Rise Up

Gonna see the month out with a bit of a grab-bag.

Here’s an illo from the Chinese edition of Blindsight: a bit lurid chromatically, perhaps, but it’s the first cover art I’ve seen that presents broadly accurate renderings of both Theseus and Rorschach. There are other graphics I’d like to share with you at some point (got a nifty Stargate-Universey illustration of “The Island” from a Russian mag the other day), but I’m saving the bulk of them for the point at which I upgrade the Gallery — and that’s going to be about the same time I upgrade the whole damn website. (Yes, it’s past time. Might even hire a professional to do it right this time around.)

But while that’s a vast and important job, it’s not an urgent one; I still have State of Grace to finish up, so all else has to take a back seat for the next few months.  Still, while I haven’t been looking, a fair amount of riftersesque artwork has piled up from around the world.  I’m in a dozen languages now — even my short stories are starting to show up in other countries, with fresh foreign illustrations attached — and that’s not even counting fan art (some of which easily ranks with or beyond the professional work I’ve seen). There will come a day when the Gallery itself must splinter into separate wings.

But it is not this day. This day, we gawk:

This leg is growing back so fast it must be on drugs. For the first time, the meat inside has risen above the level of the skin outside (as you can see from the side-on shot on the right).  I just hope they can scam enough skin to cover it all when the graft happens three weeks from now.   Today, following official medical advice, I ripped off the dressing, climbed into the shower, and washed the wound out with Irish Spring, Bedhead shampoo, some kind of no-name conditioner, stubble-flecked shaving cream, and an indeterminate number of pubes. (Apparently soap lather has some kind of beneficial pH or something.  The pubes, maybe not so much.) After which I walked around for half an hour with the damn thing gaping to the world at large, a gym sock tied around my ankle to catch the steady trickle of lymph oozing from its surface. It felt good.

Something else that feels good is that the fourth and final installment of The Crysis Legionaire’s Online Backstage Nanosuit Grand Tour is now online over at Suvudu. (For those of you whose personal integrity has kept you away from Facebook, the other installments are here, here, and here. With that fifty-page excerpt from Legion I mentioned a while back thrown in for good measure here.) I think this last essay is my favorite of the four; it backgrounds the superficial superpowers of the nanosuit in favor of the whole neural-interface-as-double-edged sword issue. Both the neuroethical facets and the excerpts I use to illustrate them are purely novelistic entities; you won’t find them either in the game or in the usual slam-bang action trailer that Del Rey stuck at the end of the piece. What you will find in that trailer, though, is Nine Inch Nails on soundtrack — and I for one can’t think of a better band to play me offstage.

I’m outta here. See you in April.


P.S.  Oh, yeah:  I’m also one of several skiffy writers pontificating on SF Signal’s latest “Mind Meld”:  “How Important is Plausible Science In Science Fiction?”

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at 3:44 pm and is filed under Crytek/Crysis, Flesh-Eating Fest '11, public interface, writing news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

52 Responses to “Rise Up”

  1. Robert

    Good to hear you’re finally mobile again.

  2. Dirk Flinthart

    Hmm. Possibly I could have done without the ‘gym sock’ and the explanation therefore. But other than that: good news all round. Cool!

  3. ScottC

    Hmm. Chinese cover strikes me as more than a little sexually suggestive. Always a danger when illustrating giant phallic spaceships, but the doughnut shaped tangle of Rorschach pubes doesn’t help.

    Now that Ive ruined the cover for everyone (or made it better), my work here is done.

    Glad to see you mending, Peter!

  4. Peter Watts

    I am ashamed that I was not the one to point this out.

  5. ScottC

    Oh, I know! Here’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask you for some time, and now it is finally on topic with your piece in Mind Meld on plausible sci fi.

    Do you ever regret or even resent becoming known as “the hard sci-fi guy”? Do you ever feel like just writing some sprawling sci-fantasy space opera with hyperspace, magical gravity, ray guns and anthropomorphized aliens, but are afraid you’ve been pigeonholed and it wouldn’t be accepted from your fans?

