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Topic: Musing along the Martian byways

From: Roald Laurenson
Location:
Date: 10/30/2008

Hi Greg,

A muse came to visit this morning, and had me thinking about another writer who I think you know well, KSR, Kim Stanley Robinson.

I had been dipping into his 'The Martians', which I enjoyed after really reading the Red-Green-Blue Mars group. It is long, this addition, and has things in it that even look like the sort of 'tried this for a short story or a chapter' items which often turn out to have something very worthwhile in them at the same time as we can see why they were elided at first.

What's on my mind is what I believe is his patience about the kinds of developments we apparently need as humans, to get past the 20th century's distortions. I think I've heard you on a similar topic. Old enough and full of history and experience enough, it's quite something to consider with a little more open mind than we usually do, the balances of advancements and sometimes emergent difficulties.

I've felt before that KSR may be trying to write the patience into his work. The recent 40-50-60 Degrees books are like that for me. He pretty clearly wants to give experiences there, privileging them over plots, again in some tune to another writer I know of.

I like the generosity of that, and it reminds me of something I believe to have read of an essay or speech by Ursula Le Guin, about writing to give us time.

Perhaps in circumstances as today, to the degree they affect us personally, this kind of time-taking may feel hard, but is just what the doctor ordered. My personal feeling is that with a quieter mind, we can gain the contexts, and work the best with our corner of situations. A good discipline, maybe.

I think it may be so in approaching the quandaries of work itself, which in many ways is source to all in question. How we build learning of all dimensions into our own corners of it, for the most powerful way things can change here is by emergence, by each of us taking the pace so that we can see what would be fruitful, what would make the next work so everyone has some, out of the effort we put into a project today.

Far from the desk of a writer? Maybe not in this case. I am thinking then of another moment recently, reading through some of the concluding discussions in 'The Collapse of Chaos', probably unfortunately titled, by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart. That book I have been reading in for at least ten years. They have been right enough about enough of the things they have been speculating about there, as evidence comes in from work of persons like Walter Fontana. The sum that comes out recently seems to be interestingly calming, in the midst of some real upset.

I am thinking there is a message in science by now which might be the kind can make its own emergences, can free us from all the hidden and evident determinisms, thus suggest a new opening of the proper kinds of patience. If you believe you can't find the perfect answer to financial economics, for a good example -- and you believe you can expect adequate economics to emerge if you -don't- put persons generally in a position of high pressure, you would argue even as a bank for a great deal of change in the ways we got ourselves into this mess. For sustainability, in fact, in all its dimensions.

Well, I stop, with my own smiling elisions.

I like what you do, Greg, in taking a scenario and playing it fairly out. We need the excitement of, exactly, experiencing, perhaps as a primary of life. It's an interesting matter to find that if we have enough of that, then we can have that patient kind of entry also into matters. As all things, it seems here variety lets us do and see more. I am probably riding the edge of being obscure, so again will stop musing. But I smile.

Best, Greg, and again, hope this is what you asked for.

Regards as you know,
Clive

Re: Musing along the Martian byways

From: Roald Laurenson
Location:
Date: 11/07/2008

Well, I thought later it would have been nice to be able to silently withdraw this ;).. Harmless I'm sure, but could use a good edit in at least two places, to make it just a little clearer what was being talked about.

I will exercise a little more discipline in future, Greg. I am sure you know this was with good intentions, and I learn once more about the division between preparation and work we want to show. This is useful, as I realize how much work it is to enter a field where one was not so actually practiced before, or not in the styles needed now.

With regards,
Roald

Re: Musing along the Martian byways

From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/08/2008

I keep editing long after a book is published--and hope for indulgence from readers who catch any inelegance!

Re: Musing along the Martian byways

From: Roald Laurenson
Location:
Date: 11/09/2008

Greg, thanks. That was very generous, and helped one of those places in pride that's sometimes important.

Best,
Clive

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