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Mailed in Hylozoic

This week I finished the second draft of Hylozoic and mailed it off to Tor Books.

Last night someone asked me how it feels to finish a novel you’ve been working on for about a year and a half. I said, “It’s like I was in a concentration camp, and the war ended and the guards left, and now I can just walk out.”

Into the California spring. We were up at Stanford yesterday, just for fun. Such a pretty campus.

As well as the relief, there’s a bit of post-partum depression in finishing a novel. This thing that lived inside me is gone. So what do I live for? Vacation, Ru, vacation. And don’t even think about my inevitable recidivisim into the the next camp up ahead, which woudl be volume 3 of the Postsingular series. Or a full-length non-fiction book explaining my ideas about RR vs. VR. For now I’ll just fool around with some short stories. And ride my bike. And paint a little.

Speaking of VR, Nanostuff’s comment “if you believe that people would rather go skiing on a real mountain because it has real atoms, I think you’re greatly exaggerating the number of people that really give a damn” on my recent VR posts suggests that I think it’s important to model individual atoms. That’s not exactly what I was getting at.

My point is, rather, that the richness of macroscopic form that we see in our world results from the ten tridecillion quantum computations per neighborhood underlying it. I don’t care about those low-level computations per se. What I care about is that the world should look gnarly and interesting. And what modern computer science (a la Wolfram’s New Kind of Science) tells us is that the only way to get the “simple elegance” of actual natural forms is to generate them by a honkin’ big computation underlying it. Nature doesn’t allow herself to be drastically compressed. So we do in fact need the low-level computations, not because we care about them in and of themselves. but because of what comes out of them that we want. This is not an obvious or a trivial idea which is (a) why it’s worth mentioning and (b) why some people strongly resist it—learning something new can be upsetting.

So what else do I have for you today? How about a superseded early version of my character Jayjay’s vision in Chapter One of Hylozoic.

Near the top of the beanstalk they found a castle resembling a gigantic version of Jayjay’s cabin in the woods. Resting upon the royal table beneath the sky-high ceiling was a magic harp with a girlish face and an enchanting voice, the same harp that Jayjay had used to unfurl the eighth dimension some hundred days ago. The harp’s sound box was painted with solemn naked people in a pale garden.

Sonic, who, in the mutable manner of dreams, had come to resemble a cartoon duck in a sailor suit, seized the harp. The harp screamed like an opera diva. Her voice echoed and immediately the castle floor shook from giant footfalls.

The castle’s master entered the vast, arched hall: a figure of light, far bigger than Gaia, a personification of the entire physical universe. Jayjay could discern but the smallest part of one luminous toe. The air rumbled like drunk molasses from the vast being’s voice.

“Jayjay,” he said. “I am Cosmos.”

5 Responses to “Mailed in Hylozoic”

  1. Gamma Says:

    LAST NIGHT I TALKED TO THE STARS.
    sorry typo – hey have yu listened to Robert Anton Wilson explaining everything – yesterday i talked to the author of CLING TO THE CURVATURE – that’s a good one & remember how much slack space there is in it

    G

  2. Kelson Says:

    Waidaminnut waidaminnut, in that first pic, that line’s shadow is all jagged!

  3. Gamma Says:

    and then there wasn’t or couldn’t do dat da doo dah dach string tight so it makes a tight clear note if yu get me drift & then the Spaniels –
    maybe

    i meant 9 billion names me thought by using 0 instead og being silence – ah the Fountains of Paradise how swll the be

    pity to spout it off

    but soon be X-day

    oily pig limps it into first place

  4. Gamma Says:

    so then the liquid helium leaked

  5. Gamma Says:

    the magents stole around the neck – and the temp was absolute zero nowhere – and so we weight the time and the helium is gas & more magnesium was ingested in a an imaginary vortex

    .

    oh no


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