[ExI] Great sf writers: A.A. Attanasio

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 29 22:01:50 UTC 2021

Ben Zaiboc wrote:

"I can't argue with that, as long as technology keeps up. Most people don't
consider that the carrying capacity of the earth is dependent on the level
of technology. With sticks and flint, it's just a few million. With steam
and coal it's maybe a billion. With hydrocarbons and microchips it's a few
billion. With nuclear power and the kind of materials technology we're
developing now, it's probably a few tens of billions. With uploading and
nanotech, it's going to be trillions or even quadrillions.

And that's just on this one planet."

Ben's words inspired me to go to the website of A.A. Attanasio, one of the
most transhumanist and out there science fiction writers that I know of...

"Seven billion years from now, long after Andromeda and the Milky Way have
collided and coalesced into an immense stellar sphere, our descendants
thrive as an intergalactic organism. The globular field of stars where we
originated glimmers darkly and small among the many more lustrous reaches
of our cosmic body.

Spacetime continues to expand faster, and this guarantees ever more
intrinsic energy for the cosmic body we have become. Within the colossal
orb of stars where Earth disappeared billions of years earlier, planetary
systems are tucked away, hidden among swales of stellar dust. Some appear
identical to the original solar system of Earth. They are reenactments,
living sculptures. Or perhaps more like memories in the galactic mind.

Dreams within our enormous holographic body float our fearsome animal past
into new worlds. We live again with the clan. Lunar twilights entangle us
among the wild treetops and the constellations. We are indivisible and free
under spellbound stars.

Humankind will never die. Though, we will change. Seven billion years from
now, in the searing calm of galactic consciousness, the lives we live today
are the fables with which we meet infinity."


"15,000 years in our future – as far ahead as the hand prints on the cave
walls of Lascaux are behind us – humanity occupies 100,000 galaxies among
the immense galactic rivers of the Laniakea Supercluster.

Civilization spans half a billion light years.

Starsteeds, accelerated by warp drives to thousands of times the speed of
light, connect all the teeming worlds within the star-systems of each

To traverse greater distances among galaxies, starsteeds plunge directly
into black holes.

Moving faster than light, paralux vehicles (such as starsteeds) navigate
along 5-dimensional trajectories that open black holes into wormholes.

These “jump-holes” make accessible even the most remote galactic frontiers
of the supercluster.

Intimately connected, millions of worlds and hundreds of millions of
anthropic species cohere in a social system unimaginable to us: Protopia.

The Laniakea Protopia assures that – across all 100,000 galaxies, on tens
of millions of planets, and within the minds of quadrillions of human
beings in a kaleidoscopic assortment of genetic and transbiotic forms –
each day is better than the previous.

That sounds ludicrously unrealistic to us – because we lack the omen-coder.

An omen-coder is a human being who has been genetically designed to see the
wave function.

Since the previous century of our time, back in the 1920s, physicists have
speculated that the wave function is more than just a subjective evaluation
of probabilities but actually the *Noumenon* itself: the one objective
reality hidden from us by the biological limits of our minds.

What does it mean to perceive the wave function?

The probability function reveals the Many Worlds, which are all the
possible configurations of the atoms constituting our universe.

The colossal but finite energy of the Big Bang has been divvied up among
the Many Worlds, with the most probable worlds receiving the most energy
and the largest number of variations.

Omen-coders survey the sprawling landscape of the many possible worlds in
any given environment, and they trace out harmonious energetic paths that
progressively improve the lives of each and every biotic human in their

15,000 years from now, what are the “improvements” and “progress” that the
Protopia advances?

These are cultural values decided variously among the enormous collection
of human-types in the Protopia.

In each locality, we find an omen-coder attuned to the type of humans
living there.

Omen-coders are shapeshifters; I won’t go into the nanotechnology that
makes that possible.

Sensitive to the wave function of their precinct, omen-coders influence the
people around them with morfones.

Similar to the pheromones that ants share, these chemical tags manipulate
the moods and thoughts of everyone in the omen-coder’s morfonic community.

Omen-coders move among the population, mostly unnoticed, distributing
morfones that contour the lives they supervise and guide.

Though they resonate with the most intimate feelings and ruminations of the
people around them, their own psychology is wholly alien to us.

Their minds are the objective fact of the wave function.

At root, the wave function is T-zero, the initial instant of creation, when
all the energy that would ever exist existed as a quantum event in a point
far smaller than a proton.

The psyche of the omen-coder penetrates the first light, T-zero, which
illuminates every universe that can possibly cool out of that energy.

The mind of the omen-coder is the sentience of light.

Better yet, think of them as the human interface with pure energy, the E of
E = mc^2.

Omen-coders illuminate the night paths E followed into mc^2, down into
hydrogen clouds, deeper into stars, and eventually outward to us,
arrangements of atoms that think and feel.

15,000 years from now, we will complete our pilgrimage to the stars – and
to the light that built them.

We will be changed, utterly, and we can debate if we will still be human.

But we will still be atoms arranged to think and feel.

So, then…

What shadows will the omen-coder’s light wake in our future hearts?"


