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inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #51 of 131: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Tue 6 Jan 04 14:00
    
The high tailing it out of town reference wasn't about your leaving for
Colorado.  You came back at least.  It was about a couple who hotfooted it
to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Bruce, is Hot Springs the next Austin?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #52 of 131: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 6 Jan 04 14:01
    
Austin has certainly got its financial problems these days,
but it has just declared itself the "Clean Energy Capital of the
World" and I'm pretty well determined to live in the
Clean Energy Capital of the World.  It certainly
beats trying to breathe downwind of the
Dirty Energy Capital of the World.

Distributed power is  a sexy idea and it's starting
to get  credibility with the big players. It used to
be a blue-sky notion and now it's showing up
at heavy-duty energy conferences.  Austin's
"Austin Energy" talks a lot about this.  They
hope they can invent or adapt some kind of fast, smart
utility software that knits together solar panels,
distant windmills, hydrogen fuel cells, biomass
burning, methane from landfills, plus
the inevitable legacy coal, oil, and gas and nuclear,
and still can supply clean dependable voltage
suitable for running Austin Internet routers
and chip fabs.  These industries are awful
picky about brownouts.

It's not the easy way to run a utility,
but it might well be the future way.

And if they can manage to do this, they
figure they can make  money
by selling that fast-response model to people whose
systems are backward, pre-digital and stuck-in-the-mud.

Small isn't necessarily beautiful by itself.
In India I used to see people powering themselves
with cow-dung patties and the branches hacked
off trees in city parks.  That's small and distributed,
but it was the opposite of beautiful, 
and they would have been a lot better off
with some fume-free household wiring and
and some nice, big, hefty, 5-megawatt
giant offshore windmills.

Windpower gets more efficient with the size
of the blade.  You'll never make a serious dent in
coal or nuclear with a bunch of tiny little
home-owner windmills.  You pretty well
need to truck in some of those grown-up
Danish jobbies with a fuselage the size
of a 707.  Why kid around?

No I did not watch "Battlestar Galactica."
As is well known, I consume practically
nothing these days but Bollywood movies.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #53 of 131: Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Tue 6 Jan 04 15:10
    
Any Bollywood recommendations?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #54 of 131: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Tue 6 Jan 04 15:41
    
Notice he sidestepped the question about dim theater projection bulbs?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #55 of 131: virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Tue 6 Jan 04 20:36
    
bruces watches at home

stuff with Kajol
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #56 of 131: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 6 Jan 04 22:25
    
That software point is worth pursuing: computers and software are 
facilitating the move to clean energy by enabling so many of the 
technologies as well as monitoring. There are also systems of energy 
credits (the Texas version being a model for other states and countries) 
that can be brokered on computer-driven exchanges. I recall a piece of 
fiction that ran in Coevolution Quarterly years ago, the only fiction I 
recall seeing in CQ, that was written by J.G. Ballard, and was about a 
clean energy sustainable future, a little on the post-apocalytic side, but 
not the dystopian cyberpunk future. Could this be a suitable path for 
speculative fiction, envisioning futures that are shaped by new sources of 
energy?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #57 of 131: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 7 Jan 04 06:57
    
Kajol is in semi-official retirement at the moment,
but her husband Ajay Devgan sure has been a busy guy.

Because I watch them for sociological, trend-spotting
reasons, I tend to like Bollywood movies that are
either really unpopular or sort of ludicrously popular.
David Chute, who is my favorite Bollywood critic,
actually watches this stuff from a cinematic perspective.
I don't get excited by Bollywood cinema unless I
see them doing something seriously alien that 
I am just barely beginning to understand.

