Re: Advertising Transhumanism

David Blenkinsop (
Thu, 11 Feb 1999 22:50:40 -0600

Brian D Williams <> wrote:

>From: Jane Kurtz <>
>>One area to discuss transhumanism (more?) might be in the science
>>fiction community. This certainly should not be the only avenue,
>>but it might be productive. Can you think of any sf writers who've
>>attempted to portray transhumans? How about Heinlein?

>Try "Holy Fire" by Bruce Sterling

I recently tried reading Sterling's novel "Holy Fire", but only got halfway through before getting bored and quitting. A somewhat promising beginning, where a newly rejuvenated older woman "runs away from home" is then marred by the fact that this woman doesn't seem to be facing any real danger or any great stress even -- highly suspenseful, yawn!

Politically speaking, the novel seems to emphasize a sort of almost anti-capitalist response to high tech, or maybe it's more a kind of government paternalism, where even rich folks are continually guided by government appointed mentors or advisors of some kind. The world "polity" has everything figured out. Personally I consider myself fairly middle-of-the-road, but I'm not sure exactly where this socialist approach to high tech is coming from, maybe from the people who'd be socialists just the same, if prospects were *low* tech? On the technology side, nanotechnology seems to be implied, although if there are any molecular factories in the story, I missed it.

On a more positive note, I just read _The Bones of Time_, by Kathleen Anne Goonan. In some ways this is more about time travel and esoteric theories of consciousness than it is about technology. However, in this book, both the nanotechology and the "capitalism gone awry" theme seem fresh and convincing, as the characters meet with real dangers, surprises, tough choices, etc. The ending is quite traditional sf, in a way, solving some mysteries, leaving others sort of hanging, I thought it was quite good on the whole.

David Blenkinsop <>