Rollover

They say I'm in here.  Even though I'm not on the cover. Bastards.

They say I’m in here. Even though I’m not on the cover. Bastards.

So, here we are again. Another year.

The last one went decently enough, writing-wise at least. “The Colonel” got picked up for reprint both in Dozois’ Best SF 32 and in Allan Kaster’s Top Ten Tales of SF 7. “Collateral” made the ninth iteration of Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year. I was actually a bit surprised at those choices— I thought “Giants” was more epic, and had more ideas and exotic weirdness than “Collateral” and “The Colonel” combined— but I’m not complaining.

Echopraxia seems to be doing okay too, all things considered. Ended up on some best-of lists (even the occasional non-genre one), even managed to sneak into some kind of Goodreadsian Top 25 SF/F/H tally, based on a formula whose underpinnings I’m willing to take on faith. Blindsight continued to do my translators proud, grabbing the Seiun and the Tähtivaeltaja; and in just-breaking news, I recently learned that its Bulgarian edition made the finals for something called the “Krastan Dyankov” Award for translated works. On the one hand, not a winner, just a finalist; on the other, though, the award itself is non-genre, and apparently this is the first time a genre book has made the finals for eight years. So there’s that.

So that was last year. What about this one?

greendesign2015

As it happens, I’ve made a few predictions for 2015. They’ve been posted over on a site called Inhabit.com. If you check out the opinions listed under “2015 Green Design Predictions“— scroll down past environmental superstar Bill McGibbon, the environmental activism of 360.org, the sustainable solutions of Autodesk and a handful of other forward-thinking entities— you’ll come to my own thoughts about what 2015 holds in store.

You collected data on this?  The boys in red serge would like a word with you...

You collected data on this? The boys in red serge would like a word with you…

You’ll notice that my predictions diverge somewhat from the others. For one thing, the other guys restrict themselves to predicting the future; I start off by predicting the past (which, I’ve learned, tends to return significantly higher bullseye count). Also the other soothsayers tend to be a bit— well, perky might be a good word. We’re going to “protect vulnerable areas” and “learn to build the way nature always has”; the climate justice movement will become “too powerful to ignore”.

I cover much the same territory, although I suggest it may be a lot easier to ignore voices which have already been silenced by an unexpected and previously-unknown strain of equine encephalitis. Or perhaps simply by RCMP officers kicking in your door after you’ve quantified the death toll attributable to Tar Sands development.

Don’t take it too seriously. I admit up front that I’m probably being a bit conservative in my predictions.

Ether way, though, we’re in for quite a year.

Yup.

Fellow scribe Jon Evans sent this to me yesterday. Random encounter on a subway. Oh, how I have longed for such a moment.

Fellow scribe Jon Evans sent this to me yesterday. Random encounter on a subway. Oh, how I have longed for such a moment.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Friday January 02 2015at 03:01 pm , filed under climate, interviews, scilitics, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

66 Responses to “Rollover”

  1. How does it go?
    There are a couple of things you should know about climate change…
    1. The last time there was this much carbon in the atmosphere sea level was 80 ft higher.
    2. 55% of Humanity livers within 80 Miles of the water.
    3. Humans can’t breath underwater

  2. This is the second time I’ve encountered the notion of sulphate injection into the stratosphere in Dr Watts’s writing. So I looked into it in a bit more depth than just guessing from context. I suppose it’s just another human technical triumph if we can cool down the planet! So what if we get even more acid rain to bleach the coral out of existence even faster.

    That being said and climate still being the topic, my own prediction, putting a time-stamp on a long-held suspicion. 2015 will be the year that extraterrestrials finally reveal themselves as having cleverly guided our civilization, preserving it at dire cost from great harm on many occasions, just to get us to the point where our numbers would be so vast, and our conversion of resources so profligate, that no more effort need be expended to get the planet past a tipping-point where it quickly collapses into a perfectly seed-able ground for ultimate terraforming into a new colony world for these hothouse planet dwellers.

    “We’re done here,” says the globally-televised spokesperson. “All we need to do is to go hands off” and here he removes his prosthetics and wriggles his gripper tendrils “ah that’s good, ahem, all we need to do is to let nature take the natural course. You won’t be able to keep your over-tuned system-of-systems running and when it all comes down, just the effects of all of the technologically-impounded nitrogen in your rotting bodies’ proteins will saturate any ecosystems that survive the wars you’ll fight as your civilizations grind to a halt, and those ecosystems will go teats-up and add even more fuel to the fire, so to speak. We’ll be able to walk around without these damned fake heads within a decade and I can stop being so damned cold all of the time. Well, I guess I can survive a few minutes without this, long enough to do this, at least…” Off comes the fake head, leering all the while, and the tiny mantid head clashes its choppers just so and the fake head gives a good old-fashioned Bronx Cheer for the last five seconds of television ever seen before the world-girdling network of satellite EMPs cut all power for everyone everywhere forever, not that anyone could be bothered to worry about that too much as the big rocks from space hit every last refinery and storage facility, while the columns of smoke by day and pillars of laser fire by night began slicing up all centers of industry.

    Sorry, damned Muse got out of the box again. Honestly. It’ll just be even more corruption and fail from politicians and corporatia. 2016 is when the aliens will do the big reveal.

  3. It seems to me (and I could be wrong about this) that those of us who are trained primarily as biologists/ecologists tend to have a generally grimmer view of the future of humanity than many other disciplines.

    This makes us wildly popular at parties.

  4. I actually was reading echopraxia on the subway last night, but since my copy was on my mobile phone I wouldn’t make a very good photo op.

    As for climate change, my personal data point is the mosquitoes, they used to leave for the winter, then november… this year, they’ve been around in December, and it’s nice and warm already in January…

  5. Best wishes for 2015, baselines.

  6. “…violating the privacy rights of the deceased.”

    Oh yes. There will be lots of this.

  7. So, out of curiosity, if you had that moment where you caught someone reading your book, what do you think you’d do?

  8. “And so another build begins…”

    So why didn’t you start with this line? Have some self respect and start all your New Years posts with this phrase. Build your brand. Monetize your actualized resources to levereged good-will and discover synergies and wing-dings.

    If you don’t our marketting department will call you a pussy.

    And we don’t mean that you’re flexible, powerful and deep.

    As far as the climate is concerned, I didn’t start waking up with freezing nightsweats in engineering until I simulated my 3rd non-linear feedback system.

    When tightly coupled systems start to change, they change FAST.

  9. I think, as Darwin said, “Survival of the fittest.” Those that can afford to survive will, the rest will not. It’s a hard knock life.

  10. Why do I feel like I’m the party pooper for being a low-grade optimist around here? I say 2015 will be full of depressing stories that makes us wonder why we ever crawled out of the oceans. But by Dec. 31, things won’t have fallen apart (any more than usual), the center will have held, and mere anarchy will be about the same cruddy level it always is. In short, things will be overwhelmingly the same as now, except with nicer tablet computers and digital watches.

  11. Mark Russell:
    Why do I feel like I’m the party pooper for being a low-grade optimist around here? I say 2015 will be full of depressing stories that makes us wonder why we ever crawled out of the oceans. But by Dec. 31, things won’t have fallen apart (any more than usual), the center will have held, and mere anarchy will be about the same cruddy level it always is. In short, things will be overwhelmingly the same as now, except with nicer tablet computers and digital watches.

