Maybe I take this sort of thing too personally, but recently I saw one of those lists of highly-regarded books. This was a diverse list, and had a few titles in a large range of fields, including Science Fiction, and Fantasy. It also contained Literary Fiction. And in that category? Friggin Murakami.
You know how something like Wind-Up Bird Chronicle gets placed under Lit Fic? Goddamn cultural appropriation. Whenever a good piece of SF actually manages to sneak under the radar and get the attention of the Lit Fic crowd they decide that it couldn’t POSSIBLY be SF, because they would never like something as low-status as science fiction! So things like Flowers For Algernon or The Handmaiden’s Tale get re-classified as Literary Fiction in the face of all reason, simply because someone highfalutin liked it and thought it was tarnished under the SF label.
I probably don’t need to say this to the readership/listenership of HPMoR, but to put this in perspective for the two other people that stumbled here somehow – imagine someone saying Neil deGrasse Tyson couldn’t possibly be black, because he was too smart, so they would be classifying him as “white” from now on. That’s… well OK, that’s worse honestly, comparing the two is a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s similar.
What I’m saying is, screw every single one of those uppity bastards.
Doing this week’s podcast was amazingly fast. No music, no sound effects, no other voices to mix in. And only 3000 words to boot! I put together the whole episode in about three hours. It was crazy to have something completed that quickly after having gotten used to the production time of a regular episode. And kinda freeing.
Then I played it back, listening through the whole thing in one sitting.
Usually that’s the penultimate step, followed by finishing touches. Not so this time. I sounded like a friggin teenager excited to find an awesome new idea. Because yes, I was excited. The Sequences where a major event in my life, and that emotion was bubbling up again. But that sort of reading is simply not dignified. It was painful to listen it. As someone supporting a new idea that others might view with shifty-eyes, exuberance is not allowed. The speaker must be calm, sober. Passion is ok, but only of the elder statesman variety. /sigh. I had to start all over from scratch.
Still ended up taking less time than a typical episode, but it wasn’t the break I’d thought it was going to be at first.
In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war
Note: On May 6, MIRI (Eliezer’s employer) is participating in Silicon Valley Gives, a 24-hour fundraiser. Over $250,000 of matching prizes and funds up for grabs, from sources that normally wouldn’t contribute to MIRI.
Two-to-one dollar match up to $50,000 during the midnight hour.
$2,000 dollar prize for the nonprofit that has the most individual gift in an hour, every hour, for 24 hours.
$150 added to a random donation each hour, every hour for 24 hours.
Dollar for Dollar match up to $35,000 during the 7AM hour, and $50,000 during the noon, 6 PM, and 7 PM hours
More details here. Direct link to donate at any time on May 6th is here.
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Even when he’s not written by Eliezer, rational!Quirrell continues to be one of my all-time favorite characters. I love how well his cynical nature was captured in this dialog with Harry. In particular, the description of Muggle minds creeped me right the hell out. It closely resembled the description of human minds in Peter Watts’s “The Things.” For those who haven’t read it, it’s an amazing The Thing fanfic, which received critical acclaim and was nominated for the 2011 Hugo Award for Short Story. I consider it Rationalist Horror, and you’ll probably like it if you like rationalist fic and you’ve seen The Thing. I strongly recommend it! It’s also available in audio format, at the same link.
Thank you again to Alexander Wales for allowing me to podcast Philosopher’s Zombie. Further writings of his can be found here. “The Last Christmas” contains this awesome scene:
“I want Li Xiu Yang to be given a gift that will leave her permanently physically healthy, uninjured, and with a mental state that is within three sigmas of normal for her age, gender, and culture. I want her to be free from any disability or degradation of any of her senses, organs, or other body parts. Whatever solution you give should age her at the normal rate until her twentieth birthday, at which point she should cease to age.”
The elf gave him a funny look, then began to shape the ball of grey goop. Three minutes later, he presented Charles with a small pebble.
“This is it?” he asked. “And it won’t turn her into some kind of monster, or cause her unbearable pain, or anything like that?”
The elf sighed and took the pebble back, then after a few moments of reconstruction handed it back to Charles.
Hello Hermione my old friend
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