From. About. By.

Me, that is. Isn’t it always?

From: a few excerpts from the recent Locus interview have gone online. It’s not the whole thing, but it’s a taste.

About: Puppy Buckets (whose name still makes me think of wood-chippers) likes Maelstrom. Maybe not as much as they liked Starfish, but then, a lot of people felt that way. And I’m not complaining about any exposure, given that the damn book’s been out of print for years.

By: Didn’t I warn you I’d be rebooting the In Progress page? Didn’t I?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Friday March 28 2008at 09:03 am , filed under interviews, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

18 Responses to “From. About. By.”

  1. For a good half of the story at the In Progress page, I thought I was reading about Hounds of Tindalos.

  2. Man, that is *awesome*. Question, though – if Sachita’s somehow developed the Crucifix Glitch, how come her own cross didn’t fry her brain? If she’s holding it right in front of Valerie’s field of vision, and Valerie’s in front of her, then it should also be taking up thirty or more degrees of Sachita’s visual arc, right? It sounds like her brain should have glitched then, not when Valerie told her to imagine the Cross.

    Also – in Blindsight (or maybe the Vampire Domestication presentation), didn’t you say that the Glitch is specifically triggered by retinal nerve impulses? I could be wrong there – but it seems like that’s how it would *have* to work, right? Otherwise, the safe room you describe in the “in progress” page wouldn’t work – a vampire might accidentally remember a window or something it had seen outside the room, and fry its brain just as Sachita did.

    This is excessively nerdy nit-picking, though. You’ve got a great, very chilling part of a story here, and it conveys the utter alien-ness of the vampires very well. I liked it – now write the rest, darnit!

  3. I figure Sachita isn’t vulnerable to a cross per se. Something about the christ-figure, maybe? Or possibly a combination of imagining the cross and some smell/touch (possibly from another vampire — what was over her shoulder?)…

    Cool scene, in any case, and looking forward to the book it’s part of.

  4. This is gonna be good.

  5. OK, I’ve had a chance to ponder this and there are some other things the vampires developed as well.

    The ability to communicate without seeing each other face to face. Cell phones and computers anyone?

    A sense of humor and irony.

  6. AR said…

    For a good half of the story at the In Progress page, I thought I was reading about Hounds of Tindalos.

    I didn’t even know what those were. But yeah, one Wikipedia check later, I can kinda see the resemblance…

    Lunch Guy
    said…

    – if Sachita’s somehow developed the Crucifix Glitch, how come her own cross didn’t fry her brain? If she’s holding it right in front of Valerie’s field of vision, and Valerie’s in front of her, then it should also be taking up thirty or more degrees of Sachita’s visual arc, right? It sounds like her brain should have glitched then, not when Valerie told her to imagine the Cross.

    Also – in Blindsight (or maybe the Vampire Domestication presentation), didn’t you say that the Glitch is specifically triggered by retinal nerve impulses?

    Visual cortex impulses, actually. Not retinal. I think I may have said retinal at some point, but that was wrong.

    I could be wrong there – but it seems like that’s how it would *have* to work, right? Otherwise, the safe room you describe in the “in progress” page wouldn’t work – a vampire might accidentally remember a window or something it had seen outside the room, and fry its brain just as Sachita did.

    These are good and insightful questions, and I do not wish to give away many answers yet — but at the same time, I don’t want to leave you all thinking I’m just making this shit up as I go along and actually have no answers to give. So, some hints: things have changed from the old days. The vampires are springing some late-breaking neurological improvements on their unsuspecting captors. Also, remember that vampire consciousness is different from ours, and here’s one very important case in point:

    When you tell a human not to think of something, it’s impossible for us to comply; hearing the instruction summons the thought of the thing we’re not supposed to think about. But if you tell a vampire not to think of something— they can do that.

    Trey
    said…

    This is gonna be good.

    Man, I hope so. Can’t say for sure yet, though. Which kind of scares me.

    The ability to communicate without seeing each other face to face. Cell phones and computers anyone?

    Oh, you have such a charming faqith in the goodness of your fellow humans. Thinking we’d give cell phones to our lab rats…

  7. The In Progress page won’t load reliably in my IE browser. I got it to load ONCE on Sunday afternoon, but didn’t get to finish the offering. I finally had to open my Firefox browser to finish reading. Nice work; I want more, please.

    And don’t bug me about using IE. It makes my obsessive eagle cam watching less problematic.

  8. Thanks for addressing my nitpicks, Mr. Watts. I look forward to seeing them answered in your new book – it’s clearly going to be a heck of a ride.