    For what it’s worth, I give you permission to write a space opera, but I can’t speak for all your other fans.

  6. ScottC

    Peter Watts:
    I am ashamed that I was not the one to point this out.

    I’d be lying if I said that didn’t surprise me as well. But you have other things on your mind, whereas apparently I do not.

    The great thing is, you can read it in two different ways. It can be seen as the “ship” flying into the “ring of pubes”. Or if you, like me, have a brain permanently trapped in adolescence and could spot a dick in a Jackson Pollock, you can read it as the ship extending toward the viewer out of a thicket of Rorschach, and have the engine plasma take on a wonderfully juvenile symbolism.

    I’m glad I was able to distinguish myself with this contribution to the ‘Crawl.

  7. Sheila

    Hey ScottC, I don’t know if you are on facebook or not. This might be a repeat. He posted a link to MIND MELD: How Important is Plausible Science In Science Fiction? that is related though does not exactly answer your question.

    also, P “Doc” Watts would be fun to read.

  8. Sheila

    (nice cameo of the water bottle, btw)

  9. ScottC

    Sorry about the errant italics tag in the above post.


    Yes, it was that piece which led me to my question, and I referenced it in my first sentence.

  10. Tertiary Matt

    The texture of the tissue that’s growing over the muscle and fascia is just fascinating. I can’t say I’m surprised by the grafts, though. Closing that large of a gap in the skin without some kind of drug to encourage growth and prevent scarring seems iffy. Somebody needs to get on that whole “regeneration without turning your cells into cancer” thing.

    I’ve been passing around that Metazoan 1.0 paper to my faculty, bee-tee-dubs. No response so far, unfortunately.

  11. Greg

    Wait a minute, “State of Grace” is still probably a couple of years away from book stores? The first chapter of which has been at http://www.rifters.com/real/in_progress.htm for what seems like forever? I know you’ve been having an interesting life and all, but *damn*. I’ve been Googling for it now and then for a while now, and wondering what ever happened to it.

    Tip: many people do not care *at all* about games, and would be be far better served if you published sample chapters of something as it went to press, shortly before, or *something* more reasonable than a-couple-of-years-from-now-this-may-see-print. I own all your novels, and enjoyed them all. But right now, you’re on the ‘forgotten’ list, as this is so far out that (given your recent history) you could be dead before it ever sees the light of day.

    If it does get published, and I happen to notice it (which is now only medium-likely), I’ll probably buy it. But if publishing the first chapter was a marketing effort, it was so premature as to hugely suck. It gives the impression that you expect that after publishing a first chapter, your audience will wait breathlessly for *two freaking years*. I’m sure that wasn’t the intent, but that’s the result. If I have to wait two years, I can two months beyond that, and buy it used. I get the same entertainment value, I don’t encourage you to do the same thing again with novels, and you can go focus on video games or whatever else it is that you do, that I don’t give a shit about, but pays better.

  12. London

    Glad to see the leg is looking better! You’re handling it with admirable aplomb.

    It may cheer you to know your book Blindsight was mentioned in class by my Cognitive Science professor, and he went on an aside for a minute or two about what a great book it was and how interesting and credible the science was in it. We were talking about Philosophical Zombies, which led naturally to the topic of Blindsight. Sounds like Prof Vervaeke is a fan!

  13. sheila

    ScottC, wow, my brain is fried. sorry about that thinko!

  14. Nestor


    I have an autoclick program on my mouse, part of an RSI reducing program, whenever I move the mouse and stop, it clicks automatically. It doesn’t mean I don’t control the click, it just means I don’t have to press the button.

    If I was wearing a helmet that controlled a gun that fired whenever my neurons twitched “just so” I think the feedback would just turn it into another form of direct control, it’s the same principle, just with a more serious outcome. I would know if I look at something with a certain intention it’s going to go boom, just like if I lift my finger off the trackball over the X it’s going to close the window (It can be set to not click over program close icons but I stopped using that feature years ago)

    Frankly, considering modern military rates of friendly fire I don’t think making them even more trigger happy is a particularly good idea. As for responsibility both the wikileaks chopper that killed the Reuters journalists or the tank that blew up the journalists at the Baghdad hotel went through approval confirmation from superiors before opening up. Ooops. But convictions aren’t even on the table.

