Posts Tagged fiction

The singularity is nigh

The singularity is, by one definition, the first point at which an artificial intelligence equivalent to that of a human is created. There are several ways this could happen, but there is one that I find particularly interesting and that I which I envisioned in a kind of post-apocalyptic story some time ago. Recently, I learnt that a rudimentary first step in realising this future has been taken by science: scientists have mapped the brain of a worm and used it to control a robot.

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A new story and reflections on getting published

I am delighted to announce that this month (November) you can find a little story I wrote – it’s called  Carie’s Way – in the ezine Penumbra. The theme of the issue is gaslight fantasy, which means, as I understand it, that it is set in Victorian times (particularly in England) when streets were still lit with gaslamps. My particular story is set in colonial Cape Town, ruled by the English. An English girl named Carie finds there are sinister forces at work in the very heart of the Empire. Will she have the courage to strike at them when given the chance? It’s a simple story, but hopefully a fun one too.

For an amateur writer like myself this is, of course, a prize: to have one’s work published, even if it is only a short story in a ezine with a small circulation. I feel rather chuffed. It’s almost like being elevated from the rank of “writer” to “author” (it’s not quite that).  Importantly, it’s a first step. A crucial building block of my, until-now non-existent, reputation as a writer.  If you read the story, feel free to give me feedback (positive or negative).

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A closed-minded Card

There has been a lot of controversy around the upcoming movie adaptation of the novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Card is a vocal critic of gay marriage and a member of the conservative Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints – he is a Mormon.  There has been a campaign to boycott the movie because it would help fund Scott Card and indirectly his anti-gay campaigns. The very liberal Huffington Post has expressed somewhat mild views on this topic here and I want to give mine.

My initial reaction to this was just to leave the man to his opinions. He has the right to express them and to campaign for them. Does it really matter if a good work of fiction was produced by a mind that differed with you in some important aspect?  Does that suddenly negate the value of the work? If Scott Card had been silent or at least less public about his opinions you would have been none the wiser. You don’t need to like a writer (or an actor for that matter) to appreciate their work and you certainly don’t need to agree with them.

People seem unable to accept that someone with such conservative views can produce such universally accepted works of art. This is a fallacy of course. Just because you have conservative views does not mean you lack imagination. It also does not mean that you are closed-minded. Being open-minded is about a willingness to listen; it is not about which opinion you happen to hold. There are many closed-minded people on the side of gay rights and many open-minded people who oppose it. I cannot speak for Mr Card, however.

That said, even I, as a somewhat conservative Christian, would feel uncomfortable supporting this campaign which produces adverts such as this one. I would still, however, defend the right of this organisation to exist and to make these advertisements. I voiced my views on gay marriage in this post (in a nutshell: I think it should be made legal independently of Biblical views on the matter).

If you want to boycott the movie feel free to do so. I, however, will watch the movie (and I plan to read the book) because I respect Mr Card’s ability as a writer. He can make money from his work because it is good. What he does with that money is his concern and I shall oppose it by other means.

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