Re: MacLeod's Cassini Division

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Tue Oct 03 2000 - 09:19:10 MDT

At 10:39 AM 3/10/00 -0400, Robin wrote:

>>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.

>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.
>uploads that leave
>the human form, environment, speed, and styles of thought are
>an evil horror.

Well, my feeling still is that MacLeod's method is exactly to explore a
variety of normative and emotional responses to these issues, and in his
different books (and even within them) he deploys different readings,
variant understandings, changing attitudes. The particular evil horror
uploads you mention are explicitly a kind of botched first pass, as I
recall. More benign AIs are shown--I seem to recall that THE STONE CANAL is
*told* by one of them--and despite some prejudices against them they are
eventually accepted by humans (a human-centric perspective, it's true, but
then MacLeod and his readers are mostly humans). So the lessons you drew
might be misleading and too over-simplified even to meet your own purposes.

Banks's implied Culture narrators, weirdly enough (black-comically
enough?), keep insisting at the top of their voices that Minds are
wonderful guys, incommensurably brilliant, beyond judgement by mehums - and
yet we can't help noticing that many of them are, after all, vilely
Machiavellian sonsabitches and not nice to know.

Damien Broderick

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