by wjw on June 26, 2008

I’ve been getting really splendid reviews for Implied Spaces, and it may seems ungrateful of me to quibble with some minor aspects of what are otherwise terrific notices. But that’s exactly what I’m going to do— and I’d like to think I’m not acting entirely out of ego (though of course I am), but out of an objectively virtuous attempt to set the history straight.

Here’s a quote from one (otherwise delightfully positive) review: “He [that would be me] is playing with a fairly familiar set of SF tropes . . . Implied Spaces is very much mature SF, building on the ideas the field has been addressing in the past decade or more.”

And, from another splendidly positive review: “There is little in Implied Spaces that will surprise readers acquainted with the post-human space operas of Iain M. Banks, John C. Wright, Peter Hamilton and others of their ilk …”

Do I detect a theme here? The notion that, perhaps, Implied Spaces is treading on ground pioneered by other writers?

Again I hate to quibble, but may I respectfully point out that I’ve been on this ground for over twenty years? Hardwired (1986) dealt with immortality via transfer into new bodies, and it and its sequel “Solip:System” (1989) featured reprogramming the human brain to create new allegiances. “Flatline” (1988) was about nanotechnology and vast, inhuman artificial intelligence. “Dinosaurs” (also 1988) dealt with posthumanity, and was nominated for Nebula and Hugo awards. Aristoi (1992) was New Space Opera before New Space Opera had a name. “Lethe” (1997) concerned itself with immortality, space travel, and the process of history.

The whole creating-universes thing is pretty much mine, though I suppose it may lean on the last scene of the final Cities in Flight novel.

What I’m outright stealing is the Singularity, or at least my version of it, but Vernor seems to think that’s pretty cool, and I reference Vernor anyway. And besides, after a thing’s been in the literature for twenty years, it’s fair game.

So there’s my grump for the day, for all that I feel like I’m banging my cane on the boarding house porch as I complain about how the younger generation don’t know nothing, anymore.

Learn your history! Dammit.

Dave Bishop June 26, 2008 at 10:38 am

Never mind, Walter, I think of you as a true original and a pioneer (bet that makes you feel better, doesn’t it!).

Besides I prefer your books to some of those others mentioned above.

Travis June 26, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Those that do not remember history are condemned to repaet itThose that do not remember history are condemned to repeat itThose that do not remember history are comdemned to repeat it…

Damn, they look funny when they do that, don’t they? There is more to reviewing books than the first three things that show up on Google. Carry on, Walter. Those of us that read your stuff know.Some of us have atttention spans, and we aren’t afraid to use them.

Ethan June 28, 2008 at 12:42 am

Who did what first aside, does it really matter? The Satanic Verses was hardly the first exploration of good, evil and religion, but it’s fucking brilliant in ways that no other book I’ve ever read has been. Ultimately, we all stand on the shoulders of giants in one respect or another. Unless a work is completely derivative (like that Eragon kid), I don’t see a problem. Reviewers are dumb for saying it and you oughtn’t give it crecedence by letting it bother you.

dubjay June 28, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Ethan, you are wise.

In this field, though, sometimes this matters, because in order to read SF at all, we’ve all have to have the novelty gene. Who first pinged the novelty gene becomes a game that everyone plays.

Ethan July 1, 2008 at 3:59 am

Unfortunate as it may be, that makes sense. Alas, that we may live to see a world without genres… 🙂

Michael Bernstein July 11, 2008 at 5:07 pm

“The whole creating-universes thing is pretty much mine, though I suppose it may lean on the last scene of the final Cities in Flight novel.”

A minor quibble with your quibble: My memory may be faulty, but didn’t Jack L. Chalker do something with that in his ‘Well of Souls’ and ‘Wonderland Gambit’ series (possibly elsewhere)?

dubjay July 14, 2008 at 4:46 am

Michael, don’t spoil my rant with facts!

Actually I haven’t read the Chalker, so if I’m glomming his idea, I’m doing it all unknowing.

Which is a frustrating thing, by the by. I’m always straining my grey cells trying to come up with new ideas, and when I do, I discover that Fred Pohl used the idea 50 years ago.

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