Steve James has posted a list of his favorite science fiction classics; I´m gonna repost, to archive it for myself and for others; I have not read very much SF so far, maybe in the future. And the future, not to speak of the Singularity, is near.
Personal favourite top ten SF novels (not including fantasy)
1) Altered Carbon, Richard K Morgan
2) Dr who and the genesis of the daleks. Terrence Dicks. (First book I ever bought, cost 30p!)
3) Tik Tok, John Sladek
4) The player of games, Ian M Banks
5) Excession, Ian M Banks
6) Foundation, Asimov
7) Hitch Hiker’s guide to the Galaxy, Adams
8) Job, Heinlein
9) Sundiver, David Brin
10) Dune, Frank Herbert
I also, originally, a while ago, planned to write a note about Stanislaw Lem, who was not actually a science fiction writer, but a literary genius in the disguise of a science fiction writer. A literary genius is someone who is deeply introspective about humanity (and the extensions of humanity like civilisation or, in the case of Stanislaw, technology), and, usually, a melancholic; although one, usually, capable of being also outrageously funny and a satirizer (with Star Diaries being Stanislaw´s most incredible beyond-ordinary-human-comprehension work in this respect). Despite all technological progress humanity will stay what it is, forever, that is the message of Stanislaw Lem; and since this is an insight anyone a bit intelligent could come to, it is the true genius of Stanislaw Lem that shows us that foreign, alien civilisations are dumb and limited as well, forever, and there is never an escape (though probably this is a necessary consequence of any kind of complexity and therefore should be taken more lightly) – The a-logical Solaris mirrors the a-logical nature and the opacity and the a-causality of the human intelligence and of the human race; The Invincible travels to a world long after there has happened what humans imagine as the Singularity to be confronted with an extremely primitive and mindless, yet dangerous and adaptive insect-like machine race which has come to dominate the planet. Fiasco in Eden, death to false metal.
I have heard that in the last years of his life Stanislaw Lem has been very sad and depressed, about what happened in Chechnya and other spots in the world; that there is, obviously, never an end to the state of war. I don´t know whether this is true about Stanislaw, but it is easy to imagine and to go along with. I am not an expert about Stanislaw but I read an interview with him in a book containing interviews with (analytical) philosophers, Quine, Dennett, etc.; he was the only writer, his interview was the last, seemingly concluding chapter of the book and somehow the most comprehensive and the most substantial. He announced that he is casually called a science fiction writer because especially in America the most favorable reviews of his books cause sales to plummet if it is only slightly mentioned that there is philosophy to them; because to people philosophy is „something like a jungle“, confusing and dangerous; one can add: something to explore but that is, usually, not what people do. In his native Poland, after the fall of communism, people are largely interested in money, and possibilities to accumulate money, whereas he, Stanislaw, is primarily interested in philosophy. Ahhh, the disconnectedness …
The „disconnectedness“ is something that sometimes is funny and comical and its own satire, but also always leads the literary, most notably the ethical genius, the empath genius, into depression; and maybe the depressive edge is what is actually true and the sum of it all. I am in a depression right now as well, the usual circular thing; yet this time maybe worse, without possibility to truly recover. The experiences I make with people are disenchanting, they are accumulating, and there has been an experience last week which added a new, depressing quality on everything concerning humans. (In addition to that, Trump is leading in polls – I have, from the beginning, considered it possible that Trump could make the race of the nomination and maybe even become President but have not considered it likely at all -, a lot of people vote for Erdogan in Turkey, Hofer in Austria, and there recently has been the Brexit; and other things I do not want to mention. Possibility of things going to hell for no particular reason. This is, by the way, not actually due to neoliberalism, as the political left likes to point it out on every occasion in their everlasting gluelessness and their egocentric primitivity of perspective which they, then, mistake as a higher form of consciousness and knowledge which elevates them above the mindless masses instead of coming to the idea that, for instance, it would be a good thing to READ and STUDY the economists instead of always complaining about them, and ridiculing them – it is people´s mindlessness, emotionlessness, lack of ethics, egocentricity which revolves around its own vanity; therefore people seek leaders a bit more intelligent, and equally morally depraved, into which they can project themselves and admire themselves in a bigger version; instead of looking for idols that actually deserve to be idolized and followed.) Maybe there is no intelligent psychology among humans, ever, and what the empath genius tries to do (establishing anti-egocentric consciousness and sentience) is forever bound to blow out. Maybe Schopenhauer was right in all respects. And Gogol rightfully went insane because he saw that we are living in a ghost world. I wanted to write a note about it, titled „Prelude to Suicide Note“, Pt. 1 and 2 (maybe also 3). For some reasons I haven´t done it so far. But I have archived the material. So I didn´t write the Suicide note; but it makes me a little happy that I have now, on this occasion, managed to write a note about Stanislaw Lem, whom I salute.