    Given enough technological advances it’ll be probably safer for a civilian to wander around a battlefield of drones with advanced pattern matching and in depth scanning than some hopped up jarhead with an itchy trigger finger.

    This reminds me of a short story by Akira author Katsuhiro Otomo, a power armored squad of soldiers goes up against a drone tank and are all slaughtered, except the commander who is forced out of his suit by overheating. It ends with the robot (Who now identifies him as a civilian) offering him recruitment advertising while he futilely tries to break it with a big rock.

  15. Vithren

    I actually think that there’s no Blindsight cover-art that I liked. Maybe the next one will be better? Now, when you are world wide recognizable author with awesome “leg problems”? : D

    We even talked on a few occasions ’bout Blindsight in Poland, at Pyrkon, last week. I love it and read it once a while.

    ‘Bout Crysis2: played it, it’s stupid as hell and I really don’t understand that if they had you there why-oh-why didn’t they worked with you on the story? It would be something, damn. Something worth listening and reading, not only, as in CrysisSomeNumber, looking.

    But where the hell is State of Grace!?

  16. Chang of Space Command

    Glad you’re feeling better. Looking better, too.

    I just threw up in my mind a little after seeing that and reading the description.

  17. L. Blankenship

    Is it just me or do none of the Nanosuit links work? 🙁

  18. Steve Halter

    Hmm, from Charles Stross announcement:

    “The bacterial colony formerly known as Peter Watts declined to comment.”

    I can’t hardly believe the colony has no comment.

    Nice to see the leg healing so well, by the way.

  19. V

    Greg, I’m sorry I can’t find a way to say this more diplomatically, but get a life. There’s a lovely entry Neil Gaiman wrote for impatient George R.R. Martin fans, and it applies to you. There’s other writers to read while you’re waiting, and frankly, as a non-gamer, I still have found the Crysis novelization both intellectually interesting and entertaining, which is a testament to Peter’s skill, intelligence, and humor. Try it before you knock it.

    Totally snerking over the Chinese cover, although also liking the general art style. Feels very classic, doesn’t have the over-produced shininess of a lot of recent sf covers I’ve seen.

    Hmm, a lazy person who has finally started reading ebooks for realz wonders if they’re likely to sell those essays for $5 an an epub. Although I suppose I could just go over there and make a PDF, zoomable text is becoming important to me in my old age, and now that I’ve had a taste, I’m starting to realize that PDFs can be rather annoying on an iPod (I resist buying more technology for ethical as well as fiscal reasons, and it’s clear with good formats I can make do–ha–with that little bundle of locked-down silicon).

  20. Peter Watts


    I like being Hard SF Guy. I like being the only guy (AFAIK) who loads up the ass end of his novels with real-world technical lit. I especially like knowing that Blindsight has been used as a core textbook not just in university courses in science fiction, but in Science courses and Philosophy courses as well. It is my niche. I like it here.

    That said, there are many authors out there who kick my ass without having advanced degrees in biology or a chip on their shoulder about scientific verisimilitude. So while I certainly like plausible science in my cereal, I certainly don’t think it’s the be-all and end-all of the genre.


    Dude, I feel your pain, but let me tell you a little something about the history of SoG. I started writing it shortly after Blindsight came out; that first chapter you saw was not intended to stagnate on the In Progress page forever. It was supposed to be replaced periodically by other excerpts as I worked my way through the book.

    What happened was — despite the fact that Blindsight made the finals for a shitload of awards — Tor made an offer for the follow-up that was, shall we say, low. (I do not take this personally; Tor is renowned for low-balling authors who are far more popular than I.) My agent and I decided to go elsewhere, and my former editor released us, stating in writing that we were welcome to shop it elsewhere (even to someone else at Tor if we so desired). We couldn’t sell State of Grace to another publisher; we tried, but it was after all a sequel to a work owned by a competitor. (Also the economy was imploding, and editors everywhere were curled up in fetal positions under their desks waiting for the whole industry to disintegrate like Dracula at Club Med.) But another editor at Tor was interested; at which point, reliable sources inform me that Editor #1 objected to that interest, despite the fact that he had previously given explicit blessings to just such a deal. Those objections were enough to leave SoG dead in the water for a solid year; for a while I was actually convinced it was never going to get published at all. In the meantime, though, there were bills to pay and (fortunately) other sources of income.

