Saturday Waffling (February 6th, 2016)


I've just gotten to the final section of the book I'm now calling Neoreaction: A Basilisk. Plans for release exist, and it'll be out sooner than you think. Indeed, probably sooner than Last War in Albion Book One, though I got the first set of pages for that off to Jane this week as well. Now to confront the horror that is "Fearful Symmetry." 

Anyone done their Hugo ballots yet? Post what you've got in comments. 

Oh, fine, three shorter-than-a-sentence excerpts from Neoreaction: A Basilisk:

Gödel, Escher, Bach, which is what nerdy teenagers in the 1980s read instead of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, largely to their credit.

the contemporary pagan community, which includes a white nationalist strain in the Nazi occultist tradition, of turning to European folklore to escape the corruption of Jew-tainted Christianity in amidst the NPR-listening Wiccans with artisan granola businesses

what other terms can Satan’s rebellion be described in besides “dude took the red pill hard?”


James Wylder 4 years, 11 months ago

I'll be curious what people post in here for their Hugo ballots. I'm still hoping one of my stories manages to dark horse it's way on ( The most likely of which seems to be "A Less Holy Grail" for best Novelette so I may as well shamelessly link it for the curious: )

I'm really excited for the surprise book, also.

How revised will LWiA vol 1 be from its original posting?

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Jane 4 years, 11 months ago

What a weird definition of "pagan."

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anna 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, the contemporary pagan community does indeed have a pretty weird definition of "pagan".

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Aylwin 4 years, 11 months ago

I don't see a definition, just some examples illustrating the diversity of groups within that category. And while giving examples from a category necessarily requires some kind of underlying definition of that category, I don't see anything more specific implied here than "those describing themselves as such", which is the lowest-common-denominator default for defining any identity group.

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Matt 4 years, 11 months ago

Is there actually a pagan "community" as such? Or are there numerous groups and individuals in majority Christian countries trying to create / recreate alternatives to Christianity - and urban / industrial society - based on a plethora of texts - ancient and modern?

And wasn't "pagan" a derogatory term used by Christians to label their opponents?

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Chris Kelley 4 years, 11 months ago

Sometimes your Burroughs fandom really sticks out.

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Elizabeth Sandifer 4 years, 11 months ago

At one point I was considering, as a way of ending the book, gradually transitioning to having a higher percentage of sentences in a given section be cut-up generated until by the end it no longer actually parses as English.

I'm not doing that, you'll be either disappointed or glad to hear.

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Chris Kelley 4 years, 11 months ago

Disappointment is the dominant emotion.

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Matt 4 years, 11 months ago

Looking forward to the book on Neoreaction.

I've been pondering the rise of the "Silicon Valley consensus". When I talk to certain people in the tech industry, there is a certain set of truths that are held to be self-evident, some of which are major in key and some minor:
- Technology is an unalloyed force for good.
- Inequality is the natural result of humanity containing a small number of geniuses (mostly software engineers) who through a mix of their superior intellect and enterprise deserve to own everything.
- Automation and robots will wipe out the need for all other jobs.
- Governments largely get in the way of technological innovation and should be replaced by a mix of technology and markets.
- Tech businesses are meritocracies and cannot, by definition, be racist or sexist.
- Bitcoin will replace all other currencies.
- The internet of things already works.
- Facebook is already the world's largest nation state.
- There is nothing that a human can do that an algorithm cannot do better.
- The only thing worth teaching children is how to code.

These beliefs are not identical with those represented by the Neoreactionaries but they overlap. The Silicon Valley consensus is uncomfortable with Human BioDiversity and Men's Rights / Gamergate - but not to the extent that many would openly condemn them.


Back in the dim-and-distant 90s, there was a whole stack of cybertheory - perversely claiming influence from old French writers from a generation earlier: Deleuze & Guattari, Virilio, Baudrillard, Foucault, Lyotard.

And there was also emerging criticism of coming from a more traditional leftwing point of view:

Both of these positions now feel dated but for me, the more trad leftwing critiques feel more relevant. Technology has not accelerated the end of capitalism.

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Daibhid C 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm still undecided as to whether I can afford an associate membership to Worldcon, but I've been doodling a list just in case. So far, I've got:

The Shepherd's Crown, Sir Terry Pratchett (obvs)
The Gospel of Loki, Joanne M. Harris
The Annihilation Score, Charles Stross (probably, once I've read it)

Peter Dennis (Discworld Atlas; Discworld Diary - A Practical Manual for the Modern Witch)
Paul Kidby (Shepherd's Crown cover and chapter headings)
Babs Tar (Batgirl)

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Legends of Today/Legends of Yesterday (Flash/Arrow)

Heaven Sent (Doctor Who)
Fast Enough (Flash)

Gotham Academy
Rivers of London: Body Work

Last War In Albion
The Compleat Discworld Atlas

Our esteemed hosts
David Langford

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Elizabeth Sandifer 4 years, 11 months ago

Last War in Albion, as an ongoing work, is not eligible this year. Whatever portions published in 2015 are, but that's a pretty arbitrary stretch.

TARDIS Eruditorum is eligible in its entirety though, having wrapped in 2015.

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Daibhid C 4 years, 11 months ago

Okay, cut and replaced.

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Jordan Murphy 4 years, 11 months ago

I was a nerdy teenager in the 80s, but I didn't read Godel, Escher, Bach until I was in my 20s in the 90s.

I did read Metamagical Themas as a nerdy teenager, however, and it had a profound effect on my developing brain.

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Elizabeth Sandifer 4 years, 11 months ago

And is also better than HPMOR.

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Citizen_Alan 4 years, 11 months ago

I am bemused by your apparent hatred for MOR. It obviously has its flaws (mainly relentless and often sanctimonious preachiness on the topic of RationalityTM) but it also a number of passages I like well enough to reread them even today. Is it just because of Yudkowsky's politics and ethical views.

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Elizabeth Sandifer 4 years, 11 months ago

It's because in addition to its manifest flaws as a novel it's simply very poorly argued in its sanctimony. It certainly has its moments, but they are spread too thinly, and what lies in between is at best unconvincing and at worst unseemly.

I can see the appeal, but it's a weak entry in its genre in really every sense.

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