Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vernor Vinge at Mysterious Galaxy

I now have Vinge points,* and you don't. Below: during the discussion.

I was thrilled to meet and briefly talk with the good professor Vinge this evening at Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego, where he did a reading from his most recent novel, Children of the Sky. This is in the Zones of Thought series, a sequel to Fire Upon the Deep, and takes place on the world of the Tines, a species of canine hive-minds into whose medieval civilization a human ship crashed long ago. It was also my first time at this store and how I missed it before, I don't know. It might actually be my favorite bookstore in San Diego now after that one visit. The champagne and cheese and crackers they put out didn't hurt one bit, but it was the science fiction book selection that won me over. What a resource.

Besides Children of the Sky, the audience also asked quesitons about other novels, especially Deepness in the Sky. There weren't as many singularity questions as I would have thought, considering here we had the man who invented the thing! I asked him one-on-one that if the Singularity is real, doesn't it at best mean that we'll be in a world completely re-designed by and for post-human intelligences who completely ignore us? (Still not a good outcome; ask any species whose numbers have dwindled since the start of the neolithic.) He referred back to his original 1992 essay where he coined the phrase, and said that of the tracks which could get us to the Singularity, the one that boded best for us was human intelligence enhancement - although he said that there were good arguments that humans were the last things you wanted becoming super-intelligent. (For previous posts on the Singularity go here.)

*I also have Robinson points, Barker points, and Benford points (no picture for that last one unfortunately.)

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