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Old May 13 2012, 05:42 PM   #8
stj
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

^^^I gather it was Ken MacLeod who termed the Singularity "rapture of the nerds." But it appears that he has recanted or is deliberately aiming at an audience that believes the Singularity is a real possibility, judging from his new book The Restoration Game. In it, he assumes a universe that is very much inspired by some notions of what might result from the Singularity. However, the notion of the Singularity that is most influential amongst scientists has been articulated by Ray Kurzweil, who is regarded by many scientists as articulating some sound speculations.

As to MacLeod...

SPOILER ALERT
















In Restoration Game a computer gamer discovers this world is a computer simulation created by renegade Artificial Intelligences (called Synthetic Psyches.) The renegades have been defeated and captured by humans (of a sort) who spend their long lives (advanced medical science) playing interactive virtual games for points, The Matrix, for fun and profit instead of a prison/scam. The good guys in the "real" virtual world are attempting to bring us, a virtual humanity, into the real world. Presumably our fictional race is to be incarnated at least into the MMPORG universe.

END SPOILERS

Not only does MacLeod assume the Singularity, some of us fictional people in this simulated universe have become aware that there is a Better World beyond Ours and that Our Saviors will roll up this one and bring the New Order. In other words, MacLeod has imagined a SF True Religion with creepy similarities to real religions currently popular in the US. (MacLeod is an English writer [he says he's Scottish but there's no difference visible in his work from this side of the Atlantic] but the UK market is too small to dominate the writing process.)

I would be tempted to think MacLeod was either pulling everyone's leg, or being completely cynical in pandering to the nerds, except the book is dominated by a remarkably retro anti-Communist plot. The title Restoration Game also refers to the restoration of capitalism. MacLeod is a libertarian/Trotskyite, so his commitment to anti-Communism is unquestionable. The character in the book who is nicest to the narrator consciously aimed at capitalist restoration! Which is, as they say, no accident.

Narratively speaking, the book is largely anticlimactic because it was so obvious where the plot was headed.
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