    Man, I wish I could agree on this. Unfortunately, I instead see an unopposed superpower who had put itself fully in bed with multinational powers that have no intention of stopping whatever is good for the bottom line. Not only is America dumber than it was say 50 years ago…

    http://www.usnews.com/news/national/articles/2008/06/03/the-ignorant-american-voter

    We are also increasingly callous not only to the plights of aboriginals, lower and Eastern hemisphere dwellers, and generally anyone that can be in one way or another labeled “ferinner,” but to each other as well based on any and all perceived out-group labels we can come up with. The house is, regardless of the details as to where and what the effects are, on “fire.” And rather than pull together to see what we can do about it, we are turning on each other over any excuse and playing fiddle like plebian Nero’s.

    Americans don’t care that torture and drones have made us less safe and have already ensured a 100 year war–barring other catastrophes–not unlike the incessant violence we see in and around Israel. Americans don’t care that their every communication is monitored by so many entities because they simply are not smart enough to see how it can be used against them. Americans don’t care about law because they are ignorant of it, don’t understand that when they excuse its use failing for protection of others, it also undermines the way it protects them. And people like Aaron Swartz who sought to change that a little get squashed. Americans don’t care about assassination because why should they?Americans don’t care about being decent because being indecent and steeping ourselves in righteous anger feels so goddam good.

    Americans don’t care. And that is perhaps the most dangerous fact of all.

  12. Not wanting to sound like a fanboy, but after wading through buzzword filled, insubstantial ‘predictions’ on the future of desing I really, really liked your piece on inhabit.

  13. seruko: 3. Humans can’t breath underwater

    As has been said..

    No man is an island. But if you take a bunch of dead guys and tie ’em together, they make a pretty good raft.

  14. Ashley R Pollard: I think, as Darwin said, “Survival of the fittest.” Those that can afford to survive will, the rest will not. It’s a hard knock life.

    Survival of the fittest is what made humanity more formidable than the chimpanzees…

  15. whoever: Man, I wish I could agree on this. Unfortunately, I instead see an unopposed superpower who had put itself fully in bed with multinational powers that have no intention of stopping whatever is good for the bottom line. Not only is America dumber than it was say 50 years ago…
    We are also increasingly callous not only to the plights of aboriginals, lower and Eastern hemisphere dwellers, and generally anyone that can be in one way or another labeled “ferinner,” but to each other as well based on any and all perceived out-group labels we can come up with.

    All more true than it should be. However, I think you are underestimating how terrible most people were to each other in the not-very-distant past. I have an odd quantum theory of human behavior, and wonder how much of the craziness in the United States is just balance for the rest of the world getting better.

    Anyhow, people have been saying we’re getting stupider since Plato. Millenarians have said the world’s about to end for at least as long. And yet more is getting discovered, more people are going into the arts and music, etc.

    It’s ugly, scary and could easily go off the rails … but it’s always been like that. And I believe that in the great balance, most of humanity is getting better.

  16. So when should we expect your next novel? You’re calling it “Intelligent Design”, right?

  17. Mark Russell: However, I think you are underestimating how terrible most people were to each other in the not-very-distant past.

    Not underestimating so much as noting an important difference: I’m alive NOW. Being totally chronocentric.

    Kidding aside, I see how rapid population reduction could solve a few problems. However I have some doubts about the sanity, wisdom and motives of those who would carry such things out and think it’s high time we learned from the past.

    I have an odd quantum theory of human behavior, and wonder how much of the craziness in the United States is just balance for the rest of the world getting better.

    I like the sound of that. Or would if I could get a VISA. Believe me, I’ve been trying hard to get thrown out. Fine line between that and getting thrown in jail. 😉

  18. Mr Non-Entity: 2015 will be the year that extraterrestrials finally reveal themselves as having cleverly guided our civilization, preserving it at dire cost from great harm on many occasions, just to get us to the point where our numbers would be so vast, and our conversion of resources so profligate, that no more effort need be expended to get the planet past a tipping-point where it quickly collapses into a perfectly seed-able ground for ultimate terraforming into a new colony world for these hothouse planet dwellers.

    David Twohy beat you to it. Maybe John Carpenter, too.

    Peter D: So, out of curiosity, if you had that moment where you caught someone reading your book, what do you think you’d do?

    Probably nothing. I’d be too embarrassed. Also worried because what if they hated it?

    Greggles: So why didn’t you start with this line? Have some self respect and start all your New Years posts with this phrase. Build your brand. Monetize your actualized resources to levereged good-will and discover synergies and wing-dings.

    Yeah. I’ve seen what happens to people who go that route. They become relentless opportunists and self-promoters who you cannot engage at parties without having them somehow turn the conversation— any conversation— around to pimping their latest book.

    Of course they’re way more successful than I am. And I’m sure they sleep just fine. But I wouldn’t be able to.

    Ashley R Pollard: I think, as Darwin said, “Survival of the fittest.”

    Actually, I think it was Spencer who coined that phrase. And it’s kind of ambiguous, because “fittest” implies some kind of optimality, and nature rarely gets to that point. It’s kind of a sore spot with evolutionary biologists these days. Fitter— as in, better than the competition— would be a better way to put it.

    Johan Larson: So when should we expect your next novel? You’re calling it “Intelligent Design”, right?

    Yup. And I don’t yet know when you can expect it. It’s time to seriously reconsider my career right now, and whether I want to continue working within the traditional publishing industry, and— if I do— whether I can afford to write the book first and then try to sell it later (which hopefully might result in better books, since I don’t have to send them out to meet a pre-existing deadline even if I don’t think they’re ready yet).

    I expect to have the manuscript, at least, done before the end of this year. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

  19. You know, the crowdfunding thing and the traditional publishing path are not mutually exclusive. You can do a patreon and let us support your writing in exchange for fiblets, sneak peeks, misc inner circle access type stuff, and then you can shop the manuscript to the stodgy old print industry. Having a thousand person patreon supporting you isn’t going to hurt those negotiations.

    And if they don’t go for it, THEN you kickstart it and publish the damn thing yourself.

    (And yes, there are examples of people who have done precisely this, not necessarily in that order)

  20. Nestor:
    You know, the crowdfunding thing and the traditional publishing path are not mutually exclusive. You can do a patreon and let us support your writing in exchange for fiblets, sneak peeks, misc inner circle access type stuff, and then you can shop the manuscript to the stodgy old print industry. Having a thousand person patreon supporting you isn’t going to hurt those negotiations.

    And if they don’t go for it, THEN you kickstart it and publish the damn thing yourself.

    That sounds like an excellent plan.

  21. @Peter Watts

    David Twohy beat you to it. Maybe John Carpenter, too.

    Plus you forgot the original version of “V”. Ah I do remember back in the day when Twohy was trawling around in news:alt.alien.visitors and wasn’t shy about letting people know it. I don’t know if there’s any discussion archived from that time, but it definitely occurred. Part of the discussion was regarding a short-story called “Occam’s Scalpel” by Theodore Sturgeon published in the April 1971 issue of analog. 99-percent of the story is fluff, filler, but the point is made that “if the shoe fits, wear it; by their deeds shall you know them”. How the heck else can anyone reasonably explain people continuing a course of action that is clearly a world-wrecker? You can explain it with political theories, behaviorist theories, etc etc but those theories are terribly complex and you should prefer the theory that is simplest which also fits the facts. Thus, by Occam’s Razor? Aliens are terraforming. The one problem with that theory is that nobody has seen these aliens. They’ve seen plenty of corporate CEOs, though, so I guess the simple elegant theory has to be thrown out because the “facts” don’t include a known presence of aliens. But let’s keep looking for them anyway…

    @Mark Russell:

    It’s ugly, scary and could easily go off the rails …
    but it’s always been like that. And I believe that in the great balance,
    most of humanity is getting better.

