Slepogled

No time today; sick and snuffly and unproductive and today’s Micropone’s birthday so I’m gonna have to delay my entry on prosthetic group-consciousness in rats. Instead, here are two of those responsible for bringing Blindsight to Bulgarian audiences, along with the product itself:

 

The guy with the cross is Blagoy Ivanov, editor of Iztok-Zapad : the guy with the handcuffs is Hristo Blazhev -  fellow-editor and premiere Bulgarian book blogger.  I have no idea what they planned on doing with those things afterwards, but I hope they at least stuck the book in a zip-lock baggie first. (Not shown is the actual translator, Elena Pavlova, who appears to have been named after my favorite dessert.)

Here's a close-up of the cover art, by Georgi Panayotov. Not quite sure what actual scene from the book it's supposed to represent, if any, but I think it's a really nice piece of art in its own right.

 

Outta here. If any of you happen to be at the 360° Restaurant this afternoon, please accept my preemptive apologies for the germs I'll be explosively dispersing across your entrees.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Saturday March 30 2013at 08:03 am , filed under writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

19 Responses to “Slepogled”

  1. The zomb-astronaut on the cover appears to be a Starfleet officer.

  2. I’m guessing it’s some kind of loose representation of Siri at the end of the book.

    Very loose.

    Very very loose.

    Still purty though.

  3. Congrats on the translation release!

    Pretty cover, but I like the original US cover art much better. Rorschach is pretty central to the story so I liked seeing it on the cover, along with Theseus.

    About the Theseus on the US cover, did you have any input on what it should look like? Not that its bad, but from reading the story I would never have imagined it looking like that, a bit too star-treky to me.

  4. Hello, Mr. Watts. In your novel Blindsight, you wrote:

    “Like many others, I am weary of humanoid aliens with bumpy foreheads, and of giant CGI insectoids that may look alien but who act like rabid dogs in chitin suits.”

    But it is now known that the humanoid design is characteristic of our galaxy, and, possibly, for a large part of the universe.

    Eagerly await your response.

  5. Excuse me, i very bed speak american language….

  6. Jeremy:
    About the Theseus on the US cover, did you have any input on what it should look like? Not that its bad, but from reading the story I would never have imagined it looking like that, a bit too star-treky to me.

    Yes, Jeremy. You can be honest. It is bad. Back at the time I ranted about it here, while raving about the artist here (although you’ll have to search that page for “April 19 2006″ — those entries come from a time when I hand-coded everything in rudimentary html, and didn’t tag specific posts unless I referred to them elsewhere). Alternate covers, which I lemonaded from Bug to Feature, can still be downloaded here.

    And if you’re looking for my own vision of Theseus, I’d point you to the interactive graphic right here on rifters.com. I’m pleased to note that a number of foreign editions have based their covers on this illustration.

  7. Dark Hanter: But it is now known that the humanoid design is characteristic of our galaxy, and, possibly, for a large part of the universe.

    Eagerly await your response.

    My response is profound skepticism.

    However, if you can point me to any peer-reviewed papers in the legitimate scientific literature that would support your claim, I’d be happy to check them out.

  8. I have many works about. I’m sorry, i know in the main, russian author. I recommend you Ажажа. On the english, David Wilcock.

    I wont post here hyperlink on the peer-reviewed papers that you ask, but your system not permit me….

  9. Dark Hanter,

    Err, you mean this guy[1]?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Wilcock

    The problem is that if we go with altered states of consciousness, there are also indications against an universal perference for the humanoid.

    Even if the name implies some similarity to humanoid elves, the machine elves are sometimes humanoid, but not necessarily so

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_elf

    For further exploration, take an effective dose of a 5-HT2a agonist or power up your Tillinghast resonator[2]. Err, that was a joke, OK?

    On a somewhat more sober note[3], just look at the intelligent species around us. We have dolphins, elephants and parrots, which are not that humanoid. Chimps are humanoid and intelligent, but then, kangaroos are humanoid to some degree, too, though not that much known for intelligence.

    [1] Actually, google gives me that people who search for him also search for David “The Lizards, man!” Icke.

