Promos and PSAs

Just a couple of quick announcements while I finish scribbling argumentative notes in the margins of Eric Hoel’s book on consciousness.

First, there’s this guy called Guy d’Andigné, runs sfss: a classy, minimalist little site that reprints science fiction shorts from the public domain and the creative commons, ranging from Voltaire to Doctorow. He also does interviews (he even interviewed me once, many years ago). He never bothered to monetise it; it was strictly a labour of love. Now, though, hard times have hit (as they’ve done to a lot of folks, post-Covid) so Guy has curated an anthology of old classics (and I mean old—the latest dates from the sixties, the earliest from the seventeen-hundreds) and released it as a pay-what-you-feel-like ebook over at Ko-Fi. There are some Big Names in that ebook—Wells, Vonnegut, Lovecraft and Dick to name a few—and while the names are familiar, I bet at least some of the titles aren’t (I know I’d never heard of Afred Bester’s “The Unseen Blushers” before now, at any rate). So if you’ve got a few bucks to spare, and you’re interested in getting back to our roots, check it out. Do a good deed, discover some classics.

But enough about someone other than me.

.

I’ve been dropping hints about a couple of upcoming forays overseas; a few of you in the comments have taken the bait. So now, for those who haven’t noticed the new entries over on the sidebar, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be a guest at Bulgacon later this month, over in (you guessed it) Bulgaria. I haven’t been to that country in person since my Ratio appearances back in 2017 and 2020, and those were both in Sofia. This time the location is—don’t know if I’m pronouncing this right—Plovdiv. A new place to explore, although I probably won’t have much time; they tell me I’m slotted for eight events.

Moving on to November, I’ll be in Madrid (assuming Madrid isn’t on fire then; these days, you never know). This isn’t a con but a conference: a five-day riff on the subject of “Synthetic Minds” hosted by Matadero Medialab. They’re still taking proposals for things they’re referring to as “Lab Projects”; anyone out there interested in presenting has until September 17 to submit a proposal. One thing that appears to be nailed down is that I’m going to be delivering a keynote address. I’m glad we’ve got that settled.

Now I’ve just got to figure out what the fuck I’m gonna talk about. And then write the damn thing. I make no promises.

But at the very least, these Medialab people have got a kick-ass graphic designer.



This entry was posted on Thursday, September 7th, 2023 at 7:57 am and is filed under On the Road, public interface. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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BTW
Guest
BTW
5 months ago

The Spanish link in the sidebar is the Bulgarian one 🙂

LostHisMarbles
Guest
LostHisMarbles
5 months ago
Reply to  BTW

No one expects the Spanish Link.

Trying very hard not to be the old fart, going on about more money = more ass hauling, finding second jobs, etc. etc.

So on topic, if you’re planning any other EU trips in luxurious penthouses with champagne and reefers, Muddy or no Muddy in the background, it’s all good, kindly let us know more in advance?
(takes time to organise; one step, arthritis; two steps, forgot why i’m doing this. Three steps out and she yells at me to get back in the house ’cause now it’s late. So.. it takes time, lol)

Joseph Heled
Guest
Joseph Heled
5 months ago

A somewhat similar theme to “The Unseen Blushers” was done, much better, in 1955 by William Tenn (The Discovery of Morniel Mathaway). [and I am a HUGE Bester fan for many years]. It remains a question whether Klass knew or read the Bester story.

Phil
Guest
Phil
5 months ago

Hi Peter,
Are those argumentative notes on Hoel’s book born of excitement for its ideas, or anger at the lack of them? I’m trying to decide if it’s worth the $20 for the Kobo etext…

Phil
Guest
Phil
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Thanks for that! I think I’ll buy it. I suspect that filler for you may be new insights for me. That he sees his arguments as speculative is also a plus.

I am disappointed it doesn’t contain an irrefutable answer to the hard problem of consciousness (cough), but one can’t have everything.

Maybe you’ll write a column based on those notes at some point?

