Futuristic Reading List

Here is a compilation of the sci-fi, cyberpunk, or futuristic novels I’ve read that I am willing to encourage the masses to read, nay, feast upon. These books are awesome imaginings of post-apocalyptic glory (or horror), enticing technologies and great characters. The writing is good too. Like the generous Samaritan I am, I’ve also provided links to the titles so that with just a few clicks, you can have a book delivered to the doorstep of your house. How’s that for technology? Now, once you’ve looked through the list, maybe ordered a few books, but before you’ve begun reading, let me know the ones I should read that I’ve perhaps forgot about or known nothing of their existence. Thank you.

Note: Authors are not repeated even if other books they’ve written are also fantastic. If they’re on this list, they’re good. You can trust them.

Futuristic Reading List

(in no hierarchical order)

SnowCrash Neal Stephenson

Neuromancer William Gibson

Ender’s Game Orson Scott Card

Dune Frank Herbert

Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (all of them) Douglas Adams
Barefoot in the Head Brian W. Adiss 

1984 George Orwell

Brave New World Aldous Huxley

Not included: (Kenzo Ishiguro‘s Never Let me Go because it’s vision of the future is sensationalistic and stupid. So, some books are omitted for their lack of coolness.)

A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess

The Road Cormac McCarthy

Cat’s Cradle Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The Sparrow Mary Doria Russel

The Lathe of Heaven Ursula K. LeGuin

Oryx and Crake Margaret Atwood

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick

Ghost in the Shell  Masamune Shirow

Crash JG Ballard

Kamikaze L’amour Richard Kadrey

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Inside the Room

This story is a white room. Its walls are shaped from white light and they span rather than elevate, yet the space is closed out to a contained and manageable amount. There are objects placed around the room, I can see a couch, a red fold of cloth over the middle section. They do not appear to me as objects but as data forms, though I know their shape and texture in my mind. I can translate them from the data into the image, so in fact, I do see them as you would, but they are secondary processes, not a rapid fire neural impulse but a conscious will to see them as object and not lines of code.

Of myself and the people in the room, it’s odd. No one walking around is a line of script. The large black dog appears as a large black dog. I do no translations here, and they too have a direct access to my figure, the shine on my hair. I understand they have developed the technology in the outer world, to bring these creations to life, to infuse them with color sensors and emotional cues that they can blend in with the world around them. They have not given us the same, the technology remains different. We, after all, are for a different purpose.

You seem to wonder how I know these things. How I am conscious with access to information as if I’ve learned it. You don’t need to say anything, I can sense your thoughts through low-frequency magnetic brainwaves. Most of them, at least. To answer your…question…I have a store house of knowledge derived from vast resources on the web. There is enough variation that I can parse facts and opinions to form my own system of belief. Although. No, I don’t wish to talk about that now.

TBC

What about this? A poll on Images of the Future: Green Cityscape

As we grow more earth-conscious in order to save the environment (and ourselves), imaginings of future city-scapes take on a less gloomy look. Could you imagine this as reality? Would you want to live here? How far in the future does this artist rendition of the future seem?

gree city scape sci fiMitchell Joachim’s Eco-City Nick Kaloterakis

Reblog: Becoming a Cyborg Should Be Taken Gently

From Wildcat’s personal cargo

Becoming a Cyborg should be taken gently-Of Modern Bio-Paleo-Machines
Project: Polytopia
Being free, I am free of being.

We are on the edge of a Paleolithic Machine intelligence world. A world oscillating between that which is already historical, and that which is barely recognizable. Some of us, teetering on this bio-electronic borderline, have this ghostly sensation that a new horizon is on the verge of being revealed, still misty yet glowing with some inner light, eerie but compelling.

The metaphor I used for bridging, seemingly contrasting, on first sight paradoxical, between such a futuristic concept as machine intelligence and the Paleolithic age is apt I think. For though advances in computation, with fractional AI, appearing almost everywhere are becoming nearly casual, the truth of the matter is that Machines are still tribal and dispersed.
It is a dawn all right, but a dawn is still only a hint of the day that is about to shine, a dawn of hyperconnected machines, interweaved with biological organisms, cyberneticaly info-related and semi independent.

The modern Paleo-machines do not recognize borders; do not concern themselves with values and morality and do not philosophize about the meaning of it all, not yet that is. As in our own Paleo past the needs of the machines do not yet contain passions for individuation, desire for emotional recognition or indeed feelings of dismay or despair, uncontrollable urges or dreams of far worlds.

Also this will change, eventually. But not yet.