    Now we’re back on track (in fact, I should be working on State of Grace now, instead of answering blogments). But be assured that this delay was not my doing, nor that I expected my audience to wait breathlessly for “two freaking years”. I’ve kept quiet about this until now, but dammit, this was not my fault; this was infighting at the Flatiron Building, and I’m not going to wear the egg for that.


    Yes, that does cheer me somewhat. Especially after that last post.

    L. Blankenship:

    It’s not you. It’s not me either. Suvudu was down for maintenance. They’re back up now.

  21. Mirik Smit

    Great progress, sir! Cool cover art, btw. Beats the US/UK one.

  22. ScottC

    Nice to see the internet generation’s sense of entitlement remains as turgid as ever. Man is recovering from a near fatal illness, with a gaping hole in his leg while he prepares for further surgery, and we’re going to hassle him about not having his book done as fast as we’d like? Really? Someone’s going to be that guy?

    I resent the fact Peter even took the time to explain the situation as patiently, and revoltingly close to apologetically, as he did.

    Besides, Rothfuss’ sequel is a great argument for letting an author take as long as he damn well wants to write their own book.

    “Forgotten List” indeed. Harumph.

  23. Sheila

    V, maybe readability would help with making things easy to read on an iphone? I don’t have one, so can’t answer that. It’s nice for in-browser views. I can attest. You might also consider calibre for converting a web page in to an easy to read format.

    (I wonder if putting two urls in here will send my comment in to moderation limbo?)

    (I think the Gaiman phrase should be a snow clone. ____ is not your bitch.)

    Nestor, have you had a chance to read Malak yet and the references? I am not familiar with that short story you mention, will see how easy it is for me to find. Someone should put together a seminar on the topic and dovetail all of these themes.

  24. Val (Yukon version)

    @Greg…I’m sure you are willing to pay Peter’s bills so that he can write to your reading schedule?


    Peter! Back to vovel-writing! Awesome!

    You have to stop with this body as food stuff, though…first leg o lamb, complete with silverskin, then pickled herring, now some kind lingonberry meat pastry! It’s…disturbing…alllmoooost enough to put me off my food…

    Glad to see that the leg is progressing so well. Do you have to ban the cats to sleep? Mine would take far to much interest in anything like that.

  25. Hljóðlegur

    ScottC says: Or if you, like me, have a brain permanently trapped in adolescence and could spot a dick in a Jackson Pollock, you can read it as the ship extending toward the viewer out of a thicket of Rorschach, and have the engine plasma take on a wonderfully juvenile symbolism.

    I’m glad I was able to distinguish myself with this contribution to the ‘Crawl.

    You did! I have a similar imagination, and I feel it’s a superpower granted by a radioactive spider bite while at a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit . We are special, you and I, in our insights.

    However, that dildoid is definitely heading away, man, joyfully penetrating the happy center of the ring.

    Peter Watts</b says: For the first time, the meat inside has risen above the level of the skin outside (as you can see …..

    Omagod, that is fascinatingly grotty. I’m fascinated and repelled at the same time. I still have the one of you digging around in your own leg wih some blue forcepts as my desktop wallpaper.

    If it continues to grow and you turn into something else, something wildly post-human, you won’t forget us, will you? You’ll still post photos of your new body parts, extra eyestalks, talons, etc?

  26. Hljóðlegur


    Peter Watts says: For the first time, the meat inside has risen above the level of the skin outside (as you can see …..

    Omagod, that is fascinatingly grotty. I’m fascinated and repelled at the same time. I still have the one of you digging around in your own leg wih some blue forcepts as my desktop wallpaper.