All the best for your upcoming travels. I think Madrid (if not burning, or under fascist rule) is a beautiful city. (I’ve never been to Bulgaria.)

NotParticipating
Guest
NotParticipating
5 months ago
Reply to  Phil

I would like to second the interest in a post based on your notes.

NotParticipating
Guest
NotParticipating
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts
WermoongRey
Guest
5 months ago

Hello, Peter! First time commenting here 🙂 I’m actually a stone throw away from Bulgaria and would love to come listen to you. We’ll see how fast they can issue a visa nowadays.

Looks like they are still working on the exact schedule. I’ll keep an eye on their website, but are you planning to post about your events when you get the programme?

WermoongRey
Guest
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Well damn, I’m not going to make it to Bulgaria this time. Hope to see you at some other event in the future (and drown you in even more russian fanart which you’d be too kind do turn down, I’m sure)!

Tipo deIncognito
Guest
5 months ago

assuming Madrid isn’t on fire then

In November? Madrid could be the headquarters of a near fascist Spanish government by then. On the bright side, I wouldn’t worry about literal fires, floods are taking care of that already.
Welp, when you see my climate change denialist, anti-vaccine, far right voting neighbors, send them my heartfelt hate.
Good luck!

Jason Ahmed
Guest
Jason Ahmed
5 months ago

Hello there Peter! Your novels were superb, best in class. Starfish, Blindsight, Echopraxia, even The Freeze Frame Revolution. And your short stories are also great – my god, The Things. Have you decided to never write another novel again?

Peter wheres the book
Guest
Peter wheres the book
5 months ago

Peter, goddamn it, when is that new book coming?
It’s been 5 years since I read Blindsight and 4 since Ecopraxy
I haven’t been able to find anything that might even come close. You ruined the genre for me.
But for real, when can we expect a new book from you?

Jason Ahmed
Guest
Jason Ahmed
5 months ago

This is exactly how I feel. After Blindsight and Echopraxia, I search and search but just cannot find anything that lives up to Peter Watts’ work. And, from what I can see, he is held in v high regard within the genre. With all this good will and admiration and respect – in a world where new aspiring writers cannot get their book read – why, why, why on earth is Peter Watts writing blogs, commentaries and everything else (for years now) except new novel?

Helward
Guest
Helward
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Dr. Watts, you don’t have to write anything if you don’t feel like writing – we love you anyway! 🙂
But I personally would appreciate a short side story from the Blindopraxia universe. We never got to know if Valerie and Sarasti knew about each other, or how did the Theseus crew trainings look like, or any details about that vampire named Gandhi…

Helward
Guest
Helward
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Oh… are there any other short stories set in the Blindopraxia universe besides “ZeroS”, “The Colonel” and “Insect Gods”? I was sure I’ve already read everything published in all languages…

Last to Know
Guest
Last to Know
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

> Tor is contractually entitled to right of first refusal on my next novel

Could you write a really half-assed novel about a guy who needs to get out of his deal with an abusive publisher, offer it to them, and thus be done with it?

If that was the only problem, that is.

Ashley
Guest
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

If your contract sucks so bad my advice is challenge Tor’s contract, but you need to be arsed to do it as it would require an IP lawyer.

It can be done. I suspect they’ve breached the terms and conditions, and given your profile, a lot of pressure could be levered against them to either release you from the contract, or remove that first pass clause.

Of course, you have to be arsed to do it.

Krum
Guest
Krum
5 months ago

I’m the guy who didn’t know you were for Ratio in Sofia when we were doing the Pride parade. I’m going to Bulgacon this year, so I guess we’ll meet.

Krum
Guest
Krum
5 months ago
Reply to  Krum

Exporing Plovdiv — I should get you to my favourite place in Kapana.

Krum
Guest
Krum
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Looking over the schedule, I think you’re slotted for four events.

Krum
Guest
Krum
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

I hope you’re feeling better, you looked quite beat up. Fucking Covid.

