Not by me this time. Not even about me, a couple of gratuitous paragraphs notwithstanding. I’m currently hunched over a pint of Keith’s waiting for the BUG to show up, and subjecting Echopraxia to its final polish before I send it off next week. If I was going to show you anything, it would be the cool slides I’m working up for next month’s talk at FinnCon— but that would be more sizzle than steak.
On the other hand, Steve Saus here is more that willing to pick up the slack with his pitch for a new kickstarter antho; and given the fact that I’m eyeing crowd-sourcing as an increasingly attractive option when it comes to my own work, I’m happy to cede the floor.
Fellow mammals, Steven Saus:
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Blindsight fascinatingly disturbed me in a way few others have.
And a huge chunk of the reason for that emotion can be summarized – with a touch of whimsy – in the portion called “The Book of Oogenesis”. Or less whimsically as “It’s biological determinism, stupid.”
I had been reading the works of George Herbert Mead at the time – particularly Mind, Self, and Society. At first, I thought it was a good counterpoint to biological determinism. One of Mead’s central arguments is that our idea of “self” is not an innate experience, but only arises through interaction. More importantly, a mediated interaction. Sensations, speech, gestures, even written words all serve as the medium in which self arises. Self, in Mead’s viewpoint, is not some ineffable element. Self is not simply a biological machine clicking (or squishing) away, but a dialectic of action and response.
And then you start thinking about emergent complexity. You think about how simple biological organisms can interact in fascinating, complex ways. You look around at the cell phones and speeding automobiles and fancy clothes, and determinism rears its head again, whispering and giggling.
Take that far enough, and we get back to an older idea that if we just had sophisticated enough equations, we would know the future.
…and then we’d have to start two foundations, hide one from the other and, well, it gets complicated from there.
All this went through my head when Nayad Monroe pitched the idea for What Fates Impose last year. She’s put together an anthology of tales about divination and fortune telling. It’s a great lineup of award-winning authors, including Maurice Broaddus, Cat Rambo, Tim Waggoner, Beth Wodzinski, Ferrett Steinmetz, and Lucy Snyder. I think fellow readers of the ‘crawl will especially enjoy Ferrett Steinmetz’s story “Black Swan Oracle” (an excerpt is here).
We’re currently running a Kickstarter to fund the anthology. And this guest post is – aside from a platform for me to introduce you to George Herbert Mead – supposed to help that Kickstarter.
I know, I know, another Kickstarter, another book to read. Heck, I’m a reader myself, with a to-read bookshelf that is threatening to collapse. But when I started reading the stories Nayad had collected for this book, I didn’t want to stop. I made time to read them. Because I found that even though there were other books I could read, there were no other books I wanted to read.
I’d like to ask two small things of you. Take a moment to check it out at bit.ly/kickfate. The video features Alasdair Stuart (of Pseudopod) reading a portion of his introductory essay “Singing From the Book of Holy Jagger”. I love hearing Alasdair talk about stories and culture and life; I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
Second, I’d like to ask you to help spread the word. We have a special page to make it a matter of three clicks at bit.ly/sharefate. If you can’t back the Kickstarter financially, this is a quick and easy way to still help us out.
Now that you’ve read my words, now that my self has existed in the space between my writing and your reading, will you click? Will you click those links, or will you pass them by?
Thanks in advance.