From: Ted Bannon
Location: Atlanta, GA
I just finished re-reading both _Forge of God_ and _Anvil of Stars_ this weekend. My memory is a tad fuzzy, but I think I read them for the first time in 1999 or 2000. Generally speaking, I'm not much for re-reading anything, but these books made quite an impression and I needed to do some escaping from life's little misadventures this weekend.
Incidentally, I bought digital versions this time: Forge from Google Books, and Anvil from Barnes & Noble (for my Nook). There were certainly some OCR issues with both, but the Google version was especially bad. As an example, words like "live" were transmuted to "Uve" repeatedly -- I'll bet I actually noticed 20 obvious mistakes and given how quickly (which is to say, I don't read everything closely) I read I probably missed a bunch more. Just thought I'd pass that along so you can complain to your publisher or whomever. Your work deserves better treatment! ;)
My real reason for writing: I've only just finished Anvil tonight, and have been pondering the ending wherein a huge cache of neutronium & anti-neutronium needles had been discovered at the core of what had been Sleep. As a literary device, I see the point. But from a purely technical perspective, why would the Killers need to cache needles? If they have this powerful noach ability to transform matter in other forms of matter, or anti-matter (up to 50 billion klicks, I think), couldn't they just spontaneously convert matter floating around their solar system on an as-needed basis? The makers were building heavy matter bombs at the outer edge of the system and presumably this matter could be used by the Killers for similar purposes. Also the stockpiling of recently manufactured needles suggests a production or assembly line perhaps, which seems curious given the Killers obvious technical abilities and a desire to avoid detection/discovery and punishment.
P.S. The needles were fantastic and scary in Forge though and certainly my favorite apocalyptic/world ending concept yet! ;)
P.P.S. Didn't Wolfram prove in ANKoS that the universe really is just a giant information matrix? Just kidding. I'm ashamed to say that I own that book and only read the first couple of chapters before concluding that he didn't seem headed to a non-obvious conclusion. It's like reading any of the (fairly) recent "There is no God" efforts -- there's nothing new. People have short memories evidently.
From: Greg Bear
I've sent your technical questions off to the Planet Killers and you should expect a response any day now...
As for Wolfram and information mechanics, the ideas go quite a ways back, with many branches, including Wolfram and some of the brightest folks in computer theory, Ed Fredkin and Frederick Kantor among them.