Discussion Board

Topic: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 06/08/2008

Just cruised in and saw the teasers for CITY.

Nice.

I can hardly wait.

MG

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/09/2008

Pass it on, Mike! We'll be opening up a few interrelated web pages soon, and will of course announce them here and elsewhere. More on the way.

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 06/09/2008

I already posted a link to the fuller description of CITY from the Signed Book Page onto my blog, and have been threatening to post my speculations on the book (a la Lin Carter before the Silmarillion came out as to what THAT would be about).
The longer teaser gives more food for thought, with comparisons to LAST MEN IN LONDON for starters...CITY is definitely sounding more and more like a worthy contribution to the Stapledonian Mythos...

MG

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/11/2008

I've been re-reading LAST MEN IN LONDON (1932) and find that one common element in Stapledon's far-future works is the touch of a future individual on a contemporary human. The same holds for Hodgson's THE NIGHT LAND...

LAST MEN IN LONDON may also be the first work to mention "artificial matter."

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 06/11/2008

I'm going to have to re-read chapter XV of LAST AND FIRST MEN AGAIN closely...as I was convinced the mention of artifical atoms being in the last men came from there, but I may be getting that blurred with the discussion of the life of the last men from LAST MEN IN LONDON.

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/16/2008

Worth a look--it's been a while since I read LAST AND FIRST MEN.

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 06/17/2008

Ah...if you haven't read it in a while, that would explain it.

Since 1990 I have re-read LAST AND FIRST MEN and STARMAKER some where between once every three to five years...or just reading sections of each at random.

My stand-alone copies are very "pug-dog eared" as a result.

And I did remember correctly, the mention of artificial atoms is on page 264 of the 1988 Tarcher edition...a couple of pages in to chapter XV.

"These mightest of all buildings, which are constructed in adamantine materials formed of artificial atoms"

This in reference to Titanic Buildings on Neptune. Haven't gotten to the point where it takes about Artificial Atoms in the Skeletal structure of the last men.

Memory also says this same material is covered in LAST MEN IN LONDON. Unfortunately my loaned out copy has never come back...but I remember it as being in the long "daily life of the Last Men" sections of that novel.

"These mightest of all buildings, which are constructed in adamantine materials formed of artificial atoms"

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/17/2008

Excellent sleuthing, Mike! I'll pass this along to Wil McCarthy. Should keep us both humble.

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 06/17/2008

Just tried to replace LAST MEN IN LONDON down at Bill's store...but some one snagged the copy that's been on his shelves for nine months.

I'm beginning to think the prose that describes the skeletons of the last men being imbued with artificial atoms may be in the above book, and not LAST AND FIRST MEN...even went back to chapter XIV regarding the genesis of the Last Men...nothing.

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 06/17/2008

After some more digging, found the bio use of synthetic atoms in the engineering of the Sixteenth Men.

Page 259 of the Printing mentioned earlier today, final paragraph:

"Artificial rigid atoms had been introduced into his bone tissues, so that it might support great stature..."

This for the 8th Human Species to occupy neptune.

There's some references to them being modeld on the 5th Men...so Synthetic Atoms may even go back to the final terrestrial era some 250 to 300 millions years from now.

It never ceases to amaze me how great Stapledon was, and that we all, who think about the far far future, write in his shadow. I'm tempted to dump my current project to re-read both of his Ur-Texts dealing with the ultimate fate of intelligent life, human and otherwise.

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/18/2008

Wil McCarthy thinks Stapledon may have been contemplating transuranic elements.

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 06/18/2008

That's a hard call, as our understanding of the Nucleaus was still a bit spotty in 1930...and who knew that beyond 92 they become even more unstable.

Remember Dick Seaton in the Skylark Books stock piling Uranium in TONS together for his Metal-X energy conversion process...

Ofcourse post Nuclear tech there's the holy grail of Stable transuranic elements.

We'd be pushing it if we speculated that Olaf was thinking about "other forms" of matter: not based on our usual baryons...or maybe not.

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles
Date: 06/24/2008

I'm counting the days until CITY AT THE END OF TIME! Intriguing to hear it compared with LAST MEN IN LONDON as that is my favorite Stapledon. And I always wanted to live in Diaspar, the changeless city in Arthur Clarke's AGAINST THE FALL OF NIGHT (which surely says something about me...)

Stapledon also mentions buildings made of synthetic atoms in his play FAR FUTURE CALLING, written for the BBC but never produced:

ACTOR. But they must be gigantic, higher than mountains.

FUTURE MAN. They are. In spite of our violent gravitation, we build them many miles high, with the aid of artificial atoms.



Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Greg Bear
Date: 07/01/2008

Excellent footnote. Stapledon trumps us all!

Re: I Can stop PESTERING you now

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 07/01/2008

Keeping an eye out here and elsewhere for CITY.

Decided this afternoon, once I'm done with the current study, to do another pass thru LAST AND FIRST MEN and STARMAKER...but in reverse order.

By the time ComicCon happens It'll be Super Fresh in my mind.

On other CITY news: Got an Email from Amazon stating it will be shipping earlier that originally planned: back when I pre-ordered in January 26th. Not in time for ComicCon...but can't have everything.

My only fear on all this CITY business...is that you might have written "The Final" end all and be all End of Time/Dying Earth Novel. It fills me both with Angst and Wonder!

Artificial Atoms in LAST AND FIRST MEN

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 07/07/2008

Greg:

I had remembered it correctly. It was indeed the 5th Men who first created artificial atoms for construction purposes.

On page 224 of the edition referred to earlier in this thread I just found the following

"The first vessel to take to the ether was a cigar-shapped hull some three thousand feet long, and built of metals whose artificial atoms were incomparably more rigid than anything hitherto known."

This was circa 400,000,000 CE: as the 5th Men had to invent space travel due to the Moon's collision course with the earth.

The description sounds more like nano-tech assembled diamonds of buckminsterfullerine, if we ingore the word metals.

Been hopscotching around in this book, and Star Maker, since the last post on this thread. An interesting way to read these books in conjunction.

buckminsterfuller/stapledon

From: tazelaar stevenson
Location: u.k
Date: 07/14/2008

wow,have yet to finish my newly acquired copy of 'Last Men In London' and already my entire being is being rocked by such profound,imaginative accuracy.
Before i started with 'Last Men..' i was skim reading BuckminsterFuller's 'Critical Path'.In the forward Buckminster
introduces and takes us through the key points of our industrial and economic evolution,from the fall of Troy to the birth of the computer.His style of writing and indeed his tracing of human events to describe wholly the present and its immediate and possible far-future echoes a mirror to Stapledons own. Did these two gentlemen ever meet?

buckminsterfuller/stapledon

From: Greg Bear
Date: 07/14/2008

I don't know that they ever met, but considering his general philosophical slant, I suspect Buckminster Fuller had read Stapledon, certainly in his youth--and probably J.D. Bernal as well.

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