David Chute explains it all:
http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Island/3102/resume.htm

If you're into cyberpunk, this is your Bollywood movie.
"Qayamat -- City Under Threat."  A big hit in the
Turkey City SF Writers Workshop.
http://www.qayamatthefilm.com/

"The Hero: Love Story of a Spy" didn't do well
in the box office, but it's a kind of X-ray of
modernist Indian BJP patriotic  jingoism.
Features evil Pakistanis with WMD.  Thanks to
constant costume changes, Sunny Deol 
acts instead of mailing in his performance.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/asianlife/film/reviews/the_hero.shtml

Fans of Edward Said imperialist orientalism
should forget modern Bollywood and check
out the sob-worthy, sequin-spangled historical vehicle
that made Rekha the dark star of Indian cinema.
"Umrao Jaan."  
http://www.rediff.com/entertai/2003/may/17dinesh.htm
http://www.uiowa.edu/~incinema/umraojaan.html

This film is the "Citizen Kane" of the Bollywood
feudal-family epic -- "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham."
It made a mint.  Top-notch tech skills by Karan Johar,
a loyal modern scion of the old industry.
http://www.rediff.com/search/k3g.htm

And if you're still hungry, check out this
Ram Gopal Varma epic of Mumbai gangster
corruption, "Company."  It may be Ajay Devgan's
best role -- he is genuinely scary in this.
http://www.planetbollywood.com/Film/Company/
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #58 of 131: Ted (nukem777) Wed 7 Jan 04 09:53
    
Bruce, nice interview in
Reason,http://www.reason.com/0401/fe.mg.cybergreen.shtml,
would you talk a bit about what you see re: our being on the verge of
post-humanity?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #59 of 131: from DAVID DAVISSON (tnf) Wed 7 Jan 04 16:02
    



David Davisson writes:



Bruce - Like Keith Richards wondering who the
musicians he likes listen to, I've wondered what
websites you visit regularly. Magazines regularly
read? Authors you read?

Thanks!
dave

David Davisson
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #60 of 131: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 7 Jan 04 16:39
    
Bruce, nice interview in
Reason,http://www.reason.com/0401/fe.mg.cybergreen.shtml,
would you talk a bit about what you see re: our being on the verge of
post-humanity?

*I'm kinda inclined to think we'll ooze over the verge
without quite admitting it to ourselves.  But there's
a lust for posthumanity in contemporary society
that's been blatantly obvious for many years.
We want it real bad, it's just not quite technically
there yet.

*In peacetime it's in stuff like cosmetic surgery,
recreational neurochemistry and athletic performance 
enhancement.  Nowadays it's in harder stuff like this:

http://www.darpa.mil/dso/thrust/matdev/ehpa.htm

*Neurally-controlled military exoskeletons.

"To develop devices and machines that will increase the speed,
strength, and endurance of soldiers in combat environments."

*Okay, fine, but "combat environments" last only a few hours.
Consider the more general implications here.
What happens when Skeleton-boy there has been Robocopping
along in superhuman conditions every day for a two-year or
four-year tour of duty?  Will he want to go back
to civvy street and have sand kicked in his face?

You might start seeing civilian spinoffs of this
for the medical market, for quadriplegics, the aged,
and all of a sudden you're right in the middle of
William Gibson's "The Winter Market" (1986).

I've wondered what
websites you visit regularly.

*http://www.boingboing.net
http://www.worldchanging.org
http://del.icio.us/

Feedster, Technorati, Daypop, Blogdex.
Lots of others.

 Magazines regularly
read?

*I take about 50 these days, but I especially like
I.D., Metropolis, "Homeland Security Professional,"
and "Special Operations Technology."

*Plus F&SF, Asimov's and Interzone, of course.
Everyone should subscribe to those for the good
of the human race.

*Plus, I not only work for WIRED, I read it.

 Authors you read?

*I try to read foreign ones nobody's ever heard of.
Like, say, Dubravka Ugresic's THE MUSEUM OF
UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER.  It's not the sort
of thing I would ever force on anybody, but it
kept me turning pages. 
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #61 of 131: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 7 Jan 04 19:28
    
I'm staring at the recent photos from Mars, and wondering if we'll ever 
get the the Star Trek vision of space colonization. Those of us who've 
read megatons of science fiction are conditioned to expect interplanetary 
travel, pacts with aliens, hops across the galaxy via space warps. Given 
the state of things, you have to wonder if we'll do more than burn out, as 
a species. I know you wrote a few stories set in space - does your head 
still go there?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #62 of 131: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Wed 7 Jan 04 20:00
    
He missed Battlestar Galactica, Jon.  That must be a clue.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #63 of 131: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Thu 8 Jan 04 07:57
    
Well, if you don't know space opera, you just don't
know science fiction very well.

