Filed under: Brave New World, Connections, Genetic Testing, Predictions, Science, Science Fiction, Superman, tech, Writing stuff | Tags: blogging, Chinese, Chu Ling, Communion of Dreams, ExtremeTech, genetic modification, genetics, health, jim downey, John Hewitt, predictions, science, Science Fiction, technology, writing
From Chapter 5 of Communion of Dreams, after the revelation that the Chinese orphan Chu Ling is a clone:
Jon looked around. He decided to tell them the rest of the bad news. “And that’s not all. There’s evidence that the original host had been genetically manipulated to radically change several characteristics related to intelligence.”
Bailey looked a little confused. “What’s that mean?”
Gish sighed. “It means that someone has created a better human, and now is producing copies.”
“Well, better in their eyes, anyway,” said Gates. Her voice contained a touch of bitterness.
Gee, here’s a bit of news:
And so it has come to pass: Chinese scientists at the University in Guangzhou have created the first genetically modified human embryos. Although there had been rumors circulating for some time that it had already been done, until now, there has been no official scientific report.
Another prediction come true.
Filed under: Connections, Humor, Science Fiction, Wales, Writing stuff | Tags: Armageddon, blogging, Communion of Dreams, Darnell Sidwell, humor, jim downey, Pillar of Eliseg, Science Fiction, serendipity, St. Cybi's Well, Tel Aviv University, Valle Crucis Abbey, Wikipedia, writing
Man, I love serendipity … all along I had planned on including the Pillar of Eliseg as one of the sites in St Cybi’s Well. It was one of the first places I saw in Wales, and I’ve always loved it and the nearby Valle Crucis Abbey. Well, they’ve recently discovered that there is an Early Bronze Age cist under the medieval ‘pillar’ — something which I also wanted to include for other reasons related to the story.
Now, the protagonist of this novel — Darnell Sidwell — lives in Tel Aviv, and we know from Communion of Dreams that he has some history doing volunteer work on archeological digs in Israel. So I checked the Wiki entry for Tel Aviv University, found a member of their archeology faculty who it would be logical for Darnell to have known and volunteered for. I just like to have those sorts of details all accurate or at least plausible. Yeah, it’s part of the reason why this book is taking me so long to write.
Anyway, I found a faculty member who fit the bill, and who is a specialist in the Early Bronze Age. Cool — everything worked out just fine. But in continuing to dig a little into that guy’s background and research, I found that he has done a lot of work at one particular site which it would be logical for Darnell to have also visited, if not actually volunteered there: Tel Megiddo, or often as just Megiddo.
But you probably know it as “Armageddon“.
Filed under: Astronomy, Fermi's Paradox, Humor, NYT, Privacy, Science, Science Fiction, Seth Shostak, SETI, Space, Survival, tech, Website at the end of the Universe, Writing stuff | Tags: astronomy, blogging, Communion of Dreams, Drake Equation, Fermi's Paradox, humor, jim downey, New York Times, science, Science Fiction, Seth Shostak, SETI, space, Stephen Hawking, technology, writing
A better approach is to note that the nearest intelligent extraterrestrials are likely to be at least dozens of light-years away. Even assuming that active SETI provokes a reply, it won’t be breezy conversation. Simple back-and-forth exchanges would take decades. This suggests that we should abandon the “greeting card” format of previous signaling schemes, and offer the aliens Big Data.
For example, we could transmit the contents of the Internet. Such a large corpus — with its text, pictures, videos and sounds — would allow clever extraterrestrials to decipher much about our society, and even formulate questions that could be answered with the material in hand.
While I still agree with Stephen Hawking on the idea of ‘active SETI’, I think that there’s merit in the idea of exposing other nearby civilizations to what we’re really like, warts and all. Because as soon as they decoded our transmissions well enough to understand the comments section of pretty much any major site on the web, they’d either completely wall off our solar system* and post warnings around it or just trigger our sun to go supernova. Either way, we’d never know what happened, and the rest of the galaxy would be safe …
*gee, that’d make an interesting premise for a SF novel, doncha think?
Filed under: Brave New World, Connections, Predictions, Science, Science Fiction, tech, Wired, Writing stuff | Tags: blogging, Communion of Dreams, jim downey, predictions, science, Science Fiction, Tactum, technology, Wired, writing
From page two of Communion of Dreams:
He paused there at the railing, right hand manipulating the thin-film controls under the skin on the back of his left hand. Looking out over the herd of slowly moving animals, a see-through display came up before him. Nothing new on the nets. So, whatever the emergency was, it wasn’t public knowledge yet. He turned, opened the door to the station, and stepped inside.
From a new article on Wired this morning:
Gannon is exploring modeling techniques that use the human skin as their primary interface. Her prototype is called Tactum. Instead of creating free-floating models in software like CAD, Gannon’s setup uses a Kinect camera and a projector to create a virtual modeling environment right on your hand.
The projector beams blue lights onto the skin. That light represents the base geometry of the band you’ll eventually wear. The Kinect tracks your body and space and keeps the projection aligned. To adjust the design, you drag it with your fingers; there’s no layer of mediation, you just manipulate the form directly. “You could be pinching, touching, poking, prodding and that visual geometry on your arm without having to go through any computer,” Gannon says. “Your skin and hand are the equivalent of the mouse and keyboard.”
Another step in Communion of Dreams becoming reality.
Filed under: Amazon, Connections, Feedback, Kindle, Marketing, Publishing, Science Fiction | Tags: Amazon, art, blogging, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, feedback, jim downey, Kindle, reviews, Science Fiction, writing
Two new reviews of Communion of Dreams:
on March 23, 2015Very well written..kudos to author. Just like seeing an engrossing sci-fi movie. Time flies as you turn the pages in this book!
on March 17, 2015An excellent new version of a future, well presented, lots of new ideas and interesting characters Enjoyed not being able to predict what was going to happen next!
Agree? Disagree? Nah, don’t tell me — go write a review yourself! After all:
Filed under: Failure, Science Fiction, Writing stuff | Tags: blogging, Communion of Dreams, failure, jim downey, literature, Science Fiction, St. Cybi's Well, The Guardian, Tim Lott, writing
Gods, this is so painfully, penetratingly accurate: You think writing’s a dream job? It’s more like a horror film.
Just one excerpt:
However, as I emphasise to the fledgling writers who come and attend my Guardian Masterclass courses, writing novels for a living is hard – unimaginably hard, for those who have not tried it. I cannot imagine that it is less complex than brain surgery, or, indeed, the proverbial rocket science. To master dialogue, description, subtext, plot, structure, character, time, point of view, beginnings, endings, theme and much besides is a Herculean labour, not made more appealing by the fact that you always – always – fail.
And as I noted the other day, the knowledge that you are failing never leaves you, and it is only then that self-confidence can get you though. Maybe.
But Chapter 12 has been finished and put to bed. Now working on revisions for the rest of the story arc before getting into the next chapter.