Originally, when writing about Stanislaw Lem, I also wanted to say something of the quality of texts by the high empath literary genius. In the texts of Stanislaw Lem, notably in the satires, you have a high intensity, everything goes BOOM! – BOOM! – BOOM! – one idea hunts the other, one good joke comes after the next. That is so because of the author´s hyperintelligence. But the ultimate kind of text is the – well, I have not thought of an actual name though I have somehow described it already in the Book of Strange and Unproductive Thinking – is the, hm, blanket, the all-comprising cover, the web, where you have all kind of emanations which are bound together, not mechanically or so, but holistically, as the universal synthesis of everything; such texts are that of Kafka, some texts by Beckett (most prominent L´innomable), Lautréamont´s Maldoror and, above all, Georg Büchner´s Lenz. I think this is, then, the text of the ultimate empath literary genius; Büchner and Lautréamont died at a young age and we do not know much about them, but Kafka and Beckett were, as persons, of the highest noblesse, despite, humanity. This is how I remember them. I won´t say more about it now, there will be more explanations about the blanket somewhere soon, this wheel keeps spinning all the same hell yeah.
And having said that, I see I have now managed to write my originally intentioned note about Stanislaw Lem.
Concerning science fiction: Star Trek I practically only know via the satires from MAD magazine (and, by the way, Jack Davis from MAD has died last week at age 92). But I came across the god-like Q beings from the Q Continuum recently. According to legend Q is an ultraintelligent being who operates at the meta level of all species in the universe and observes them, for fun, for getting to know about them and to enhance his knowledge, and who occasionally gives them philosophical advice. Some beings of the Q Continuum are of the opinion that it might be appropriate to interfere with other species, some other Qs think the best thing to do is not to engage with them and to keep out of their affairs. In one episode there has been a trial set up by Q against humanity, for humanity to prove their worth, and, well, humanity managed to prove it; leaving Q to proclaim, grimly, that humanity will forever be on trial about its actual quality and will forever have to prove it anew, however. In another episode, one Q descends into human form, to see what happens. Ahhh … this is what I envisioned in Yorick – A Person in Distress already, oracularly, prophetic. The Q Continuum is quite a boring place – ahhhh … that is what I envisioned in the Book of Strange and Unproductive Thinking already (in the story about Jessica Simpson (although in my vision the situation of the highest beings possible in the universe is not that bad since they are able to distract themselves by telling toilet jokes to each other)). There has also been a civil war in the Q Continuum. Those is what I envisioned when I said there need to be mechanisms for the prevention and mitigation of conflicts when writing about the „Global Board“ most recently. I think, there will also be a note about the Q Continuum, some time.
UPDATE 06082016: I have been in a considerable depression the last days, sometimes things seem to lift up and then they darken again. They say, on the road to enlightenment you have to kill Buddhas when you meet Buddhas, and I seem to have killed some Buddhas, unintentionally, again; this seems to be all that I am capable to do; which stresses me emotionally, because I am NOT an aggressive person. Yet, if I foresee this correct, I am a dying human, coming into the flesh of a god. Aaahhuuuuuh….
CELTIC FROST – A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh (OFFICIAL VIDEO)CELTIC FROST – A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh. Taken from the album „Monotheist“ Century Media Records 2006. CMDistro – http://www.cmdistro.com/Item/Cel…youtube.com
STARKE EPIPHANIE Yorick drängt es plötzlich, er fasst einen Plan, er sucht die öffentlichen Waschräume am Hessenplatz auf, denn er hat dort etwas vor. Dort angekommen fällt sein Blick offenbar für einen Moment zu lange in die bauchige Wölbung der Pissoirschüssel, da überkommt ihn plötzlich eine Vision. In seinem Geist kriecht er durch eine unglaublich enge Öffnung in der Erde, kaum dass er mit den Schultern durchgelangt, und erreicht schließlich nach erheblichen Mühen eine schwach ausgeleuchtete Höhle. Dort in der Mitte, auf einer kegelförmig ausgerichteten Ansammlung von Stäben, befindet sich ein Kopf. Es ist der Kopf eines alten Mannes, der scheinbar in Schwierigkeiten steckt. Und es ist der Kopf, von dem das schwache Licht ausgeht, das die Wölbung erhellt. Es handelt sich, wie Yorick bemerkt, um das Antlitz Gottes. Das Antlitz Gottes blickt ihn unendlich traurig an.
Von alldem verstand Yorick natürlich nichts.
And the mariner sights his home
Spirits go from the long dead bodies
Form their own light and the mariner’s left alone.
And then a boat came sailing towards him
It was a joy he could not believe
The pilot’s boat, his son and the hermit,
Penance of life will fall onto him.
And the ship it sinks like lead into the sea
And the hermit shrives the mariner of his sins.
The mariner’s bound to tell of his story
To tell this tale wherever he goes
To teach God’s word by his own example
That we must love all things that God made.
And the wedding guest’s a sad and wiser man
And the tale goes on and on and on.“