Re: what they're saying about THE SPIKE

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Thu Apr 19 2001 - 06:39:36 MDT

----- Original Message -----
From: Damien Broderick <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2001 11:47 PM
Subject: what they're saying about THE SPIKE

> Truth in advertising time.
> Here's what one reader says about THE SPIKE on
> Virtually Unreadable,
Really? I read it in a couple of sittings.
March 27, 2001
> Reviewer: A reader from Berkeley, CA USA
> The ideas explored are fascinating, but the prose used to
> do the
> exploring is wildly uneven. While there are chunks here
> there that
> approach coherence, to a large extent the writing consists
> of a sort of
> manic hyper-caffeinated chattiness that at times verges on
> hysteria.
Indeed, his frenetic prose was heading straight for a

> Liberally peppered with irrelevant asides that careen from
> topic to
> topic without differentiating fact from wild speculation,
Oh really. I thought Damien did an excellent job trying to pick through
"fact from wild speculation". Of course he will be wrong about something
concerning the future, but then so will we all. Perhaps the reader has a
special divining rod for this purpose.

> the book is
> also repetitive and poorly edited. There's also an
> habit of
> taking commonly used terms and arbitrarily coining new
> names for
> them ("minting" for nanotech assembly, the titular "spike"
> for Vinge's
> singularity).
Time will tell whether Damien's neologisms will stick, but they are hardly
arbitrary. He provides reasons for his neologisms. (For the 'spike' see page
12ff, for minting (from molecular nanotechnology) see 18ff. If nothing else
Damien's terms have fewer syllabals--which is very important for
Australians. :)

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