  9. Nah. I figure they stole them or worked out a method to communicate using the monitoring equipment.

  10. This sounds great, but for some reason, I can’t see anything when I go to the in progress page.

  11. Woo!

    Crackpot Theory Time

    How the vampires communicated? That’s easy: they didn’t! They all independently came up with the same plan, realized that all the others would come up with the same plan and realized that the others would realize that they themselves had come to the same conclusions as everyone else. They didn’t need to plan, didn’t need to collude. Humans desire reassurance even in the face of certainty, vampires don’t. So when they came charging out, they just acted. Hell, for them it’s better that way, right? Antipathy for conspecfics?

    No, the hard part, the part that really threw me was “Judo.

    Note this is not because I lack explanations for this. Quite the opposite; for a neurologically large-and-in-charge agent like the Wattsian vampire, there is a veritable orgy of techniques. My favourite option though is inspired by this line: “But then they always seemed distracted, their minds running a dozen parallel threads simultaneously, a dozen perceptual realities, each every bit as real as the one mere humans occupied.

    They rejected your reality (or at least, one very critical element therein) and substituted their own.

    weevee: pscjoy (psycho joy: very fitting)

  12. Teresa said…

    The In Progress page won’t load reliably in my IE browser…

    And then even the usually-reliable John Henning said…

    …for some reason, I can’t see anything when I go to the in progress page.

    …and guys, I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not having any trouble at all loading it in IE, Firefox, or Opera.

  13. razorsmile said…

    How the vampires communicated? That’s easy: they didn’t! They all independently came up with the same plan, realized that all the others would come up with the same plan and realized that the others would realize that they themselves had come to the same conclusions as everyone else.

    Fuck fuck fuck. Razorsmile, you bastard. That was supposed to be a punchline.

    There’s one brief passage in Blindsight that hints at this (page 284-285 in the hc). I didn’t think anyone would get it. thought I was being subtle. I thought I was being clever.

    Well, fine. If you’re going to spoil it for everybody else, I guess I just won’t be able to post any more excepts. Ever. Or blog postings. And I’m not going to write any more books, either. Or answer any of my outstanding e-mails. Or file my tax returns. I hope you’re happy.

    Good call, though.

  14. How would your vampires fare faced with the “hindbrain zombies” your theorized about last year (April 27, 2007)?

    There’s a range, in other words. You don’t need anywhere near a complete brain to function in modern society (in fact, there are many obvious cases in which having a complete brain seems to be an actual disadvantage). And in a basic survival sense, the ability to write and appreciate the music of Jethro Tull and do other “civilised” things aren’t really that important anyway.

    So now I’m thinking, tewwowist virus: something engineered to take out higher brain functions while leaving the primitive stuff intact. Something that eats away at your cognitive faculties and lets your inner reptile off the leash, something that strips your topheavy mind down to its essentials, something that speeds your reflexes and cranks your vision even as it takes the light from your eyes.

    I’m thinking zombies. Not the shuffling Romero undead or the sentient philosopher’s metaphor, not even the drug-addled brain-damaged pseudoresurrectees of the real-world Caribbean. I’m thinking something faster and more rigorous and more heartbreaking, far more dangerous and far tougher to kill, and I’m thinking hey, if I can do it for vampires…

    I’m also thinking of writing another book.

  15. John Henning said…

    How would your vampires fare faced with the “hindbrain zombies” your theorized about last year?

    They would run them like a pack of sled dogs. In fact, that’s exactly what Valerie does in the next chapter (although it’s a while before you find out she’s the one behind it).

  16. Finally read it all (had a glitch getting to the very end for a while). Very interested in figuring out the reasoning behind the ending.

    I really love this take on vampires. In Blindsight, if the AI’s are also evolved gel intel from the Rifter novels, I was really excited by the way vampires and artificial intel interacted. Each one would have a very different viewpoint about the other – humans are sorta outclassed by both.

    The closest thing I’ve read to these vampares is in Mamoru Oshii’s far inferior Blood: Night of the Beast a novelization based on his much better short film adaptation of the manga Blood.

    It had a detailed explanation of vampires as a seperate branch of the primates that became Homo Sapiens that is somewhat similar to your idea, but it’s nowhere nearly as scientifically detailed (especially with the Crucifix glitch). Also, as a story, it’s pretty boring. I’d recommend staying away from it until you’re through with your own work. It won’t really help.

    The only interesting part is Oshii’s speculation about the origin of the vampire myth where people thought they were people raised from the dead. His idea of why people fear the dead in general is pretty interesting as an essay, but not as a horror novel.

  17. Heh-heh. Sorry. Will it help if I promise to be less of a genius in the future? :p Or alternatively, if I promise not to evince any opinions? :p

    Or wait! Best idea ever: send me the book 😀

  18. Maybe. If you’re good. When I finish the damn thing. And if my growing enthusiasm for Sunflowers doesn’t inspire me to back-burner it no matter what my agent thinks…