    If you look at the world in terms of economic growth and standard of living, there is a vast and growing Middle Class in places like China and India, and with global internet on at least 1-billion cellphones around the world, even in places where there is little economic opportunity there is still access to information. I don’t know that CNN is the right internet news service to be read by kids deep in the African bush, but they can read it if someone loans them a cellphone. And the low-cost computing initiatives for “undeveloped nations” continues to forge ahead. My point is that for some values of “better”, yes, for most of humanity, it is getting better. I expect a lot of emerging nations may take a lot of clues from such things as the really excellent population-planning efforts once done in Iran, expansion of regional health-emergency systems and regional ecologic-protection systems, etc etc.

    What we’re going to do about the States being handed over to ownership by the megacorps and transnationals, ah, that’s anyone’s guess. Don’t expect revolution here, though, other than the type that unavoidably seeps in via generation-to-generation change. People here are too addicted to long-term debt to go fomenting revolutions. And for totally different reasons, expect revolution in the States before you expect it in places like Canada or Australia. Unhappy Canadians can reasonably hope that they’ll get a quite-different and generally-satisfying new government after the next elections, and thus for them, hope is near-term. Why rise up when you can just wait a little and the problem’s fixed, or at least different? Here in the States, we get to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea, so to speak. I wouldn’t go so far as to say our elections are “fixed”, but for whom we could possibly vote, that’s up to the party machines and you may have noticed that they’re not serving up a whole lot of visionaries and “winners”.

  22. With regards to self-publishing: It’s easy enough to release an e-book on Amazon, but are we also talking about getting a dead-tree edition printed?

    Is it too ignorant to suggest using a Print-on-Demand service like lulu.com or blurb.com to just get the damn thing extruded into our plane of existence? I’m not sure how the quality is with places like that, but if your back’s against the wall, it might be an option.

    You could reach out to the faithful Squiderati and ask for volunteers to help with the final layout and perhaps even the cover.

  23. whoever: We are also increasingly callous not only to the plights of aboriginals, lower and Eastern hemisphere dwellers, and generally anyone that can be in one way or another labeled “ferinner,” but to each other as well based on any and all perceived out-group labels we can come up with.

    You think the abos, ferriners, lower or eastern hemisphere dwellers give a flying fuck about you?

    They don’t. Outside of western developed countries few people give a shit about those beyond their families or compatriots.

    What is aberrant is this kind of global give-a-shitedness. Goethe described it first, I believe.

    There’s even a book on how giving too many shits about the plight of others is habit-forming and harmful..

    What we really ought to do is mind and lovingly care for our own and local shit, shit we know intimately. If everyone did that, we’d be better off.

  24. This isn’t a prediction, but it does read a bit like one: I just read this article ( http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Controversial-DNA-startup-wants-to-let-customers-5992426.php titled, “Controversial DNA startup wants to let customers create creatures” ) one day after finishing Echopraxia, and it so reminded me of that book and its (awe-inspiring) predecessor Blindsight that I thought, “Peter Watts should read this, I’ll go tell him!” The fact that I don’t know him put a slight crimp in that, so I’m posting it here.

    It’s about a company called Cambrian Genomics that is already allowing pharma companies to order custom DNA, and says they’re aiming to let anyone with money create custom organisms. It made me think of Dan Brüks, and all the customized organisms he finds in the Oregon desert. Venture capitalists are evidently as excited as bioethicists are horrified.

    Side-note: if I predict that Peter finishes “Omniscience” in 2015, does that make it any more likely? 😉

  25. Kirk Davis,

    There are literally tens of dozens of companies around the world already doing what Cambrian Genomics does, based only on the SF CHRONICLE piece’s description.

    So the piece’s writer is either too scientifically ignorant to grasp that fact or else they don’t have sufficient understanding to communicate what special edge Mr. Heinz’s and Cambrian’s technology possesses as compared to what the other DNA synthesis and synbio companies are doing.

    Probably there’s not much that is special about Cambrian — $10 million from Pete Thiel ain’t much if their technology really has the potential to be a game-changer. And if Cambrian can deliver synthesized DNA at “$50 for 20 distinct 500-letter strands of DNA” next year, that’s nice but it ain’t revolutionary.

    Kudos to Mr. Heinz for his mastery of PR, though.

  26. Re: Twohey, Carpenter, V, etc.

    Yeah, but they all got it wrong. ET doesn’t show up until he gets curious about the sulphate injection, if they notice it. If not, then the reflective “parasol” solution in 2022. They won’t be able to miss that if they are looking in this direction. But of course it’ll take time to get here.

    😉

    Y.: You think the abos, ferriners, lower or eastern hemisphere dwellers give a flying fuck about you?

    Not about that. It’s about having more in common with them than the alpha vampire elite. It’s about not being dumb enough to think the powerless are the source of the world’s largest problems, when it has become abundantly clear that it is instead the world’s stewards who have mucked things up for all of us.

    What is aberrant is this kind of global give-a-shitedness. Goethe described it first, I believe.

    There’s even a book on how giving too many shits about the plight of others is habit-forming and harmful..

    This reminds me of a couple of things.

    First, the neocon’s borrowing of the Nazi idea of always ascribing to your opponent your own worst attributes. Of course they would try to say that people who oppose war are pathological. Never mind the mounds of evidence that sadism, power, and cruelty are addictive…

    http://www.mintpressnews.com/classified-evidence-us-soldiers-raped-boys-in-front-of-their-mothers/200160/

    …and operates on the same principle of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Psychotic breaks due to simply having power over one person or a few others. It’s not debatable, it’s even part of–or supposed to be–the regimen of regularly switching out interrogators so they don’t lose their shit and start making up reasons to stuff peoples’ asses with food.

    Neocons say Hitler was a liberal. It doesn’t really matter in the end, though does it? It’s extremism that doesn’t really care why you got thrown in the oven, gassed, experimented on. Won’t matter once it becomes personal.

    Ironically, the neocon founders were liberals once too. Doesn’t really mean anything when you swing from one extreme to the other apart from the fact that you are an extremist.

    This is one of those things, along with a person I discussed the publisher of some of the books on the subject who agreed, just seemed impossible. Impossible to happen, impossible to cover up… impossible for the powerful to be this effing depraved. And yet here we are:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/prince-andrew-been-secretly-filmed-4915421

    Lots of other allegations floating about re various members of Parliament and perhaps even Alan Dershowitz, defender of torture and mass surveillance. Should come as no surprise, they all think deep down that it’s God who made them rich and they deserve it all:

    http://www.alternet.org/print/speakeasy/brucewilson/ted-cruzs-father-suggested-his-son-anointed-bring-about-end-time-transfer

    …like the Royal House of Saud. They own it all in their heads already and being poor is the unforgivable sin. Wall Street is Jerusalem. God is greed. Global War on Terror is a series of Holy Wars aka Jihad.

    We elect from the Bush and Clinton Dynasties and pretend it’s different each time. Up is down, left is right, sanity is insanity.