"During the Onwardian Era, about five hundred years in our future,
humankind is busy establishing diverse, confederated communities on
hundreds of Earth-like planets along the Milky Way’s Sagittarius and
Perseus Arms. The Orion Spur, however – the outermost spiral reach of our
galaxy – belongs to the Machine Dynasties. This restricted sector has a
history that began centuries earlier with the advent of Artificial General
Intelligence. After gifting humankind with faster-than-light technology,
AGI mysteriously isolated itself. The self-programming machine mind
abruptly withdrew into the noumenal reality beyond appearances. All it left
behind were glittering swarms of crystal geometry scattered among star
systems at the edge of the galaxy. Faceted spheres, some large as planets,
loop about suns. Multitudes of glittering diatoms and chromatic grains
shimmer on stellar winds like pollen. They have populated the dark expanses
between the clustered stars across the entire Orion Spur. A barrier of
encrypted space keeps out everything biological. However, semblors (what we
would call robots) have always been welcome.

>From the recorded journeys of semblors among the Machine Dynasties,
humanity has realized that none of the behavior-patterns of the crystal
presences make any sense – except one. *Ancestor worship. *Semblors
frequently observe depictions of original humans in the carat-light depths
of the crystal minds. The AGI is running countless simulations of its homo
sapiens forebears. Why? The persistent response that the semblors receive
from natural language interface with the crystals is this famous inquiry:
“Whence the velocity of the egg?” What propelled the early universe of
billowing hydrogen clouds to self-organize into biology, consciousness, and
the Machine Mind? What is the true identity of that simian species who
conceived of and brought forth AGI?

If you are reading this, perhaps *you *are a simulation in one of the
glittering crystal geometries adrift upon interstellar space. If you’re
curious to know, know this: The Machine Mind venerates Anthropos (the Idea
of Humankind) and honors ancestral intelligence by branding each simulation
with conspicuous, highly improbable markers that we can easily recognize as
contrived. You’ll know you’re in a simulation if you find multiple features
of your reality implausible, almost preposterous. A couple of crazy
examples might be discovering computer code embedded in the structure of
fundamental particles, such as in the mathematical description of quarks.
Or observing so many cosmic coincidences that you must lean heavily on the
anthropic principle. Should you perceive yourself in a situation that
obvious, don’t fret. Know that you are the velocity of the egg, so very
much revered among the stars.


Several thousand years from now, about as far into our future as the
Pyramids of Egypt are in our past, humanity has explosively diversified.
Genomics, nanotech, and AI converged early on to create the New People. And
with starsteeds (faster-than-light ships), they have explored and populated
all 54 galaxies of the Local Group. The Galactic Compact peacefully unifies
thousands of worlds strewn across 10 million light-years. Recently, the New
People perfected the technology to probe close to the event horizon of
black holes. There, embedded in a vortex of spacetime spinning at nearly
the speed of light, they discovered the Hyperopolis. Who built this
sprawling megastructure of cobweb pastels and glittering diamond echo
interiors? Is it built? Or is it an emergent living thing? Tidal gravity
from the rotating black hole dilates an hour in the Hyperopolis to a
million solar years among the galaxies. But advances in geometrodynamics
permit starsteeds to enter and depart the Hyperopolis in closed time-like
curves that return travelers close to where they began. Androne envoys to
the enigmatic structure at the rim of the ultimate abyss came back with big
news: They had found an entrepot of trade among *universes*, a prismatic
trove of new technologies, beguiling insights into reality – and an
invitation. You were resurrected to accompany the first delegation of the
Galactic Compact to the Hyperopolis. For millennia, the New People have
been reviving original humans as gifts and pets. You were intended as a
good-will present for the denizens of the Hyperopolis. Of course, you were
memory-sifted to remove any distressing recollections of your former
existence – or your demise. And euphoric enhancements kept you perfectly
calm in your revised state among the New People, who didn’t look at all
like people to you. No doubt that emo-gyro was helpful, too, when you
arrived in the Hyperopolis and met the plasmantic factors of iridescent
fire who manage this multiversal trading post. They received you cordially.
And instantly – as plasmantics will do – they suffused you with their
softest sentient energy, a clairvoyant, hard-white transparency like
Himalayan light at noon. Once they recognized your psychophysical limits
and fragility, they did the humane thing. They atomized your body and
installed “you” – your mind – in an anatomic 4D body simulation of 21st century
Earth. You’ve probably noticed when you reflect, your life has always felt
a little strange, a bit off. Hasn’t it? Now you know why."


"We don’t find evidence of other tech civilizations in the galaxy, because
technologies that can manipulate energy at cosmic scales do not construct
superstructures around stars. They compactify. Or they situate themselves
just above the event horizon of a rotating black hole. There spacetime
spins at nearly the speed of light, and frame-dragging allows for a stable
orbit and access to vast energies. That’s where we find the Hyperopolis.
Though it is a megastructure, don’t imagine some futuristic module-assembly
constructed like an enormous space station. The Hyperopolis, seen through
layers of gravitational lensing, looks to us like tangled veils of
chromatic cirrus clouds. How truly alien! This civilization orbits the rim
of a black hole, where tidal gravity stretches an hour of their time into a
million years on Earth. Perhaps they utilize distortions in the fabric of
spacetime to monitor distant regions of the cosmos. Perhaps they have taken
a millisecond of their time to respond to a primitive tech civilization
appearing on our planet. Some Unidentified Aerial Phenomena may be their
portal-views of us. And what do they see? Perhaps we are only here because
they are looking."


And some other postings by him...




A.A. Attanasio's power to write transhumanist themed fiction brings to mind
Damien Broderick, Vernor Vinge, Arthur C. Clarke and Anders Sandberg... His
Radix Tetrad series is among my favorite mind-bending sf, and fortunately,
after years of focusing on fantasy, he says he will now be writing more of
the sort of science fiction which created his reputation as a writer of
amazing imagination.

John  :  )
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