January 2023 Archives

Then Bioy Casares recalled that one of the heresiarchs of Uqbar had declared that mirrors and copulation are abominable, because they increase the number of men.

— "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", Jorge Luis Borges, tr. James E. Irby

the guymaker is a chaotic diety. with the ability to create human-like "guys" i could do something productive but instead I choose to make weird people who I get to watch do weird things. there is rarely an agenda behind any given guy other than "heh. funny"

— Twitter user @makeupaguy

Imagine that you could push a button and create a new person.

Or imagine that you were a witch and you could flick your wrist and curse any innocent passing toad with sudden humanity — a human body, a mouth, a name, free will, dreams. For the sake of argument let's say that they would be an adult, with an intellect appropriate for an adult. Maybe with a language or two; maybe amnesiac, but maybe with a cushion of forged past experiences to draw from. Other than that, what you would get is mostly random. (No, I'm not going to try to define a random variable on the set of all possible humans.)

And let's say you had the toad in hand. Let's say the toad was ready to go. Would you do it? If so, why? If not, why not?

My first new year's resolution for 2023 is to start inviting guest bloggers to post on my blog again—I slackened off after 2018—so here we are!

First up in 2023 is qntm. He self-describes thuswise:

qntm has been writing science fiction for most of this millennium. He has self-published five books so far, the first four of which are novel-length serials originally born on the web. Ed, Fine Structure and Ra were first posted on the persistently uncategorisable mid-2000s Web 2.0 project, Everything2. There Is No Antimemetics Division originated as a series of tales set in the collaborative sci-fi/horror universe of the SCP Foundation. His fifth book, 2022's Valuable Humans in Transit and Other Stories, collects the highlights of his short fiction, notably "Lena".

He develops software for a living. His notable personal software projects include HATETRIS and Absurdle, adversarial takes on Tetris and Wordle respectively. His website is qntm.org.

I've been a fan of his fascinating, cerebral writing for some time; particularly his short horrifying and brilliant short story Lena (which I've mentioned in various comment threads here previously). Oh, and (shameless promotional moment) we now share a literary agent, so hopefully you'll be reading more of his books soon.

So I hope you'll extend a warm welcome to qntm ...

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