Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Biopunk, bio-clades, and genetic protocols.

"Post-cyberpunk science fiction continues to exfoliate into such divergent forms as the work of Cory Doctorow, Richard Morgan and Charles Stross. One form, which is the impulse to mix "lowlifes and high tech" in a hip, suspenseful fashion, might be dubbed "biopunk," from the cover blurb herewith provided by Kevin J. Anderson. Or, to use another term that I coined some 15 years ago, "ribofunk." This type of fiction features the noir stylings of cyberpunk ameliorated by the jazzy panache of tropical rhythms, all centering around advances on the biological frontier. Examples of practitioners of this subgenre would include Peter Watts, Linda Nagata, Kathleen Goonan and perhaps even Howard Hendrix. Now, Mark Budz arrives to add his voice, in a very commendable and admirable fashion."

Here are the tropes, developed already in another's mind, of the post-Goddess world of Gaia book two: clades, established in Empiricum, IAs, known as protocols still in my design; his patchwork earth includes humans still, whereas mine excludes them in favor of a diversity of microbes that Gaia generates. Interesting!

"Clade introduced us to the world circa 2100, which is dominated by weird new sciences and technologies centering around biology. Intervening between our era and 2100 was the ecocaust, a time when the vast majority of Earth's life forms died in a mass extinction event. Hastily, the world's "politicorps" and various agencies, such as BEAN—the Bureau of Ecotectural Assimilation and Naturalization—threw together the clade system: hundreds of artificial biomes whose inhabitants were molecularly bonded to their new environments. Moving from one clade to another requires a metabolic makeover and is discouraged. Now the Earth is a patchwork of oddball artificial life forms, and even the definition of humanity has changed. For instance, no human is considered complete without his or her Information Agent. These intelligent and quirky "IAs" are bonded to the physiology of the individual and whisper directly into their auditory nerves.


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