    If it continues to grow and you turn into something else, something wildly post-human, you won’t forget us, will you? You’ll still post photos of your new body parts, extra eyestalks, talons, etc?

  27. seruko

    I’ve just finished Legion and I have to say, Bravo Zulu.
    Beautiful moments, amazing heroic characterizations, and a good stab at dealing with the whole post/trans humans wearing chain mail bikini problem.
    Many many thanks.
    I owe you one.

  28. Val (also V) non-Yukon brand, hee

    I hope you don’t get a malfunction email, but I’ve tried to post this three or four times.

    calibre looks interesting. PDF -> Epub…thought it was possible, but found only sketchy tools. Many thanks!

    @Hljóðlegur (good to ‘see’ you again, by the way) The idea of Peter growing eyestalks terrifies me for some reason.

    re Legion, I appreciate that it has been thought-provoking as well as entertaining. Is the gamer playing the game, or the game the player ( :
    SImply reminds me to read a book that CS recommended to me at Boskone, “This Is Not A Game”. ( :

  29. Bahumat

    Meanwhile, this cruel bastard over here had to float this as an April Fool’s line. Which was like dangling the worlds most perfect donut over the worlds hungriest fat kid (me):


    I can dream of a day that such a project isn’t an april fool’s play, right? Right? ;_;

  30. Hljóðlegur

    @V: *waves*

    Sorry about the eyestalks? I just got all excited by the idea of Peter physically evolving before our eyes, in a science fictiony sort of way, to the next level. He’s let us watch him evolve metaphorically, as we see a slice of his life story unfold right here on the Crawl, and now we see his very person, his very flesh, transforming. Awesome.

    If it helps, don’t think of slug eyestalks, all gooey-shapeshifty, but something bright hard and perky, like crab eyes – those things are super cool. Or, you know, never mind about the whole concept; it might not be rescuable from ick.

  31. Finster Mushwell

    Inspired to have steak tartare tonight, with, of course, a couple of dry martinis. . .
    Cheers to Caitlin!

  32. Nestor

    Sheila, sorry, Malak who and what references? I’m drawing a blank here

    As for the Otomo short story I should clarify it’s a manga short story, a short, 6-9 page comic I read sometime in the 90s… there will be a collection somewhere, probably

  33. Theo Stauffer

    Someone in the pictures post wrote “Holy fucking shit. I don’t even…” I just want to echo that. There’s that urban legend that has the Chinese saying: “May you live in interesting times”. Well, Peter, your times are indeed very interesting. If it’s fighting with proto-humans (U.S. Border Guards) at the gates of hell (US), it’s getting terrible diseases.

    Peter, get better, please. Look after yourself, eat enough fruit and veg and do some sport when you can again. Learn to look for some pretty things in life and when you’re really, really well again, then you can go plumbing the depths of human and non-human emotions in writing again.

    P.S. Be nice to your cats, they’re prolly having a hard time coping with all the drama.

  34. Nestor

    Incidentally, I came across a brief discussion of Johnny Quest in this post from 2009, I wonder if you’re familiar with the Venture Brothers animated series? It’s a sort of adult parody of Johnny Quest, and in fact features an adult junkie burned out Johnny as part of the cast

    Adult swim has a few episodes online here

  35. Nestor

    Whoops, I just realized the adult swim site doesn’t stream outside of the US, I dunno if they consider Canada honorary USians for this purpose or if their geolocation isn’t so fine grained.

    oh well here’s season 4’s trailer

    The show is basically about a has been adventurer kid who has grown up as a failure always in the shadow of his super scientist dad

  36. Marek Krysiak

    I just stumbled across something interesting – a pop-science article by Carl Zimmer about Canine cancer:

    In an instant it reminded me about Peter’s post from not so long ago – ‘I shared my flesh with… ‘
    It’s great (in a repulsive, creepy sense) – it’s like ‘The Thing’ came-alive. Heh – more “I was always here”, even. Since the first research is so old (19th century) I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that John W. Campbell’s ‘Who Goes There?’ (the original ‘The Thing” inspiration) was born of some nightmare the writer had after reading some cynology magazine.
    It seems like one dog can get that kind of cancer from a contact with the other dogs. It’s a infectious, parasitic, single-celled, mammalian organism. When the tumour grows, it snatches parts of the other tissue – mostly mitochondria because hosts mitochondria are more ‘healthy’ i.e. free from mutations.

