Friday, September 30, 2011

what is identity?

Philosophers spend a lot of time (too much?) debating identity. I grow impatient with such things.

Yet, it is true that there is something slippery about the term. Take my own case. I am Victor Storiguard when I talk about transhumanism. I am other people, with other names, with I write about other things.

How much more complicated will "identity" be when we can genuinely occupy other bodies, have multiple bodies, and be multiple people.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

two transhumans go into a bar...

...and then there's no punchline 'cause transhumans never do anything stupid, sexist, racist, self-destructive, or just d*mn dumb. Sigh. What's a comedian to do?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011


A while back I ran across a fascinating question posed by J.F. 'Eldras' Ellis on He asked "Do you believe 'Goodness' is relevant in the Universe?"

I've put my own small attempt at an answer below. But I don't believe I've really done the issue justice. But perhaps I'll spark a little more discussion of it.

I'm reminded of Voltaire's comment that if there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him. What I mean is that "goodness" is a fantastically useful concept. A learned or inborn (if mores are biological in origin) sense of "goodness" and "badness" provides a brake on behaviors that would otherwise be destructive of the community as a whole. If you think it is "bad" to slice up your neighbors and serve them as a meat pie on Christmas morning, well, it means that more neighbors will live to ripe old ages. Ergo, "goodness" is a good thing.

The question that occurs to me is how will Transhumans make use of the term "goodness?" If they are supremely rational, they may not need it. But, perhaps they would keep it around anyway, along with emotions like love and happiness, for old times sake.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

transhuman art

something I've been thinking a lot about...

What would transhuman art look like?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

how much human...?

I've been wondering how much humanity a transhuman would keep in its nature. Maybe quite a lot, if only for old times sake.

Maybe a transhuman would have two or more parts...a transhuman part on one level and a human part on another.  Thus, he'd be "Fred" or "Jane" in one world, but superhuman on another.

from Jellies

from Jellies...

A thousand years ago, humanity had split between the humans and the Others, the transhumans ...

The transhumans changed very, very quickly, the Ranger explained…. adding to themselves, expanding their intelligence, gaining additional abilities. In a single lifetime, they evolved more rapidly, and more completely, than humanity had done in the last million years. "In time, we might not even see them anymore."

"Why not?"

"Consider the insect." How does a bug see us? Probably, as a big rumbling something or other. Something warm and fleshy. No different from any other large mammal in its environment. A mosquito or a tick might recognize us as a potential source of blood. But would they recognize us as an entity? A being like themselves? Surely not.

And, so, if there were creatures as far beyond us as we are beyond ticks and mosquitoes…

"We might not realize they were here," Valter said.

And, the older man continued, "Think about the things we build or grow. How does a fly or an ant perceive our houses and buildings? Probably just as big hard objects, no different from mountains and cliff walls. Or how does a locust see a cornfield? Just as a source of plant matter. Something to be eaten like any tree or leaf."

"The idea that someone, somewhere, might object…"

"Would never occur to it,"

"Right. And what do we do when we find locusts in our fields?"

Valter felt terror clawing at his soul. "We poison them."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

from the inside flap of Tower

From the inside flap of  Tower
There are wonders beyond the Singularity...

      "These nanotechnical devices... the nanotechnical devices... will enter your body and brain. It will link you to us. To the network. To artificial and natural intelligences. You will have powers beyond anything you can imagine."
     "Powers?" Now she was interested.
     "Unbelievable things. Super intelligence, and everything that comes with it. You'll be able to reshape yourself. Have multiple bodies. Be in many places at once. Travel to the stars and stay home at the same time. It's unimaginable."
                    Deal Breaker

But there are also terrors...

     Odd. There was a faint sound coming from the monitor of her computer. It was almost like a scratching. As if a cat or something were inside and wanted to be let out.
     She bent down to examine it more closely. She had shut down the computer and the screen was black. Yet, as she watched, it grew white...a pearly, confused white, like the static of a TV between channels. What?
     Then ...there was something taking shape in the static! She leaned closer and closer, until her nose was almost pressed to the glass. What could it be?
     Tentacles. Fangs. Claws...
                     The Hate Buyer

Once more, Victor Storiguard gives us a glance at the Transhuman both its promise, and its perils.

Friday, September 16, 2011

and the cover of Tower

and here's the cover of Tower

and yet another addition to my page...Tower

Just put another work on my Amazon page—Tower.