On the other hand, I'm about to go hang out with
RAND corporation this morning.  Even in their
longest-range forecasts, I doubt that they foresee
Starship Enterprise TV set-ups where spacecraft
mysteriously have artificial gravity and aliens
are only as alien as human actors can get without
suffocating in the rubber mask.

I'll believe in people settling Mars at about the
same time I see people setting the Gobi Desert.
The Gobi Desert is about a thousand times
as hospitable as Mars and five hundred times
cheaper and easier to reach.  Nobody ever
writes "Gobi Desert Opera" because, well,
it's just kind of plonkingly obvious that there's
no  good reason to go there and live.  It's ugly,
it's inhospitable and there's no way to
make it pay.  Mars is just the same, really.
We just romanticize it because it's so hard to reach.

On the other hand, there might really be some
way to make living in the Gobi Desert pay.
And if that were the case, and you really
had communities making a nice cheerful
go of daily life on arid, freezing, barren rock
and sand, then a cultural transfer to Mars
might make a certain sense.

If there were a society with enough technical
power to terraform Mars, they would
certainly do it.  On the other hand.
by the time they got around to messing with Mars,
they would have been using all that power
to transform *themselves.*  So by the time
they got there and started rebuilding the
Martian atmosphere wholesale, they wouldn't
look or act a whole lot like Hollywood extras.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #64 of 131: Life in the big (doctorow) Thu 8 Jan 04 08:03
    
Blogged that. Nice.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #65 of 131: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 8 Jan 04 09:35
    
Great explanation.  The bumpersticker would be "Terraform Earth First."

(Of course, seems to me that some of our attempts to do that historically 
by moving species around have created environmental chaos.)
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #66 of 131: Coleman K. Ridge (ckridge) Thu 8 Jan 04 09:54
    
It would follow that a plausible story about living on even a
terraformed Mars would be about people living there for the same
reasons and in the same ways that people live in the harsher deserts on
Earth. They would be small tribes chased off of the good land,
hermits, prospectors, mystics, and bandits.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #67 of 131: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 8 Jan 04 09:56
    
Except that in the deep Mojave you meet those folks and they drifted there
with no money.  You don't drift to Mars with no money in any kind of economy
I can imagine.  I suppose you could be banished there in the Austrailian
prisoner settler model, but the economies are still not very plausible.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #68 of 131: And on waking this morning I thought "Zeugma!" but it was too late. (tinymonster) Thu 8 Jan 04 09:58
    
Hmmm... so that leaves rich eccentrics.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #69 of 131: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 8 Jan 04 09:59
    
I guess it's a relief to see that Mars isn't filled with cooters planning 
invasion (see http://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/anderson.html).

Can you give us a preview of your new novel, _The Zenith Angle_?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #70 of 131: from FINN SMITH (tnf) Thu 8 Jan 04 10:16
    



Finn Smith writes:


> "If there were a society with enough technical power to terraform Mars,
> they would certainly do it.  On the other hand.  by the time they got
> around to messing with Mars, they would have been using all that power to
> transform *themselves.*  So by the time they got there and started rebuild-
> ing the Martian atmosphere wholesale, they wouldn't look or act a whole lot
> like Hollywood extras."

Need I point out that this is the premise of Bruce's novel Schismatrix and
the associated stories?

-F
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #71 of 131: Rob from off-Well writes (bumbaugh) Thu 8 Jan 04 12:10
    
Rob writes to say



> The high tailing it out of town reference wasn't about your leaving
for
> Colorado.  You came back at least.  It was about a couple who
hotfooted it
> to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Bruce, is Hot Springs the next Austin?


Hot Springs isn't the new Austin.  Well, I don't think so anyway, and
neither do my friends who have lived there recently.

But if you're looking for a hotspot, the energy zone, the growth
region, and the place where the wierdos accrete, try NW Arkansas.  

Fayetteville/Springdale/Rogers/Bentonville.

We've got Wal Mart and Tyson up here (and an overall strange
concentration of millionaires).  Maybe we're not totally proud of them,
but we know a potential patron when we see one.  ;)  It's a wierd mix
of big business rubbing elbows with artsy earth hippies and renegade
hitech redneck artists.