    [2] Hm, transcranial magnetic stimulation, anyone?

    [3] Come to think about it, it’s spring; Trance party time, again…

  10. Dark Hanter,

    As for Ажажа, maybe you’re talking about Vladimir Azhazha, a Russian UFO proponent?

    http://rt.com/news/russian-navy-ufo-records-say-aliens-love-oceans/

    Problem is, even if most of the “aliens” with UFOs are humanoid, who’s to say these “aliens” are not something like the stickleback wooden fish models Nikolaas Tinbergen used, compared to the real aliens?

  11. Trottelreiner,
    Or that the whole UFO thing is not something else entirely, e.g the kind of phenomenon people in the past experienced by a visit from the elves or the wild hunt. Again, it is not necessary that the actual experience is anything but a mask, given the human mind could just experience something totally alien in human terms, and the entities in question themselves are actually often shapeshifters.

    Assuming those encounters with UFOs, aliens or the wild hunt have a non-trivial explanation, like hypnagogic hallucinations or the often purported temporal lobe discharges.

  12. I wait answer, from Mr. Watts.

  13. Everyone knows that the Greys are just meat puppets for the Mi-Go.

    In other news, I was scanning Locus’ “forthcoming books” list and noticed you have what appears to be a short story collection called “Beyond the Rift” coming up this November.

    I must admit I was hoping (despite the very good evidence against it, including the previous post which suggested work on it was still in progress) when I saw your name on the list that it was Echopraxia finally getting a date, but I hadn’t heard about this (or had and somehow completely forgotten), and it was very pleasing to discover! Congrats!

  14. Dark Hanter:
    I wait answer, from Mr. Watts.

    First answer stands: citations in the peer-reviewed lit would be very nice. If you can’t post the hyperlinks for some reason, just give me author journal and DOI; I’ll take it from there.

    And no, Trottelreiner’s various links don’t count (assuming he was right in guessing that they were what you might have been referring to); even if they were peer-reviewed (which they’re not), the description of the machine-elves as “jeweled self-dribbling basketballs” stretches definitions of “humanoid” well past any point that I am willing to venture. Plus we’re explicitly talking about drug-induced hallucinations, fer chrissakes.

    Some of that machine-elf stuff does, however, dovetail nicely with certain aspects of the Bicameral Order in Dumbspeech. Maybe I can shoehorn them in somehow…

  15. Peter D: In other news, I was scanning Locus’ “forthcoming books” list and noticed you have what appears to be a short story collection called “Beyond the Rift” coming up this November.

    Yeah, it’s kind of a “greatest hits” package taken from my shorter work. It does, however, contain an afterward in which I reminisce about the concept of dystopia in light of my own border experiences. That wasn’t my idea, btw; Jacob Weisman, my editor, suggested that approach. I was a bit concerned about going down that road, turning a collection of standalone stories into an excuse to whine about my poor hard life (which has actually been pretty damn charmed by most global standards). But I think I pulled it off. Time will tell.

  16. Peter Watts: even if they were peer-reviewed (which they’re not), the description of the machine-elves as “jeweled self-dribbling basketballs” stretches definitions of “humanoid” well past any point that I am willing to venture.

    Actually, that was somewhat the point of mentioning them; they are clearly non-humanoid, in contrast to the usual aliens, demons, angels and fairies. Though there are non-humanoid descriptions of those, too. I guess that has something to do with various brain modules breaking down, in the same way the early stages of a NDE quite often contain meating one’s dead (or still living) loved ones, while later on, it’s down to more basic concepts, shapes, emotions etc

    IMHO Hanter was bringing up some UFOlogists as proof that aliens are mostly humanoid, so the humanoid body-form might be somewhat common for the cosmic neighbourhood. Where the two guys he mentioned, e.g. Azhazha and Wilcock, are from somewhat different currents of the UFO movement, Azhazha seems to be somewhat “rational”, while Wilcock is with the New Age crowd, though he might be into Paleo-SETI, too. And so I went for Wilcock first, since as a biologist and sometimes punk, there is nothing like fucking with the mind of some hippies. ;)

    The basic idea was more or less, if somebody takes refuge in extraordinary experiences with paranormal humanoid entities, I could counter that with scientific explanations of body image etc. Or I could use other extraordinary experiences that only contain non-humanoid entities.

