Re: MacLeod's Cassini Division

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Tue Oct 03 2000 - 08:39:02 MDT

Damien Broderick wrote:
> >"The Cassini Division" by Ken MacLeod ... People like us are clearly
> >the bad guys in the book, but it was interesting to see what our
> >worse crimes are from MacLeod's perspective.
>The problem here is that you can't really evaluate McLeod's perspective
>(assuming he has just one) on the basis of this novel alone. THE CASSINI
>DIVISION is part of a 4-volume construct (to date), ...

Granted, if my goal was to get deep into MacLeod's psyche, I wouldn't want
to speak unless I had read and carefully analyzed everything he had written.
My purpose, however, was to take his book as a critique of us, and to try
to take that critique to heart as expressing a common feeling about what
is wrong with us.

Amara notes:
>I didn't see anything about Saturn's rings in your description....

There isn't much about it in the book either, actually.

Geoff Tillman writes:
>I also read Cassini Division and got a slightly
>diffent impression. MacLeod (who's sympathys are
>certainly with the "beautiful people") also points out
>the advantages of the "outworlders" ...The new martian's
>are a great deal more advanced than the Earthers.

MacLeod clearly distinguishes the human outworlders from the
fastminds. The fastminds are evil and must be destroyed,
while the others are reasonable people who have chosen the
wrong political system. Even machines that look and think
like humans are all right by MacLeod. But uploads that leave
the human form, environment, speed, and styles of thought are
an evil horror.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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