Mmm, speaking of which, I was talking over a story with one of the
renegade artists in the area last night and got invited to a non-verbal
communication party.  Apparently, from 10-12, anyone speaking,
writing, or mouthing/miming a word will be booted.  Then a brief period
to blow off steam and discuss, followed by who knows how much more of
the same.

 

Bruce:

There's a million little reasons why Schismatrix is a wonder to me. 
Holy Fire in paperback I tell ya.  I've always wondered a couple of
small things though:

1, How did it feel when you were writing it?  Did you know it was
Fire?  Did you feel that it would be recieved better/worse?

2, Do you feel the same about writing now as you did then?  Or has it
morphed on you over the years into something new?  Which of your novels
did you enjoy writing the most?

(not asking you to pick what's better, old/young, now/then, etc, just
wondering how the craft of writing has changed you and changed FOR you
over the years since Schismatrix)
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #72 of 131: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Thu 8 Jan 04 19:56
    


Great explanation.  The bumpersticker would be "Terraform Earth
First."

*In point of fact, through global warming we're busily
Venusifying the Earth.  On Venus, it snows vaporized lead
on the mountaintops. Or so they say.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3236018.stm


inkwell.vue 204: The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
#66 of 71: Coleman K. Ridge (ckridge) Thu 08 Jan 2004 (09:54 AM)


It would follow that a plausible story about living on even a
terraformed Mars would be about people living there for the same
reasons and in the same ways that people live in the harsher deserts
on
Earth. They would be small tribes chased off of the good land,
hermits, prospectors, mystics, and bandits.

*Something like the hardy Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock, then?
Half of them starved to death.  I wonder
if people nowadays would consider a Martian colony a real  success
if half of them were dead of hunger in six months.

*Small tribes of mystics don't seem to be real good at
planning ahead.  They'd better have either Squanto.
or manna from heaven.  Otherwise there's hell to pay.
http://www.mayflowerfamilies.com/colonial_life/pilgrims.htm


Can you give us a preview of your new novel, _The Zenith Angle_?

*It's about a computer security expert who goes to
work for the Bush Administration after 9/11.  Complications
ensue.

Bruce:

There's a million little reasons why Schismatrix is a wonder to me. 
Holy Fire in paperback I tell ya.  I've always wondered a couple of
small things though:

1, How did it feel when you were writing it?

*I felt 29 years old.

Did you know it was Fire?  Did you feel that it would 
be recieved better/worse?

*I've learned not to try to outguess these things.
The book was very obscure when it came out, then it got
an underground reputation, and now it's considered
widely influential, but, well, that's not the end of its story.
Every passing epoch puts a different gloss on the past.

*Lookah this thing.  These guys are web-streaming amazingly bad
1960s psychedelic music, and they couldn't be more excited
if they were disinterring Assyrian bas-reliefs.
http://clavicenter.challenge.nl/klemtoon/eerste.html

2, Do you feel the same about writing now as you did then? 

*No.

Or has it morphed on you over the years into something new? 

*There's a major arc in a writing career.  You start with
a burning need to speak and embarrassing verbal clumsiness,
and you end with perfect technical facility and nothing
left to say.

 Which of your novels
did you enjoy writing the most?

*I was in a pretty good mood when I wrote HOLY FIRE.
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #73 of 131: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 9 Jan 04 05:27
    
Vincent Omniaveritas once wrote:

"As American SF lies in a reptilian torpor, its small, squishy cousin,
Fantasy, creeps gecko-like across the bookstands.  Dreaming of
dragon-hood, Fantasy has puffed itself up with air like a Mojave
chuckwalla.  SF's collapse had formed a vacuum that forces Fantasy into a
painful and explosive bloat."

What's the state of hard science fiction today? 
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #74 of 131: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Fri 9 Jan 04 08:32
    
What's wrong with our Space Program?  What's right?  What would you do if
you were head of NASA?
  
inkwell.vue.204 : The 2004 Bruce Sterling State of the World Address
permalink #75 of 131: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Fri 9 Jan 04 11:02
    
What kinds of "complications ensue" in the Zenith Angle?  Where'd you dig up
that name "Zenith Angle"?
  

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