    It’s based on paper:
    Clare A. Rebbeck, Armand M. Leroi and Austin Burt. Mitochondrial Capture by a Transmissible Cancer. Science, 21 January 2011

  37. crabtoast

    Cool chinese translation cover, do you have a link to where I could buy a copy?

  38. Peter Watts

    Scott: “Revoltingly close to apologetically”? Seriously? I must be way more diplomatic than I thought; I was actually worried I might have come across as too angry. (And frankly, I am also rather pissed off that SoG had to navigate so many rocks in the road, so while I agree it’s nobody’s fucking place to demand that I write to their schedule, I can certainly empathize with a certain level of impatience.)

    Yukon Val: I don’t ban the cats during sleep (during which the wound is sealed up by the VAC system anyway). I do keep them at bay during actual wound dressings (hence the squirt bottle you see peeking up over my leg in Figure 2b), but it’s shoveling sand against the tide; last time we changed dressings, I had to forcep out several cat hairs that had settled onto the meat before laying on the new foam.

    Bahumat: Actually, that notice is out of date. Paolo is no longer associated with Null Earth; his writing is way too upbeat to be associated with the project.

    Nestor: I remember Jonny quest with much fondness. People keep recommending Venture Brothers to me, but I’ve yet to check them out. To do so would impose an unforgivable additional delay on those waiting for State of Grace. (I have given up bowel movements for the same reason.)

    Marak: I heard about that mitochondria-stealing dog-cancer in a Science podcast, back before my leg went hollow. It is one of the most deeply cool things I have heard about all year. Still trying to figure out how to shoehorn it seamlessly into my current projects.

    crabtoast: Sorry, I have no link. I only came across that graphic in the course of an ego-surfing session.

  39. ScottC

    Peter Watts:…I can certainly empathize with a certain level of impatience.

    I find this display of weakness from the same guy who just posted the pic of himself performing self-surgery on his own flesh-eaten stump of a leg, unsettling.

    Seriously though, I’m not sure empathy is required where none has been given.

  40. Julian Morrison

    Wellp, if you didn’t have toxoplasmosis before, surely you do now.

  41. Julian Morrison

    Also: tobiko gunkan. Cannot unsee!

  42. Branko Collin

    I’m not sure empathy is required where none has been given.

    Peter has mentioned multiple times that he doesn’t consider himself good at the whole self-promotion thing. I assumed Greg’s comment was in reference to this, and that his plea for only dangling fresh carrots was at least partially a way of trying to help. I’d call that emphatic. My two cents.

  43. Sheila

    Nestor, sorry for being obtuse. Didn’t mean to be. “Malak” is a short story from Peter collected in Engineering Infinity (a review I googled).

    I was about to say that the story opens up with a quote from Ronald Arkin, but I am so wrong. I just checked. It opens up with a quote from a report prepared by the Ethics and Emerging Sciences Group, “Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design” (pdf)

    anyway, nicely dovetails with your comment.

  44. ScottC

    I assumed Greg’s comment was […] partially a way of trying to help,


    Any lingering trace of empathy for Peter’s health issues alone would have led anyone with basic social skills to adopt a different tone than was evident in his douchey little, “Here’s a tip:”, and, “forgotten list” comments. Unless you think kicking a man when he’s down is generally evidence of empathy. Any sympathy for Peter as a real person, with his own practical concerns, who is in no way obligated to anyone but his employers and himself as a writer, would have lead to expressing the, “I can’t wait to read your book” sentiment in any number of different ways.

    It’s the last I’ll address the issue. I’m sure more attention has already been given it than Peter would have preferred, and I’m sorry for my part in that. For the record I was just ribbing Peter. The part of me that remains sane enough to conduct business for short periods of time in the outside world understands perfectly why Peter would diplomatically address a disgruntled member of his still-growing fan base to avoid alienating him further. The way that feral net dwellers are increasingly developing a sense of entitlement to the labors of creative people is something of a hot-button issue with me, though.