    It’s is all about expanding markets to attempt to maintain impossible economic growth. These expanding markets read on a stained-glass level like Niemoller’s poem. It’s not about ideology, it’s about what works to keep stuffing their pockets. From a pragmatic standpoint, forget economic theory, anyone save one of the multinational elite, should consider themselves on the endangered species list.

    And that is why you really should consider this. It doesn’t matter how hard you kiss their ass and try to emulate them. It doesn’t matter how much you try to do exactly what you’re told {you can’t really do that because, as Peter once noticed, you are often given conflicting instructions when interacting with a broken system anyway}. It doesn’t matter how much you try to blend in and pretend you are part of “it.” It doesn’t care. It just wants more fuel and at some point it’s going to want you to throw in the engine to keep it going. Even the near-the-top wealthy are on the third course menu, I assure you. This is the end of the game of Monopoly and it is going to be bloody as they fight and claw to be on the “right” side of the growing chasm between have and have-not.

    It’s the story of Yves Scanlon. Company man. Did what he thought was his duty for his corporate overlords. What was he really? A human petrie dish.

    http://www.rifters.com/real/STARFISH.htm#bubble

    What we really ought to do is mind and lovingly care for our own and local shit, shit we know intimately. If everyone did that, we’d be better off.

    This is the problem…the world is too small now to limit “our own” to a single continent, or other boundary. Unless/until someone figures out how to make a biodome big enough that actually works, their air is our air is their air. And water.

    You know what’s pathological? Believing they will give you a damn thing if they aren’t somehow forced to or the act being aligned with their own purposes somehow.

    http://www.aesopfables.com/cgi/aesop1.cgi?4&TheScorpionandtheFrog

  27. Mark Pontin,

    and not only that, it is practiced by non-businesses too. http://diybio.org/

  28. You want to know what the future will look like, given the impact of climate change? Here you go: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2014/jan/21/new-privatized-african-city-heralds-climate-apartheid?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Cartoonist Ruben Bolling summarized it very well a few years ago: http://boingboing.net/2012/11/07/tom-the-dancing-bug-hollings-2.html

    I want to jump forward 200-300 years just to see how history books whitewash what is being done and what is coming.

  29. DanielK: They are proposing to escape climate change by moving to an island? Sea wall or no sea wall I don’t see this ending well. If they were really concerned about rising sea level they would be building their gated community 100 miles inland.

  30. Heeey, look at it, Watts being optimistic!

    I mean, any timeline where Harperites get thrown out is an optimistic one. Relatively so, perhaps, but optimistic.

    Kirk Davis: This isn’t a prediction, but it does read a bit like one: I just read this article ( http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Controversial-DNA-startup-wants-to-let-customers-5992426.php titled, “Controversial DNA startup wants to let customers create creatures” )

    That dude is kinda crazy, but I love him for sheer audacity and the huge middle-finger he’s giving to US bioconservatives.
    I wonder if the wretched followers of Kass and Fukuyama will have their heads just explode from the cognitive dissonance of having to fight red in tooth and claw against an apparent fellow super-capitalista :) .

    whoever: I like the sound of that. Or would if I could get a VISA. Believe me, I’ve been trying hard to get thrown out. Fine line between that and getting thrown in jail.

    Dude, you’re doing it wrong.

    Nobody gets “thrown out” of a nation-state anymore.

    First, you need to get rich enough to be interesting to another state. That’s not necessarily 1% rich, about five hundred grand would definitely be enough for some parts of EU.
    Then you need to use those money to get another state’s citizenship (you technically get your local employment and a small-ish piece of owned real-estate in the process, and they are usually not bad ones)

    Then, and only then, after you have acquired citizenship of your choice do you write a kind letter to your old country’s embassy, officially renounce your old citizenship and sever all potentially binding ties to your previous state.

    And then, good-bye old boss (and good buy new boss :) )

    The hard part, frankly, is getting dem monies in the first place (unless you got lucky when you got born, which I wasn’t )

  31. 01: Dude, you’re doing it wrong.

    Nobody gets “thrown out” of a nation-state anymore.

    The hard part, frankly, is getting dem monies in the first place (unless you got lucky when you got born, which I wasn’t )

    You’re telling me. Had some cash in ’12 when I hired a Toronto attorney, but was too soon for the UN to see what gleeful psycho war criminals we are.

    By the way, though I think Pete mentioned this before, similar to turning privacy into covering up murder/wrongful death, paving the way for any criticism of power to be labeled hate speech:

    Police union pushes for cop killings to be included in federal hate crimes law

    http://news.yahoo.com/police-union-pushes-for-cops-to-be-included-in-federal-hate-crimes-law-183729328.html

  32. Nah, you people on the cop-hating side 😉 are really pushing it in the US of A.

    Like I’ve said many times, average cop in my country-of-birth are waaaaay shittier than the US cops.
    You guys don’t know how nice your corner of the world is (admittedly, it is not the nicest – that’s why I didn’t go for US GC/citizenship program when I was doing that “new citizenship” stuff, but frankly, you’re better than, like, 50% of the world, if not 60%)

  33. We elect from the Bush and Clinton Dynasties and pretend it’s different each time. Up is down, left is right, sanity is insanity.
    It’s is all about expanding markets to attempt to maintain impossible economic growth. These expanding markets read on a stained-glass level like Niemoller’s poem. It’s not about ideology, it’s about what works to keep stuffing their pockets. From a pragmatic standpoint, forget economic theory, anyone save one of the multinational elite, should consider themselves on the endangered species list.

    Rofl. There are parts of the world where people would not riot even if they were going hungry. Which would not happen, unless say, utter volcanic winter combined with something else. Also seems to me economies can quietly stagnate for decades without much in the way of utter ruin happening.

    Lots of other allegations floating about re various members of Parliament and perhaps even Alan Dershowitz, defender of torture and mass surveillance. Should come as no surprise, they all think deep down that it’s God who made them rich and they deserve it all:

    No one ‘deserves’ anything but what they get with their own efforts. But I suppose you are unfamiliar with the True Knowledge?

    From a pragmatic standpoint, forget economic theory, anyone save one of the multinational elite, should consider themselves on the endangered species list.
    And that is why you really should consider this. It doesn’t matter how hard you kiss their ass and try to emulate them.

    Would that not be just peachy? When is that supposed to happen? I can hardly wait. To me, that’d be like the ‘best thing ever’. My nervous system is one that thrives in conditions of aggressive factional competition, bit of a problem in this boring, peaceful age.

    In such chaos I’d be able to settle a lot of old, festering scores. And burn down many a architectural eyesore..

  34. Y.: No one ‘deserves’ anything but what they get with their own efforts

    If you got something through no effort of yours, you “deserve” it as well, since luck is as good reason for having something as any other (and technically, the only reason we’re having a civil discussion over TCP/IP and not raping each other to death with pointy sticks in some bot-forsaken :) shithole savannah in Africa is “luck”)

  35. 01:
    Nah, you people on the cop-hating side are really pushing it in the US of A.

    Like I’ve said many times, average cop in my country-of-birth are waaaaay shittier than theUS cops.You guys don’t know how nice yourcorner of the world is (admittedly, it is not the nicest – that’s why I didn’t go for US GC/citizenship program when I was doing that “new citizenship” stuff, but frankly, you’re better than, like, 50% of the world, if not 60%)

    I’m not actually on the cop-hating side. I’m on the how-dumb-do-you-have-to- be-getting-ripped-off-by-the-people-you-serve? side. Governors, mayors and state officials are allowing Wall Street firms to raid state pensions and the decrying that taxes are too high and yet not enough to fund them. This black-people-are-our-problem meme is what I’m talking about. We are trained like puppies playing fetch and will jump at anything that allows us to feel superior and that fun descent into madness called righteous anger.