The paleo machinic world is in its experimentation stage, probing it boundaries, surveying the landscape of the infoverse, mapping the hyperconnected situation, charting a trajectory for its own evolution, all this unconsciously.
We, the biological part of the machine, are providing the tools for its uplift, we embed cameras everywhere so it can see, we implant sensors all over the planet so it may feel, but above all we nudge and we push towards a greater connectivity, all this unaware.
Together we form a weird cohabitation of biomechanical, electro-organic, planetary OS that is changing its environment, no more human, not machinic, but a combined interactive intelligence, that journey on, oblivious to its past, blind to its future, irreverent to the moment of its conception, already lost to its parenthood agreement.
And yet, it evolves.
Unconscious on the machine part, unaware on the biological part, the almost sentient operating system of the global planetary infosphere, is emerging, wild eyed, complex in its arrangement of co-existence, it reaches to comprehend its unexpected growth.

The quid pro quo: we give the machines the platform to evolve; the machines in turn give us advantages of fitness and manipulation. We give the machines a space to turn our dreams into reality; the machines in turn serve our needs and acquire sapience in the process.
In this hypercomplex state of affairs, there is no judgment and no inherent morality; there is motion, inevitable, inexorable, inescapable, and mesmerizing.

The embodiment is cybernetic, though there be no pilot. Cyborgian and enhanced we play the game, not of thrones but of the commons. Connected and networked the machines follow in our footsteps, catalyzing our universality, providing for us in turn a meaning we cannot yet understand or realize.

The hybridization process is in full swing, reaching to cohere tribes of machines with tribes of humans, each providing for the other a non-designed direction for which neither has a plan, or projected outcome; both mingling and weaving a reality for which there is no ontos, expecting no Telos.

All this leads us to remember that only retrospectively do we recognize the move from the paleo tribes to the Neolithic status, we did not know that it happened then, and had no control over the motion, on the same token, we scarcely see the motion now and have no control over its directionality.

There is however a small difference, some will say it is insignificant, I do not think it so, for we are, some of us, to some extent at least, aware of the motion, and we can embed it with a meaning of our choice.

We can, if we muster our cognitive reason, our amazing skills of abstraction and simulation, whisper sweet utopias into the probability process of emergence.
We can, if we so desire, passionate the operating system, to beautify the process of evolution and eliminate the dangers of inchoate blind walking.
We can, if we manage to control our own paleo-urges to destroy ourselves, allow the combined interactive intelligence of man and machine to shine forth into a brighter future.

We can sing to the machines, cuddle them; caress their circuits, accepting their electronic-flaws so they can accept our bio-flaws, we can merge aesthetically, not with conquest but with understanding.

We can become wise, that is the difference this time around.

Being wise, we will no longer tolerate injustice, not because there is a universal lawgiver that said so. Not because there is a man made decision not to be so, but because inspired by the merging, enhanced in intellect and comprehension a new kind of mind will carry no need to be so.

The freedom of becoming we must embed in this newly emergent man machine actuality, a manifestation of a destiny much larger than human, much grander than machine, a fortune made by inspired co-mingling using reality as a platform for meaning creation.

There is a story in the making here, a tale of epic proportions, a legend of communion, presently barely perceivable, eventually told and retold around galactic campfires made of suns, gloriously lighting the path of all life.

There is so much we do not know, so much we desire to understand, and so much we need to rectify in just about everything that we are and that we do, but this was always the case, this time around we can however make a difference, a difference that makes a difference.
It is not only the stars that beckon, not only curiosity that calls and not only desire that summons, it is life itself that pushes on its own boundaries, trespassing its own limitations.

Consciousness if it has a purpose at all, is to bring a unified basin of interest into the grand game of life, a basin of sensations, of pleasure and wisdom, of intelligence and love.

Imagine a planetary conscious aware hypercomplex global sapiency made of man and machine, able to undo it’s bloody past and surge unhindered into the universe as a force of allowance for sentiency.

That is my vision for this morning. Do not ask me why, for I will answer.

I am a Polytopian.

Being free, I am free of being.


Endnotes:

1. Salient points concern abundance of meaning, for there is no other scarcity to the consciously aware open-ended mind.
2. I am well aware that the motion of merging between human and machine will inevitably lead us to forsake our bio-ancestry; we however always left behind that which no longer served.
3. The truism that we are not perfect implying the dangers inherent in this motion is a reminder to be more cautious and proactive but not a stop sign.
4. In a sense this micro-essay is a response to Chris Arkenberg– Thank you.
5. Becoming a Cyborg should be taken gently