Current Media Consumption
I tend to have a lot of irons in the fire, as it were. So here's what I'm working on.
Last updated: January 13, 2019
The Gospel of Mark
The first of the Synoptic Gospels. Writing about this will show up under the appropriate tag.
You are my beloved son, you I have chosen.
Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (sequel to The Sparrow)
The Sparrow tells the story of humanity's first contact with sentient life, made by a Jesuit expedition in the late 21st century. The main character is a priest and linguist named Emilio Sandoz, and this first book follows Sandoz and the other members of the team as they make contact with this other species. After an auspicious start, however, things go very wrong. This is basically “good intentions causing incredible harm” the book.
Children of God follows up after Sandoz's return to Earth, and is about his coping with the horrors he experienced there.
You know, I’ve always thought it was a tactical mistake for God to love us in the aggregate, when Satan is willing to make a special effort to seduce each of us separately.
Destination: Void by Frank Herbert
Herbert is best known for writing the Dune series, which are among the best sci-fi novels of all time. (The prequels and sequels by his son Brian Herbert are what I can charitably call hot garbage.)
Destination: Void is the prequel to a later series known as the Pandora Sequence. In it, a group of clones has been sent on a mission to Tau Ceti, ostensibly to colonize a habitable planet there. But things start to break down almost immediately. It turns out this is by design; the failures are intended to provoke the team of clones (a physician, a chaplain-psychiatrist, and two engineers) into a desperate act: creating true artificial consciousness. This is done in space to avoid danger to Earth: we're told that a previous experiment on an island in the Puget Sound was successful, but that after a single transmission (“Rogue consciousness!”) the entire island vanished.
Most of the book is discussions among the characters about what form this consciousness might take, and how we can create something we can't define. It also carries over some of the social engineering themes from Dune.
The thing about computers—it's like training a dog. You have to be smarter than the dog. If you make a computer smarter than you are, that has to be accident, synergy, or divine intervention.