If you're regular here, you might have noticed lately that my blog entries have been structured more as triggers for discussion than as lengthy discursive essays. There's a reason for that: I've been busy working, and it's easier to occasionally pop into a discussion than to come up with a coherent, structured, defensible essay a couple of times a week. Besides, there's enough of a community here that I figured I should let you folks do some of the heavy lifting for once ...
Well, I just got to type THE END at the end of another novel. This doesn't mean the work is over; my esteemed collaborator has a chunk of tyre-kicking to do and may yet flag it up as not finished yet ... but in principle, I think we've got a workable first draft of "The Rapture of the Nerds", which is due out from Tor next September.
I really get bugged by being labelled "the singularity guy", but unfortunately there's no way out of it this time: RoTN is clearly a singularity novel, and bears some alarming parallels to Accelerando, if you can imagine me doing a mind-meld with Cory Doctorow, smoking hash until hallucinating, then feeding that earlier novel to a wood-chipper.
In other news things are going to be quiet again next week, because on Wednesday I'm off to DARPA's Hundred Year Starship symposium in Orlando. (It's only a weekend event, but the routing from Edinburgh to Orlando is baroque, so I won't be home and back on local time 'til the following Wednesday.)
To quote DARPA's intro web page:
The 100 Year Starship Study is an effort seeded by DARPA to develop a viable and sustainable model for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the myriad of disciplines needed to make long-distance space travel practicable and feasible. ... This endeavor will require an understanding of questions such as: how do organizations evolve and maintain focus and momentum for 100 years or more; what models have supported long term technology development; what resources and financial structures have initiated and sustained prior settlements of "new worlds?"
This is, in my view, vital stuff; as you probably guessed (if you've been following the intermittent essays and discussions on space colonization) I think we're still at the stage of dealing with "unknown unknowns" here, trying to scope out the right questions we should be looking for answers to before we can actually evaluate whether space colonization (or even long-range exploration) is a practical proposition.
Hopefully I'll have something to report the following week ...