Back to: Amazonfail round-up | Forward to: This is not that post about the future of web publishing I was going to write.

When the machines dance

"Hexapodia is the key insight." (You've probably seen that video already, but I couldn't resist sharing. Just in case.)

In about 48 hours I'm off to Boston and New York for a week and a half. Needless to say I won't be blogging much (although I'm hoping to record and podcat the panel I'm on at Boskone — a retrospective appraisal of the Singularity in SF with Al Reynolds and Vernor Vinge).

But surprise! The blog won't be left to the tumbleweed.

Because I travel too damn much, I've decided to invite guest bloggers to take over Charlie's Diary while I'm away. (I've also recruited a couple of moderators to ride herd on the discussions in my absence.)

First up is the — what's the right adjective here? Fantastic? Feisty? Fragrant? Formidable? — Elizabeth Bear, who has won twice as many Hugo awards for her SF as me. If you haven't heard of her, start here. (Better still, buy her books.) She's got my soapbox for the next week. I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with it!

19 Comments

1:

I'm sure Futurama's heads in jars wished they had THIS technology.

2:

Hey, I didn't realize you were in NY this trip too-- what's the venue?

3:

> "Hexapodia is the key insight"

A confused poster on the net of a thousand lies in "A Fire Upon the Deep", right?

4:

Jim D: There is no venue. I'm in NYC for meetings with agent and editors.

5:

Giles: I have pasted an explanation at http://pastebin.com/f28cca17c . WARNING: This contains spoilers for A Fire Upon The Deep.

6:

Is AI Reynolds our first uploaded author or is it a fully synthetic consciousness? No, I am not going to look back at what was actually written.

Have fun.

7:

I saw that on boing boing; it's amazing how agile they are. Imagine these things as maintenance robots with magnetic feet scurrying over some large structure, future shock or what.

The ebook posts are indeed fascinating but make my poor head spin. And the comments... yeesh.

8:

It reminds me of Al's Revelation Space books where there's little rat-like robots that clean and run errands.

9:

"record and podcat"

I for one welcome our new feline web-overlords.

10:

The spelling should be "poddycat", surely?

11:

Thanks for posting that video clip, Charlie, it cheered me up.

12:

@Marilee J. Layman: I think the rats in the Nostalgia for Infinity were real rats (perhaps slightly modified, but not to the extent the pigs and apes were).

When I first saw the vid I thought, 'Cool, the next generation in Mars Explorers.' Except I was wrong, obviously, since I bet legs require a load more power for motion than wheels. Still, it would be interesting to know if they offer any better failure-modes than wheeled traction (Spirit lost the use of one of its wheels in early 2006.)

13:

Wheeled legs? Use wheels until legs are necessary. Use legs briefly, return to wheels.

14:

Ooh, put wheels on those legs, you'd get Tachikomas.

15:

Vinge rocks! I'll pay big bucks to get his next book the day that it ships.


"May we sit with you?" she asked, savoring the familiar language.

"Please do." The twitterer looked like a small ornamental tree sitting in a six-wheeled cart. The cart was marked with cosmetic stripes and tassels; its 150-by-120-centimeter topside was covered with a cargo scarf in the same pattern as the signet flag. The creature was a Greater Skroderider. Its race traded through much of the Middle Beyond, including Sjandra Kei. The Skroderider's high-pitched voice came from its voder. But speaking Samnorsk, it sounded homier than anything she'd heard in a long time. Even granting the mental peculiarities of Skroderiders, she felt a surge of affectionate nostalgia, as if she had run into a old classmate in a far city.

"My name is--" the sound was the rustling of fronds, "but you can easier call me Blueshell.

16:

Okay, they can dance, but can they sing as well?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjKSZOUVgeo

17:

NASA is working on ATHLETE, a large rover hexapod system, looks fantastic. It can walk or roll over terrain as needed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgozjwyUnnk

18:

Looking forward to Elizabeth's contribution - must admit to never having read her work, but with titles such as:
The Horrid Glory of Its Wings
Shoggoths in Bloom
Lucifugous
...it's got to be worth a read!

19:

Wow, thanks, that ATHLETE video really is cool.

Specials

Merchandise

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on February 6, 2010 12:30 PM.

Amazonfail round-up was the previous entry in this blog.

This is not that post about the future of web publishing I was going to write. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Search this blog

Propaganda