B. Traven
Guest
B. Traven
4 months ago

Please pay no attention to the doctor’s carbon footprint as he wings over the Atlantic, back and forth and forth. The ends justify the means and good doctor hasn’t reproduced so It’s All Good. It’s shame I have children or I could be rolling coal in a lifted diesel this minute, my conscience as clean as dissonance can make it.

B. Traven
Guest
B. Traven
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Just Zoom in to those conferences, good doctor, and I will stop harping. I do feel like a jerk for pointing this issue out every time you mention your international travel, FWIW. But you have taught me to speak my conscience more on environmental paradoxes.

Fatman
Guest
Fatman
4 months ago
Reply to  B. Traven

If it’s only a “paradox” to you because you’re too dull to interpret factual evidence (or too much of an intellectual coward to admit you’re wrong), you’re not really ‘speaking your conscience”, right? You’re simply speaking out of your ass.

Also, what’s up with the reproduction references you seem unable to let go of? A bad case of breeder’s remorse?

B. Traven
Guest
B. Traven
4 months ago
Reply to  Fatman

I think Dr. Watts can defend himself, but “intellectual coward”? NYT gave airplane travel as 1 of 4 significant activities one could curtail as an individual to assist with climate change. I took the list to heart, and especially notice the doublespeak on this item as it remains a habit of the affluent. I call the doctor (and others) out on his airplane travel which seems a touch paradoxical because, well, duh, he’s Peter Watts. I’m no coward, unlike his roadies. Well, I guess I’m as much of a coward as any anonymous internet poster.

The reproduction references earlier conversations on this topic, where he essentially said I contribute much more to climate change than him because I had children. He is correct.

And likely I’m a dull ass, with dull ass little dolt children (no remorse however). But I gave my oldest Blindsight to read last month so there’s that.

Fatman
Guest
Fatman
4 months ago
Reply to  B. Traven

“He is correct.”

If you concur that he’s correct, and that the added emissions from air travel can be more than offset by cutting down on other emission-producing activities, thereby reducing one’s overall carbon footprint… what is it that you’re actually arguing?

You’re not only an intellectual coward (doubling down on an argument after it’s been discredited, yet unwilling to find a position he can defend logically), but also an attention-seeking dullard, getting high on his own farts.

“But I gave my oldest Blindsight to read last month so there’s that.”

“But” is typically used to connect contrasting ideas… but I’m no grammarian.

B. Traven
Guest
B. Traven
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Because I’m a librarian, I’ll cite my NYT source which I should have initially…not to rehash the argument, which goes the way of all internet arguments (although I am very diligent in refraining from insults & comments I would not deliver FTF, unlike others here).

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/12/15/opinion/how-reduce-carbon-footprint-climate-change.html

Also, a fascinating, somewhat unrelated read:

https://studio.ribbonfarm.com/p/a-whole-new-cope?utm_campaign=email-post&r=24la8e&utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

I appreciated your lengthy response, Dr. Watts. Seriously touched that you took the time to engage on the thread. Although I was calling your behavior out, I also have enormous respect for you. And will continue to have/ do both.

Fatman
Guest
Fatman
3 months ago
Reply to  B. Traven

“although I am very diligent in refraining from insults & comments I would not deliver FTF, unlike others here”

That’s very hurtful, if aimed at my previous comment. I’m infinitely more pleasant and less confrontational online than in person, having put considerable effort over the years into moderating myself in situations where tone, body language, etc., are not part of the conversation. You really ought to consider the impact your words have on others.

Perhaps I was a bit rash in calling you an intellectual coward, or, even worse, a tiresome chud engaging in “Mr. Gotcha” behavior (without an actual “gotcha”), likely due to unresolved inferiority complexes. However, given that you a) refuse to define the point you think you’re making, preferring to skulk out of the discussion when challenged, b) fail to address the question I posed to you in a previous comment, and c) continue to re-bleat an already discredited argument without introducing new material – what option did I really have?

“And will continue to have/ do both.”

And I’m looking forward to every moment of it 🙂