  45. Ben

    Also, why would you add authors to a paradoxical “forgotten list”, when you can just set up an Amazon alert and be notified when the book you want comes out?

  46. Sheila

    Nestor: “Sheila, sorry, Malak who and what references? I’m drawing a blank here”

    I think my reply got swallowed up by me hitting the back arrow or something. I was referring to Watt’s short story, “Malak” in the anthology, Engineering Infinities. It features a semi-autonomous military drone in Afghanistan. At the start there is a quote from a real life document on risks and ethics in military robotics.

    Great topic. your comment was pretty good. I don’t know anything about the Legion universe, but wonder how many of those suites there were, and if only a few, then maybe the twitchy pre-conscious lethal behaviors weren’t noticed until after the first guy (Prophet?) donned it.

    I am pretty sure that if I put on some AI that hooked into my brain and then started by interpreting the tiniest impulses as behaviors that should be carried out that I’d end up hitting on lots of people (in both senses of the word).

    Oh but wait, I listened to a guy from a neuroprothetics lab talk about signal detection and bayesian analysis for measuring nerve firings for deciding where the intent of the user is for moving a robot arm. I think if you have people working on therapeutic devices in a non-dystopian world, that they’d work things out so that the person with the robotic arm doesn’t crush eggshells.

    but in a dystopia, less so. in the Legion setting, maybe the suit ran Alcatraz without him completely in charge first since he was so shot up at the beginning and had to be mended. or maybe Alcatraz is not at all an outlier and those people are just batshit insane.

  47. Hljóðlegur

    Nestor, on April 2nd, 2011 at 2:28 am Said:
    Incidentally, I came across a brief discussion of Johnny Quest in this post from 2009, I wonder if you’re familiar with the Venture Brothers animated series?

    Count me as a real fan, partly because anything that Patrick Warburton says in that super-macho voice is funny. Also, because it parodies cultural icons from my era, such as Colonel Gather who is clearly a transsexual Hunter Thompson, or Henry Kissinger as an evil Mary Poppins.

    Venture Brothers a beautiful, sad, very funny exploration of what it means to be a man in the 21st century, and of what it means to be “a loser” in general, to have had potential but to be sliding toward middle age as way less that you were told you could be. Between the silliness, it’s kind of deep in places. Kind of Jonathen Lethem as a cartoon on acid.

    I was suprised to find out that the creators were men in their 30’s. because they seemed to au courant with my childhood and to have middle-aged style disappointment.

  48. Nestor

    I dunno, I’m in my 30s and have plenty of disappointments 🙂

    And the internet kids keep telling me that guys in their 30s are middle aged already.

  49. Val


    I just read
    Peter physically evolving before our eyes [. . . .] something bright hard and perky and went “augh, flee”! then realized his sense of humor was getting to my neural tissue and it needed to be steam cleaned.

  50. Val

    my neural tissue. Not his sense of humor. That sells books. The sense of humor I mean.

    caffeine scrambling syntax creating abilities.

  51. Thomas Hardman

    That photo looks almost… disturbingly… healthy. As in, wound edges seem to be nice and plump without “look[ing] like dried up turkey leftovers” as in a few blog posts ago. Clearly it’s on the mend, nice color in the exposed muscle, etc.

    Reminds me a bit of a cow they used to have at the University of Maryland school of Agriculture in which they had a cow with a window into its stomach. Didn’t bother the cow much, or so it seemed some years after the procedure was done, and you could still watch its insides in operation. Once one got used to the idea, it was pretty cool. But I think I can speak for a few folks here by saying that it will be much better to see the “all healed up” photos, ideally in the near future.

    @Peter Watts: infighting at the publisher sucks, but you’ve done plenty of other writing aside from that project. However I’m glad to hear that you’re working more steadily on SoG as well as getting your leg back into shape. Signed, yet-another hopeful reader. 😉

  52. Cleo

    Glad your wound is healing! You’re still one hot SOB! 😉