    For the actual explanation, I guess

    Plus we’re explicitly talking about drug-induced hallucinations, fer chrissakes,

    with the inducing agents both from endo- and exogenous sources, sums it up quite nicely.

    As for why I brought up the machine-elves and not some non-humanoid UFO experiences, well, I don’t exactly remember[1], maybe it was that Wilcock seems to be, err, have been into the 2012 fun, which was also prevalent in parts of the neoshamanistic scene, maybe it was his connection with UFOs, where there are quite some parallels with earlier mass phenomena, e.g. the fairies and related concepts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magonia_(mythology)

    Personally speaking, my opinion about UFOs is in line with the Psychosocial hypothesis

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychosocial_hypothesis

    with some dints of cross-cultural psychiatry/neurology

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-cultural_psychiatry

    E.g. human beings are somehow wired to experience certain phenomena, just like some of us are wired to experience visual phenomena during a migraine. The actual interpretation, e.g. Wild Hunt, nymphs, fairies or aliens, depends somewhat on the culture.

    To play the advocatus diaboli, even if there is some realities to UFOs outside our heads and besides misattributions, there are multiple explanations; of course, it might be extraterrestials, where the similar phenomena in folk belief could be used as arguments the aliens are not just recent visitors:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterrestrial_hypothesis

    Another possibility, somewhat the other way round, is that UFOs are just the other way round, e.g. the paranormal entities from folk belief have some new modus operandi:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranormal_and_occult_hypotheses_about_UFOs
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interdimensional_hypothesis

    Which, come to think about it, is not less plausible than belief into more than sufficiently technologically advanced aliens violationg known principles of physics.

    And last but not least, there are those who think UFOs are terrestial in origin, from somebody toying around with a secret military project

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunkworks_project

    through the notorious Nazi Reichsflugscheiben to the lost civilization of the week:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Tonnies#Cryptoterrestrial_hypothesis

    So no, UFO “aliens” are not a good argument for a common humanoid body plan in the universe, even if it’s not just all in the brain.

    Some of that machine-elf stuff does, however, dovetail nicely with certain aspects of the Bicameral Order in Dumbspeech.Maybe I can shoehorn them in somehow…

    Well, if H. P. Lovecraft could take inspiration from Mme. Blavatsky, surely you can take some from Mr. McKenna. There is a subset of the psychonaut culture that is quite into neurology, Eastern belief systems and transhumanism, BTW:

    http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/dxm/faq/dxm_paranormal.shtml

    Personally, I always thought it important to keep an open mind, but as the saying goes, not so open the brain falls out.

    That being said, sorry for being somewhat incoherent, incomprehensible and cryptic. I have these moments sometimes, hope this clarifies it somewhat.

    [1] I blame long-time consumation of trippy RPG systems like KULT as a factor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kult

  17. I’ve met Elena Pavlova at cons and read quite a lot of her own work, and she seems like a decent match as a translator for you style. I also gave a lot of friends in common with Mr. Blazhev but I don’t thunk we’ve met, but I had heard that a Bulgarian edition was in the works; it must have slipped my mind, because this post came as a bit of a surprise. Anyway, I’m getting my hands on this yesterday.

  18. Btw, it’s Slepogled, not Slepoogled. Ogled means something like a survey, for example of a crime scene or a new apartament you’re considering renting or buying. Not in the sense of something like an opinion poll, though. And neither in the sense of a medical examination or an overview of the daily newspapers, those are pregled. Slep-o-gled is the roots for blind and sight, with the o connecting them in a noun.

  19. K: I’ve met Elena Pavlova at cons and read quite a lot of her own work, and she seems like a decent match as a translator for you style.

    Yeah, she seems nice over e-mail at least. I almost had a chance to meet her in person — my Bulgarian publisher wanted me to stop over for a few days on my way back from FinnCon — but sadly, that deal fell through unexpectedly at the last minute.

    Thanks for pointing out that typo, too. I obviously would never have picked it up.