I'm playing around with some horror elements in these tales.

transhumanism and me...

Recently added my "official author's bio" to Amazon. 'Tis as all its gory grandness ;-)

Transhumanism and me…

For about twenty years I was a trade press journalist. Specifically, I reported on computers. Among other things, I saw the introduction of the IBM PC and the demise of the minicomputers, wrote about UNIX when it was still just a cool thing that hackers did at Stamford and/or AT&T ("UNIX is a trademark of…"), got caught in the crossfire between AIers and Neural Netters, fought in the RISC wars (I was a SPARCist), got sucked into the Web, wrote about hackers and computer security, and finally ended up doing white papers about middleware.

All of this, by the way, I did under another name. For a variety of odd reasons, I find it useful to keep that part of my life a little bit separate from other parts of it. But, if you really, really want to know all the gory details, drop me a line and I'll reveal my (gasp!) true identity. Or, at least, the identity I used back then.

Anyway, a while back, I got bored with journalism and started doing fiction… particularly science fiction. I've done stories on all sorts of different topics. But, at the moment, almost all the SF I write has to do with "transhumanism," that is, the idea that we will eventually use artificial means to transcend our own limitations—a moment in our history that is sometimes, but not always, associated with the term "The Singularity."

I'm an optimist on the subject. I genuinely believe that the day is coming when it will be possible for us to become superhuman. And, I genuinely believe that will be a good thing.

But that's not to say I think that it is going to be easy.

Indeed, my "transhumanistic" fiction reflects four basic suppositions about just how hard it is going to be.  Let me take them one at a time:

1) When the day comes when we can change ourselves, many of us will decide not to.

After all, it is kind of a spooky idea. Imagine having someone say to you, "Hey, here's a cup of nanobot tea. Swig it down and by morning you'll be completely, utterly, and totally remade. You'll have powers beyond your wildest dreams, but you'll never be the same again." I'm betting a lot of folks would respond to that suggestion with another proposal, far more forcefully stated, about where you could stick your damn 'bots.

So, I predict that after the Singularity, we'll see the human race divide between those people who decide to remain, well, people…and those who don't.

2) Further, the individuals who elect to be more than human will evolve very, very rapidly. They’ll be able to improve themselves continuously, after all. They'll be adding new powers, new abilities, new facets of themselves, all the time. Which means, I suspect, that they'll soon evolve right out of sight.

What do I mean by that? Well, as one of my characters says, consider the ant. It is a very successful being. It lived long before us. It will exist long after we're gone. But does it see us? Does it think about us as we think about it? As a living being? As an entity with its own goals and aims?

I submit that it doesn't. First, I'm not sure it has concepts like "entity" and "living," but, second, even if it did, I'm pretty sure it would see us as just big, warm, moving, something-or-others. And our constructions? Our cities and farms? No different from any mountain or field.

My point, then, is that once transhumans were as far removed from us as we are from insects, they might be pretty much invisible to us.

3) When all this happens, particularly if those who elected to become transhuman were basically disappearing from view, society might well collapse. The population would be dividing into two radically different sorts of people. Nations, social institutions, economies, even families would be ripped apart. Normal humans might well regress all the way to something like pre-industrial society.

After that, we (meaning normal humans) might forget what had happened. Historians might look back and say, "oh, there was a period of social chaos at the end of the twenty-first century, but it wasn't much different from similar periods of chaos that have happened before and will doubtlessly happen again."

4) Given the above, then we might not have one Singularity but many. Every few generations, the human race would struggle up to industrialization. Gradually, it would develop railroads, factories, and computers. Someone would suggest linking brains and machines. And then we'd be off again. Once more, some would decide to be more than human. Others wouldn't. There'd be a Dark Age …reindustrialization… and, in a few hundred years, yet another Singularity.

So, those four basics are behind most of what I write.

Do I actually believe that the future will work out the way I'm predicting? Ah, er, um…maybe. Or, then again, maybe not. If the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, then predictions are an order of magnitude more likely to get really scr*wed up.

But I do think all this makes for good fiction.

In any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. If you like, stop by my blog and let me know how you see the matter. I'm at And, of course, you can always find me here at Amazon.

Hope to meet you soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

and from A Singular Encounter

And this is from "A Singular Encounter"

She saw it all. It unfolded before her like a vision. Machines would become smaller, and smaller, and yet ever more powerful. They'd link together. Communicate. Become one intelligence.

