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.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Halo, by Charles Stross

Halo is one of the few stories from the series of nine published in Asimov's SF that I have read (Lobsters is the other story of the nine), and I was absolutely thrilled by it.

Then I began to study it a la Nancy Kress. Oh dear.

It's good. It really is. But when I calibrated it at the level of anger at 150 on the Hawkins scale, testing weak below 200 obviously, I didn't really comprehend why until I did a scene by scene breakdown of the throughline, following the protagonist Amber through her dramas with her mother.

It's really very very good. But it's true that Anger is Amber's middle name... and although the solution to her mother's attempt to get her legally back is ingenious (she declares herself a Queen in Jovian space, sort of like Esther Dyson did over the internet a few years back, lol) it's still motivated by hatred and rage.

As to the CETI project - Communication with extraterrestrial life - the motive for her joining that seems expedient. But the emphasis on velocity of change a la Timothy Leary sort of erodes that funny weird moral stuff we live by.

Oh well. If I said I admired Charlie Stross' work tremendously, but that everything of his tested weak due to a deep nihilism to his work, it would sadly be true of ten of the brightest writers in the field as well.

That would include other great writers that test weak: Ursula le Guin, Greg Egan, Robert Reed, etc.


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