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Gratuitous Attack on Egan's Oracle

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I’m still thinking about Alan Turing, I’m working on a short story about his last days called “The Imitation Game.”

Today’s illos are made with my free Windows software Capow. The images show a highly non-linear two-dimensional cubic wave cellular automaton, loosely inspired by Turing’s work on computational morphogenesis. Computational morphogenesis is the idea that we can find continuous-valued cellular automaton rules that generate natural forms.

Note that the images are in a sequence, becoming increasingly nonlinear — just like the text.

I really love Turing’s late work on morphogenesis; I wrote about it a lot in my Lifebox book. Also see Jonathan Swinton’s Turing and Morhphogenesis site.

Start starting disclaimer.

You can’t really trust what writers say about other writers. A writer is personal friends with some writers, may want to ingratate him or herself here and there, feels envious of certain other writers, and may resent the attention granted to still others who do similar work to what the bitter writer himself does. You need to take my opinions about other writers with a large grain of salt.

End starting disclaimer.

Flame on.

In my ongoing Turing researches, I found the online story “Oracle” by Greg Egan, a writer whose work I don't much enjoy. The story is supposed to be about Alan Turing, and was well received, but…

[Segment deleted.]

Oh, let's just say I don't like what Egan did with it.

Flame prematurely terminated.

Start ending disclaimer.

Probably if I ever met Greg Egan face to face I'd think he was a great guy. After all, he and I have much more in common than not. We're both computer types who write SF. The fact is, the main reason I’m brooding over Eagan’s “Oracle” is that I worry he’s used up the market for stories on Turing’s last days.

I'm in a state of fear, and I'm tempted to lash out. Also I'm avoiding working on my story.

As Susan Sontag wrote in some excerpts of her journals I saw in the N. Y. Times magazine last month, a writer has to be a nut and a moron. A nut to be obsessed enough with something to spend all that time writing about it, and a moron to publically display his or her crazy ideas! Hey, I've got those items covered.

And, come to think of it, if all else fails, I know I can always get my story into the webzine Flurb. I’m in so tight with Flurb’s editor that I even sleep with his wife!

End ending disclaimer.

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2 Responses to “Gratuitous Attack on Egan's Oracle

  1. MimsyS Says:

    It is gratuitous, but barely an attack: there’s no substance. You don’t offer any reasons or even examples of what you did or didn’t like, you don’t explain anything at all. I was hunting around on the ‘net for others’ thoughts on this story and I find this – a complete lack of thought. I’m disappointed, not that you didn’t like the story, but that you can’t find any way to express what upset you about it so that others’ might discuss it with you, or enhance their own understanding of the work through your point of view.

  2. Rudy Says:

    Mimsy, I did have some specific reasons for not liking the Egan story, but then I decided not to get into the details, as it didn’t seem kind to be dissing a writer who is after all, quite talented and is interested in a lot of the same issues that I am.

    But it struck me as amusing to leave the “Gratiuitous Attack” title on the blog post…precisely because the post doesn’t in fact contain the promised attack.

    Obviously you don’t share my sense of humor! That’s ok. It’s a big world.


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