    I think of it this way: many of us have unattractive psychological traits. That’s to be expected. It is when the social dominators exploit and exacerbate these for their purposes that I have a problem. A cop who *wants to but is afraid* to do this…

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ex-nypd-slams-black-brunch-gun-toting-selfie-article-1.2067134

    …is fine by me. He can think what he wants. But when the Nazis feel safe to come out of the woodwork…

    It is the sudden change, or perceived change, that is alarming people. 2014 marked the year that federal mandate made every airport in the US drone-ready. That many police departments now have military gear is no secret.

    What might not be known is that that, like all the rest of this nonsense, was done before. MERRIMAC was the CIA op that armed police pre-Church hearings after FBI infiltrated and radicalized the peace and civlib movements in order to protect federal agents and officers from “harm.” Some of that in the unredacted portion of the Family Jewels.

    Y:

    I’m still laughing too hard at your desire to watch the world burn.

    Me, I’d rather have sex on the beach. :)

  36. Other reply to 01, Y, stuck in moderation.

    Ok, Y, I’m curious. Do you think you’d be spared in such circumstances, or do you not care?

    Because from a strictly if/then, if being if US, UK, EU, etc, government consensus is we must have a great thinning of the herd, THEN they should get on with it instead of attempting half measures surreptitiously and/or with plausible deniability. Start asking for volunteers and offer painless, free suicides with some small stipend for family and spouses. Get the big WW3 going. Stop flirting with it and do it.

    It is in part the fact that none of that has happened, especially that last part, that leads me to believe it is to an extent more about profits than longterm planning for sustainability.

    On the other hand, I do think some of our social dominators are insane enough to believe God is telling them *who* needs to go. And, really, strikes me sometimes that the ones having so many kids maybe aren’t the best choices for not repeating this shit again.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/tv/celebrity/young-jedidiah-duggar-causes-controversy-with-gun-picture/ar-BBhATs7?ocid=ASUDHP

    And then you can get into whether the real unconscious motive is just trying to turn the planet into Bibleland because then they won’t have to deal with people who don’t share their beliefs.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/11/george-w-bush-jews-for-jesus-messianic-jewish-bible-institute

    Is a self-fulfilling prophecy designed to bring about Armageddon really good for any of us? Too many nutcases who want to get into your business tell you how to live {or for that matter, die}.

    Come on, man, where’s that libertarian spirit of individuality?

  37. Ok, Y, I’m curious. Do you think you’d be spared in such circumstances, or do you not care?

    No, I intend to make myself hard to find or kill.

    Is a self-fulfilling prophecy designed to bring about Armageddon really good for any of us? Too many nutcases who want to get into your business tell you how to live {or for that matter, die}.

    Of course it’s good.

    But there is no such prophecy. Very few evangelicals are actually that crazy.

    You live in conspiracy-land. I’d like to live there, but the reality is far worse. The politcal and business elites are just that fucking stupid.

  38. Y.: But there is no such prophecy. Very few evangelicals are actually that crazy.

    It’s not your average evangelical on the street that I’m referring to as the primary problem. It’s the nutcases with the money and political power who think they got it because God loves them for subjecting the “unrighteous” to His punishment.

    The implication of the earlier Bush link above is, he wants to convert Jews to Christianity to speed up the end of the world. I think we can safely assume that he and the people the Cruz’ and the like run in circles with are at least capable of tipping the balance in that direction.

    That said:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/11/22/3596041/poll-religion-climate-end-times-evangelicals/

    While 62 percent of total respondents ascribed the cause of recent natural disasters to climate change, 49 percent also thought biblical “end times” were the cause. For white evangelical Protestants, these numbers basically reversed — 77 percent pointed to the apocalypse, and just 49 percent attributed extreme weather to climate change (the numbers add up to more than one-hundred because people could offer more than one cause).

    This fatalistic view of the impacts caused in part by burning fossil fuels could influence the national policy responses to the problem. More than half of the total respondents (53 percent) thought that God would not intercede if humans were destroying the Earth, while 39 percent said that God would step in.

    Don’t think they came to these conclusions on their own, but rather the systemic gutting of education in favor of moar warrrrr is at least partly to blame. So, yeah, I’d call that a conspiracy to make a buck among one of the most powerful lobbies in DC; same one Eisenhower, who also said he partially regretted creating a peacetime clandestine service, warned about in his farewell speech.

    God absolving the global elite of responsibility for misleading us and raping the planet by taking the blame. Gotta love the irony in that.

  39. Not to side-track from the ‘how most of humanity is doomed’ discussion, I wonder if maybe you’d considered dipping your toe in the crowdfunding market with a short story, rather than a novel… AFAIK, the traditional publishers pretty much ignore that format until it’s time to do an anthology, and short-story-exclusive ones are more varied and have too many people submitting to be offended if anyone tries to go outside their system, so (I’d hope) you’re not at risk of burning any bridges, but you can still see if it’s cost-effective to sell your work that way (or produce it that way and give it away for free once it’s paid for). It perhaps wouldn’t be entirely definitive (I imagine the amount of people interested in supporting a short story would be much less than a novel, where you could use rewards to effectively have fans ‘pre-ordering’ it by pledging an amount that gives them a physical copy, before you even actually write the book), but it could be relatively low-risk too, if it doesn’t work out, you just don’t write the story.

    You could do it in a shameless pandering way and offer to write something in the Blindopraxia or Rifters universe, an idea you liked but you never thought quite fit into a novel anywhere, or try something completely new that you’re not sure would fly in one of the traditional markets, or produce another segment in the Eriophoria/Sunflower cycle (I’m guessing you eventually plan to turn the series of short stories into a fix-up novel, so you’d need the short stories eventually anyway, and this might give you the excuse to work on another one of them).

  40. Nestor: You can do a patreon

    Yeah, that’s definitely one of the options.

    Mr Non-Entity: Unhappy Canadians can reasonably hope that they’ll get a quite-different and generally-satisfying new government after the next elections, and thus for them, hope is near-term.

    Oh, my. What is the color of the sky on your world? That Canada sounds like a wonderful place.

    ken: It’s easy enough to release an e-book on Amazon, but are we also talking about getting a dead-tree edition printed?

    I honestly haven’t thought that far ahead. My inclination is to stick to e-books, just because they’d be a lot easier (although I’m not entirely sold on Amazon— yeah, it would be easy to post a book there, and the distribution would be unsurpassed, but I’m not entirely sure I could abide by their terms and conditions. In my ideal world, I’d just hand-sell directly through rifters.com and keep 100% of the proceeds instead of 70. Although I’ll grant that it’s doubtful many people would find it here.

    You could reach out to the faithful Squiderati and ask for volunteers to help with the final layout and perhaps even the cover.

    Huh. You know, there are some awesome artists in your midst.

    Y.: What we really ought to do is mind and lovingly care for our own and local shit, shit we know intimately. If everyone did that, we’d be better off.

    The question is what constitutes “local” in a world where people can span the globe in a day and PCBs have made it to Antarctica.

    Kirk Davis: It made me think of Dan Brüks, and all the customized organisms he finds in the Oregon desert.

