People are still trying to wrap their minds around the idea of the singularity, as a rather random article in the New York Times yesterday made clear. Meanwhile, Tor's Jo Walton and Rudy "Post-Singular" Rucker have moved way beyond the singularity onto the next big idea. Walton wrote about how she was sick of SF writers feeling constrained by the idea that the future will contain a "singularity" where sci/tech becomes so advanced that nothing in the world would make sense to us present-day types anymore. Rucker responded by offering nine ideas for scifi creators that have nothing to do with the singularity.Rucker's ideas include "magic doors," gateways to alternate dimensions, that swarm around people and provide portals they can jump through any time they want to escape this particular space-time continuum. He also suggests that writers could do a lot more with "dreams and memories" and how they can become real. My favorite idea is that memories could actually be a form of time travel, and some people might learn how to jump through them into the past — or pull people from the past into the present. (This reminds me a little bit of Scarlett Thomas' frustrating but brilliant novel The End of Mr. Y.) He also suggests tackling "the afterworld," but from a scientific perspective. Or you could write about "quantum computational viruses . . . something like a computer virus might infect matter, perhaps changing the laws of physics to make our world more congenial to some other kinds of beings." Along those lines, he instructs people to write about "the subdimensions," and "the holographic universe." After lobbying for people to write about humans developing "new senses," unlike the boring old telepathy or sensitivity to radio waves, Rucker suggests an idea he's explored himself: a flat Earth. Except what he wants to see that's different is "an infinite flat Earth," where you can keep going and going and the flatness doesn't end. He says it would be the perfect setting for a road trip, kind of like On the Road for aliens. Check out more of Rucker's ideas on his blog, and invent some of your own while you're at it. Photograph by Rudy Rucker.
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