The Guts of God (or, Why I Haven’t Been Blogging Lately)

Someone is waiting for me outside my building. He calls me by name; I have never seen him before. He begs me to share my wisdom, and does not believe me when I tell him I have none to offer. I am part of the overmind, he insists. I am connected to the Divine, I’ve seen things denied mortal men. I am the voice of God.

I remind him that God has fifteen million voices. I wish him luck finding one of the others. I warn him that God has turned many of us into rutebagas. He grows agitated; I have a duty, he growls. God did not bless me so that I could keep His Truth to myself, it is not mine to keep.

I’m afraid he might turn violent, but I am inside before he can do more than rant.

It’s happening everywhere. People seek us out. Some are content to touch the hems of our garments; others want more. A taste of whatever cosmic insights we forged when part of something greater. Should they risk that operation. Should they go to Heaven. Should they bet it all on #3.

We were not only the voice of God, we were the guts as well. The arms and legs, the synapses. God literally stitched Itself together out of our bodies, an inconceivably complex jigsaw assembled from any meat that happened to be wired in to the right servers. Surely such an intellect learned everything, while it was alive. Surely its pieces remember what it learned, now that it isn’t.

The Colonel reminds me that I can stay at the facility. I admit I’m tempted. It would be more convenient. It would be safer, now that the AIrheads have found me. But I can only talk to you there. I can’t feel you, not the way I can at home. And I’ve never fully shaken the belief that they’d keep me here by force if they could, if the optics permitted and the damage hadn’t already been done. They’d probably like nothing better than to see me cage myself.

Darcelle’s smile tightens a little, like shrinkwrap, when I decline. The Colonel merely shrugs and offers instead to post a drone outside my building. Nothing flashy or intimidating, nothing even noticeable to the casual observer. An invisible eye in the sky, just in case. It’s even smart enough to tell refugees from religious nuts—different mindsets have different tells, at least to eyes that can read saccades and muscle twitches from fifty meters—so I won’t have to worry about embarrassing false positives. The homeless and the destitute will be able to approach me as they always have; only those of ill-intent will even know it’s there.

I thank him, and accept his kind offer, and we both pretend his machines haven’t been staking out my every move from the start.



This entry was posted on Friday, November 5th, 2021 at 7:12 am and is filed under fiblet. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

25 Responses to “The Guts of God (or, Why I Haven’t Been Blogging Lately)”

  1. Hank Roberts

    Want! Story!

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  2. Nestor

    Nice.

    Although I confess for the first few lines I began to worry this was another IRL adventure of yours rather than a piece of fiction, especially since I came from the Facebook post saying this was the reason you haven’t been blogging lately. “Oh no he has a stalker now, what the… oh wait it’s a blindopraxia ficlet”

    Whew.

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  3. Jeff Bonkers

    The Colonel returns! Can’t wait to read more of this.

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  4. Dor Konforty

    Yes please.

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  5. has

    “The Guts of God (or, Why I Haven’t Been Blogging Lately)

    Someone is waiting for me outside my building.”

    Much disappoint. Was eagerly anticipating the inexorable denouement wherein Peter is eaten by a rabid fan.

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  6. fvngvs

    Oooh! More fiblets!
    We always like more Colonel. I’m happy that he’s not yet been abandoned.

    In other news, I just finished re-reading Cyclopterus. Shit, that’s grim.

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  7. Liav

    Hi Peter, thank you for the work, I’ve really enjoyed it over the years. I particularly like the Araneus fragment that was hidden in the text of FFR. I caught the continuation in Strategic Retreat, but still have anxiety about missing the next snippet. Will the whole thing be compiled at some point in one place?

    ALSO WHEN IS OMNISCIENCE BEING PUBLISHED ? 🙂

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  8. Dale

    Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

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  9. Anonymous

    Awesome. Keep it up, man.

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  10. has

    Just in passing, but everybody’s adorable favorite 8-legged vampires got a fist-bump on Ars last week:

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/10/spiders-are-much-smarter-than-you-think/

    (A few Ars readers could also be seen cutting themselves in its comments section afterwards, as is proper.)

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  11. Andy

    has

    If I’m ever rich and famous I’ll hire a Portia spider as my PR agent; those wee buggers seem to have it all figured out.

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  12. listedproxyname

    “staking out my every move from the start”

    Wheels inside the wheels and the story behind the story. The Colonel is the the most ordinary soldier on most extraordinary mission.

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  13. Andy

    Last fiblet the Colonel was like “fuck the world, all I want is to see my son” and now he’s taking on the Eastern Dharmic Alliance? Swings and roundabouts for days, I see. Can’t wait to learn how that came to pass.

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  14. Viljami

    has,

    There was a nice discussion in here about it:
    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29138373

    People were sharing positive their experiences interacting with spiders.

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  15. Peter Watts

    has: Much disappoint. Was eagerly anticipating the inexorable denouement wherein Peter is eaten by a rabid fan.

    It’s easy to tell the difference. The real ones have knives.

    fvngvs: In other news, I just finished re-reading Cyclopterus. Shit, that’s grim.