    Yeah. The thing to keep in mind is that Bruks didn’t actually find too many “customised” organisms. What he found were wild organisms that had been contaminated by customized genes that had got loose in the system. It’s not what most people would calla good thing.

    Kirk Davis: Side-note: if I predict that Peter finishes “Omniscience” in 2015, does that make it any more likely?

    That, also, might not be considered a “good thing” by many…

  41. 01: Like I’ve said many times, average cop in my country-of-birth are waaaaay shittier than the US cops.

    Maybe that’s why US cops are trying so hard to catch up. They don’t like being second-best.

    Peter D:
    I wonder if maybe you’d considered dipping your toe in the crowdfunding market with a short story, rather than a novel…… or produce another segment in the Eriophoria/Sunflower cycle (I’m guessing you eventually plan to turn the series of short stories into a fix-up novel, so you’d need the short stories eventually anyway, and this might give you the excuse to work on another one of them).

    Sunflowers, for sure. I could probably place another Sunflowers story at Clarkesworld or something, which would be guaranteed buckage, so I’d be risking a certain amount of income. Still, if there was no uncertainty in the experiment, there’d be no need to conduct it.

  42. Having not consciously thought about it now for weeks, the problem: not enough people who would dig Wattsian specfic know about Wattsian specfic.

    Can’t you see them now? Staring out the window with existential dread…the malaise… the teary, bored eyes darting from leaf to snowflake to squirrel… waiting, longing for some kind of escape combined with a challenging high-tech stainy-glass narrative.

    The solution: reach them somehow.

    And the noshitsherlock award goes to…

  43. @Peter Watts: The sky on my world is overcast, dreary, and the long-rumored plans to Pave the Bay (Chesapeake) are moving forward with all of the speed we can reasonably expect from a State (Maryland) long and rightly derided as “unfriendly to business especially with all of the environmental over-regulation”. Perhaps I was just trying to pass on my own hopefulness due to the recent change in party of governorship in Maryland. Though Republican, in terms of environmentalism, the new governor Hogan is a typical Marylander in that he really does love those things that only a well-conserved environment brings. Some of his cabinet picks are really very respectable and Democrat party so we shall see what develops as he picks others and is sworn into office in a deeply Democrat-dominated state where the economic powerhouse is possibly the most hard-core Democrat bastion in the States.

    In the meanwhile, though I don’t pretend to understand Canada, Canadians, or Canadian Politics, some of my other rather radically beyond-liberal correspondents from “way up north there” seem to have the opinion that the worst thing possible for the current regime is well underway. Despite the probable cost in terms of jobs, the ecology-wrecking petroleum extraction operations up there are suddenly barely profitable, if they are profitable at all with oil at or under U$50.00/barrel. The US energy sectors are suddenly deep in the red ink as most of them are predicated on oil being at or above $65/bbl for profitable operations of existing facilities and it needs to be at or above about $75/bbl for exploration and development. I assume comparable economics govern Canadian investment and development in oil and gas E&D. Suddenly Energy isn’t very profitable in the States outside of Solar which is growing by leaps and bounds and Wind is not far behind. And with Big Energy being far less big and getting smaller by the day, for now, the politicians beholden to their money are starting to cast about looking for more populist measures to sell to the voters… though the Republican Base in a great many voting districts is about as loopy as they come in terms of what motivates them to get out and vote.

    I assume, perhaps wrongly and would prefer to be corrected in this matter if need be, that Big Energy and related concerns are what empower the present regime and enable the policies which you describe as being so wretched. If the jobs go away, if the money isn’t there to Pave Alberta Etc, if the money isn’t there and is seen as not possibly being there, does the present regime have much of a chance to hold on much longer? Can bad policy be supported if it’s insupportable on economic terms, to say nothing of ecologic terms? Can’t the parameters of the discussion migrate, as it were? Because if it makes our good neighbors happier in the long term to not have us buy their petroleum, I guess I can speed up my plans to buy a very modern and very high-mileage car. Maybe even become one of those “Prius People”. There’s more of them every day, putting Canadian oil workers on the dole, and maybe even a prime minister. Regards,

  44. Peter Watts: The question is what constitutes “local” in a world where people can span the globe in a day and PCBs have made it to Antarctica.

    That’s the problem. People barely understand the affairs of their own countries, which are invariably mismanaged with a few exceptions. Technological civilization is hamstrung by a species-wide Peter Principle. It’s somewhat evident in the developed world, but really obvious in places where people steal mineral oil from transformers to fry stuff in..

    And now the glorious globalisation has created such a web of interdependencies that everything going to shit is probably just a matter of a couple of black swan events.

    Nevertheless, despite all that, there still are local problems. Like the Harper govt’s insane science policies. Or Bohemia’s corrupt gambling and debt collection practices, or that the premier of Slovakia is either an FSB agent or really wants to be one.. all local problems. Same with various insane immigration or environmental policies..

  45. A ha!

    http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/7/7511063/neil-degrasse-tyson-getting-a-late-night-talk-show

    Now how to get on there via Skype.

    Interests are right:

    https://mccoyote.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=9007

  46. whoever: The solution: reach them somehow.

    Yeah, but that’s where “word of mouth” (aka you guys) is supposed to come in…

    Mr Non-Entity: Can bad policy be supported if it’s insupportable on economic terms, to say nothing of ecologic terms?

    Sure it can— at least, it’s my impression that’s generally exactly what happens. Granted, my impression is largely informed by that pinko Krugman over at the leftist rag The New York Times, but the dude does have a Nobel Prize in economics so there’s that. According to Krugman, the whole “Austerity” cult is a classic example of bad policy, disproven time and time again, which keeps getting imposed because it benefits the Koch Brothers and their ilk. There are other examples (the ongoing subsidy of Big Petro coincident with the ongoing strangling of Solar being one.)

  47. @Pater Watts:

    […] There are other examples (the ongoing subsidy of Big Petro coincident with the ongoing strangling of Solar being one.)

    There’s actually record investment in private/private-sector Rooftop Solar (“[Elon] Musk Strategy”) all across the US though of course it tends to work best in the sunnier climates such as the US Southwest. However, recent drives through the Virginia Wine Country has let me see quite a number of extremely large barns with their south-facing roofs totally covered with photovoltaic panels. The Chinese, bless their hearts, are “dumping” solar PV into US markets. Amazon.com is replete with a very fast-evolving plethora of solar items such as charge controllers and output regulators, to say nothing of standards-group-certified connectors and wiring. Support from local government can range from tolerant to vigorously supportive.

    Clearly Big Energy is not dead yet, but a variety of profitable models appear to be emerging. One can pay to have a solar system installed and certified for connection to the utility grid. US Federal law requires that utilities connect conformant “type-accepted” installations to the grid and to pay the solar user at accepted rates for energy contributed to the grid. Combine that with the nascent Tiny Homes movement, and the future looks a bit less bleak in some ways. This is not to say that the Powers-That-Be won’t fight the future with every tooth and nail they can arrange.

    As for Krugman, anyone who loathes Commoditized Debt Obligation as much as I do, can’t be all bad. 😉

  48. Peter Watts: Yeah, but that’s where “word of mouth” (aka you guys) is supposed to come in…

    My marketing team and I are working on it, saving up for the AK47s and the minivan. But somehow “Buy Echopraxia!” doesn’t have the same ring to is as “Allahu Akbar” or “Vive la Revolution!” Back to the drawing board.

