terminology. Travelling faster than light, for example, is called ‘fittling’ (from FTL). The “technological singularity (what is this singularity thing, anyway?)”: is called the ‘hard rapture’. I especially like that Ken has grabbed the term ‘Rapture’ from the weirdo fundamentalists christians who believe Jesus is going to come back and sweep them all up to heaven. The “Googleplex (where Google live)”: (for example) becoming self-aware and sucking up everyone’s mindstate is far more likely, if you ask me. Which is not saying a lot about its likelihood…

One of the groupings of humanity that have survived through the hard rapture, and remain players on galactic stage, are called the Carlyles. They started out as a Glasgow gang, basically. They were based in something called ‘The Castle on the “Clyde (Glasgow’s river)”: ‘, which I’d like to hear more about. Then there’s AO: America Offline. They didn’t get uploaded because they weren’t connected to the net.

This means that the two main dialects of the language everyone speaks are called ‘American’ and ‘English’; but the ‘English’ is rendered partly in Scots. Good fun.

I haven’t read any of Ken’s stuff for a while (aside from “his blog (Ken MacLeod’s blog)”:, obviously). That’s a situation I need to put right forthwith. But first I think I should go back to the start, and dig ??The Star Fraction?? out of the attic.

Trying out Drivel

I’m trying out an offline blogging client that runs on Linux (these things are not that easy to come by). It’s called Drivel, and it seems to work OK, as long as you tell it that your WordPress installation is actually Movable Type.

Oh, and it looks like it only supports one category per post, and no native tags. Not very impressive, really.

Since I tend to draft in jEdit, I’ve often thought that what I need is a blogging plugin for that, and been surprised that it doesn’t exist. One of these days I’ll have to write it…

(ETA: tags added later via the web interface. Far from satisfactory, really.)

(E further TA: damn, it looks like this theme isn’t showing native WordPress tags, anyway.)