    Get used to it. These days, that’s barely even speculative.

    Liav: I caught the continuation in Strategic Retreat, but still have anxiety about missing the next snippet. Will the whole thing be compiled at some point in one place?

    Hitchhiker? Sure. Don’t know where yet, but it’s another chapter in the epic arc.

    The real question is, whether the whole epic arc ever gets published.

    Liav: ALSO WHEN IS OMNISCIENCE BEING PUBLISHED ?

    I don’t even know if it’s going to get published. I got tired of sending things off when they were due as opposed to when they were ready, so I’m writing this one without a contract. For all I know, no one will want to publish it when I’m done. Or perhaps someone will, but I won’t like their terms.

    I get the sense the industry’s pretty exploitative these days.

    has: Just in passing, but everybody’s adorable favorite 8-legged vampires got a fist-bump on Ars last week:

    Nothing especially new in that article, but it’s nice to see the little guys getting some love for a change.

    Andy: Last fiblet the Colonel was like “fuck the world, all I want is to see my son” and now he’s taking on the Eastern Dharmic Alliance?

    Actually, this fiblet is set about a decade earlier than the last one. Not so much swings and roundabouts as a tragic, monotonic decline.

    He does ultimately reconnect with his son, though. Or something like that.

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  16. Andy

    Peter Watts: He does ultimately reconnect with his son, though. Or something like that.

    Why do I get a funny feeling that reconnection’s gonna be somehow literal?

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  17. ken

    Regarding the publication of Omniscience:

    Is self-publishing a thing you’d ever consider? There are plenty of ways you can get a physical book printed and shipped these days, but what are the disadvantages? Is the money you’d ultimately receive better or worse?

    Granted, I know nothing about publishing a book, and don’t know if a self-published book puts a black mark on your record, hurting your chances of ever being picked up by a large publisher again. At this point (given your comment about the exploitative nature of publishing) do you even care?

    Do you have a literary agent who handles these deals for you? Can you put the thumbscrews to him/her and get some positive action?

    Anyway, I speak for all in saying we all eagerly and patiently await your next book.

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  18. Ken Kennedy

    Fiblets rock. They are handily beaten by completed, published works…but they still *rock*. Thank you, sir!

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  19. Peka

    Took me a while to realise it wasn’t your actual explanation, why you haven’t been blogging recently. If Omniscience won’t be published it would be heartreaking. Your books are my best sources of existential dread. The fact that publishers didn’t accept your book was shocking for me.
    If it will contuniue that way, are you considering other options like crowd funding? Or it will just lie on the desk until better times?

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  20. Andy

    Been meaning to ask and forgot: Dr. Watts, have you seen “Dune” by any chance and if so, what is your opinion on it?

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  21. Peter Watts

    Peka: If Omniscience won’t be published it would be heartreaking. Your books are my best sources of existential dread. The fact that publishers didn’t accept your book was shocking for me.

    I don’t know if you mean Omniscience, but publishers haven’t had a chance to accept or reject it. I haven’t pitched it. I haven’t even made inquiries. I’m just writing the damn thing. When I’m done, we’ll see what the market says.

    I don’t know shit about self-publishing, but I’m not averse to it in principle. Seems to have done okay by Andy Weir.

    Andy:
    Been meaning to ask and forgot: Dr. Watts, have you seen “Dune” by any chance and if so, what is your opinion on it?

    I have. The first truly worthy adaptation of the first half of that novel I’ve seen. The ‘thopters alone were worth the price of admission.

    Haven’t seen it in IMAX yet though. When I do, I should probably write a review. Seeing as how I’ve already written reviews for BR2049 and Arrival.

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  22. has

    @Peter: I very much appreciated your introduction to Portia. As a bear of very little brain, her emulated hunting strategy is the one I use myself.

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  23. Nestor

    Hey, so this piece on single sexed salamanders reminded me of Bruks’ travails in the desert with genetically contaminated lizards, only these babies are 100% natural. Here’s the keyword: Kleptogenesis

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  24. has

    Nestor:
    Hey, so this piece on single sexed salamanders reminded me of Bruks’ travails in the desert with genetically contaminated lizards, only these babies are 100% natural.

    I once had a short story idea involving first contact with an intelligent species that had evolved the natural ability to splice in genes from other lifeforms for unparalleled adaptability. (Needless to say, their splicing of human genes ended in global disaster.) But my fiction writing sucks absolute donkey balls so I am happy to learn that our own Mother Nature has already written it for me.

    Here’s the keyword: Kleptogenesis

    And a most excellent word it is. (So that’ll be Book 4 of the Trilogy then, once Peter’s knocked out #3?)

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  25. Greggles

    Great to see some more of your writing. I had no idea that the 21s god was a part of the blindopraxiverse.

    Now I’m wondering if it’s emergence is what triggered rho’s decision to ascend which lead to Bruks selection to be the prophet. It’s been puzzling me for years what it was about Bruks that made him special.

    Anyways, looking forward to the next fiblet or book.

    I’m glad to hear you’re not working under a deadline.

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