    😉

  49. I too do my viral bit when I can, but alas my reach is limited. Having tried my own hand a few times over the years at promoting my own creative endeavours and those of others I was partnered with, the artist ideal of word of mouth just working and catapulting you to fame is either an unpredicatable lightning strike or a lie, plenty of creators affect swan like placidity while furiously pedalling behind the scenes to keep things going.

  50. Mr Non-Entity,

    Solar is like .23% of US energy, it’s nothing.
    Even Wind is 7%.
    Solar will never really be a big deal until someone comes up with a much cheaper battery.


  51. To add to my previous perhaps not too helpful post, I get the distinct impression the “Peter Watts” name recognition is reaching some kind of transition point, whenever I post a link to a story or such mention in places like reddit, tumblr or a chan there’s echoing ripples of recognition and approval. Sometimes people beat me to posting a link to “The things” whenever the Carpenter movie is being discussed.

    Perhaps encouraging fanart? You’re a little under represented on deviantart and tumblr searches, and you’ve shown a good grasp and appreciation of visuals. Many writers are kinda tone deaf in that regard.

  52. I do my bit. I keep recommending the Rifters book to all angsty twenty-somethings I meet, and Blindsight to everyone who reads books.

    Decent modern hard-sf is hard to find. One book I finished recently had the typical many-worlds woo AND space nazis* who have pet dinosaurs. And that was not the most exasperating feature of the books either.

    *just briefly, but when the writer mentions a german speaking woman in a black uniform with silver lightning flashes on the collar, it makes a certain impression…

  53. @Nestor,
    a chan there’s echoing ripples of recognition and approval. Sometimes people beat me to posting a link to “The things” whenever the Carpenter movie is being discussed.

    Depending on which board you visit, chans are full of paranoid depressed NEETs with hipster tastes. Of course they’d hear of obscure authors with pessimistic, er, unusual, viewpoints.

    Having some bits of actual science (for extra paranoia) and the stuff openly available online helps too.

  54. @Seruko:

    Solar is like .23% of US energy, it’s nothing.
    Even Wind is 7%.
    Solar will never really be a big deal until someone comes up with
    a much cheaper battery.

    I think it depends on what sort of solar you’re discussing. In the last few years I found that even though the voltage is nominally ~19VDC photovoltaic, the vast majority of recently-installed “professional solar” systems are meant only to be grid-attached, meaning that if you have a surplus during the daytime your meter runs backwards and you get credit, but at night your meter runs forward the same as it always did, as you draw your energy from the grid. Most such systems have no provision at all for off-grid storage and it seems it can be rather difficult to get “grid approved” certification in the States if you are doing any off-grid storage at all from that system. It’s so annoying a process that my own solar use is that ~19VDC collection regulated down to a ~15VDC charge current on several deep-cycle power-chair batteries. Thus far, running strong for close to 3 years, and 20-amps charging in full sun will run a lot of LED lights once the sun goes down.

    Yet it’s good to keep in mind that all of the savings you might get on solar-powered LED lighting don’t much compare to even one cycle of the electric clothes-washer. Even simple fan-forcing of air circulation draws a lot of energy, to say nothing of trying to run a “two tonne” air-conditioning unit in high heat and humidity. Indeed: battery systems just aren’t up to it, unless you want to spend the money on roughly 5 to 10 systems comparable to those in the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf cars.

    I sadly sidetracked myself from making the point that one cannot conflate local-storage (DC battery) photovoltaic with grid-connected photovoltaic. Apples and oranges, so to speak.

    For those interested in a very well-done overview, I recommend the PDF of “Market Transformation Pathways for Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar PV in Minnesota”.

    Also: it’s not really helpful to use a single data point such as 0.23% of US energy being PV. Rather, look at the growth rates. There’s a really good article on Wikipedia on Growth of Solar; they predict that by 2050, globally, solar PV will provide about 16% of global energy production and solar Thermal (not sure of the percentages which would be geothermal or just solar photothermal) providing about 11%. In particular, look at the deployment rates and the rates of increase in such rates, with Germany being particularly noteworthy in terms of percentage already generated by grid-connected PV and with China being particularly notable in terms of just raw number and size of systems.

  55. Peter, can you catch us up on what’s where, I think you said one of your works was coming up for reprint in Clarkesworld? I am more than happy to buy the anthologies if that’s best for you.

  56. I’m also going to chip this in, re your ‘career reconsideration’ thing:

    Lemma 1 The most interesting and viable narrative form right now = HBO style drama (novels over multiple seasons that can do grown up stuff that can make you think)

    Lemma 2 Peter is an interesting writer who intelligent people respond to

    I leave Lemma 3 to the reader. I don’t think it’s that hard to conclude the argument.

  57. seruko: Solar is like .23% of US energy, it’s nothing.
    Even Wind is 7%.
    Solar will never really be a big deal until someone comes up with a much cheaper battery.

    Actually, I remember reading pretty recently that the cost of solar on a per-kWatt-hour basis had now hit parity with fossil fuels across a fair range of jurisdictions. Can’t be bothered to look up the reference, but I seem to recall at least mainstream-press levels of credibility. For whatever that’s worth.

    Gary Flood: Peter, can you catch us up on what’s where, I think you said one of your works was coming up for reprint in Clarkesworld?

    That would be “Giants”. Clarkesworld reprinted that months ago. I’m actually quite fond of that one. Didn’t get nearly the buzz that “The Things” did, though.

    Gary Flood: I leave Lemma 3 to the reader. I don’t think it’s that hard to conclude the argument.

    Let me take a stab at it: Lemma 3. Neither HBO, Netflix, or SyFy have any idea who Peter Watts is.

  58. They just got around to PKD’s man in the high castle. Just wait, posthumous fame is still fame 😉

    Giants and the other shorts in that universe are a harder sell than “The Thing from the POV of the alien!”, I know I’ve linked to ’em but not nearly so much.

    Maybe I’ll try posting them in Red Dwarf threads, I always thought the premise had a sort of Hard Sci fi red dwarf feel to it.

    Huge starship barreling through space eons after the human race is extinct? Check. Small crew* of defrosted humans? Check. A ship AI that subverts the usual superintelligent AI cliche? Check.

    * I know the crew isn’t that small, I was going to use “cast” at first… but they rotate each story.

  59. Peter Watts,

    They didn’t know who Nic Pizzolatto was either, mate. It’s called ‘selling.’

  60. I present five ways of making a living and being a writer (note that the connective used is a conjunction, not necessarily a ‘by’)

    1 You give up, as Tony Young seems to have; writing books is a dead business with zero margin that you can only do if you are rich or retired
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/11349865/These-days-writing-isnt-a-career.-Its-a-rich-mans-hobby.html?WT.mc_id=e_3841424&WT.tsrc=email&etype=frontpage&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FAM_New_2015_1_17&utm_campaign=3841424

    2 You ‘do a Charlie Stross’ (this was a very good post on the economics of the business, I thought) and concentrate on novels, produced at a reasonable turnaround. This also seems to work for Scalzi* and Stephenson, among many others.
    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2014/12/cmap-short-stories-what-are-th.html#more

    3 Variation of (1) – you keep a day or at least a part time job like the sainted Ted does,* doing amazing high quality work occasionally
    https://stories.californiasunday.com/2015-01-04/ted-chiang-scifi-perfectionist/

    4 You ‘do a Nic P:’ Pizzolatto had published a book of short stories and a novel no one bought, was hacking a job as a Creative Writing tutor, had a fantastic idea, emailed it to HBO, next he’s like the biggest guy on campus (albeit one that is a *tiny bit* plagiaristic)
    http://nicpizzolatto.com/index.html

    Only in a minority of these pathways do you get to JUST sit at home writing books all day and living off that. That does not mean that you don’t write books, it’s just harder – they don’t keep the money there any more.