And humans would be part of that intelligence! Organic brains would link to artificial ones. The distinction between one and the other vanishing. She saw humans becoming more than human.

"My… my God," she said.

And, of course, it explained the Catastrophe, too. When the day came when such technology was available, people would face a choice. Did they wish to become superhuman or didn't they?

And, strangely, many would choose not to. Why? A hundred reasons. Religion, philosophy, ideology.

As a result, the world would divide between those who changed and those who didn't. And while that division was underway…

"Chaos…" she said, at last. Society would dissolve.

"The Catastrophe," he agreed, softly. "Or what came to be called such."

from Jellies

This is from "Jellies." I don't suppose I'm posting any spoilers ;-)
 Full book is here: Jellies

 Just then, the phone rang. For a moment, he hesitated. Did he really want to talk to anyone? No. But, he supposed he should. He wished someone would invent some sort of machine that would answer phones for you and take a message so that you didn't have to speak to people you didn't like.

He sighed and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"


He recognized her voice with a start. "Judice Hargon?"


"Uh, what can I do for you?"

"I'd like to talk to you again."

"Ah, sure." He fumbled for his calendar. "Someday this week?"

"No. Not like that. Now."


He heard her laugh. "Yes. This very evening. Can you come?"

"I…I guess so. Where should I come? At the Palace of Justice again?"

"No," …another soft chuckle…"I'll send a car." And then the line went dead.

What in the world? He thought. But a few minutes later, he heard a landcar come to a stop outside his apartment building. He glanced out a window. It was the same limo. And the same driver was standing at the door.

He went outside. This time the driver didn't speak but only held the door open for him. Valter sat in the back and they headed off into the evening. The driver weaved in and out of traffic. Soon, a mammoth building appeared before them…one of the exclusive flat complexes down near the financial district…and the car stopped. Once again, the silent driver opened his door, and Valter stumbled out onto the sidewalk.

He turned to the driver. "But where…?"

"Penthouse," the man said, simply.

Mystified, Valter entered the building's lobby. The doorman inside glanced at him, then looked away again, carefully avoiding his eyes.

He crossed the tile floor to the elevator. The door swung open and the operator, a woman in a gray "house" uniform, smiled at him. He entered it uneasily. Before he could say what floor he wanted, she had pulled a handle on a wheel and they were upward bound. When the little arrow over the door came to "P," they halted and she silently opened the cage for him.

He stepped out and found himself in a kind of little entryway, almost a small room in itself.  There was a mirror on the wall and a place to hang his coat. Beyond it was an ornate door. Before he could knock, it swung open silently and he found himself confronting a maid. "She's expecting you," the woman said.

She held the door for him and, once he was past, stepped outside and closed it behind her. He heard her footsteps as she walked toward the elevator. She said something he couldn't quite make out to the elevator operator, there was a burst of disconcerting giggles, and the lift descended again.

He edged into the room behind the door. It was luxuriously furnished, even crowded. There were paintings on all the walls, fresh flowers on tables, chairs, a massive glass hookah, a chaise lounge…

And then he saw her. Or, rather, he realized what he was seeing. She was in the lounge. Reclining and watching him with a slight smile on her face.

She was nude.

He gasped.

She laughed at him now. "I thought this would be the easiest way," she explained. "Eliminate all uncertainty, as it were."

and yet another addition to my page

I've just posted another piece to my Amazon page -- Tower, and other transhuman tales. 

It's not up and running, yet, but I'll post a notice when it is.

Monday, September 5, 2011

bugs and brains

Saw the following article at K'weil: Tiny Bugs Are Controlling Your Mind

The idea is that certain bacteria may actually improve your mental health.

Wouldn't it be fascinating if turned out we were, in fact, composite beings…the product of many combinations of different independent entities over the passage of millions (as Endosymbiotic theory has long suggested). And, further, that many things we thought were separate from us were, in fact, part of us?

And so, then bacteria like Lactobacillus rhamnosus are not just benign but vital. Meaning that overuse of antibiotics is literally suicidal.

Victor Storiguard

Sunday, September 4, 2011

and another singular

more art from singular

Some Singular Art

Also, some art from Singular Encounters...

Singular Encounters #2

Singular Encounters is now up and running as Kindle Book. It's at:

Singular Encounters

Singular Encounters

Having a grand time seeing my stuff appear on Amazon. Here's the most recent lins:

Singular Encounters: Three Tales of Transhumanity [Kindle Edition] at