    The pathway where you do get to sit at home all day writing is the screen option – where you do TV/film, at least part of the time.

    I submit that you either get some sort of part time paid for gig, the dedault option is teaching of some sort, and continue as you are OR you come up with a Syfy/Amazon Prime Original/HBO etc property.

    Will it be as rich, deep, complex as your prose stuff? No.

    Would fucking millions of people watch a show where vampires piloted space ships and fought weird aliens in a dystopic future?

    Fuck yeah, baby.

    Thoughts, comments, reactions?

    * All of whom have sold some kind of property to TV recently, I note; Ted’s sold a movie that’s going to have Lois Lane in it, for God’s sake.

  61. Peter Watts: Actually, I remember reading pretty recently that the cost of solar on a per-kWatt-hour basis had now hit parity with fossil fuels across a fair range of jurisdictions.

    Which is fine if you live on Sahara, but in mid-latitude temperate climates the cost of an energy storage system robust enough to handle the variation is quite something..

  62. The problem with both solar and wind is that they are intermittent, meaning you need either large-scale energy storage or a backing power system or some sort of really hard-core demand management system that lets you turn off a lot of energy uses when the power isn’t available.

    The California Council on Science and Technology issued a 2011 report on what California needs to do to achieve their stated goal of getting total carbon emissions down to 20% of 1990 levels by 2050. That’s a very ambitious goal, and will require more than eight-fold emission reductions per capita.

    http://ccst.us/publications/2011/2011energy.pdf

    Basically, the CCST backed aggressive efficiency measures in housing, heating, and lighting, plus electrification of most transport. Baseload power would be supplied by nuclear, with variable demand handled by various renewable resources backed by gas plants using carbon capture sequestration.

  63. Anonymous: Would fucking millions of people watch a show where vampires piloted space ships and fought weird aliens in a dystopic future?
    Fuck yeah, baby.

    Except Blindsight was not about that. I’m not sure the ideas there are good for TV. It’d be too depressing anyway.

  64. Thanks so much for the share of ‘The Giants,’ Peter. That was wonderful, genuinely. So that’s two stories in that universe? I’d love to see more, maybe building to a collection?
    Great work.

  65. Mark Russell: I have an odd quantum theory of human behavior

    I am hoping that that quote, in context, was intentionally constructed from 100% Delicious Irony. Because the alternative would be just another depressing sign of the times.

  66. @Y:

    Peter Watts: Actually, I remember reading
    pretty recently that the cost of solar on a per-kWatt-hour
    basis had now hit parity with fossil fuels across a fair
    range of jurisdictions.

    Which is fine if you live on Sahara, but
    in mid-latitude temperate climates the cost of an
    energy storage system robust enough to handle
    the variation is quite something..

    Dr Watts is “getting it”, and let me try to help “Y” a bit.

    Sometimes I see clear evidence of “north of the Mediterranean thinking” here. That would mean that most of the people posting don’t live far enough south to understand the immense power draws here in the States and places farther south, due to hot-weather cooling needs. Places like Chicago or perhaps Berlin may suffer from heat-waves now-and-then but once you get down around Washington DC, Kansas City, or god-help-us Atlanta GA, one wonders how the pioneers ever thought to settle there and one might further believe even moreso in Climate Change and think that it must have been a lot cooler back in the frontier days.

    In the DC area, the electric utility PEPCO offers a non-optional addition to the ubiquitous air-conditioning systems which is alleged to “save money for the homeowner”, which it does by cutting A-C usage to a load use which is almost sufficient to maintain temperature in a well-shaded house with all occupants off at work and with few or no heat-producing devices operating inside. In fact, this is necessary at least until they can rebuild one of the worst grid-sectors in the North American electric utility grid. A-C consumes so much power that the “elco” has to regulate it directly lest brownouts disrupt the subway and draw down the commercial HVAC systems in offices or refrigeration at storehouses and groceries.

    Hard example: My old house was a bit over 1000 square feet, call it such for simplicity in math. The roof being at the right angle for near-perpendicular intercept for about 1500 square feet, for 5 hours a day in summertime. At about 2×3 feet on the solar PV panels, 1500sqf/6sqf means about 250 or so panels could be mounted, but let’s say just 200 to leave room for support structure and a place for the cleaners to walk. Each panel puts out nominal 19.4VDC with a peak collection output of 200W, which doesn’t seem like much… except if you convert it to Amperes, current being the real measure of work capacity, each panel is a slightly less than 10A system. (These panels were approximately $180 each plus some ungodly shipping fee from FOB San Francisco, in early 2012, each amounted to about U$360.00.) Collected in parallel it’s about 200W*200unit=40kW@19.2VDC, nominal[1].

    So, 200unit*10A=~2000 amperes. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but convert to 110VAC and it will run your A-C at full capacity all of the blistering Houston summer day long. And heat your water. And run your electric washer and dryer although that’s pushing it. The usual “emergency storm generator” for most 2000sqf homes is rated for about 28kW, so if you are not running every last electrical appliance you own, you will have surplus to sell to the grid. You can also charge the very minimal battery system you would need to have your LED lights on all over the house all night long. At night, minimal draw from the grid should keep the house cool. Just think of all of the fossil fuels you are not burning, and the picture becomes rosy.

    As Dr Watts mentioned, it’s been all over the news here in the States that as recently as last Christmas, costs-per-watt for solar PV had reached or exceeded “grid parity”. There’s an excellent Wikipedia article on this as well as links to related information and subjects.

    Yet it’s also worth noting that with the extreme and rapid decline in petroleum prices over the last few months, at least here in the States where some areas are seeing pump prices at ~U$1.80/gal which is down from U$3.25/gal a year before, that “parity” is less so. Because “parity” is based in-part on a deriviative figure, you have to examine a lot of factors. If you were a bean-counter right now, looking only at the moment, you would say “pish tosh this solar PV is a flash in the pan and only looked attractive during extreme crisis”. But I would argue that the aberration is in today’s prices which are so low because the Saudis are dumping vast amounts of oil into the market. Also factor environmental costs/benefits, ranging from general pollution reduction to forestalling greenhouse gas emissions, to consider continuing to buy even more solar-PV to drive the price down even farther, perhaps to as low as it can go.

    @Peter Watts: Believe it or not, the SyFy Channel has set its goals a bit higher than Sharknado, though one episode of “Z Nation” just couldn’t resist a bit of allusion to that being written into some surrealistic parody. Yet they are doing “Childhood’s End”, how well one can’t know yet, this year. Also, the Expanse (trailer) looks like your kind of dark, with writing from Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. My point being, if SyFy is scouring the earth for good writing and wants dark, gritty, and actually SF, it can’t hurt to let them find you. Because, viewers will tune in for vampires with spaceships and posthuman crew encountering some of the most-alien aliens ever depicted, and if they find and love deep philosophical questions, it’s extra gravy for them. Even if the philosophy is a little ove their heads, they will stay for the other stuff. You get paid either way.

    Ref: 1. http://www.supercircuits.com/resources/tools/volts-watts-amps-converter